Braves’ Top Prospect Schafer Gets 50-Game Suspension

The after effects of the Mitchell Report has snared the top prospect in the Braves system.

Center fielder Jordan Schafer became the first minor leaguer to be suspended for using Human Growth Hormone, as Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday afternoon that Schafer will be suspended for the next 50 games. Schafer, who had been playing for Double-A Mississippi, will begin serving the sentence immediately.

The Braves released a statement that seems to confirm that Schafer has accepted responsibility for the suspension.

"We are extremely disappointed that Jordan has violated the Commissioner’s Performance Enhancing Drug Policy," Braves general manager Frank Wren said in the statement. "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."

Schafer, the Braves third-round pick in 2005, had emerged from relative obscurity to become the Braves’ top prospect. He hit only .240/.293/.376 at low Class A Rome in 2006, but he bounced back to lead the minors in hits with 176 hits in 2007 in stops with high Class A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Mississippi.

Schafer was a long-shot contender to break camp as the Braves starting center fielder this year. Instead he was sent to Mississippi for more seasoning, but he was already dealing with the possibility of a suspension when the minor league season began.

According to one source with knowledge of the process, Major League Baseball determined that Schafer had used Human Growth Hormone through its new department of investigations, created in January in the wake of the Mitchell Report.