Top Blue Jays prospect suffers long-term injury, will need elbow surgery

Brandon Barriera had injury issues during his first year with the Toronto Blue Jays organization and will now miss the rest of this season with another setback.
2022 MLB Draft
2022 MLB Draft / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Brandon Barriera joined the Blue Jays to much fanfare, after being selected 23rd overall in the 2022 MLB draft. With four quality pitches which included an excellent fastball, hopes were high for the southpaw pitcher.

Barriera was extremely excited to join the Blue Jays. Speaking to Sportsnet after being drafted, he said: "I'm glad they picked me. It's such a great organization and the development they have on that side is amazing, too. When you look at their team, they play their young guys, they're not scared to bring up their young guys. That's something that I would love to be a part of."

Unfortunately for the 20-year-old, things haven't gone quite to plan so far, with his first professional season last year being plagued by elbow, shoulder and bicep issues. The bicep injury in particular, ended his 2023 campaign in August.

More injury trouble

Now, Barriera has experienced another tough setback in his quest to make it all the way to the Majors. As per TSN's Scott Mitchell, he's set to undergo left elbow surgery and is expected to be out for 10+ months, meaning a second consecutive season has been ended prematurely for the young pitcher.

An official update was provided on Barriera's surgery. As per KLUTCH Baseball vice president and MLBPA certified agent Nate Heisler, he has undergone a combined traditional TJ ligament replacement along with the internal brace, what is known as a hybrid procedure, performed by Dr. Keith Meister.

The Brooklyn, New York native suffered his injury just 1.1 innings into his first game of the 2024 season, in Single-A Dunedin on Apr. 6. He was initially placed on the seven-day injured list, before the Blue Jays realised the elbow issue was a serious one.

Barriera had entered 2024 in high spirits and with plenty of optimism, with his injury issues of last year seemingly in the rearview mirror. As per Jays Journal's Top 30 Blue Jays Prospects, he was ranked at number five in the organization.

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It is of course still too soon to know at this stage what the Blue Jays have in Barriera, after he only pitched 20.1 combined innings last year in rookie ball and single-A. However, he did show some glimpses of what he's capable of, as he produced a 3.98 ERA and 0.934 WHIP, along with 25 strikeouts.