It has recently become clear that Skippy Michael ‘Jared’ Schumaker esq. will no longer be a part of the great Cardinals organisation. Let us take this time to reflect upon the speed bump-like highs and the pot hole-like lows of this man amongst other, more talented, men.
Skippy wasn’t born a hero, he was instead born in California and attended a high school there. becoming a hero to the thousands of other Californicans who attended that school as he is the only one amongst them who has played baseball in any professional capacity. This luminary of high school baseball in his immediate locality then went to a university (also in California) and became the 3rd or 5th best player to be drafted from there. And somehow, only the 2nd worst pitcher.
The ‘Skipperdoodle’ as he was affectionately known, was drafted in the 5th round of the 2001 draft. A round which saw 3 weirdly good picks in the early going; C.J. Wilson (2.94 ERA in 2011), Ryan Howard (300 career HRs) and Jim Johnson (51 saves in 2012). Taken 164th overall, Jared is a distant 4th in this round but still amassed 5.7 more bWAR than Andy Gonzalez. Gonzalez was drafted by the White Sox 163rd overall. Suck it Chicago!
The slappy MIFer finished his minor league career with a .290/.354/.385 line and stole 90 bases in 138 attempts (65.2% for those counting along at home). But it wasn’t all boring singles and terrible baserunning. It was just mostly that. In 2004 whilst playing at AA Tennessee his line was .316/.389/.419 and his SB% was 57.6% (19 for 33). And in 2007 he hit 7 home runs, in only 232 at bats! It’s very hard to get away from the fact that Schumaker was never a very…. promising player. But that didn’t stop him gritting his teeth and turning up and playing a hard goddamn nine. Every. Single. Day. For up to 153 games a year. But probably only about 100.
Schumaker made his major league debut in 2005 and became a full time player in 2008 and immediately had his best 2 seasons. Firstly as the Cards’ primary guy-who-plays-all-three-OF-positions and then as the Cards’ primary second baseman in 2009, when the Front Office forgot to sign anyone better. Over those two seasons Skippy hit .302/.362/.399 with 12 HRs, 56 2Bs, a 60% SB% for 3 bWAR and miraculously only 12 errors. Unfortunately Schumaker’s performance deteriorated rapidly in three seasons since he has failed to hit .300 (or get anywhere close) and failed to clear ‘replacement level’ territory.
Skip Schumaker attempted to reinvent himself as a pitcher when his position in the MIF was threatened in 2011 by the arrivals of Ryan Theriot and Rafael Furcal. And, after many hours training and hard graft he earned the chance coming in against the Dodgers in relief on 23rd August, given the difficult task of keeping the Cards’ within less than 11 runs of LA. Skippy struck out the first man he faced, but walked the dangerous Andre Ethier (perhaps trying to pitch like a wily veteran) he then gave up the last home run of Aaron Miles’ career. For the first (and last?) earned runs of his career. Schumaker escaped the rest of the inning and picked up another K, but the damage was done. The Cardinals hitters were so ashamed of this tragic event that they even managed to recover to two runs lost to Aaron Miles’ home run. Most agree that this does not absolve Skippy.
Jared, as he liked to be known, did not have a swan song end to his career in 2012, the one positive was that he finally got a positive dWAR rating on Baseball-Reference. He hit a single home run on September 3rd and joins what i can only imagine is a select group of players to have the exact same BB:K ratio for two years running. 27:50.
The hour grows late and the facts stand thusly before you, I hope that in years to come you will look at Skippy for what he really was; a product of an understocked farm system, playing well out of his depth for a team who should have given him up years ago. We close, friends, with this fitting epitaph;
Schumaker is an extremely nice player on and off the field. He attends many fundraisers to help out different organizations (citation needed) – Anonymous Wikipedia Author
[All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. And also, all of these digs are meant in the nicest possible way. I've always liked the guy. Honest!]
Skippy Michael ‘Jared’ Schumaker esq. 8 years with the St. Louis Cardinals:
3.9 bWAR, 5.6 fWAR