Astros right-handed pitching prospect Jairo Solis underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday, the team told reporters (including Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). That obviously ends any chance of Solis pitching in 2021 and it’ll sideline him for most or all of the 2022 campaign.
It’s a horrible development for Solis, who also underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2018. That kept him out of action for all of 2019, and he obviously didn’t get an opportunity to pitch in a game last year because of the canceled minor league season. Solis also had a procedure to remove loose bodies from his elbow earlier this year, so he hasn’t pitched this season. If he’s indeed out through 2022, he’ll be looking at a staggering four straight years without game action.
In between the injuries, Solis has flashed impact upside. Entering the year, Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs credited him with four average or better pitches and ranked him as Houston’s #3 prospect. Longenhagen’s colleague, Kevin Goldstein, wrote that Solis could emerge as a top 100 overall prospect with a breakout performance this summer. Unfortunately, repeated elbow troubles will keep him from getting that opportunity.
The Astros added Solis to the 40-man roster last winter in advance of the Rule 5 draft. He’s spent all of 2021 on the minor league injured list. Players on the minor league IL continue to count against the 40-man roster, so today’s surgery could create a difficult decision for the front office. They surely wouldn’t want to part with a pitcher of his caliber, but it’s possible a roster crunch could force their hand. Houston could add Solis to the major league 60-day injured list to open 40-man roster space during the season, but that’d require paying him a major league salary and he’d still need to be activated from the IL over the offseason.