It certainly seems there has been a Tommy John epidemic over the last five years, especially among young pitchers. In an era where pitch counts and inning limits are highly monitored, this is kind of a head-scratcher. Since 2010 over one hundred MLB players have had the surgery and some requiring more than one. Here is a quick rundown of two young pitchers in New York with elite talent and what to expect in 2015.
- The 26 year old baseball phenom from Japan was handed a seven-year $155 million dollar contract by The Yankees in January 2014. Tanaka actually avoided Tommy John surgery last year and opted to rehab his UCL in his pitching elbow. Through 20 starts last year he went 13-5 posting a solid 2.77 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. Even though he avoided surgery by rehabbing, there has to be a cautious approach with him going forward so he can avoid surgery in the future. Tanaka has looked good in all of his bullpen sessions so far and has reported no discomfort in his elbow. He is set to make his Grapefruit League debut on March 12th vs. Atlanta. The Yankees haven't been very open about an innings limit this year but you would have to think as long as he's pain free they will run him out there every fifth day. If your League draft's late, keep a close eye on his developments. Even though he's a risky pick the reward is too high to ignore. His current draft position are rounds 11-13. If you draft a couple good reliable starters before Tanaka i would take the risk. Just don't make him your're number 1 or 2.
- 25 year old "Dark Knight of Gotham" did undergo Tommy John and missed all of 2014. He is set to make his first Spring Training start for the Mets March 6th and is on pace to make his regular season debut April 9th and make his second on April 14th. Here we know a little more of what to expect than with Tanaka. You assume the talent voided Mets to somewhat protect their biggest investment but all indications are he's almost fully recovered and the Mets will give him plenty of starts to help a Fantasy Team enter the playoffs. In 2013 Harvey finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting posting an outstanding 2.27 ERA, 191/31 K/BB ratio. This line is incredible for a 23 year old but you had to watch the games to see just how dominate Matt was, he was basically unhittable comparing to only shades of Kershaw and Verlander in recent years. In my opinion with his average draft rounds 7-10 he is just too good to leave on the board. Roll the dice with Harvey.