Game Thread 9/18: Braves at Nationals

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Let's salvage one, shall we?

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1. Elliot Johnson - SS
2. Justin Upton - RF
3. Freddie Freeman - 1B
4. Evan Gattis - LF
5. Brian McCann - C
6. Chris Johnson - 3B
7. Dan Uggla - 2B
8. Jordan Schafer - CF
9. Alex Wood - P

Jordan Schafer has been much better than I expected. I'll admit that I was a bit confused by the waiver claim, and I really didn't see much potential with it. But here we are in September, and Schafer has been worth a win this season, which is pretty darn good for a bench player. That being said, Schafer hasn't been the .400 OBP machine for a quite a while. Currently sitting at .249/.332/.355 (93 wRC+), the former top prospect has hit .163/.283/.207 in the second half. He's walking less, striking out more, and hitting for less power. As with pretty much anything over 92 at-bats, the second half might just be a cold spell that can be undone, but just as easily, the 125 ABs from the first half could have just been a hot streak. The wider range of data - ie. Schafer's career - says that the first half is more likely the outlier.

We can certainly appreciate the production that Schafer has brought to the team. Fluke or not, it's production all the same. Sometimes, players just unexpectedly produce for a while, and waiver claims are no different. You just can't get too excited and let the first half - something we've waited for from Schafer - distract you too much from what he is - a solid defender and baserunner that isn't terribly good with the stick. Guys like Schafer have definite value, especially while they're cheap, but their use is somewhat limited.

The question now, however, is how to deal with the outfield situation in the playoffs.

Ross Ohlendorf


Scouting Report: Ross Ohlendorf is perhaps best known for being one of the few major-league players from an Ivy League school - Princeton University. Putting that another way - if you're best known for being smart, then you're probably not a very good pitcher. Ohlendorf has always thrown hard - averaging 93 mph or higher in his career - but his secondaries have always been lacking, which has kept him from nabbing a rotation spot somewhere. The slider is the better of the two options, but it's not a terribly great one, either.

Analysis: With a strikeout rate of 16-17% and a walk rate slightly above the 8% league-average, Ohlendorf is pretty much the perfect example of what being "replacement level" means. Despite utilizing a sinker earlier in his career, he's never been able to keep the ball on the ground, and he's abandoned it completely this season. This isn't a guy the Braves should have trouble with, but any given night yada yada yada.

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