Les Debutantes: MLB Debuts for the Week Ending September 11th

Carson Kelly of the Memphis Redbirds plays in a Pacific Coast League game against the Albuquerque Isotopes at Isotope Park on July 16, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Isotopes defeated the Redbirds, 9-8 (Bill Mitchell)

Feature Photo: Carson Kelly, C, Cardinals

After teams raised their active roster cap from 25 to 40 on September 1, players starting flowing, then trickling, and then continuing a steady stream to the big leagues for the first time…and that stream continued in full force last week after the regular-season minor league schedule ended September 5.  Even more started coming up after a few days rest and/or their minor league team was eliminated from the playoffs.

As a result, after 17 debuts last week, we have 19 more for you through September 11 (and in all likelihood even more coming in the final few weeks of the season, though last week was probably the crest of the wave).

So for today, we bring you the seven American League players who got the huzzahs and hugs, and the 12 National Leaguers who are now onboard with “Major League Stats” highlighted on their respective Baseball-Reference pages.


American League Debuts


Ht/Wt: 6’7″/215     B/T: R/R      BORN: February 6, 1994

ACQUIRED: Via trade from the Detroit Tigers on September 13, 2013, as the player to be named later in the July deal for RHP Jose Veras. Originally signed by the Tigers as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) November 20, 2010.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 5-4 with a 2.00 ERA in 20 games between Gulf Coast League (Rookie), Corpus Christi (Double-A) and Fresno (Triple-A), striking out 106 and walking 19 in 90 innings while allowing 72 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Fresno on September 6.
DEBUT: September 8, in a 10-7 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The starting pitcher, he took the loss, allowing four runs, all earned, on four hits over three innings, walking two without striking out a batter. He hit one batter and, according to the official box score, threw two wild pitches, though the second one was extremely controversial. In the bottom of the first, he allowed a double to right field to the first batter he faced, Carlos Santana, before retiring the next three batters, Jason Kipnis on a fly out to center, Francisco Lindor on an unassisted grounder to first and Mike Napoli on a fly ball to center. In the second, Jose Ramirez led off with a line out to center. Lonnie Chisenhall singled to left but was erased when Abraham Almonte grounded into an inning-ending double play. In the third, though, things got interesting. Tyler Naquin led off by drawing a walk and, after Chris Gimenez flew out to center, stole second. Naquin moved to third on Santana’s groundout to second and scored the Indians’ first run on Kipnis’ double to center. Lindor followed with an RBI single to center to bring home Kipnis, after which Paulino hit Napoli with a pitch. A wild pitch while Ramirez was at-bat advanced the runners to second and third, and Ramirez drew the walk to load the bases with two outs, bringing up Chisenhall. What appeared to everyone (including reporters covering the game) except, apparently, the home plate umpire to be a foul ball off Chisenhall’s bat got away and was ruled a wild pitch, allowing both Lindor and Napoli to score and causing the ejection of an irate Astros manager, A.J. Hinch. Chisenhall lined out to second for the final out.
PLAYER NOTES: Well, Paulino’s debut was nothing if not eventful. The big, hard-throwing right-hander brings a career 2.20 ERA into his big league debut, as he brings a combination of heat and a plus curveball to the mound. His career has been interrupted a few times by injuries – a sore elbow in 2012 and, finally, Tommy John surgery in 2014 – as well as a 2016 mid-season suspension for undisclosed rules violations (which the Astros confirmed were nothing very serious). In 2015, he combined to go 5-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 games, 12 of them starts, between Tri-City (Short-Season A), Quad Cities (Class A) and Lancaster (High A), striking out 72 and walking just 19 in 67.1 IP while allowing 49 hits. His time before that was minimal due to the injuries, as he did not pitch at all in 2014, and made just four starts for the Tigers in 2013, pitching 20 innings for their Rookie-level Gulf Coast League club and four innings the years before that, also in the GCL. Still just 22 years old, the lost time can easily be made up and his potential is huge.
2080 NOTES: You can check out this video of Paulino pitching during extended spring training earlier this year.


