MLB Debuts: August 24 – August 30

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 24th and August 30th:

 

Jonah Heim (C, Oakland Athletics)

Age:  25

Role: Bench Bat

 

Jonah Heim was committed to Michigan State University before being selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. Being a high school catcher, he moved slowly through the minor leagues. He made it up to High-A with the O’s when he was traded to Tampa Bay in the Steve Pearce deal in 2016. He spent most of his time in Low-A with the Rays and after hitting .268 with a 112 wRC+ he was traded to the Oakland Athletics as a PTBNL in the Joey Wendle deal in 2017. Since moving to the West Coast, Heim has hit better; posting 113, 125, and 135 wRC+ between High-A and Triple-A. He should see time as a backup catcher in Oakland, but unless Sean Murphy gets injured (which is something that has happened quite frequently, unfortunately) he will remain a number two catcher.

Trevor Rogers (SP, Miami Marlins)

Age:  22

Role:  Full-time Starter

 

The Miami Marlins selected Trevor Rogers, a 6’6″ southpaw, with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He did not make his professional debut until 2018 but had a breakout season in 2019 at High-A. In 110.1 innings, Rogers had a 2.53 ERA with a 26.8 K% and a 12 SwStk%. He held those same ratios with the move to Double-A late in the 2019 season. Rogers has an above-average fastball and changeup that has given the Mets fits in his first two starts. He should fit in nicely as a number 3 or 4 starter going forward.

Ian Anderson (SP, Atlanta Braves)

Age:  22

Role: Full-Time Starter

 

Ian Anderson was selected with the third overall pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2016. He split his time between Double-A and Triple-A. In Double-A, he had a career best 31.8 K% with a 10.2 BB%. Keep in mind that he improved his command during that time, going from about a 14 BB% in April to about 4 BB% by July. He was then called up to Triple-A, where those walks returned. I am surprised it took this long for the Braves to call him up, if we are being honest. They gave Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, and Sean Newcomb about four starts each before he received the call. He has looked good in his first two outings, against the Yankees and Red Sox, throwing 12 innings with 14 strikeouts, 3 walks, and a 2.25 ERA. Andy Patton had an excellent GIF Breakdown of Anderson’s first start, which you can read here. Anderson has a lock on the number two starter for the Braves going forward and should be a mainstay in their rotation for years to come.

Riley Smith (RP, Arizona Diamondbacks)

Age:  25

Role: Bullpen Arm

 

After being selected with the 719th pick in the 2016 draft, Riley Smith made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks this past week. Prior to this wacky season, Smith had been a starter. The past two seasons he has pitched more than 150 innings with decent strikeout and walk rates. Right now, Smith is a two-pitch pitcher, with mid-nineties fastball and low eighties slider. With all of the moves the D-Backs did at the trading deadline, he will probably settle into a middle innings relief role.

Luis Alexander Basabe (OF, San Francisco Giants)

Age:  24

Role: Bench Bat

The Boston Red Sox signed Luis Alexander Basabe, along with his twin brother Luis Alejandro, during the 2012 international signing period. He was hitting very well and moving up the prospect ranks when there was a trade between the Sox which sent Chris Sale to Boston. He struggled mightily after the trade, especially when he made it up to Double-A last year. He was DFA’d by the Chicago White Sox in August but was quickly traded to the San Francisco Giants. During the Giants rebuild, he should fill in as a fourth outfield or bat off the bench option.

 

Will Craig (1B, Pittsburgh Pirates)

Age:  25

Role:  Bench Bat

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Will Craig in the first round of the 2016 draft. Craig moved a level at a time; making his way to Triple-A last season. While Craig has an above-average hit tool, he struggled last year in Triple-A, even with the major league ball in the International League. With Josh Bell struggling this year, the Pirates called him up to give Bell a breather against the Cardinals and the Brewers. While Bell is still on the team, he will fill in here and there. However, if the Pirates trade him this offseason, Craig should receive more of a full-time role.

 

José García (SS, Cincinnati Reds)

Age:  22

Role: Full-Time Starter

The Cincinnati Reds signed José García out of Cuba in 2016 but did not get into a professional game until 2018 due to an extremely long defecting process. He began his career in Low-A and struggled, which was totally understandable due to the long layoff and playing in a new country for the first time. The Reds were not fazed by the slow start and promoted him in High-A to start the 2019 and García blossomed. He improved his strikeout and walk rates while adding more power, which is impressive as the Reds’ High-A affiliate is in the Florida State League which is a HUGE pitchers league. After a surprising slow start for the Reds offense, he was called up and should be playing every day for the team going forward.

 

Ben Braymer (RP, Washington Nationals)

Age:  26

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Ben Braymer was selected in the 18th round by the Washington Nationals in 2016 out of Auburn University. He made his way to Triple-A last season but was never an overpowering southpaw. He made his debut against the Boston Red Sox and should be a reliever the Nationals use as part of their taxi squad. Going into next year, Braymer should secure his spot as a long-man or situational lefty.

Estevan Florial (OF, New York Yankees)

Age:  22

Role:  Bench Bat

Estevan Florial signed with the New York Yankees during the international signing period in 2014. He has only made it up to High-A in the five years since signing mainly due to injuries and lack of performance. In High-A last year, Florial hit .237/.297/.383 with a 101 wRC+, 32.6 K% and 17.5 SwStk%. In a somewhat surprising move, the Yankees called him up as the extra man in a doubleheader against the New York Mets where he recorded his first hit. After the game he was sent back to the Alternate Site, but he may return if and when the Yankees have another doubleheader and most of their outfield (Judge, Stanton, and Hicks) is hurt/underperforming.

 

Mitch White (RP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

Age:  25

Role:  Bullpen Arm

After missing his entire freshman season due to TJS, Mitch White was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016. Unfortunately, White has had trouble staying healthy. He threw a career-high 105.1 innings in Double-A back in 2018. It is a bit unclear where he will figure in the Dodgers plans going forward because of the amount of development time he has missed, but for this year he should see a few innings of relief.

Bobby Dalbec (3B, Boston Red Sox)

Age:  25

Role:  Full-Time Starter

Bobby Dalbec was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of University of Arizona. While in college, he played first, third, and was a reliever, but after being signed he said he wanted to focus on being a position player. Dalbec has been an above average hitter at each stop of his minor league career but has been more of a three true outcome type. However, Dalbec’s contact rate increased from the low 60% range to low 70% this past season, and he also increased his pulled% from 18% to 32.4%. He has also shown an improved patience at the plate. With Mitch Moreland moving to Slam Diego, the Red Sox finally have a spot to give him every day playing time. He has made the most of it so far and hit a bomb in his first major league game. He should see plenty of time at first base and DH as the Red Sox look to see if Dalbec is a guy for their future or just another Michael Chavis.

Deivi García (SP, New York Yankees)

Age:  21

Role:  Full-Time Starter

Deivi García signed with the New York Yankees during the 2015 international signing period. He made his professional debut in 2016 and has steadily risen up the levels and pretty much struck everyone out. However, he has also had trouble with command for long stretches, posting above 11 BB% in Double-A and Triple-A the past two seasons. His command issues along with his size (he is listed at 5’9″) has me thinking he will end up in the bullpen within a few years. However, he looked great against the New York Mets his debut, and you can read Ben Palmer’s great GIF Breakdown of his start here. He should receive a few more starts for the Yankees this year, and I hope the guy proves me wrong because he sure is fun to watch.

 

 

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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