Potential Cubs pick Jonathan Gray tests positive for Adderall

Potential Cubs pick Jonathan Gray tests positive for Adderall

Things just got interesting again at the top of the draft.  Just when it seemed safe enough to assume the Cubs would pick Mark Appel or Jonathan Gray, it's being reported that Gray has tested positive for Adderall, which is banned by MLB unless you have a prescription.  Adderall is commonly used for AD/HD but it is also a stimulant. Gray reportedly does not have a prescription for the drug.

How this will affect Gray's stock is uncertain. The Astros and Cubs are both strongly considering picking the hard-throwing RHP from Oklahoma University.  Many consider him to be the highest upside pitcher in the draft.

One scenario is that Gray drops out of the top two spots and the Cubs may instead have to choose between Mark Appel and Kris Bryant -- or whichever one is available to them.  In any case, it does bring Kris Bryant back in play as a possible alternative.

Another scenario, and I can see the Astros doing this, is that the announcement may drive Gray's bonus down a bit, or at least give the the Astros some leverage.  Gray may fear a slide down draft boards if the Astros don't pick him, especially knowing that the Cubs may favor Mark Appel anyway.  The Astros could potentially get a top two talent in the draft and still save a lot of money for further down in the draft.  If the Astros feel okay about Gray long term, then this may actually work in their favor.

Filed under: MLB Draft



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  • It just seems by hook or by crook we end up with Appel here. Every viable scenario seems to come back to that. I'm ok with that.

  • In all reality, he tested positive for it as a result of finals. I don't have enough appendages to count how many people I know that were using Adderall to help with finals or ACT testing.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    I did one year but I crashed and burned and fell asleep in the middle of my finance exam. Even started dreaming before I woke up and finished the test.

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    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    I'm not going to go into any further detail, other than to say this is more than just gut reaction, but I have a hard time believing that to be the case.

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    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    But how many of those folks are about to be drafted #1 or #2 in the MLB Draft? Are we suppose to believe that this was because he was worried about his GPA? Com'on man........

    If anything, this brings his character into focus. I'm sure this is not what we want for the "Cubs Way!"

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Not necessarily.

    He's a junior. If he flunks, he could face academic probation which is serious. He may well be taken off the team. As you say, if he's drafted top 2, who cares. But it does remove the option of returning for his senior year.

    It does, however, underscore how important Appel's plus plus makeup is. (Now watch him get busted for HGH or something.)

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    If he flunks, it negates a potential strategy of returning to school, should he slip like Appel did last year. I'm just inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt, especially when there's a very plausible reason as there is here.

    Had the test come in, say, April, it'd be different. Think about the amount of time it'd take for the test results to come in, and then be released. It times up with finals far too well for that not to be a plausible possibility.

  • Curiouser and curiouser.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Like Nicely played literary reference!

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    At least it happened now and not a week from now...

  • In reply to Mike Moody:


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    I'm not sure this affect his draft stock. I'm no GM or anything, but it seems like a negligible level of relevance. It's not steroids or HGH.

    Maybe I'm wrong.

    I still hope the Cubs pick him.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    "It's not steroids or HGH", true; but speed IS a performance enhancer.

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    In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I realize it's a performance enhancer, but regardless it's not the same thing as those, and everyone knows it.

    And while I get your point by calling it speed, that's still a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe not huge one, but a bit.

    If this was steriods or HGH, this would be a huge deal. And while I'm not suggesting this ok or acceptable, this isn't earth shattering kind of news.

    Steroids or HGH brings into question your entire career. Especially for a guy with the kind of pure-stuff as Gray. People would be questioning how much of his body of work is due to performance enhancers.

    With Adderall, while it's not something you want to see happening with a player, it's also not the kind of thing that invalidates a career.
    No one throws 100mph BECAUSE of adderall. Or even crystal-meth for that matter.

    Not to mention, even if it's not true, it's June and "finals week" makes for a REALLY great excuse to make this sound like a cute and innocent mistake of youth. (But it only works if this NEVER happens again.)

