St. Louis Cardinals prospect Alex Reyes has been given a 50-game suspension for the 2016 season after testing positive for marijuana. This is Reyes’ second drug violation with marijuana.
According to baseball reporter Jesse Sanchez, Alex Reyes released his statement earlier this month. The St. Louis Cardinals Minor League also issued a notice of Reyes’ suspension online.
As Reyes stated in his press release: “I take full responsibility for my actions and apologize for disappointing my family, fans, teammates and the St. Louis Cardinals organization. I acknowledge my inappropriate behavior and will accept the consequences.”
Reyes, a 6’3” right-handed pitcher who has been pitching in the Arizona Fall League, has recently leapt to the top of the prospect boards for the St. Louis Cardinals Major League team. This recent suspension doesn’t appear to keep Reyes from being a new prospective pitcher for the Cardinals, but the suspension is keeping him from practicing his arm.
Suspensions of minor leaguers due to marijuana use are not new to the MLB, but due to Reyes’ profile and the widespread legalization of the drug, there could be more attention being paid to the issue.
As Craig Edwards noted in his piece the decision to use a prohibited substance was a stupid idea, however, as Edward notes, there are differing drug policies between the Major League and Minor League that is an example of a lack of protection for minor league players.
With the conversation moving towards the questionability of prohibiting marijuana, as well as Reyes’ high profile pitching, baseball fans will be getting a chance to see the separation of laws for each particular league. Namely, amateur baseball players in the U.S. face a difficult battle with wages to begin with, and a suspension for 50 games does seem overbearing.
As Nathaniel Grow of Fangraphs has explained, only minor league players are subject to random drug testing year-round, as well as harsh enforcement of the prohibition of marijuana use. Instead, most Major Leaguers only participate in the MLB’s drug treatment program.
Once again, with Reyes’ high profile, and the changing of opinions of marijuana use in the United States, a conversation is going to start. Whether or not Reyes needs a drug intervention in order to calm his ways, or whether the minor league ought to change its policies, people are talking. And we will be sure to monitor the progress of this story.
Photo by Fredlyfish4 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons