MLB Debuts: July 23 – July 26

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 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 July 23rd and July 26th:

 

Joe McCarthy (OF, San Francisco Giants)

Age: 26

Role: Platoon role

McCarthy was a fifth-round draft pick for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015 out of the University of Virginia, which was a pretty high selection as McCarthy had back surgery earlier that year. McCarthy has a great eye at the plate and posted double-digit walk rates at pretty much every stop in the minors. Unfortunately, he had another back issue that limited his playing time in 2019, and then was traded to San Francisco last July. He made his major league debut July 23 in right field and hit sixth. He moved up a spot in the lineup and over to left field the next day while the Giants faced off against Ross Stripling, who is a righty. It seems like he has an everyday role when the Giants face a right-handed pitcher but unless you are in a very deep OBP league, he is not really rosterable.

 

Dany Jiménez (RHP, San Francisco Giants)

Age: 26

Role: Bullpen Arm

Jiménez spent his entire minor league career with the Toronto Blue Jays before being selected in the Rule 5 draft by the San Francisco Giants. Jiménez has a fastball that sits in the mid-nineties and a nasty 12-6 curveball sitting in the mid-eighties. However, Jiménez has a lot of work to do on commanding the baseball. In his debut, he faced five batters, walked three, and struck out one. The Giants are in a rebuild mode so he will probably stick on the roster, and should get some work in low leverage situations.

 

Shogo Akiyama (OF, Cincinnati Reds)

Age: 32

Role: Platoon Role

The Reds and Akiyama agreed to a three-year deal during the offseason after a nine-year career in Japan. He slashed .301/.376./.454 with 122 home runs and 124 stolen bases while playing elite center field defense. The Reds have plenty of batters that deserve playing time, and he was not starting when the Reds faced off against Matthew Boyd, a lefty. That being said, if Akiyama performs well against righties, we might see him take away playing time Phillip Irvin.

 

Jonathan Araúz (IF, Boston Red Sox)

Age: 21

Role: Bench Bat

Araúz was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Red Sox and was previously with the Houston Astros. Araúz has above-average bat-to-ball skills but with little to no power, he might just get his bat knocked out of his hands. He made his debut at third base, taking the place of Rafael Devers in the eighth inning after the game was easily in the Red Sox favor. He hit a flyout in his first at-bat, and should play here and there as the Red Sox seem like they will keep him on the roster the entire season.

 

William Contreras (C, Atlanta Braves)

Age: 22

Role: Second Catcher

After Tyler Flowers and Travis d’Arnaud both experienced COVID-19 symptoms, the Braves called upon two young catchers, Alex Jackson, and William Contreras. Contreras, the younger brother of Willison, has never played above Double-A, but should be the catcher of the future for the Braves. He still has some work to do behind the dish, but projects to be an average catcher in a couple of years. Once Flowers and/or d’Arnaud return to the team, Contreras will return to the alternate site. He made his debut on July 24th coming in at the bottom of the eighth inning after Johan Camargo pinch-hit for Alex Jackson the inning before.

 

Jonathon Feyereisen (RHP, Milwaukee Brewers)

Age: 27

Role: Bullpen Arm

Feyereisen was drafted by the Indians in the 16th round in the 2014 draft before moving to the New York Yankees as part of the Andrew Miller trade. He spent the last three seasons in Triple-A where he posted above 23 K%, but also above 10 BB%. However, he saw a jump up in his strikeouts last season before being traded to the Brewers this winter. Feyereisen is a fastball/slider guy with a show-me change and should see plenty of time in the middle innings for the Brew Crew.

 

Andrés Giménez (2B/SS, New York Mets)

Age: 21

Role: Bench Bat

In a surprise move, the Mets added their second-ranked prospect to the 30-man roster. He spent the entire year in Double-A and looked a little over-matched. This was his second stint in Double-A, and we saw his strikeout percentage increase from 14.4% to 21.3% while keeping a 5 BB%. That being said, he is the best option to replace Cańo in close games as he is not the fielder he once was. He made his debut on July 24th after replacing Robinson Canó at the top of the eighth inning. I doubt we will see much playing time, and he is a candidate to move to the alternate training site when rosters have to be cut to 28 players.

 

Codi Heuer (RHP, Chicago White Sox)

Age: 24

Role: Bullpen Arm

He throws a two-seam that sits in the mid-nineties and a slider in the mid-eighties. He made his debut July 24th in the ninth inning against the Twins, and his first strikeout was Mitch Garver. With the extended rosters, Heuer should see a few innings here and there, but will probably be destined to the alternate site when the roster shrinks to 28 players. He should see more playing time next year for the White Sox as a mid-inning reliever.

