MLB Debuts: August 17 – August 23

And all that glitters is gold / Only shooting stars break the mold.

We are getting our first look at baseball that finally has some meaning this year. Not only that, but we are also getting a look at players making their major league debuts. Some of you will probably know (Luis Robert and Evan White), but some players make their debut to a lot less fanfare. I’ll be coming at you each week with a small write up on each player making their MLB debut during the past week. There will also be an updated spreadsheet that can be accessed at the bottom of the article which will be updated each week.

Here are the debuts from August 17th and August 23rd:

 

Nabil Crismatt (RP, St. Louis Cardinals)

Age:  25

Role: Bullpen Arm

 

Nabil Crismatt signed with the New York Mets in 2012 and was a reliever for four years mainly in the lower level of the minor leagues. It wasn’t until he reached High-A in 2017 that Crismatt transitioned to starting. He had two seasons of over 100 innings pitched before he was released from the team in 2018. He signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners in 2019 and had an impressive 24.3 K-BB% and a 1.94 ERA.  Unfortunately, the fun did not last when he moved up to Triple-A and the happy fun ball of the Pacific Coast League, and he was again let go by his team at the end of the season. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals this past offseason and after eight years in the minor leagues made his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs. Crismatt has a high eighties fastball and changeup that sits in the low eighties. He should continue to see a few innings here and there until the Cardinals are back at full strength.

Tyson Miller (RP, Chicago Cubs)

Age:  25

Role:  Bullpen Arm

 

Tyson Miller was a fourth-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2016 and made it up to Triple-A last year. He has thrown more than 100 innings each of the past three years but just like Crismatt struggled when he reached the highest level late in the 2019 season. Miller has a three-pitch mix, but if he remains in the bullpen I could see him ditching the changeup and move on with a fastball/slider combination.

Issac Paredes (3B, Detroit Tigers)

Age:  21

Role: Full-Time Starter

 

After signing with the Chicago Cubs during the J2 period in 2015 all Paredes has done is hit. He spent his first two seasons with the Cubs before he and Jeimer Candelario moved up north to Detriot in the Alex Avila and Justin Wilson trade at the Trading Deadline in 2017. He has excellent bat to ball skills and has shown a great batting eye with double-digit walk rates during his 1.5 years in Double-A. While he will never be a major star, Paredes is going to be one of those players that you wish was on your team as the dude just hits.

Ricardo Sánchez (RP, St. Louis Cardinals)

Age:  23

Role: Bullpen Arm

 

The Los Angeles Angels signed Sánchez during the 2013 J2 signing period but did not make his debut until the following year. His tenure with the Angels was short lived, as he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Kyle Kubitza and Nate Hyatt. He made it up to Double-A in 2018 and was added to the 40 man roster with the Braves before being traded to the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2019 season. Last year, Sánchez spent the entire year in Double-A. While a 22 K% is pretty good, Sánchez was pretty hittable and finished the season with a 4.44 ERA over his 146 innings. Sadly, he was DFA’d in January, but quickly picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals. Since being called up to the majors, Sánchez has struggled with his command, but he will probably stick around until more relievers return to the team.

Jesús Cruz (RP, St Louis Cardinals)

Age:  25

Role: Bullpen Arm

Jesús Cruz has been a reliever for his entire professional career and was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals out of the Mexican League in 2017. He spent most of the 2019 season in Triple-A and struck out an impressive 30% of batters, but also had an issue with walks and homeruns (that’s not a good combination). Cruz has a three-pitch mix but nothing that will really overpower hitters. Like the other Cardinal relievers before, he will probably be headed to the Alternate Site (can we please get a better name of that?) after players return from the COVID-19 IL.

