Get to know your new big leaguers
One of the things I like best about Prospect Watch (and I’m not just saying this as the primary content-producer for it) is that you can read up on players before they get to the big leagues. Or, if you hadn’t done it ahead of time, when a guy gets called up, you can go and read up and then know about the guy when he’s there.
And there have been some intriguing prospects making their debuts lately. For example:
Allen Webster, No. 4 on the Red Sox’s Top 20 and No. 71 overall, got called up to pitch the back end of Sunday’s doubleheader in Boston. The right-hander seemed to manage the emotionally charged day well, allowing three runs (two earned) over six innings. Of the 18 outs he recorded, five were by strikeout and seven were by groundout. That shouldn’t surprise those who read his entry on Prospect Watch:
Webster’s best pitch is his fastball, but it’s not just because he throws it up into the mid-90s. His heater has plus life with a ton of sink, which has enabled him to get a ton of groundball outs along with swings and misses. His changeup also has sink to it and he has a pretty good feel for it.
Anthony Rendon, No. 1 on the Nationals’ Top 20 and No. 28 overall, made his big league debut on Sunday as well, coming up to replace the injured Ryan Zimmerman. He went 0-for-4, but made a very nice defensive play at the hot corner. There should be more of that to come and he has plenty of offensive potential as well:
Rendon still has all of the terrific hitting skills that made him one of the top college hitting prospects in recent memory, with bat speed to spare and an approach that should let him hit for average and power. He’s an above-average defender at third, even with the loss of some speed and perhaps a tick off of his arm following his shoulder issues.
We can even look ahead a little bit. Jonathan Pettibone, No. 4 on the Phillies’ Top 20, makes his Major League debut tonight at home against the Pirates. He hasn’t thrown well in his two Triple-A starts this year, but that’s not exactly a big sample size. Evidently, he’s struggled with his command. Typically, though, that’s a big strength. Here’s the blurb on what he brings to the table:
In terms of pure pitchability, no one matches Pettibone in the Phillies’ system, though others might have better pure stuff. With a tall, lanky frame, the right-hander has used a solid three-pitch mix with an advanced feel for pitching to reach Triple-A in a hurry. Pettibone throws downhill with an average sinking fastball that gets a ton of groundball outs. He can reach back for more if he wants to, though he’s happy to pitch to contact. His changeup is his best secondary offering, an above-average offspeed pitch he’ll throw at any time with good sink. His slider is fringy, but he has above-average control and command of all three, allowing his stuff to play up. His ceiling might be in the middle of the rotation, but he’s just about ready for that task.
In other words, if he can command the baseball like he has throughout most of his pro career, he can have success against the Pirates tonight and against other big league teams in the future. If that continues to be an issue, it could be a long night, and a relatively short stay this time around, for Pettibone.
So, wrapping up. Be sure to check out Prospect Watch and, of course, MLB Pipeline, often so you can seem smarter than all of your other baseball fan friends.