Feature Photo: Thyago Vieira, RHP, Mariners
With six weeks left in the 2017 season (including four which will see the trickle/flood up of players when rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on September 1), and 20 weeks in the books, the dog days of August seem as good a time as any for us to take a look at which teams have been the most active when it comes to bringing up the newbies to have their first dances, and which have been more…, well, heck, let’s stick with the analogy and say that they’ve been wallflowers.
This week’s week-ending recall by the Diamondbacks of right-hander Jimmie Sherfy prompted the idea, since he became just the fourth player to debut for the club this season, and all four have come in the past two months.
There will be a whole lot more breakdowns once the season ends (chart-wise, not physically!) when your humble scribe puts together her annual (it will be two years and that’s annual enough for me! I mean for her!) look at all sorts of numbery-crunchery items, trivia, and fun facts about however many debs we end up with (look for those early-to-mid October!) but for now, let’s look at who’s been busy making dreams come true (at least through games of August 20)!
Please keep in mind that this list reflects which team the players were with at the time of their debut (things change, oh, so quickly):
Teams that have had the most players debut (through games of August 20): Believe it or not, those traditional pinstriped Bronx Bombers, the Yankees, share honors here with the Phillies, who each have had 12 debuts this season.
Close behind them are the Reds and the Twins with 11 each, followed by the Blue Jays with 10.
And the fewest? Well, with its virtual flurry of late-summer activity not only have the Diamondbacks gotten off the schneid, its total of four debuts actually moves it ahead of three other teams and has it tied with: the Marlins, Orioles, and Rangers.
The team that has brought the fewest players to “the show” so far for their debuts this season? That would be Cleveland with two: Infielder/outfielder Yandy Diaz, who debuted on April 3, and outfielder Bradley Zimmer who got into the permanent record on May 19.
Right behind the Indians are the Dodgers and Tigers with three debuts apiece.
Let’s also factor some debut-nots into that mix since, sadly, we had one of those as well this week (for those of you who may have JUST discovered this weekly column, “debut-nots” is the term your humble scribe uses for players who are called up to the majors for their debuts but don’t get into a game before being sent back down … that will definitely be a category we look at in our post-season extravaganza).
Most recent among those, we look forward to the return of Mets right-hander Kevin McGowan, who got “The Call” on August 13 but, after four nights of inaction in the bullpen, got “the call” to return to the minors on August 17. Other debut-nots this season (at least those who have not come back yet) are: southpaw Paul Fry, called up by the Orioles on April 25 and sent down April 27; San Francisco right-hander Reyes Moronta, who came up on May 10 but went back down on May 11; Seattle right-hander Ryne Harper (who prompted my virtual monologue about players named Ryne), who came up on May 28 and went back down on May 31; and, perhaps most notably, “double-debutnot” right-hander Clayton Blackburn of the Rangers, who came up on July 31 and was sent back down August 3. Why do I call him a “double debut-not”? Because he went through this same roller coaster in 2016.
See you all in September (or sooner) we hope!
Overall, eight players made their debuts this week and heading into August 21, 197 players overall have joined the party, compared to 198 at this time in 2016. Yes, we’ve finally fallen behind our inaugural year pace, since 11 players made their debut during this same stretch of time one year ago.
(Reminder! The MLB Debut table is also found by clicking the Spotlights Tab on our home page, and scrolling to the top sub-menu selection.)