 

Luis González (OF, Chicago White Sox)

Age:  24

Role:  Bench Bat

Luis González was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the third round in 2017 out of New Mexico State. He has quietly moved up the levels and found his way to Double-A last year. He spent the entire year there and for the first time…struggled. I hate to use this ‘excuse’, but he seemed to be a bit unlucky as his BABIP was .281, which was a career-low, but every other stat seemed to remain the same. However, most players say the jump from High-A to Double-A is the steepest. He should see some time in the outfield of the Pale Hose until Adam Engel returns from the IL.

 

Angel Perdomo (RP, Milwaukee Brewers)

Age:  26

Role: Bullpen Arm

The Toronto Blues signed Angel Perdomo in 2011, but he never made it higher than High-A with them. He signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers last year and split his time between Double-A and Triple-A, spending more time in the later league. While the strikeouts picked up since he was with the Blue Jays, he showed a major home run problem in Triple-A (maybe due to the happy fun ball?). He should spend the rest of the season moving between the Alternate Site and Miller Park.

 

Tarik Skubal (SP, Detroit Tigers)

Age:  23

Role:  Full-time Starter

One of my favorite pitching prospects made his debut this past week, Tarik Skubal. The Detriot Tigers drafted him in the ninth round of 2018 draft after missing most of 2016 and all of the 2017 season recovering from TJS. After he was drafted, he only threw 21.1 innings before being shut down for workload concerns. He came back this past season with a vengeance. He moved up three levels during the year but spent most of his time in High-A. In his 80.1 innings there, he had a 2.58 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and a 48.2 K%. He was then promoted to Double-A, where in 42.1 innings he struck out 82 batters (48.2 K%!) and a 2.13 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. He made his debut against the Chicago White Sox and Nick had an awesome GIF Breakdown, which you can read here. The command has been a bit shaky to start, but there have been glimpses of what I saw in Double-A.

Dane Dunning (SP, Chicago White Sox)

Age:  25

Role:  Full-time Starter

Dane Dunning was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft by the Washington Nationals and made it up to Low-A before the season ended. However, that is as far he would make it with the Nationals organization as he, along with Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez, were traded to the Chicago White Sox in the Adam Eaton deal. He made it up to Double-A in 2018, posting great strikeout and walk totals before having to have TJS, which also caused him to miss the entire 2019 season. So, after more than two years in a professional game, he made his debut against Casey Mize and the Detroit Tigers. Ben Palmer had a great GIF Breakdown of his start and you can read it here. While watching this start, I was impressed with how much he looked like himself pre-surgery. His fastball was sitting in the mid-nineties, and his slider was on point, and his two secondaries were very effective. He was optioned to the Alternate Site as the White Sox only have five games coming up this week and do not have a need for a fifth starter at this point. We should see him return sometime this season.

Casey Mize (SP, Detroit Tigers)

Age:  23

Role:  Full-Time Starter

It was a fun week if you were a prospect or Detriot Tigers fan as they called up three of their top prospects. Not only was Casey Mize selected number one overall in the 2018 draft, but he was facing another pitcher who was drafted in the first round. It was only the second time since the draft began in 1965 that two first-round picks started the same game. The first time was in 2009 when Ricky Romero faced off against Rick Porcello. Nick, of course, had a GIF Breakdown with 29 GIFS(!) and you can check it out here. Mize started his season last year in High-A, which maybe he shouldn’t have, as he dominated to the tune of a .88 ERA and .52 WHIP. After 30 innings, he was promoted to Double-A and threw a no-no in only 98 pitches in his first game at that level. Things kinda went down hill from there as he was shut down for the season in June with shoulder inflammation. Mize’s best pitch is that splitter, and when it is on he is pretty much unhittable. He should be in the Tigers rotation for the remainder of the season.

Ashton Goudeau (RP, Colorado Rockies)

Age:  28

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Ashton Goudeau is another one of those feel-good stories. The Kansas City Royals selected him with the 823rd overall pick in 2012. The 6’6 righty spent five years in the organization until he signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners before the 2018 season. He spent time between Double-A and Triple-A but had a major problem with the long ball. He signed on with the Colorado Rockies last season on another minor league deal, changed his pitch mix, and doubled his strikeout rate. He has only thrown 2.2 innings in the majors and it didn’t go well. That being said, he should still see time in the Rockies bullpen for the remainder of the season.

