Not only are the Cubs calling up No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant for today’s game, he’s hitting cleanup in his MLB debut at Wrigley Field against the Padres.
We’ve written plenty (and some might even say too much) about Bryant’s arrival, but I stumbled across this little tidbit via Baseball-Reference’s amazing “Play Index” and wanted to share it.
Here are the only other hitters to bat cleanup in their MLB debuts in the past 20 seasons:
Jose Abreu, 2014
Barbaro Canizares, 2009
Brad Eldred, 2005
Justin Morneau, 2003
Jeff Liefer, 1999
I mean, that’s a helluva list.
Oh, and the last player to make his debut batting cleanup and hit a home run? Jay Gainer, for the Rockies in 1993. He played 23 total games in the majors, batting .171.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.