Chicago Cubs: Prospect P.J. Francescon suspended
The Chicago Cubs prospect and former MiLB All-Star will miss the first 50 games of the 2016 season thanks to his second positive test for a drug of abuse.
The Chicago Cubs opened up the year with a little bit of bad news as prospect P.J. Francescon was suspended 50 games for a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Unlike performance-enhancing positive tests, “drugs of abuse” tend to earn a warning before suspension. PED’s will earn an immediate suspension with no warning.
Those substances under the “drugs of abuse” umbrella include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy and other opiates. The rule was put in place for protection as much as they were punishment as many of these drugs have cut short promising careers.
Francescon was a Southern League All-Star last season with Double-A Tennessee and finished the year with Triple-A Iowa. He was 4-2 with a 1.47 ERA last season in 45 games between the two teams. The 50 game suspension will be effective at the start of the 2016 season.
A 40th round pick in 2011, Francescon spent his early years in the Cubs’ system as a starter. He made one start last season for Iowa but had been mostly in a relief role since 2013. While not considered a top prospect, he was moving through the system with a chance of making an appearance in Chicago sometime soon.
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It’s hard to forecast how this will affect Francescon, but clearly this will set him back in his pursuit of making the majors. The move to the bullpen may have helped speed up his path, as last season the Cubs seemed to be in constant search for reliable arms in the bullpen. While things appear to be settled in the bullpen now, it won’t take long for things like that to change with struggles or injuries.
Last season the Commissioner’s Office handed down 108 suspensions to 106 players in Minor League Baseball.