How often do you see a team send down a player who has started 98 percent of its games? Jordan Schafer was Atlanta's starting center fielder 49 times in 50 games this season. He even played 5 ½ innings in the one game he didn't start. He had received 195 of the 200 plate appearances to go to Braves center fielders this season.
Of course, Schafer had struggled mightily since homering in his first major league at-bat. Since starting off 8-for-19 with both of his homers, he had hit .176/.289/.216 with 59 strikeouts in 148 at-bats. He had walked 24 times, so he was at least occasionally helping to turn the order around as a No. 8 hitter. However, he had knocked in just five runs.
If Gregor Blanco had been hitting at all in the minors, this switch likely would have been made three weeks ago. However, it took a recent six-game surge just to get him up to .242/.335/.300 for the season. That Schafer is the better center fielder of the two only made the move more difficult. Still, the Braves likely are doing the right thing for Schafer in sending him down. They were going to have baseball's worst offensive outfielder with or without him.