Former Top Phils’ Prospect Suspended for Marijuana – Phillies Nation
Minor Leagues

Former Top Phils’ Prospect Suspended for Marijuana

Singleton, seen here as a Blue Claw in 2010, will face a 50-game suspension from Minor League Baseball. Photo by: Jay Floyd

Jonathan Singleton, 21, was suspended today for 50-games for violating minor league baseball’s banned substance policy after testing positive for marijuana. Singleton will miss the first 50-games of what likely would have been with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Singleton was sent to Houston in July 2011’s trade for Hunter Pence and was ranked the 34th best prospect in the game by Baseball America entering the 2012 season. He was ranked second in the Astros organization behind shortstop Carlos Correa in Baseball America’s Astros’ Top 10 after hitting .284/.396/.497 with 21 HR and 7 SB for Double-A Corpus Christi in 2012.

Singleton issued a statement through his agency:

I was informed today that I have tested positive for marijuana. As a result, I am being suspended for the first 50 games of the 2013 season. I accept the penalty and take full responsibility for my actions. I apologize to my parents, the Houston Astros and (general manager) Jeff Luhnow.

The Astros have been nothing but supportive of me and good to me in my short time with the organization. My hope is to use this as a learning experience and spend the rest of my career proving to myself and the baseball community that this was a lapse in judgment, and is not in any way indicative of my character or my dedication to baseball or to my team.’



  1. CS

    January 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Crap, What a waste.

  2. Dave P

    January 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I don’t smoke but I think having a rule about this is kind of B.S. Especially when it results in a 50 game ban, what bullshit.

    • Ken Bland

      January 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      If it’s such bullshit, then why do so many companies have drug testing these days. And it is his 2nd failed test. Not a lot of sympathy appears to be in order here.

      • EricL

        January 10, 2013 at 1:08 am

        You know, it’s possible for companies to have bullshit policies too.

        My opinion is that what you do on your own time, outside of work really shouldn’t be the business of your employer unless it negatively effects your ability to do your job, in which case your boss can punish you if he sees fit.

  3. CS

    January 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    It’s against the law, not much to say about that. It’s also spelled out in there agreements and rules I’m sure.

    • Phil Ease

      January 12, 2013 at 9:16 am

      Maybe he smoked it in Colorado, where it *is* legal.

  4. Eddie J

    January 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    So what? It’s not like it’s a PED. “Marijuana enhances many things. Moods, tastes, music…. It does not make you f—–g empowered.” — Robin Williams

  5. George

    January 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Marijuana may not be as bad as some things he could have taken, but it is still illegal in most places. Just because a law against something might be stupid you still have to obey it or you’ll face consequences.

  6. Chuck A.

    January 10, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Stupid dumba$$. Whether or not the rule is BS or not doesn’t excuse the fact that the kid effed up. Jesus…when are these guys gonna learn?!

  7. Don M

    January 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I wonder when he failed the test … I actually didn’t know that Marijuana was on the 50-game list, because I assumed a decent amount of MLB players smoked in the offseason (they are all into hunting, fishing, etc. lots of time spent sitting around doing nothing) . . .

    Singleton’s a young kid, he’s got a mark against him now, but hopefully he learns from this

    • Ken Bland

      January 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

      It’s funny that you say maybe he learns from this. It’s pretty amazing how people need to learn something first hand to learn from it. 2,000 players in sports, or whatever the accurate number is have made drug “mistakes,” but the way it works, Singleton, and 21 is old enough to be drug educated, still has to learn from his own mistake rather than many, many predecessors. But sometimes, it’s understandable, I guess. Don Rogers, whio was an ex UCLA guy who went on to sign and I believe play shortly with the original Cleveland Browns. He was a defensive back, and no doubt saw Len Elmore die of a coke overdose, but Elmore was a power forward, so I can understand Rogers missing the point thinking the position he played was safe for drug participation. Maybe the names chronologically should be inverted. Ask me if I care. Oh, by the way, if I still had a memory, I’m sure I could recall at least 20,000 examples in my own legendary life wheer I would have, should have could have learned from a predecessor, or contemporary’s mistake, but chose my own education. But the more ancient you get, and outgrow s, or reduce stupidity, the more these guys amaze. But it ain’t changing. No siree. Not in this planet’s lifetime. And it’s unfortunate that it works that way because the chances of some other player learning from Singleton’s choice aren’t real strong. Some kid might, but chances aren’t what you’d like to see them/

