There are some things I read in sports that are maddening to me. Big Mac and steroids, St. Louis Cardinals will not win without Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals will not repeat, St. Louis Cardinals need a second baseman. Stop…what!?
For the past few seasons, I have repeatedly read articles that often slam and belittle Skip Schumaker’s ability as a second baseman. It’s as if it’s not allowed for a professional ball player to switch positions in baseball. Let me remind everyone that there are several instances of baseball players switching positions. Some players have made a successful switch; for some it wasn’t so successful. Skip Schumaker, in my opinion, has made a successful switch to the infield. And frankly, he’s become a very good second baseman. Don’t believe it; let me give you some numbers.
Keep in mind that Skip missed significant time due to an oblique injury this year. So, let me start with last year’s statistics. And then, I’ll discuss this year’s stats and you judge for yourself.
In 2011, offensively, as a second baseman, Skip led the St. Louis Cardinals platoon of second basemen with a .283 batting average in 117 games and 367 at bats. This was 6th in the National League among second baseman. Now there are some baseball fans who consider some batting averages an “empty” statistic. What??? I agree that there is more to a position player than batting average but to minimize that statistic makes no sense to me under any circumstance. Some of his other offensive stats include 34 runs, 29 doubles, 2 home runs, .333 on base percentage and .351 slugging percentage. Imagine what his offensive stats may have been if he had played and able to concentrate on second base the entire season. Instead of being platooned often or going to right field late in many games.
This year offensively, in 45 games and 115 at bats, Skip has a .304 batting average. His other stats are 19 runs, 2 triples, 9 doubles, 15 rbis, .367 on base percentage and .417 slugging percentage. If given the opportunity, I think you’ll see those numbers will be even better in the 2nd half; if the Cardinals make him there every day second baseman.
In 2011, Skip was 11 in the NL among second baseman with 251 attempts. He had a .990 fielding percentage. This year his fielding numbers are down so far with a .986 fielding percentage and 41 attempts.
Here is the bottom line…Skip Schumaker is a very competent, and a very good second baseman. His arm is above average and more than adequate for the position and he continues to improve his range. He has successfully made the transition from outfielder to infielder. And I think the more games he plays at the position, the better he will become. The St. Louis Cardinals have some holes to fill in their pursuit of repeating as World Champions but, second base isn’t one of those holes.
I can understand Manager Mike Matheny wanting to get more at bats for Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong may be our second baseman of the future but, for now, let’s recognize and accept the fact that Schumaker is our current second baseman. And that’s a good thing. I just hope Mike Matheny reads this and agrees. Thanks for reading….GO CARDS!