Two Minor League players suspended

There's not a lot of commonality between Mets 2B Daniel Muno and Giants RHP Luis Rojas but on Friday they became the latest players to receive 50-game suspensions for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Muno, the Mets 8th round pick in the 2011 draft, tested positive for a metabolite of Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid.

He was a consistent force at the plate in his time at Fresno State and carried that over to the professional ranks. After signing Muno was assigned to the short-season Brooklyn Cyclones and hit 0.355/.466/.514 with 23 2B and 9 SB in 59 games. He also displayed an intelligent approach at the plate, one of his major assets as a prospect, drawing 43 walks while striking out just 39 times. His strong debut landed him on the back-end of Baseball America's Mets Top-30 and also earned him a spot on my watch list (more on that list coming soon). Pushed to the Florida State League this season Muno was hitting 0.283/.339/.461 with a 26-12 SO-to-BB rate. Obviously his numbers had fallen off but he was holding his own after skipping over Lo-A Savannah and he continued to be an intriguing player. Now I'm not sure what to make of him since we can never really know the extent to which a player's performance is enhanced by steroids or other drugs.

The package - above average bat speed from both sites of the plate, excellent plate awareness, above average speed and good instincts - isn't going to be adversely impacted by the suspension, but losing 50-games of development for an player already 23-years old is certainly a setback. Muno will continue to be a player to keep an eye on when he returns, but since he's going to miss 50 games I've removed him from my watch list.

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Luis Rojas (22), like Muno, started his career off with the Mets after signing as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 2006. After five minor league seasons in New York the reliever appeared to have hit a glass ceiling in A ball. The San Francisco Giants apparently saw something in Rojas and selected him in the Triple-A phase of the the Rule 5 draft this offseason. They assigned him to San Jose (A+) where he made 6 appearances this April before landing on the disabled list. While his 3.38 ERA looked "okay," his inability to find the strike zone (8 BB in 8.0 IP) continued to hold him back. In 155.2 career innings Rojas currently has a 5.09 ERA, 1.77 WHIP and has walked more batters (128) than he has struck out (122). He tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol more commonly known as Winstrol which is one of the more popular options on the market (incidentally whenever I hear Winstrol, I immediately think of Rafael Palmeiro and horses).

Rojas didn't have much allure as a prospect - thanks in large part to his career 7.4 BB/9 - coming into the 2012 season. His injury coupled with this recent suspension reduces what little chances he had to make the major leagues.

http://seedlingstostars.com/2012/05/21/suspended-daniel-muno-and-luis-rojas/

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