Let’s once again take a look at everyone who spent time with the Redbirds at second base this season.
I don’t want to say Schumaker became a second baseman by default, but it’s safe to say that there weren’t a lot of options when his name surfaced.
Adam Kennedy had been released and the team did not have a viable internal option. Brendan Ryan would’ve been the best bet, but he became the de facto shortstop when Khalil Greene landed on the disabled list with psychological issues.
Enter Schumaker. A true “Cardinal Way” guy, Skip didn’t bat an eye. He took extra ground balls with Jose Oquendo. He took extra ground balls with Joe Pettini. He made it work.
Most importantly, he didn’t let his glove work affect his performance at the plate.
Therein lies the debate when trying to grade Schu.
His bat maintained, his glove came around eventually, but he was still a below-average second sacker defensively.
Josh gave Schumaker points for his, er – testicular fortitude, for even making the move at all. The fact that he became serviceable in the field by the end of 2009 was nothing short of remarkable.
Indeed, Schumaker completed what can only be described as a successful move right on the defensive spectrum.
But what to make of his overall value to the team – his grade – when evaluating both bat and glove (among other gameplay factors)?
According to Fangraphs, Schumaker’s value in the field was reduced by almost 12 runs by moving to second base from the outfield.
According to the same site, Schumaker’s value at the plate was slightly down as well – fewer runs driven in, fewer stolen bases – but not as significant as the fielding drop.
Luckily, Schu has plenty of time to continue his improvement in the middle infield, signing his new two-year contract to avoid arbitration. As Derrick Goold mentioned in his piece about the contract:
(Schumaker will also soon eclipse his starts in the outfield: 162 in OF and 124 at 2B.)
Hell, the guy is almost a more experienced big-league second baseman than outfielder. If only he’d known he would play the infield as a youngster…
Plenty of room to improve this grade – and I expect it to be higher around this time next year.
Coming over in a trade for Chris Duncan, Lugo was essentially a freebie for the Cardinals. It was clear Duncan was on his way out of town anyway, and the Red Sox paid Lugo’s tab (and will in 2010 also).
As a freebie, Lugo contributed the second most starts at second base for the Cardinals in 2009, with 17.
Lugo wasn’t much better in the field than Schumaker, but he chipped in with the bat a bit.
At the very least, he was, in his short time with the team, the most influential backup at second base.
I don’t really count Ryan at this position, because he assumed the shortstop job.
I thought Brian Barden deserved more time with the club after his scorching April, but he was playing third base mostly.
Other than them, ugh.
Overall grade: B-
Schumaker’s dominance of the playing time here outweighs the lack of great backup options.