Major League Baseball announced today that second baseman Mitchell Tolman has been suspended 50 games for his second positive test for a drug of abuse. He’s the third Pittsburgh Pirate suspended in the last few weeks, with right-handed pitcher Montana DuRapau receiving a 50-game suspension and left-handed pitcher Nik Turley receiving an 80-game suspension. Turley received a longer suspension due to being on the 40-man roster and failing for a PED. His suspension starts on Opening Day for the Pirates. Tolman and DuRapau start on Opening Day for the minor league season.
Tolman spent most of the 2017 season with Bradenton, where he posted a .756 OPS in 115 games. He joined Altoona late in the season for three games and then started for them in the playoffs. That was followed by a trip to the Fall Instructional League, then the Arizona Fall League. The Pirates had him playing third base and second base in the AFL, where he struggled at the plate with a .618 OPS and a high strikeout rate. The AFL is mostly for players with more Double-A and Triple-A time, so the results were acceptable considering the competition and his experience.
Tolman was likely going to be the starting second baseman for Altoona this season. We had him outside of our top 50, although he has been on the back-end of our list before and he has the potential to be an MLB bench player. That upside doesn’t change at this point, although it’s possible he could get passed up by someone else while he is out and make it tougher on himself to reach that upside.