The Rockies’ injury-plagued season has extended into the club’s farm system, as MLB.com’s Thomas Harding (via Twitter) reports that pitching prospects Gabriel Hughes, Jackson Cox, and Jordy Vargas will all undergo Tommy John surgeries this week. Dr. Keith Meister will perform all of the procedures, as well as the previously reported TJ surgery for veteran righy-hander Antonio Senzatela.
It’s a brutal setback for the three youngsters, all ranked by MLB Pipeline among the Rockies’ top 12 overall prospects, and Pipeline lists the trios as three of Colorado’s top four pitching prospects. Hughes was the 10th overall pick of the 2022 draft, Cox was a second-round pick in that same draft, and the 19-year-old Vargas was an international signing in 2021. Hughes was the furthest along of the trio since he made his Double-A debut this season, but now all three pitchers have been dealt a big setback in their young careers. Given the usual recovery timeline for Tommy John procedures, there’s a chance any of Hughes, Cox, or Vargas might be able to return late in the 2024 campaign, but it is likelier that the right-handers will all be sidelined until 2025.
More from around the National League…
- Most of the trade speculation about Cardinals pitching has focused on Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an unknown American League club has considered acquiring Steven Matz. The mystery team would use Matz as “rotation insurance or bullpen upgrade.” Matz is still owed the remainder of his $10MM salary for 2023 as well as $24MM in 2024-25, and it seems like the Cardinals would have to eat a good chunk of that money to accommodate a deal. Matz has struggled in both years of his original four-year, $44MM contract with St. Louis, but after losing his rotation job earlier this season, he has pitched considerably better since a move to the bullpen and a recent return to the starting five. Matz has a 2.93 ERA over his last 30 2/3 innings and 11 appearances.
- Jesse Winker had a big pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 3-2 win over the Reds tonight. It was a nice moment within what has been a very rough season for Winker, who entered Monday hitting only .194/.316/.242 over 196 plate appearances. These struggles have led to a reduced role, as manager Craig Counsell told reporters (including Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) “to this point [Winker] hasn’t given us production out of that spot….I think he understands it and just tries to be ready for an at-bat later in the day.” The hope is that the move will “let him work on some things and make some adjustments,” with Winker perhaps being able to earn his way back into regular at-bats. Winker was already limited to facing right-handed pitching due to his extreme splits, but he has only a .557 OPS against righties this season.
- Mets pitching prospect Calvin Ziegler isn’t expected to pitch in 2023 after suffering a torn right quad, according to Mike Mayer of Metsmerized (Twitter link). 2023 becomes an entirely lost season for the 20-year-old, who had yet to pitch this year due to an elbow surgery to remove bone spurs. Ziegler was the Mets’ second-round pick (46th overall) in the 2021 draft, with MLB Pipeline ranking him seventh in New York’s farm system and Baseball America ranking him 12th. The right-hander’s 60-grade fastball and curveball has led to a lot of strikeouts, but Ziegler has had a lot of problems in reducing walks. Unfortunately, he’ll now face another long layoff before he can continue his development.