Feature Photo: Ryan Sherriff, LHP, Cardinals
Over the next few days I’ll be doing a deep dive into all of the remaining 40-man roster-dwelling potential Debutantes. As often as not, when rosters expand on September 1 clubs will simply recall all of their 40-man roster players that day (or a few days later when the minor league regular season ends) unless they’re injured, or actively competing in the postseason. In fact, minor league playoff teams at the higher levels may load up on prospects from the lower levels who are not playing post-season ball a quest for their championship.
But even in this past final full week before roster expansion, we had a pretty hefty tally of an even dozen newcomers (through games of August 27), including – huzzah – recent Debut-not (and Mets reliever) Kevin McGowan, who didn’t even pitch during the few days he was back on the farm in Las Vegas between being sent down on August 17 and brought back up August 22.
This brings us to 209 Debutantes on the season heading into rush week, which actually, for the first time in a while, puts us ahead of our 2016 pace!
At this point in 2016, we’d had 204 Debutantes and were in a brief three-day lull during which there were NO debuts. Not that they’d all stay down on the farm until September 1. There would be four debuts, actually, in the final two days of August. But to get you excited (and me glassy-eyed), there would be 15 – count them, 15 – debuts in the three-day span of September 1-3. And for us, we just call that “September 2017 Labor Day Weekend.” Yup, I’ll be all-in on the labor part.
Of the 12 debuts this week, there was a special moment when two of them made their debuts virtually simultaneously: On Sunday, catcher Chad Wallach (who had been called up on Friday) made his debut as the starting catcher, completing an all-debutante battery as he caught right-hander Tyler Mahle, whom he’d been catching just a week earlier in Louisville. This was partially planned to allow the pair to work together to make things just a little bit more comfortable and familiar as they enjoyed their big moment together.
And just in case you were wondering, this was the SECOND time THIS SEASON that the Reds sent out a double-debutante battery … the first time was on April 6 (remember April?) when Rookie Davis took the mound with Stuart Turner behind the plate. I will henceforth call the Reds the “Double-Deb Reds”. Well, at least for the rest of this week’s column.
Oh, also? You probably know by now, this past weekend was Players Weekend with all sorts of awesomeness that frankly MLB should have been doing for ages. Among the player nickname highlights was Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, whose nickname is “Outlaw.” So when the Rays met the Cardinals on Friday night, a St. Louis pitcher was making his big league debut, but since he’d JUST been called up he wasn’t there in time to get in on the nickname action, and thus he had to wear his REAL name. And that, my friends, is how Outlaw faced Sherriff. Ryan Sherriff, that is. (And before y’all get all up in my face about the lawman term being spelled “sheriff,” I’ll have you know that I won every single spelling bee in my grade school career – including a citywide bee – and only misspelled one word: sheriff, which I spelled with two r’s. So I think our newest Cards pitcher spells his name just fine. In fact, I want that prize retroactively. Thanks.)
So you folks who decided well in advance to get your family tickets to a big league ball game for the holiday and to console the off-to-school tykes, here’s hoping you get to see a future big league star in the making next weekend!
(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.)