Even in a shortened 60-game season, hundreds of prospects are making their major league debuts at a rapid rate.
Making it to the majors is already difficult. Throw in a pandemic to cut the regular season by more than half and it’s even harder for players. Instead, the 2020 season has instilled more youth into MLB clubs, as 151 players have already made their big league debuts per Baseball Reference. To put it into perspective, 261 players debuted last season over 162 regular season games.
That number will only increase as the year continues, and the talent from each team’s farm system has been put on display. This week alone, Ian Anderson surrendered just one run over six innings, earning the win in his first start as an Atlanta Brave. Leody Taveras recorded his first big league at-bat with the Texas Rangers, and shortstop José Garcia went 1-for-2 in his Cincinnati Reds debut.
Expanded rosters and alternate training sites have given prospects a chance to make the majors without a MiLB season. Five players have made their big league debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks this year including Taylor Widener, Daulton Varsho, Andy Young, Jeremy Beasley and Riley Smith.
Smith, 25, was the latest player to make his D-backs’ debut Aug. 26 in a 8-7 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field. The right-hander had 25 combined starts with Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Reno last season. He struck out Rockies shortstop Trevor Story for his first career strikeout.
MLB debut ✅— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 27, 2020
First strikeout ✅
Welcome to the bigs, Riley Smith! @rileywade2013 pic.twitter.com/WmG1aq1KO4
More prospects from Arizona’s 60-player pool could potentially debut as the year progresses. Nine players made their MLB debut for the Diamondbacks in 2019, and several others can don the Sedona red this season.
The Diamondbacks may promote more players to the big leagues, and it will be something to keep an eye on for all MLB teams around the league. Minor League Baseball is canceled for the time being, but that hasn’t stopped organizations from calling up their top prospects.
The same dynamic applies to the Diamondbacks. Arizona has fallen back to last place in the division after losing eight straight games. If the D-backs need a spark down the stretch, more new faces can appear in the big leagues this season.