Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that Oakland A's prospects Beau Taylor and Kevin Duchene had received suspensions for violations of their drug policy. Taylor will be suspended 50-games for testing positive for an amphetamine and Duchene will serve a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
Taylor's suspension comes at an unfortunate time in his career, as the A's 2011 fifth-round pick had re-established his prospect value with a breakout 2016 season for the Double-A Midland RockHounds. Serving as the RockHounds' primary catcher, Taylor hit .280/.383/.398 with five homers and 54 walks in 95 games. He threw out 36% of would-be base-stealers and was named a Texas League post-season All-Star. Taylor has been part of all three of the RockHounds' championship teams from 2014-2016 and has played for the RockHounds in parts of every season since 2012. The 2016 season was his best offensive campaign since 2012. He has also developed a reputation for being a strong defensive player. His suspension will begin at the start of the 2016 regular season and he will be eligible to return to the field in early June. Taylor will be able to participate in spring training before the suspension kicks in. He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League, where he is 11-for-27 in eight games.
Duchene's suspension won't begin until the start of the short-season, as he is currently on the AZL A's roster. Duchene had surgery for a torn rotator cuff late in the summer, so he may not have been ready to pitch by the start of the short-season anyway. The A's 2015 fifth-round pick hasn't gotten his career off the ground yet. He threw 25.1 innings for the A's two short-season teams in 2015, posting a 4.26 ERA. He began the 2016 season in extended spring training to build up his conditioning and threw only 24.1 innings for the AZL A's before the rotator cuff injury landed him on the 60-day DL. Duchene was one of the most successful pitchers in the history of the Illinois baseball program and helped to lead them to a number 6 national ranking heading into the NCAA post-season that year. They lost to eventual runner-up Vanderbilt in the final of the Champaign Super Regional.