In my top 50 prospects piece published prior to the 2018 season, Walter Rasquin was ranked 30th. Primarily a 2B, Rasquin had a fine season for Brooklyn in 2017, as he put up a .300/.341/.407 line in 265 PA. Now, those numbers might not jump out to you at first glance but Brooklyn is a pitcher-friendly stop in the Mets organization and that .748 OPS was 133 points higher than the team average.
Rasquin started this year with Lo-A Columbia and was handling the jump to full-season ball quite well, putting up an .821 OPS in his first 52 PA. But then he was handed a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rasquin was busted for using methamphetamine, a stimulant explicitly banned by the Minors’ drug program. The same day he was busted, a prospect in the A’s organization received an 80-game suspension for using clomiphene. That’s a fertility drug but it’s on the list as a performance-enhancing drug.
Who knew that using meth was a relatively good choice?
Snark aside, Rasquin’s suspension recently ended and he’s played three games for the Mets’ short-season team in the Gulf Coast League. In those three games, he’s accumulated three hits in each contest, going 9-11 for a head-tilting .818/.846/1.364 triple slash line. That’s a 2.210 OPS. That’s the team where 2018 first-round draft pick Jarred Kelenic and 2017 top international signee Ronny Mauricio are playing and both of those guys are off to hot starts, too. That threesome, batting 2-3-4 in the order, led to 23 runs in three days.
According to Rasquin’s page at MiLB.com, he’s been assigned to the Gulf Coast League on a rehab assignment. The choice of terminology is unfortunate. It’s highly likely that he’s there because of an injury suffered prior to the suspension – he was actually sent to the Gulf immediately prior to being suspended, only to have that assignment revoked with the penalty. There’s no word if the Mets had to go through with the rehab or if they just figured it would be a good idea to have him play at a lower level after missing so much time. Either way, it looks like he’ll be in the Gulf for four more days.
The bigger question is how to deal with the meth use. Is it possible he really was using it as a stimulant, rather than for recreational purposes? It’s hard to say which one would be worse. Maybe we should root for the stimulant side. Perhaps that way the team can try to give him a sleep schedule or something to ensure he’s getting proper rest. But of all the things to use for pep…
According to luxury.rehabs.com – and if you have to go to rehab, don’t you want luxury? – meth can be detected in urine for up to 72 hours. Can a meth-head use some discipline and time his fixes a little better? Perhaps, as it’s doubtful they’re testing individual minor leaguers 25 times per season or anything.
Google did not come up with any information on how the Mets are choosing to handle Rasquin’s recovery. They invested $140,000 for Rasquin back in 2013. That’s not a ton of money and he clearly is not considered one of their key guys. But he’s shown some promise. Plus, the organization should have some fiduciary responsibility here. It must be extremely difficult for young Latin kids to handle South Carolina. It would be nice if the Mets were giving Rasquin the tools to have a successful recovery, regardless of the reason he was using meth.
In the meantime, the Gulf Coast Mets boxes have become more fun to read.