The Marlins’ rotation has been a common point of discussion this offseason, with Miami considering ways to deal veteran pitching as a means of addressing the offense. The main impetus for the front office is their stockpile of arms, a group that includes a few talented young pitchers working back from serious injuries.
Former third overall pick Max Meyer cemented himself as one of the sport’s top prospects before his call-up last July. The organization’s excitement for that debut turned quickly, as the 23-year-old blew out his elbow during his second big league start. He required Tommy John surgery a couple weeks later.
As he nears the six-month mark in his recovery, Meyer updated Kyle Sielaff of the Hot Stove Show on his progress. The right-hander indicated he’s built up arm strength and hopes to be able to start throwing next month. “I think early February — even February 1 — is when I’m going to start throwing,” Meyer told Sielaff. “Been starting to get the elbow moving a little bit. … When Spring Training rolls around, I’ll be throwing with all those guys — I don’t know with the team or not — but I’ll be throwing. It’s coming up here pretty soon.”
The young starter will surely take things slowly, with Christina De Nicola of MLB.com writing that he’s expected to begin with a long toss program once he’s again able to throw. De Nicola adds that general manager Kim Ng indicated last month Meyer was likely to miss the entire 2023 season rehabbing from the procedure, which often comes with a recovery time pushing or exceeding 14 months. There’s no indication that timeline has changed — he’ll certainly need multiple months to gradually build back into game shape from the first time he can pick up a ball — but it’s encouraging he seems to be progressing well thus far.
Meyer isn’t Miami’s only touted young pitcher working back from Tommy John. Left-hander Jake Eder had broken out as one of the more interesting arms in the minors through 15 excellent Double-A starts early in the 2021 campaign. The Vanderbilt product blew out and underwent TJS at the end of August that year; he missed all of last season recovering. De Nicola writes that Eder, who first began throwing roughly 10 months after the operation, is expected to be at full strength for Spring Training.
Eder is not yet on the 40-man roster and will surely begin the upcoming season at an upper minor league affiliate. Those 15 Double-A starts are the 24-year-old’s only professional experience, and the organization has the MLB pitching depth to not rush Eder to the big leagues. If his stuff returns at pre-surgery levels and he again thrives in the upper minors, it seems possible he could put himself on the radar for a call-up later in the season.
Sixto Sánchez, meanwhile, has now lost two consecutive seasons to shoulder issues. Still just 24, the former top prospect and centerpiece of the J.T. Realmuto trade has fallen down the Miami depth chart in the wake of those injuries. Sánchez underwent arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder last October, with the club announcing at the time he was expected back for Spring Training. Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald provides a reasonably promising update, writing that Sánchez has been throwing bullpen sessions of late. Backstop Nick Fortes, who recently caught one of Sánchez’s workouts, expressed optimism about the young pitcher’s form heading into exhibition play.