Baseball Card of the Week: Skip "2B" Schumaker

Mar 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm
Well, it's already gone much, much further than I ever thought it would. 

The Skip Schumaker Experiment at second base is going to continue in to the regular season. Of course, we all pretty much knew that by now, but having it announced by the team's General Manager sort of brings it home a bit more, you know? 

I've only seen Skip play a handful of games at second so far, so I honestly can't make any sort of real assessment of how he's doing over there, but the mere fact that he's still over there must mean he's doing
What we have this week for the Card of the Week is a 2008 Skip Schumaker card by Upper Deck. I was really hoping it would still indicate his position as "OF," but no such luck. 

I have to admit, I'm still rather skeptical (and that's putting it mildly), about how well this whole thing is going to work.

You have a pitching coach who preaches pitching to contact, specifically ground ball contact, as an absolute dogma. For that to work, you need an airtight defense behind those pitchers. In fact, I would hazard to say that the defenses the Cardinals have been able to field this decade have been far, far more important to the success of their pitchers than any magic that Dave Duncan has worked.

Years when the Cardinals have had good infield defense, they've had good pitching. Witness the teams from the early part of the decade, with Edgar Renteria at shortstop and a Fernando Vina or even Tony Womack, inability to throw a baseball harder than 40 mph and all at second. Years when the defense hasn't been quite so good, such as the David Eckstein/Aaron Miles combo of 2007, the pitching has suffered. A philosophy is great and all, but it can't hold a candle to talent. 

Maybe Skip really does have the makings of a fine second baseman in him. For now, though, I'll pull for him with all my might, but I'm going to have to see a whole lot more before I'm convinced this grand experiment actually worked.