Jared Michael "Skip" Schumaker stands a whole 5'10". Not what you'd expect from your starting center fielder. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2001 draft, Schumaker didn't make his Major League Debut until June 8, 2005.
From the time he made his debut until the beginning of the 2008 season, Schumaker went back and forth between Memphis and St. Louis.
Playing a good defense at all three outfield positions and giving 100 percent in the field whenever asked never seemed to be enough to keep down a roster spot for an entire season. Schumaker hit .333 in 177 at-bats in 2007 after making the team out of spring training but even that season he spent alot of his time in AAA.
His play in 2007 and the fact that the Cardinals didn't add an impact bat to their outfield that offseason meant that Schumaker went into Spring Training as the elder statesman in an outfield, including Ryan Ludwick, Chris Duncan, and my favorite player, Rick Ankiel.
Yet Schumaker still entered Spring Training still having to fight off Top Prospect Colby Ramus for a starting job. He did and opened the 2008 season as the Cardinals' starting Center Fielder.
Skip hit .302 from the leadoff spot in 2008 starting in Left Field and filling in nicely in Center when Rick Ankiel went down with a groin injury. Skip had more four-hit games than anybody else on the team and even had a few five-hit games.
Schumaker also seemed to come up with key hits when needed. It seemed as if every one of his 10 home runs came when the Cardinals were in need the most, including two walk-off homers. It seemed that if the Cardinals needed a big hit, the No. 2 choice behind you know who was Skip.
After his more than quality 2008 season and with the Cardinals facing a log jam in the outfield Schumaker found himself on the outside looking in once again. The subject of many trade rumors Schumakeris once again looking at another season on the bench.
With Colby Ramus having a strong chance of making the club and the fact that you never want a top prospect to ride the bench the Cardinals are in a tuff place: sit your leadoff hitter from the season before or trade him.
One other idea that the club has been considering is moving Schumaker, who was drafted as a middle infielder, to 2B. A move that if you ask me is the best fit. Granted the Cardinals probably aren't going to ask my opinion, but if Schumaker can hit .290 and play an average 2B, then he will be an immediate upgrade over the aging Adam Kennedy.
Also who else would the club tab as their leadoff man.
So there you have it. One of my favorite players, a guy who plays his heart out every time he steps on the field, and does a pretty dang good job doing it but has yet to catch his big break.
Also, one last note, by no means am I saying that Schumaker is an All-Star or am I saying that he's a great player; just an average guy who plays the game the way it should be played.