Top Draft prospect Matuella needs Tommy John surgery

Duke right-hander is second potential No. 1 overall pick to tear UCL in past month

Top Draft prospect Matuella needs Tommy John surgery

Duke right-hander Michael Matuella, who entered the spring as a strong candidate to become the first overall pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft, will undergo Tommy John surgery after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, MLB.com's Jim Callis confirmed on Wednesday.

Matuella entered the season ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline's Top 50 Draft Prospects list. He went 1-1 in six starts for the Blue Devils, posting a 1.08 ERA while striking out 24 batters and walking 11 in 25 innings.

"Over the last three years Michael Matuella showed premium talent we have rarely seen in college baseball," Duke head coach Chris Pollard said. "He has also demonstrated tremendous character, leadership and work ethic. While we are all disappointed with the timing of his injury, I have total confidence he will make a full recovery and have a long and successful pitching career."

Though Matuella's stuff, size and makeup had excited scouts, he struggled with injuries throughout his college career. He suffered from lat discomfort last year and was then diagnosed with spondylolysis, a manageable defect of the vertebra in the lower back. As a result, Matuella has thrown just 141 innings during his college career.

Matuella will be the second highly regarded Draft-eligible pitcher to require Tommy John surgery in recent weeks. Left-hander Brady Aiken, last year's first overall selection, underwent the procedure March 25 after throwing just 13 pitches March 19 in his lone start for IMG Academy's (Bradenton, Fla.) post-graduate team.

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.