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Jordan Schafer Provides Early Stability For Houston Astros

Jordan Schafer may never win a batting title but his quick start in 2012 signals one of the few, and there are definitely few, bright spots of the Houston Astros final National League season.

The 25 year-old centerfielder sports a solid, perhaps slightly above-average stat line through the first seventeen games. He’s hitting .274, has raised his OPS over one hundred points to .762, already equaled his career high in home runs (2) and sits fifth in the Senior Circuit standings for stolen bases (6). Granted, the former Brave does lead the National League in strikeouts (22) but come on, this is Houston, accept a lukewarm beer if it keeps a 34 year-old “prospect” from toiling around Tal’s Hill.

And as a I type this, Schafer just reached base in his eighteenth consecutive game. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

As Astros fans can attest, the trade deadline in recent years tended to heavily involve Houston but the returns at Minute Maid were, well, bad. Schafer and three minor league pitchers left Atlanta when the Astros shipped hometown boy Michael Bourn to the Braves. Bourn’s looming free agency and the team’s rebuilding made him a commodity worth moving and thus far, Houston has to be excited about their own haul. Paul Clemens currently boasts a 1.59 ERA at Triple-A Oklahoma City and seems a decent bet for a September call-up. The other two (Juan Abreu and Brett Oberholtzer) haven’t done much to merit discussion but hey, two players producing for the price of one!

Schafer’s marijuana arrest last July certainly put the talented and speedy centerfielder on a bit of a ledge. His age would gain him another shot somewhere and the Astros had every reason to be patient but still, he’d already been suspended previously under baseball’s drug policy. To his credit, Schafer owned the indiscretion and impressed his bosses in the only guaranteed way, by playing his ass off in April.

He’s no threat to notch a Silver Slugger award (that’s for his teammate, Jose Altuve) but Schafer’s hot start is one of those dim lights in a universe of Astros losses. At this point, finding players to rely on long-term probably occupies the majority of General Manager Jeff Luhnow’s time.

He may be done worrying about Jordan Schafer.