jordan schaferAtlanta Braves CF prospect Jordan Schafer has tested positive for admitted using HGH. Here’s why that’s interesting:

  1. Schafer is the Braves’ top prospect and is expected to take over in center next season, if not sooner.
  2. MLB doesn’t test for HGH.
  3. HGH doesn’t work.

Let’s start with number one. Schafer impressed Bobby Cox this offseason, performing well in both the Arizona fall league and in the Grapefruit League.

Here’s what ESPN’s Keith Law had to say about Schafer, who he ranked as the 27th best prospect in the majors:

Schafer isn’t Grady Sizemore, but not many players are. He is an excellent athlete and has the strength in his arms to hit for average and power, but he has some mechanical issues. His load at the plate is a little too deep, and he doesn’t have the bat speed to overcome it, so he commits early and often ends up way out in front. He also gets too pull-conscious in games, despite showing a good whole-field approach in batting practice. On the plus side, the ball comes off his bat well, and if he can shorten up his swing, he should see improvement in his contact and long-term in his power output. He plays a strong center field with an above-average arm. I don’t project him as a top-shelf center fielder right now, but he is ranked this high because he has the physical tools to become one with some work on his swing.

It’s safe to say Atlanta is counting on Schafer to play a large roll, next year and beyond.

Moving on to number two. If MLB doesn’t test for HGH, then how did Schafer get caught? That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer. Presumably he got caught buying, or selling, or transporting … really, your guess is as good as mine. I’m sure we’ll find out in the coming days. But it makes you wonder: so often, steroid users are outed when drug distributors get busted. Is that what happened here? And if so, are there more names to come?

Finally, the third point: HGH doesn’t work. It has been proven to increase lean muscle mass, but not strength. It has absolutely not been proven to improve athletic performance. So why was Schafer taking HGH? Maybe to help recover from an injury, though HGH hasn’t been proven to help athletes recover from injury. Maybe to build muscle, though HGH, as stated previously, doesn’t really help with that either. He probably just got some bad advice.

What’s next for Schafer? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a poll on their website asking readers that very question. Here’s how they’ve responded.

How will Jordan Schafer’s suspension for HGH affect his status with the Braves?

Not much, beyond the suspension. 32.61% 438
A lot. He’s really hurt himself. 41.18% 553
It’s too soon to tell. 26.21% 352

As you can see, people are split.

Here’s what Talking Chop had to say about the story:

I am sure we have all heard about Jordan Schafer’s suspension by now. I really do not have anything to say other than Tyler Flowers came back from a similar suspension and he was a very good ball player afterwards. Only time will tell how Jordan will come out of this. He has always had tools so my prediction is he will come back just fine.

Pretty lame, right? You’re a blog that’s dedicated to talking about one thing and one thing only: the Braves. And the best you can do is predict that Schafer will “come back just fine”? Weak.

Maybe Will Leitch is right. Maybe people have just stopped caring about steroids (and HGH).

What do you think? Have you stopped caring about performance enhancing drugs?

5 Responses to “Braves prospect caught using HGH. But how? And why? And what now?”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Coley, I don’t think you can say this kid has “tested positive” for HGH because, as you note, there’s no testing going on.

    I’ve read on some other blogs stuff about HGH “not working,” but the main gist seems to be that it doesn’t do much *on its own.* And definitely not if you just use it once or twice, a la Andy Pettitte. This is why most of the guys you’ve heard of who were using HGH were also using something else (the cream or the clear, or whathaveyou). So either Schafer doesn’t know how PEDs work (quite possible) or he was using something else too, and just didn’t get caught (also possible). In the latter instance, it could even be a new PED that MLB hasn’t identified yet.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    I don’t know. There has certainly been a lot of hue and cry about how HGH doesn’t really work, but all the studies I’ve read are really saying that they haven’t yet proved that it works, not that they have positively proven that it doesn’t work. Also, most of the trials they have conducted have been done in clinical settings with clinical doses, which are quite different from how these drugs are being used by athletes. Finally, a lot of these studies have been testing whether HGH adds muscle or not, which is weird to me, because the idea was never really that HGH adds strength or muscle, but rather that it helps you recover faster from injury or from weight training, allowing you to train more or get back on the field sooner. As Sarah says, the idea is to use HGH in tandem with steroids to build muscle faster by training harder and more often than a normal person could.

  3. RE: Point 3.

    The study that claim in the Slate was based on used 70 year old males for a study on enhancing athletic performance.

    Now my granddad is in pretty good shape for his age. Still works outside running his landscaping business everyday. However, I would not expect any studies conducted on him to generalize to elite athletes in their 20s.

    At best, you can say the jury is still out on HGH.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Nick and Rich, both good points. I think we can also say that HGH does have an effect, whether or not it’s the effect that the athletes intend, just from looking at Barry Bonds’ scary bulging head.

  5. Cut the chump, we don’t need him. We got Kotsay’s wife.

    But seriously, it looks like the kid had a well thought out plan. Judging from the pic he has already ordered an extra large hat to accommodate his soon-to-be large head.

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