Image credit: Dylan Carlson (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)
—Nine preseason No. 1 prospects have made their MLB debuts this season—Daulton Varsho (D-backs), Luis Robert (White Sox), Casey Mize (Tigers), Jo Adell (Angels), Sixto Sanchez (Marlins), Spencer Howard (Phillies), Dylan Carlson (Cardinals), Nate Pearson (Blue Jays) and the Braves’ Cristian Pache. The 21-year-old is in the conversation as the best defensive center fielder in the minor leagues (perhaps rivaled only by Detroit’s Derek Hill) and has made enough strides over the past couple of seasons that scouts ended the 2019 season believing he could provide plenty of impact on both sides of the ball. On Saturday, Pache carded his first big league hit. Though it wasn’t exactly stung—a 65.3 mph dribbler through the right side—it still counts as what should be the first of many more for Pache.
—On Friday, the Orioles popped the cork on their No. 6 prospect, Ryan Mountcastle. The 23-year-old had long been lauded for his polished bat. He’d worked on sharpening his plate discipline at the team’s alternate site at Bowie, Md., and immediately showed the results in his debut by walking twice. A day later, he collected his first big league hit—an infield single off of Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier with an exit velocity of 43.2 mph. Mountcastle one-upped himself on Sunday with a pair of doubles in his team’s win over Boston, including one in the first inning that left the bat at 101.4 mph.
Boston Red Sox
—Jonathan Arauz, whom the Red Sox selected from the Astros in the 2019 Rule 5 draft, collected a pair of hits over the weekend. Both knocks came in Saturday’s game against the Orioles. The day brought his season line to an impressive 12-for-39 with a pair of doubles and five RBIs. He’s also collected multiple hits in four of his 13 games this season.
—On Friday, lefthander Darwinzon Hernandez got into his first game of the season. After spending the start of the year at the team’s alternate site at Pawtucket, Boston’s No. 6 prospect sat between 93-95 mph with his four-seam fastball and touched 96 three times.
Chicago White Sox
—Luis Robert crushed his sixth home run, a two-run shot, in the second inning of the team’s win over the Cubs on Friday. The 23-year-old center fielder went 1-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Robert went yard again on Saturday, marking the first time he’s hit home runs in back-to-back big league games, for his seventh of the season in a 1-for-3 showing.
—Robert was not the only White Sox rookie who went yard on Friday. No. 29 prospect Danny Mendick scorched a solo shot, his second home run, and added a base hit on Saturday and Sunday to extend his hit streak to four games.
—Nico Hoerner drove in a run with a single in two at-bats in the team’s loss to the White Sox on Friday. The RBI was Hoerner’s 7th in 22 games after hitting .282 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 20 games in 2019.
—No. 26 prospect Tejay Antone pitched another strong outing in a long relief role on Saturday. The 26-year-old righthander struck out three in 2.1 innings while walking one to lower his ERA to 1.72 in 15.2 innings with 21 strikeouts.
—No. 7 prospect Triston McKenzie flashed the upside on Saturday that led to him being the organization’s No. 1 prospect in 2019 before an upper back injury caused him to miss all of last season. The 23-year-old righthander dominated in his big league debut, leading with his mid-90s fastball that he complemented with a low-80s curveball, an upper-80s changeup and upper-80s slider. McKenzie struck out 10 over six innings of one-run ball, allowing two hits and walking one to earn the win and inducing 13 swings and misses along the way.
—No. 6 prospect Isaac Paredes hit his first home run, a go-ahead grand slam in the fourth inning of the team’s win over the Indians on Friday. The third baseman, who went 1-for-4, added three hits on Sunday, including his first double, after going hitless in three at-bats on Saturday. Paredes is 5-for-20 with a home run, six RBIs and two runs.
—Rony Garcia picked up his first big league win on Friday, pitching 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing a hit and walking one. The 22-year-old righthander has allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits and three walks in 11.2 innings, striking out seven.
—No. 13 prospect Willi Castro hit his second home run on Saturday, providing the lone stain in an otherwise perfect start from righthander Triston McKenzie. The 23-year-old went 1-for-4 with a solo shot in the fourth inning to score the team’s only run. Castro added another two hits and an RBI on Sunday, raising his average to .276 with two home runs and five RBIs.