 

Kwang-hyun Kim (LHP, St. Louis Cardinals)

Age: 32

Role: Closer

Kim spent 12 seasons with the SK Wyvers before signing a two-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals during the offseason. He was almost a San Diego Padre back in 2014, but the Padres and Wyvers could not settle on a deal so he returned to South Korea. He was a starter in Korea, and there was talk that he would be the Cardinals fifth starter but in a surprising move, he was named as the Cardinals closer. In his first save opportunity, he gave up two runs (only one was earned) on two hits without registering a walk or strikeout. If, and this is a big if, he remains as the closer for the Cardinals he should be rostered in all leagues. However, we could also see him struggle in the role and Ryan Helsley takes the job.

 

Jóse Marmolejos (OF, Seattle Mariners)

Age: 27

Role: Bench Bat

Marmolejos was one of my favorite players to root for when he was with the Washington Nationals. He was with the Nationals for nine seasons and outside of 2018, he had above 100 wRC+ at every stop. In his debut, he hit seventh and went 0-3 with two strikeouts. He does have a good feel for the strike zone and appears to have the strong side of the platoon in left field.

 

Anthony Misiewicz (LHP, Seattle Mariners)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

Misiewicz was an eighteenth-round draft pick in 2015. He has spent most of his minor league career as a starter, but will be a reliever with these extended rosters. He made his debut in the fifth inning and went an inning, struck out one batter, gave up two hits and one earned run. He doesn’t have overwhelming stuff and looks like he will have the job of mop-up duty in the middle innings for the Mariners.

 

Enoli Paredes (RHP, Houston Astros)

Age: 24

Role: Bullpen Arm

Enoli Paredes also made his debut on July 24th against the Seattle Mariners. Paredes has some odd mechanics but he makes it work somehow. Paredes is a fastball/curveball guy but also mixes in a slider from time to time. His curveball is above-average and his fastball easily gets to the upper-nineties with some late life. His curveball made it into a recent GIF tournament. Paredes has back of the bullpen stuff but probably won’t get there this year.

 

Yohan Ramirez (RHP, Seattle Mariners)

Age: 24

Role: Bullpen Arm

Yohan Ramirez was picked in the Rule 5 draft by the Mariners this winter. He throws extremely hard with strikeout rates above 30% however, he has always struggled with his command. He made his debut July 24th against the Houston Astros, faced five batters, struck out two, and also walked two, so command issues are still there. Due to the Mariners rebuild, he should stick on the roster the entire season. That being said, if he can harness his command maybe he turns into a good bullpen option in a few seasons.

 

Luis Robert (OF, Chicago White Sox)

Age: 22

Role: Full-time starter

After Lou-Bob signed an extension in the offseason, it was a foregone conclusion that he would be the starting center fielder for the Boys on the South Side. Robert had an unbelievable 2019 season where we saw him move from High-A to Triple-A and slash 0328/.376/.624 with 32 home runs and 36 stolen bases. Incredible. However, Robert does have trouble recognizing spin on breaking balls, and double-digit swinging strike rates throughout his time in the minor leagues indicate he will struggle with strikeouts during his career, especially during this first season. The White Sox have a stacked lineup and Robert should be hitting seventh pretty much every day. However, he had the hardest-hit ball on July 24th, at 115.8 MPH.

 

Ramón Rosso (RHP, Philadelphia Phillies)

Age: 24

Role: Bullpen Arm

Rosso was signed by the Dodgers in 2015 but was released a year later. He thought about giving up baseball altogether before working out for Phillies scouts in the Dominican Republic. After the workout, the Phillies offered him a contract and he has been with the organization ever since. The last two years, Rosso has been hurt by the long ball, posting double-digit HR/FB%, but he worked with Driveline in the offseason. He should see time in the middle innings for the Phillies due to the lack of depth in the bullpen.

 

Leody Taveras (OF, Texas Rangers)

Age: 21

Role: Bench Bat

Taveras was signed by the Rangers in 2015 and he has slowly moved up the ranks and was a surprising addition to the 30-man roster. I have a feeling that Taveras will be one of the players cut when rosters are reduced to 28 players in two weeks. That being said, the Rangers lack a true centerfield option, and Taveras plays premium defense and was a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth inning when the Rangers held onto a one-run lead over the Rockies. If he sticks on the roster, he could be an interesting player that could contribute in stolen bases with his above-average speed. However, with a 57% success rate in Double-A last year, he still has to nail some of the finer points.

