Inspired by an episode of the Effectively Wild podcast, we’re highlighting the MLB debuts that have occurred in the past week. Our goal is to not only inform you about the top prospects you already know but give you some insight into some of the lesser known players who may only be up for a single cup of coffee.

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Previous editions can be found here.

 

Week of Aug 12-18

This Week In Baseball Debuts Volume 1, Issue 13: August 12-18

This week ten more players earned the right to call themselves Major Leaguers. Danny Jansen and Sean Reid-Foley became the first battery mates to debut in the same American League game since 1967. The Braves saw the debut of one of their top pitching prospects, Touki Toussaint, and Patrick Wisdom finally debuted for the Cardinals after what seemed like an eternity slugging in the minor leagues.


Kohl Stewart, SP

Born: October 7, 1994 (23)
Throws: Right Hits: Right
Team: Minnesota Twins Debut: August 12, 2018

Kohl was selected fourth overall in the 2013 draft. He signed with the Twins even though he had already had a commitment to play football at Texas A&M. After signing, Stewart played for both the Twins rookie league teams, posting a combined 1.35 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 20 total innings between both teams. By next season he was promoted to Single-A compiling a 3-5 record and 2.59 ERA in 19 starts. In 2015 he played in High-A where he pitched to a 7-8 record and 3.20 ERA in 22 games. Stewart spent 2016 with both High-A and Double-A, posting a combined 12-8 record, 2.88 ERA, and 1.34 WHIP in 25 total starts between both clubs. In 2017 he played in Double-A going 5-6 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 starts, and made 1 start in Triple-A. In 2018 he is 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA for Triple-A in seven appearances, including five starts, since being promoted from Double-A at the end of June.

Kohl asked this season what he could do to be better and a coach said needed to cut back on usage of his sinking fastball, which he’d been throwing as much as 65 percent of the time, and use his curveball and changeup more at the expense of his slider. He also was encouraged to switch from a two-seam fastball grip to a one-seamer designed to induce weaker contact with later movement. Eventually, Stewart got the hang of it. A 1.48 ERA in four June starts earned him a promotion to Triple-A Rochester, where he had a 2.43 ERA over his past five outings.

Debut Game

4.1 IP | 8 H | 3 ER | 1 BB | 1 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: 28 / NA
Fangraphs: NA / NA
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Patrick Wisdom, 1B

Born: August 27, 1991 (26)
Throws: Right Hits: Right
Team: St. Louis Cardinals Debut: August 12, 2018

He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 2012 draft, in the first round. Wisdom played in Single and High-A in 2013 with a combined .235 batting average with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs in 129 total games. The next year he played in Double-A where he slashed .215/.277/.367 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs in 128 games. He spent 2015 in Double-A also, where he had a .237 batting average with 14 home runs and 61 RBIs in 114 games. He spent both 2016 and 2017 in Triple-A where he batted .233 with five home runs and 30 RBIs in 78 games, and a .243 batting average with 31 home runs and 89 RBIs in 127 games respectively. Before his call up he slashed .289 /.363./ .479 and 14 home runs in 103 games.

Debut Game

4 PA | 2 H | 2 R | 0 BB | 1 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: NA / NA
Fangraphs: NA / NA
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Danny Jansen, C

Born: April 15, 1995 (23)
Throws: Right Hits: Right
Team: Toronto Blue Jays Debut: August 13, 2018

Danny was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2013 draft. Danny started that year in rookie ball appearing in 36 games and hitting .246 with 18 RBI. He showed above-average plate discipline that season, walking 21 times while striking out only 10 times. He spent 2014 in advanced rookie ball, in 2015 he was promoted to Single-A but was hurt for half the season but Jansen rejoined the Lugnuts in August, in 53 total games, he hit .210 with five home runs and 30 RBI. He was invited to major league spring training in 2016, but was assigned to Single-A for the season, where in 57 total games, Jansen hit .218 with one home run and 25 RBI in 2016. He was sent to the fall league after the season and he drew attention hitting .282 with 11 RBI and the first two triples of his professional career. The real change he made in his career did not come mentally or physically, it came with a trip to the eye doctor, before the 2017 season Jansen found he was having vision problems, and began wearing glasses both on-and-off the field. Jansen hit .369 with five home runs and 18 RBI in 31 games for Dunedin before being promoted to the Double-A, he played in 52 games for Double-A and hit .291 before being promoted again to Triple-A, hit .328 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 21 games. I’d say the glasses worked, the Blue Jays took notice too adding him to their 40 man roster after the season. Heading into the 2018 season, Jansen was named the eighth-best catching prospect by MLB. He played in the All-Star Futures Game in July, where he hit a home run. Before his promotion Danny was slashing .275/.390/.473 with 12 home runs and 44 walks and only 49 strikeouts.

