Frankie Montas‘ breakout season has come to a jarring halt. According to Jeff Passan, Montas has been suspended for 80 games for taking a banned substance. Sam Dykstra lists the substance in question as Ostarine.
Frankie Montas Suspended 80 Games
Prior to today’s news, Montas was posting breakout numbers for the Athletics. He has 97 strikeouts against only 21 walks in 90 innings while posting an ERA of 2.70. That ERA was good for sixth best in the American League. Other stat estimators such as FIP concurred, giving him a 2.86 mark. Given that his performance does not seem to be derived from luck, this is a major blow to the A’s season.
A quick Google search says that Ostarine is a banned body-building stimulant, capable of increasing strength and mass as well as mimicking testosterone. So, it’s fairly clear that this drug should not have been in Montas’ system.
Interestingly, Passan notes that Montas made a fairly convincing claim that the drug was not really affecting his pitching performance. Nevertheless, Montas has apologized for the suspension and said he took it by accident. He also has not appealed the suspension.
The Oakland A’s have acknowledged the suspension. While publicly supportive, one has to wonder how this will affect the team moving forward.
As is the nature of breakouts, Montas had never demonstrated this level of talent before. He had always had good stuff, but control and mental lapses held him back. It is possible that he is correct that taking the drug did not help him – control and maturity are generally not steroid-induced. That said, given the timing of the suspension, there will be questions until he can pitch again.
Fortunately for the A’s, they have reinforcements on the horizon. The highly-regarded hurlers Jesus Luzardo and AJ Puk are making their way back from injury. While there is never a good time for a steroid suspension, it is possible that the recovering hurlers can capably fill Montas’ shoes.
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