Jaffe: Jonny Venters and the official Tommy John threepeat club

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on April 30, 2018:

On the same night that top prospect Ronald Acuña made his made his major-league debut, a former Brave had his own memorable moment. In Wednesday night’s Rays-Orioles game at Camden Yards, in the bottom of the sixth inning, 33-year-old Rays lefty Jonny Venters made his first major-league appearance since October 5, 2012. He faced just one hitter, Chris Davis, and needed just four pitches to retire him on a routine grounder to shortstop, but in doing so he became the rare pitcher to return to the majors after a third Tommy John surgery.

Exactly how rare is in dispute, which I’ll examine in greater depth below, but first, let’s appreciate the man and his moment. A 30th-round draft-and-follow pick in 2003 out of a Florida high school, Venters was such an obscure prospect that his name was misspelled “Benters” on some draft lists according to John Sickels. He began his professional career in 2004, but by the end of 2005, when he was 20, he had already gone under the knife of Dr. James Andrews for his first Tommy John surgery. That cost him all of the 2006 season. Working primarily as a starter, he reached Double-A in late 2008 and Triple-A in 2009. Though he didn’t make the Braves the following spring, he was soon called up and debuted against the Rockies on April 17, 2010 with three shutout innings.

Read the full article here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jonny-venters-and-the-official-tommy-john-threepeat-club/

Originally published: April 30, 2018. Last Updated: April 30, 2018.