Mission Cap of the Night: Jordan Schafer.
Last night on Major League Baseball’s Opening Night in Philadelphia, Atlanta Braves’ rookie, Jordan Schafer, became the 99th player in Major League history to hit a home run in his first career at bat. Schafer later singled up the middle and was intentionally walked. Pretty decent debut from a guy who was not supposed to break camp.
Schafer is the real deal. Bobby Cox knows talent, and when he gave this kid (22 years old) a chance to be the everyday centerfielder, you know he’s got talent. Cox raves about his speed and ability to track balls down, drawing comparisons to Andruw Jones – the good one that played in Atlanta.
Making this transition from AA to the MLB was more improbable because of his 50 game suspension due to an HGH bust. Coming into camp, that is all Schafer was known for, but allowed his stellar spring to cloud those inquiries.
Schafer will eventually be the leadoff hitter for the Braves. His speed and ability to get on base is too valuable to be hitting at the end of the order. He was simply hitting in the 8 spot last night because Cox did not want to overwhelm Schafer on Opening Night. He is really fast like Jones, but hits for better contact. He does not have home run power like Jones, but connected last night. His home run last night was a legit home run, but the ball was flying last night in a hitter’s ballpark; and perhaps there was still some lingering HGH in his system… too soon?
Schafer leads the new generation of Atlanta Braves. The Braves have always drafted well, but it has been a long time since they have boasted a crop of young players like this one: The much talked about Tommy Hanson, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Jeff Locke. Not to mention, Jair Jurjens, who led the team in wins, ERA, and innings pitched as a rookie last season.