Players suspended as part of baseballâ€™s minor league drug policy are up dramatically in 2009 compared to the same time period in 2008. With Fridayâ€™s 50 game suspensions of two Tampa Bay Rays Minor League players, outfielder Franklin Alcala and pitcher Carlos Orasma, the total is now 18, compared to 7 at this time in 2008, an increase of 157 percent.
(See the complete history of PED suspensions in both major and minor league baseball)
The addition of Alcala and Orasma is significant in that they were both members of Tampa Bayâ€™s Venezuelan Summer League team. With regular reporting of both VSL and Dominican Summer League suspensions last season, baseball saw the most significant increase in minor league drug suspensions since first being implemented (see Prepare for an Onslaught of Minor League PED Suspensions and associated graph). As reported:
From the end of the All-Star break Â to the end of 2008, 49 minor league suspensions from the DSL and VSL were announced, a staggering 74 percent of the total. The lionâ€™s share came from the DSL where there were 43 suspensions compared to only 6 suspensions from the VSL. From the All-Star break to the end of 2008, only 10 suspensions for players stateside in the minors were announced.
Given the sharp increase in suspensions at this point in the season, odds are that 2009 will easily surpass 2008â€™s total of 66 at the minor league level. It should be noted that in 2007, a total of 29 players were suspended for being in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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