      • hk

        January 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        Len Bias, not Len Elmore, died of a cocaine overdose.

      • Ryan H.

        January 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        what does any of that have to do with smoking some weed? weed is harmless. and not in any way comparable to cocaine or even pain pills. pain pills is the real epidemic in sports (and the suburbs)

      • Ken Bland

        January 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

        Has a lot to do with it, though obviously suspension and death are different degree punishments. Inability to follow policy, inability to be man/leader enough to stand up and say no after zillions of examples of people made the wrong choice and paid. I don’t particularly care if grass is harmless. Totally irrelavant.

        By the way, marijuana ISN”T harmless. I’ll pass on the details, but it is NOT harmlerss.

      • loupossehl

        January 11, 2013 at 12:16 am

        No, marijuana isn’t harmless, and if you indulge while in “game mode” it will result in deterring you from doing this-and-that at the highest level.

        And alcohol isn’t harmless. And its short-term impact and long-term deleterious effect are way worse than weed. But that hasn’t kept athletes from indulging then and now, and there’s no 50-game suspension associated with getting plowed. Should Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin and Bobby Layne and Max McGee and probably half the members of whatever-sport’s HOF have been suspended after putting on an all-star performance on one gameday – because they had closed some bar(s) the previous evening?

        A fifty-game suspension for smoking weed is bullshit. The only conceivable good coming from Singleton’s suspension would be if the Astros were egregiously stupid enough to give Singleton his walking papers … so that the Phillies could reclaim a talented young guy they never should have let go in the first place.

      • EricL

        January 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

        Lou, regular moderate alcohol consumption, particularly wine, has been show to have numerous health benefits.

  8. The Original Chuck P

    January 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

    The Players Union negotiates these rules… the rules are in place to protect the players and the game. You don’t want this stuff going around… even if you don’t think smoking affects your ability to play (which it does – no more than cigarettes but then again, you wouldn’t want to see Chase Utley smoking Newports, either), you don’t want the children watching to get the wrong impression that smoking weed is cool or acceptable. Even in places where it’s legal, I don’t think it should be tolerated in baseball. Going to strip clubs at 1 AM isn’t illegal but most professional sports organizations don’t allow it… because professional athletes have a responsibility to the game, their teammates, their organizations and their fan bases to act professionally. Being a professional athlete is a great privilege… you get paid to play a game… it’s a little bit different than smoking a doobie before packing orders in a warehouse.

    • Ryan H.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      dude. you gotta be kiddin me with this “what about the children” BS. maybe the children will see that marijuana isn’t the devil. that a successful smart young athlete can smoke it once in a while and not turn into a brain dead zombie like in reefer madness.

      marijuana IS acceptable. by most people. it has been stigmatized by Nixon war on drugs policies. mostly only because it was associated with minorities. I have no problem with letting my kids know that an athlete smokes weed. hell, lawrence taylor was high on crack during the super bowl.

      by the way: chase utley does smoke. I’ve seen it in person (at the strip club in fact). many of the phillies, including chase, are at delilah’s all the time. hammered and smoking.

      • George

        January 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        You have obviously never met some the people I have: long-term marijuana users who were so lethargic they didn’t care about anything, including sex.

        It may be acceptable, but it’s not harmless.

