Which is more impressive, hitting a walk-off home run in your MLB debut, or homering on the first pitch you see as a major-leaguer?
There is no definitive answer to that question, but fans can debate it after seeing both events take place in the past two days. Incidentally, both achievements were done by former Midwest League players, making the first two parts of this MWL alumni report easy inclusions.
Perez hits walk-off HR in MLB debut
Los Angeles Angels catcher Carlos Perez already made his MLB debut memorable by hitting a single in his first at-bat Tuesday. He made the night extra special by leading off the bottom of the 9th inning with a walk-off home run.
Perez, a catcher for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2011 and 2012, batted .264 with 8 HR and 81 RBI in 166 Midwest League games. He was a Toronto Blue Jays farmhand at that time.
The last player to hit a walk-off homer in his MLB debut was Miguel Cabrera, who did it for the Florida Marlins in 2003. Only two others have done it: Josh Bard for the Cleveland Indians in 2002, and Billy Parker for the California Angels in 1971.
Cabrera and Parker played in the Midwest League. Cabrera batted .268 with 7 HR and 66 RBI in 110 games with the 2001 Kane County Cougars. Parker batted .274 with 17 HR and 67 RBI in 111 games with the 1969 Quad City Angels.
Rosario homers on 1st MLB pitch
Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario got called up from Triple-A on Monday but didn’t get to make his MLB debut until Wednesday. When he finally got in a game, he didn’t waste time making an impact at the plate.
Rosario homered on the first pitch he saw from Oakland Athletics LHP Scott Kazmir, becoming the 29th player in MLB history to go yard on the first major-league pitch thrown to him. The last player to do so was Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte in 2012.
Rosario split time between second base and center field in his 95 games with the 2012 Beloit Snappers. He batted .296 with 12 HR and 70 RBI.
One of Rosario’s Beloit teammates, Kennys Vargas, also homered for the Twins during Wednesday’s game. He batted .318 with 11 HR and 36 RBI in 41 games with the Snappers.
Rosario and Vargas, who made his MLB debut last August, are the only two position players from the 2012 Snappers to see time at the big-league level. That team also featured Twins No. 2 prospect Miguel Sano, who is batting .163 with 5 HR and 12 RBI through 23 games with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts this year after missing the entire 2014 season due to injury and subsequent Tommy John surgery.
Sano batted .258 with 28 HR and 100 RBI in 129 games with the Snappers.
Hedges gets 1st MLB hit, RBI
Padres catcher Austin Hedges got his first major-league start Wednesday. Considered an elite defender, the 22-year-old is the youngest backstop to start for San Diego since Ben Davis in 1999.
Hedges made his MLB debut Monday as a pinch-hitter, striking out against San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. He fared better Wednesday, going 1-for-4 with 2 RBI.
Hedges batted .279 with 10 HR, 56 RBI and 14 SB in 96 games with the 2012 Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Pederson hits 6 HR in 7-game span
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson hit six home runs in a seven-game span from April 27 to May 6. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Pederson is the first Dodgers rookie to achieve that feat since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
Pederson briefly played in the Midwest League, for the Great Lakes Loons in 2011. He batted .160 (8-for-50) with seven walks.
Correa racking up 3-hit games
Top Houston Astros prospect Carlos Correa is off to a torrid start for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, batting .382 with 6 HR, 28 RBI and 13 SB in his first 25 games of the season. The shortstop went 0-for-4 Wednesday but had three hits in each of his previous three games, giving him six three-hit games this year.
Correa batted .320 with 9 HR and 86 RBI in 117 games with the 2013 Quad Cities River Bandits.
Reed homers thrice in JetHawks win
Lancaster JetHawks first baseman A.J. Reed homered three times, drove in nine runs, walked twice and scored five times during his team’s 18-4 win Wednesday night. The Astros prospect is batting .245 with 8 HR and 24 RBI through his first 26 games of the season.
Reed evenly split his 2014 season between the Midwest League and the short-season New York-Penn League, playing 34 games in each. He batted .272 with 7 HR and 24 RBI for the Quad Cities River Bandits.
Powell’s 4-hit game raises BA to .325
Tampa Bay Rays prospect Boog Powell raised his batting average to .325 with a 4-for-4 performance Wednesday. He has played 22 games with the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits this season after being traded by the Oakland A’s in January.
Powell batted .335 with 3 HR, 17 RBI and 16 SB in 69 games with the Beloit Snappers last year. He was named the “Star of Stars” (MVP) of the Midwest League All-Star Game for his offensive performance, which included a two-run double, two walks, three runs scored, and two stolen bases. Less than a month later, after being promoted to High-A, he was suspended 50 games for using a banned substance (an amphetamine).