Tuesday was an off-day for all teams in the Midwest League, but there were notable performances by plenty of former MWL players to fill the void.
Several former Midwest League players made their major-league debuts Tuesday. The headliner was Houston Astros 1B Jon Singleton (2013 Quad Cities River Bandits), who became the second rookie to homer in his MLB debut this season. The other rookie to do so was St. Louis Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras (2011 Quad Cities River Bandits), who homered in his MLB debut Saturday.
Singleton, who also drew a bases-loaded walk and struck out twice, wasn’t the only former Midwest Leaguer to make his MLB debut at Houston’s Minute Maid Park on Tuesday.
Los Angeles Angels RHP Cam Bedrosian (2012 Cedar Rapids Kernels, 2013 Burlington Bees), son of former MLB reliever Steve Bedrosian, threw a scoreless inning against the Astros. It’s impressive that Bedrosian is in the big leagues now considering that a year ago Tuesday he had a 6.23 ERA for the 2013 Bees. (He posted a 6.31 ERA in 82.2 IP for the 2012 Kernels.) Bedrosian, who missed the 2011 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, eventually got on track and dominated High-A and Double-A. (He posted a combined 1.12 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 8 walks in 24 IP at those two levels this season.)
Also on Tuesday, RHP Wilking Rodriguez (2010-11 Bowling Green Hot Rods) made his MLB debut for the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, pitching a perfect inning in relief.
Alvarez throws a Maddux
Miami Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (2009 Lansing Lugnuts) threw a Maddux, needing only 88 pitches to throw nine shutout innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. He gave up eight hits and no walks, and struck out five batters.
For those who don’t know what “a Maddux” is (besides the Hall of Fame pitcher): It is a shutout on fewer than 100 pitches. Fellow baseball blogger Jason Lukehart coined the term awhile ago and now it is being used by mainstream media members. (Read more about “The Maddux” in this 2012 post by Lukehart.)
Alvarez soon will be joined by another former Midwest Leaguer on the Marlins. First baseman Justin Bour (2010 Peoria Chiefs) was informed Tuesday that he’s being called up to the big leagues for the first time.
Another former Lugnuts pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays RHP Drew Hutchison (2010-11), had an impressive start Tuesday. He gave up only three hits and no walks while striking out seven batters in seven scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers.
Lane returns — as a pitcher
Remember Jason Lane, the outfielder who played primarily for the Astros from 2002 to 2007? He returned to the major leagues Tuesday as a relief pitcher for the San Diego Padres.
Lane retired all 10 batters he faced, striking out three. He flied out in his only at-bat.
Lane had a memorable Midwest League season for the 2000 Michigan Battle Cats, batting .299 with 23 HR, 104 RBI and 20 SB in 133 games. Despite those numbers, he wasn’t the league’s MVP that year — that honor belonged to then-Cardinals prospect Albert Pujols, who batted .324 with 17 HR and 84 RBI in 109 games with the Peoria Chiefs.
Some other noteworthy achievements by former Midwest Leaguers on Tuesday:
Baltimore Orioles OF Nelson Cruz (2003 Kane County Cougars) hit his MLB-best 21st home run.
Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Chase Anderson (2010 South Bend Silver Hawks) won again, making him only the fifth pitcher since 1998 to win at least his first four starts.
Seattle Mariners prospect Jabari Blash (2011-12 Clinton LumberKings) hit three homers and drove in seven runs for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. He hit his first homer off Padres prospect Keyvius Sampson (2011 Fort Wayne TinCaps) and the next two off El Paso Chihuahuas RHP Tim Sexton (2007, 2011 Great Lakes Loons).
Sacramento River Cats 2B Colin Walsh (2010-12 Quad Cities River Bandits), an Oakland A’s farmhand, went 4-for-4 with a double, two homers and three RBI against the Fresno Grizzlies.
One last thing
Tuesday was the 21st anniversary of when the Mariners made Alex Rodriguez a No. 1 overall draft pick. A-Rod made his professional debut with the Appleton Foxes the following spring.
Rodriguez batted .319 with 14 HR, 55 RBI and 16 SB in 65 games with the Foxes before he was promoted to Double-A. He made his major-league debut later that year.