Down on the Farm: Three Recovering Erie Arms to Keep an Eye On
By Editorial Staff
Unfortunately last season three promising pitching prospects in the Detroit Tigers organization lost their seasons to injury. All three injuries were different, the results however were the same. The journey to the show would be put on hold for Casey Crosby, Cody Satterwhite and Austin Wood. The development of these rising stars would have to take a back seat to the more important task of rehabilitation.
Due to either the severity of their injury or their injury history, all three have shifted from the label of top prospects to handle with care. Regardless, this season all three pitchers look to move past their injuries and return to the diamond. Ironically, all three appear to be headed to AA-Erie to begin the season.
Casey Crosby has been labeled as high as number two in prospect rankings. However, his unfortunate sizable list of injuries have some fans and scouts a bit skeptical these days. The 22-year-old southpaw is flirting with entering Kyle Sleeth territory and not to far away from joining the Zumaya/Guillen club. Regardless, 6-foot-5 lefty starters that throw in the mid to upper 90s don’t grow on trees.
This season, the Tommy John Surgery survivor looks to return after being sidelined with elbow soreness last season. Although he will begin the season with a strict pitch count he is healthy and in the SeaWolves rotation. So I–like many fans–am jumping for joy.
However, to really redeem himself, Crosby not only needs to put up solid numbers, he needs to prove that he can stay healthy. Healthy not just for a season, healthy for a long time. Personally, I wonder if transforming into a late inning reliever might help both of those. Regardless, my fingers are crossed I am wishing him well. After-all, the Tigers future looks much brighter with Crosby in the picture.
Austin Wood is predominantly known for his 169 pitch effort while he was at the University of Texas. Selected in the 5th round of the 2009 draft, Wood has logged just 7 1/3 innings of professional baseball-likely because of the abuse to his arm in college.
Austin is currently healthy, I watched him pitch in relief twice this spring. He is an interesting lefty relief prospect if he can
simply stay healthy. Fresh off of minor shoulder surgery, Wood already has an inning of scoreless ball under his belt this season. He was an amazing relief pitcher in college and he could be very helpful in the future.
Cody Satterwhite missed the entire 2010 season with a torn labrum. To say that Satterwhite is facing an uphill battle would be a gross understand. You know that you have your work cut out for you when the dreaded Tommy John surgery is described as a more pleasant experience.
Satterwhite instantly became a top relief prospect from the moment that he was drafted. He posted high strikeout numbers and solid stats at every stop and was inching towards a spot on the Tigers 40 man roster.
Satterwhite has been assigned to AA-Erie this season, where he has begun the year on the disabled list. He has began a light throwing program, with an estimated mid-season return to the SeaWolves (hat-tip to Mark Anderson of TigsTown.com).
It isn’t exactly a walk in the park returning from a torn labrum and the odds are against him. However, it can be done-just ask Erik Bedard and Jeff Francis. Both have recently returned from labrum surgery. Hopefully this season Cody stays healthy and gets back on track.
While all three of these prospects have slipped a bit due largely in part to injury, this season is a big year from them. Can Crosby put together a solid injury free season like he did in West Michigan? Or was last season the sad reality of what we should expect in the future from him? Is Satterwhite finished or can he return much like Francis and Bedard? Will one 169 pitch outing in college put Austin Woods arm on a Joel Zumaya health care plan? Only time will tell!
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