Jansen makes a lot of contact, understands the strike zone and recognizes pitches well highlights his upside as an offensive-oriented catcher who also adds value with his on-base kills. His combination of bat speed and physical strength yields sneaky power to his pull side, which is to where Jansen hit nine of his career-high 10 home runs in 2017. Behind the plate, Jansen has made impressive strides in his blocking, receiving and framing since signing, although his catch-and-throw skills may never be better than average.

Fun Fact: He and Sean Reid-Foley became the first battery mates to debut in the same American League game since Billy Rohr and Russ Gibson did so in April 1967.

Debut Game

3 PA | 2 H | 0 BB | 0 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: 3 / 73
Fangraphs: 3 / 51
Baseball Prospectus: 7 / NA


Sean Reid-Foley, SP

Born: August 30, 1995 (22)
Throws: Right Hits: Right
Team: Toronto Blue Jays Debut: August 13, 2018

He was selected in the second round of the 2014 draft by the Blue Jays. He was available in the second round due to signability concerns. He finished the 2014 regular season with a 1–2 record in nine appearances (six starts), a 4.76 ERA, and 25 strikeouts in 22.2 innings in rookie ball. The next year in Single-A he set career highs in innings pitched (5.2) and strikeouts (10) in a start on May 30 against the Dayton Dragons, his performance earned him a spot on MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week. He was promoted to High-A that year and ended the 2015 season with a 4–10 win–loss record, 4.22 ERA, and 125 strikeouts in 96 innings pitched. He would finish the 2016 season with a combined 10–5 record, 2.81 ERA, and 130 strikeouts in 115.1 innings in A ball. Reid-Foley greatly improved his pitch control in 2016, lowering his walks per nine innings rate from 6.3 in 2015 to 3.0. He made 27 starts and posted a 10–11 win–loss record, 5.09 ERA, and 122 strikeouts in a career-high 132.2 innings pitched in Double-A in 2017. He got his spring training invite in 2018 but started the year in Double-A but a 5–0 record with a 2.03 ERA in eight starts earned him a quick promotion to Triple-A. In Triple-A he went 7 and 4 with a 3.50 ERA in 15 games, all starts, he pitched 82.2 innings striking out 94 and only handed out 27 free passes.

Reid-Foley’s fastball can reach 97 mph, but typically sits at 92-95 mph with arm-side run that helps him miss bats and generate weak, ground-ball contact. Both his slider and his curveball, the latter a pitch he picked up in 2016, have at least average potential, with the latter slightly ahead of the former, and his changeup, once fully developed, could give him a fourth average-or-better offering.

Fun Fact: He and Danny Jansen became the first battery mates to debut in the same American League game since Billy Rohr and Russ Gibson did so in April 1967.

Debut Game

5 IP | 6 H | 3 ER | 1 HR | 3 BB | 3 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: 10 / NA
Fangraphs: 18 / NA
Baseball Prospectus: 8 / NA


Touki Toussaint, SP

Born: June 20, 1996 (22)
Throws: Right Hits: Right
Team: Atlanta Braves Debut: August 13, 2018

Touki was a first round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Toussaint finished his first professional season with a 2–4 record and 8.48 ERA over 12 total appearances in rookie ball. After extended spring training he was sent to Single-A before being traded to Atlanta in the same year. He finished the 2015 season with a 4.83 ERA in 17 total starts, including 5.73 ERA in ten starts as a member of both A level teams.

