After letting Daniel Descalso and Skip Schumaker battle for the second base gig for most of the season, manager Mike Matheny has recently declared a winner. Sort of. Matheny told reporters on Sunday that Descalso would start on “most days,” leaving Schumaker in a utility role.
Descalso and Schumaker are very similar players. They are both left-handed. Neither player offers much in terms of power or speed. Both players are average in the field. Schumaker offers more versatility with the ability to play the outfield, which is one reason why Matheny prefers him to come off the bench. With the way Skip is swinging the bat, however, he simply needs to be in the lineup every day.
Schumaker has been around the block. At 32 years of age, he knows what to expect as a big league hitter. He has shown the ability to draw a walk (11% walk rate compared to the league average of 8%), put the ball in play (14% strikeout rate compared to the league average of 20%), and record hits on the balls he puts in play (.325 career BABIP). His above-average batting skills have translated this year into a slash line of .314/.389/.423. He has been the beneficiary of some good luck on his balls in play, as evidenced by a .372 BABIP, but even with some regression he can still be expected to post an OBP north of .350. With the Cardinals’ potent lineup, it is important that they keep the line moving. Schumaker puts together quality at-bats and does a good job of setting up his teammates for RBI opportunities. With Daniel Descalso hitting a weak .234/.312/.332, Mike Matheny needs to give Schumaker more at-bats. The 25-year-old Descalso might be the Cardinals’ second baseman of the future, but Skip Schumaker needs to be their second baseman of the present.
About the Author
Written by David Gorsky
I'm a lifelong sports fan with a particular interest in baseball. I'm a proponent of using SABRmetrics to find a player's true value. I recently graduated from the University of Virginia and I'm ready to start my career in sports media. I can be reached at davidgorsky(at)outlook.com.