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Rays top prospect Taylor Guerrieri has Tommy John surgery

Performed by Dr. Andrews this afternoon.

This news makes Hickey sad.
This news makes Hickey sad.

The Rays lost their top prospect to Tommy John surgery today, as first reported by Marc Topkin.

Taylor Guerrieri went to see Dr. Andrews this morning, and the decision was made to perform Tommy John immediately that afternoon.

This is incredibly unfortunate news for his development, as there is always strong levels of risk involved with elbow surgery, but this is not a death sentence. And Guerrieri went and saw the best in the business.

With Guerrieri joining Hak-Ju Lee and Alex Colome on the disabled list, all five of the Rays Top-5 prospects are currently missing from minor league rosters. (Myers and Archer, the other two, are now at the major league level).

The right handed ground-baller was ranked as the top Rays prospect by Michael and Scott in each of their mid-season top prospect listings.

Guerrieri was drafted in the first round at 24th overall in 2011, out of Spring Valley HS in Columbia, SC. He played his first professional season in 2012 with the low-A short-season Hudson Valley Renegades. He held batters to a .197 batting average that year, with nearly a strikeout per inning pitched.

Surgery aside, Guerrieri still has a very, very high ceiling in the rotation. He's got great velocity, movement, and command of his fastballs (specifically his 2-seam), making his stuff very whiff-worthy. It's not often that Tommy John fails pitchers anymore, so let's hope and pray for the best.

Riding a 22-inning scoreless streak in Bowling Green, Guerrieri was to be featured in the MLB Futures Game before he was lifted for injury concerns related to fatigue. The following game he was lifted in the second inning due to elbow soreness.

Checking in on his mid-season stats, Guerrieri's strikeouts had been somewhat lower than expected this season, but he hadn't lost control and the stuff has been the same. Perhaps some sequencing and coaching will get him there when this is all said and done.

If you're looking for somewhere to blame, some would say the Rays can only point to themselves...

(Editor's note: Laying it on a little thick there, Scott. The Rays have been nothing but cautious with Guerrieri, this is really a shame.)

After throwing only 52 innings in 2012, Guerrieri was on pace to double that work load in 2013, with 14 games and 67 IP leading into the All-Star Break with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods.

You can read a FanGraphs interview with Guerrieri on his approach to the game from earleir this season here.

Baseball America ranked Guerrieri the No. 62 prospect in baseball entering this season, and had edged into their mid-season top-50 rankings at No. 29 earlier this month.