Feature Photo: Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies
Aaaaaaand….We’re back with Les Debutantes, Part Two, covering eight National League debuts from that crazy first week of September. Hope you caught our American League package yesterday, but if not you can check it out here.
And fear not…there are still more debuts coming, as some teams held off making call-ups until their minor leaguers’ seasons were over, plus we’ll have plenty of potential debutantes whose teams were still alive in the minor league playoffs. So our Les Debutantes coverage will keep on truckin’ until the end of the season, and we’ll even be throwing in a mega-package on October 10 to give you this season’s wrap-up, a retrospective, and some final fun facts.
For now, on to the National League Debuts last week!
ACQUIRED: Via trade from the Milwaukee Brewers on June 3, 2016, for an a yet-to-be-named player to be named later and cash considerations. Originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round (#15 overall) of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Georgia Tech).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 9-5 with a 3.09 ERA in 35 games, 13 of them starts, between Biloxi (Double-A/Brewers), Mississippi (Double-A/Braves) and Gwinnett (Triple-A/Braves), striking out 108 and walking 40 in 107.2 IP while allowing 106 hits.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Gwinnett on September 1.
DEBUT: September 3, in a 6-4 10-inning win against the Philadelphia Phillies. The fifth of six pitchers, he earned the win in, relief, tossing one perfect inning. Coming on to start the bottom of the ninth in relief of Jose Ramirez, Bradley struck out the first batter he faced, Tyler Goeddel, swinging, needing just three pitches to dispatch him. Freddy Galvis then grounded out to third before pinch-hitter Tommy Joseph flew out to left field to end the inning. The Braves scratched out a pair of runs in the top of the 10th and reliever Mauricio Cabrera notched the save to hand Bradley the victory in his debut. He threw just 12 pitches, nine of them for strikes.
PLAYER NOTES: While the former first-round pick of the Brewers may not have worked out as Milwaukee had planned, he’s done just fine for the Braves so far, thank you very much. Jedidiah Custer Bradley spent his first few seasons toiling at Brevard (High A) in the Brewers system before finally earning a promotion to Huntsville (their Double-A affiliate at the time) midway through 2014 after beginning the season at Brevard with a 5-2 record and 2.98 ERA in his first 10 starts at Brevard. He struggled in 2015, though, and a 9.00 ERA in 26 innings of relief at Colorado Springs (Triple-A) sent him to the bullpen to try to make adjustments. The issues continued with a 6.20 ERA at Biloxi to start 2016, but after his trade to the Braves, his new club shifted him back into a starting role and he responded with a 2.35 ERA at Mississippi and a 1.50 ERA in three starts at Gwinnett before his promotion.
ACQUIRED: Signed as a minor league free agent November 11, 2015. Originally drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 12th round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft (St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .289 with 30 homers and 120 RBIs in 133 games at Reno (Triple-A), with 34 doubles and a .546 SLG.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Reno on September 3.
DEBUT: September 3, in a 9-4 win against the Colorado Rockies. Pinch-hitting for pitcher Randall Delgado with one out in the top of the eighth inning, he lined out to right field against Rockies reliever Justin Miller.
PLAYER NOTES: Jensen showed off his big-time power potential in his first season with the Diamondbacks, leading the Pacific Coast League in homers and RBIs and finishing fifth in slugging. He came up through the Marlins organization, spending six years with them, including making their organizational All-Star teams in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In November of 2014, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later and, though outrighted off of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster a month later, spent the 2015 campaign with the system at Oklahoma City (Triple-A), hitting .259 with 20 homers and 71 RBIs along with 28 doubles for a .484 SLG. In November, he declared minor league free agency and was signed by Arizona four days later.
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 24th round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Southern University).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts at Oklahoma City (Triple-A), striking out 111 and walking 20 in 86 .1 IP while allowing 61 hits.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Oklahoma City on September 4.
DEBUT: September 4, in a 7-4 win over the San Diego Padres. The starting pitcher, he got the win, allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits over six innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine. He also hit one batter with a pitch and made one error. Out of 86 pitches thrown, 58 were for strikes. Only four balls were hit out of the infield in those six innings, with three of his six hits allowed being infield singles (two of them being bunt singles by Travis Jankowski). The first batter De Leon faced, Jankowski grounded out to shortstop in his first at-bat, after which Wil Myers, became the first of De Leon’s nine strikeout victims, going down swinging. Yangervis Solarte then singled on a pop up to third base, after which De Leon hit Alex Dickerson with a pitch, but both were left stranded when Ryan Schimpf struck out swinging. De Leon recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the second, highlighted by Alexi Amarista striking out swinging to end the frame. In the third, with two out and one on thanks to a bunt single by Jankowski, the first ball of the game hit out of the infield went pretty far, as Solarte blasted a two-run homer to right field before Dickerson popped out. In the fourth, De Leon dominated again, sandwiching a soft groundout to first base by Hector Sanchez between swinging strikeouts from Schimpf and Oswaldo Arcia. In the fifth, he looked a little more hittable as Amarista led off with a single to center and, with one out, scored when Jankowski laid down his second bunt single and De Leon made a throwing error. Myers then singled to right field before Solarte then collected his third RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to right to score Jankowski. De Leon picked off Myers for the third out of the inning before any more damage could be done. In the sixth, he made sure not to take any chances with those pesky baserunners, striking out the side in his final frame: Dickerson swinging, Schimpf looking and Sanchez swinging.
