The Giants announced to reporters, including Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com, that right-hander Cole Waites underwent right elbow ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery today. It’s unclear if it was a full Tommy John procedure or a modified internal brace procedure, but they list his timetable for return to play as 12 to 16 months.
Waites, 25, is already on the 60-day injured list. He was transferred there in July due to a right elbow sprain. There hadn’t been any updates on him in the past couple of months, but it seems that he and the club exhausted whatever non-surgical options they were considering and he will now go under the knife. He will miss the remainder of this season and quite likely all of the 2024 campaign.
Selected by the Giants in the 18th round of the 2019 draft, Waites has unfortunately been unable to log many innings since then. The minor leagues were wiped out by the pandemic in 2020 and then he required knee surgery in 2021. Despite those setbacks, he made it to the majors late last year and tossed 5 2/3 innings before adding another 2 1/3 this year. He currently has an earned run average of 6.75 in those eight big league innings and a mark of 3.76 in 103 minor league innings. He’s struck out 37.6% of minor league batters he’s faced but also walked 15.3%.
He will now have to battle through yet another significant setback, likely not pitching again until 2025, which will be his age-27 season. He will finish this year with less than a year of service time, meaning the Giants could potentially control him for another six years. But there’s no injured list in the offseason, meaning he would need to be added back onto the roster for the winter. Baseball America ranked him the #18 prospect in the system coming into the year, highlighting his triple-digit fastball.