Johan Oviedo (RP, St. Louis Cardinals)

Age:  22

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Johan Oviedo signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015 after defecting from Cuba. He spent most of his season in Double-A last year and posted a decent strikeout rate, but Oviedo has very little command on his pitches. There were only a few stops where Ovideo had a BB% that was not in the double digits. He started one of the games in a doubleheader so it seems the Cardinals still view him as a starter. With the number of doubleheaders in the Cardinals’ future, he should see a few more starts during the season.

Drew Rasmussen (RP, Milwaukee Brewers)

Age:  25

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Drew Rasmussen was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers even though he did not play in 2018 after recovering from a second TJS. Rasmussen quickly made his way from Low-A to Double-A in 2019 and posted above 30 K% at each stop. Rasmussen’s best pitch is easily his fastball and can reach the upper nineties. He has an average to above-average slide piece with a below-average changeup. He’ll have some work to do with it, especially if he is to remain a starter. He should remain in the bullpen for the rest of the season and should rack up the strikeouts with that fastball.

 

Joey Bart (C, San Francisco Giants)

Age:  23

Role:  Full-time Starter

After Pablo Sandoval hit that home run in the last game of the 2017 season, the Giants lost the first pick in the draft and the chance to draft Casey Mize, but Joey Bart is an excellent consolation prize. Since being drafted, Bart has hit well, but has unfortunately been hit one too many times and it has cost him development time. That being said, Bart is going to be the catcher of the future for the Giants. Bart has above-average power, which is needed in the Giants home park, but will struggle with strikeouts. His SwStk% is not overly bad, but he tends to extend at-bats by working the count.

 

Ryan Jeffers (C, Minnesota Twins)

Age:  23

Role:  Full-Time Starter

Ryan Jeffers is one of my favorite catching prospects in the minor leagues. (Psst…another one is Cal Raleigh and Andy Patton had an excellent article which you can read here) The Minnesota Twins drafted Jeffers in the second round of the 2018 draft and made it up to Double-A last year. He spent most of last season in High-A where he hit 10 home runs in 79 games, which was a career-high for him. He also dropped his SwStk% to 6.8% during that time as well. He should get plenty of playing time this year as he was added to the roster when Mitch Garver went on the IL with an injury to his side. While I’m not 100% sure he is ready to face major league pitching, Jeffers is the Twins catcher of the future.

 

Julian Merryweather (RP, Toronto Blue Jays)

Age:  28

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Julian Merryweather was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft by the Cleveland Indians. He made his way through the Indians’ system and was more of a control/command guy as opposed to an overpowering guy. In 2017, he split his time between Double-A and Triple-A, and was added to the 40 roster during the offseason. Sadly, Merryweather was having a very good Spring Training before injuring his elbow which required TJS. He missed the entire 2018 season, but was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays as a PTBNL in the Josh Donaldson deal. He only made a few appearances in the minor leagues and AFL during 2019. He was added to the roster due to the Blue Jays pitching staff facing many injuries this past week. Merryweather has made it into two games and in his 3.1 innings he has six strikeouts. He should remain in the bullpen for the rest of the season.

 

Ljay Newsome  (RP, Seattle Mariners)

Age:  23

Role:  Bullpen Arm

I love it when guys like Ljay Newsome make it to the major leagues. Not only is Newsome a bit on the shorter side, but he was also a 26th round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2015. While he does not have overpowering stuff, he has impeccable command. He has added a bit more of velocity thanks to Seattle’s ‘Gas Camp’ and his fastball sits in the upper eighties now. Last year, he spent most of his time in High-A, but also threw 48.2 innings in Double-A before a 5.2 cup of espresso at Triple-A. The Mariners still view him as a starter, but with a need for some help in the bullpen, he made his debut this week. He should remain there for the remainder of the season with maybe a start as the ‘opener’ here or there.