—No. 4 prospect Tarik Skubal failed to make it out of the third inning in his second start. The 23-year-old lefthander gave up a home run to the first hitter he faced, and was taken out in the third inning after giving up a single and hitting a batter to put runners on first and second. Skubal, who has allowed five runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings, struck out five batters, walked one and allowed a run on three hits.
Kansas City Royals
—Another one of Josh Staumont’s 100 mph pitches on Friday went viral, but this time for the wrong reason. The 26-year-old righthander pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out two, but a 100 mph fastball he threw down the middle of the plate inexplicably called a ball made the rounds on social media.
—Brady Singer picked up his third loss on Saturday, allowing four runs on six hits in four innings while walking three. The 24-year-old righthander has pitched to a 1-3, 5.16 mark in 29.2 innings, striking out 27 and walking 12.
—In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader with the Nationals, the Marlins unveiled their top prospect, righthander Sixto Sanchez. And he looked filthy. The converted infielder was originally signed by the Phillies and dealt as the headliner in the deal that sent J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia. Although his outing wasn’t perfect, Sanchez showed everyone exactly why he was so ballyhooed as a prospect. He allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits and no walks while striking out four. He touched 100 mph three times, and got seven swings and misses. All four of his strikeouts were swinging—three on changeups and one on a slider.
—The Marlins also debuted another of their recent trade acquisitions: outfielder Jesus Sanchez, who came over from the Rays last summer. Sanchez ranks as the team’s No. 4 prospect and has a blend of loud tools that could put him in the mix for an everyday outfield job. On Sunday, Sanchez got his first big league hit, a ringing double to left field against the Nationals that registered at 101.8 mph off the bat. That was one of two 100+ mph exit velocities Sanchez had over the weekend.
—The third of four Marlins to make his big league debut over the weekend came with far less fanfare than either of the team’s heralded Sanchezes. With all the roster shuffling after the team suffered an outbreak of coronavirus, the front office needed reinforcements. One of their answers was righthander Brandon Leibrandt, whom the team signed out of the two-team makeshift Atlantic League. Leibrandt was the Phillies’ sixth-rounder way back in 2014 and was called upon for the final four innings of the first game of the Marlins’ doubleheader against the Nationals. He blanked the Nats on a hit and a walk and faced just one more than the minimum. Leibrandt also racked up his first big league strikeout, getting Juan Soto to whiff on a changeup.
—The Marlins’ weekend series also saw the MLB debut of journeyman minor league catcher Brian Navarreto, the Twins’ sixth-rounder from 2013. After spending the season in the Yankees organization in 2019, Navarreto moved to the Marlins this season and went 2-for-3 on Sunday in his first action as a big leaguer. His first hit came against Anibal Sanchez—a single against a cutter—and he added a second knock later against reliever Ryne Harper. Both singles were hit at better than 95 mph.
—Randy Dobnak picked up his fifth win, tying righthander Shane Bieber for the MLB lead, on Saturday. The 25-year-old righthander pitched five innings of two-run ball, allowing eight hits and a walk and striking out two. Dobnak, the Twins No. 15 prospect, also ranks seventh in MLB in ERA (1.78).
—No. 2 prospect Alec Bohm has already put up a fine showing in his big league career, but on Sunday he added another milestone—his first MLB homer—as part of a 3-for-3 night in prime time. Crushed off Atlanta starter Josh Tomlin, Bohm’s bomb left the bat at 107.6 mph and traveled 446 feet before splashing down beyond the center field wall. He’s now 11 for his first 32 and has reached base in all but one of his first 10 games.
—Righthander JoJo Romero made his big league debut over the weekend and made an immediate impact. The Phillies’ No. 20 prospect topped out at 97 mph with his four-seam fastball and got six swings and misses on just 12 pitches. He struck out all three hitters he faced, getting Johan Camargo and Austin Riley to wave at changeups and Adam Duvall to swing over a slider. He also got swings and misses on his four- and two-seam fastballs.
