Top pitcher in '22 Draft class undergoes TJ surgery

Right-hander still projects to be potential 2022 first-round selection

April 28th, 2022

Buford (Ga.) HS right-hander Dylan Lesko, the top-rated pitching prospect in the 2022 Draft, underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday. Despite having his elbow reconstructed, Lesko still figures to go in the first round, and may still have a chance to be the first pitcher selected.

Ranked No. 9 on MLB Pipeline's just-released Draft Top 150, Lesko clearly had stood atop a 2022 pitching class ravaged by injuries. But after dominating at the outset of his senior season, he hadn't taken the mound since coming down with a sore arm in early April.

There are several examples of pitchers getting selected in the first round after having Tommy John surgery. A year ago, Mississippi right-hander Gunnar Hoglund was a consensus top-10 talent before injuring his elbow in May, and the Blue Jays still drafted him 19th overall and paid him nearly full pick value at $3,247,500. Lucas Giolito had his elbow reconstructed as a high school senior in 2012, and the Nationals selected him at No. 16 and signed him for an over-slot $2,925,000.

In 2021, Lesko became the first junior ever to win Gatorade's National Baseball Player of the Year Award after going 11-0 with a 0.35 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 60 innings. This spring, the Vanderbilt recruit worked at 92-97 mph with his fastball, displayed the best changeup in the 2022 Draft class and also flashed a plus curveball. Extremely advanced for a high school pitcher, he also earns praise for his control, intelligence and maturity.