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the-plot-gets-thicker-the-jordan-schafer-bust | April | 2008 Articles

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The Plot Gets Thicker: The Jordan Schafer Bust

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This just gets weirder and weirder. Jordan Schafer (the guy who used to be our future) was busted by Major League Baseball's new Department of Investigations, as their very first casualty. As there is currently no test that MLB recognizes to prove HGH use, Jordan's bust came on the basis of testimony from another person, whom ESPN identifies as "a player who had previously violated MLB's anti-doping policy." A lot of people find this story credible because of Schafer's incredible 2007, where he seemed to come out of nowhere to put himself on the map by tearing up class-A Rome. This is a spurious connection. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that HGH makes you a better ballplayer. As far as his great year is concerned, plenty of players have catapulted themselves from anonymity to fame on the basis of a terrific year in the minors. Moreover, as Bill James recently said, there's "absolutely" no way to infer who has used PEDs and who hasn't simply by looking at the stats: "It is almost always impossible to infer specific causes from general effects." Now, we haven't heard his side of the story because he's been gagged by MLB. David O'Brien reports that Jordan's father says there's more to the story; one of our commenters says it was punishment for refusing to rat out a friend. It's very tempting to believe this explanation -- MLB is the bad guy! Schafer's the good guy! -- because he's incredibly talented and it's hard to let go of a franchise player once he's been anointed, and we're Braves fans, so it's natural we'd want to believe the best about our team and about our guys. In the absence of any hard evidence, obviously, we have to be skeptical, though we have to be skeptical about the MLB report because they don't seem to have any evidence either. The most important thing to remember is that he's just one 21-year old kid. We'll draft another next year. He's a very talented single-A player, yes, but talented guys in single-A often don't pan out. Even if it's a massive set-up and a conspiracy against him, he's still going to have to make it to the big leagues, and the odds aren't in his favor. So we'll have to see how this plays out. In the meantime, don't let yourself get too heartbroken.

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