Banuelos has been on the DL just about the entire season as he has attempted to rehab his injured elbow. He seemed to be progressing and it was anticipated that he would pitch this offseason to makeup for lost time, but instead he’ll be out for the next year with surgery.
“If we knew he’d needed TJ a year ago, he’d have had it done a year ago,” Cashman told Norris.
This is a big blow for Banuelos. He’s still just 21 so missing one season wasn’t a big deal, but missing two full seasons is a huge. On top of that, he still has not thrown a full season without injury in the minors, his career high was 129.2 in 2011, so it’s not like he’s going straight to the Bronx once he’s healthy. A realistic ETA on his arrival in the Bronx late 2014 at best, but more likely 2015.
This doesn’t mean give up on him as a prospect though. Even if he doesn’t show his face in the Bronx until 2015, he’ll still be just 24-years-old. Pitchers come back from Tommy John Surgery all the time and throw and compete just as well as they did before the surgery. He still has good stuff and a full arsenal of pitches. The chances he’ll reach his ceiling are still good it just might take a while.