Milwaukee Brewers starter will miss the majority of the 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. But what about the guys in the Minors who went under the knife?
Did you know that the Milwaukee Brewers had six pitchers in their organization who underwent Tommy John surgery recently? Josh Pennington elected to retire in May when he suffered an injury and would have needed his second TJS. 2018 sixth round pick Drew Rasmussen had surgery in August of 2017, and has yet to throw a pitch as a professional. Rasmussen should start his pro career in 2019, but what about the rest of the Brewers young arms who needed to have surgery?
Nathan Kirby made our list because he missed 2016 and 2017 with two different Tommy John surgeries. He was declared fit to pitch ‘without restriction’ during Spring Training, and ended the 2018 season healthy.
Kirby made 16 relief appearances and 11 starts in 2019 with the High-A Carolina Mudcats. He tossed 71 innings, struck out 75, walked 46, and posted a 4.82 ERA. Kirby lacks a highly rated fastball, but he’s proven to be a breaking ball specialist, who still has a chance at the Majors.
Drafted in the fourth round in 2015, 2019 will be Kirby’s age-25 season, and only his third as a professional. He’s a solid bet to start the year in Double-A, and could reach Triple-A if he’s successful.
Milwaukee Brewers prospect Quintin Torres-Costa would have made his Major League debut in September if he didn’t require Tommy John surgery. He went under the knife in mid-October, and will likely miss all the 2019 season.
Torres-Costa threw 24 innings in Triple-A in 2018. He posted a 1.50 ERA with 21 strikeouts, 12 walks, and zero homers allowed. He only just 24 years old, so there’s still a solid chance that he makes his Major League debut before he turns 26.
Another draftee from 2015, Nash Walters missed all of 2017 with an elbow strain, before electing to have Tommy John surgery in September of 2017. He hasn’t pitched in a game since 2016.
The Milwaukee Brewers third round pick from 2015 has only just turned 21 years old, and still has several years to get his career on track. He should return in 2019. He was reportedly throwing in the mid-nineties during the fall
Devin Williams has been with the Milwaukee Brewers organization since he was drafted in the second round of the 2013 amateur draft. Williams suffered a right elbow strain in Spring Training in 2017. He missed the entire 2017 campaign, but returned to High-A in June of last year.
Williams made 14 starts for the Carolina Mudcats, and tossed 34 innings. He posted a 5.82 ERA with 35 strikeouts, 22 walks, and two homers allowed.
Williams turned 24 in September, and still possesses a solid fastball with a plus curveball. His change-up still needs work, but it may makes sense to ditch it and become a two-pitch reliever. He could start the year back at High-A or get moved up to Double-A, depending on his spring.
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It’s not unheard of for young pitchers to require Tommy John surgery, rehab, and still have a lengthy career. It could work out for at least five of the name that appeared above and the Milwaukee Brewers. Don’t expect to see any of these guys in Milwaukee this year, but keep an eye on their progress. It wouldn’t be a huge shock to see a few names here start showing up in top 25 prospects lists.