Chicago Cubs Two-Way Prospect Nazier Mulé Reportedly to Have Tommy John Surgery

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Chicago Cubs Two-Way Prospect Nazier Mulé Reportedly to Have Tommy John Surgery

Chicago Cubs

Well this is terrible news to wake up to. But it does happen just about every spring for at least one player in most organizations. Not that it takes away the sting for this particular player or this particular fan base.

Chicago Cubs 4th round pick Nazier Mulé, the exciting two-way prospect the Cubs signed to a way above-slot bonus in 2022 ($1 million), is having Tommy John surgery, per the Chicago Tribune.

Mulé, 18, was lauded out of the draft for his ability to touch 100 mph on the mound, while also playing solid defense at shortstop, and showing upside potential at the plate. The thinking by most was that his long-term future was on the mound, but the Cubs let him work with both the pitchers and the position players in after-season instructs last fall, and again at Spring Training.

With surgery on tap for such a young arm, Mulé figures to be off the mound against hitters until at least next summer, and it’s possible the Cubs take things very cautiously with his return to game action. It’s possible we don’t see him pitching in minor league games until something like the late part of the Arizona Complex League season in 2024. Mulé could still have a long and successful career, so you don’t want to risk anything by rushing him back. This will be a long process, and I hope for all the best in his rehab work.

The interesting factor with Mulé is the positional thing. I don’t think this surgery will automatically change the Cubs’ thinking in one direction or the other, but I could imagine a world where they decide it’s time for him to solely focus on pitching and minimize any additional future risks. *OR* I could imagine a world where the Cubs let him keep working on his hitting, since – theoretically – he’d be able to swing a bat at full go long before he’ll be able to pitch at full go. We’ve seen position players back to DH’ing after Tommy John surgery in as short as six months – is it impossible that Mulé could be taking swings in instructional ball after this season? Feels unlikely, but I suppose not impossible.

Ultimately, this is just such a huge bummer for Mulé and the Cubs. He is an exciting young prospect, and like so many of the 2022 draftees, I’m just itching to see them make their pro debuts.

Mulé just ranked 26th on Bryan’s top 50 Cubs prospect list here at BN:

It’s just exciting to have a talent like this in the organization, a ball of clay with an endless set of possibilities. While I’ll admit up front that I evaluate Naz almost exclusively as a pitcher — the hitter route is hard for me to envision in its current iteration — I love that the Cubs are going to allow him to spend 2023 exploring both avenues. We’re talking about an elite athlete here, with that twitchiness also producing elite arm speed. While already listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, the frame is still dripping in the potential of more muscle, giving the fastball all the (70-plus) potential in the world. The Cubs have already tweaked the slider a little bit, which I think we’ll see in the mid 80s with good gyro action. When he sees the plate, expect more singles and doubles than home runs given a level swing. The results on that side of the field mostly stem from pure instincts, which speaks to an intelligent ballplayer that will some day outthink big league hitters. I can’t wait to see this unique developmental ascent, even if everyone involved expects it will take a few years.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.