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MLB drops hammer: Player suspended 80 games

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Twenty years ago, having a synthetic form of testosterone in the bloodstream was just a way to hit lots of home runs.

Today, however, it’s a permanent stain on a player’s reputation that wipes out huge amounts of playing time.

Red Sox minor league prospect Michael Chavis just lost 80 games’ worth of his player development (and salary) thanks to testing positive for a banned substance.

The 22-year-old, who plays for the Double-A Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs and was considered a potential candidate for a September call-up, now must spend half the season watching the games like a fan rather than participating as a player.

The substance in question is dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT), which is not found naturally in the body. Only good old-fashioned testosterone and its breakdown product, dihydrotestosterone (DHT, the stuff that is believed to cause male pattern baldness), show up naturally. Anything else and you’ve got a clear sign of PED use.

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Of course, Chavis denied knowingly ingesting the stuff, in the typical blanket denial we’ve all heard before:

https://twitter.com/MichaelChavis11/status/982375777198051328

In the statement, he says he’s “never heard of” DHCMT and doesn’t know how it could possibly have gotten in there, he’s fully in favor of keeping baseball clean and he himself is clean. He then throws in an anecdote about his family and friends falling victim to substance abuse, then completes the Standard Format Apology™ with a reference to God, adding a couple of Bible verses into the postscript.

Chavis was a first-round pick in the 2014 MLB draft.

Do you believe Michael Chavis when he says he has never purposely taken any prohibited substance?

Since coming into the minor leagues, he’s put up a .251/.317/.455 slash line for a .772 OPS while belting 56 home runs in 355 games; on a per-162 basis, that’s about 25 homers.

He is the top prospect in the Red Sox minor league system but is ranked 80th overall in MLB’s prospect rankings.

And that .772 OPS? If he hit that at the major league level, he’d be tied for 15th with Todd Frazier among qualified third basemen in 2017.

The Red Sox already have a young starting third baseman, Rafael Devers, who put up a strong .819 OPS in 58 games in the 2017 season in which the Sox won the AL East, so Chavis already has a guy in front of him who’s a hot prospect, who’s younger than he is (Devers is 21), and who doesn’t have the stain of a positive PED test on his reputation.

DHCMT is also known as Turinabol; it was discovered in 1962 and used in the infamous East German Olympic steroid program.

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The testing window is around 20 days, so when Chavis got nailed, he had taken the drug recently. His claims that he didn’t know what it was show that either he’s not paying attention to what’s going into his body or he’s covering his tracks; either way, his denial simply does not hold water.

It remains to be seen whether this will derail his major league hopes for good.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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