Biogenesis and Fantasy Baseball: Players to Watch Before Draft Day

They’ve cleaned up the confetti and turned the lights off (again) at the Superdome after the Baltimore Ravens’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.  The Ravens have paraded through Baltimore in Humvees, Colin Kaepernick is already making plans for Super Bowl XLVIII, and for a couple of months, the NFL takes a rest.

It’s almost time, then, for fantasy baseball season!

After fantasy baseball managers get their leagues set up and choose the perfect fantasy baseball team name, it’s only natural to head over to the MLB section of their favorite sports website to catch up on the latest news around the league.

And that’s where they’ll immediately get slapped in the face with yet another story in the long, tired storyline that has dominated MLB for years:  PEDs.

While many of us had our attention focused on New Orleans and the Super Bowl, over in Florida, the Miami New Times was blowing the lid off another lab – Biogenesis – that appears to have been supplying banned substances to professional athletes, including several baseball players.

The Miami New Times focused on Alex Rodriguez.  Yahoo! Sports followed the Ryan Braun angle.  Everyone called out by these two articles has, of course, declined comment or denied any role in using PEDs.

So what does a fantasy baseball manager need to know?

It’s far too early to get any indication as to the potential Biogenesis fallout, but as you start assembling your fantasy baseball draft strategy, here are the guys you’ll want watch closely as this unfolds.

Alex Rodriguez, New York YankeesA-Rod claims to have only doped between 2001 and 2003, but the Miami New Times found evidence that makes it appear as though he was buying HGH and testosterone creams – both banned by MLB – in 2009, and his name appears in Biogenesis’ records all the way through last season.

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee BrewersBraun tested positive for testosterone in 2011 but beat the 50-game suspension because of a chain-of-custody issue in his sample.  He has denied ever using banned substances.  Now his name appears in Biogenesis’ records several times – although not specifically linked to any PEDs.

Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue JaysCabrera was enjoying an out-of-nowhere monster season with the San Francisco Giants last year when he was nailed with a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone.  Cabrera admitted his use and didn’t appeal his suspension.  His name appears 16 times in Biogenesis’ records, according to the Miami New Times.

Gio Gonzalez, Washington NationalsThe pitcher’s name appears five times, including an entry indicating that some sort of muscle-building protein called Aminorip was sold to him in 2012.

Yasmani Grandal, San Diego Padres:  An up-and-coming catcher who enjoyed a successful rookie campaign last season, Grandal will miss the first 50 games of the 2013 season for testing positive for testosterone.  He’s connected to a number of banned substances in Biogenesis’ records.

Grandal was probably a long shot to be on any fantasy baseball manager’s draft list, but any who are trying to catch lightning in a bottle are advised to proceed with great caution.

Also mentioned in the records are Bartolo Colon, Cesar Carrillo, Francisco Cervelli and Danny Valencia.

This is surely not the last we’ll hear of Biogenesis, and how everything shakes out remains to be seen.  But fantasy baseball managers will want to highlight or asterisk or otherwise remember these guys and follow their progress as yet another PED issue is exposed.

Otherwise, you could end up drafting a player who misses a large chunk of the 2013 season.