There is a undoubtedly a lot of pressure on a young prospect making his MLB debut. For Luis Gil, there was more to the story than simply being a top-six New York Yankees’ prospect making his first MLB start.
Gil, slated to start Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, was called up to make an emergency start after Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery tested positive for Covid-19 and Domingo German went to the injured list with shoulder inflammation. Although nerves filled the 23-year-old Gil, he managed to relax once he started warming up in the outfield.
“I prayed a lot, and I asked for guidance because I knew I was going to be nervous,” said Gil. “Thankfully I was able to relax throughout the whole game.”
Gil impressed with six shutout innings in a 13-1 victory against the Baltimore Orioles, and he allowed five baserunners and struck out six. However, he was not the only Yankees rookie to impress Tuesday night.
In fact, three rookie pitchers gave the team exactly what it needed. Stephen Ridings and Brody Koerner joined Gil to pitch all nine innings while all making their MLB debuts. The last time the Yankees had three pitchers debut in the same games was September 26, 1950 when Lew Burdette, Dave Madison, and Ernie Nevel did that.
Yankees Rookie Pitchers Shine
Gil started the night off strong. Although control is graded one of the weaker facets of his game – a 45/80, according to MLB.com – he didn’t show it Tuesday. Pitching with a smooth delivery and easy velocity, he threw a first pitch strike to seven of the first eight batters he faced. On top of that, he did not issue a walk through the first five innings of the game.
Gil will always remember the elation that came when he got the call to the big leagues. For Stephen Ridings, the joy of the news also brought relief.
Ridings’s grandmother passed away on Monday. His call up brought both excitement and a much needed distraction for his family as they plan funeral services. With his mom, dad, and a close family friend in the stands, the 27-year old struck out the side. Additionally, he got seven whiffs and topped 100 mph twice in his lone inning of work.
“Getting the call today and having this moment with them was indescribable,” said Ridings.
As for Brody Koerner, also 27, he came in for the eighth and ninth innings. He allowed the Orioles lone run on two hits and a walk. As the Yankees’ offense put up 13 runs, he knew he, too, would make his MLB debut Tuesday night.
It was a dream come true for the right-handed pitcher who has a 2.95 ERA in 61 Triple-A innings in 2021.
At the trade deadline, the Yankees acquired Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo without surrendering their top-end prospect capital. This was thanks in part to a farm system with good depth, rather than one that is top heavy. That system was on full display Tuesday night. Although Gil is the Yankees sixth-best prospect, according to MLB.com, Ridings and Koerner have never been ranked in their top-30.
Still, the trio was able to deliver when the Yankees needed them to the most.
Gil was sent back down to Triple-A after the game. Because he was called up due to a positive Covid-19 case, he does not have to wait 10 days to be called up again. Therefore, it is likely he starts again when the rotation comes back around to him. Regardless of when he starts again, he was excited to show what he can do with his fellow Railrider teammates at his side.
“This is our dream to get to the big leagues, to do it together…it means a lot.”
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images