In breaking news, the Associated Press is reporting that minor league pitcher Ronny Fermin has been suspended for 50 games starting in 2014 for breaking Major League Baseball’s substance abuse policy. The commissioner’s office has announced that he tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance enhancing drug on baseball’s banned list.
Fermin is 19-years-old from the Dominican and signed a contract with the Marlins in November of 2013. He is presumed to start his career in the Gulf Coast League on the Marlins Rookie level team. It seems like that debut will be delayed for quite some time.
This is an alarming trend that we are seeing more and more often with the suspension of Latin players for steroid abuse at a much higher rate. One theory is that often these players grow up in such poverty that the chance of getting busted taking steroids only means that they actually made it to a level where they had actual testing, which means more money than most of them see.
If Major League baseball is serious about stamping out steroid abuse, they should work to educate and fund programs in Latin American countries that attempt to prevent this type of risk/reward behavior from being the norm. Waiting with a punishment for players that finally sign a contract is not much of a deterrent for these players.
For Fermin, this is not a great start to his career, but I hope that he is able to move past this and transform into a top-level prospect that one day gets to put on a Marlins uniform. We will keep you posted with any further details as they arise.