      • The Original Chuck P

        January 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

        Are you a dad, Ryan? I’m not denying that it might be “less harmful” than alcohol or cigarettes but that doesn’t change my opinion on the matter. It’s better left as-is.

        I’m not saying marijuana is the devil but when a normal kid does marijuana, he doesn’t just do it to “unwind.” He does it to get high… and then he gets in a car with his friends. And perhaps he eats mushrooms or pops a few pills. Maybe he won’t but I know many kids that started smoking weed and it wasn’t enough. I smoked weed… in high school and even in college while I was playing football and quitting was really hard but it was well worth it. If you’re smoking weed, you’re not productive and people who smoke weed don’t just smoke weed to unwind, they do it to get high. They might start smoking at night but it progresses to a bowl before you go to work and a blunt on your lunch break… and before you know it, you’re spending more time unwinding, in a state of “duhh,” than you are being a productive human being.

        Kids are going to smoke weed anyway but I’m a father and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure my kids don’t get caught in that trap… because it is a trap… you waste your money, you waste your time and you waste opportunities to be productive. I know the guys in my office who think it’s “ok” to smoke weed. Why? Because they’re not productive. And I’d be curious to know why someone needs to “unwind” away. What are you unwinding from? Have you tried reading a book or going for a run? And the response to this by someone who thinks it’s ok will be to fire back and say that they can do whatever they want in their leisure… it’s a trap and if you’re denying it, you’re stuck.

        It would certainly help our economy… I can’t imagine the tax revenue the government could get from legalizing weed and imposing ridiculou sumptuary taxes. I can’t believe what people pay for cigarettes… it’s mind boggling. But you’re going to tell me that’s not a waste… that’s not a harmless recreational habit. And we want to add more of these things to our shelves? Cigarettes are bad enough… Alcohol is bad enough… I’ve lost two kids that I coached this year to drunk driving and a sister to a drug overdose (she was in a car accident, popped a few pain pills to ease the pain and help her fall asleep and never woke up). I’m sorry man, I’m not buying it.

    • Devin

      January 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Little fun fact: No study has ever even suggested that mushrooms are bad for you. But it’s okay, the elderly are allowed to be regressive.

  9. The Original Chuck P

    January 10, 2013 at 10:25 am

    PS – he’s suspended because this is his second offense… the first time you get caught, you don’t get suspended.

  10. The Original Chuck P

    January 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I may have misspoke on this being his second offense… the Minor League Drug Policies might be different than the Major League Policies (although, I can’t confirm that). In the majors, you get off with a slap on the wrist for drugs of abuse… testing for marijuana is done on a “reasonable cause” basis and first offense is usually treatment (15-25 game suspension sometimes). Second offense is 50 games.

  11. Ryan H.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    suspended for marijuana? what century are we in? certainly not a performance enhancer. gimme a break. I feel bad for Singleton. this isn’t fair to him. there is nothing wrong with smoking a little weed now and then. it is COMPLETELY harmless.

  12. Don M

    January 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    One of the arguments around the PED users/tests, etc . . . . was that it “wasn’t illegal in baseball” – though it was “illegal in the USA” …

    The interesting will be to see what happens when more than just Colorado (Rockies), and Washington (Seattle Mariners) continue to legalize recreational marijuana use . . .

    It’s not illegal in the USA, but it’s illegal in the game …

    Now that I’m a father, I think my views have changed- – I think i’d rather see it decriminalized than just legalized. Jay Leno once said that he really doesn’t want to see ad’s on TV, etc. . . and little kids being exposed to it the way they are with alcohol ….. though with legalization, a super-HIGH tax rate (get it), could be a great thing for our countries economy ………..and now we’re off topic.. sorry.

  13. Chuck A.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Pot is harmless? really? Ryan H…you need to do some research and check your facts. And I don’t feel bad for Singleton at all. He’s a professional athlete and should have know the policy and it’s ramifications.

