Source: Top pitcher in MLB draft has TJ surgery

  • ESPN MLB Insider
  • Kiley McDaniel covers MLB prospects, the MLB Draft and more, including trades and free agency.
  • Has worked for four MLB teams.

High school right-hander Dylan Lesko, the top pitching prospect in the 2022 MLB draft, had Tommy John surgery Tuesday, a source told ESPN.

Lesko, the No. 8 overall prospect in the draft rankings, had the procedure done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the head team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the NFL’s Rams, a source told ESPN.

Lesko, out of Buford High School (Georgia), is a Vanderbilt commit, should he opt to not sign out of the draft this year. He still has a strong chance to be the first pitcher drafted and/or get the highest bonus among pitchers in the draft due to a weak pitching class this year and his elite talent.

The MLB draft will take place July 17-19 in Los Angeles.

The closest analog to this situation happened in 2012, when the top prep pitcher in the draft class, Lucas Giolito, had Tommy John surgery during the spring and ended up going 16th overall to the Washington Nationals. Giolito signed for just under $3 million, which ended up being the eight-highest bonus in the draft that year.

It has been a bad year for pitcher health as it pertains to the draft. Of the seven pitchers ranked among ESPN’s top 32 players in this year’s draft class, Alabama’s Connor Prielipp is coming back from Tommy John surgery and Tennessee’s Blade Tidwell missed the first half of the season with shoulder soreness.

In addition, Mississippi State righty Landon Sims and Texas prep righty Cole Phillips were both projected first rounders before each had Tommy John surgery in March, and Arkansas righty Peyton Pallette and Connecticut lefty Reggie Crawford were both projected to go in the first round prior to having their surgeries before the season. Another projected first-rounder, Florida lefty Hunter Barco, is out indefinitely with an elbow injury.

Two more pitchers projected for the top five rounds — Duke RHP Henry Williams and Oregon State RHP Will Frisch — also had Tommy John surgery this spring.

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