Acquired last December for a minor league pitcher, utility player Skip Schumaker went from the St. Louis Cardinals to his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers. He was slated to fill the utility role and be a strong, veteran presence in the locker room with postseason experience.
Regular Season Grade: C
Schumaker was expected to come in as a reliable defender and situational hitter for the Dodgers, but, for the most part, failed at providing any of the two. He finished the season with a .263 average, along with 16 doubles, two home runs and 30 RBI in 125 games. He started 39 games in the outfield, splitting mostly between left and center field and started another 34 games at second base.
The 33-year-old struggled at the plate for the majority of the season and was one of the worst defensive players on the team, based on advanced statistics. At second base, Schumaker was worth negative-36 runs in Total Zone Fielding and was worth negative-5 runs in TZF in the outfield. At the plate, Schumaker didn’t break the .200 mark until May 21, although a 16-game stretch in which he hit .422 followed that date. He finished the last month of the season 11-54, a .204 average, and ended the year at .263, his lowest average since 2006.
He did succeed above expectations in one role, as he became the first position player out of the bullpen in blowout games. In his two appearances as a pitcher this season, he threw two scoreless innings and recorded one strikeout.
Schumaker did admirably this season, but never quite played like the player that the Dodgers expected.
Playoff Grade: C
Schumaker was thrust into a starting role in the NLDS after outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier each suffered ankle injuries. Kemp was out for the postseason, while Ethier was on the roster but unable to start in center field. Schumaker started every game in center field during the NLDS and finished the series hitting .231 with two RBI.
Ethier was healthy enough to start Game 1 of the NLCS, but Schumaker started Game 2. It would be his only start of the series and he would appear in four of six games. He went 0-6 in the series to drop his postseason batting average to .158 in eight games.
Overall Grade: C
It’s not fair to say that Schumaker had a bad season, it was just that he didn’t provide the steady defense and hitting that many expected from his time with the Cardinals. Schumaker never quite reached that level with the Dodgers and became known more for his pitching appearances and faults rather than his play.
Being thrust into the starting center field role in the first round of the playoffs was no easy task and Schumaker did well enough to not hurt the team from advancing past the first round. He never quite got the key hit that he was due to get and seemed stuck all season.
Schumaker is a free agent and indications point towards him being in a different uniform next season, but the Dodgers may decide to give him another shot depending on their needs.
ICYMI: Did You See What Happened When Clayton Kershaw Was Asked About A $300 Million Dollar Extension Right After Winning Cy Young?