One of the Atlanta Braves top prospects, center fielder Jordan Schafer, has been suspended by Major League Baseball for fifty games for the use of human growth hormone.
Braves General Manager Frank Wren issued the following statement late this afternoon:
"We are extremely disappointed that Jordan has violated the Commissioner's Performance Enhancing Drug Policy. We are supportive of the program and will continue to educate all of our players. Earlier today Jordan asked to speak to his teammates to apologize for the mistakes he has made and for letting the organization and his team down. During his suspension, we will continue to support and counsel Jordan."
This past weekend Schafer missed the first game of a doubleheader in Huntsville for what the organization termed as 'personal issues.'
Schafer emerged as a top prospect last season when he hit .312 between Rome and Myrtle Beach with 15 home runs, 63 RBI, and 23 stolen bases. His 176 total base hits were the most by any minor league player last season.
The Braves then sent him to the Arizona Fall League where Manager Bobby Cox first got a look at him. Schafer hit .324 with 34 hits and 16 RBI for Peoria in the AFL and immediately became a household name and a potential long-term replacement for Andruw Jones.
It was believed Schafer could knock on the big league door later this season, but now that he'll miss more than one-third of his season with this suspension that timetable will probably be moved back to next season.
The Braves acquired Mark Kotsay from the A's as a stopgap to when Schafer will be ready. Kotsay is off to a great start for the Braves so far this season and today's suspension of Schafer might guarantee Kotsay's whole season in Atlanta.
Matt Young will likely replace Schafer as Mississippi's starting center fielder, but the Braves will have to add an outfielder to that Double-A roster sometime later this week.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at email@example.com.
Braves' top prospect Schafer suspended
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