These were the best five September debut moments
The BBQ's Best 5 is exactly what it sounds like: Each week, we'll pick a category around the world of baseball and talk about the five best things within that group. Today, we're highlighting the five best moments from this year's September callups.
For the most part, September is known as the crucial stretch run for teams with postseason aspirations. But with rosters expanding and a large number of intriguing young players being called up from the Minors, September is also a time to get acquainted with some of the talent that will be impacting MLB in the near future. There was no shortage of exciting moments for this year's round of September callups. Here are five of our favorites:
Josh James brings the heat
Just when you thought the Astros' dynamic pitching staff couldn't possibly get any more explosive, a 25-year-old by the name of Josh James announced his presence with a 101-mph fastball on the third pitch of his MLB debut:
A 34th-round pick in 2014 out of a junior college in Oklahoma, James broke out this year, striking out 171 batters in 114 1/3 innings across Double-A and Triple-A before earning a callup on Sept. 1. It's unclear if James will factor into the Astros' postseason roster, but he's made a serious impression and will likely play an important role for Houston come 2019.
Rowdy Tellez's extra-base hit mania
It had been a difficult season for 23-year-old Tellez, who lost his mother in August after a long fight with cancer. This challenging circumstance made his first week in the big leagues all the more special when he tied the MLB record for most extra-base hits in his first three career games.
After two nearly full seasons at Triple-A, Tellez earned his first big league callup on Sept. 4 and hasn't looked back since. The first baseman boasts an impressive .365/.377/.712 line through his first 18 Major League games for the Blue Jays.
Kyle Wright arrives early
On June 12, 2017, the Braves selected Wright with the fifth overall pick in the MLB Draft. A mere 450 days later, on Sept. 4, 2018, Wright made his MLB debut against the Red Sox, striking out two in two scoreless innings.
Unsurprisingly, Wright's lightning-fast journey from pitching in his final college game for Vanderbilt University in June 2017 to appearing on a big league mound this September made him the first player selected in the 2017 Draft to make his MLB debut. The Braves may have just clinched the NL East crown, but the future is just as bright: Wright is one of the nine Braves prospects featured on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list.
Justus is served
It was a slightly longer wait for 22-year-old southpaw Justus Sheffield, who remained in Triple-A for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders' postseason run and was not recalled by the Yankees until September 18. But the patience was rewarded in a hurry, with Sheffield appearing in his first MLB game the next day against the Red Sox:
Yankees fans love their prospects, and all fans love puns, so you can be sure that this is only the beginning for a team that features a Judge and a Justus.
Kramer and Newman together again
What is the craziest part of these two rookie infielders joining forces on the field in the ultimate accidental "Seinfeld" tribute? Is it that they both made their MLB debuts within weeks of each other for the same MLB team? Is it that the shortstop Newman and second baseman Kramer could conceivably be the Pirates' double-play combination for the next half-decade? Is it that they are both named Kevin? It's hard to pick just one thing, but there's no denying that it is a wonderful coincidence and we are glad that it's a part of our baseball world now.