Advanced pro debuts

Most players make their pro debut in rookie ball, and most of those who don’t being their careers in short-season A. Of course, there are exceptions—most notably this year, Stephen Strasburg (opened in Double-A), Aroldis Chapman (started in Triple-A), and Mike Leake (no full-season minors at all).

No member of the 2010 draft class is likely to move quite so quickly. But plenty of players skip the first couple of rungs, and it’s not always who you’d expect. So far, we’ve seen the White Sox start Chris Sale at High-A (and already promote him to Triple-A), and the Royals send Christian Colon to High-A as well.

But wait, there’s more! Since shortly after the draft, I’ve been tracking pro debuts in my daily Minor League Recap, meaning we can browse through the last month of reports and see who has started their career in a full-season league.

High-A
Brodie Greene
Christian Colon
Chris Sale
Michael Sandoval
Bryan Holaday
Niko Gallego
Kevin Chapman
Kyle Moore

Low-A
Ryan Lamarre
Hunter Morris
Todd Cunningham
Rob Brantly
Clay Jones
Phil Gosselin
Kevin Arico
Jordan Pratt
Robert Morey
Kevin Munson

Some of these shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Many of the players were drafted by teams without a short-season A team, meaning that the Reds, for instance, had to decide whether to send Arico to the Midwest League or the rookie-level Pioneer League. I suspect they made the right choice, just as the Braves did in the same situation with Gosselin and Cunningham.

The more intriguing choices are some of the guys sent directly to High-A, like Holaday and Gallego. There’s no doubt they are advanced players (and I love Holaday), but what prompts such a move for those particular players? In some cases, it probably has more to do with roster shuffling than anything else—better to let the player take a shot at the higher level than cause problems trying to make room elsewhere.

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