The following news doesn’t come as a surprise, but it’s now official. According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Braves right-hander Kris Medlen will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery tomorrow.
This will be the second Tommy John surgery of Medlen’s young career. He previously had the procedure in August of 2010 and made it back to the majors in September of 2011. The Braves were widely praised for how they handled Medlen’s workload in 2012, first using him out of the bullpen before transitioning him to the rotation. After posting a 3.11 ERA over a career-high 197 innings last season, he was being counted on to serve as Atlanta’s ace this year, but now he has another long rehab ahead of him. Getting him back at some point during the first half next year is probably the best-case scenario.
In other injured Braves starting pitcher news, Brandon Beachy is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles tomorrow to get a second opinion on his elbow. He could soon be headed for a second Tommy John surgery of his own.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.