Ht/Wt: 6’4″/220     B/T: R/R     BORN: December 4, 1992

ACQUIRED: Via trade from the Boston Red Sox on December 28, 2011, with OF Josh Reddick and 1B Miles Head for RHP Andrew Bailey and OF Ryan Sweeney. Originally signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) July 2, 2009.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 9-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 25 starts between Midland (Double-A) and Nashville (Triple-A), striking out 105 and walking 30 in 135.2 IP, while allowing 138 hits. At Nashville, he was 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA in eight starts, striking out 32 while walking three in 45.2 IP, allowing 38 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Nashville on September 5.
DEBUT: September 5, in a 10-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.  The starting pitcher, he took the loss, allowing five runs, all earned, on five hits in three innings, walking one without striking out a batter. He also hit three batters and committed a balk. Of 61 pitches thrown, 34 were for strikes. After retiring the first batter he faced, Kole Calhoun, on a fly out to left field, Alcantara hit Mike Trout with a pitch before giving up back-to-back singles to Albert Pujols (left field) and C.J. Cron (right field) to load the bases with one out. He then hit Jefry Marte with a pitch to drive in Trout with the first run of the game, and walked the next batter, Andrelton Simmons, to score Pujols. With the bases still loaded, Nick Buss hit a sacrifice fly to left field to allow Cron to score before Alcantara hit his third batter, Jett Bandy, reloading the bases yet again. He finally ended the inning by getting Kaleb Cowart on a line drive to center field. In the second inning, Calhoun led things off again, and this time his fly ball went a little further, resulting in a home run to right field. Trout then singled before Pujols grounded into a double play and Cron popped out to foul territory outside third base for the third out. In the third, Marte led things off by flying out before Simmons doubled to left field, moved to third base on a balk by Alcantara, and scored on Buss’ second sacrifice fly in three innings. Bandy’s groundout to third base ended the inning and Alcantara’s night.
PLAYER NOTES: It would appear that rookie nerves may have gotten to Alcantara in that first inning, seeing as he was coming off an unbelievable run at Nashville before his promotion. After losing all of 2014 to Tommy John surgery, he came back strong in 2015 at Stockton (High A), going 0-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 15 starts, marking 2016 as the first time he’d ever pitched above A-ball. He appears to have regained his fastball in the middle 90s post-surgery, and he also adds a changeup and curveball to round out his repertoire.


Ht/Wt: 5’11″/195     B/T: R/R     BORN: January 19, 1992

ACQUIRED: Via trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 1, 2016, with RHP Grant Holmes and RHP Frankie Montas for OF Josh Reddick and RHP Rich Hill. Originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 20th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 11-6 with a 4.31 ERA in 28 games, 22 of them starts, between Oklahoma City (Triple-A/Dodgers) and Nashville (Triple-A/Athletics), striking out 155 while walking 39 in 135.2 IP, allowing 108 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Nashville September 7.
DEBUT: September 7, in a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels. The starting pitcher, he got the win, tossing 6.1 innings of two-hit ball, allowing one run, walking two and striking out three. Of 102 pitches thrown, 70 were for strikes. Cotton retired the first nine batters he faced before Andrelton Simmons led off the fourth inning with a single to left, but after stealing second, he was stranded as Cotton retired the next three batters to end the threat, highlighted by his second strikeout, getting Jefry Marte looking to end the inning. He allowed one baserunner in the fifth, walking Nick Buss with two outs, before getting Shane Robinson to pop out to second base to end that threat. In the sixth, Rafael Ortega was able to draw a leadoff walk before Cotton got Simmons to ground into a double play and then Kaleb Cowart to ground out to second. The lone run of the game came when C.J. Cron led off the seventh with a solo homer to center field. After Marte popped out to third base foul territory, the Athletics brought in Ryan Dull to relieve Cotton, not due to any lack of effectiveness but because he’d passed 100 pitches on the night.
PLAYER NOTES: Cotton didn’t have much time to get nervous waiting around for his big league debut, as he was called up the same day and popped onto the mound to start that night against division rival Los Angeles. According to post-game reports, the nerves showed up in his pre-game bullpen session and he clearly got them out of his system, as he became the first Athletics pitcher to go six or more innings with two or fewer hits in his MLB debut since 1940. Cotton, who was born in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, moved to the U.S. for his senior year of high school and played his final year in Newport News, Virginia, before heading Miami-Dade College, from where he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 28th round of 2011. Instead of signing, he transferred to East Carolina University for one more year of college and baseball before signing with the Dodgers in 2012. Following the trade from the Dodgers, he came one out shy of throwing a perfect game in his second out for Nashville. One of the top pitching prospects in the game coming into 2016, he boasts four pitches, highlighted by a lively mid-90s fastball and a double-plus changeup. Not too put too much pressure on the kid, but it’s hard to resist, between his slight build and deadly stuff, at least a partial comp to a young Pedro Martinez. In 2015, he combined between four stops – Great Lakes (Class A), Rancho Cucamonga (High A), Tulsa (Double-A) and Oklahoma City – to go 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 21 games, striking out 114 while walking 31 and allowing 76 hits in 95.2 IP. In his minor league career, he’d fanned 499 batters in 447 innings.
2080 NOTES: You can read our scouting report on Cotton here.


