Matthew St-Germain


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2008 NL East Prospects

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Jordan Schafer, CF, Atlanta Braves
This write-up is substantially longer than the other deep leaguers because of my affinity for Jordan Schafer. Last years minor league leader in hits, Schafer made more strides than nearly everyone down on the farm last season. He's one of those guys who does not seem to get the respect due to them despite their solid production. He's got a line-drive stroke with nice loft and great speed (4.05). He's a defensive wizard in center, with a plus plus arm, and projects as the Braves long term answer to Andruw Jones. And not only is he solid in the field, but he comes off as a very likable player and a future clubhouse leader. He has that 'something' that companies love to buy into if you're an All-Star level producer.

Despite ending the year at High-A Myrtle Beach, some scouts think he could be ready after the 2008 All Star break. However, he still strikes out too much (19.6% K rate) despite the improved plate patience, and the risk of rushing his bat up to the majors risks damaging the progress he's made with pitch recognition (down to a 14.3% K rate in September from 25.2% in May) – his one major weakness. It would be best if they left him down and let him flourish in the right confines and progress on his natural pace.

While the Rangers netted Schafer's best-friend Elvis Andrus in the Mark Teixeira deal, Schafer was the one player that Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz would not part with under any circumstance. This speaks multitudes to how much the Braves organization values their future Gold Glover. Bet on late 2009 and definitely put on your radar, but I wouldn't expect anything more than a September cup-o-coffee, if that.

2008 NL-Only, with possible job:
Josh Anderson, CF, Atlanta Braves (platoon CF)
Phil Humber, RHP, New York Mets (potential number five starter)
Justin Maxwell, CF, Washington Nationals (reserve outfielder)
JA Happ, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies (middle reliever, number five starter)
Collin Balester, RHP, Washington Nationals (middle reliever, number five starter)
Tyler Clippard, RHP, Washington Nationals (middle reliever, number five starter)
Greg Golson, CF, Philadelphia Phillies (reserve outfielder)
Robert Andino, SS, Florida Marlins (reserve SS/2B)
John Lannan, LHP, Washington Nationals (potential number five starter)
Joey Devine, RHP, Atlanta Braves (short reliever)
Eulogio de la Cruz, RHP, Florida Marlins (short reliever)
Josh Outman, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies (middle reliever, spot starter)
Mike Carp, 1B, New York Mets (reserve 1B, pinch-hitter)
Kevin Mulvey, RHP, New York Mets (middle reliever, spot starter)
Gaby Hernandez, RHP, Florida Marlins (middle reliever, potential number five starter)
Harvey Garcia, RHP, Florida Marlins (short reliever)
Jai Miller, OF, Florida Marlins (reserve outfielder, pinch-runner)
Anderson Hernandez, SS/2B, New York Mets (utility infielder)
Carlos Martinez, RHP, Florida Marlins (short reliever)
Dallas Trahern, RHP, Florida Marlins (middle reliever, spot starter)
Michael Zagurski, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies (lefty specialist)

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