Pages cracks first MLB hit on first pitch he sees

Los Angeles' No. 3 prospect (and No. 94 overall in MLB) debuts in CF vs. Nationals

April 17th, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- With the Dodgers looking for a spark in the lineup, they decided to give their No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline and the No. 94 overall prospect in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, a chance in the Majors.

Pages impressed everyone in big-league camp this spring, going 8-for-17 with two homers in Cactus League play. The Cuban outfielder followed up that performance by crushing Triple-A pitching, going 23-for-62 with five homers, 15 RBIs and two stolen bases to start the season. In his last Triple-A game with Oklahoma City, Pages hit two long home runs, raising his OPS to 1.146.

He has hit everywhere he’s played, and Pages wasted no time showing the Dodgers just how impressive his hit tool is, smacking an opposite-field single against Nats left-hander Patrick Corbin on the first pitch he saw in the Dodgers’ 6-2 win over the Nationals at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. He also scored the first run of his career in the second inning.

Pages became the first Dodgers rookie since in 2019 to pick up his first career hit on the first pitch he saw, and the sixth overall since 2000 (when pitch-by-pitch tracking began). Other names on that list include Dennis Santana (2018), Andrew Toles (2016), Scott Schebler (2015) and Wilkin Ruan (2002).

“When I started my career outside of Cuba, my dream was to get to this level,” Pages said in Spanish before the game. “Now that I’m here, I feel very happy and I just want to give the best of me and be myself every day.”

Pages said he always envisioned swinging at the first pitch as a big leaguer. He added he was relieved to get the first hit out of the way, but insisted he wasn’t nervous coming into his debut. After all, this is what he has been working toward his entire life.

“He’s a really good guy. Really good kid,” said Dodgers outfielder , who went 5-for-5 on Tuesday. “This is really my first time getting to see him up close and personal a lot. I’m just happy for him, because being in the outfield with him last year, he’s just a really good dude, really good kid. You couldn’t even tell it was his debut today. I think he did an amazing job.”

When Travis Barbary, the manager of the Triple-A Oklahoma City Baseball Club, called Pages around 9 p.m. on Monday, Pages didn’t pick up the phone. Pages, on the team’s off-day after a long road trip, was already asleep.

When Pages finally heard his phone around midnight, the Cuban outfielder couldn’t believe the news. He was going to get on a plane to Los Angeles and join the Dodgers. Pages was on the verge of becoming a big leaguer.

But before he made that trip, the 23-year-old outfielder needed to make one important call: To his mother, Juana Maria, who is still living in Cuba.

Pages saw his mother for the first time in seven years in 2023. His mother has yet to see him play live in the United States.

“She started waking up everyone that lives in our neighborhood,” Pages said. “Obviously she did cry, but I told her to stay calm because we’re finally in the big leagues, which is where she’s always wanted me to be.”

Pages’ journey to the big leagues has been in the works for a long time, but it began to look like a real possibility last year. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn labrum on his right shoulder and had to miss most of the ‘23 season. Instead of frowning over the injury, Pages took the time to get stronger and observe everything he could during games.

“It’s an exciting day for Andy obviously, his family, the organization,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “What he adds is, he’s a complete ballplayer. Very heady baseball player. He lives and breathes baseball. In the box, he’s a good hitter. He’s got plus power. And coming back from this really traumatic surgery he had last year, he’s been nothing but fantastic since Spring Training. We’re really excited.”

Initially, the Dodgers wanted to keep Pages in Triple-A so he could continue getting consistent at-bats in his development, as Los Angeles views Pages as its starting right fielder of the future. But with Jason Heyward on the injured list and Chris Taylor struggling at the plate, the Dodgers were in need of another bat.

Heyward’s status is also now unclear, as the veteran outfielder suffered a setback in his return from a lower back injury that has bothered him since Spring Training. Heyward was only scheduled to miss a week or two, but it’s looking like a lengthier stint on the IL.

“I was really happy,” Pages said after his debut. “I mostly just felt like I got the first hit in the Major Leagues out of the way, and now I can focus on what’s to come.”