There is a saying that older hats from the baseball internetasphere – TINSTAAPP. There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. Due to the tenuous nature of pitcher’s health and the uncertainty associated with minor league stats and success, it is important to never forget this important proverb: There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect.
Both the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles attracted a great deal of attention for the impressive stable of arms they were able to build in recent years. The Braves have more success graduating some of their farmhands to big league contributors but, after some grim injury news this week, both teams look to be out blue chip prospects.
Vizcaino was one of the trio of Braves starters competing for a job with the in 2012 before getting yanked from the Grapefruit League opener with arm soreness. After young Braves arm Arodys Vizcaino visited Dr. James Andrews in Alabama this week, he got the worst possible news from the famed surgeon: torn ulnar collateral ligament, Tommy John surgery, out for the season. Bummer.
Meanwhile, in nearbyish Sarasota, one of the Orioles heavily hyped arms Zach Britton has his date with destiny later this week. After dealing with shoulder soreness, the young left-hander is resigned to missing the start of the season but remains optimistic about avoiding major surgery. An early-February MRI revealed no damage, the Baltimore Sun reports, but the lingering troubles prompted the team to look beyond their in-house medical staff.
For Vizcaino, it is a year-long setback but not the end of the road. The well-known Tommy John procedure has a list of successful recoveries as long as your surgically-rebuilt arm. Shoulder injuries are not quite the sure thing, straight-line process as the elbow surgery seems to be.
Losing Vizcaino for the year deals the Braves title chances a tiny blow – any time you lose the number 2 prospect in your system to injury it should be considered a bad thing. The Braves are lucky to have more than enough depth to cover for the loss of the young righty.
The Orioles and Britton need 2012 to establish where in their pecking order the 24 year-old stands. With Dylan Bundy ready to blaze a trail to the bigs and Brian Matusz recovering some of the form that made him their de-facto number one starter, the more starts Britton makes in 2012 the better.
Keeping pitchers healthy is the difference between winning and losing. Keeping your best arms on the mound represents incredible value both on the field and in the accounting departments. The stakes are high for both team and player, hopefully these two exciting young arms make it through to the other side.