Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ranking the best debuts by current Twins

Dozier premiered for the Twins on Monday night and he seems to be making a mark on the line-up in this early part of his career. The debut of a player in the big leagues can be a moment full of anxiousness and hope. For most players, they have been working toward this moment since they were a child and the first steps on the field can be a magical moment.

The first two games have looked good for Dozier but the other players currently on the Twins 25-man roster have all been in his shoes before. How did these players fare in their debut? Was it better or worse than what Dozier put together on Monday evening?

Below you will find some information about the debuts of all of the position players that are currently on the Twins 25-man roster. This list goes in order of when the players made their debut. There were some big name prospects and some lesser known players but each of them have reached their ultimate goal of making it to the big leagues.

Jamey Carroll - Debut: September 11, 2002
Stat Summary: 2-for-3, R, BB
Carroll is the first of a couple different players on this list to debut for a team other than the Twins. His first MLB action was in the jersey of the Montreal Expos. He did get to play his first game at Wrigley Field so that must have been a cool experience. One of the toughest things could have been the fact that it was the one year anniversary of 9/11. The Cubs would be stronger on this day and end up winning by a 6-3 score.

Justin Morneau - Debut: June 10, 2003
Stat Summary: 2-for-4, 2 singles
On a day when the Twins would only put together three hits, Morneau was able to get two of those knocks for the team. Since the Twins still had Doug Mientkiewicz, Morneau was relegated to designated hitter for his firs start with the team. The Rockies shut out the Twins but Morneau was able to show a glimpse of the player he would become in the coming years.

Joe Mauer - Debut: April 5, 2004
Stat Summary: 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB
Mauer's debut had been anticipated since he was taken with the number one pick in the 2001 MLB Draft. He did little to take away from the hype as he put together a solid performance at the plate. The game went to extra-innings and the Twins would win the game on a walk-off home run off of the bat of Shannon Stewart.

Josh Willingham - Debut: July 6, 2004
Stat Summary: 0-for-3
It wasn't a perfect debut for Willingham as he was held without a hit in his MLB debut for the Florida Marlins. Players like Mike Lowell and Miguel Cabrera would pick up the slack from Willingham and the Marlins would end up on top in this game. The very next night Willingham put together a 2-for-2 game so the hits would come just not in his debut.

Ryan Doumit - Debut: June 5, 2005
Stat Summary: 0-for-1
Doumit was asked to make his debut in a pitch hitting opportunity for a pitcher from the Pirates. He only saw one pitch and he put the ball in play so it was a very quick debut for Mr. Doumit. The Pirates won this close contest with the Braves by a score of 5-2 but Doumit didn't have a lot to do with the outcome of the game.

Alexi Casilla - Debut: September 1, 2006
Stat Summary: 0-for-0, BB
Casilla had a pretty uneventful debut as he was asked to pinch hit for Nick Punto in the late stages of this game. He would draw a walk in his only at-bat but the Twins were down by eight runs before Casilla got into the game. In the first few weeks of his career, Casilla would primary be used off the bench and he wouldn't get his first start until September 28.

Denard Span - Debut: April 6, 2008
Stat Summary: 0-for-2, BB
Span started in the ninth spot in the batting order for the Twins on this day and there were some bumps along the way. He did manage to coax a walk in one of his at-bats but there would be no first hit in this contest for Mr. Span. The Twins would fall to the Royals by a score of 3-1 and the Twins didn't know they had their leadoff hitter of the future making his debut. 

Drew Butera - Debut: April 9, 2010
Stat Summary: 0-for-3, 3 SO
Twins fans know what to expect from Butera by this point and his debut was a bad omen. He struck out in all three plate appearances he made for the very unwanted hat trick. The good news is the Twins were able to come back and win the game against the White Sox in extra-innings. 

Trevor Plouffe - Debut: May 21, 2010
Stat Summary: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI
The Twins went on an offensive rampage in Plouffe's debut by scoring 15 runs against a Brewers team that was 10 games under .500 on the season. The Twins have moved Plouffe from shortstop since this day but he debuted by playing the position he was drafted at by the Twins. There have been some struggles for Plouffe since his debut but he put together a good first impression.

Danny Valencia - Debut: June 3, 2010
Stat Summary: 1-for-3
When Felix Hernandez is the starting pitcher in your MLB debut, it is not going to be an easy start to your playing career. The only hit Valencia got in the contest came in his first at-bat off of Hernandez. Offense was hard to come by for the Twins as they failed to get more than one run across the plate. On this day, the Twins would lose 4-1 and all of the runs for the Mariners came in one inning. 

Chris Parmelee - Debut: September 6, 2011
Stat Summary: 2-for-4, 2 singles
On this day last season, there were plenty of debuts for the Twins with Joe Benson and Liam Hendriks joining Parmelee in the line-up. Parmelee was on base multiple times but the Twins would fail to do anything once he was on base. At the end of the day, the Twins out hit the White Sox but were shut-out at home.

Erik Komatsu - Debut: April 6, 2012
Stat Summary: 1-for-1
It was Opening Day at Miller Park when Komatsu was asked to pinch hit for Carlos Beltran. He slapped an infield hit and advanced the runner from second to third. This would be his only at-bat in the game and in the coming weeks, he would find himself in the jersey of the Minnesota Twins.

Brian Dozier - Debut: May 7, 2012
Stat Summary: 1-for-4, R
Dozier made some outstanding fielding plays and he was able to get his first hit during his last at-bat of the game. In his first couple of plate appearances, he hit the ball hard but those attempts didn't end up as hits. The Twins would be defeated in his debut with Jered Weaver on the mound but he showed some good things to the crowd at Target Field.

So after all of that, here are my rankings for the top debuts for current position players on the Minnesota Twins.

Top 3 Debuts for Current Twins
1. Trevor Plouffe
2. Joe Mauer
3. Jamey Carroll

Worst Debut for Current Twins: Drew Butera

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