On Monday the Atlanta Braves announced the acquisition of third baseman Ryan Schimpf from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Schimpf was recently designated for assignment by the Rays despite have two minor league options still available.
The #Braves have acquired INF Ryan Schimpf from the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. He will wear uniform number 12.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 5, 2018
RHP Josh Ravin has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Schimpf began his career as a Blue Jays farmhand and showed early on an affinity for offense posting a 119 wRC+ or higher from 2011 to 2014 in the minor leagues. After becoming a free agent at the conclusion of the 2015 season Schimpf signed with the San Diego Padres and was assigned to their triple A affiliate the El Paso Chihuahuas to begin the 2016 season. Schimpf absolutely demolished that league over the course of 51 games to the tune of a .355/.432/.729 slash line for a wRC+ of 201(!).
The Padres called Schimpf up for his first taste of Major League action on June 14th of 2016 and he responded with a phenomenal rookie season of 2.5 WAR baseball over 89 games. He hit 20 home runs while primarily playing second base and was named the Rookie of the Month for July of 2016, a month that saw him hit 9 home runs.
Schimpf comes to the Braves as a strong advocate of the advanced analytics movement especially when it comes to launch angle. Schimpf generates his power while attempting to hit as many fly balls as possible which has brought down his average but increased his power. The Braves could view him as a great match to platoon with Johan Camargo at third base as Camargo destroys left-handed pitching and Schimpf does the same to right-handed pitching.
Camargo v. RHP: .254/.287/.349 65 wRC+ .095 ISO— Sam (@SamTheMan180) March 5, 2018
Schimpf v. RHP: .205/.330/.507 122 wRC+ .303 ISO
Camargo v. LHP: .403/.434/.694 190 wRC+ .292 ISO
Schimpf v. LHP: .160/.270/.436 87 wRC+ .277 ISO
Not hard to see the plan here.
Amazingly Schimpf has more home runs in his career than singles and offers the Braves some much needed power at the hot corner. His spray chart since entering the league is something to behold and offers some encouraging news for his stay at SunTrust Park where a fly ball can turn into a home run just .325 feet away down the right field line.
Schimpf obviously is no offensive superstar but does help the Braves bridge a gap to 2019 where they look to be serious contenders for the likes of Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson. He is also of low cost to the Braves so if the marriage doesn’t work out the team hasn’t lost anything. Schimpf is certainly a player to keep your eye on this spring and beyond even if he doesn’t immediately grab a spot on the major league roster.
Here is a highlight from Schimpf’s great rookie campaign where he single-handedly won a game for the Padres: