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Most hyped MLB debuts in Blue Jays history

April 24, 2019

TORONTO -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the most hyped prospect in Blue Jays history, but he's far from being the only player who received a lot of attention prior to his Major League debut Toronto has possessed plenty of big-name prospects before. Some panned out, some didn't, but each one

TORONTO -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the most hyped prospect in Blue Jays history, but he's far from being the only player who received a lot of attention prior to his Major League debut

Toronto has possessed plenty of big-name prospects before. Some panned out, some didn't, but each one of them had a direct impact on the Blue Jays' success -- or lack thereof -- during their time with the organization.

Here's a closer look at the five most highly anticipated debuts in franchise history as the Blue Jays' organization rolls out the welcome mat for MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect, who will debut against the A's on Friday.

Brett Lawrie

The Blue Jays didn't draft Lawrie, but they at least helped develop him. The 16th overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft by Milwaukee landed in Toronto after being traded for Shaun Marcum prior to 2011. Lawrie was expected to debut in May of that year, but a broken hand pushed the timeline back to August. The fact that Lawrie was Canadian definitely played a role in the hysteria of his debut, but he also was a central figure in the club's overall rebuild. Lawrie hasn't appeared in a big league game since 2016, but he did sign a Minor League deal with the Brewers before this season.

Debut: 2-for-4, RBI, K on Aug. 5, 2011, at Baltimore.

As a Blue Jay: .265/.323/.426 with 43 home runs and 157 RBIs over 345 games.

Career: .261/.315/.419 with 71 home runs and 253 RBIs.

Travis Snider

The way the Blue Jays developed Snider played a major factor in the hype leading into his debut. Toronto allowed Snider to move through all three levels of the Minors in one calendar year before making his debut in late August. In hindsight, Snider was rushed to the big leagues far too quickly and his lack of development may have played a role in his struggles as a Major Leaguer. Snider showed some initial promise, but he made multiple trips back to the Minors and overall he mostly struggled during five seasons in Toronto.

Debut: 1-for-3, 2B, K on Aug. 29, 2008, at Yankees.

As a Blue Jay: .248/.306/.429 with 31 home runs and 112 RBIs.

Career: .244/.311/.399 with 54 home runs and 212 RBIs.

Vernon Wells

Wells' debut occurred around the same time it became apparent that right fielder Shawn Green was on his way out of town. The Blue Jays could not afford to keep both Green and Carlos Delgado on the roster and the club was desperate for a second star to be added into the mix. Enter Wells, who was taken with the fifth overall pick in the 1997 MLB Draft and made his debut two years later at age 20. Wells is a perfect example of players requiring patience. He was a September callup three years in a row, but he never received an opportunity to become an every day Major Leaguer until the start of 2002.

Debut: 0-for-3, 2 K on Aug. 30, 1999, vs. Minnesota.

As a Blue Jay: .280/.329/.475 with 223 home runs and 813 RBIs over 345 games.

Career: .270/.319/.459 with 270 home runs and 958 RBIs over 1,731 games.

Billy Koch

The hype around Koch centered entirely around the power of his arm. The New York native routinely hit 100 mph, long before that became a common occurrence on a Major League mound. The raw stuff was tantalizing, and while Koch came up through the system as a starter, he was always viewed as a future closer. Koch picked up a save in his second Major League game and he became the undisputed ninth-inning man by the end of his first month. The fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLB Draft saved at least 31 games for the Blue Jays over the next three years before he was later traded to Oakland for third baseman Eric Hinske.

Debut: 2 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's on May 5, 1999, vs. Oakland.

As a Blue Jay: 11-13, 100 saves, 172 K's, 211 2/3 IP, 3.57 ERA.

Career: 29-25, 163 saves, 357 K's, 407 1/3 IP, 3.89 ERA.

Lloyd Moseby

Moseby was the Blue Jays' first homegrown star and he remains the highest draft pick in franchise history. The Oakland product was taken second overall in the 1978 MLB Draft and he made his debut two years later. Moseby joined Jesse Barfield and George Bell to form one of the most productive outfields in baseball during the 1980s and helped lead Toronto to a pair of American League pennants in 1985 and '89. Moseby spent all but two of his 12 years in the Majors with the Blue Jays and he finished with a career slash line of .257/.332/.414 across 1588 games.

Debut: 2-for-4, 2B, K on May 24, 1980, vs. Yankees.

As a Blue Jay: .257/.333/.415 with 149 home runs and 651 RBIs.

Career: .257/.332/.414 with 169 home runs and 737 RBIs.

Honorable mentions

Carlos Delgado

The only thing stopping Delgado from securing a spot in the top five was the timing of his debut. Delgado appeared in his first game just days before the Blue Jays entered the postseason to begin their second consecutive run to a World Series title. Delgado's arrival was overshadowed by everything else that was going on, but he still managed to garner some attention based on pedigree alone. The Puerto Rico native was named the No. 4 overall prospect by Baseball America and while he was not on the postseason roster, Delgado received a World Series ring. He also arguably became the best hitter in franchise history.

Debut: 1 BB on Oct. 1, 1993, at Baltimore.

As a Blue Jay: .282/.392/.556 with 336 home runs and 1,058 RBIs.

Career: .280/.383/.546 with 473 home runs and 1,512 RBIs.

Roy Halladay

Halladay was the third of the Big 3 pitching prospects to make his debut for the Blue Jays in the late 1990s. Halladay, alongside Chris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar, were supposed to help change the direction of an organization that was struggling to keep up with the Red Sox and Yankees. Halladay held up his end of the bargain by coming within one out of a no-hitter in his second start, and later going on to have a Hall of Fame career, but the team success in Toronto didn't follow until much later.

Debut: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K's at Tampa Bay on Sept. 20, 1998.

As a Blue Jay: 148-76, 3.43 ERA, 2,046 2/3 IP, 1,495 K's.

Career: 203-105, 3.38 ERA, 2,749 1/3 IP, 2,117 K's.

Derek Bell

Bell was named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America in 1991, which is the same season he made his debut for the Blue Jays. Bell finished that Minor League season with a .346 average, 13 home runs, 22 doubles and 12 triples for Triple-A Syracuse. The eye-popping numbers also resulted in the MVP Award for the International League and Bell later played a role in the Blue Jays' 1992 World Series title. Prior to the '93 season, Bell was traded to San Diego for outfielder Darrin Jackson.

Debut: 0-for-3, BB, K, on June 28, 1991, vs. Seattle.

As a Blue Jay: .228/.323/.323 with two home runs and 16 RBIs.

Career: .276/.336/.421 with 134 home runs and 668 RBIs.

Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez

The right-handers made their debuts out of the bullpen during the 2014 season. Stroman's stint as a reliever only lasted a handful of appearances while Sanchez's lasted a couple of years. Both pitchers received a lot of hype on their way to the big leagues and were two of the only major building blocks remaining after GM Alex Anthopoulous orchestrated a 12-player deal with the Marlins.

Debuts: Stroman debuted on May 4, 2014, and he allowed one run on one hit over two-thirds of an inning in Pittsburgh. Sanchez made his debut on July 23 of that year and tossed two scoreless innings while striking out two and not allowing a hit in a relief appearance vs. the Red Sox.

As Blue Jays: Stroman is 42-37 with a 3.82 ERA while Sanchez is 31-20 with a 3.40 ERA over 128 games.

Careers: Stroman and Sanchez have only played for the Blue Jays so far in their careers so their numbers with Toronto also represent their career numbers as well.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook.