Schafer, trying to stick with the Cardinals this spring as a possible two-way player, practiced exclusively in the outfield during Monday's workouts, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The veteran, a career outfielder, is in the midst of adding pitching to his resume this spring, but the Cardinals reportedly have designs on deploying him as a possible two-way threat. Schafer had worked in his new role until Monday, when he put in a full workday as an outfielder in between a bullpen session Sunday and his expected turn against hitters Tuesday. The team appears set to follow the same schedule for the time being, while limiting the amount of throws he makes from the outfield so as to not overwork his arm.
Schafer, a non-roster invitee to spring training, impressed pitching coach Derek Lilliquist in his first session against hitters Sunday, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "It was not advertised as that," said Lilliquist. "He had his breaking ball and his changeup. Very interesting guy."
The 30-year-old is one of the more intriguing "projects" in Cardinals camp this season, given his conversion from outifelder to pitcher last season in the Dodgers organization. Schafer has an extensive minor league career that dates back to 2005, and has also accrued 1,292 big league at-bats over 463 games. However, considering his career .228/.308/.307 line, the move to pitcher may be his last chance to stick with a major league club. Schafer got that quest off to a solid start Sunday, and both Lilliquist and manager Mike Matheny look forward to evaluating him for a job as a possible southpaw specialist out of the bullpen later into the exhibition schedule against the likes of Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Christian Yelich. "Early on, the hitters aren't ready," said Lilliquist. "So maybe 10, 12 games into it, they're staying in the game longer and by that time they're getting three at-bats. Then, put him in and see how he matches up."
Schafer was converted from an outfielder to a pitcher last season in the Dodgers' system, posting a 3.83 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 59:18 K:BB in 49.1 innings, primarily at Double-A. That 25.6 percent strikeout rate was enough for the Cardinals to give him a chance. He is working strictly as a reliever, so it is unlikely that he offers fantasy value anytime soon.
Schafer was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City after posting a 1.35 ERA for Double-A Tulsa.
Schafer also recorded a 21:5 K:BB in 20 innings. Given the issues the Dodgers have had in the bullpen this year, one more promotion seems likely.
Jordan Schafer has tossed 11.1 scoreless innings with an 11:1 K:BB for Double-A Tulsa.
The Los Angeles Dodgers know a thing or two about converting hitters into pitchers (Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez), and things are looking promising with Schafer too. We don't have any reports on the southpaw's velocity as of yet, but if he keeps this up, Schafer could find himself in the big leagues this season.
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