 

Ramón Urías (DH, Baltimore Orioles)

Age:  26

Role:  Bench Bat

Ramón Urías was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2010, but spent most of his career in the Mexican League as a loaned player. He signed a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018 and split his time between Double-A and Triple-A. He struggled at Triple-A last year, and was DFA’d this February before being quickly picked up by the Baltimore Orioles. Urías, who is the older brother of Luís Urías of the Milwaukee Brewers, has made one appearance with the team as a pinch hitter, and should receive a few plate appearances throughout the course of the season.

 

Kyle Cody (RP, Texas Rangers)

Age:  26

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Kyle Cody was a sixth-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2016 out of the University of Kentucky. He has three above-average pitches, but has below-average command of them. He made it to High-A in 2017 before an elbow injury in early 2018 cost him most of 2018 and 2019. At this point, it is doubtful that Cody will remain as a starter due to losing two years of development, but should fit in nicely in the back of the bullpen.

 

Ryan Mountcastle (1B, Baltimore Orioles)

Age:  23

Role:  Full-time Starter

Since being selected in the first round of the 2015 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, Ryan Mountcastle has just flat out hit. However, he is a player without a defensive home. He was drafted as a shortstop, quickly moved over to third base,  and then across the diamond to first base. The team has been giving him some time in left field, but his future home is first base or designated hitter. He spent the entire year in Triple-A, hitting .312 but only a .344 OBP. In a surprising move, the Orioles did not call him up in September, nor did they start the season with him on the roster (obviously…or I would have already written about him) With Chris Davis hitting the IL this past week, the team finally called him up. He should be an everyday starter going forward.

 

Cristian Pache (OF, Atlanta Braves)

Age:  21

Role:  Full-time Starter

Cristian Pache signed with the Atlanta Braves during the 2015 J2 Signing Period. He will be the Braves’ center fielder of the future and might be one of the best center fielders in baseball now. Pache had a huge year last year in Double-A. In 104 games, he slashed .278/.340/.474 with eleven bombs and eight stolen bases. There was a time when Pache might have been a huge contributor in stolen bases, however, the speed he shows in the field has not translated to the base paths, and he was caught 11 times in his 19 attempts last year. That being said, Pache’s defense will keep him in the lineup, and he should win numerous Gold Gloves in future seasons.

JoJo Romero (RP, Philadelphia Phillies)

Age:  23

Role:  Bullpen Arm

The Philadelphia Phillies selected JoJo Romero with the 107th overall pick back in 2016. He split his time between Double-A and Triple-A last year. While in Double-A, Romero had an impressive 16.6 K-BB%, but walks came back in a big way when he moved up to Triple-A. While his fastball is not that great, his changeup is a true swing and miss pitch and pairs nicely with his slider. Since he has been a starter for his entire career, I could see Romero in a bulk inning role, possibly following Jake Arrieta. Fun Fact: In his debut against the Atlanta Braves, he threw one inning and struck out all three batters he faced.

 

Jesús Sánchez (OF, Miami Marlins)

Age:  22

Role:  Full-time Starter

The Tampa Bay Rays signed Sánchez in 2014 and he moved up a level at a time (other than a cup a coffee at the next level late in the season), something the Rays have been known to do. He was traded to the Miami Marlins in the Nick Anderson deal. Sánchez has a beautiful swing and really quick bat speed. However, his swing is more level, instead of upper cut, so even though he has above-average power, he’ll be more of a doubles hitter instead of a home run hitter. Sánchez was on the struggle bus during his time in Triple-A, but received the callup after Monte Harrison really struggled out of the gate. He should see full-time playing time in the outfield going forward.

