Rangers use third-round pick for RHP Michael Matuella
The Rangers take a pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery and back trouble but high talent…. He is from Duke University…. Gamble but high reward.. His back trouble is similar to Matt Harrison
FROM THHE RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER…
It’s not the arm surgery that has scouts spooked – Tommy John surgery is common among young top pitchers – it’s Matuella’s back. He was diagnosed with spondylolysis, a manageable condition that involves a defect in the connection between vertebrae. There is disagreement among baseball people as to how serious of a concern his back is, but it’s notable enough that analysts don’t expect him to be treated as favorably as other pitchers who have recently been drafted after Tommy John surgery: Jeff Hoffman, out of East Carolina, still went No. 9 overall last year to the Toronto Blue Jays, and UNLV’s Erick Fedde went 18th to the Washington Nationals. Hoffman already is back and throwing 99 mph in the Jays’ system.
“Even if you put the back pain aside, the scouting industry really needs to have a comfort level with anybody, even if they’re healthy. It’s such a crapshoot,” MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo said. “You add in elbow surgery, which most people now feel comfortable that a guy is going to come back from, with the fact of, ‘well, who is he?’ He has never thrown more than 60 innings. He didn’t pitch in the Cape or for USA Baseball or anything like that. There have not been enough looks at who he is regularly to feel that that is who he can be once he’s healthy. That’s probably, more than anything, what is keeping his draft stock down.
“You roll the dice and draft Michael Matuella, you’re hoping that he’s the guy who showed up in glimpses last year,” Mayo added. “That’s a large caveat when you’re talking about a first-round pick.”