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    That it contains two amphetamine compounds means it's "speed" to me.
    All those hockey players taking handfuls of Sudafed in the '90s did it for game reasons -- to enhance their performance, to overcome tiredness, to "keep an edge".
    It may not invalidate his career; no one is saying that. But it may give someone an added focus in a game, a stamina boost in the late innings, or an extra mph or two on the two-seamer.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    And we must note that it's one thing Gray has improved on this year -- improving his velocity late in games.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It does add a tinge of suspicion to that velo, doesn't it?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    And I can't see "cute and innocent" in this, anywhere.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I still think he goes top 5 and probably top 3.

  • Again,

    1) Moran
    2) Brant

    Gray drops out of top 10.

  • If the Stros take Appel, my gut still says Gray. I am sure Boras will spin this as nothing. If we use this as leverage, gray still has the option to return to school. Hope the Cubs uncover the truth if they pick him.

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    John, that does explain why, during the Big 12 title game, he got on Coach Golloway's nerves to the point he had to be told to sit down and shut up.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Haha! He couldnt' sit still.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Golloway played it off on the radio like it was no big deal, but witnesses say it was pretty intense. Gray had just pitched a complete game three days earlier, while throwing 121 pitches, but he kept pestering Golloway to let him come out of the pen to close out the title game against Kansas, and he was said to have done the same thing the day before in the semi-finals against K-State. The story goes that Golloway finally had his fill and told Gray to sit down on the bench and shut up because he wasn't about to do anything that would ruin both their careers.

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    The only thing that worries me about this is if the Astros decide they still want a pitcher and take Appel. Leaving us with Gray or Bryant at that point. Not a bad consolation prize, but not the result I saw coming out of this.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    That's my fear, too.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:


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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    That's easy. If the Astros take Appel, the Cubs go with Bryant.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    There lies my problem. We have a top 2 pick in a rare draft where 2 potential-aces were there(one of the rarest commodities in baseball) and we come out with neither of them. Can't say i'd be thrilled with the thought of that.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Marcel, I got a hunch that Bryants bat in the lineup on a daily basis will make us forget who we didn't draft...especially if Gray becomes a closer

  • What do people think - who leaked the news? 'Stros? They trying to get a discount? Or... who?

  • In reply to LBJCubfan:

    I think it's legit, but it'll be interesting to see how big a deal the Cubs/Astros make out of it. Or if they use it to their advantage in negotiations.

  • ... or Boras trying to make sure his pitcher is the first taken?

  • Off topic: Apparently Reggie Golden cleared the scoreboard at Kane County tonight. Beast.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    and Brett Jackson followed up a perfect 3rd baseline bunt in his first AB with a towering shot that hit the skyboxes (?) in left-center.

  • Wow! You'd think he's been on a 3-day coke & stripper binge from some of the reactions. This is less of a concern than Soler wielding his bat was to me. If he doesn't have any other issues, this will soon be forgotten (assuming he delivers).

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:


  • Something crazy happened with Daytona. They're on the road, but Baez only went 1 for 4 (double) and 2K's... and Soler made 2 throwing errors, wth?...

  • A few minors roster moves today (mostly pitchers). The real head-scratcher for me was Chen jumping from KC up to Tennessee. He's hitting, what, .250? I wonder if this means that Ha is out for the season (not at EXST like Bour presently). The only rationale I can imagine for moving Chen up is that they don't want to rush any Daytona outfielders (see Soler), and Rademacher is injured...

    Any guesses on this, and how long Clevenger sits at Iowa on rehab?

  • In reply to Eldrad:

    Teams tend to do this kind of thing with players when a) they're mature enough to handle it and b) they're becoming organizational players and the team isn't afraid to risk their development. They tend to become fill-ins. Kind of a positive and negative for Chen here.

  • I know we don't have a 3B really coming up in the system but for the life of me I don't get why we would not take Appel or Gray when we have zero pitching. It is possible to turn someone we already have in the system into a 3B. It seems nearly impossible to make someone we already have into a legit #1 starter. Not a 1a

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    Baseball Reference has a link to past Cub first round choices...I've seen it before, but painful little walk down memory lane:

    Mark Prior, 2001, was the last Cubs 1st round pick to produce more than 3 WAR, and produce just about anything in a Cubs uniform. Before him, pretty much it's Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, and a whole bunch of nothing all the way back to Doug Glanville, 1991. Including that 2002 draft: 4 first-round pitchers, 4 busts.