Ht/Wt: 6’5″/200     B/T: L/L      BORN: January 17, 1995

ACQUIRED:   Signed as an international free agent (Venezuela) on July 2, 2011.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 12-3 with a 2.19 ERA in 24 games between High Desert (High A), Frisco (Double-A) and Round Rock (Triple-A), combining to strike out 113 batters in 111 innings, walking 41 while scattering 71 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Round Rock on September 2.
DEBUT: September 5, in a 14-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The third of five pitchers on the night, he allowed five runs on four hits in one-plus innings, walking one. Of 39 pitches thrown, 23 were for strikes. Mendez came on to start the bottom of the fifth inning in relief of Alex Claudio. The first batter he faced, Jesus Sucre, singled to center field before Ketel Marte grounded into a force out and Guillermo Heredia flew out. With two outs, Marte stole second base and came around on a single to left field by Franklin Gutierrez before Robinson Cano grounded out to end the inning. In the sixth, Nelson Cruz got what would be a six-run Mariners rally started by leading off with a single to left field and moved to third on Kyle Seager’s double to right. Dae-Ho Lee then reached base safely on a fielder’s choice to second base, allowing Cruz to score. Leonys Martin drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, at which point the Rangers brought in Jose Leclerc in relief of Mendez. Leclerc promptly uncorked a wild pitch with pinch-hitter Seth Smith at the plate, scoring Seager, and then intentionally walked Smith to reload the bases to re-set the force at any base. After Marte struck out looking, Leclerc walked Heredia to drive in Lee, after which Gutierrez doubled to left field to score Martin, closing the book on Mendez for the night.
PLAYER NOTES: One of the youngest players in the majors at 21 years old, Mendez’s out pitch is his changeup, which Baseball America ranks as tops in the Rangers’ farm system. His climb has been pretty meteoric, as 2016 marked the first time he’d ever pitched above Class A – in 2015, he was 3-3 with a 2.44 ERA at Hickory in the South Atlantic League, striking out 74 while walking just 15 and allowing 57 hits in 66 innings, a span of 21 games, eight of them starts. He’s shaken off injury issues from the past which limited innings earlier on, and brings a toolbox that includes a low-90s fastball along with a slider and changeup. Signed at 16 years old, the Rangers have wisely taken their time with him, and that patience is already paying dividends.


Ht/Wt: 6’3″/200     B/T: R/R      BORN: February 22, 1992

ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 16th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Marist College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 5-6 with a 3.04 ERA in 47 games between Northwest Arkansas (Double-A) and Omaha (Triple-A), collecting 16 saves and striking out 59 while walking 24 and giving up 54 hits in 68 innings.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Omaha September 6 when 40-man rosters expanded.
DEBUT: September 9, in a 7-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The last of four pitchers, he tossed one third of an inning, needing just four pitches, two of them for strikes. Coming on in the bottom of the eighth inning for reliever Scott Alexander with two runs in and one man on, he got the first batter he faced, Tim Anderson, to ground out to third to end the threat.
PLAYER NOTES: McCarthy continues his steady if unheralded climb through the Royals’ ranks by reaching the top in September after a solid season in the back end of the bullpen in Northwest Arkansas and Omaha. In 2015, he came back from a 2014 lost to an elbow injury (no Tommy John surgery required though, just intensive rehab), combining between Lexington (Class A), Wilmington (High-A) and Northwest Arkansas to go 5-4 with a 3.03 ERA, striking out 40 and walking 14 while allowing 58 hits in 62 1/3 innings. In his pro debut in 2013 at Burlington (Rookie League), he’d posted a 3.40 ERA and fanned 32 while walking just five in 42 1/3 innings, giving up 49 hits.


Ht/Wt: 6’1″/170    B/T: L/R     BORN: January 19, 1989

ACQUIRED: Signed as an international free agent (Australia) August 13, 2005.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .269 with 35 RBIs in 122 games at Rochester (Triple-A).
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Rochester on September 6.
DEBUT: September 10, in a 2-1, 12-inning win over the Cleveland Indians. The starting third baseman, he batted eighth and went 1-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt, starting a 5-4-3 double play on defense. In his first at-bat in the bottom of the second inning against starter Mike Clevinger, with one out and one on, he grounded into a force play to get the lead runner at second. In the fifth, he grounded out to the pitcher. In the seventh, he led the inning off with his first big league hit, a single to center field off of reliever Shawn Armstrong. In the ninth, with one out and one on, he laid down a successful sac bunt to advance pinch-runner Logan Schafer to second base. In the 12th, he led the inning off by lining out to center field.
PLAYER NOTES: The Australian native brings a career .283 average over 10 seasons into his major league debut, after hitting .307 with 50 RBIs at Rochester in 2015. Signed at age 16 by the Twins, he missed all of 2006 due to a shoulder injury and finally made his pro debut in 2007 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He’s seen his share of good international competition, having been a member of both the 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classic squads for Australia and was a team leader, going 6-for-12 during the qualifying phases for the upcoming 2017 tournament. An International League All-Star in 2015, this was his fourth season in a row with the Red Wings, having hit .276 with two homers and 47 RBIs there in 2014, and .298 with 21 RBIs in 2013.


