Rangers top prospect to undergo elbow surgery in brutal blow to his development

Texas' future rotation plans took another hit this week with the news that one of their better pitching prospects having his 2024 season cut short.
2024 Texas Rangers Spring Training
2024 Texas Rangers Spring Training / Gunnar Word/Texas Rangers/GettyImages

It is hardly a secret that the Texas Rangers have a lot of issues in their rotation at the moment. While there have been some promising Rangers injury updates lately on guys like Max Scherzer, this is still a Rangers pitching staff that lost Jordan Montgomery to free agency and has Jacob deGrom, Cody Bradford, and Tyler Mahle on the IL recovering from not insignificant injuries.

The Rangers have tried using some of their young guys to fill the void with little success. Owen White has made a pair of appearances that were disasters and after Jack Leiter finally made his MLB debut, his future as a big leaguer is even more in question after a trio of rough big league starts. With as much as has gone wrong on the pitching side for Texas this year, it is fair to wonder if the future is going to be any better given all of the uncertainty right now.

Unfortunately, that uncertainty did not improve this week as it was revealed on Wednesday that one of the Rangers' top pitching prospects, Jose Corniell, needs elbow surgery and will miss the rest of the season.

Texas Rangers News: Top pitching prospect Jose Corniell to have elbow surgery, out for season

Corniell has been dealing with this elbow issue for the entirety of the 2024 and hasn't thrown a pitch in the minors this season. Texas had hoped to avoid surgery, but it appears as though their attempts to rehab him through the injury were unsuccessful and surgery was the only option available.

When he is healthy, Corniell has big league stuff and features a hammer slider, a pair of plus fastballs in his four-seamer and two-seamer, and a cutter that gives him a real weapon against opposing lefties. In 23 appearances last year, he posted a 2.92 ERA in 23 appearances and was set to begin this season at Double-A where, if things had gone well, he could have pitched his way into contention for a big league call-up especially given how this season has gone at the big league level.

Instead, Corniell is going to miss the rest of the 2024 and a big chunk of next season as well with the precise length of his downtime to be determined by exactly what elbow procedure he ends up needing. Tommy John surgery would be the longest of the possible options.

That means that even in the best case scenario, Corniell won't be an option for Texas until late 2025 and that is assuming that they don't move him to the bullpen as some scouts were already wondering was a move could be coming even before he got hurt.

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