Jordan Schafer: Bobby Cox Must Take a Look

Kevin MarkumCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2009

And now, starting in center field, for your Atlanta Braves...

Who will that be opening day?  I don't know.

Spring training is coming to a close very quickly.  We knew going into spring that center field would be a tough battle between Josh Anderson, Gregor Blanco, and prospect Jordan Schafer.

Anyone that follows the Braves farm system knows the name Jordan Schafer.

It seems that all the management will say is, "We want to be responsible and let him mature at Triple-A before bringing him to the big club."

My question is, "What does the kid have to do before we unleash him against National League pitching?"

Here is his competition:

Gregor Blanco hasn't played for the Braves much this spring as he has been representing his country in the World Baseball Classic.  In 2008 he batted .251 in 430 ABs as the Braves starting center fielder.

Josh Anderson was favored to win the battle for the 2009 job, but he isn't making the most of it this spring.  Right now he is batting .219 in 32 ABs.  For the guy that was a possible leadoff man, his .219 OBP with no walks is hurting his chances.

Yes, Jordan Schafer is only 22.

Before his HGH induced suspension last season, he was regarded by many as the next big thing in Atlanta.

Would it be wise to let him work on his skills just a little longer? Maybe.

However, when he is obviously your best option both defensively and offensively, is it wise to keep him in Triple-A where he can't beat up on the Mets and Phillies? I can't answer yes to that.

Schafer is going off this spring batting .385 with a .407 OBP in 26 ABs.

He can hit for power and contact.  He can steal bases.  He can also play defense.

"I think given all that information, we should keep him in the minors for another season."

How ridiculous does that sound for a team that is trying to get back to the playoffs? Very ridiculous.