The SF Giants received a tough break this week as one rookie pitcher is expected to miss the entire 2024 season. According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, Cole Waites underwent Tommy John surgery recently.
SF Giants rookie pitcher expected to miss 2024 after undergoing Tommy John surgery
The recovery timeline usually ranges from 12 to 18 months with relievers typically able to return in the earlier part of that range. The Giants have been relatively lucky with pitchers avoiding Tommy John surgery lately, but the latest news puts a damper on that.
They had hoped that Waites would be a big part of this year's bullpen but that did not come to fruition as he has dealt with injuries for much of this season. The first one came in spring training when he sustained a lat strain. It was looking like he had a chance to make the Opening Day roster, but the injury derailed those chances.
The right-handed reliever did appear briefly for the Giants this year at a time when the bullpen was struggling to find its identity. It was a combination of way too many bulk innings pitchers while overusing the few leverage relievers that they had on the staff. To some degree, they have fixed that issue.
Waites was one of the first relievers to get a shot at helping them out. That said, he struggled badly in his short time with the Giants in 2023 as he yielded four earned runs across 2.1 frames. Overall, he has a 6.75 ERA in 10 appearances across two seasons with the Giants.
His numbers with the Sacramento River Cats were not much better as he struggled to the tune of a 6.16 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, and a 1.19 SO/W ratio across 30.2 innings prior to landing on the injured list.
When healthy, the 25-year-old flashes a mid-90's four-seam fastball with good spin and his release point averages 7.1 feet of extension, so his perceived velocity is even higher. He pairs this with a slider that can be an effective pitch at times.
Waites is currently on the 60-day injured list. He will need to be activated when the offseason begins, so the Giants might have to consider if it makes sense to keep him on the 40-man roster this winter while knowing that he will not be able to pitch next season.