Ht/Wt: 6’2″/225    B/T: L/R     BORN: December 9, 1987

ACQUIRED: Via trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 23, 2015, for LHP Eric Surkamp. Originally drafted by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft (University of California-Berkeley).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 3-1 with a 3.53 ERA in 39 games at Charlotte (Triple-A), striking out 75 and walking 24 in 71.1 IP, while giving up 64 hits.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Charlotte on September 6.
DEBUT: September 10, in a 6-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals. The last of five pitchers, he tossed one perfect inning. Coming on to start the top of the ninth in relief of reliever Juan Minaya, Smith got the first batter he faced, Cheslor Cuthbert, to ground out to third base. He then got Jarrod Dyson to ground out to second before retiring Whit Merrifield on a fly ball to right field. Of nine pitches thrown, six were for strikes.
PLAYER NOTES: A converted outfielder, Smith shifted to the mound in 2013 and has posted a 3.86 ERA in four pro seasons since the move. He had some power and a live bat at the plate, with his best seasons coming in 2011 when he hit .304 with 20 homers and 73 RBIs, most of the time spent at Rancho Cucamonga (High A). In 2015 between Tulsa (Double-A/Dodgers), Birmingham (Double-A/White Sox) and Charlotte, he combined to go 2-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 44 games, all relief, striking out 64 batters in 53 innings and walking 27 while allowing 45 hits. He was selected by the San Diego Padres in the second round of the Major League Phase of the 2015 Rule 5 Draft (Padres Assistant GM of Scouting, Logan White, had been the Scouting Director with the Dodgers during Smith’s time there) but did not stick on the 25-man roster as required and was returned to the White Sox on March 27, 2016.


National League Debuts


Ht/Wt: 6’2″/200    B/T: R/R     BORN: July 14, 1994

ACQUIRED: Drafted in the second round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Westview High School, Portland, OR).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .289 with six homers and 32 RBIs in 96 games between Springfield (Double-A) and Memphis (Triple-A).
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Memphis on September 4.
DEBUT: September 5, in a 12-6 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. A late-game replacement behind the plate for starting catcher Yadier Molina, he went 1-for-1 with a run scored. Coming into the game behind the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, he led off the top of the eighth with a double to center field off of reliever Antonio Bastardo and scored on Randal Grichuk’s double to left field.
PLAYER NOTES: Signed as a third baseman out of high school in 2012 and converted to catcher after the 2013 season, Kelly has still shown enough stuff to earn Baseball America’s nod as the organization’s best defensive catching prospect, and it doesn’t hurt that he is surrounded by some of the best in the business in the upper playing, coaching and managerial levels Cards system. Signed for a $1.6 million bonus, he scrapped a bit at the plate while making the transition, batting just .219 in 108 game sat Palm Beach (High-A) in 2015 but adding eight homers and 51 RBIs, after batting .248 with six homers and 49 RBIs at Peoria (Class A) in 2014 but has regained his stroke this season. While Molina (one of the key brains to be picked by the youngster) is not going anywhere yet, this is a great chance for Kelly to get his feet wet and learn from the best.


Ht/Wt: 6’6″/215     B/T: R/R     BORN: July 25, 1988

ACQUIRED: Via trade from the Kansas City Royals for cash on May 25, 2016. Originally signed by the Chicago White Sox as an international free agent (Venezuela) February 16, 2006.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .278 with 11 homers, 60 RBIs and 11 steals in 124 games between Omaha (Triple-A/Royals) and Memphis (Triple-A/Cardinals), adding 28 doubles.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Memphis on September 6.
DEBUT: September 6, in a 9-7 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pinch-hitting for pitcher Zach Duke with one out in the seventh inning, he grounded out to third base.
PLAYER NOTES: Now in his 11th professional season, Martinez brings a career .294 average in affiliated ball into his long-awaited MLB debut – he also saw time in the independent leagues briefly, playing for Rockford of the Frontier League for the first month of 2014. Martinez has been a solid hitter everywhere he’s gone but his most impressive accomplishment came in his 10th season when he set a modern-day Pacific Coast League record when he hit .384 in 98 games at Omaha, the highest average in a league known for good averages in almost 70 years. He added 10 homers, 60 RBIs and 25 doubles for a .461 OBP and .563 SLG in that span. Martinez had signed with the Royals as a minor league free agent that previous winter, after seeing time with the Braves and White Sox over the prior decade. He becomes the third player named Jose Martinez to play in the majors.


