Phillies Prospect Alec Asher is Suspended 80 Games for PED Use
The Phillies received some very disappointing news today regarding pitching prospect Alec Asher. The pitching prospect, received from the Texas Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade last season, has been been suspended for 80 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The suspension to Asher is the the second in the Phillies organization this season.
The drug, dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, is commonly known as Turinabol. The drug is a steroid that may be taken orally, and is the same substance for which Phillies Rule 5 pick Daniel Stumpf tested positive for in April, and the same that Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello tested positive just days later. The substance is best known for aiding East Germany in the Olympic games in the late 1980s.
With better testing, the drug is showing up on PED tests more often. After being ingested, the drug remains detectable in a person's system for just five days. Therefore, players may be willing to take a risk that they will not be tested within that window, and therefore risk getting caught. With the large number of players getting caught, one must wonder how many players are taking this risk.
Asher was pitching very well in the minor leagues for the Phillies in 2016, and may have earned a call up, had he not landed on the disabled list with a lower calf contusion. Between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Asher was 4-2 with a 2.30 earned run average.
With 67 games already played out of the 144-game schedule, the suspension will end Asher's minor league season. The Phillies could allow Asher to be a Major League September call-up if they want to rest some starters, but Asher will not have the benefit of rehab starts in the minors. Thus, Asher's future in the organization will be that much less clearer without getting to show his ability for an extended period in 2016.
Asher was rushed to the Major Leagues last season and made seven starts for the Phillies, going 0-6 with a 9.31 earned run average.