Arizona Diamondbacks Starter Shelby Miller to Undergo Tommy John Surgery

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been a pleasant surprise for fans of the snakes, but their good vibes may have taken a hit as it has just been officially announced that Shelby Miller will be undergoing Tommy John surgery, ending his season and keeping him out until some point on the 2018 calendar.

At 15-10, the Arizona Diamondbacks are sitting where many thought they could be at this time last year after acquiring Shelby Miller and signing Zack Greinke out of free agency. According to D-Backs beat writer Nick Piecoro, the starting rotation just took a hit.

After being acquired from the Atlanta Braves in what was already a lopsided deal in Atlanta’s favor, Miller struggled in his first season in the desert, posting a 6.15 ERA, more than doubling his output from the previous season. This season Miller stood at 2-2 with a more respectable 4.09 ERA (3.42 FIP) in 22 innings pitched at the time of his injury. He was striking guys out at an 8.2 per nine clip, two more than his 2016 rate, though he was also walking an extra batter per nine.

There has yet to be a fifth member added to the rotation just yet, as the depth chart listed on has Greinke, Patrick Corbin, Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray in the rotation. Earlier this week Zack Godley made a spot start but was then was optioned back to Triple-A Reno. In his start Godley went five innings, allowed four hits and two earned, issued three walks and struck out six.

Former top 100 prospect Braden Shipley would be another option for Arizona to consider here. Last year he totaled 70 big league innings and held a 5.27 ERA. This year in the Reno rotation (5 starts) he holds a 4.18 ERA, which is nearly half a run higher than his mark in Reno from a year ago.

The other option to consider would be the team’s current number one prospect according to Baseball America, Anthony Banda. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 5.49 ERA with Reno this season and has been having some trouble locating his pitches. He has totaled 19 2/3 innings pitched, and while he has struck out 20 in that span, he has also walked 14.

With Miller’s spot in the rotation coming up on Tuesday, it would be a stretch for either Shipley, who pitched on Friday, or Banda, who is scheduled to pitch tonight, to make that start. Godley may be the one to get the ball when the time comes since he is already on schedule with the team’s needs. From there, if needed, the Arizona Diamondbacks can hold off on either Shipley or Banda for a couple of days in the Reno rotation and bring them up, if that is their desired course of action. For the short term, however, Godley is the best bet.

It’s also worth noting that the D-Backs rotation doesn’t have one member with a negative fWAR in the early going. Greinke (1.0), Walker (0.8), Corbin (0.5) and Robbie Ray (0.4) have all produced for the club, so bringing along one of their young arms at this time wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

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