Cincinnati Reds prospect Vladimir Gutierrez has been suspended by Major League League Baseball for 80 games after testing positive for stanozolol, a performance enhancing steroid. From MLB:
Cincinnati Reds Minor League pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez, who played last season for Triple-A Louisville of the International League, has received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance, in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
For Vladimir Gutierrez, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. With the 60-man player pool roster due in less than one hour, he was likely going to be a part of that group. It would have made him far more likely to reach the Major Leagues in 2020 than he may have otherwise had the opportunity for. Now he will be facing a long suspension, that without a minor league season taking place will not even begin until April of next year (assuming the same rules are followed as usual that suspensions begin based on the start of the season in the last league you played in).
The right-handed Cuban-born pitcher had a lot of struggled in Triple-A last season, posting a 6.04 ERA in 27 starts. His ERA, by month, was 8.14, 8.65, 5.01, 6.00, and then in August he rebounded with a 3.74 ERA in six starts where he struck out 41 batters in 33.2 innings. He was still in big league camp with the Reds when the spring came to a halt. His results were a mixed bag. He had made four appearances and his ERA was 8.44 in 5.1 innings. But he had struck out eight of the 25 batters he had faced with just one walk.
The organization’s #14 prospect will now have an uphill battle, and a long wait ahead of him if he’s going to get to the big leagues. Along with simply having to sit out before getting back on the mound, other pitching prospects are going to reach and pass him by on the depth chart in the mean time. And the guys right behind him include the likes of Nick Lodolo, Tony Santillan, Hunter Greene, and Packy Naughton. The opportunity that may have once been present could be gone by the time he’s able to return to the mound.