Toronto Blue Jays: Top Starting Pitching Debuts
A week ago, Blue Jay fans were treated to a fantastic debut by Alek Manoah at Yankee Stadium. After starting his Triple-A season 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA through three appearances he was called up and shut down the Yankees.
I thought it would be fun to take a look at other prospects who made their debut as a Starting Pitcher and had similar outputs. As such here is a list of the Top 10 Debuts over the last 20 years.
11. Ryan Borucki – June 26, 2018 – Loss – 6IP | 6H | 2ER | 4BB | 3K
The Blue Jays took a chance when they selected Ryan Borucki in the 15th round out of Mundelein High School in Illinois during the 2012 MLB Draft. Borucki had committed to Iowa University, however, after being offered a signing bonus over $400,000 he signed with the club. It appeared to be the right signing for the Blue Jays, as outside of an injury in 2015 he climbed through the ranks and made his debut on June 26, 2018 against the eventual American League West winning Houston Astros.
The first batter Borucki ever faced and recorded an out against was current teammate George Springer, who he got to fly out to centre fielder Kevin Pillar. Throughout the game, Borucki continually had runners in scoring position, but was able to battle out of it, including in the fourth inning when Josh Reddick led off with a double; Borucki was able to get the next three batters out without letting Reddick move up the base paths. The only run that would come in off of Borucki, would be in the fifth inning, when Evan Gattis hit a two out single to drive in Alex Bergman. Borucki would leave the game after the sixth inning where he had a 1-2-3 inning, and trailing 1-0. The Blue Jays would go on to lose the game 7-0 and if you are wondering how Springer did against Borucki, he went 0 for 3.
10. Dave Bush – July 2, 2004 – Loss – 5.2 IP |4H | 1ER | 1BB |4K
Dave Bush was a top prospect for the Blue Jays immediately after being selected out of Wake Forest University in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft. Bush dominated the minor leagues where he posted a 21-13 record over his first two and a half seasons, including 2003 where he had a 14-6 record and 2.79 ERA split between New Hampshire and Dunedin.
Bush had a couple very unique things about his MLB debut, one of which was it was an All-Canadian match up as the Blue Jays took on the Montreal Expos, and the second being that the game was played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Both the Blue Jays and Expos were struggling at this point, with the Blue Jays currently 11 games below .500, while the Expos were even worse. The 24-year old prospect started the game out very well as he retired all three batters he faced in the first inning and was able to remain relatively out of any trouble as he would never have multiple base runners in any inning until the sixth. Bush was able to get the first two batters out to start the frame, but after back-to-back singles by Jose Vidro and Nick Johnson, Bush was replaced by Justin Speier. Speier would allow his first batter (Tony Batista) to single and one of the inherited runners to scored before retiring the final out of the inning on the next batter. Bush would finish the game throwing 5.2 innings, allowing just the one run on four hits and a walk, while striking out four.
Bush would be a useful starter for the Blue Jays for the remainder of the season as well as in 2005 when he posted a 10-15 record with a 4.29 ERA. However, he became the main piece in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers that brought Lyle Overbay to Toronto. Bush would have a five year career as a starter with Milwaukee and after struggling with the Texas Rangers he found himself back in the Blue Jays organization for 2013 where he played the season in Triple-A outside of one appearance with the big club.