Houston Astros first base prospect Jonathan Singleton, ranked as the #2 prospect in the organization heading into the 2013 season, has been suspended for the first 50 games of the season after testing positive for marijuana, his second positive test. The 21-year old Singleton was acquired by the Astros in the summer of 2011 from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade. With AA Corpus Christi in 2012, Singleton had an .893 OPS and 21 homers, playing for Team USA in the Futures Game and was a Baseball America Minor League All-Star for the 2012 season.
What irks me about this isn't that Singleton was suspended, but the double standard related to testing major league players and minor league players. There was not one major league player suspended during the 2012 season for a drug of abuse (which marijuana is classified as under the testing agreement), yet there were 22 minor leaguers that were hit with drug of abuse suspensions before the end of August, including former #1 overall pick Tim Beckham for marijuana usage.
I'm not here to opine about smoking weed, because it's more of a societal and legal issue than a baseball issue at this point in time, but the fact that minor league players get suspended just as long for smoking a joint as they do for using crystal meth or steroid usage seems a little ridiculous in my mind. The double standard that minor leaguers have to live by, with random testing for drugs of abuse being allowed, is rough considering that anyone on the 40-man roster can't be randomly tested for drugs of abuse, and for a test to be adminstered to a major league player, there needs to be cause. But hey, that's what happens when minor leaguers aren't members of the MLBPA. Until they get put on the 40-man, they won't get any of the major league perks.
It's a huge blow for Singleton, a rising star in the Houston organization, and hopefully his progress through their farm system isn't stalled during his suspension.