Two of the top pitching prospects for the 2013 draft—righthanders Jonathan Gray (Oklahoma) and Aaron Blair (Marshall)—have tested positive for the banned stimulant Adderall, according to an MLB memorandum obtained by Baseball America.
Through spokesmen, both players declined comment. Gray is Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect for the draft, which begins Thursday night, and Blair is No. 41. Several baseball officials said they do not expect the tests to affect the players’ draft stock.
Adderall is a stimulant used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is illegal without a prescription and is banned by every major sports league and the NCAA. The NHL allows no medical exemptions for its use, but all other bodies allow “therapeutic use exemptions,” which allows athletes to go through a process to determine if they meet standards to use the medication.
In addition to its drug testing for major league and minor league players, MLB conducts a predraft medical program for the top 200 prospects in each draft as identified by the Major League Scouting Bureau. Players selected are not required to participate, but they have strong motivation to do so. Players cannot provide their medical records to any single club; they have to release them to all 30 or not at all. The players are also subject to a random, unannounced drug test in the 30 days prior to the draft. A player who refuses to take the test is ineligible for selection.
Under MLB’s drug guidelines, a positive Adderall test would merit follow-up testing, and a second violation would carry a 25-game suspension for players without an exemption. The prospective draftees are not subject to official punishment because they are not under contract.
Based on conversations with scouts and agents, neither player figures to drop because of the positive tests. Two club officials said their teams believed Gray’s use of Adderall was a one-time mistake and wouldn’t be held against him. A source close to Blair said his positive test also resulted from a one-time indiscretion and that no teams had expressed any concerns about it. Both executives and the third source spoke on condition of anonymity.
Gray is the top-rated prospect in the BA 500 and believed to be the front-runner to go to the Astros with the No. 1 overall pick. Using a 94-100 mph fastball and a wipeout slider, he has gone 10-2, 1.59 with 138 strikeouts and 22 walks over 119 innings. The Sooners have advanced to NCAA super regionals and Gray is scheduled to start at Louisiana State on Friday, the day after the draft begins.
Blair, No. 41 on the BA 500, projects to go late in the first round or early in the second. He throws a heavy fastball that reaches 95 mph, a quality changeup and a pair of breaking pitches. He went 5-5, 2.85 with 84 strikeouts and 36 walks over 82 innings.
Contributing: Jim Callis