Feature Photo: Zac Curtis, LHP, Diamondbacks
Welcome back to Les Debutantes! The roster of debut players gets a little shorter, but the story lines just get better. For the week ending April 30, we feature two high-profile call-ups for the Twins and A’s; a 5’9″ lefty gets a call-up straight from the High A California League to the Diamondbacks; and an A’s righty who gets the call on April 25 only to be sent back down April 27, then re-called again on April 29…and then sent down again April 30 (Welcome to the big leagues, kid).
Here are last week’s major league debuts!
American League Debuts
ACQUIRED: Via trade from Kansas City on July 28, 2015, with RHP Aaron Brooks for 2B Ben Zobrist and cash. Originally drafted in the supplemental first round (34th overall) of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Indiana State).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts at Nashville (Triple-A), allowing 16 hits in 18 innings and walking just four while striking out 21.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Nashville April 29 along with RHP Andrew Triggs when INF Matt McBride was sent down and RHP Chris Bassitt went on the DL.
DEBUT: April 29, in a 7-4 win against the Astros. The starting pitcher, he did not get the decision as the Athletics scored five runs in the eighth and ninth innings to pull out the win. Manaea went five-plus innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on four hits, walking four and fanning three. He gave up a solo homer to Evan Gattis to lead off the second inning, with the other runs he surrendered coming in the sixth inning, where he faced three batters before being relieved by Sean Doolittle, hitting George Springer with a pitch to lead off the frame, walking Carlos Correa, and then giving up an RBI single to Gattis. Doolittle came on, and promptly allowed both inherited runners to score on a subsequent RBI single by Tyler White, and a two-out RBI ground-rule double by Marwin Gonzalez to close his book. Defensively, Manaea picked off speedy Carlos Correa and also combined with catcher Stephen Vogt to catch George Springer stealing.
PLAYER NOTES: After not playing his first pro game until 2014, he headed right to Wilmington (High A) that summer and went 7-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 25 starts, including a complete-game shutout, fanning 146 in 121.2 IP while scattering 102 hits and walking 54. An abdominal strain sidelined Manaea for part of 2015 but when healthy he combined among the rookie-complex level Arizona League, Wilmington, Northwest Arkansas (Double-A) and, after the trade to the Athletics, Midland (Double-A) to go 7-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts, striking out 90 batters in 74.1 IP, walking 26 and allowing 67 hits. He was especially effective with his new organization, going 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA in seven starts at Midland, striking out 51 and walking 15 in 42.2 IP.
2080 NOTES: Manaea checked in at No. 27 in 2080 Baseball’s Preseason Top 125 Prospect Ranking List, where C.J. Wittmann had this to say about him: “A big, physical left-handed starter with a four-pitch mix and huge deception, Manaea is a name you should get to know more. His low-to-mid 90s fastball and go-to slider keep hitters off balance enough to overcome his command issues. Reports out of spring training have Manaea commanding his repertoire much better. Watch out.” You can check out the scouting report here, and also be sure to read more about Manaea in this Oakland Clubhouse report from Scout.com by 2080 Baseball contributor Melissa Lockard.
ACQUIRED: Claimed on waivers from the Baltimore Orioles on March 12, 2016. Originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 19th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (University of Southern California).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 2-1 with a 5.14 ERA in six games in relief at Nashville (Triple-A), allowing six hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out nine.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Nashville April 25 when LHP Eric Surkamp was sent down.
DEBUT: April 25, in a 7-3 loss to the Tigers. The last of four pitchers on the night, he tossed one perfect inning. Coming on for reliever Fernando Rodriguez in the bottom of the eighth inning, he struck out Tyler Collins looking, got Mike Aviles to pop out to the infield and retired Jose Iglesias on a line drive. He threw just 14 pitches, 10 for strikes.
PLAYER NOTES: After spending his first three pro seasons in the Royals’ organization, the three-time draftee (selected as a junior, a senior and, finally, a fifth-year senior) had his contract sold by Kansas City to the Orioles on April 4, 2015. He posted a terrific season at Bowie (Double-A) that summer, collecting 17 saves and posting a 1.03 ERA in 46 games, limiting opposing Eastern League hitters to a .196 average and leading the league in walks/IP rate (1.62) while finishing fifth in K/9 (10.33). With a career 2.02 ERA in 152 games coming out of that season, he was placed on the Orioles 40-man roster, but released during 2016 spring training and the Athletics were quick to put in a claim on him. He had spent most of 2014 at Northwest Arkansas (Double-A) where he had 19 saves and a 2.93 ERA. His arsenal includes a sinking fastball in the low-to-middle 90s, a slider and a changeup. In the five days since his promotion and debut, he’s been sent down, called back up and sent back down again. Welcome to the big leagues, Andrew.
