It was revealed this afternoon that NC State starting pitcher Matt Willadsen has suffered an elbow injury in his throwing arm, putting his 2024 season in serious doubt.
Willadsen just came off his best season in an NC State uniform with a career-low ERA and 86 strikeouts to 31 walks. He's also rated as the No. 77 pitcher this season by @d1baseball.— Cory Smith (@RCorySmith) February 7, 2024
The #Pack9 has several young arms and a veteran transfer in Shane Van Dam, but it's a huge loss. https://t.co/A3tAdZfGs7
The injury is feared to be a torn UCL, which would require at the least an internal brace procedure if it is not a full tear. A complete tear would require replacement surgery, otherwise known as Tommy John Surgery (TJS). There’s a sliver of optimism that it’s merely a strain, but it’s typically best to operate under a worst-case scenario assumption when dealing with elbow injuries to pitchers.
Willadsen has a 16-12 record with a 4.43 ERA over 56 games in his Wolfpack career, including 45 starts, spanning 260.1 innings with a 9.5 BB% and a 22.9 K%. In 2023, he tossed 81.0 innings of 3.78 ERA ball, sporting a 5-5 record with an 8.8 BB% and 24.5 K%. It was the third straight season of over 80.0 innings pitched for the reliable workhorse of State’s staff.
Starting pitching depth, thankfully, is a relative strength for the Wolfpack heading into the 2024 season with SO LHP Dominic Fritton, rSR RHP Logan Whitaker, and SR Sam Highfill also returning. The coaching staff was looking to use Whitaker in a closer role, but Willadsen’s injury will surely change those plans.
With a redshirt still available, Willadsen could return in 2025 for NC State should the injury turn out to cost him the full 2024 season. Regardless, we’ll all be hoping for a speedy and complete recovery for him.