The Oakland A’s are gearing up to host the Texas Rangers this week, but we still aren’t quite done talking about their previous meeting last week in Arlington.
The A’s left Globe Life Baseball Yard with a frustrating series split against a last-place opponent, but along the way they had an encouraging development with the appearance of a new relief pitcher. At age 27, in his ninth professional season, Domingo Acevedo made his MLB debut.
The right-hander was once a fireballing top prospect in the Yankees system, but his stock dropped over the past few years until New York cut him last winter. He signed with Oakland as a non-roster minor league free agent, then spent May and June dominating hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas, and finally got the call to the majors last week.
That same day, June 21, the A’s were getting walloped by the Rangers. Texas scored five in the 1st inning, and by the bottom of the 8th they led 8-3 and the rest of the evening was looking like a formality. That’s the perfect moment to get the new guy into his first game.
Acevedo faced four batters, with one reaching on an infield single that was hit too weakly for the fielder to get to in time. His fastball operated around 95 mph, which is lower than his top prospect peak but higher than his minor league free agent nadir, and he kept it around the zone enough to be effective. His slider induced a popup, and his changeup earned him a swinging strikeout on a 3-2 offering to Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Domingo Acevedo got a K to wrap up his MLB debut pic.twitter.com/x6HkaI16zF— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) June 22, 2021
Batter by batter:
- Willie Calhoun: Missed high with a fastball, but placed a changeup at bottom of zone for a groundout.
- Eli White: Got ahead with two fastballs in the zone, buried a changeup but didn’t get the chase, then fastball painted bottom-outside corner for a weak grounder.
- Jose Trevino: Just missed with fastball up-away, then left a slider up a bit but still got enough horizontal movement to find the end of the bat for a popup.
- Isiah Kiner-Falefa: Missed with a fastball, then slider for a strike. Missed with another slider and fastball, but recovered to throw 3-1 fastball for strike, then dropped a perfect 3-2 changeup just below the zone to induce a swing and miss.
That’s a scoreless inning! And without needing to make any excuses about debut jitters or anything. He threw strikes, and did at least one good thing with all three pitches in his arsenal. All three pieces of contact were only lightly tapped, each under 75 mph in exit velocity.
It’s been over a week since that appearance and we’re yet to see Acevedo pitch again, which isn’t surprising given the constant high-leverage the A’s found themselves in every day since. It could be a while before we know whether he’ll stick around and make an impact in Oakland’s pen, but his first impression was a promising one.