They aren’t getting the hang of this whole PED testing thing. According to Maury Brown of Biz of Baseball, the Mets led all organizations with eight PED suspensions in 2009. The Cardinals and Royals were second with six.
Brown points out that 39 of the 82 minor league drug suspensions
occurred in the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues, a figure that
shouldn’t surprise when we learn many of the banned substances in the
MiLB policy are legal and can be purchased over the counter in those
countries. Five of the eight players in the Mets organization tested
positive while playing in these leagues.
There were four suspensions at the major league level last season
(Sergio Mitre, J.C. Romero, Kelvin Pichardo and Manny Ramirez) after Eliezer Alfonzo and Humberto Cota tested positive in 2008.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.