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the first round (37th overall) of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Monmouth University).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA in five games at Pawtucket (Triple-A), striking out 10 while walking three and allowing three hits over 6.2 innings.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Pawtucket along with LHP Henry Owens on April 24 when LHP Roenis Elias and RHP Noe Ramirez were sent down.
DEBUT: April 26, in an 11-4 win against the Braves. The last of two pitchers to come on in relief of starter David Price, he pitched the bottom of the ninth inning after the Red Sox had posted five runs in the top of the inning to allow for some breathing room. In that one inning, he gave up two runs, both earned, on two hits, and walked one. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced, Drew Stubbs, and Erick Aybar followed with another single, before pinch-hitter Mallex Smith walked to load the bases with no outs. Stubbs scored on a ground out by Nick Markakis, while Aybar came home on a ground out by Daniel Castro, before Adonis Garcia also grounded out to end the game.
PLAYER NOTES: Light combined to go 3-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 47 games in relief between Portland (Double-A) and Pawtucket in 2015, striking out 67 in 62.2 IP while walking 37 batters. After pitching primarily as a starter, going 8-6 with a 4.83 ERA in 25 starts between Greenville (Class A) and Salem (High A) in 2014, he moved to the bullpen full time in 2015. Injuries, including a torn hamstring, interrupted his climb, but his mid-to high-90s fastball and splitter combination help him profile well for a role in the back end of the bullpen.
ACQUIRED: Via trade from the New York Mets on July 31, 2015, with RHP Luis Cessa for OF Yoenis Cespedes. Originally drafted by the Mets in the supplemental first round (44th overall) of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Deer Creek H.S., Edmond, Okla).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 1-1 with a 4.11 ERA in three starts at Toledo (Triple-A), allowing seven runs, all earned, on 16 hits in 15.1 IP, walking five while striking out 20.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Toledo April 29 when RHP Shane Greene went on the DL.
DEBUT: April 29, in a 9-2 win against the Twins. The starting pitcher, he earned the win with five strong innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on seven hits, walking one and striking out four. Backed by an 18-hit attack from his teammates, he threw 93 pitches, 61 for strikes and allowed single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, with two outs, he gave up three singles in a row to Oswaldo Arcia, Eduardo Nunez and finally Eduardo Escobar, who singled home Arcia. In the fifth inning, after issuing a one-out walk to Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano drove him home with a two-out double to center.
PLAYER NOTES: Playing at three stops in 2015 — St. Lucie (High A) and Binghamton (Double-A) for the Mets before the trade and Erie (Double-A) for the Tigers after it — Fulmer combined to go 10-3 with a 2.24 ERA in 22 starts, striking out 125 batters in 124.2 IP and walking just 30 while allowing 104 hits. He spent the majority of time at Binghamton, where he was 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 15 starts. With his start, both of the prospects acquired by the Tigers in the Cespedes deal have now made their big league debuts in April 2016, though the first one, Luis Cessa, did so with the Yankees during the opening week of the season. Fulmer, who easily ranks as one of the top pitching prospects in the Tigers’ system, battled minor injuries over the years, which cut down his innings, including a knee injury that interrupted his 2013 campaign and some elbow soreness, which necessitated some minor surgery post-2014. That latter summer he made just 19 starts, fanning 86 while allowing 112 hits in 95 innings between St. Lucie and Binghamton.
2080 NOTES: Fulmer checked in at No. 71 of 2080 Baseball’s Pre-Season Top 125 Prospects, where C.J. Wittmann had this to say about him: “Fulmer was a main piece coming to the Tigers in the Cespedes trade with the Mets. He has shown he can flash command of his mid-90s fastball to an average level along with his plus slider. Having a four-pitch mix, with his curveball playing average and changeup slightly below, Fulmer needs to tighten up his command to reach his mid-rotation ceiling.” You can read the rest of his 2080 scouting report here.
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Papa Juan XXIII H.S. in Bayamon, Puerto Rico).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts at Rochester (Triple-A), allowing eight hits in 17 innings and striking out 20 while walking eight, limiting opposing batters to a .143 average.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Rochester April 26 along with the recall of SS Jorge Polanco from Rochester, when RHP Kyle Gibson and RHP Ervin Santana both went on the DL.
