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Tigers’ Wentz undergoes Tommy John surgery

The Tigers’ notable pitching depth took a big hit on Tuesday.No. 8 Detroit prospect Joey Wentz underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to be out for the next 14-16 months, the Tigers announced. The procedure was performed Tuesday by Dr. David Altcheck in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Tigers’ notable pitching depth took a big hit on Tuesday.
No. 8 Detroit prospect Joey Wentz underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to be out for the next 14-16 months, the Tigers announced. The procedure was performed Tuesday by Dr. David Altcheck in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Wentz was a non-roster invitee to Major League camp this spring but didn’t appear in a Grapefruit League game after experiencing forearm issues. The Tigers said last week that he had resumed throwing and was expected to be ready for the then-Minor League Opening Day of April 9, either with Double-A Erie or Triple-A Toledo. That will obviously no longer be the case. (Minor League Opening Day has, in any case, been delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.)
The Tigers acquired the 22-year-old left-hander from the Braves, along with outfielder Travis Demeritte, at last year’s trade deadline in a move that sent reliever Shane Greene to Atlanta. Wentz’s performance at Double-A vastly improved following the deal. He posted a 4.72 ERA with 100 strikeouts and 45 walks over 103 innings for Mississippi in the Braves system but pitched to a 2.10 ERA with 37 strikeouts and only four walks in 25 2/3 innings for the Tigers’ Erie affiliate. His walk rate was perhaps the biggest surprise, improving from 10.3 percent to only 4.1 post-trade.

Because of those improvements, Wentz — the 40th overall pick in the 2016 Draft — was set to enter 2020 as the fourth-best pitching prospect in a loaded Tigers system. Only Top-100 prospects Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal are ranked higher by MLB.com than Wentz.
The 6-foot-5 hurler earned above-average grades for a low-90s fastball that features plenty of movement while the best evaluations were given to his plus changeup. He also features an average curveball.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.

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