A Kansas City Royals draft pick from 2016, Travis Eckert, landed a 50-game suspension by the commissioner’s office. It’s the second drug violation of his young career.
Five minor league players — one of which is a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals system — were given drug-related suspensions this week. According to the Associated Press (via NBCSports’ Hardball Talk), three players in the Blue Jays organization earned suspensions from a performance-enhancing drug. Free agent Kevin Duchene and Royals minor leaguer Travis Eckert landed bans for testing positive for a “drug of abuse.”
Based on a release from the commissioner’s office, two of the players from Toronto’s farm system, Juan Jimenez and Naswell Paulino, were given 72-game bans. The other Blue Jays prospect, Jol Concepcion, will miss 60 games. According to the AP report, Eckert’s suspension will be for 50 games due to it being his second violation. The report also stated that Duchene faces a 100-game ban for a third positive test.
Who is Travis Eckert?
The Kansas City Royals drafted Eckert in the seventh round of the 2016 draft. The senior out of Oregon State had been selected in the 20th round by the Giants following his junior season with the Beavers. The right-hander, who will turn 24 in late December, spent the 2017 season with Single-A Lexington. A native of Austin, Texas, Eckert struggled this year after a stellar display in rookie ball with Burlington.
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In 2016, Eckert started 10 of the 11 games in which he pitched. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound hurler had a 4-1 record, a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 44 2/3 innings. Eckert put up 48 strikeouts against just 11 walks and one home run. Those numbers slipped considerably this year.
In 28 appearances (19 starts) for Lexington, he had a 6-9 mark, a 5.65 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Across 124 1/3 innings, Eckert struggled in all facets. He allowed seven home runs and hit 11 batters after not hitting a single one in 2016. His opponents’ batting average increased 30 points over the previous year from .262 to .292. His strikeout-to-walk ratio also suffered, plummeting from 4.36:1 to 1.85:1.
It’s unknown what this suspension will mean for Eckert’s future in the Kansas City Royals organization. Either way, missing 50 games isn’t likely to help his chances of moving through the minor league system.
What do you think, fans? Does Eckert have any future in the organization? Better yet, should he? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on social media.