Per Jeffrey Flanagan, Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Eric Skoglund has been suspended 80 games due to a violation of the MLB’s drug policy.
Eric Skoglund’s suspension will come without pay after a positive test for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators S-22 and LGD-4033. This is the second member of the Kansas City Royals to be suspended in a year, the other being Jorge Bonifacio last season. Eric Skoglund would certainly have been in the conversation for the starting rotation.
While it is not known exactly what role Skoglund would have been competing for, it is likely he would have been on the Royals roster somewhere. Last season, the southpaw made 13 starts with an ERA upwards of five.
Skoglund is 26 years old, and he was the Royals number five prospect in 2017 after holding the 22nd spot in the two years prior. On his career, he has thrown 88 innings across 21 appearances and 18 starts with an ERA over six.
There is not much to compare it to, but the shortened season appeared to hurt Bonifacio. After hitting over .250 in 118 games in his first year, his numbers dropped in the suspension shortened season.
With Skoglund, there might be no guarantee of a spot this upcoming season. On the Kansas City Royals depth chart, the lefty is listed as starter number seven of eight. There is a lot of competition for five spots, and his name is officially removed from the Spring Training competition.
Coming back after an 80 game suspension is a big hill to overcome. All of the competition has been playing for 80 games that Skoglund will not have. That means every batter he faces will be in the swing of a season that he is just getting started.
Last season it seemed like Skoglund showed improvements from his first crack at the majors. Granted, the comparison is 18 innings and 70 innings. It seemed that the more innings that the young Kansas City Royals pitcher threw, the more control he had. His 6.0 BB/9 in 2017 was a 2.4 last year. Even in way more innings, that is nice improvement.
This will be an interesting story to follow when Skoglund’s 80 games nears a close. He will have to rely a lot of the performance on the other members of the Kansas City Royals pitching staff. Good performances from his teammates could move him back to the minors.
It is never good to see a player get suspended. Especially one that has the ceiling of Skoglund. But he will have to earn his way back to the Kansas City Royals once his punishment is over.