MLB Debuts: June 30 – July 5

Hundreds of baseball players make their debut over the course of a season. However, for every Ronald Acuña and Scott Kingery, there are dozens of lesser-known prospects making their debuts who aren’t as frequently discussed. To remedy that, Alex Fast, Adam Garland, Ben Palmer and I will be doing a write-up on every single player making their MLB Debut. Inspired by the Effectively Wild podcast and Andrew Perpetua, we’ll discuss each debut’s skill set, how long they will likely remain in the majors and any other pertinent information you need to know. Each player will also be stored in a spreadsheet featuring further information (bio, D.O.B, player ID’s, etc) that can be accessed at the bottom of the article.

Here are the debuts between June 30th and July 5th:

Paul Fry (RP, Baltimore Orioles, 25 years old) 
Debut Date: 6/29/18
Role: Bullpen Depth
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: Fastball: 50/55 | Slider: 55/60 | Changeup: 45/50 | Control: 45/45 | Overall: 40/45
Fantasy Relevance: None

The Baltimore Orioles are currently struggling when it comes to bullpen depth. Richard Bleier is done for the year having undergone lat surgery. Darren O’Day is out for the year having surgery on his hamstring. Those injuries however have made way for Paul Fry. So far on the year in Double and Triple-A, Fry has posted a 3.19 ERA with a 57/15 K/BB ratio across 42.1 frames. He went 1.2 IP with 0 ER, 2 H and 2 K in his debut last Friday but, as of this writing, has yet to be used again. His lack of leverage in situations that matter don’t make him too intriguing of an add for your fantasy team. Even should Fry get holds in the future, I imagine there are other, better hold options on your waiver wire.

Ryan Meisinger (RP, Baltimore Orioles, 24 years old) 
Debut Date: 6/29/18
Role: Bullpen Depth
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: N/A
Fantasy Relevance: None

Ryan Meisinger has been in the Orioles organization for his entire career (starting in 2015). In that time he has never cracked the top 30 prospect list for the club. Much like Fry, Meisinger was called up to help round a depleted Orioles bullpen. I don’t want to take away too much from the righty however, as he was having a solid minor league campaign so far in 2018. Over Double and Triple-A, he’s amassed a 3.12 ERA with a 49/10 K/BB ratio. In his 2018 debut, Meisinger went 1.2 IP with 1 ER and 1 K. Moving forward, I see Meisinger as being pretty low on the list when it comes to being used in high leverage situations. There’s also a chance that, with the return of Chris Tillman, Meisinger could be sent back down.

Pablo Lopez (SP, Miami Marlin, 22 years old) 
Debut Date: 6/30/18
Role: Spot Starter
Organization Ranking: 20th
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: Fastball: 50 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 60 | Overall: 45
Fantasy Relevance: Streamer Against Weaker Offenses

Originally with the Mariners organization, Lopez was a piece in the David Phelps trade. Aside from a poor Single-A effort while still with the Mariners organization, Lopez has put up some nice numbers in the minors. This year in particular Lopez has a 1.44 ERA with a 0.93 WHIP and a 66/12 K/BB ratio over 62.1 IP between Double and Triple-A. While he doesn’t have one plus offering, he has an above average three-pitch mix that has showcases excellent command. Lopez isn’t a K guy per se, instead he uses his sinking fastball to generate a lot of weak contact. While the K’s will limit his upside he does have the chance to be a decent back-end starter. His debut against the Mets went quite well: 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB and 5 K. The one walk is great to see, especially from a 22 year old making his first Major League start. Lopez already got 10 swinging strikes and 17 called strikes for a slightly below average 28% CSW rate. If Lopez had an assured spot in the rotation, I’d be more interested. As of this writing, he’s still on the 25 man but when Jose Ureña returns on the 4th of July, that may be different.

