Austin Gallagher has had quite a rough week. Not only was the 24-year old minor league first baseman released by the Dodgers, but he was also suspended on Friday by Major League Baseball for 50 games. Gallagher tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, banned substance sometimes found in nasal decongestants.
Gallagher will have to serve the 50-game suspension after he signs with a new team.
Gallagher hit .283/.383/.481 with 15 home runs and 27 doubles in 105 games in 2012 in his age-23 season with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, a level he has yet to advance beyond. Gallagher has played in the California League in four of his last five seasons, which certainly contributed to his release on Jan. 13, as reported by Matt Eddy at Baseball America.
Brandon Lennox had Gallagher ranked as the No. 43 Dodger prospect heading into the 2012 season, a continual downward trend from No. 7 in 2009, No. 19 in 2010, and No. 35 in 2011. But Lennox held out hope that the 2007 third-round pick could still salvage his prospect status:
Gallagher is definitely not the player I once thought he was when I ranked him as the Dodgers #7 prospect in 2009, but I also don’t think he should be written off just yet. He’s still just 23 years old and is finally showing signs of breaking out, so hopefully he’s turning the corner will continue to show improvement. In 2012 Austin should finally get his first taste of AA and despite his experience he’ll still be one of the younger players in the league. A good season for the Lookouts could really get him back on the Dodger prospect radar.
Unfortunately for Gallagher, he never reached Double-A in 2012, and he will have to wait at least 50 games into the 2013 season to get there, at the earliest.