Brewers reliever Bobby Wahl has suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and will likely miss the 2019 season, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com was among those to report. Wahl incurred the injury while pitching, making it a particularly rare occurrence, general manager David Stearns pointed out (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
Stearns acquired the 26-year-old Wahl from the Mets this past January in a four-player trade centering on outfielder Keon Broxton, and the right-hander could have worked his way into the Brewers’ bullpen mix in 2019. Instead, Wahl seems poised to sit out the year after succumbing to yet another serious injury in his short professional career. A fifth-round pick of the Athletics in 2013, Wahl dealt with oblique and elbow problems early in his tenure with them, and he underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in 2017.
Wahl returned from the procedure last year to post excellent production with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate, as he pitched to a 2.27 ERA/2.48 FIP with a sky-high strikeout rate (14.75 K/9, compared to 3.86 BB/9) over 39 2/3 innings. The A’s then traded Wahl to the Mets in a July deal for reliever Jeurys Familia. Wahl ended up throwing 5 1/3 innings apiece with the Mets and their top minor league affiliate.
Thus far, Wahl owns just a 6.92 ERA/4.93 FIP with 10.38 K/9 and 5.54 BB/9 across 13 big league frames. However, Wahl’s strong output in the minors has helped him rank among the Brewers’ top 30 prospects at both FanGraphs (No. 19) and MLB.com (No. 26). Back in November, FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen lauded Wahl’s four-pitch mix – including a mid- to high-90s fastball and a “bat-missing” curve – though they noted he carries a higher degree of injury risk than most pitching prospects.