Marlins pitching prospect Jake Eder has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the damage, Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports. The procedure will quite likely wipe out Eder’s entire 2022 campaign.
Miami has amassed one of the deepest and most enviable collections of young pitching in all of baseball, but the loss of Eder puts a notable dent in that promising bumper crop. The 22-year-old Eder has seen his stock skyrocket since being selected out of Vanderbilt in the fourth round of last summer’s draft, with multiple publications now listing him among the game’s 100 best prospects.
After the canceled 2020 season, Eder jumped directly into Double-A to begin his professional career and has dominated despite an aggressive assignment after a nearly year-long layoff from pitching in a competitive setting. He’s totaled 71 1/3 innings in Pensacola thus far and pitched to a pristine 1.77 ERA with a huge 34.5 percent strikeout rate, a 9.4 percent walk rate and a strong 50.3 percent ground-ball rate. Baseball America ranked Eder as the sport’s No. 68 prospect on its updated midseason rankings, and MLB.com listed the left-hander at No. 81 on its own summer reranking of the game’s best farmhands.
Eder’s immediate success might have made him a candidate for a promotion to the big leagues as early as 2022. Instead, he’ll spend the season rehabbing with an eye toward getting back on the mound to begin his age-24 campaign in 2023. Even with Eder sidelined, however, the Marlins are still deep in young arms who’ve either found big league success or been ranked among the game’s most promising prospects.
Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez have solidified themselves as quality big league hurlers and each can be controlled another three seasons. Left-hander Trevor Rogers has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. Jesus Luzardo and Elieser Hernandez have both had some big league success but are seeking more consistency. Sixto Sanchez missed the 2021 season due to injury but is viewed as a key long-term piece of the rotation after a strong debut effort in 2020. Hard-throwing righty Edward Cabrera ranks among the game’s best prospects and impressed in his own MLB debut last week. Twenty-seven-year-old righty Zach Thompson has been an outstanding find for the Marlins on a minor league deal. Righty Max Meyer, the No. 3 pick in 2020, has dominated in Double-A. Lefty Braxton Garrett is viewed more as a depth arm at this point, but he was the No. 7 overall pick back in 2016. Prospects like Dax Fulton and Eury Perez (not to be confused with former big league outfielder Eury Perez) are also well-regarded, but further from the big leagues.
The injuries to Sanchez and now Eder serve as a reminder of the inherent risk associated with any pitching prospect, but there are few clubs that can boast such a deep collection of talented arms. That should serve the Marlins well both in terms of their 2022 pitching staff and also with their approach to the offseason trade market. The Marlins are known to be on the lookout for long-term options both at catcher and in center field, and that impressive stockpile of controllable pitching figures to serve them well in that endeavor, even with some injuries impacting the group.