    This is a primary reason for all those years of futility: Poor first round choices

    Let's turn that around!

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    In reply to Zonk:

    And I truly believe it will under this FO. They are just so good at scouting and development. You can already tell a difference from the last FO in how Baez, Almora, Soler have been handled. Under the old FO Baez and Soler would be getting exposed in the majors by now.

  • Off Topic: Does anyone know if Dillion Maples is still considered a top prospect? His line tonight looked spectacular but he has been getting hammered all season.

    I know he is one of these guys with huge upside but he needs to change so many things if he has to make a drastic overhaul of his delivery in order to meet his potential. Should we be discouraged by his stats thus far this season, or in his case are his stats in Kane County more or less irrelevant?

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Stats in A ball mean next to nothing. He has enormous upside, but is has so far to go....

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    In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Not only is he a top prospect, he probably has the best 1-2 combo in the system right now. Only rivaled by Vizcaino. For him it's all about staying healthy. improving command, fine-tuning the circle-changeup.

    If he ever does that were looking at a top prospect in the game, not just our system. The stuff is that good. He hasn't been getting hit that hard either. It's walks that are doing him in.

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    I'll have a report on him in the minor league recaps with some specifics on his stuff/performance.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    He had a decent night tonight, though Kane County bullpen was really roughed up after Maples left

  • In reply to Sandberg2014:

    Well Maples was dealing tonight. Relies on his fastball and his out pitch is his curve/breaking ball. The stadium gun was showing 89-91 mph. His curve was in the low 70's. What's ridiculous is not only the mph difference but that the way he throws it you can't tell the difference. In the 2nd inning he was a little wild but other than that he was great. You could totally tell he was on a pitch count.

    Did anyone else notice that Almora caught a ball in front of Reggie Golden? Vogelbach had a bad game. He has family in town so I don't know if he was trying to hit a HR for them or what.

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    I didn't see the game, unfortunately. Almost went but decided last minute not to go.

  • Seems like everyone is saying this is much ado about nothing. That being said, if an organization really is close between Gray and 1 other player, this could shift the balance to the other player... or the team could take Gray but ask for a discount.

    My guess is the Astros parlay this into a $500K reduction in Gray's asking price, they take Gray and give him $2M under slot.

    Cubs take Appel.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    That's what I'm thinking right now. The general feel is that there is not a lot of concern out there but I think it does make Gray more willing to take a discount because you never know what can happen if a couple of teams pass up on you. He doesn't want to slide.

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    Some news down in EST courtesy of AzPhil:

    -Junior Lake has been hitting well and playing almost exclusively CF. I remember John saying he thought Lake could be above-average out there.

    -Armando Rivero has been sitting 94-95 and featured a splitter with tight break and an occasional slider.

    -Boise rotation could have been Underwood, Blackburn, Conway, Lang, McNeil before injuries to Conway/McNeil.
    That would have been a heck of a rotation, lots of high-upside arms. Probably the best in short-season ball

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Thanks for the update Marcel.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    No problem. Also forgot to add that Duane Underwood has been dealing. Right now he is on the high end of what we thought he could, the high-90's--devastating curveball Underwood. Let's hope that stays consistent as he has been known to revert to low-90s with a lobbing CB.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Wow. That's incredible news. That would really move him up the prospect lists if he can sustain that.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Nice to hear. I'd been following his starts and noticed that he was missing a lot of bats -- this explains how. Command is also on his to-do list. But, all things considered, he seems far ahead of where we had and right to expect him to be.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah the walks had been a problem but lately he's had less than 2 walks per start. Considering he's only 18 if he makes it to Kane County next year he'd be way ahead of schedule. But I wouldn't be shocked with the kind of stuff he has.

  • Gray......Million dollar arm......two cent brain.......

    Who had a higher scouting report at draft time, Bryant or Vitters?.....

