Milwaukee Brewers Settle on Logan Schafer for Final Roster Spot


Three days.

Three days are all that separate us from the unofficial beginning of summer, from the smell of fresh cut grass, brats on the grill, and the sound of a bat cracking a hit. Three days are all that remain until the long awaited date of April 6th, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Opening Day.

The Brewers have had some spirited competition within their camp this spring, with their final roster decision coming down to the wire as the team had two remaining candidates for the last spot on the Brewers’ bench. Elian Herrera and Logan Schafer were the last competitors standing, and despite some intrigue that the team may be looking outside the organization for a spot, in the end it went to Logan Schafer, who didn’t need to be added to the 40 man roster as Herrera would have.

Don’t get me wrong, Schafer has had a nice spring. He’s posted a solid .321/.379/.415 line in 58 plate appearances for the Brewers in Cactus League action this year, and he has long been valued for his defensive ability at all the positions in the outfield. He possesses solid speed and is a good baserunner, as well. Schafer would be a solid candidate to be inserted late into a game by manager Ron Roenicke, either as a defensive replacement or pinch runner. Schafer, however, has never been able to provide any offensive value during his time with the Brewers over parts of the last four seasons. In the past two years, functioning as the Brewers’ primary fourth outfielder, the lefty-swinging Schafer has produced OPS+ marks of 65 and 55, well below league average of 100, and his career OPS mark is just .603 in 503 plate appearances.

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Given the presence of another glove-first, light hitting outfielder in Gerardo Parra on the roster, the decision to stick with Schafer for the final roster spot was a head scratcher for me. Parra is a two time Gold Glove winner in the outfield, so he will be the first call to provide defensive reprieve late in ballgames for the Brewers. The Brewers offensive options on the bench are somewhat limited, as well; they lack someone like they had last season with Rickie Weeks or Mark Reynolds that could come in and be a power threat in a pinch hit situation.

If the Brewers truly wanted to go to with a strong defender in the outfield for their final bench spot, it should have gone to Shane Peterson. Peterson is a left-handed hitter, like Schafer, who is capable of playing all three outfield positions, like Schafer. Though Peterson might not be quite as adept on defensive as Logan, he has a stellar minor league track record offensively, producing a .294/.383/.452 line in four seasons at AAA. Peterson was even better than Schafer this spring, posting an .819 OPS in 32 plate appearances before being optioned to AAA.

Personally, I would have liked to see Matt Clark receive the final spot on the Brewers’ bench heading into this season. Clark smashed three home runs and slugged .519 in 44 plate appearances this spring, and in addition to his primary position at first base, can play the outfield corners in a pinch, as well. Clark, owner of 128 minor league home runs in six seasons, would have been the power bat the Brewers’ bench now desperately lacks, while providing just enough positional flexibility to make him a potentially valuable bench piece. Instead, both Clark and Peterson should be ticketed for everyday roles in Colorado Springs to begin the season.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ will open their season on Monday against the Colorado Rockies, with Kyle Lohse facing off against Kyle Kendrick. Here is the Brewers’ complete 25 man roster as we stand ready to begin the 2015 Championship Season:

Starting Pitchers: Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers, Jimmy Nelson
Relief Pitchers: Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton, Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, Neal Cotts, Tyler Thornburg, Michael Blazek
Catchers: Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado
Infielders: Adam Lind, Scooter Gennett, Jean Segura, Aramis Ramirez, Luis Jimenez, Hector Gomez
Outfielders: Khris Davis, Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, Gerardo Parra, Logan Schafer