Hundreds of baseball players make their debut over the course of a season. However, for every Ronald Acuna and Scott Kingery there are dozens of lesser known prospects making their debuts who aren’t as frequently discussed. To remedy that, Austin Bristow II, 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 from May 22nd:
Willy Adames (SS/2B, Tampa Bay Rays, 22 years old)
Call Up Date: May 22nd
Role: Cup of Coffee
Organization Ranking: 2nd
Overall Ranking: 22nd
Grades: Hit: 45/55 | Raw Power: 55/55 | Game Power: 45/55 | Run: 45/40 | Fielding: 45/50 | Throw: 60/60
Fantasy Relevance: None in redraft
Acquired by the Rays as part of the David Price trade back in 2014, Adames has steadily been climbing both the organizational ladder as well as top prospect lists since, and made his MLB debut yesterday where he hit a HR against Chris Sale for his first career hit. Adames has consistently been an above-average hitter in the minors, posting no worse than a 119 wRC+ at any stop in his minor league career. In AAA this year, he’s posted a .311/.387/.466 line with 4 HRs and 3 SBs in 174 PAs, and he’s supported that line with a 11.6% walk rate and a slightly below average 22.5% strikeout rate as well as a 12.6% swinging-strike rate. The contact skills may not be elite, but he has high BAPIP traits including a high line-drive rate and good use of the opposite field that makes him tough to defend against and will likely help him post quality batting averages going forward. Add in average to slightly above-average power potential, and double digit SB upside and Adames has good potential to be a valuable SS in fantasy going forward. Now Adames is likely only up for a few games currently while Joey Wendle is on the paternity list, but he’s likely to return at some point this season after the super 2 cutoff (roughly early-mid June) which makes him more of shorter-term stash despite the callup. His upside at the SS position likely makes him worth a flier in 12-team leagues and above if you have the room to hold him on your bench.
Brandon Dixon (2B, Cincinnati Reds, 26 years old)
Call Up Date: May 22nd
Role: Bench Depth
Organization Ranking: N/A
Overall Ranking: N/A
Grades: Hit: 40/45 | Raw Power: 40/45 | Run: 55/55 | Fielding: 50/55 | Throw: 50/50 | Overall: 40/45
Fantasy Relevance: None in redraft
Despite a very impressive spring training, Brandon Dixon was sent to AAA Louisville to begin the 2018 season. Since then, Dixon has continued to impress, batting .326 with 4 home runs and 8 stolen bases. In his time at AAA, he has played all over the diamond, logging time at second base, third base, left field, and first base. The Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman indicated that he will be willing to play the 26-year-old “pretty much anywhere.” Dixon’s power-speed combo is enticing, however, it is yet to be seen what kind of playing time he will get, or even how long he’ll remain on the big league roster. The Reds have viable starters at 1B, 2B, 3B, and OF, so a path to everyday at bats isn’t obvious by any means. That being said, this is a situation to keep your eye on. Though I don’t recommend picking him up without ample space on your bench, Dixon may be able to provide some value to NL-only rosters or other deep leagues.
Missed a player’s debut? Read detailed reports on all 2018 MLB debuts in this spreadsheet.
It unfortunate the Rays are being so ridiculous with Adames service time, but it’s not like they are the only team doing that. It is almost better that they came out and said the “3 day” plan or whatever it was so redraft guys didn’t get to crazy in adding him. They also threw him right into a murderous row of pitching with Sale, Price and Porcello. I know Price hasn’t looked like Price. Regardless, facing three Cy Young guys in your first taste is tough.. not to mention going against Kimbrel the past two days as well.
I agree he’s irrelevant for the moment in redraft. However, I think he is going to surprise some in the 2nd half this season and even more so long term. He has profiled so far as a good overall “hit tool” guy, but was lacking the elite power/speed combo. I think the swing itself shows he can grow into some really nice power. I am not sure if he can go full on Lindor/Ozzie with the power development, but he looks like 25+ and will mix in some bags. He is a very good defender, so playing time once he is finally past super 2 deadline shouldn’t be an issue. Not that looking at that Rays lineup, I was ever really worried about how he could find full-time PT.
Yea, this stuff is always so frustrating. It’s the reason we’re likely not going to see too much of Vlad Jr. this year if at all. But it’s definitely best for the club in the long run.
I definitely agree with your assessment about his second half. I enjoy guys like this, especially for fantasy teams that are starting to appear as if they are out of the running (and are in keeper leagues). For re-drafts he could be a sneaky add that could help in the playoffs too. It’s been fun watching him while we can though. He also seems incredibly mature. I liked his comment the other day about accepting the good and the bad. How you’re just as responsible for both outcomes.