It was reported the Touki was told to use his curveball less as it seen he was becoming too reliant on it, that gave him the chance to develop and improve his changeup. He struggled to start in 2016 but made a change to his mechanics and righted the ship in Single-A. In 2017 he began in High-A ball and was promoted to Double-A, in 145 total innings pitched he had a 6–13 record with a 4.53 ERA along with 167 strikeouts. Toussaint started the 2018 season in Double-A, recording a 2.93 ERA with 107 strikeouts until a mid season promotion to the Triple-A team. He was named to the All-Star Futures Game, and appeared in relief to pitch the eighth inning.before his call up he had a 2-0 record with a 2.01 ERA in 5 starts.

Touki features a plus fastball that sits 93-95 mph and can touch 97. The pitch good arm side run that gets in on right-handed batters and tails away from lefties. His biggest struggles are in commanding his fastball and pretty much every part of his game stems from there. He is known for his hammer curveball which occasionally gets 80 scouting grades.

Debut Game

6 IP | 2 H | 1 ER | 2 BB | 4 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: 7 / 76
Fangraphs: 8 / 56
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Taylor Ward, 3B

Born: December 14, 1993 (24)
Throws: Right Hits: Right
Team: Los Angeles Angels Debut: August 14, 2018

Taylor was a first round draft pick of the Angels in the 2015 draft. He posted a combined .348 batting average with three home runs and 31 RBIs between the Angels two A level teams. In 2016 he played the whole year with High-A where he batted .249 with ten home runs and 56 RBIs. In 2017, Ward split time between High-A and Double-A, he hit a combined .258 with nine home runs and 49 RBIs in 87 games between both clubs. In 2018 he was converted from catcher to third base. He began the year with Double-A and in 42 games he hit .345 with 6 home runs and 33 walks, that earned him a call up to Triple-A where he slashed .325/.442/.537 with 8 home runs with 36 walks but had 61 strikeouts in 60 games.

Ward has always had excellent plate discipline with a very advanced approach at the plate, drawing a ton of walks and limiting his strikeouts. He’s largely used a contact-first, line-drive approach to his hitting and rarely chases, but he’s started to drive the ball, both for extra bases and over the fence, in 2018. Ward’s strong arm, which allowed him to throw out just over 34 percent of potential basestealers from behind the plate, is an asset at the hot corner.

Debut Game

4 PA | 2 H | 2 B | 1 BB | 0 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: 8 / NA
Fangraphs: 15 / NA
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Austin Dean, LF

Born: October 14, 1993 (24)
Throws: Right Hits: Right
Team: Miami Marlins Debut: August 15, 2018

Austin was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, he was sent to the rookie league that year where he hit .223 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 47 games. The next year he posted a combined .262 batting average with three home runs and 22 RBIs in 63 total games between both A level teams, and in 2014, he returned to Single-A ball slashing .308/.371/.444 with nine home runs and 58 RBIs in 99 games. In 2015 his career took him to High-A batting .268 with five home runs, 52 RBIs, and 32 doubles in 136 games, 2016 with Double-A he compiled a .238 batting average with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs in 130 games, and 2017 back with Double-A where he batted .282 with four home runs, 30 RBIs, and a .750 OPS in 61 games. After another 22 games in Double-A in 2018, he finally got to Triple-A where he hit .326 with 33 walks, 49 strikeouts and hit 9 homeruns. Last week, Dean was named the Pacific Coast League’s Player of the Week hitting a league-best .647 in five games.

Dean is a disciplined hitter with a quick swing and a knack for putting the barrel on the ball. Though he’s physically strong and shows good raw power during batting practice, his line-drive bat path and whole-field approach continues to produce more doubles than home runs during games.

Debut Game

3 PA | 0 H | 0 BB | 0 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: 28 / NA
Fangraphs: 30 / NA
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Ty Buttrey, RP

Born: March 31, 1993 (Age: 25)
Hits: Left Throws: Right
Team: Los Angeles Angels Debut: August 16, 2018

Buttrey made his major league debut pitching a scoreless inning against the Texas Rangers. Buttrey was originally slected by the Red Sox in the 4th round of the 2012 MLB Draft and gave him a signing bonus of $1.3 million. The Angels acquired Buttrey and fellow 2018 MLB Debutant, Williams Jerez at the trade deadline in exchange for Ian Kinsler. Buttrey is , accoridng to Fangraphs, “Big-league-ready reliever. Plus-plus fastball, plus changeup.”

