As Spring Training came and went and the regular season took form, Jordan Schafer began to tease with his abilty to reach base and what appeared to be new found purpose. Fast forward to the All-Star break and Jordan Schafer looks completely lost and it has begun to be painful to watch. From the moment the Braves dealt him to the Astros as part of the Michael Bourn deal he was thrown a lifeline and a new beginning but the same questions and concerns he had with Atlanta have risen once again. The time may have come for another change either in the Astros system or outside of it.
The Astros started the season as a competitive and pesky team. Schafer had a large part in that, providing the club with the ability to reach base from the leadoff spot. He began the season taking pitches and doing all the little things the Houston fans had gotten accustomed to from Bourn. There were various signs of concern, especially with his strikeouts, but the positives far out-weighed the negatives. He also seemed to be meshing well with his teammates and the coaching staff. Astros’ fans could truly be excited to have found a very nice alternative to their former all-star centerfielder and Jordan seemed to have found his niche in the game.
Times have changed since April and the Astros are drowning with Schafer contributing to the downfall. His strikeouts have exploded and he is no longer getting on base at even a mediocre rate, while attitude issues have begun to rear their ugly head. To his credit, after this weeks’ benching, Schafer went to twitter and apologized for his actions but his frustration is clearly showing. If he continues to struggle, I’d assume Jordan will begin to display more of that frustration and another apology or two could show up on twitter. Schafer appeared to have the mindset to succeed once the season began but real questions have to begin to be asked whether Jordan will ever become even in an average major leaguer. One thing to consider during his struggles this season, it took Michael Bourn a few years to reach the level he is at now. Examples like that would be the silver lining for the downward slope that Schafer’s 2012 season has taken.
Without a ton of options ready to replace Schafer in center, the Astros might be willing to stick with Jordan much longer than he might deserve. That said, Justin Maxwell, who has performed nicely this season, will soon be back. If Jordan doesn’t show more of what he showed during Saturday’s game, his bench time might increase vastly.