Anderson, Zeuch and Whitlock shine on the hill

April 4th, 2021

With such a premium placed on pitching every Draft, the hope for every single organization is to guess right not just on talent but durability as well. And on Sunday, we got a glimpse of a few arms that made lasting opening impressions for their respective clubs.

 made his season debut for Atlanta against the Phils on Sunday and picked up where he left off after a dominating spring performance. The second-ranked Braves prospect yielded a run on four hits and a pair of walks while fanning seven over five frames in a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia. He did not factor into the decision.

MLB Pipeline's No. 18 overall prospect struck out the side in the second inning as part of a string of four punchouts in a row. The only blemish for Anderson in his outing came on a 3-1 fastball that Andrew Knapp crushed to right for a solo homer. He only allowed a couple of infield hits after the second.

Anderson also showed he can rake in this game. The 22-year-old lined a ball into the left-center field gap and turned on the jets to leg out a double in the third. More »

 took the hill for Toronto at Yankee Stadium and twirled four scoreless frames against the Yankees to pace the Blue Jays to a 3-1 victory. The 28th-ranked Blue Jays prospect worked around three hits and a walk while whiffing one.

Zeuch displayed the control that helped him yield just a pair of runs over 11 1/3 frames last season with Toronto. The right-hander retired the first four batters he faced before giving up a single to Jay Bruce with one down in the second. Zeuch's only trouble came in the third when New York had two on and one out, but the 25-year-old escaped the jam unscathed after coaxing Aaron Judge into an inning-ending 5-6-3 double play.

Zeuch did not qualify for the win. He tossed 40 of his 63 pitches for strikes. Gameday »

 was a Rule 5 pick by the Red Sox in December from the Yankees. The right-hander was electric over four spring appearances --whiffing a dozen without yielding a walk over nine Grapefruit League innings. He continued that dominance against the Orioles in his big league debut on Sunday. The No. 30 Red Sox prospect worked around three hits to provide 3 1/3 innings of shutout relief, while fanning five, in Boston's 11-3 defeat at Fenway Park.

Whitlock entered the game with two on and two out in the third and immediately got Maikel Franco to fly out to center to end the threat unscathed. After whiffing a pair in the fourth to escape another jam, the right-hander retired the final six batters he faced -- striking out three.

Whitlock was pulled after throwing 59 pitches -- 39 of which went for strikes. More »

More notable performances from top prospects on Sunday:

Tarik Skubal, LHP, DET (MLB No. 24)

Making his season debut, Skubal turned in a solid day on the hill for the Tigers. Detroit’s No. 4 prospect primarily used his four-seam fastball and slider but also mixed in his knuckle curveball and splitter, pitching into the sixth and finishing with a final line of 5 1/3 innings, four hits, two runs, two walks and four strikeouts. The southpaw revved his fastball to 97.1 mph and got four outs on the fly against one on the ground. Gameday»

Tyler Stephenson, C, CIN (MLB No. 94)

As the Reds pounded the Cardinals, 12-1, Stephenson had his best offensive day as a big leaguer. The backstop tallied three hits for the first time in his 10 MLB games and first since Aug. 5, 2019 with Double-A Chattanooga. Following a swinging strikeout against St. Louis starter Carlos Martínez in the third inning, Cincinnati’s No. 4 prospect reached on infield singles to second and short in the fifth and sixth innings, the latter driving in Stephenson’s first RBI of the season, before bouncing his third single of the day through the right side in the seventh. Gameday»

Akil Baddoo, LF, DET

One pitch. One swing. One homer. One bat flip. Detroit’s No. 24 prospect continued his dream spring by clobbering the first pitch he saw in a Major League Baseball game to the opposite field for a leadoff homer in the bottom of the third inning. Baddoo, who had never played above Class A Advanced coming into this season, impressed in Spring Training with a .325/.460/.750 slash line in 21 games played. The outfielder made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster after going to Detroit via the third pick in last year’s Rule 5 Draft from Minnesota. More »

Julian Merryweather, RHP, TOR

The circuitous route of Merryweather to becoming a reliable big league reliever may have finally reached its destination as the righty settles in, healthy and effective with Toronto. After pitching a scoreless inning to earn the save in the Blue Jays’ Opening Day win at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, Merryweather did the same on Sunday. Again throwing 11 pitches like he did in his season debut, the 29-year-old pinpointed nine for strikes and fanned two, giving him five strikeouts in the six outs he’s recorded so far this season. In a four-pitch sequence to Gary Sanchez for Sunday’s final out, the Blue Jays closer went with all fastballs at 99.3, 100.4, 99.7 and 99.1 mph for a swinging K. Gameday»

Chas McCormick, LF, HOU

The Astros' No. 19 prospect got all of his first MLB long ball, greeting right-handed reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the sixth by sending a three-run homer 398 feet to center. McCormick, who made his big league debut Thursday, is batting .286/.375/.857 over his three-game stint. Gameday »

Zach McKinstry, 2B, LAD

Making his first start of the season, McKinstry started his Sunday with a deep double off the base of the wall in center field, giving him three hits in his first three at-bats of the year. McKinstry also doubled and scored a run on Opening Day in a pinch-hitting appearance and belted a homer on Saturday night in two at-bats off the bench. Gameday »