PLAYER NOTES: The first impression of De Leon’s linescore, with the four runs and six hits, doesn’t quite convey how dominant he was during those six innings. Undrafted out of high school in Puerto Rico, De Leon got on the map as the staff ace at Southern and, though he went deep in the 2013 draft, he has absolutely dominated hitters in the minors, striking out 446 in just 330.2 career innings before his promotion and walking just 99 while scattering 273 hits. In 2015, between Rancho Cucamonga (High A) and Tulsa (Double-A), he combined for a 2.99 ERA in 23 starts, striking out 163 while walking 37 and allowing 87 hits in 114.1 innings. That came after his pro debut at Ogden (Short-Season A) in 2014 when he went 7-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 14 games, striking out 119 and walking 21 in 77 innings. Not too shabby for a 24th-rounder.
2080 NOTES: De Leon was ranked No. 37 in 2080’s 125 Preseason Prospect Rankings List, where we had this to say about him: “De Leon features a plus changeup to pair with a fastball that hits 96 mph when he reaches back for it. He is an advanced prospect who, like [Julio] Urias at #6, could figure into the Dodgers’ rotation plans in 2016, given the injury issues in their rotation last year.”
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft (Georgia Tech).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 12-10 with a 4.31 ERA in 26 starts between Jacksonville (Double-A) and New Orleans (Triple-A), striking out 96 while walking 46 and allowing 143 hits in 142 innings.
PROMOTED: Recalled from New Orleans on August 31 when RHP David Phelps was placed on the 15-day DL.
DEBUT: August 31, in a 5-2 loss to the New York Mets. The starting pitcher, he did not get a decision, allowing two runs, both earned, on seven hits over 4.1 IP, walking three and striking out two. He had a 1-2-3 first inning, getting the first big-league batter he faced, Jose Reyes, to ground out to shortstop before striking out the next two batters, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes, both swinging. In the second inning, leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson drew a walk and scored on Wilmer Flores’ two-run homer to left field. The next two batters, Jay Bruce and Travis d’Arnaud, both singled but Kelly Johnson popped out to shortstop and Bartolo Colon grounded into a double play to end the threat. Esch pitched out of a mini-jam in the third as well when, after retiring the first two batters, he walked both Cespedes and Granderson before getting Flores on a lineout to center field. In the fourth, Bruce, d’Arnaud and Johnson all singled to load the bases with no outs but Colon once again grounded into a double play, this time a 5-2-3 play where they nailed lead runner Bruce at home before somehow retiring the speedy Colon at first for the second out. Reyes followed by grounding out to second base to end the inning. In the fifth, Esch retired Cabrera on a groundout but after Cespedes singled, Esch was lifted for a reliever.
PLAYER NOTES: The Minnesota native missed some time in 2015 with a strained oblique, but combined between Jacksonville and New Orleans (along with a little rehab time in the Gulf Coast League) to go 8-8 with a 3.72 ERA in 23 starts, fanning 95 and walking 32 in 123.1 IP while giving up 112 hits. In 2014 at Jupiter (High A) he was 6-6 with a 4.06 ERA in 25 starts, striking out 105 and walking 34 in 135.1 IP, giving up 147 hits. Primarily a shortstop in high school, he played both ways at Georgia Tech, but the Marlins opted to put him on the mound full-time with his fastball, slider and curveball repertoire.
ACQUIRED: Signed as a minor league free agent November 12, 2015. Originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the second round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft (St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, AL).
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .267 with 15 homers, 80 RBIs and 11 steals in 126 games at New Orleans (Triple-A), along with 29 doubles.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from New Orleans on September 1.
DEBUT: September 2, in a 6-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The starting left fielder, he batted eighth and went 2-for-4. In his first at-bat in the top of the third inning he struck out on a foul tip against starter Carlos Carrasco. In the fifth, with one out, he doubled into the right field corner off the first pitch he saw from Carrasco. In his next at-bat, in the seventh inning, he singled to left field off Carrasco. In his last at-bat of the night, in the ninth inning, he struck out swinging against reliever Cody Allen.
PLAYER NOTES: A heavily recruited high school football star who turned down a scholarship to play for his home state’s Crimson Tide (who went on to win three titles during the time he would have been on the team), a succession of injuries, including a wrist injury, slowed a promising career but it seems to be back on track now. Between his time as a top Nationals’ prospect and signing with the Marlins during this past off-season, Hood also spent time in the Indians’ and Phillies’ farm systems. In 2015, between three team — Reading (Double-A/Phillies), Akron (Double-A/Indians) and Columbus (Triple-A/Indians) — he combined to hit .270 in 99 games, adding 10 homers, 58 RBIs and 26 doubles for a .456 SLG. He’d hit a combined .298 with 11 home runs, 42 RBIs and 26 doubles in just 106 games between Auburn (Short-Season A), Harrisburg (Double-A) and Syracuse (Triple-A) in his last year with the Nationals’ organization in 2014.
