It was an exciting weekend for the first wave of September call-ups, especially Jurickson Profar and Avisail Garcia, both of whom collected their first big league hits on Saturday.
With a flair for the dramatic, Profar launched a solo home run from the left side of the plate in his first major league at-bat—it actually was reminiscent of his leadoff home run in the 2012 XM Futures Game. He stroked an opposite-field double in his second at-bat before ultimately finishing the game 2-for-4.
Receiving his first big league start on Saturday against the White Sox, Garcia was 1-for-3 with an RBI and followed it up with a 2-for-4 performance on Sunday night.
Here is a GIF breakdown of each of their debuts as well as three other players fans should expect to see this week.
Jurickson Profar, SS/2B, Texas Rangers
The youngest player in Double-A all season, the 19-year-old has thrived, making easy adjustments without showing any concerning holes in his game. He possesses an above-average hit tool from both sides of the plate, which is highlighted by quick wrists and an advanced feel for the strike zone.
At the time of his call-up to the major leagues, Profar was batting .281/.368/.452 with 135 hits, 26 doubles, seven triples, 14 home runs, 16 stolen bases, 79 strikeouts and 66 walks for Double-A Frisco.
As we all saw in the XM Futures Game, Profar has surprising pop for his size that, when bundled with his quick wrists, could yield 15-20 home runs in his prime—possibly even more.
Although his speed only grades out as above average, Profar is an adept base stealer who has been successful in 16 of 20 attempts this season.
His quickness is noticeable on defense, as Profar has excellent range at shortstop and clean actions through the baseball. He is a plus defender with soft hands and also possesses a strong arm that will allow him to remain at the position.
The top position prospect in the minor leagues, Profar has the potential to be a superstar given his natural ability as a switch-hitter and defensive prowess at short.
On Saturday afternoon, the teenager homered in his first major league at-bat and added a double in a 2-for-4 overall performance.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Detroit Tigers
At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Garcia projects to be a corner player with at least above-average power from the right side of the plate. His hit tool remains suspect, however, as he struggles with pitch recognition and often chases off-speed offerings out of the strike zone.
As the Tigers' top outfield prospect, Garcia has the tools to handle right field, and he has surprising speed for a player of his size with a plus arm and excellent carry. If he outgrows the position, there's a chance that he ultimately winds up at first base.
Due to the fact that he was signed at a young age in 2007, Garcia was already on the 40-man roster. Strikeouts continue to be a problem, with 451 in 523 career minor league games.
Prior to his promotion, Garcia was batting .299/.333/.455 with 14 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 122 games between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie.
His first hit came against a 99 mph fastball from Nate Jones (pictured above), which was smoked the other way through the infield. After his first two big-league starts, Garcia is 3-for-7 with an RBI.
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Miller typically throws a heavy 93-97 mph fastball with arm-side run that generates a healthy mixture of swing-and-misses and weak contact. To complement his heater, Miller throws two above-average off-speed pitches: a sharp, downer curve and a fading changeup. He already has shown the ability to work deep into games while sustaining his velocity and has a frame built for innings.
One of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball headed into 2012 season, Miller is in the midst of a rough season at Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander has allowed 138 hits and 24 home runs in 136.2 innings, and is learning that he can't get away with working up in the zone and relying on velocity—which was reportedly hovering in the 90-93 mph range for most of the season.
After the All-Star break, though, Miller basically reversed the fate of his season, recording a 7-2 record with a 2.88 ERA, 70 strikeouts and only seven walks in 59.1 innings.
He's expected to join the club this week and should work out of the Cardinals bullpen—at least initially.
Tony Cingrani, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
Selected in the third round of the 2011 draft, Cingrani served as Rice's closer before the Reds converted him to a starter.
With two plus pitches in his fastball and changeup, Cingrani, 23, has dominated as a starter in his first full professional season after working as a closer while at Rice. His breaking ball is still lacking, but he's become more comfortable throwing it as something more than a show-me offering.
After beginning the season at High-A, the 6'4", 200-pounder has pitched his way to the major leagues. Although the Reds lack a left-hander in their starting rotation, it seems as though his immediate value will come as a reliever.
Between two levels this season, Cingrani has posted a 10-4 record with a 1.73 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 10.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.
Nick Maronde, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
One of the more surprising call-ups thus far, Maronde was the Angels' third-round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Florida and missed about a month this season with a strained lat.
The 22-year-old left-hander possesses a plus fastball and slider, as well as a changeup that has steadily improved. He profiles as much as a starter as he does a reliever.
Logging 99.2 innings this season (only 32.1 at Double-A), Maronde posted a 6-4 record with a 2.26 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 90 strikeouts and 19 walks.
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