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Marlins organization avoids Tommy John surgery in 2020

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The Marlins made it through the calendar year without any of their players undergoing the infamous elbow procedure.

Philadelphia Phillies v Miami Marlins - Game Two Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

In 2020, the Miami Marlins snapped a notorious drought, qualifying for the MLB postseason for the first time since 2003. You all noticed that. On the flip side, here’s an even longer streak that had gone under the radar: at least one player in the Marlins organization underwent Tommy John surgery every year from 2002-2019. That has been snapped as well, according to Jon Roegele’s MLB/MiLB database.

Overall, this was an unhealthy year for Marlins pitchers. The club cycled through 37 of them—the highest total in the majors—with about half spending time on the injured list due to either COVID-19 or a more conventional, baseball-related issue (poor José Ureña checked both those boxes). But at least all of their arms avoided TJS.

On average, professional baseball-playing patients who receive this form of ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction require about 18 months to return to the same level of competition that they were at prior to suffering the injury. Most of them regain their old pitch velocity or throw harder than before. However, some never fully make it back.

The pandemic forced the cancelation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season. The prospects who were fortunate enough to work at their teams’ alternate training site didn’t get as many reps as they typically would. Even so, Roegele confirmed 52 total procedures during the year—compared to 102 in 2019—that involved affiliated players, affecting 24 of the 30 MLB teams. Only the Marlins, Diamondbacks, Braves, Cubs, Athletics and Brewers made it through unscathed.

Starter Pablo López had Tommy John early in his pro career as a member of the Mariners. Reliever Yimi García had his while with the Dodgers. Both performed exceptionally well to push the Fish into the postseason last year. Jordan Holloway and Braxton Garrett got operated on within a day of each other in June 2017, fostering a strong bond between them. The Marlins drafted Dax Fulton, Peyton Burdick, Josh Roberson and Bryan Hoeing in recent years despite the TJS they each had as amateurs (Burdick is the only player in this paragraph who isn’t a pitcher).

I apologize in advance for writing this and putting a jinx on the 2021 Marlins! Just found it interesting.