Today Jeremy Jeffress can return to baseball after a 50 game suspension. A few months ago I wrote this article in my Brewers blog and felt that this would be more appropriate than just mentioning his name and his return.
With all the craziness abound in the Roger Clemens perjury and steroid scandal, it's hard to believe a young 20 year old kid with a beast of an arm can stand up and admit his flaws. Jeremy Jeffress is a 6'0, 175 pound right handed pitcher, who was picked in the first round by the Brewers in the 2006 First Year Players' Draft, and at the age of 18 he was immediately tossed into the bin as one of the top 5 prospects in the system. This simply the result of his A++ fastball, which clocks over a 100 MPH consistently, and a high school senior year ERA of 0.19. But like many young kids who think they have it made after getting drafted, Jeremy went off into his own world and neglected the rules that professional baseball lay upon its players.
In 2 years of professional baseball, Jeffress has tested positive for a substance of abuse four (from what I can tell) different times, which is right up there with the likes of Rickey Williams of the Miami Dolphins. That's marijuana for those not in the know. As a result, Jeremy will have to sit out the first 40 games of this season, bleeding over from a 50 game suspension that began at the end of last year. As a Brewers fan, it's been pretty depressing to see this kid drop this low, especially because the lack of power arms in the system has been pretty minimal for a very long time, but there's a hope.
In yet another Haudricourt article today, Jeffress has come clean, so much so that he's admitted spending up to a month in a rehab center to get sober. Even further, since MLB and the Brewers are not allowed to reveal the drug he tested positive for, Jeffress, himself, revealed he was in fact fighting a marijuana addiction, even though most of us had already been informed. I don't know about any one else, but this is a breath of fresh air in a baseball world that has been scattered with liars upon liars over the last decade.
From HGH to anabolic steroids and even to alcohol abuse, baseball has been frayed at the edges and in its core by drug use whether it be performance enhancing or hindering. But its nice to see someone come clean without getting forced by subpoena or accusations in an article or book. The best thing Brewers fans should get out of this article isn't so much the progress of Jeffress who has really put himself at the back of the line for his mistakes, but how Reid Nichols and the minor league farm directors are handling Jeremy. They helped him find a program, stick to it and work his way out of a tough situation. It's a testament to a group of guys who have helped build the talents we see on the field at Miller Park. And on behalf of all Brewers fans out there, I would like to thank all of the gentlemen involved in the development of our young ballplayers, not just as athletes, but as men. Because no matter how long they play baseball, the will always be men and men are much more valuable to this world.