COMMENTARY | Yes, it is still too early to overreact to a horrendously slow start from B.J. Upton. But, with as well as Jordan Schafer has been playing it would do the Atlanta Braves some good to at least think about sitting the overpaid Upton in place of Schafer while he's swinging the bat well.
Baseball is a game of streaks; of peaks and valleys. There are going to be times this year when they Braves go 13-2 over a certain stretch, and there are going to be times when the Braves go 2-7.
The same can be said for players. There are going to be stretches this year when Freddie Freeman goes 15 for 47, and there are going to be stretches when he goes 19-for-71 at the plate.
For the most part everything in baseball has a way of evening itself out over a 162-game season.
What B.J. Upton is going through now though can no longer be considered a bad streak, it's a straight up season long slump with no end in sight.
Anyone who has watched him at the plate every night knows that he just doesn't look like he has a clue. He's swinging at pitches he has no business swinging at, and the most concerning part is that he's missing pitches right down the middle that he should blast.
There are a million reasons for way B.J. could be struggling at the plate right now, but the fact is he is not getting the job done and the Braves should consider putting someone in there that can.
The case for Jordan Schafer
Not that long ago Schafer was considered one of the top prospects in the Braves organization. After hitting a home run in his first at-bat in the big leagues things went straight downhill from there.
He was traded to the Houston Astros for Michael Bourn during the 2011 season and after failing to be able to hold a spot with the Houston Astros -- yes, those Houston Astros -- he was released.
The Braves decided to take a flyer on him and the move has paid off more than they could have imagined. A great spring led to Schafer making the team and injuries in the outfield, as well as exceptional play in pinch-hit duties, led to him getting a good number of at-bats.
He's currently hitting .308 in 65 at-bats and has walked 13 times for a .423 on-base-percentage. He's also stolen six bases, which is tops on the team - three more than B.J.
Schafer is also the type of leadoff hitter the Braves need at the top of the lineup.
Maybe Schafer has finally figured it out -- he is only 26, which is two years younger than B.J. But even if this is just a flash in the pan for Schafer, the Braves should ride him while he's hot and give B.J. the time he needs to figure things out.
Unfortunately, sometimes the business aspect of baseball gets in the way of the on field aspect. Schafer is making $512,500 this year, while Upton is getting paid $12,450,000. You're not going to pay someone that much to sit on the bench. But if they were making the same amount, which player would you put in the starting lineup right now?
Jake Mastroianni has written for several websites pertaining to the Braves and baseball in general. He also has experience working in media relations for minor league baseball, as well as at the collegiate level.
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