Miami Marlins prospect Kolby Copeland has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball on Tuesday after refusing to take a drug test, according to a report Tuesday afternoon from MLB.com writer Danny Wild.
Copeland, 19, was drafted by the Marlins in the third-round of the 2012 draft but will now be forced to miss the first 50 games of the season without pay. His refusal to submit to a drug test is considered a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Copeland will be the eighth minor league player to be suspended in 2013 for violating the drug program.
Earlier this offseason, I ranked Copeland as the 17th best prospect in the Marlins organization, although I predicted a rapid rise through the rankings for Copeland if he progressed as scouts believed he could.
Last season he split time between the Class A Short-Season Jamestown Jammers and the Marlins’ Rookie-level Gulf Coast affiliate. Copeland posted a .280/.330/..397 line between the two levels.
This is what I had to say about Copeland a few weeks ago:
Kolby Copeland was seen as a first round talent that instead fell to the Marlins as a supplemental third round pick. If he pans out like experts expect him to, Copeland will be an absolute steal for the Marlins. The toolsey outfielder, has a ton of power potential, and the early reports on his bat are positive. Copeland has not been confined to one outfield position as of yet, and his position will not likely be determined until he gets some more minor league experience.
Hopefully this is a lesson that Copeland can draw from and steer away from this type of behavior as his career progresses. With him missing at least 50 games in 2013, his progress through the minors will be halted for one season, which could hurt him going forward.