Jonathan Villar (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Bad News in the Astros Minor Leagues


I do apologize if I scared you with that headline. But I’m sure I got your attention.

While the product on the field in Houston has been difficult to watch over the last few years, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And that light has been shining brightly from the minor league system which has supplied a seemingly endless supply of good news.

But don’t worry, this news on the surface just sounds worse than it is. Three Astros’ minor leaguers have been suspended for being in violation of the Minor League drug program. They will be suspended for 50 games each, and those suspensions now will begin immediately.

If you have not heard of the players suspended, you are not alone, as none of the three are top prospects in the organization nor have they been having much success so far this season.

Perhaps the player that might be most familiar to you is outfielder D’Andre Toney who was a 14th round pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2011 and arrived in Houston with Kevin Chapman. So far this season playing in Low-A ball, Toney is hitting .219 with 13 stolen bases.

Toney’s teammate in Tri-City, first baseman Michael Martinez, was also suspended. He was picked in the 36th round by Houston in 2012 and so far this season is hitting .225 with 11 home runs in 59 games.

As proof that not all international signings pan out and sometimes they are just a waste of money, we can look at the third player suspended. The Astros signed shortstop Jose Fernandez four years ago and the 20 year old is still only on their Rookie League team. This season he is hitting just .258 and he is not especially strong defensively.

While none of these suspensions are earth shattering by any stretch, to me they point to a greater issue that might be used to help explain why players take PED’s. Each of these players are in the low minor leagues, and per their age they either should be at a higher level or they should be producing. So since neither are happening, they try to take things into their own hands so they don’t get left behind.

Tags: Houston Astros