Ht/Wt: 6’3″/205     B/T: L/R     BORN: November 2, 1990

ACQUIRED:  Via trade from the New York Mets August 29, 2015, with RHP Miller Diaz for RHP Addison Reed. Originally drafted by the Mets in the third round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (University of Louisville).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 6-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 21 starts between Mobile (Double-A) and Reno (Triple-A), striking out 74 and walking 19 in 121.2 IP while giving up 142 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Reno on September 6.
DEBUT: September 9, in a 7-6 12-inning loss to the San Francisco Giants. He was the 11th of 12 pitchers on the night (the Diamondbacks set a franchise record with 12 pitchers and 26 players in the game, a group effort prompted partly by the return of pitcher Rubby de la Rosa, who started in his first outing off of the 60-day DL and went two innings). Koch tossed one shutout inning, walking two without giving up a hit. Starting the 11th inning, he walked the first two batters he faced, Denard Span and Angel Pagan. Span then advanced to third on Buster Posey’s fly out to right field. Brandon Crawford reached base on a fielder’s choice when first baseman Paul Goldschmidt relayed the ball to catcher Welington Castillo to nail Span at home, after which Hunter Pence grounded out softly in front of the plate, and Castillo’s throw to Goldschmidt got Pence for the third out.
PLAYER NOTES: The native of Storm Lake, Iowa, moved from starting into relief for the Mets in 2015, but the Diamondbacks have moved him back to starting, at least for now. With a fastball in the low-to-middle 90s as well as a slider, changeup and curveball, all of which he can throw for strikes, he combined to go 5-8 with a 3.48 ERA in 95.2 innings between two Double-A stops in 2015, at Binghamton (Mets) and Mobile, striking out 61 while walking just 19. He earned Florida State League All-Star laurels in 2014 at St. Lucie (High A) when he won 10 games, going 10-4 with a 4.64 ERA.


Ht/Wt: 6’2″/200   B/T: R/L     BORN: October 20, 1990

ACQUIRED: Drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Creighton University).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 14-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 26 games, including three complete games, at Sacramento (Triple-A), striking out 113 and walking 38 in 162.2 IP, allowing 147 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Sacramento on September 1.
DEBUT: September 5, in a 6-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies. The last of three pitchers on the night, he allowed one hit over three scoreless innings, walking one. Of 40 pitches thrown, 26 were for strikes. Coming in to start the bottom of the sixth with the team already down by what would be the final 6-0 score, he retired the first six batters he faced, including the first batter he faced, Stephen Cardullo, on a groundout. He then put away Cristhian Adames on fly out to right field, Chad Bettis on a groundout to third, Raimel Tapia on a groundout to second, D.J. LeMahieu on a line out to left field and Nolan Arenado on a groundout to second to make short work of his first two innings of work. Carlos Gomez opened the ninth with a double to center field, after which Blach walked David Dahl before Nick Hundley popped out to shortstop, Cardullo popped out to third on the infield fly rule and Adames grounded out to third to end the inning.
PLAYER NOTES: The night before his debut, the Giants battled the Cubs in a 13-inning marathon in which they used 10 pitchers, but not Blach, so he must have been relieved to finally get his debut under his belt the next night. A workhorse at every level he’s played, that reputation dates back to his college days where he was the ace of the Creighton Bluejays staff, making 21 starts in his draft year to lead all NCAA Division I pitchers. That workload led the Giants to rest him after he signed in June, and he didn’t make his pro debut until 2013, at which point he continued to show durability and dominance. In his first pro season at San Jose (High A) in 2013, he went 12-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 22 games, striking out 117 while walking just 18 in 130.1 IP to earn California League Pitcher of the Year honors. A control artist who mixes up an assortment of solid but not outstanding pitches, notably his changeup, he moved up to Richmond (Double-A) in 2014 and went 8-8 with a 3.38 ERA in 25 starts, pitching 141 innings and walking 39 while striking out 91, before moving to Sacramento in 2015 and going 11-12 with a 4.46 ERA in 27 starts, including two complete games, allowing 189 hits in 165 1/3 innings and striking out 93 while walking 31. He lowered his ERA more than a full run in his return to the River Cats before his promotion.


Ht/Wt: 6’2″/200    B/T: R/R     BORN: December 22, 1993

ACQUIRED: Drafted in the first round (#12 overall) of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Barbe High School in Lake Charles, LA).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .325 with eight homers, 55 RBIs and four steals in 117 games at Las Vegas (Triple-A), along with 27 doubles for a .390 OBP and .448 SLG.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Las Vegas on September 6.
DEBUT: September 11, in a 10-3 win over the Atlanta Braves. Pinch-hitting for starting pitcher Seth Lugo with one out in the eighth inning, he struck out swinging against Braves reliever Brandon Cunniff.
PLAYER NOTES: Cecchini picked up in his Triple-A debut where he’d left off in 2015, when he’d ranked among the Eastern League leaders in all three slash line stats – batting (.317), OBP (.377) and SLG (.442), adding seven homers and 51 RBIs along with 26 doubles at Binghamton (Double-A). While he doesn’t boast big-time power, he’ll produce with the bats and get his share of extra-base hits and seems to have really come on at the plate in his last two seasons. Defensively, he’s solid enough in all areas and won’t embarrass himself at shortstop, though second base or a super-utility role is not out of the question down the line.
2080 NOTES: You can read more about Cecchini in our Prospect Spotlight on him.