ACQUIRED: Signed as a minor league free agent on January 4, 2016. Originally signed as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) by the San Francisco Giants on April 11, 2007.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 34 games at Indianapolis (Triple-A), striking out 57 and walking 21 in 73 .2 innings, while allowing 65 hits.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Indianapolis August 30 when INF Alen Hanson was called up, RHP Jameson Taillon and LHP Steven Brault were sent down and LHP Kyle Lobstein was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
DEBUT: September 3, in a 7-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. The fifth of six pitchers on the night, he allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one in one-third of an inning, allowing one of two inherited runners to score without giving up a run of his own. Of 17 pitches thrown, 10 were for strikes. Coming on in the top of the eighth with two outs and runners at the corners, the first big-league batter Marte faced, Keon Broxton, singled to center to score Orlando Arcia, and Marte then walked the next batter, Scooter Gennett, to load the bases. However, he ended the threat by striking out Ryan Braun swinging.
PLAYER NOTES: In his 10th pro season, the first nine of which were all spent with the Giants organization as a starting pitcher, Marte inked with the Pirates during the offseason, was shifted primarily to the bullpen and finally made his long-awaited major league debut. In 2015 at Richmond (Double-A/Giants) he went 10-6 with a 2.63 ERA in 26 games, 19 of them starts, striking out 77 while walking 40 and allowing 118 hits in 130 innings. That ERA was almost a two-run improvement from his 2014 season between Richmond and Fresno (Triple-A/Giants) where he was 9-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 24 games, striking out 76 and walking 31 in 123.1 IP with 131 hits allowed.
ACQUIRED: Signed as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) on August 17, 2009.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 50 games between Pensacola (Double-A) and Louisville (Triple-A), striking out 58 while walking 26 in 75.2 innings, allowing 61 hits.
PROMOTED: Contract purchased from Louisville September 2 when 40-man rosters expanded.
DEBUT: September 4 in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The third of five pitchers on the night, he tossed one hitless inning, walking one and striking out one. Out of 17 pitches thrown, 10 were for strikes. The first two batters he faced, Kolten Wong and Carlos Martinez, both popped out to second base before Matt Carpenter drew a walk. Peralta then struck out Jedd Gyorko swinging on three off-speed pitches.
PLAYER NOTES: Peralta has spent his entire seven-year career in the Cincinnati system yet this year marked his Triple-A debut, and he made the most of it. He’s switched roles back and forth between starting and relief a few times over the years. In 2015 at Pensacola as a starter he was 7-7 with a 5.09 ERA, striking out 80 while walking 60 in 117 innings, but he lowered his season ERA in half in his move back to relief this past season.
ACQUIRED: Signed as an international free agent (Dominican Republic) on November 29, 2010.
CURRENT SEASON STATS: .328 with eight homers, 48 RBIs and 23 steals in 128 games between Hartford (Double-A) and Albuquerque (Triple-A), adding 28 doubles and 10 triples for a .458 SLG. He hit .323 in 104 games at Hartford and .346 in 24 games at Albuquerque.
PROMOTED: Recalled from Albuquerque on September 2.
DEBUT: September 2, in a 14-7 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. As a pinch-hitter, he went 1-for-1 with a run scored. With the Rockies trailing 5-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, Tapia got a six-run rally started as a pinch-hitter for Stephen Cardullo. Facing Zack Godley in his first at-bat, he delivered an infield single and came around to score the team’s first run of the game on an RBI single by David Dahl.
PLAYER NOTES: Tapia had never played a game above High A ball before the 2016 season, but he’d put up consistently strong numbers every year since coming stateside. In 2015, he batted .305 with 12 homers, 71 RBIs and 26 steals at Modesto (High A), adding 34 doubles and nine triples along with 166 hits for a .467 SLG. Always one of the youngest players in his league, he earned Pioneer League MVP honors in 2013 when he batted .357 with seven homers and 47 RBIs. In his first full season, 2014, he hit .326 with nine homers, 72 RBIs and 33 steals along with 32 doubles at Asheville (Class A). Tapia’s approach at the plate is unorthodox and has generated a ton of discussion around the internet, but we’ll let the 2080 experts explain it all to us in the links below.
2080 NOTES: Nick J. Faleris’ Prospect Spotlight on Tapia would be a good place to start. Checking in at No. 66 in our Top 125 Preseason Prospect Rankings List, we had this to say about him: “Tapia brings an unconventional approach to the plate, but he shows excellent hand-eye coordination, making his ability to hit the loudest of his tools.” You can also check out this video from our library from a game at Trenton earlier this season.