ZEBULON, N.C.–Jordan Schafer was the top prospect in the Braves farm system entering the season. While a 50-game suspension and an outstanding first full season from 19-year-old low Class A right fielder Jason Heyward have put Schafer’s top prospect status in jeapordy, the toolsy center fielder reminded everyone last night that he’s still loaded with potential.
Playing for Double-A Mississippi, Schafer went 3-for-5 with two home runs yesterday at Carolina (Marlins) in the Braves’ 12-3 victory, bringing his overall numbers for a rocky season up to .269/.371/.469 in 302 plate appearances. It was the second two-homer game this season for Schafer, who also hit two home runs at Mobile (Diamondbacks) on June 6.
Facing righthander Willie Glen, Schafer struck out in his first at-bat, which started well when Schafer got ahead in the count 2-0, looked at strike one on the outside corner and took a high changeup to get to 3-1. But the lefty-hitting Schafer swung at what would have been ball four on a high fastball, then struck out swinging at a breaking ball.
Schafer’s second at-bat did not start auspiciously, as the 21-year-old whiffed at a high fastball. Schafer took a low changeup to even the count, then lifted a fastball the opposite way over the left field fence for his first home run of the night.
"The first at-bat, the at-bat I struck out on, he tried to throw the ball up, and I swung at a ball out of the zone," Schafer said. "In the beginning of the second at-bat, he threw another fastball up. I just told myself to make sure I see the ball down. I saw the ball down and just luckily it went out."
Schafer wasn’t done. In his next at-bat, he took an off-speed pitch and fouled off a fastball, then took a high fastball to get to 2-1. The next pitch left the ballpark, this time going over the right field fence.
"He started me off with a changeup on the first pitch—the same exact pitch as the (home run pitch) he threw me," Schafer said. "With two strikes he tried to throw a fastball up again to try to get me to swing at it. I knew he was going to throw that, and then I knew he was probably going to come off-speed there. He threw a changeup earlier that he froze me on, so I figured he was coming with that again. He left it up and I just put a good swing on it."
There wasn’t much work for Schafer to do defensively until the final play of the game, when he showed great instincts and range by running down a deep fly ball from left fielder John Raynor. Schafer also showed a cannon arm in warmups, though he didn’t get the opportunity to use it in a game situation yesterday.