There have been plenty of guys who have come back from Tommy John surgery. John Smoltz. NL starter in the All-Star Game Adam Wainwright. There are others who’ve needed it multiple times. Jarrod Parker and Kris Medlen come to mind. Ivan Nova just had it. Masahiro Tanaka may need it.
Once upon a time, Manny Banuelos was regarded as high a prospect, if not higher than what Luis Severino is being regarded as right now. He missed all of last year recovering from the surgery. This year, combined with Tampa and Trenton is 0-3 with a 5.11 ERA including an ERA of 6.03 in Trenton. Is it time to give up on him?
To me you don’t and there are a couple of reasons why.
First of all, he’s just 23 and left-handed so there is still some time. Secondly, he’s coming back from the surgery. It can take awhile to get that velocity back and get his arm stronger and better. This is the same guy who was the number 12 prospect in all of baseball before the 2012 season.
Even if it’s an injury recovery, it’s very risky to throw that away, especially for an organization that needs starting pitching. It’s hard to give up on guys like that. Now, if Banuelos is still terrible the rest of this year AND next, its possible it’s all over for him and you’d have to let him go to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Keep an eye on Banuelos the rest of the way. If he starts to rebound, he could be someone to watch for his debut at some point in 2015. If not, he could be another what if.