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Taking it well

Jordan Schafer, OF, Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett)
Thursday’s stats: 3-for-4, HR (1), 4 R, RBI, SB
The trade for Nate McLouth meant a struggling Schafer returned to the minors, and after a regrettable, yet understandable first game of 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts, he showed off in game two why he’s still a very good centerfield prospect. He’ll be back, and for a team who has suffered from horrible outfield play of late, a future trio of McLouth, Shafer and top prospect Jason Heyward looks awfully intriguing.
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And in former Braves news . . .

Charlie Morton, RHP, Pirates (Triple-A Indianapolis)
Thursday’s stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K

One of the players received in return for McLouth, Morton just kept on rolling in his Pirates organization debut, as he’s now allowed one or fewer (hey, that’d be zero!) earned runs in seven of his last eight starts with a sparkling ERA of 1.25 during that stretch. While the trade made sense for the Pirates, it still incurred a bit of a public relations hit, so Morton could be up soon to help assuage the fan base.

He’s healthy, so he’s good

Christian Garcia, RHP, Yankees (Double-A Trenton)
Thursday’s stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K

A third-round pick in 2004, Garcia has spent more time in the trainer’s room or rehabbing from surgery than on the mound of late, as last night’s outing was just his 30th since the beginning of the 2006 season. This thing is, when he’s available, he’s awfully impressive, with a big, power frame, decent velocity and two solid secondary offerings. He’s pitched scoreless baseball in three of four starts since returning on May 20th, and he could see Triple-A soon.
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Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

Mat Latos, RHP, Padres (Double-A San Antonio)
Thursday’s stats: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K
The top prospect in the Padres system is quickly becoming just one of the better pitching prospects in the game, period. In three Texas League starts, he’s now allowed just one run over 17.2 innings while limiting the circuit to a .117 batting average, while right-handers facing him have gone 2-for-31 with 13 strikeouts. Don’t be shocked if he gets a late-season look this year in preparation for a larger big league role in 2010.

Back to his original role

Scott Elbert, LHP, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga)
Thursday’s stats: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 10 K
After serving some time in the big leagues as a left-handed bullpen artist, the Dodgers have sent their former first-round pick back to Double-A to become a starter once again. Now two years removed from shoulder surgery, they have less of a concern with him throwing one hundred pitches a night again, and last night’s season high strikeout total gives him 59 in 45.2 innings. Plus if it doesn’t work out, he can also go back to the bullpen, as with his plus fastball/curve combination, fellow lefties have no chance against him, going 7-for-47 so far with 24 whiffs.

The bat is catching up with the glove

Alcides Escobar, SS, Brewers (Triple-A Nashville)

Thursday’s stats: 2-for-4, 2B, SB, K

One of the slickest fielders in the minors, one can’t help but wonder if the Brewers are going to find some way to get Escobar’s glove into the lineup, even if it would involve some major shuffling from others. All he can do is keep making SportsCenter worthy plays every night, but over the past two years, he’s proven he can handle the bat as well. After a slow start this year, he’s batting .372 in his last 19 games.

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caprio84
6/05
KG- Does Garcia profile as a starter in the big leagues or in the bullpen? Thanks, Mike
thesonofhob
6/05
I can seem him remain a starter if he's traded to some other team for "win now" talent (think how Ross Ohlendorf is now a start for the Pirates), but I doubt he'll start a single game for the Yanks except for maybe a spot start here or there.
ptullar
6/05
Speaking of Schafers... With Cain hurting his PCL, Cutter moving back to 2B, and Haydel moving to left, is Logan Schafer looking like the Brewers CF of the future?
kowcore
6/05
Schafer just got promoted to AA, so I'd have to say yes to that one. The Brewers must love him. He doesn't walk much, so I hope he can keep hitting, but he plays plus defense, so there's a lot to like there.
kowcore
6/05
Though I should note that Cain will be back sometime soon, which perhaps means he'll be promoted to AAA upon his return.
kgoldstein
6/05
I think we're a long way from making that proclamation. He's definitely can hit for average, but he offers few secondary skills.
ramjam36
6/05
Kevin, I know you preferred Escobar to Andrus coming into the season, and I was wondering if Andrus' rock solid big league debut has swayed your opinion at all. I'm a Ranger fan, and as impressive as Elvis' tools are, its his truly special make up, charisma, and feel for the game that I think will make him great. He's just fun to watch. Have you seen him at all this season?
sungods7n
6/05
I watched Latos last night, pretty impressive. Stadium gun readings so knock off about 2MPH but he hit 99 once, was 97-95 quite a bit (several times an inning) and was at 91-93 a fair amount of the time. I noticed he had a little jerk like he was trying to throw hard when he was 91-93 but his 95+ looked more free and easy. Most of the guys could at least foul off the fastball, it was the slider & change that really made the difference. He didn't fall in love with any particular pitch, he really mixed in all his pitches well. Even more impressive was the Cardinal starter worked VERY slow and walked (and plated) a small village so Latos had long breaks between innings but didn't appear to miss a beat. Finally after yet another long break his velo was down in the 7th so they gave him the hook (2 down i think). I think Daryl Jones' double and triple were on low fastballs, nobody else did much damage.