    I still say that Theo will play the "money" angle on this draft, by saving on the high bonus Appel is out due to Boras demands.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Not make judgements unless you know the whole story. I wouldn't come close to calling Gray a 2cent head.

  • LOL....sad but true. At the very least this shows immaturity and lack of common sense. If the Cubs are really flipping back between Appel and Gray, this could be the determining factor. I don't see Boras being a factor in this so....I'm going to stick with the Cubs picking Appel.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Agreed. Boras isn't a factor with Theo, nor was he really one with Hendry either. The Cubs have never been shy about dealing with him.

  • what kind of suspension would Adderal get in MLB? has it happened before?

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    It happened with one player and I can't remember his name right now. I think it was the catcher for the Phillies, Carlos Ruiz.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John! good call, after doing some research you are correct!

    Carlos Ruiz was suspended for the first 25 games of the season by Major League Baseball for using Adderall without a prescription

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Carlos Ruiz did say 'he got caught two times'
    25 games is really serious...

    he did have a career year too the previous season in which he got in trouble for, hitting .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, and 68 RBIs.

    Pretty Interesting...

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    Thanks for filling in the details Nik!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    you got it man! just doing my part to keep this the best Cubs talk on the Web

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He got a 25 game suspension, if I recall.

  • I am hearing Gray was not the 1st to pop on Adderall but the 1st to be leaked. It has happened every year since drug testing as started. So it really isn't a big deal and it always been a College player.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I would say it is a big deal if you're going to get suspended for 25 games

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Well Kevin, the Cubbies might end up with Bryant after all. I have to believe that the Astros might just take Appel which would leave either Bryant or a pitcher whose weight loss might have been assisted with the use of a PED at #2. Given the alleged blowup and behavior Gray displayed with his manager during the Big 12 title game, that has to be a concern for the FO. Listening to the fallout of this over the next couple days will be quite interesting indeed.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    I don't think it will effect any ones view of Gray enough to really drop him.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Heard they also caught, Aaron Blair from Marshall.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Take this stuff with a grain of salt.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Yes, Aaron Blair is another guy -- and one we had on radar for the Cubs.

  • There are no penalties for prospects testing positive for the drug, which is used to treat ADHD, but it may make organizations skeptical about his jump in velocity and performance this season. It might not, however, as more than 110 big-league players were granted exemptions to take Adderall last season
    -Phil Rodgers(source)

    Is Adderal something easy to get prescribed for, like telling your doctor you are having trouble staying focused?

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    "Is Adderal something easy to get prescribed for, like telling your doctor you are having trouble staying focused?"

    That's pretty much all you need to do; there is no test for ADD or ADHD. And for a college athlete at a big U that take about 5 minutes. And it's not like ADD is a major mental disorder. I think the question this puts on Gray is his maturity and common sense.

  • I have trouble believing all this kid's progress this season is due to Adderal. I've been an Appel backer this whole time, but if we end up with Gray at number two with a discount, I'm absolutely doing it. Stupid that he did this? No doubt. But as HoosierDaddy mentioned, is it really that much more disconcerting than Soler threatening to smack a guy with his bat. Hope Appel is there at 2, but if not, I still don't think the FO needs to tweak its ranking on Gray.

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    Adderal is very, very common with college students around finals week. Especially for those like me who have built up an immunity to most energy drinks. I used it during my finals week, very easy to get perscribed.

    I will say that I know for a fact Oklahoma's finals were almost 3 weeks ago. Adderal usually stays in the system for 3-4 days, maximum 7 days. So there is no way he was using this for finals unless the drug test occurred weeks ago and is just now being leaked, which is a possibility.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Yeah, I don't buy it either. I think he did it for baseball reasons.

  • John, Marcel, Kevin. What is your opinion about Gray's alleged explosive behavior during the title game? Adderall doesn't sound that bad, but taken in larger amount will get you jacked up like speed and cause this kind of behavior. Anyway.. I've wanted them to pick Gray but know I'm having doubts. Not sure how serious this is.