    • Devin

      January 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Hey I just did some quick research. Turns out that marijuana has less detrimental effect on the human body than alcohol, junk food, and being around cars. Also turns out it is suspected to have health benefits, although the studies that show that are only slightly less inconclusive/suspect than the studies that show it can hurt you.

      Reefer Madness called they want their hysteria back.

  14. William Rennick

    January 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I love my pot as much as the next guy, but this kid hasn’t been in the Phillies’ organization for 18 months now. Speaking of Singleton, Hunter Pence won the 2012 Texas Professional Player of the Year Award.

  15. matt

    January 10, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    all i got to say is pot will stay in your system for up to 30 days . I someone smoked crack yesterday it will be out of their system in a day or two. Thats why pot testing is stupid, there is many WAY more harmful drugs out there that guys do that go undetected because its gone before a test can show that that person used the drug. I also agree that what someone does to UNwind in his own time should not effect there job unless there is due cause.

  16. Lefty

    January 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Dave’s not here man.

    Lethargy and smoke ingestion, now that’s what we want out of our athletes. Glad he’s no longer in the Phillies system.

  17. matt

    January 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    lefty, that would be due cause

  18. Chuck A.

    January 11, 2013 at 11:40 am

    OCP – Awesome post above at 11:28. I hope kids read it. If you’re a father have your kids read it.

  19. Anon

    January 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    These are perfect examples as to the thought processes of responses that keep marijuana from getting legalized for people who really need it. My dad, who is a 5 year cancer patient on his second round of chemo, and my mom, who lives with both chronic pain, seizures and has had two strokes in the past three years would both be medically approved, if they lived in a different state. They a prime examples for the legalization of this substance, and I have written my local representative about it, as she is also the one who co-signed the proposal for the bill back in 2011. I don’t doubt or argue that these cases obviously don’t match up with either what mistakes athletes make or what good parents can try to teach their kids, and I know that I am certainly not trying making an argument for recreational use or even comparing it to alcohol or tobacco, but this is stupid. Some of you question who has kids of their own here? Well, I do. And I also still have parents, and I’m seeing them struggle in the worst pains of their lives. The medical legalization is going to change in the next decades, so these arguments and opinions that I have read — which I agree with — unfortunately belong with the mindsets that prevent our society to be progressive enough when we really need. I’m sorry I wrote so much about a non-baseball subject, but it is obviously one close to my heart — and I’m not coming in saying, “Smoke pot.” Far from it. If you’re a young athlete, make better decisions. However, it won’t kill your career, but it might alienate your fan-base. However, I think some of you need to put yourself in the shoes of someone who knows the benefits of marijuana for the elderly, and stop preaching.

  20. The Original Chuck P

    January 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t think that anyone on here… myself included… would argue against the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. An athlete “winding down” is a far cry from a cancer patient needing something to alleviate the pain. I do sympathize with you, Anon. I’m guilty (like most) of putting up my blinders… it’s a situation where most representatives are not going to vote FOR something like that because of the stigma associated with it but legalizing marijuana for extreme medicinal purposes doesn’t seem to be a terrible idea (the kids are going to get marijuana anyway so it probably wouldn’t result in a huge in-flux of dopers). But again, I am sure that would be impossible to pass in a lot of states (like PA).

    • George

      January 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      I certainly agree here. Medical marijuana is totally different than recreational marijuana. I certainly wouldn’t advocate smoking dope to a young person, because it does have long-term effects, and like any other drug, including the legal ones, it shouldn’t be taken unless there’s a valid medical reason. I’ve been sickened by laws about marijuana which are archaic and stupid. I’ve also been sickened when seeing a fine and active person succumb to the lethargy brought on by its long term use. There’s got to be a more sensible approach to the situation than just making it impossible for anyone to obtain the weed. There are, after all, far more dangerous drugs that can be purchased by nearly anyone at the local drugstore.

    • Devin

      January 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Within my life time recreational marijuana will be legal in a majority of the states, if not all of them.

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