‘Major League Debuts’ Book Review


A new book provides details on hundreds of rookies who reached the big leagues last year.Photo byJames Bailey

By Ray Kuhn

There are few things better than the excitement of a rookie taking the field for the first time. Once a player is drafted or signed as an amateur free agent into your team’s system, the speculation and forecasting begin. 

Every move of top prospects is watched and obsessed about throughout their journey through the organizational system and why wouldn’t that be the case? After all, that prospect, regardless of any other details, is going to end their career with a Hall of Fame induction after winning multiple championships. 

That optimism is what being a fan is all about and it is certainly exciting to look into the future. The same can be said for fantasy baseball players we are always looking forward to find the next big thing that will make you look like a genius to your league mates and lead you to a title. 

But then what happens after they debut? In some cases, by the first time they step on a major-league field, they have already peaked and living up to what was once lofty expectations turns out to be an impossible endeavor. 

Let’s be honest, though: not every draft choice, prospect, or major-league debut is created equal. And there are far too many of them that take place under the cover of darkness. For every top prospect who sets off a celebration when he joins the big-league team, there are two for whom a ripple is barely felt. 

While that certainly is not fair, it is realistic though. By no means are we looking to take anything away form a ballplayer making his major-league debut as it certainly as special and rare as it is a culmination of years of hard work. But it is natural human behavior.

Even with that disclaimer, the focus is always going to be on a select few. I’m pretty sure that even the most die-hard and passionate observer of MLB would be hard- pressed to guess that 303 players debuted in the major leagues in 2022. I would also challenge anyone to name more than half, at best of those players, as it is simply impossible to be aware of each one. 

The problem though, is that it is simply not fair. Players such as Nate Fisher (look him up) and Jose Butto have a great story that should be celebrated, but instead they were rendered anonymous as Mets fans focused very strongly on Brent Baty and Francisco Alvarez. 

One of the great things about James Bailey’s book Major League Debuts – 2023 edition is that he treats Baty and Butto equally. This is the case even if just about everyone reading this, and most baseball fans know who Baty is but few are going to be aware of Butto. 

Bailey painstakingly, and quite well, breaks down each of the record major-league debuts in 2023. It is a very exciting time in the game with such a plethora of young players reaching the big leagues, and that makes Bailey’s work that much more valuable. 

Since each player gets his due here, and at a high level, it is very interesting to dig a little deeper at each of these players, both known and unknown. Bailey does a great job not only of introducing you to each player, but also breaking down their background, 2022 season, and the circumstances surrounding their debut. Statistics are provided, and maybe most importantly for fantasy players, an outlook for the future. 

You truly have everything here, not just to get ready for the season, but to catch up on the 2022 season and to prepare for your fantasy drafts. As the year goes on, that can also prove to be a strong resource while enjoying the 2023 season. 

For every Michael Harris II, there are five outfielders no one has heard of who reached the majors in 2023. In a small way, each one reminds us what is so great about this wonderful game and of being a baseball fan. 

Ray Kuhn can be found writing on Fantasy Alarm and podcasting at Friends With Fantasy Benefits after previously covering the Houston Astros as part of the FanSided network at Climbing Tal’s Hill. Reach him at @ray_kuhn_28 or raykuhn57@gmail.com as he is always interested in talking or writing about our great game.

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