Ht/Wt: 6’4″/190  B/T: R/R BORN: June 2, 1990

ACQUIRED: Claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on July 6, 2016. Originally drafted by the Giants in the 48th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C.).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 2-1 with a 5.67 ERA in 29 games between Richmond (Double-A/Giants), Arizona League (Rookie League/Padres) and San Antonio (Double-A/Padres), striking out 32 while walking 25 in 27 innings, giving up 21 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from San Antonio on September 7.
DEBUT: September 7, in a 7-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox. The fourth of five pitchers, he allowed one run on two hits in one inning. Of 14 pitches thrown, nine were for strikes. Coming on for reliever Kevin Quackenbush to start the top of the eighth, Smith gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw in the big leagues to Hanley Ramirez, a line drive shot to left field. The next batter he faced, Sandy Leon, singled to center field, but Jackie Bradley then grounded into a 3-6-3 double play before Chris Young flew out to center field to end the inning.
PLAYER NOTES: One of the best cool stories in the minors, Smith didn’t get “eyes” on him when he was in high school in North Augusta, S.C. (across the river from Augusta, GA), as he was homeschooled and pitched for a team of fellow homeschool students before heading to a small college, Darton State (Albany, GA) As legend has it (and yeah, it’s pretty much legendary in its coolness) for three years, from 2009-2011, he would volunteer over the summer to help out with the grounds crew at Lake Olmsted Stadium, the home of the Augusta GreenJackets (the Giants’ Class A South Atlantic League affiliate) and it was there that he struck up a friendship with then-GreenJackets pitching coach Steve Kline. One day, Kline watched Smith throw on the sidelines and set up a bullpen session. The Giants were impressed enough to actually offer Smith a small stipend to sign with them, but instead Smith opted to stay in school, moving up to Campbell University, a private Division I program, where he pitched for two years before becoming draft eligible. He continued to spend his summers on the grounds crew in Augusta, until the Giants took him in the 2011 draft. And yes, he actually pitched FOR the GreenJackets during the 2014 season, starting the summer there and splitting the campaign between both Class A stops, Augusta and San Jose (High A), combining to go 3-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 51 games, striking out 85 while walking 34 in 64.2 IP while giving up 55 hits. In 2015 he was at San Jose, going 4-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 56 games collecting 16 saves and striking out 118 while walking just 21, giving up 50 hits in 84 1/3 innings. Shoulder trouble slowed Smith this past spring and his results on the mound when he returned at Richmond were shaky enough for the Giants that they placed him on waivers. The Padres claimed him, and the results … well, here he is in the big leagues! And chances are he won’t be pulling tarp during rain delays. Or, who knows? Maybe he will! He seems like that cool a guy. And one other thing you can bet on: The Padres and Giants may be division rivals, but there’s at least one member of Giants’ personnel who is going to be rooting for Smith’s success: Richmond Flying Squirrels pitching coach Steve Kline.


Ht/Wt: 5’10″/170    B/T: B/R     BORN: May 14, 1993

ACQUIRED: Drafted in the second round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Port St. Joe High School, Port St. Joe, FL).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .302 with six homers, 25 RBIs and 36 steals in 77 games between Reading (Double-A) and the Gulf Coast League (Rookie), adding 16 doubles, six triples and a .451 SLG.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Reading on September 11.
DEBUT: September 11, in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.. The starting centerfielder, he batted second and went 0-for-3 with a walk. In his first big-league at-bat against Gio Gonzalez in the second inning, he grounded out to second base. In the third inning, he flew out to right field. In the sixth inning, he flew out to left field. In the eighth inning, he drew a walk but was stranded on base.
PLAYER NOTES: Quinn, along with catcher Jorge Alfaro, joined the Phillies when his Reading Fightin’ Phils were eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs Saturday night. One of the most talented athletes in the organization, an astounding arrays of injuries has limited his time since he signed in 2011 (and as a late sign, August 15, he did not play in ’11 either, making the last-second decision to turn down an offer to play two ways at Florida State University). His injury list has included time lost to a torn Achilles tendon, a broken wrist, a torn quadriceps, an oblique strain, a concussion and a hamstring pull. But his talent and performance when healthy, and his plus-plus speed which rates an 80 on the 20-to-80 scale (sound familiar?) is worth the patience the Phillies have shown. It also prompted a move from shortstop to center field, where he’s an excellent fit defensively. Quinn has yet to play more than 88 games in any given season, but if that spate of terrible luck is behind him, things could be looking good for him in Philadelphia. In his limited 2015 showing, he hit .306 with four homers, 15 RBIs and 29 steals in just 58 games, and posted 32 steals in 88 games in 2014 at Clearwater (High-A) and 21 steals in 67 games at Lakewood (Class A) in 2013. Injury list notwithstanding, none of the injuries are the type that should affect him down the line or recur, none are structural per se, and more just a case of some lousy luck so his risk-category is low.
2080 NOTES: You can read our Prospect Spotlights on Quinn here and here.  Quinn checked in at No. 82 on our Preseason Top 125 Prospect Rankings List, where we had this to say about him: “Quinn’s move to center field has paid dividends for him since it allows his elite speed and plus arm to play more. Quinn has more power than people project him to have, and an average hit tool is likely. Overall, a profile of first-division regular is in the cards for him.”


