The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Shea Murray out of Ohio State this year in the 18th round and announced him as a pitcher. The 23-year-old right-hander spent this senior season playing outfield in college, but did put in 12.1 innings of pitching during his college career. He redshirted as a freshman, which accounts for the older age than your average senior draft pick.
The results weren’t good during his brief time on the mound with a 10.95 ERA and 12 walks, but he did strikeout 17 batters, plus there is some big intrigue there due to the fact he hit 99 MPH during bullpen sessions. He’s also an imposing figure on the mound at 6’6″, 240 pounds, so along with some wildness and that fastball, that is sure to lead to some uncomfortable at-bats for the opposition.
Murray didn’t pitch this season after being drafted, spending the entire time at Pirate City. We first heard that he had an elbow injury early on, then we got word that he might need Tommy John surgery. I talked to Murray this morning and he did have elbow surgery two weeks ago, but it’s a new procedure and one with a quicker recovery time than TJ surgery, which should allow him to be ready for Spring Training next year. A Tommy John surgery in mid-August would have had him out for the entire 2018 season.
Murray said that he had a torn UCL, but the ligament wasn’t replaced. In his own words, “it was essentially stitched back to the bone.” The intrigue with this new procedure is the quicker recovery time, but it appears that not every torn UCL can be repaired this way.
So now Murray should be back next year for a full season, although beginning the year in Extended Spring Training would be his initial assignment. He throws that 99 MPH, along with a curve, a slider and he doesn’t have a changeup yet, but will be working on one when he returns. He will be working mostly on fastball command next season, along with learning the new changeup, which is typical for inexperienced pitchers.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
I wonder if this is the Seth Maness surgery that got reported earlier this year? Primary Repair it’s called. Supposed to be an alternative to TJS, but at least according to the article I read, you couldn’t really know for certain if a pitcher could have it til they open up the elbow and look.
Took a few mins during lunch and found the article. See below, it really is fascinating. Also The Ringer MLB Show podcast interviewed Maness (I think they interviewed his surgeon too but it mightve been a different episode).
To Me essentially yes. If nothing new is added and the ligament is repaired it is essentially a primary repair. The one thing I can’t imagine is that it is “new” as a primary repair would be the easiest procedure to do. The issue is recurrence IMO. Because of the regular wear and tear, usually the ligament isn’t strong enough which is why it is replaced and not repaired. Think ACL, or the chronic ankle sprains where the ligament gets replaced. I suppose if the ligament tears right at the attachment(off the bone) it would be fine, but a tear somewhere in the middle of the ligament would indicate that it would be weak and a repair might not be sufficient enough. Plus half the time the ligament is shredded and not useful. Think ACL, or lateral ankle ligaments for chronic ankle sprains (basketball players) – they mostly get replaced not repaired so much.