  • In reply to SonomaCubFan:

    Was it explosive? I took it as him nagging his manager to death. I think he's just a competitor and wanted to help his team. I'm not reading it as a tantrum or anything -- but i don't know. I didn't hear the story directly.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I wouldn't call it explosive, and from what I hear, Golloway didn't really blow up either. Gray was being a pest from all accounts, and like a parent who has had his fill, Golloway put the five year old in time out. After Golloway told him to sit down and shut up, Gray never said a word.

    Golloway said that, after the game, he took Gray aside. Apparently, Gray just wanted to go out and help his team win. Golloway is to be commended. It had to be tempting to bring Gray out of the bullpen, but as Golloway spoke on the radio, he knew it was the wrong thing for both Gray and himself. The fact that Gray could've cared less about his own future and just wanted to help his team win in the now says some good things about him too.

  • The Cubs should pass on Gray. Any of the other consensus top 5 is the higher floor now.

  • This is so Cub-like!

    A chance to get a TOR pitcher (like Gray) goes up in smoke for the Astros who now will probably take Appel and leave us with a choice of HR Bryant or a druggie trying to get an edge on the competition.

    Last thing we need is another big homerun hitter in the lineup. Our OBP is horrible and seems lately like we can only score runs if someone hits a HR.

    I doubt Houston takes a chance on Gray (even if they get him for a discount). I'm guessing they suck it up and take Appel and the Cubs get toasted once again. If, by chance, Gray is still there at #2 do the Cubs risk taking someone already under suspicion of taking PEDs and have his (and their) character damaged for the rest of his career?

    Sorry for the rant this morning...but this Gray situation really ticks me off.

  • It seems like I've heard that Adderall is sometimes used to mask other drugs. This is concerning for a guy that had a sudden surge of dominance this year.

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Yes, and that is why MLB and the NFL both test for it, but I'm not sure that is why it was being used here. It's main medical use, outside of treatment for AD/HD, is as an appetite suppressant.

    We know Gray had a weight problem.

    We know Gray turned down an invite from Team USA last summer to stay in Norman and work out with Sooner's athletic trainers, and the result is a much slimmer Gray.

    We know Gray has continued those workouts even throughout the baseball season, and we hear that he is actually lighter now than at the start of the season.

    When not working out with the OU trainers, Golloway said Gray was working with OU's pitching coach on straightening out his mechanics during the offseason.

    We're already talking about a kid who was in mid-90's in 2012 as a tub of lard. Okay, tub of lard may be extreme, but he wasn't exactly Mark Prior or Kyle Farnsworth ripped either, and he still isn't.

    If you believe Coach Golloway, and we have no reason not to, Gray was spending more time doing cardio and calisthenics and less time weight training. Gray was also working with a dietician trying to eat better. Just getting in better shape and refining his mechanics could result in the uptick in the fastball.

    Anyways, given what we actually know, the Adderall seems to have been used for weight loss, not to mask steriods.

    BTW, and someone please correct me if I've got this wrong, but can't you buy Adderall in non-prescription doses OTC. I think it's called Addtabz. So it's entirely possible he was buying the OTC version and taking it at prescription doses. A lot of OTC meds are just lower dose versions of prescription meds.

  • There were doubts about Gray before this news. Mechanics, lack of refinement... He was a higher risk than Appel all along.

    So rate the risk... Pitchers are a higher risk than hitters because of the potential for injury. Pitchers with mechanical flaws are a higher risk than pitchers with solid mechanics. Pitchers caught taking medications that were not prescribed to them and are banned by college baseball are a bigger risk than pitchers who have not been caught.

    Gray is out. It's pretty simple, really. But if the Cubs were looking at Appel and Gray 1 and 2 by a long way, then what do you do? Pass on a guy who projects as a dominant closer at the very least? I doubt it.

  • Big time performance boost with that stuff. If I were a team looking to draft him, I'd throw this year's numbers (and velocity) out and decide where to take him based on previous years. I'm worried this makes it less likely Appel gets to us.

  • Can anyone tell me what is happening with the Cuban pitcher Concepcion? I can't find any information on him.

  • In reply to IL Farmer:

    Rehabbing in AZ for a while now and no return in sight.

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