Results tagged ‘ MLB Debut ’

Q and A With Brandon Barnes

Brandon Barnes was drafted by the Astros in the 6th round of the 2005 draft. Since the draft, Barnes has had his fair share of ups and downs, however, he was able to establish himself as a Major League Baseball player this past season. But his road to the big Brandon+Barnes+Los+Angeles+Angels+Anaheim+lKW78cGJLJMlleagues wasn’t an easy one.

Playing both football and baseball in high school, Barnes received scholarship offers to play football, but they fell through, leading him to the decision to be a baseball walk on at junior college. Getting drafted in 2005, Barnes began his professional baseball career, but it would be 2012 before he would finally make it to the Majors, despite posting solid numbers in the minors.

Barnes had a good 2012 (partial) season with the Astros, playing in 43 games to end the year, however, it wasn’t until the 2013 season that he was fully given the opportunity to show off his ability to play on the big league level, and play well. In 136 games, Barnes hit 8 home runs and drove in 41 runs, batting .240, including a cycle in the middle part of the season, as well as making several outstanding catches in the outfield throughout the year.

If Barnes can continue to put together the same type of caliber seasons, both offensively and defensively, he should find himself roaming the outfield in Houston for many years to come.

Brandon Barnes — outfielder for the Astros — took the time recently to answer some of my question:

1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up?

From the stories my parents have told me, I was swinging a bat and throwing a ball at the age of two, but I remember becoming interested when I was about four. I would say with no doubt that my grandfather was my biggest baseball influence growing up. He was always teaching me something new.

2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?

Growing up an Angels fan, I was always a huge fan of Jim Edmonds. I just loved the way he played. He was one of the best center fielders in the game, and he was always flying around the outfield.

3.) While in school, you played both football and baseball. What ultimately made you choose baseball?

My senior year of High School I actually quit baseball to concentrate more on football. I had some scholarship offers from some Division 1 schools, so I wanted to put all my time and effort into my school work and football. At the end of my senior year my scholarships were given to other players, and I was devastated, but I knew God had a plan. I decided to follow God’s path for me and walk on at Cypress Junior College to pursue baseball.

4.) You were drafted by the Astros in the 6th round of the 2005 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you first found out? Initial thoughts?

I really did not know a whole lot about the draft and the draft process. I was just told to tune in on the computer and that I could possibly be drafted. I was at my Grandfather’s house listening on the computer. I just remember waiting and waiting, and just wanting to leave to go workout. I didn’t think I was getting drafted as high as I did. It was another blessing from God on his path for me. I was so happy, and at the same time had no idea what was going to happen next. I think I was a little overwhelmed.

5.) You spent eight seasons in the minors before finally making your MLB debut in the late part of 2012. Did it become discouraging at any point, wanting to get to the majors while being told that you never would? Did being told you wouldn’t ever make it add even more emotion to the experience during your debut?

Spending eight years in the minors was like a roller coaster for me. There were a lot of ups and downs, but with a little more downs than ups. There were a couple times where I just wanted to call it quits and go back and try to play football. My motivation was the people that told me I wasn’t going to make it. I was going to prove them all wrong and at the same time prove all the people that supported me right. There were a lot of emotions the day of my debut but no better feeling than seeing my wife and daughter in the stands. All the hard work and sacrifices that my wife had made so that I can play baseball had just overcome me, and I was so happy.

6.) This season, in addition to a fairly good offensive year, you made a lot of great plays in the outfield. Do you take more pride in your defensive game or your offensive game? What do you do to work on both?

I take a lot of pride in both parts of my game, [but] defense comes a lot more natural. I think I actually work harder on my offense. I work extremely hard on both making sure that I can help the team win on both sides. During the season I shag like it’s a real game, and I have a strict routine for my offense that I try and stick to.

7.) Back in July you hit for just the eighth cycle in Astros history. What was going through your head in your final at-bat, knowing you needed a double to complete the cycle? Would you consider that your most memorable moment of your career thus far? 

Going into that at-bat, I was aware of what was going on; just not trying to put pressure on myself. I was singing my walk-up song trying to stay calm and trick my mind. I would have to say that is one of the most memorable moments of my career for sure.

8.) What do you feel went well in 2013? What are your goals for 2014?

In 2013 I was able to show all the aspects of my game and prove that I can play in the big leagues. My goals for 2014 are to come back a more complete player, to have a better approach at the plate and to be a little faster for the base paths and defense.

9.) Favorite TV show? Favorite food?

Favorite TV show is ‘Dexter’ and favorite food is fish and sushi.

10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?

My advice would be to practice as much as possible but have fun every second. This is a fun game, not a nine to five job. Try to learn something new about the game everyday and never give up. Don’t listen to the people that tell you that you will never make it.

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Big thanks to Brandon Barnes for taking the time to answer my questions.

You can follow him on Twitter: @TheBarnyard15

Wil Myers to Make Major League Debut On Tuesday

The decision by the Royals to not call up Wil Myers towards the end of last season, in which he batted .314, with 37 home runs and 109 RBI’s, left many people scratching their head. Then, after an offseason trade that sent Myers to the Rays, many expected Myers to get moved to the big league club fairly quickly, especially with the great spring training he had. But once again, it didn’t happen. Myers was sent to Triple-A Durham, where he spent 65 games, before finally receiving the call that everyone has been waiting for.

After five seasons in the minor leagues, Wil Myers is going to the majors.

