Following a 2012 season that saw nine different Rays minor league players suspended from violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, 2013 had been quiet. The rash of drug suspensions had appeared to be a thing of the past, a unique blip on the radar. That is, until news broke yesterday that Taylor Guerrieri, the Rays top prospect, was suspended 50 games at the start of next season for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, believed to be marijuana.
The suspension will begin at the start of the 2014 season, and as Guerrieri is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and was expected to miss the majority of 2014 anyway, is not likely to cause him to miss any time on the field. He will still be able to rehab, as he attempts to work his way back from injury.
However, now there is a second question mark surrounding Guerrieri. Even though medical advances have made it where most pitchers coming back are as good, if not better than, they were before the surgery, there is still risk with any procedure. Guerrieri could come back stronger than ever, but there is still the chance that something could go wrong during his rehab. Now, there is a drug suspension looming over him as well. Although this is not for a PED, which could lead to additional concerns about how Guerrieri would perform down the line, there still may be reason for unease.
Taylor Guerriei had entered the 2013 season as one of the Rays top prospects, and was considered to be their top pitching prospect. His performance in 2013, where he was 6-2 with a 2.01 ERA, only reinforced that belief. Now, in a three month span, Guerrieri not only has concerns due to his surgery and how he will return, but the drug suspension as well. For a player that seemed to be as much of a sure thing as a prospect could be, there are now a few question marks.