Just after I submitted my articles last week, Tampa Bay prospect Alex Colome was suspended for using a steroid normally used on horses. According to this tweet, Rays prospects being suspended is nothing new.
Correction: Four of the Rays' top 10 prospects have been suspended for drugs.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) March 24, 2014
At some point, does something become a trend?
This past Friday, the new MLB/MLBPA drug policy was announced. Whether Colome getting pinched had anything to do with that is unclear. It probably would have gone down in a similar fashion anyway. I agree with the basis of strengthening punishment of cheaters. However, the lead-in begs this question: What does a drug suspension change have to do with draft prep?
While Badler's tweet shines a questioning light on Tampa prospects, I'm not much more sold on Toronto's. It seems any time there is a group of players getting suspended, one team or the other is getting spiked. (Since Jeff Samaradzija is supposedly being monitored by the Blue Jays, draw your own conclusion.)
I think the new drug policy ought to have more punishment (in a way) toward the club. They lose the suspended player for an extended period of time, which is good. However, they get the money and the 40-man roster spot refunded, and lose no draft picks. I'm not sure how to 'apply evenly' before the fact, but if the team is aware of the illegal goings-on, or (even worse) is a party to it, I'd like the league to have a sort of nuclear option. I'm not sure how, but I'm not convinced the player would be the only cheater.
Perhaps something could be tied to draft round, or signing bonus. If the team signs a kid from the Dominican for a $10,000 bonus, and his trainer has been feeding him illegal substances, I'm not out for blood. However, if the team is using the club physician to inject HGH (not that that's what happened here), yeah. I want the front office punished. Rather severely.
Tyler Beede continues to be wild. His underwhelming start to the SEC conference season is looking to make Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek rather rich young kids.
While the top of the draft appears a bit topsy-turvy, it sounds the draft is rather impressive well into the second round. Some (pitching?) talent figures to be available.
2013 Second-rounder Rob Zastryzny will open in High-A Daytona with Albert Almora. Third-rounder Jacob Hannemann starts in Kane County. For now. Josh will have the rest of the system rosters over the next couple of days. One of these days, I'm going to read up on expert commentary and mock drafts for the June draft. Today is not that day. Looking at the rosters of the full season affiliates, it appears the Cubs' brass is serious about upgrading the pitching.
Even better, not only do they seem serious about it, they seem to have a solid strategy. That doesn't require the assistance of a veterinarian.