San Diego Padres
—No. 16 prospect Jake Cronenworth shined in the team’s series against the Astros, collecting five hits in 10 at-bats, including a grand slam on Saturday, and adding six RBIs on the weekend. The 26-year-old utilityman is hitting .347 with three home runs and 12 RBIs and landed in the No. 1 spot on the latest National League Rookie of the Year watch.
San Francisco Giants
—Through six starts this season, Logan Webb has been impressive, thanks in part to expanding his arsenal with the addition of a cutter and slider he added during spring training. The 23-year-old righthander pitched a career-high seven innings on Friday, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out eight to improve to 2-2, 3.29 with 26 strikeouts and 11 walks in 27.1 innings.
—Kyle Lewis had himself a weekend, hitting two home runs, scoring seven times and collecting five hits in nine at-bats in the team’s series against the Rangers. The 25-year-old center fielder leads all rookies in hits (39), average (.368), RBIs (19) and runs (24) and is tied for first in home runs (seven).
—No. 9 prospect Justin Dunn had his best career start, pitching six shutout innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out six en route to his second win on Sunday. The 24-year-old righthander is 2-1, 5.57 with 15 strikeouts in 21 innings.
St. Louis Cardinals
—Kwang-Hyun Kim had his best outing since signing a two-year, $8 million deal with the Cardinals in December, pitching six shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. The 32-year-old lefthander earned his first big league win after not making it out of the fourth inning in his first start on Aug. 17.
—Dylan Carlson snapped a four-game hitless streak with his first career home run, a two-run shot in the seventh inning of the team’s win over the Reds, and tallied two hits and two runs. The No. 10 prospect in baseball has struggled out of the gate (6-for-39), but has built some momentum with his first multi-hit game.
—No. 4 prospect Genesis Cabrera pitched two scoreless innings and walked one to pick up his second win on Sunday. The 23-year-old lefthander has allowed six runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings while striking out eight and walking four.
Tampa Bay Rays
— LHP Josh Fleming, the Rays’ fifth-rounder from 2017 out of Division III Webster (Mo.)—the first player ever drafted from the school—made his big league debut on Sunday. He earned the win by spinning five solid innings of two-run ball with four hits, two walks and three strikeouts. He struck out two of the first three hitters he faced—Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Biggio whiffed on a 92 mph (his top fastball velocity on the day) and Guerrero waved at a nasty changeup with plenty of fade and drop. Fleming induced nine swings and misses on the afternoon, including two on sliders, five on sinkers and two on changeups.
Toronto Blue Jays
—Righthander Julian Merryweather on Saturday got into his second big league game and looked nasty. Acquired from the Indians for Josh Donaldson, Merryweather whiffed three in two innings against the Rays, bringing his strikeout total to six in his first 4.1 frames. His fastball topped out at 98 mph (three times) and he got four swings and misses (three on fastballs, one on a changeup) and got a strikeout apiece on his four-seamer (looking), his slider (looking) and his changeup (swinging).
—Righthander Jordan Romano continued his sensational start to the season with his first save of the year. He allowed one run (unearned) on a pair of hits but struck out one and walked nobody. For the season, Romano has 19 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings. His fastball topped at 96 mph on Friday, and he got four swings and misses. The latter total included a slider with a spin rate of 2,490 rpms. For the season, Romano has averaged 2,218 rpms on his slider.
—Infielder Luis Garcia, the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect, continued his torrid hitting over the weekend by going 4-for-11, including a three-hit day on Sunday. He’s opened his career 10 for his first 28. His top exit velocity on Sunday was 107.6 mph, good for his second-best exit velo of the year, just behind a 111.1 mph missile on Aug. 18.
—Righthander Wil Crowe, Washington’s No. 6 prospect, made his debut opposite Miami’s Sixto Sanchez in a duel of pitchers taking their first turn in the big leagues. He got touched for four runs in 3.2 innings on six hits and two walks. He struck out two hitters. Well, he struck out one hitter—Brian Anderson—twice. He got Anderson to fish for sliders on both occasions. One slider showed more sweep, while the other featured more depth and downer break.