Predicting the first Blue Jays major league debut of 2014

Sean Nolin in his major league debut - Abelimages

After seeing nine players play their first major league game in 2012, the 2013 Blue Jays were not expected to have too many debuts because of the dearth of major league-ready prospects in the upper levels of the minors and all their high-profile acquisitions in the offseason. At the beginning of spring training, there were only two players on the 40-man roster who have not played in the majors: Ryan Goins and A.J. Jimenez. So we thought there was a "very strong possibility" that the 2013 squad would see a later first debut than any other team in franchise history.

We turned out to be right. Sean Nolin made his major league debut on May 24, 2013 in the 48th game of the season, beating out Lloyd Moseby, who also made his debut on May 24, but that was only the 37th game of the 1980 season.

Two other rookies made their major league debut with the Blue Jays last year: Kevin Pillar on August 14 and Ryan Goins on August 23.

Here is an updated list from last year, showing which player made the first major league debut of each of the 37 Blue Jays seasons (source: Baseball-Reference.com).

Player
Date
Position
Al Woods 1977-04-07 PH RF
Garth Iorg (1) 1978-04-09 2B
Bobby Brown (2) 1979-04-05 LF
Lloyd Moseby 1980-05-24 DH
George Bell 1981-04-09 PR LF
Jim Gott 1982-04-09 P
Jim Acker 1983-04-07 P
Jimmy Key 1984-04-06 P
Lou Thornton 1985-04-08 RF
Don Gordon 1986-04-10 P
Mike Sharperson 1987-04-06 2B
Sil Campusano 1988-04-04 CF
Junior Felix 1989-05-03 RF
Willie Blair 1990-04-11 P
Mike Timlin 1991-04-08 P
Ricky Trlicek 1992-04-08 P
Willie Canate 1993-04-16 LF
Alex Gonzalez 1994-04-04 SS
Paul Menhart 1995-04-27 P
Tilson Brito 1996-04-01 PH 2B
Chris Carpenter 1997-05-12 P
Steve Sinclair 1998-04-25 P
Peter Munro (3) 1999-04-06 P
Dewayne Wise 2000-04-06 CF
Ryan Freel 2001-04-04 2B
Eric Hinske (4) 2002-04-01 3B
Aquilino Lopez 2003-04-02 P
Simon Pond 2004-04-07 RF
Aaron Hill 2005-05-20 DH
Casey Janssen 2006-04-27 P
Jesse Litsch 2007-05-15 P
Randy Wells 2008-04-05 P
Ricky Romero 2009-04-09 P
Rommie Lewis 2010-04-28 P
Luis Perez 2011-04-16 P
Evan Crawford 2012-04-15 P
Sean Nolin 2013-05-24 P

In four instances, multiple Blue Jays players made their major league debut in the same game:

(1) Garth Iorg made his debut by coming up to bat in the bottom of the first inning. Willie Upshaw also made his debut in this game, as defensive replacement for John Mayberry before the bottom of the third.
(2) Bobby Brown made his debut in left field in the bottom of the first inning. Ted Wilborn made his debut a few minutes later as defensive replacement for Rick Bosetti before the the top of the second.
(3) Pete Munro made his debut in relief of Dan Plesac in the bottom of the seventh inning. Tom Davey also made his debut, the next inning when he relieved Munro.
(4) Eric Hinske made his debut by coming up to bat in the top of the first inning. Scott Cassidy made his debut in the bottom of the fourth, relieving Scott Eyre.

Right now there are four players on the 40-man roster who have yet to make their debut: Deck McGuire, A.J. Jimenez, Rob Rasmussen, Kenny Wilson. Non-roster invitees with no MLB experience include: Jared Goedert, Ricardo Nanita, Kevin Nolan, Aaron Sanchez, John Stilson, Marcus Stroman, and Marcus Walden.

Just like last year, we can turn this into a prediction game to guess the first Blue Jays major league debut. In 2013, my guess was that Ricardo Nanita would finally make his big league debut, in the bottom of the first on June 24. I am bad at predictions. The winner last year was someone named "AApologist", who correctly guessed Sean Nolin, missing his actual debut date by just two days.

Game Instructions

In the comments, guess:

  1. Who you think will be the first player to make a major league debut with the Blue Jays in 2014,
  2. The date of the debut, and
  3. The inning of the debut.
If multiple people guess the same player, the person who guesses the date closest to the actual debut date (either before or after), and the debut inning will serve as a second tiebreaker if necessary. If you are not registered (and why wouldn't you be?) you can answer the poll question

My pick: Marcus Stroman, June 13, 1st inning.
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