California high school pitcher Lucas Giolito, who was widely projected as a top-five pick and potential No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft, will miss the remainder of the season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
When a pitcher tears his UCL it requires Tommy John surgery and a year-plus recovery, but Nathan Rode of Baseball America reports that Giolito is not expected to need surgery and has been given a 6-10 week recovery timetable.
Of course, sprained UCLs unfortunately become torn UCLs on occasion, so you can bet the injury will hurt Giolito’s draft stock and cause interested teams to do extra homework on the 6-foot-6 right-hander’s health status.
It may end up costing him millions of dollars and could potentially convince Giolito to delay his professional career, play a couple seasons of college ball, and give the draft another try once he’s healthy.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.