MLB Debuts: September 14 – September 20

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 September 7th and September 13th:

 

Jonathan Stiever (SP, Chicago White Sox)

Age:  23

Role: Spot Starter

 

The White Sox drafted Jonathan Stiever in the fifth round of the 2018 draft out of Indiana University. He threw 28 innings that summer in the AZL and stuck out 39 batters but had a bit of trouble with his command. He started last year in Low-A, where he found his command again and in 74 innings he struck out 77 batters while only walking 14. He finished his season in High-A, where he struck out another 77 batters in 71 innings. He was looking really great in Spring Training before missing time with a forearm injury. After hearing that news, I thought the season was over but in a surprise promotion, Stiever started two games this week. In his first start against the Detriot Tigers, he looked great. His fastball was sitting in the low to mid nineties and he was using his secondaries effectively. Things derailed in his second start against the Cincinnati Reds, but for someone who has not pitched above High-A and coming off a forearm injury, I was impressed. If things are back to normal next year, Stiever should begin the season in Double-A with a chance to see big league time.

 

Rafael Marchan (C, Philadelphia Phillies)

Age:  21

Role:  Bench Bat

Rafael Marchan signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an international free agent during the J2 signing period in 2015. He was originally signed as a shortstop but moved behind the plate pretty quickly after being signed. Marchan has great bat to ball skills, especially for a catcher, and the defensive chops to stick behind the plate. He split time between Low-A and High-A last year but an injury to J.T Realmuto and production at the Alternate Site, the Phillies had no one else to turn to. In 210 games in the minor leagues, Marchan had never hit a home run but in his second game…

Bam! While Marchan should begin next year in Double-A, the Phillies have a pretty interesting bat first catcher in their future.

Travis Blankenhorn (2B, Minnisota Twins)

Age:  24

Role: Bench Bat

 

Travis Blankenhorn, a third round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2015, made his debut against the Chicago White Sox. After being drafted, Blankenhorn began his career in the Appy League before moving to the GCL to finish out the year. Since then, he has pretty much moved up a level at a time but split his time between High-A and Double-A in 2019. Blankenhorn has always been able to hit and brings above average power to the plate as well. While he is not overall fast, he swiped 11 bags last year without being caught so he might chip in a few more steals in the majors. Well, if he moves away from the Twins as they have been stolen base laggards the past few seasons.

 

Blake Cederlind (RP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

Age:  24

Role: Bullpen Arm

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Blake Cederlind with the 165th overall pick in 2016. He began his career as a starter but moved to the bullpen in 2018 while in High-A. Cederlind is a sinker/slider reliever so he won’t necessarily rack up the strikeouts but should get plenty of groundballs. The sinker sits in the upper nineties and the slider hovers in the upper nineties. He only threw six innings in Triple-A last year so he should begin the season in Indianapolis but should still see some time in PNC Park.

 

 

Zach McKinstry (2B/OF, Los Angles Dodgers)

Age:  25

Role:  Bench Bat

How does it seem that the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to always have great hitters in the lower levels? Zach McKinstry was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2016 draft and slowly moved up the ranks. He spilt his season between Double-A and Triple-A and posted 126 and 177 wRC+ respectively. While he does not have much power and speed, he has the amazing ability to put the bat on the ball. Unfortunately for McKinstry, he is blocked as the Dodgers roster is stacked and should be going forward. He reminds me of Ty France, the ex-San Diego Padre who was moved in the Austin Nola deal, a hitter that should have an everyday role in the major leagues but is majorly blocked. I could see him moved to another team this offseason or at the Trading Deadline, but the Dodgers love having depth options so he might just stay in LA.

 

Mickey Moniak (OF, Philadelphia Phillies)

Age:  22

Role: Bench Bat

The Phildelphia Phillies selected Mickey Moniak first overall in the 2016 draft and sadly he has underperformed since being drafted. He struggled through Low-A and High-A, posting below 100 wRC+, but the Phillies kept moving him up levels. He really turned around things last year in Double-A, where he hit 11 bombs and stole 15 bases with a 115 wRC+ to boot. If we are being honest, this call-up was a bit of a surprise, but I had seen that Moniak was killing it at the Alternate Site this summer. I’m afraid that he will probably never live up to that 1.1 tag but should return to the bigs sometime next year as a fourth outfielder or bench bat.

 

Hector Perez (RP, Toronto Blue Jays)

Age:  24

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Hector Perez signed with the Houston Astros during the J2 signing period in 2014. He has gotten a few starts here and there while with the Astros, but that is because the Astros use a piggyback system for most of their pitching prospects. Perez started the 2018 season in High-A but moved up north to Toronto in the Roberto Osuna deal. The Toronto Blue Jays used him as a starting pitcher in Double-A last year, but Perez really struggled with command, especially as he moved into the later innings of a start. Going forward, I could see the Jays giving Perez one more chance to start in Triple-A, but he will probably end up an interesting bullpen piece for them later in the year.

 

 

Scott Blewett (RP, Kansas City Royals)

Age:  24

Role:  Bullpen Arm

The Kansas City Royals drafted Scott Blewett in the second round of the 2014 draft. While he has never really struck too many batters out, he does throw a bunch of strikes with good command. He had been a starter but made his debut out of the bullpen. Going forward, I think Blewett will be an innings eater/spot starter type as his profile does not play up well out of the bullpen.

 

Garrett Crochet (RP, Chicago White Sox)

Age:  21

Role:  Bullpen Arm

In the surprise promotion of the year, Garrett Crochet made his debut this week against the Cincinnati Reds. It was surprising as he was just drafted this summer with the eleventh overall pick. He was the first player since Mike Leake to skip over the entire minor leagues. While I feel that he will be a starter long term, his above average fastball and slider will be lethal out of the bullpen during the playoffs.

 

Demarcus Evans (RP, Texas Rangers)

Age:  23

Role:  Bullpen Arm

Demarcus Evans was selected by the Texas Rangers with the 738th overall pick in 2015. Since being drafted, Evans has posted crazy strikeout numbers, but as with any high strikeout reliever has struggled with his control. That being said, Evans has been able to limit the damage of those walks and has posted below 2.00 ERA’s in his past few seasons. Honestly, I think we are looking at the Rangers future closer here. While he has never pitched above Double-A, I think he sticks in the Rangers bullpen and could be a sneaky pickup in your dynasty league.

 

 

 

 

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.

2 responses to “MLB Debuts: September 14 – September 20”

  1. Avatar Adam Lewis says:

    Hey Shelly,

    Great job on these all year! Will the spreadsheet be updated for the end of the year?

    Adam

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