ESPN is reporting that New Britain Rock Cats starter Anthony Swarzak, who I have rated as the #15 SP in the Twins organization, has been suspended for 50 games for violation of the minor league baseball drug policy. Swarzak hasn't been very good this year, with an 11.12 ERA in two games -- nevertheless, he's a bright star in the Twins minor league system, and it's unfortunate that he chose to attempt to circumvent the league's drug policy.
I remember how embarrassed I was as a fan when Juan Rincon tested positive a couple of years ago. Even if he didn't do anything wrong (as he insists), it still was something that seemed incredibly out of character for the Minnesota Twins, an organization known for doing things the right way. Obviously, individuals make decisions for themselves, but it still besmirches the good name of the organization when something like this happens.
I don't particularly care whether there's a good explanation for Swarzak's positive test or not. I will forgive and forget once he serves his suspension and returns to the organization. I will cheer just as hard. Nevertheless, there is no mistaking that losing 50 days of the season, and now having this scarlet letter forever attached to his name, will affect Swarzak in the future. Hopefully, he'll be able to move forward when he comes back.
Finally, there's the practical question of how this will affect the Rock Cats rotation. There isn't an obvious answer on the Rock Cats roster, but two starters (Kyle Aselton and Zach Ward) are currently in the Ft. Myers Miracle bullpen because there are a lot of starters there. It seems possible that a guy like Kyle Waldrop or Oswaldo Sosa could be promoted from the Miracle to the Rock Cats in order to take Swarzak's place in the rotation, while either Aselton or Ward could slot in to the Miracle rotation. If I had to guess (and that's all it is), I would say Waldrop will get the promotion and Ward will move into the Miracle rotation. We should know more fairly soon.