Miami Marlins top prospect Braxton Garrett underwent Tommy John surgery to fix a partially torn UCL on Tuesday.
Dr. James Andrews performed the operation in Pensacola, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. The surgery comes just over one week after the team revealed Garrett’s partial UCL tear.
This will certainly come as a blow to the Marlins. The team’s farm system is not particularly strong, and Garrett is one of the lone bright spots. Our own Benjamin Chase ranked the pitcher as the Marlins’ top prospect back in January, noting that he is probably the only true top-100 prospect that the team has.
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Indeed, he is a consensus top-100 prospect. ESPN’s Keith Law pegs his value the highest at 42nd, and MLB.com closely follows suit with Garrett in the 43rd spot. Both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America have a slightly more pessimistic view, putting him in the 70’s. Still, it is incredibly impressive for any player to achieve a top-100 prospect ranking, regardless of the location on the list.
Not only does Braxton Garrett receive elite reviews from scouts, but he has the resume to support the hype. The Miami Marlins selected him with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 draft straight out of high school. Pitching for Florence High School in Florence, Alabama, the left-handed pitcher appeared in the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park as a junior before earning a spot on the 18U National Team that won the World Cup as a senior.
In his time this season, the high school success had carried over to the minor leagues. With the Marlins Single-A affiliate, the 19-year-old posted a 2.93 earned run average over 15 innings of work. He only managed to make four starts, but he dominated in that time. With 16 strikeouts, it is clear that his wipeout curveball is serving him well.
Perhaps one area of concern is in the walk department. The youngster allowed six free passes in that time, a blemish on an otherwise stellar season. Sure, he allowed more home runs than usual, but his 45 percent groundball rate and abnormal home run to fly ball ratio should ease all concerns about the long ball.
Even with a flawless surgery and swift recovery, the best that Garrett and the Marlins can hope for is a return early next season. Given his young nature and sky-high potential, the Miami Marlins will probably urge the lefty to take his time getting back into the swing of things. The last thing that either party wants is a prolonged issue that could have been avoided.