 

Wil Crowe (SP, Washington Nationals)

Age:  25

Role: Spot Starter

The Washington Nationals selected Wil Crowe in the second round of the 2017 draft, and he made his way up to Triple-A at the end of the 2019 season. While Crowe does not have overpowering stuff, his fastball, curveball, and changeup are all above average with an average slide piece. He showed an uptick in strikeouts the past few seasons and is a perfect number five type starter, which the Nationals need after losing Stephen Strasburg to an injury this week. He made his debut against the Miami Marlins as part of a doubleheader and was hit around a bit. That being said, he should stick in the rotation and be a perfect number five guy and show flashes of being a number three or four starter going forward.

 

Aaron Fletcher (RP, Seattle Mariners)

Age:  24

Role: Bullpen Arm

 

Aaron Fletcher was drafted in the 14th round out of the University of Houston by the Washington Nationals. He quickly made his way up to Double-A and posted excellent strikeout and walk totals. However, in need of reliever help, Fletcher was traded to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Hunter Strickland. When he moved over to the other coast, he kept performing well and was called up to help the bullpen in Seattle. He should stay in the pen, but could be moved up and down as the Mariners try to get a feel for some of their younger pitchers.

Triston McKenzie (SP, Cleveland Indians)

Age:  23

Role: Full-time Starter

Triston McKenzie‘s promotion to the major league was the most shocking promotion to date. Yes, it is due to Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac being boneheads but still. McKenzie, a 42nd overall pick by the Indians in 2015, did not pitch at all last year due to a back injury. He made it up to Double-A in 2018, but was limited to 90.2 innings due to injury. In his debut, McKenzie was electric against the Detriot Tigers, and Andy had a great GIF Breakdown in his start. He racked up 10 strikeouts in six innings, while only walking one batter and giving up a solo home run. McKenzie had moved down my prospect list, not because of stuff, but mainly due to my concern about injury. He is 6’5″ and 160 lbs so it is understandable to have a concern on his ability to remain a starter in the long term. He will get one more start, but will probably be optioned back when Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac return.

 

Mark Payton (OF, Cincinnati Reds)

Age:  28

Role: Bench Bat

 

The New York Yankees selected Mark Payton with the 212th overall pick in the 2014 draft. During his time with the Yankees, he showed a great feel for the strike zone by drawing double-digit walk rates from Low-A to Triple-A in 2018. He was selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft by the Oakland Athletics, and spent his 2019 with their Triple-A team and slashed .334/.400/.653 with 30 homeruns, which was the highest total of his career. The Cincinnati Reds took notice and selected him in the Rule 5 draft this past offseason. The Reds outfield is pretty crowded, but he should start a game or two going forward.

Sixto Sánchez (SP, Miami Marlins)

Age:  22

Role: Full-time Starter

 

Sixto Sánchez signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in February 2015 after a scout saw him throwing batting practice to another player the Phillies were scouting. He made it up to High-A with the organization by 2018, but only threw 46.2 that season with elbow inflammation. He was traded to the Miami Marlins, along with Jorge Alfaro and Will Stewart, in the J.T. Realmuto deal in the winter of 2019. He spent most of his season in Double-A and threw a total of 113 innings, which was pretty impressive for someone who had elbow inflammation the season before. He made his debut against the Washington Nationals and Nick has a superb GIF Breakdown that you can read here. While the overall line does not look great overall, he was still very impressive. All of his pitches had some type of movement and he was painting the corners with them. Long-term, I am a bit worried his body will not be able to stay in the rotation and he was starting to lose velocity as the game went on. That being said, he will be a must-watch each time he takes the mound.

 

Want to see all the players who have made their debut this year? Check out this spreadsheet!

Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Shelly Verougstraete

Shelly currently writes for Pitcher List, RotoGraphs, The Dynasty Guru, and Prospects365. She can also be heard on the Dynasty's Child podcast on The Dynasty Guru. She is a proud Dog Mom to Orsillo and Soto.

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