Jaden Hill, a right-handed pitcher for Louisiana State University who entered the spring as a possible top-10 pick in July's draft, will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the remainder of the season, according to Brody Miller of The Athletic.
Hill had struggled in seven starts this season, posting a 6.67 ERA while recording just 2.08 strikeouts per walk. Before the college season got underway, CBS Sports ranked him as the ninth-best prospect in the draft class. Here's what we wrote at the time:
This is certain to look like a misrank by draft day. The question is whether Hill moves up or down boards by then, with the answer hinging on his availability. He was limited by injury and the pandemic to 21 innings over his freshman and sophomore seasons; the latter wasn't his fault, but it left him unable to assuage concerns about the former. Hill has the stuff and physicality (he's listed at 6-foot-4, 233 pounds) to front a rotation. If he's able to avoid the shelf this spring, he could move into the top five by draft time.
While Hill is certain to slip down draft boards, there is precedent for pitchers who were rehabbing from Tommy John surgery to be selected and then signed. Just last summer, the New York Mets popped former Mississippi State righty J.T. Ginn with a second-round pick. The Mets later gave Ginn a $2.9 million bonus to sign.
Hill could find himself in a similar position, likely being selected by a team high on his potential who possesses multiple early round picks and who is willing to play it low and slow as he recovers. The Cincinnati Reds could be one such team, given that they possess four of the top 53 picks, including three of the first 35.