And so the transformation of Atlanta's outfield begins ...
- ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves have optioned rookie center fielder Jordan Schafer to Triple-A Gwinnett and called up Gregor Blanco.
The 22-year-old Schafer won the job after an impressive showing at spring training, but he struggled through his first two months in the big leagues. He was hitting just .204 with two homers and eight RBIs and already had 63 strikeouts in 167 at-bats.
Blanco was with the Braves throughout the 2008 season. He batted .251 with one homer, 38 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
You mean spring training isn't a perfect predictor of actual results? Color me flummoxed!
No, but seriously ... We kid spring training because we love it. It's not spring training's fault; it's the fault of the managers and general managers who put a great deal of stock in a few dozen at-bats, many of them against weak competition.
PECOTA's projection for Schafer in the majors this season: .238/.308/.391.
Schafer's actual results: .204/.313/.287. More than anything, what's killed Schafer is the lack of power, as he's hit just one home run since Opening Day (remember that exciting moment for him?). What's worse, his heralded defense hasn't been much good, either. Not statistically, anyway.
He's still a good prospect, and I suspect that we'll see him this summer after he pops a few homers. In the mean time, Blanco's not the worst replacement in the world, largely because he's willing to take more than the occasional walk. The Braves can survive -- and perhaps even thrive -- with Blanco manning center field ... but there's still that out-making machine in right field to worry about. Baby steps, I guess ...