Pulled from Sunday’s Durham Bulls game, after doubling in the first inning, Myers is set to make his major league debut on Tuesday, up at 71326121Fenway Park, against the Red Sox. Myers truly left the Rays no choice but to bring him up, as he began to heat up over the past couple of weeks. After a short slump, Myers has been a hitting machine as of late, quickly increasing what started out as subpar numbers, by his standards, up to 14 homers and 58 RBI’s, this season at Triple-A. After the recent success, it will be interesting to see if Myers’ hot streak will continue into the majors.

But Rays manager, Joe Maddon, isn’t too concerned with Myers making a flawless transition, saying, “You’re not going to hear a lot of the high expectations coming from this particular desk or this chair. I want him to play. I want him to be a Ray. I want him to run hard to first base. I want him to try to do the right things on the field, continue to work on his defense, try to improve his baserunning.”

Many feel Myers will do all of that, and much more.

Myers is set to take over the right field position, wearing the number nine for the Rays, and is going to bat towards the bottom of the order, at least for now. As is to be expected when a player of Myers’ caliber is promoted to the big leagues–arguably the most hyped hitting prospect to reach the majors since Bryce Harper–nearly everyone is making their predictions as to how they feel Myers will perform. Having seen him play in five games this season, I have a fairly bold opinion as to how he will fare.

I may be placing the bar a bit too high for Myers, but I could easily see him hitting a home run in his first major league game. After all, the green monster at Fenway is nothing new to him, as the Bulls have a blue monster, and therefore, Myers is used to the challenge that comes along with the towering left field wall. But wall or no wall, there’s really no ballpark that can contain Myers’ power. The rare combination of the ability to hit for power AND average, as well as the skill to take the ball to all parts of the field, make Myers a very special player.

Wil Myers should become a major impact player for the Rays for many years to come.

Pair of Prospects Set To Make Their MLB Debuts

It’s been a long time coming for Mets’ number 2 prospect, Matt Harvey, and Pirates’ number 3 prospect, Starling Marte, who are set to make their MLB debuts tonight against the Diamondbacks and Astros, respectively. Neither is making their debut in front of the home fans, but rather on the road. I imagine it’d be more of a thrill for them to have the backing of the home crowd in their debuts, but I’m sure they could care less. What matters is that their hard work has finally paid off, and as a result, they’re finally getting a shot in “The Show”.

Starling Marte is due to make his debut against Astros’ starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel is 1-2, with a 4.03 ERA, so I feel he’ll be no match for Marte who’s been hot as of late with AAA Indianapolis. (With Indianapolis, Marte posted a .286 average, with 12 home runs, 62 RBI’s and 21 stolen bases.)

The plan is for Marte to play left field, where he certainly has the skills to. Marte is an above average defensive outfielder, and with his speed, has the ability cover a lot of ground to track down balls that your average outfielder might not be able to get to.

Marte’s hot bat, and excellent defensive skills, are sure to make for an exciting debut.

Matt Harvey is also sure to impress in his debut tonight against the Diamondbacks. He’ll be facing a tough lineup, however, as well as starting pitcher, Wade Miley, who’s had great success so far this season.

Through 19 games (16 of which he’s started) Miley has gone 11-5, with a 3.02 ERA. Fairly intimidating stats, but nothing that Harvey can’t match. Through 20 starts with AAA Buffalo, Harvey went 7-5, with a 3.68 ERA. Stats not too terribly far off those of Miley.

The one thing that really sets Harvey apart, in my mind, from Miley, is his ratio of strike outs per nine innings of work. Harvey posts a 9.2 ratio, compared to a mere 6.8 for Miley.

I’d be the first to state that you can’t always make a fair comparison using just stats, but in this case, it’s fairly obvious that Harvey is the overall more dominant pitcher. Which is why I feel he’ll get the win tonight in his debut.

While I feel both Marte and Harvey are going to have great debuts tonight, I want to hear what you think:

UPDATE

To answer the poll, in terms of who had the better MLB debut between Harvey and Marte, I’m not sure. It’s hard to compare a position player to a pitcher. Both did outstanding, but if I had to pick one of the debuts, I’d have to say Harvey’s was the more impressive of the two; but again, it’s a tough comparison.

Starling Marte started his MLB career off with a bang, as he sent the first pitch he faced in his Major League career over the wall for a home run:

That first pitch home run is only the 13th since the year 2000. Here’s the full list of players to smack a home run on the first pitch of their MLB careers, since the year 2000:

Starling Marte Pirates 7/26/12
Tommy Milone Nationals 9/3/11
J.P. Arencibia Blue Jays 8/7/11
Daniel Nava Red Sox 6/12/10
Mark Saccomanno Astros 9/8/08
Kevin Kouzmanoff Indians 9/2/06
Adam Wainwright Cardinals 5/24/06
Andy Phillips Yankees 9/26/04
Kaz Matsui Mets 4/6/04
Marcus Thames Yankees 6/10/02
Gene Stechschulte Cardinals 4/17/01
Chris Richard Cardinals 7/17/00
Esteban Yan Rays 6/4/00

Starling Marte would go 1-3 in the rest of the game. An impressive debut to say the least.

Matt Harvey also had an incredible debut, going 5.1 innings, striking out 11, and allowing just 3 hits. Harvey’s 11 strikeouts sets a record for most strikeouts by a Mets’ Rookie in his MLB debut.

The thing that impressed me even more than his electric stuff, was the fact that Harvey can hit. In his first career at-bat Harvey smacked the ball over the head of the center fielder (who misplayed the ball) for a double. Harvey would single in his next at-bat, to go 2-2 on the night.

Given the fact that Starling Marte homered on the first pitch of his MLB career, and Matt Harvey struck out more batters than any other Mets’ rookie in their MLB debut, I’m sure we can all agree that both Marte and Harvey lived up to the hype.

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