Rays lefty Anthony Banda will undergo Tommy John surgery, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). Given the typical year-plus recovery timeline for this procedure, Banda will likely miss the remainder of the current season and most or all of 2019.
Banda came to Tampa Bay over the offseason as a key part of the three-team swap that sent outfielder Steven Souza to the Diamondbacks. He had turned into a notable prospect in the Arizona system, which he joined along with Mitch Haniger following the 2014 deadline deal that sent Gerardo Parra to the Brewers.
With the news, Banda will join another recent top pitching prospect acquired in a significant, relatively recent trade — Jose De Leon — on the road to a return from a TJ procedure. De Leon will surely hope to be ready at some point relatively early in the 2019 season. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Banda will be able to join him late next year, though of course the Rays will surely exercise caution.
In weighing a timeline, it’s also worth bearing in mind that Banda is still not established at the game’s highest level. The 24-year-old southpaw struggled in his first taste of the majors last year, but gave the Rays 14 2/3 useful innings this year, over which he allowed six earned runs while compiling ten hits against three walks. Banda also showed a health (95.4 mph average) heater, up from his numbers in 2017.
In truth, Banda’s limited MLB showing isn’t yet sufficient to draw any conclusions about his future. He has pitched well this year at Triple-A, though, after putting up middling numbers there in 2017. Through 42 frames over eight starts, he owns a 3.64 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, and a 38.4% groundball rate.
The move puts another dent in Tampa Bay’s rotation depth, both for the present season and beyond. More immediately, the organization has at least finally welcomed Nathan Eovaldi back. And Yonny Chirinos is also off of the DL, though he has been optioned to Triple-A despite a solid start in his season in the majors.