 

Blake Taylor (LHP, Houston Astros)

Age: 24

Role: Bullpen Arm

Taylor was drafted in the second round by the Pirates in 2013, but has spent most of his career with the New York Mets. He became a reliever full-time last year and he saw a tick more strikeouts while keeping the walks at bay. He was traded to the Astros as part of the Jake Marisnick deal, and made the Astros 30-man roster as the only left-hander in the pen. Taylor made his debut on July 24th in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners and retired the side in nine pitches. Because he is the only southpaw, expect Taylor to be used frequently, but I doubt he will see many save chances.

 

Ryan Thompson (RHP, Tampa Bay Rays)

Age: 28

Role: Bullpen Arm

After spending four seasons with the Astros, Thompson was selected in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft prior to the 2019 season. He didn’t pitch during the 2018 season as the right-handed reliever needed TJS and missed the entire season. He made it up to Double-A and posted decent strikeout and walk rates, especially knowing he was returning from Tommy John. Thompson comes at batters with an extremely low slot angle that sits in the low-nineties. He made his debut for the Rays on July 24th after Charlie Morton left after throwing four innings. He threw two innings of one-hit ball. He should see a bunch of innings after a starter leaves early so he could get you some wins. However, the Rays are going to Ray and that position could go to anyone.

 

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (3B, Tampa Bay Rays)

Age: 28

Role: Full-Time Starter

Tsutsugo signed a two-year deal with the Rays in the offseason after playing Japan for ten years. During his time in NPB, Tsutsugo average slash line was .282/.382/.528 with 25/30 home runs and a double-digit walk rate. He has power to all fields.

In his first game, Tsutsugo was batting third and playing the hot corner, which was a bit surprising. Going into the season, I thought he would get more time at DH or LF but the Rays are filled with great hitters that shouldn’t play in the field (I see you, Jose Martinez). Again, they were facing Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is a lefty, so things might change. We all know how much the Rays love their platoons.

 

Evan White (1B, Seattle Mariners)

Age: 24

Role: Full-Time Starter

The Mariners selected Evan White in the first round in 2017 out of the University of Kentucky. After being drafted, the Mariners slightly tweaked his mechanics that has unlocked a little bit more power. Last year, White hit 13 doubles and a career-high 18 home runs in Double-A Arkansas, which might be one of the most notorious pitchers park in the Minor Leagues. It is also not surprising to see that White’s max exit velocity of 110 MPH is the highest in the Mariners organization (J-Rod’s is 109 MPH but…hey…110 MPH is higher). He signed a six-year extension prior to the start of the season, and should receive every day playing time and might be one of the best hitters in the Mariners lineup. In his debut he was hitting second against Justin Verlander and went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.

 

Tyler Zuber (RHP, Kansas City Royals)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

The Royals drafted Zuber in the sixth round out of Arkansas State. He has always been a reliever and has the stuff to be a late-inning option by this year. He has an above-average fastball and curveball with a slider that he mixes in as well. He split his time between High-A and Double-A last year and posted 30 K% with single-digit walk rates. He made his debut July 24th and pitched the seventh and eighth innings to finish the game out against the Indians.

 

Caleb Baragar (RHP, San Francisco Giants)

Age: 26

Role: Bullpen Arm

Baragar was a ninth-round selection by the Giants back in 2016 and he has slowly moved his way up levels in the minors. He spent the majority of his time last year in Double-A and posted a 3.45 ERA, 1.05 WHIP in 120 innings. If 2020 was a normal year, he would have been starting in Triple-A, but now he will pitch multiple innings out of the Giants bullpen. In his debut, he threw two innings, struck out one, and earned a win. Baragar might sneak a couple more wins here and there, but knowing when he will get a chance (or when the Giants have a chance at a win) is a fool’s errand.

 

Santiago Espinal (3B, Toronto Blue Jays)

Age: 25

Role: Platoon Role

Role: Platoon Role. An original draftee of the Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2016 draft, Espinal was traded to the Blue Jays for Steve Pearce in 2018. Espinal spent most of last year in Double-A where he posted a 115 wRC+ in 94 games. He was added to the 40-man roster this past winter and won the super-utility job out of Summer Camp. He should split time with Travis Shaw at third base and be the starter when facing a left-handed pitcher.

