Astros righty Francis Martes has undergone Tommy John surgery — technically announced as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction — according to the organization (h/t Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, on Twitter). He’s expected to be sidelined for twelve to sixteen months.
Martes, once considered one of the game’s very best pitching prospects, had been shut down for much of the present season owing to elbow problems. Now, he’ll almost certainly miss the entire 2019 campaign.
Though Martes wasn’t quite as successful as might’ve been hoped when he debuted last year, with a 5.80 ERA in his first 54 1/3 MLB frames, his skills still seemed plenty intriguing for a pitcher working in his age-21 season. Martes pumped 96 mph heaters and carried a 12.4% swinging-strike rate at the game’s highest level.
Entering camp this season, Martes was clearly in need of refinement to reach his projected ceiling as a high-end starter. But there was still quite a bit of promise for the youngster as things got underway.
Unfortunately, the elbow difficulties arose in camp and have never fully subsided. Martes won’t even accumulate twenty frames this year in the minors. In the four Triple-A starts he was able to make, he issued 17 walks to go with 16 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings.