Welcome back Skip Schumaker

Inspired by Who is Left ? from our twitter friend, @LSMurphy, I thought I would dig into some statistics to see if I can find something positive to hang onto as the trade deadline approaches. With the recent inconsistent performance of the Cardinals, I need all the good news I can find.  And darn it, I know there’s something good in there somewhere, if I can just find it.

While digging through the game logs for Skip Schumaker, I found the most unusual thing. And I think it’s going to make some Cardinal fans breathe a sigh of relief.

Since May 13, here are Skip Shumaker’s key offensive statistics:

186 27 54 9 1 2 19 15 26 .290 .345 .382 .726

Now, let’s compare these numbers to the same period last year.

245 43 75 16 0 3 16 24 32 .306 .368 .408 .776

Yes, there is a slight production drop, but not nearly what I thought it would be.  His early season struggles have cause him to be platooned a bit more often, resulting in fewer plate appearances.  The doubles are down a bit, resulting in lower slugging and OPS.  The reduction in walks contribute to a lower on base percentage, but still not that far off the pace of 2009.  The big thing to walk away with, this is not the same Skip Schumaker that was lost at the plate in the beginning of the year.  Quite the contrary, this is pretty much the same Skip Schumaker that lead off for a team that dominated the NL Central last season, and was praised all year long for his offensive performance.

Looking a bit deeper into the actual game logs, Schumaker put up consecutive 0-fers 6 times in this period in 2009, while only 5 times in 2010.  He would put up three consecutive 0-fers one time in each season, but one of the games was either pinch hitting or a late defensive substitute where he only got one at bat, so it’s not a terribly fair statistic.  Lower part of the order Skip is actually being a bit more consistent than at the top of the order Skip from last season.  I wonder if angry callers to St. Louis area sports talk shows know this – or if it would really matter much. I’m guessing no on both.

One last item, looking at Schumaker’s last full season, which was good enough to secure him a 2 year contract in the spring, we see:

532 85 161 34 1 4 35 52 69 .303 .364 .394 .757

I’m not a huge fan of the more advanced statistics, unless they can be used to support a point I’m trying to make, but the offensive cumulative metric WPA (Wins Probability Added) of the May 13-July 29 Skip Schumaker is nearly the same as his entire 2009 season.

Conclusion: there’s nothing wrong with the offensive production of Skip Schumaker. He seems to have shaken off his early season funk and is relatively close to the performance of a season ago. He is also producing at the bottom of the lineup, which is an area where the Cardinals have been lacking some consistency in 2010. If you want to criticize Schumaker, his defense is a bit down from a year ago. He’s currently fielding at .969 vs .983 in 2009. Going off the statistics for this, I think he’s suffering a bit from the Brendan Ryan syndrome – he’s getting to more chances now which puts him in some more difficult situations.  Yes, there have been some head scratchers, but there has also been some solid middle infield play.  And don’t forget about Schumaker’s arm – that can often be the difference between a close out and another base runner.

Linda could not be more right with her Who is Left ? blog, although I’m sure the pun was unintentional. It’s not the right side of the infield where the Cardinals problems really lie.  If Brendan Ryan’s 2010 was as close to his 2009 as Skip Schumaker’s, The Cards might not be able to pick out the Cincinnati Reds in their rear view mirror.   Continuing with the rear view mirror analogy, remember that objects appear closer than they really are.

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2 Responses to Welcome back Skip Schumaker

  1. LS Murphy says:

    You’re totally right. The pun was unintentional. LOL
    Skip, even without stats, is visually better. He looks more comfy at the plate. His swing is more even. And he’s keeping his eyes on the ball. But can he stay this way? Let’s hope the mental block has been destroyed!


    • I certainly think he can maintain it. The most impressive thing I noticed when going over Schumaker’s 2009 was his consistency. Once he got into June, where a 3-4 night won’t skew the numbers too badly, he marched along at a consistent pace. No long slumps, no long periods when he hit like a madman – padding the numbers. I see that exact thing in his recent stretch, and I purposely chose 2 1/2 months to get a wide enough sample size so it wouldn’t be thrown off by a 4-4 or a couple of 0-4s.

      I think it’s time to take Schumaker off the under performing list of Cardinals. I just wish that Tony La Russa would put Jay leadoff and Ludwick second for a week or so to see how that lineup would do. Maybe when Freese comes off the DL, but Molina is hitting well enough to put behind Holliday.


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