 

Kyle Finnegan (RHP, Washington Nationals)

Age: 28

Role: Bullpen Arm

Kyle Finnegan spent his entire minor league career with the Oakland Athletics before signing with the Washington Nationals this offseason. He posted above 30 K% last year between Double-A and Triple-A. However, the walks have been a bit of a bugaboo for him. He faced four batters in his debut and only gave up a hit. He should see time out of the pen when the Nationals have a pretty decent lead or in low leverage situations.

 

Cristian Javier (RHP, Houston Astros)

Age: 23

Role: Bullpen Arm

One of the Astros top starting pitching prospects, Javier made his debut out of the bullpen on July 25th against the Mariners. Javier has a very deceptive delivery and typically pitches ‘backward’ that makes batters uncomfortable. Javier will probably be utilized from the pen this year, but could jump into the starting rotation if someone were to get injured.

 

Daniel Johnson (OF, Cleveland Indians)

Age: 25

Role: Platoon Role

Cleveland’s outfield situation, outside of Oscar Mercado, is a bit of a mess so Daniel Johnson should see plenty of run against right-handers. Daniel Johnson was drafted by the Washington Nationals, and was traded to Cleveland before the 2019 season for Yan Gomes. Johnson has been an above-average hitter at every single stop in the minor leagues, and brings the perfect combination of power and speed. If he hits the ground running, he could secure himself more playing time.

 

Jimmy Lambert (RHP, Chicago White Sox)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

Jimmy Lambert, a sixth-round draft pick back in 2016, is returning from the TJS he had in June of last year. Lambert has a four-seam and curveball, a move he made prior to his surgery that saw his strikeout jump ten percentage points. Lambert will see most of his work this year from the pen, but could be a sneaky guy to vulture some wins.

 

Nick Neidert (RHP, Miami Marlins)

Age: 23

Role: Bullpen Arm

Nick Neidert, a second-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners, struggled with his command after returning from a knee injury last year but looked good during pre-season. He would have started the year in Triple-A, just on the cusp of the big leagues. Neidert does not have overpowering stuff, but should be a perfect innings-eater type next season. This year, he will probably go multiple innings, and could vulture a few of those Marlins wins.

 

Edward Olivares (OF, San Diego Padres)

Age: 24

Role: Bench Bat

The Padres have traded away many outfielders in the last year and with their most recent trade of Franchy Cordero, Edward Olivares moves into the fourth outfielder/bat of the bench option. Olivares has hit at every single stop and has an interesting power and speed skill set. If he can hit the ground running, he would be a great fantasy option.

 

Brady Singer (RHP, Kansas City Royals)

Age: 24

Role: Starting Pitcher

A first-round draft pick in 2018, Brady Singer is one of the Kansas City Royals top prospects. He was dazzling in his debut, and Nick had a great GIF Breakdown of this start. He should continue to get starts and is a must-add. While I do think he is more of a fourth SP type, he will be the best starter for the Royals this year, unless you still believe in Danny Duffy.

 

Alex Vesia (LHP, Miami Marlins)

Age: 24

Role: Bullpen Arm

Alex Vera has been a reliever ever since the Marlins drafted him in the seventeenth round in 2018. He is a two-pitch guy (fastball and changeup) and had moved all the way to Double-A by the end of last year. The southpaw will see plenty of run this year as the Marlins have almost completely remade their bullpen from last year.

 

Aaron Whitefield (OF, Minnesota Twins)

Age: 23

Role: Bench Bat

Aaron Whitefield was signed out of Australia in 2015, and made the Twins roster as a pinch-runner. He made his major league debut in that role on July 25th. Once rosters are cut down, he will most likely be moved to the Alternate Site as he has only 110 PAs in Double-A.

 

Taylor Widener (RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

Taylor Widener was rising up prospect lists before finding the happy fun ball in Triple-A last year. After dominating Double-A in 2018, his 8.10 ERA over 100 innings was pretty mind-blowing. With the starting pitching depth the Diamondbacks currently have, Widener was going to start the season in Triple-A if, you know, 2020 was a normal year. Widener made his debut July 25th, faced five batters and stuck out one of them. He will pitch in the middle innings for the Diamondbacks, but should return to starting in 2021.

