Cubs prospect Mule needs Tommy John (source)

March 21st, 2023

The Cubs will have to wait until mid-2024 to see the pro debut of their promising two-way player and ’22 Draft pick. Nazier Mule will undergo Tommy John surgery after he was diagnosed with a torn UCL in his right elbow on Tuesday, a source told MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis. The organization hasn't confirmed the news.

Drafted out of high school (Passaic County Technical Institute in New Jersey), Mule gave up a Miami scholarship to sign for an above-slot $1 million in the fourth round. Mule displayed raw power, arm strength and athleticism at shortstop and hit 100 mph with his fastball on the prep showcase circuit. Though the Cubs have said they plan to develop Mule as a pitcher, they remain open-minded about how his role might evolve.

Though Mule, ranked as the Cubs’ No. 27 prospect, can reach triple digits with his fastball, he has learned that he's better off ignoring radar guns and working at 93-96 mph with increased riding action. He showed a more consistent slider last spring and his low-80s breaker features more depth than sweep. He barely needed a third pitch as an amateur but can flash a low-80s changeup with intriguing fade.

Mule initially responded well to rehab after his elbow had been bothering the right-hander this offseason, but ultimately Tommy John surgery became necessary.