Marlins top prospect Tyler Kolek underwent Tommy John surgery today, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports (via Twitter). Kolek was said in late March to have been sidelined with an elbow issue after a strong Spring Training. Miami made the big right-hander the second pick in the 2014 draft (behind Brady Aiken and directly ahead of Carlos Rodon and Kyle Schwarber), but his career hasn’t taken off as the Marlins had hoped.
Kolek wasn’t considered a reach by any means when the Marlins took him, as the high school righty drew rave reviews for his 100 mph fastball and landed among the top three on the pre-draft rankings of Baseball America, ESPN and MLB.com. Miami gave Kolek a hefty $6MM signing bonus — the third-largest ever for a high school pitcher.
Now 20 years of age, Kolek has battled his control in his pro career so far; he’s pitched for the Marlins Gulf Coast League and Class-A affiliates, working to a combined 4.55 ERA with a 99-to-74 K/BB ratio in 130 2/3 innings. Kolek rated firmly within the game’s Top 100 prospects prior to the 2015 season, but he lost that distinction in the eyes of BA, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus this year. ESPN’s Keith Law slipped him just inside the Top 100 prospects on his list, rating Kolek 97th.
Widely regarded as the organization’s top prospect, Kolek was three years younger than the average competition he faced at Class-A last season, so he’s certainly young enough to bounce back and restore his prospect status if he makes a full recovery. However, a season on the shelf will clearly slow his development, and his injury further depletes a Marlins farm system that both Law and BA rated 29th in all of Major League Baseball.