 

Brandon Bailey (RHP, Houston Astros)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

Brandon Bailey was drafted by the Houston Astros in the sixth round back in 2016. He has worked mainly as a starter, but also as a follower as the Astros typically piggyback their pitchers, especially in the lower minors. He has performed well at each level but being only 5’10”, he was viewed as a reliever-type. Bailey was selected by the Baltimore Orioles during the Rule 5 draft last winter, but was returned during Spring Training. In his debut, Bailey faced four Mariners during his one inning of work. The Astros bullpen is in a bit of flux, especially with Justin Verlander being placed on the IL so he should see innings throughout the year, mostly in lower leverage spots.

 

JT Brubaker (RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

Age: 26

Role: Bullpen Arm

JT Brubaker was slowing moving his way up the minor leagues after being drafted in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015 before missing most of the 2019 season due to a forearm strain. He made his major league debut on July 26th against the St. Louis Cardinals, and looked dominant out of the bullpen. He went two innings and struck out four batters, giving up only three hits. He should see multiple innings when coming out of the bullpen this year as the team still views him as a starter.

 

Jake Cronenworth (RHP/SS, San Diego Padres)

Age: 26

Role: Utility infielder/Bullpen Arm

Cronenworth was one of my favorite non-top 200 prospect to watch last year. He is a two-way player and in 406 plate appearances, he hit .334/.429/.520 and had a 26.5 K% in his in 7 1/3 innings out of the pen in Triple-A. He made his way to the San Diego Padres as part of the Tommy Pham trade in the offseason. He doubled in his major league debut and should be an excellent bat off of the bench, but I hope to see him get a bit more run at second base for the Padres.

 

Tom Hatch (RHP, Toronto Blue Jays)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

After being drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Chicago Cubs, Hatch became a bit of an innings eater between High-A and Double-A. He has thrown more than 120 innings in each of his three seasons before making his way to the Toronto Blue Jays in July of last year in the David Phelps trade. He made his debut on July 26th against the Tampa Bay Rays, going 2 1/3 innings with three strikeouts. He should fill in as an inning eating reliever for the Blue Jays this year.

 

Cam Hill (RHP, Cleveland Indians)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

Not too many players drafted in the 17th round make it to the major leagues, but don’t tell that to Cam Hill. He has a disgusting fastball/slider mix that should be pretty lethal coming out of the bullpen. He still has some work to do in the control department, but looked good in his debut inning for Cleveland. He should stick around during the first round of roster cuts.

 

Jordan Holloway (RHP, Miami Marlins)

Age: 24

Role: Bullpen Arm

Jordan Holloway was a twentieth-round draft pick of the Miami Marlins in 2014 and prior to this year, had not pitched above High-A. However, he performed well in Spring Training and Summer Camp and was added to the roster prior to the season. He made his major league debut July 26th, faced four batters and allowed two hits and walked another. If and when the Marlins start playing again, Holloway should remain on the roster.

 

Taylor Jones (OG/DH, Houston Astros)

Age: 26

Role: Bullpen Arm

Taylor Jones was a nineteenth round draft pick in 2016, but did not put it together at the plate until 2018 in Double-A. He was optioned to the alternate site on July 27th after making his major league debut as the Astros needed another arm in the bullpen after Justin Verlander went on the Injured List. While his major league debut was nothing to write home about (he went 0-2), I could see him being recalled soon.

 

Vimael Machín (DH, Oakland Athletics)

Age: 26

Role: Bench Bat

Prior to this year, Machín was in the Chicago Cubs organization but moved over to Oakland when he was selected during the Rule 5 draft this past winter. He hit extremely well last year in Double-A and Triple-A, posting 129 and 144 wRC+ respectively. Machín adds some lefthanded depth to a pretty heavy righthanded Athletic lineup. He should see a small amount of playing time during the season.

 

Kodi Whitley (RHP, St. Louis Cardinals)

Age: 25

Role: Bullpen Arm

Kodi Whitley looked really good coming out of the bullpen in his debut on July 27th. He faced three batters and struck out one and did not give up a hit or walk. Whitley has an above-average fastball and slider with great command. He should remain in the Cardinals bullpen for the remainder of the year.

 

Shun Yamaguchi (RHP, Houston Astros)

Age: 33

Role: Bullpen Arm

Shun Yamaguchi was a bit shaky in his major league debut for the Toronto Blue Jays this past weekend. He faced two batters and gave up a walk and a hit and blew his first save chance. Yamaguchi signed a two-year deal with the Blue Jays this past winter and should be a mid-inning deliver going forward.

 

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

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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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