Ht/Wt: 6’1″/200    B/T: L/L     BORN: November 4, 1991

ACQUIRED:   Via trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates December 10, 2014, for LHP Antonio Bastardo. Originally signed by the Pirates as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) on May 29, 2009.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 7-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 53 games between Clearwater (High A), Reading (Double-A) and Lehigh Valley (Triple-A) striking out 69 while walking 23 in 76 2/3 innings, allowing 65 hits and limiting opposing batters to a .237 average.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Lehigh Valley on September 10.
DEBUT: September 11, in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. The last of four pitchers on the night, he threw just two pitches in his debut, one strike. Coming on with two outs and a runner on second in the bottom of the eighth inning, he retired Daniel Murphy on a fly out to center field, where the out on defense was made by fellow debutante of the day Roman Quinn.
PLAYER NOTES: This marked Rodriguez’s first full season in relief after having worked as a starter for the majority of his seven pro seasons, and in doing so he reduced his batting average against from .312 in 2015 by 80 points to .237 this season. Last summer he combined to go 7-10 with a 6.12 ERA in 32 games, 21 of them starts, striking out 74 and walking 57 while giving up 162 hits in 129.1 IP, prompting the shift in roles. In, 2014, his last year with the Pirates organization, he went 6-11 with a 4.84 ERA in 30 games at Altoona (Double-A), 21 of them starts, fanning 73 and walking 43 in 134 innings while giving up 151 hits. He hit the wall as he reached Double-A, after having dominated at Class A in 2013, splitting the season between West Virginia (Class A) and Bradenton (High A) and posting a 2.70 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 101 and walking just 39 while giving up 142 hits in 140 innings.
2080 NOTES:  Here is some scouting video of Rodriguez from late August, from Mark Shreve.


Ht/Wt: 6’3″/230     B/T: R/R    BORN: April 25, 1992

ACQUIRED: Via trade from the Miami Marlins on October 24, 2015, for RHP Richard Mitchell. Originally drafted in the second round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Arizona State University).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 10-6 with a 2.42 ERA in 21 games between Bradenton (High A) and Indianapolis (Triple-A), striking out 78 in 115.1 innings and walking 30 while allowing 107 hits.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Indianapolis on September 6.
DEBUT: September 7, in a 4-3 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. The second of three pitchers, he got the win, allowing one unearned run on three hits in three innings, walking one while striking out three. Coming in to start the top of the sixth inning in relief of starter James Taillon, the first batter he faced, Yadier Molina, reached on an error by the right fielder, reaching second on the play. After advancing to third on a groundout to first by Brandon Moss, Molina scored the lone unearned run on Williams on a single to center field by Randal Grichuk. The next batter, Jhonny Peralta, struck out swinging and catcher Francisco Cervelli threw Grichuk out attempting to steal second for the 2-4 double play to end the inning. In the seventh, the lone hit of the frame came with one out when relief pitcher Alex Reyes singled to right (is there anything he can’t do?) but despite Stephen Piscotty drawing a two out walk, both runners were stranded when Matt Adams popped out to shortstop to end the threat. Molina led the eighth off with a double to left field, but Williams proceeded to strike out Moss swinging, get Grichuk to ground out to shortstop, and strike out Peralta swinging to end the inning.
PLAYER NOTES: Despite missing the first month of the season with a strained shoulder, once Williams landed in Indianapolis, he was dominant enough to earn the Indians’ end-of-season Most Valuable Player nod. According to several sources (most notably giving a tip of the hat to Baseball America), the story behind the trade of Williams from Miami to Pittsburgh is that he was the unofficial “return” from the Marlins for the Pirates losing two key scouting/player development executives, Jim Benedict and Marc Delpiano, to the Marlins (it’s always nice to see when teams appreciate the value of their often unsung scouting/player executive folks!). He throws a fastball in the mid 90s, a sinking two-seam fastball, and as a changeup. In 2015, between Jacksonville (Double-A/Marlins) and New Orleans (Triple-A/Marlins) he combined to go 7-10 with a 3.98 ERA in 25 games, striking out 101 while walking 43 in 131 innings.


