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CJ Hinojosa suspended 50 games

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San Francisco Giants Photo Day Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

This morning my brother texted me to ask if I knew why Giants’ SS prospect CJ Hinojosa had suddenly been placed on the restricted list (I didn’t). This afternoon we all found out why:

Hinojosa was already starting out the 2018 season behind the rest of his teammates as he continued to recover from a torn achilles tendon suffered in the final weekend of the 2017 season. Now he’ll be behind a whole lot more.

Hinojosa played the role of hero for the University of Texas’ College World Series run in his sophomore season, but he suffered through a difficult Junior year, both offensively and defensively, that caused him to topple down draft boards. The Giants selected Hinojosa in the 11th round of the 2015 draft, and he quickly came to be viewed as a late round bargain. He posted an .810 OPS in a strong short season debut with Salem-Keizer in 2015. Skipping over A ball, he began the following year in A+ San Jose and earned a mid-season promotion to AA barely a year after his pro career had begun.

Like other Giants’ middle infield prospects before him, Hinojosa’s calling card is his ability to make contact. In 2017 he took that ability to a new level, striking out just 42 times in 373 ABs (while walking 31 times). Hinojosa was particularly strong in the first half of the season, posting more walks (19) than Ks (18) prior to the Eastern League All Star break, while hitting .308/.370/.410. He slumped in the final months of the year but still seemed poised for a 2018 promotion to AAA before the late injury. When I saw him just weeks ago in camp he looked healthy, happy, and was taking BP and participating in running drills.

Now he’ll likely not see action anywhere before June. It’s a tough break for Hinojosa and for a system that’s already weak in MI (the Richmond roster currently has just two players who can cover either MI position). Hinojosa is the second Giants’ farmhand to receive a 50 day suspension for a drug of abuse, following Catcher Justin O’Conner, who was released last week. On the one hand, marijuana (which typically is the eponymous “drug of abuse) isn’t a violation of the Joint Drug agreement for major league players, and as it gains more and more legal acceptance across the country it seems cruel and unfair that it should impose such a large penalty on minor league players. On the other hand, aw man, c’mon CJ!

Come back and do this again real soon, man.