The 21-year-old infielder played this season for Batavia after having been drafted in the 11th round of the 2009 draft from Fresno State. The right-handed hitter was an offensive leader for the Muckdogs, ranking second in the New York-Penn League in OBP (.407), third in walks (47), fourth in runs (46) and tied for ninth in hits (71).
On the season, he batted .292 with three home runs with a team-leading 32 RBIs and was named the League's Player of the Week for the period of June 29 through July 5. Ahmady was also selected to play in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.
Trouble is not new to Ahmady as he was suspended twice at Fresno State this season, his junior year. He was suspended five games in February for an unidentified violation of athletic department rules. A second, longer suspension ensued in mid-May for what was again called a violation of athletic department policy. He missed the conference tournament as a result.
Before and after the early suspension, Ahmady was a huge bat in the middle of the Bulldogs lineup, batting .326 with eight home runs and 53 RBI. He walked 48 times for a .478 on-base mark and fanned just 24 times.
There is no evidence the undisclosed reasons for Ahmady's college suspensions and his current issue are related in any way, but what is very clear is that the young man is having continued troubles coloring within the lines.
The Cardinals knew this when they drafted Ahmady and are now dealing with another incident that will cut out well over a third of his first full professional season.
Here is hoping that Ahmady gets whatever help he needs and can grow up fast. Otherwise, his promising baseball career may be cut short due to problems outside the white lines.
Looking at the bigger picture, the Cardinals organization continues to have one of the higher suspension rates in MLB. Ahmady is their 15th minor leaguer to have been sat down for drug-related matters since they were first announced in 2005. He is the fourth suspension this season alone and tenth in the last two years.
Deryk Hooker went out in April, Kenny Maiques in May and Dail Villanueva in June. Details on the first 13 suspensions can be found at my blog, thecardinalnationblog.com.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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