Archive for Welcome to the Majors

Welcome to the Majors: 4/1/08

A whopping seven players made their major league debut yesterday. During the 2007 season, 211 players made their major league debut and this season we’ve already seen 16 new additions to the major leagues.

Christopher Tolbert got his first at-bat in the bottom of the 8th inning in a game that was already considerably out of hand. He grounded out and called it a day. Tolbert just made Aaron Gleeman’s list of top 40 Twins prospects and Gleeman believes he’s best suited as a utility man.

Brian Bass also made his debut with the Twins and struggled in the process allowing 3 hits and 2 runs including a home run in just 1.1 innings. He had some success in AAA last year as a starter and exhibited good control with 2.1 BB/9. He also appears to induce groundballs at a fairly high rate, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

Brian Barton pinch hit in the bottom of the 7th and singled in his only at-bat of the game. Barton was excellent this spring batting .351 with 2 home runs and 5 extra base hits. Future Redbirds did an excellent piece on him recently which has everything you would ever want to know about him, including his aerospace engineering degree.

Kyle McClellan pitched his first inning for the Cardinals in the top of the 6th and it was a perfect inning to boot. McClellan had an admirable spring striking out 12 in 13 innings of work while walking just 2. He was dominant in AA last year, so it will be interesting to see how he does in the majors. He’s someone to keep an eye on.

Rico Washington also made his debut with the Cardinals where he pinch hit in the bottom of the 5th. He performed quite will in AAA last year with an OPS of .914 and batting .333 this spring earned him his roster spot.

Jayson Nix got the start at second base for the Rockies and went hitless with two walks. Nix spent the past two seasons in AAA and showed decent power for a second-baseman with a .159 ISO. He won the starting job over Jeff Baker, Clint Barmes, Marcus Giles, and Ian Stewart with his solid defense and adequate plate skills.

Last but not least, Ramon Troncoso pitched two-thirds innings for the Dodgers last night in his first major league appearance. He only faced one batter and got him to ground into a double play. Troncoso displayed excellent strikeout abilities in high-A where he struck out 30 batters in 26 innings while only issuing 3 walks. His AA numbers were a bit more sobering, but he still performed pretty well.

Welcome to the Majors: 3/31/08

This year opening day had 8 major league debuts, which is down from 11 debuts in 2007.

Kosuke Fukudome entered the league with a bang by going 3-3 with 1 walk and just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. The former Central League MVP is projected to bat about .290 with around 15 home runs. He currently leads all major league players with a 3.333 OPS. You couldn’t ask for a better start.

Kazuo Fukumori didn’t get off to quite the same start as his fellow countryman, as he gave up 3 runs in one-thirds inning of work with 2 wild pitches. Fukumori did have an excellent spring allowing no runs in 9 innings while striking out 8 batters so it will be interesting to see what happens next time he takes the mound. Word is, he’s a bit inconsistent.

Darren O’Day got into action in the bottom of the 8th inning with his team, the Angels, trailing 3-2 to the Twins. He proceeded to load the bases, but worked out the jam to keep the game close. O’Day earned a roster spot with his strong play in spring training and is currently replacing the injured Chris Bootcheck.

Clete Thomas got his first shot as the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 11th with his team down 4-5. He did his part by doubling to center, but no one was able to drive him home. Then he retired.

Brian Bocock, a defensive whiz with questionable batting skills, got the start at shortstop for the Giants while filling in for the injured Omar Vizquel. He walked twice and was caught stealing once. He bat an abysmal .183 this spring with his strikeout rate last year in high-A eclipsing the 30% mark. He’ll likely be sent back down to the minors when Vizquel returns.

After playing seven years in Cuba, Alexei Ramirez got his first start Major League start in center field. He struck out 3 times and walked once in 5 plate appearances. He had a very solid spring, batting .323 with 8 extra base hits include 2 home runs.

Wesley Wright entered the game in the bottom of the 7th to face Brian Giles and got him to ground out. It appears as though Wright has a knack for walking batters. In AAA last year he walked 18 batters in 16.2 innings. His spring wasn’t a whole lot better where he walked 8 batters in 11 innings.

Finally, Blake Dewitt got the start at third base for the injured Nomar Garciaparra, Andy Laroche, and Tony Abreu. He had 1 hit with 2 walks and a run. It’s a nice story for the young third-baseman.

Welcome to the Majors: 3/30/08

Gregor Blanco made his major league debut last night as a pinch runner. He replaced Brayan Pena as the runner at first in the top of the 8th and did not return to field in the bottom of the inning. Blanco had a good spring by batting .326/.464/.442 which impressed enough to win him a roster spot as a potential outfielder. Last year in the International League (AAA) he had the 10th best OBP among qualified players.

Not exactly a player, but Nationals Park needs to be welcomed to the majors as well. I was in attendance during last night’s game and have to say the stadium is really nice. It reminds me a bit of Citizen’s Bank Park, which happens to be one of my favorite ball parks. Security was extremely tight including mandatory metal detectors due to President Bush’s attendance.

Much to my surprise, getting to the game was a cinch by Metro. I expected to have considerable wait times between transfers, but there was zero wait time and relatively short lines. Without a parking spot, I guess I’ll get to see if Metro can continue this level of competence all season long.