Yankees minor league catcher Ryan Baker is pretty far from the prospect radar. In fact, he might have spent more time on the phantom DL than in the batters box in recent years. This season, he was used twice as an emergency pitcher in Triple-A, but never once as a starting or replacement catcher. I’ve covered minor league guys who were going through stuff like that — just bouncing around system, filling roles as asked, given very little hope of actually advancing in the organization — and I’ve always felt bad for them. It’s a frustrating situation for a guy who clearly has some skill or he wouldn’t be in pro ball in the first place.
Basically, if you’ve never heard of Ryan Baker, it’s hard to blame you. Yet his name popped up today because Major League Baseball announced that Baker has been suspended 50 games without pay for refusing to take an offseason drug test. That’s a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Baker is currently on the Low-A Charleston roster, and his suspension will be effective at the start of the 2014 season.