On Friday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced that High-A Myrtle Beach outfielder and Texas Rangers prospect Jake Skole has been suspended 50 games without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The 20-year-old prospect played last season at Single-A Hickory, where he posted a .264/.366/.389 slash line in 124 games. Although his results weren't dominant, Skole improved as the season progressed. He also drew 65 walks (with 138 strikeouts) and stole 21 bases in 35 attempts.
But Skole has scuffled this season after earning the assignment to High-A Myrtle Beach out of spring training. Through his first 68 games, the former first-round pick is hitting just .185/.288/.260 with 11 extra-base hits, 31 walks, and 72 strikeouts. He has only two steals in four tries.
Prior to the suspension, Skole was stuck in a 1-for-38 slump dating back to June 11.
Although the 6-foot-1, 190-pound outfielder has a strong, athletic frame, he's struggled to hit the ball with authority at times last season and practically all of this year. He's shown the ability to take a walk, but his pitch recognition also lags behind, causing him to be fooled and leading to tentative swings.
Skole has played this entire season as the Pelicans' centerfielder.
According to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Georgia native is expected to serve the suspension at the Rangers' minor league complex in Surprise, Ariz. He won't be able to play in any games until his suspension concludes around August 20.
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Skole hit with 50-game PED suspension
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