Ht/Wt: 6’1″/185    B/T: R/R     BORN: February 22, 1995

ACQUIRED:  Via trade from the Tampa Bay Rays on January 28, 2016, coming to the Rockies with LHP Jake McGee in the deal that sent DH Corey Dickerson and 3B Kevin Padlo to the Rockies. Originally signed by the Rays as an international free agent (Venezuela) on July 6, 2011.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 11-6 with a 3.13 ERA in 26 starts between Hartford (Double-A) and Albuquerque (Triple-A), striking out 155 and walking 39 in 166.2 IP, while allowing 154 hits.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Albuquerque on September 6.
DEBUT: September 8, in a 14-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. The second of six pitchers on the night, he allowed three runs, all earned, on two hits in 2.1 IP, walking three and striking out two. Of 50 pitches thrown, 28 were for strikes. Coming on with one man on and two outs in the bottom of the third in relief of starter Jeff Hoffman, he promptly struck out the first batter he faced, opposing pitcher Clayton Richard, swinging to leave his lone inherited runner stranded. In the fourth, he retired Travis Jankowski on a grounder to shortstop before giving up his first hit, a double to left field by Jon Jay, but got the next two batters, Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte, on infield grounders to end the threat. In the fifth, Marquez walked the first three batters he faced, Alex Dickerson, Ryan Schimpf, and Derek Norris, to load the bases with no outs. After striking out Luis Sardinas swinging, Richard’s groundout to third base allowed Dickerson to score, and Jankowski’s single to center field brought home Schimpf and Norris before Jay grounded out to second base to end the inning.
PLAYER NOTES: The Eastern League Player of the Year for his 9-6 record and 2.85 ERA in his 21 starts for the Hartford Yard Goats this year, a span during which he fanned 126 while walking just 33 in 135.2 IP, Marquez has an arsenal with a plus curveball, maybe his best pitch, a fastball in the mid-90s and a changeup with a high upside. He’s got plus control and a smooth delivery and is a very legit starting prospect, especially since he’s still just 22 years old and made the majors in his first season with any time spent above Class A. In 2015 at Charlotte (High A/Rays) he went 7-13 with a 3.56 ERA in 26 games, fanning 104 while walking 29 in 139 innings and allowing 147 hits. In 2014, he’d been at Bowling Green (Class A) where he’d gone 5-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 22 games, striking out 95 in 98 innings and walking 29. He brings a career 3.63 ERA into the bigs with him.


Ht/Wt: 6’4″/215    B/T: L/L    BORN: February 12, 1994

ACQUIRED:   Drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (University of South Alabama).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .293 with 14 homers, 61 RBIs and 10 steals in 119 games at Albuquerque (Triple-A) with 24 doubles, seven triples and a .480 SLG.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Albuquerque on September 6.
DEBUT: September 8, in a 14-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. A late-game defensive replacement in right field for starter Carlos Gonzalez, he entered the game in the bottom of the seventh and came to the plate in the top of the eighth with one on and one out. Facing reliever Oswaldo Arcia, he drew a walk but was stranded.
PLAYER NOTES: One of two Rockies players to make his debut in this game, one of three to debut this week and one of four to debut since rosters expanded, he is yet another newcomer with the potential to stick around for a while. A two-way player while at South Alabama, where he brought a mid-90s fastball to the mound and some big-time power to the plate, the Rockies have opted to keep him on the offensive side, but his strong arm is an asset in the outfield, where he can play all three spots (and also fill in at first base when needed). He’s adjusted his swing as he’s moved up. In 2015, between Modesto (High A) and New Britain (Double-A), he combined to hit .297 with 17 homers, 75 RBIs, 18 steals, 45 doubles and 12 triples for a .543 SLG, and got hit by pitches 22 times, almost as many times as he drew walks (30).


Ht/Wt: 5’11/200  B/T: R/R  BORN: September 9, 1992
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (UCLA).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .257 with 14 homers and 80 RBIs in 136 games between Hartford (Double-A) and Albuquerque (Triple-A), adding 41 doubles for a .425 SLG.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Albuquerque on September 6.
DEBUT: September 6, in a 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, pinch-running for C Tom Murphy in the eighth inning.
PLAYER NOTES: The younger brother of former big league infielder Chris Valaika (who saw time in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds and most recently hit .266 with seven homers, 41 RBIs and 25 steals at Triple-A Iowa in 2015 before starting the next phase of his career as a hitting coach in the Chicago Cubs system) Valaika comes to the majors off a recent game at Albuquerque in which he hit for the cycle. Given his combination of moderate over-the-wall and significant extra-base pop, don’t be surprised if it happens again in the bigs at some point. He’s got the reputation of being a hard worker and unsung hero at every stop he’s made (which may be why you may not have heard of him before this). In 2015 at New Britain (Double-A), he hit .235 with eight homers, 57 RBIs and 19 steals, adding 25 doubles in 124 games. In 2014, between Asheville (Class A) and Modesto (High A), he batted .299 with 12 homers, 70 RBIs, 19 steals and 26 doubles in 120 games.

2080 NOTES: You can check out this video of Valaika playing in the Eastern League earlier this season.