DEBUT: April 27, in a 6-5 loss to the Indians. The starting pitcher, he took the loss, allowing five runs, all earned, on six hits over four-plus innings, walking two and striking out five. He also hit a batter, Mike Napoli. Berrios surrendered a single to the first batter he faced on the night, Carlos Santana, but he was left stranded as Jason Kipnis struck out swinging and both Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley grounded out. In the third inning, though, Tyler Naquin drew a leadoff walk and Santana singled again, with both coming home on a two-run double by Lindor. After retiring the side in order in the fourth inning, Berrios ran into trouble in the fifth, giving up a single to Naquin, walking Santana and then giving up an RBI double to Kipnis. Fernando Abad came on in relief but allowed both of his runners inherited from Berrios to score on a ground out and sacrifice fly, respectively.
PLAYER NOTES: The Twins’ top pitching prospect reached the big leagues exactly one month shy of his 22nd birthday. He combined to go 14-5 with a 2.87 between Chattanooga (Double-A) and Rochester in 2015, when he led all minor league pitchers with 175 strikeouts in 166 innings, Berrios holds the distinction of being the highest-drafted pitcher ever to be taken out of Puerto Rico. The World Team starter in the Futures Game for two years running.
2080 NOTES: Ranked a lofty No. 18 in 2080 Baseball’s Preseason Top 125 Prospect Ranking List, C.J. Wittmann had this to say about him: “A stocky but loose athletic right-handed starter with a four-pitch mix that are all potentially better than average, Berrios is a one of the more consistent, low-risk arms in the minors.” You can read more from the report here.
National League Debuts
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Middle Tennessee State University).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 1-0 with a 5.23 ERA in eight games at Visalia (High A) allowing 12 hits in 10.1 innings, walking five and striking out 22.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Visalia April 30 when LHP Keith Hessler was designated for assignment.
DEBUT: April 30, in a 5-2 loss to the Rockies. The last of four pitchers, he came on for reliever Brad Ziegler with one out in the ninth inning and needed just three pitches to get Geraldo Parra to ground into a game-ending double play.
PLAYER NOTES: Though Curtis tossed just three pitches (two of them for strikes) in his major league debut, it’s a pretty safe bet he’ll throw a lot more of them in his big league career. A truly unexpected call-up, coming as he did from the Visalia Rawhide (High A), the 23-year-old southpaw’s stats in his first two pro seasons have been nothing short of amazing. In 2015 at Kane County (Class A), he went 4-4 with a 1.33 ERA in 53 games out of the Cougars’ pen, picking up 33 saves and striking out 75 while walking just 12 and scattering 33 hits in 54 innings. Opposing hitters batted just .176 against him. In his pro debut in 2014, Curtis was 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA at Hillsboro (Short-Season A), collecting 14 saves and striking out 42 over 27 innings, walking 12, allowing 18 hits and holding hitters to a .188 average. And if you want to put a smile on your face, check out this MLB.com story about Curtis receiving the news about his unexpected promotion, the accompanying photo from which truly tells 1,000 words. The photo was taken by Rawhide pitching coach Jeff Bajenaru.
ACQUIRED: Signed as a minor league free agent October 14, 2013. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 24th round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Georgetown).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts at Louisville (Triple-A), walking just four while striking out 13 and allowing 13 hits over 17 innings.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Louisville May 1 when RHP Raisel Iglesias went on the DL and C Kyle Skipworth was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to clear space on the 40-man roster.
DEBUT: May 1, in a 6-5, 11-inning win over the Pirates. The starting pitcher, he did not get a decision, but allowed just two runs, both of them earned, on three hits over six-plus innings, walking two while striking out six. Adleman held the Pirates scoreless until the fifth inning when he gave up a solo homer to Gregory Polanco, and was not scored on again until he’d already left the game in the seventh. After giving up a leadoff single that frame to Starling Marte, Tony Cingrani came on in relief and gave up a two-out RBI triple to Sean Rodriguez to account for the other run. Adleman struck out six different batters, all of them swinging, including two on foul tip third strikes. Overall he threw 92 pitches, 59 of them for strikes.
PLAYER NOTES: If Zac Curtis’ major league debut was an example of a surprise fast-track ride to the bigs, Tim Adleman is this week’s poster boy for grit and endurance and never giving up the dream. After spending his first two pro seasons in the Orioles’ farm system, he was released at the end of 2012 spring training and spent the next few summers traveling through various independent leagues, seeing time at Lincoln, and then-independent Texas city El Paso, as well as New Jersey, where his 1.46 ERA in 40 games in 2013 caught the eye of the Reds’ scouts. He signed with Cincinnati as a minor league free agent at the end of that summer and spent the next two-plus summers back in the affiliated minors, including a 2015 campaign in which he posted a 9-10 record at Pensacola (Double-A) with a 2.64 ERA in 26 starts, a span of 150 IP, which also earned him a non-roster invitation to 2016 spring training.