In 2009, Logan Schafer was viewed as one of the top players in the Milwaukee Brewers organization as he won the team’s Organizational Player of the Year Award. Many saw him as a top-flight player who could run, hit and play defense. He looked to be the team’s future leadoff hitter and center-fielder. Certainly, he was on the fast track to the major leagues.
That once bright future is not present on the field. Schafer toiled through years in the minor leagues and has never been able to put it together as a major leaguer. While he has proven to be a great outfielder with a strong glove and throwing arm, Schafer has not put it together at the plate. Through his first 203 games, Schafer has a career .215 batting average. Off the bench he has not been much better, batting .220 in 105 career plate appearances.
With the current outfield makeup of the club, adding a fourth outfielder at the trading deadline is imperative. In right, Ryan Braun has battled injuries all season and there are no guarantees that he will not be absent with another. In center, Carlos Gomez has a reckless style of play and is just one play away from major injury with each leaping catch. Khris Davis has held down left this season, but in his first full big league season, he may need a breather down the stretch. This leaves Schafer as the only viable option to back them up.
Being in the heart of a pennant race, they need an upgrade here more than anything for the stretch drive. Through his first 94 at-bats of this season, Schafer is batting just .204 with zero home runs and just six runs batted in. Once a player who was expected to steal bases, he has only swiped one bag all year. Even in his minor league stint he did not impress, hitting just measly .235 in 18 games at Nashville.
Numbers like this show that the 27-year-old Schafer has become little more than a late inning defensive replacement. While they do not need to go out and give away top prospects to get a proven starting outfielder, something needs to be done to improve the backup position. As the season progresses, each at-bat becomes more scrutinized and every game more meaningful. With the July deadline nearing, a veteran presence could not only be a bat off the bench, but also a game changer down the stretch.