Another off season and another decision regarding the revolving door that is known as the second base position for the St. Louis Cardinals. By many accounts the organization had let the fan base down while sitting on their hands. Refusing to dive into the free agent market or seek out a trade for a reasonable solution.
The organization instead decided to move then outfielder Skip Schumaker to second base. With the abundance of outfielders on the roster and the fact that Schumaker had played shortstop in high school and college seemed to make the decision an easy one for Cardinals brass, especially since they let incumbent Adam Kennedy go right before spring training.
With the All-Star game right around the corner let's take a look at how Skip Schumaker compares to the rest of the league thus far.
Offensively Schumaker is more than holding his own as he is one of the top performers for the Cardinals. The following stats are pooled from all major league second basemen with at least 200 at bats. Skip ranks top ten in both average (.300) and OBP (.357). He also ranks 15th in slugging (.403) and 17th in RBI's with 21. He also has 14 doubles and 3 HR's this season along with a great strikeout to walk ratio.
Now let's look at how he rates defensively among all major league second basemen with at least 200 innings played. Skip currently ranks 12th with a (.987) fielding percentage which just happens to be .001% higher than his career average of (.986), minuscule i know but it is an improvement nonetheless. He has turned 35 double plays while committing only 3 errors.
In conclusion i would have to say the experiment has been a complete success to this point. Offensive output was never the question with Schumaker, it was keeping his bat in the lineup, and he has maintained an above average presence at the plate thus far. Whether he could revert back to the infield was the unknown. There are more numbers out there than i have listed to rate the performance of infielders and some of them aren't as fond of Schumaker's performance but then again there will always be stats on both sides of the fence to rate performance. We must remember that this is his first year as a major league second baseman and he is performing better than expected to this point. With such great teachers as Jose Oquendo and Tony LaRussa guiding him and Schumaker's great work effort and team first attitude, we may be looking at the St. Louis Cardinals second baseman for the next several years if not further.
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