Adrián Morejón left his start against the Rangers this afternoon in the first inning. The young left-hander has a forearm/elbow strain in his throwing arm, the Padres later told reporters (including Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune).
That’s an ominous sounding diagnosis, as forearm strains are often a precursor to Tommy John surgery. There’s no indication at this point Morejón will need to undergo that (or any other) procedure, but it seems he’ll require an injured list stint at the very least. Morejón, who broke into the majors as a swingman over the past two years, began this season as San Diego’s fifth starter.
While Morejón has only managed a 6.03 ERA over his first 31.1 MLB innings, a deeper look shows plenty more promise. The former high-profile international signee has been one of the game’s top prospects over the last four years, entering the season as Baseball America’s #75 overall farmhand. While Morejón has given up far too many home runs in his brief big league time, he’s also demonstrated an ability to miss bats and command the strike zone. His 26.1% strikeout rate, 12% swinging strike rate and 5.8% walk percentage are all better than league average, no small feat for a player who just turned 22 years old.
Should Morejón miss time, the Friars could turn to a handful of other young arms in his rotation spot until Dinelson Lamet is ready to return from injury. Top prospect MacKenzie Gore is widely expected to debut at some point in 2021, while former top ten pick Ryan Weathers already made his MLB debut and has been working out of the bullpen this year. Jordan Humphreys, whom the Padres claimed off waivers last month, is among the other starting pitcher options on the 40-man roster.