Mets southpaw and fourth ranked prospect will miss rest of 2017 and likely most of 2018.
The injury bug has spread through the ranks and it has bitten one of the top prospects in the Mets organization.
Thomas Szapucki will miss the rest of the season and likely most of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.
The 21-year old lefty controlled the lower level hitters in his young career. In his first professional season, Szapucki pitched to a 1.38 ERA in nine starts between Brooklyn and Kingsport. He struck out 86 batters over 52 innings and allowed just 49 total base runners (26 hits, 20 walks, 3 hit batters). Szapucki recorded 10 or more strikeouts in five of nine starts, including three consecutive outings with Brooklyn.
This year has been a struggle with injuries. Early in the year, Szapucki was dealing with a shoulder impingement that delayed his 2017 campaign with Columbia.
Szapucki returned to the mound in early June but it took a couple of starts to get rolling. Overall, he posted a 2.79 ERA before leaving his last start against Augusta on July 6 with forearm discomfort.
Szapucki recorded 27 strikeouts to 10 walks in 29.0 innings in his stint with Columbia. His walk rate in a smaller sample size improved slightly from last season.
A fifth round pick in the 2015 MLB draft, Szapucki has been tabbed as a prospect to keep an eye on down the line. He was ranked as the fourth best prospect in the Mets organization by MLBPipeine.com.
How each pitcher comes back from Tommy John surgery is a case-by-case basis. Szapucki just turned 21 last month, but it’s a heavy blow dealt to a young man who started to put together a career that suggested he could rise through the ranks quickly.
At this rate, Szapucki’s career has produced similar hurdles to a current Mets pitcher in Steven Matz, who also suffered injury setbacks early in his professional career.
Here’s to hoping for a speedy recovery and that we’ll see Szapucki back on the hill at some point next year.