Before getting traded, Buttrey had a 2.25 ERA/ 2.77 FIP in 44 innings at Pawtucket (Triple-A), striking out 34.6% hitters and walking only 7.6%.

Debut Game

1 IP | 1 H | 0 ER | 0 BB | 0 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: NA / NA
Fangraphs: NA / NA
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Osmer Morales, SP/RP

Born: October 30, 1992 (25)
Hits: Right Throws: Right
Team: Los Angeles Angels Debut: August 16, 2018

Originally signed by the Mariners in 2009 as an international free agent out Venezuela, Morales joined the Angels organization when he signed as a minor league free agent in 2016. Earlier in his minor league career he was used as primarily as reliever with a few spot starts but by 2016 had established himself as a starter. Morales has generally had favorable K/BB rates but he has tended to be one of the older players in the level he is playing in though that level of success has seemed to elude him in Triple-A this year.

Known mostly as a command pitcher he throws a 90 mph fastball with a 12-6 curveball.

Debut Game

0.1 IP | 1 H | 0 ER | 0 BB | 0 K

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: NA / NA
Fangraphs: NA / NA
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Kevin Newman, SS

Born: August 4, 1993 (Age: 25)
Hits: Right Throws: Right
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates Debut: August 16, 2018

“Hello Newman,” is what the Pittsburgh Pirates said when Jordy Mercer went on the disabled list and they promoted Kevin Newman. He was the Pirates’ first round (19th overall) selection in the 2015 MLB Draft. Newman played his college ball at University of Arizona, where he was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team ,and was named to the All-PAC -12 Conference team all three years he played for the Wildcats. During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Newman played in the Cape Cod League, and led the league in batting average both seasons.

Before his call-up, Newman was batting .302/.350/.407 while also leading the International League with 28 stolen bases (against 11 CS). In his debut, Newman appeared as a ninth-inning defensive replacement for Adeiny Hechavarria. Eric Longenhagen writes, “The owner of a measly 10% career strikeout rate, Newman’s carrying tool is his deft bat. It’s quick, and he has exceptional hand-eye coordination that allows him to make contact all over the strike zone — and sometimes outside of it.. [H]e hits for almost no power.”

Going forward the Pirates see Newman being part of their “Seinfeld Double Play” combo with fellow prospect Kevin Kramer. If only Alan or Andy Benes had a son the played first base.

Newman is the 13th Arizona Wildcat to play in the majors this season. He is the fifth one to debut this season joining Scott Kingery, Brandon Dixon, Johnny Field and Daniel Poncedelon. He also joins Orioles’ catcher Austin Wynns as Poway High School alumni to debut in the majors in 2018.

Fun Fact: On August 7th, Newman and teammate Jacob Stalling combined to hit for the Bi-cycle each of them hitting for the cycle in the same game.

Debut Game

0 PA | 0 AB | 0 H

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: 6 / NA
Fangraphs: 11 / NA
Baseball Prospectus: 9 / NA


Daniel Zamora, RP

Born: April 15, 1993 (25)
Throws: Left Hits: Left
Team: New York Mets Debut: August 17, 2018

A 40th round pick out of Stony Brook University, Daniel originally started out in the Pirates organization before being traded to the Mets for Josh Smoker this January. His breakout season came last year where he posted a 1.86 ERA in 53.1 innings for High-A Bradenton. Before being called up he spent the entire season with the Double-A Binghamton RumblePonies skipping Triple-A on his way to the majors.

Daniel Zamora is a reliever with a good K/9 rate but sometimes has bouts of controls issues as his walk rate has fluctuated from season to season.

Debut Game

1.1 IP | 0 H | 0 ER | 2 K | 1 BB

Player Pages

Baseball Reference
Fangraphs

Prospect Rankings (Team / Overall)

MLB Pipeline: NA / NA
Fangraphs: NA / NA
Baseball Prospectus: NA / NA


Thank you for reading. If you know anyone that would enjoy this newsletter please tell them to subscribe. All past issues can be found here.

Contributors to this newsletter are Brenden Becherer, Nicholas Carr, Simon Gutierrez, Jon Jacoby, Seth Moland-Kovash, Mike Moriarty, Tyler Nelson, and Connor Watrous.

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