Willians Astudillo (C, Minnesota Twins, 26 years old) 
Debut Date: 6/30/18
Role: Utility Bench Player
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: N/A
Fantasy Relevance: Deepest of leagues only

You may remember Astudillo as the catcher who threw a no-look pickoff against the Yankees in spring training. (If you haven’t seen that, please check it out here because it’s absolutely amazing). However, Astudillo is so, so much more. Willians Astudillo is officially my favorite player. In a league driven by the three-true-outcome-player, Willians Astudillo is the anti-hero. He doesn’t strikeout. He doesn’t walk. He doesn’t hit home-runs. He just. Makes. Contact. In the 6 years he spent in the Phillies farm system he never posted a K rate over 5% and never posted a walk rate over 7%. In 49 games at AAA he had a 2.7% walk rate and a 4.8% K rate with a .199 SLG and a .321 OBP. He’s listed as a catcher but he’s already been utilized in the OF (due to an injury) at 2B and 3B. The only thing is that Astudillo has no path to playing time. As of now he’s being utilized off the bench and until the Twins start him, he’s better left on the wire.

Tanner Anderson (RP, Pittsburgh Pirates, 25 years old) 
Debut Date: 7/02/18
Role: Bullpen Depth
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: N/A
Fantasy Relevance: None

A former 20th round pick, Anderson has had some success in the minor leagues recently, posting a 2.34 ERA as a reliever in 34.2 innings this year in Triple-A, but that nice ERA has come with a very pedestrian 6.23 K/9, something that’s followed him his entire career. After coming into his MLB debut and giving up five earned runs in two innings, he was sent back down to the minors. There’s no fantasy value here.

Joey Krehbiel (RP, Arizona Diamondbacks, 25 years old) 
Debut Date: 7/02/18
Role: Bullpen Depth
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: N/A
Fantasy Relevance: None

Krehbiel’s been a reliever all of his minor league career, and a pretty solid one at that, posting multiple seasons of a sub-2.00 ERA. He’s also had four-straight seasons with a K/9 above 10.00. During his brief MLB debut, he was solid, pitching three scoreless innings over tww games, though he didn’t log a single strikeout. After those two games, Krehbiel was sent down to the minors.

Nate Orf (2B, Milwaukee Brewers, 28 years old) 
Debut Date: 7/2/18
Role: Injury Fill-In
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: N/A
Fantasy Relevance: None

Nate Orf has had quite the journey to the majors, starting his professional career undrafted and signing his first contract after “accidently” negotiating his signing bonus down from $1,000 to $500. 6 years in the minors later with a career batting line in the minors of .291/.388/.408, Orf has received the call he’s been dreaming of his whole life, one that called him up to the major leagues. Orf has consistently shown above-average contact skills in the minors, never having a strikeout rate about 15.3% while also posting very much above-average swinging-strike rates. Unfortunately, he doesn’t offer much power upside and also hasn’t stolen many bases until recently as he has 20 SB in AAA this year when his previous career best in a season was 9 back in 2016. He’s a great story, but he’s not relevant in all but the deepest of fantasy baseball leagues.

Evan Phillips (RP, Atlanta Braves, 23 years old) 
Debut Date: 7/3/18
Role: Bullpen Depth
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: N/A
Fantasy Relevance: None

Phillips has long been an interesting reliever thanks to impressive swing and miss stuff that has helped him rack up strikeouts throughout his minor league career. Unfortunately, along with the swing and miss stuff, Phillips has had some issues finding the plate with his pitches and therefore posted elevated walk rates. This year though has been the best one for Phillips in his minor league career, as he has posted a 2.09 ERA with 58 strikeouts against 14 walks in 38.2 innings pitched at the AAA level. He’s supported that with an above-average 12.1% swinging-strike rate and an impressive 2.05 FIP. He looks primed to pitch in lower leverage settings for now in the Braves bullpen while RP Peter Moylan is out with a forearm strain.

Missed a player’s debut? Read detailed reports on all 2018 MLB debuts in this spreadsheet.

Alex Fast

Alex Fast is Head of Operations at Pitcher List. Co-host of On The Corner, and host of the weekend edition of First Pitch, Alex received his masters in interactive telecommunications from NYU's ITP. He dedicated his time there on bringing new, interactive tech to the game of baseball and created a thesis about how the sport is under-utilizing data visualization. All opinions are Alex's and Alex's alone. A die-hard Orioles fan, Alex is well versed in futility and broken pitching prospects.

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