Diamondbacks Righty Drey Jameson Dazzles in Major League Debut
PHOENIX, Sep. 15 — Thursday night against the San Diego Padres, another Arizona Diamondbacks prospect made his major league debut. This time, it was right-hander Drey Jameson, chosen 34th overall in the 2019 Amateur Draft. The 25-year-old, who attended Ball State University, has a lively fastball that has been clocked at triple digits. Expectations and anticipation were high.
Jameson did not disappoint, hurling seven innings of two-hit ball, walking one while striking out five as the Diamondbacks topped the Padres, 4–0. His first strikeout was one of the top hitters in the league in recent years, Juan Soto. The first time through the order, the only Padres to reach base were first baseman Josh Bell and designated hitter Brandon Drury, who walked and singled to center, respectively. Next time through the order, only Drury reached base, this time thanks to a leadoff double. Drury reached third two outs later, but a grounder to second by catcher Austin Nola left him stranded.
He faced six more hitters after that, pitching 1-2-3 innings in both the sixth and seventh. Two hitters went down on strikes. One grounded out. The other three hit balls into the air.
This all came in front of a host of supporters who made the trek from his hometown of Greenfield, Indiana. Jameson’s mother (Salina), stepdad (Daryl Stephens), brother (Dylan), grandmother, uncle, and nephew were all in attendance. They were joined by Jameson’s girlfriend, his childhood coach (Carl Graham), and dozens of friends.
Postgame Evaluation of Drey Jameson
This game was “something Drey worked a long time for,” manager Torey Lovullo proudly proclaimed. “He stood on the mound with poise, commanded his pitches, and he deserves all the credit.” Lovullo added that Jameson commanded the fastball, using sliders, changeups, and a sinking two-seamer “that really kept a very good offensive team in check.”
One key in the eyes of Lovullo was “being efficient and not wasting pitches. When you’re supposed to put somebody away, you make the pitch right then.” Another key was catcher Carson Kelly. “He and Carson got into a very good rhythm today,” Lovullo said. “Carson deserves some credit. He guided that ship. Between the two of them, they were moving in a really good direction. Things never really got away from Drey. He did a great job.”
Kelly echoed his manager. “He did great. I think he had some jitters early on but settled in. And similar to Tommy (Henry), the poise and understanding of the game plan, what he needs to do to throw strikes. He did a tremendous job, stuck along with the game plan, made adjustments as we went. But very impressed. Very, very impressed.”
A Short List
Drey Jameson and teammate Ryne Nelson both arrived through the 2019 draft, with Nelson coming 22 picks later. Since the beginning of minor league ball, they have been roommates. Naturally, they are the best of friends. Nelson debuted September 5, facing these very same San Diego Padres on the road. He also pitched seven scoreless, allowing four hits while walking none and fanning seven. They became the third pair of teammates since 1901 to each pitch seven or more scoreless innings in their major league debuts in the same season. Jameson and Nelson, however, are the only ones to do so against the same team.
“He’s my boy,” Jameson said when notified of the feat. “We went through the minors all together. We’ve been roommates since Day One. And it’s great to see him succeed as well…. It’s special to see what he did. And then I come in and try to up him. That’s what we’ve done our whole minor league career…. That’s our relationship. We’re really close, and I’m actually excited to see what he does in the future.”
“That’s impressive,” Nelson said when he learned of the accomplishment. “I get to share that with one of my best friends. That’s insane.” Nelson also gave his reaction to seeing Jameson make his debut. “It was awesome. Something we’ve been talking about since Day One. Like, ‘it’s gonna be so cool when we both get there, and both get to play on the same team.’ Just to be able to live our dream together. And I was probably more excited to have him here and get to hang out with him again. It’s pretty surreal that what we talked about actually came to fruition, and I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun for the years to come.”
Jameson used five pitches in the game Thursday: a four-seam fastball, a two-seam/sinking fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a curveball. Out of 90 pitches, 38 were four-seamers, 27 were sinkers, 15 were sliders, nine were changeups, and one was a curveball. Kelly said the strategy was to use the four-seamer and sinker heavily, because “that’s his strengths.” He continued, “(with) a guy that just got called up, you want to stick to his strengths.” Jameson’s stuff, in Kelly’s eyes, is “electric. He’s got good life on both his sinker and his four-seam. For a lot of guys, it’s very hard to do both the sinker and the four-seam. He also had really good command of his breaking stuff. (Drey) was able to get enough over the plate to keep them off his heater.”
No Nerves for Drey Jameson
Jameson said the coaches told him before the game to “be yourself. The game is the same. Don’t overthink anything. Go out there, compete, and do what you do best.” Jameson added that he didn’t really feel nervous before the game. Kelly said Jameson told four people that, so he wasn’t entirely sure Jameson wasn’t nervous.
Nelson, however, felt Jameson was telling the truth, and he added that he felt the same way Jameson did. “You get butterflies before the game. Then you start going through your routine and realize that it’s the same thing you’ve been doing. It’s what you’ve been preparing for the three years in pro ball but also your last 10 years of baseball. This is the ultimate goal. It’s what you’ve been working towards, and you want to put yourself in the best headspace you can to succeed. I see where he’s coming from. Not really nervous, but just excited.” In short, he and Jameson felt so prepared that they had no need to feel nervous.
The last out of the top of the sixth was the closest the Padres came to scoring a run. Slugging third baseman Manny Machado belted a deep fly to right, but it died on the warning track. When it settled harmlessly into Jordan Luplow’s glove, Jameson breathed a sigh of relief. Kelly said Jameson was in awe that the hit didn’t leave the yard. But Kelly stopped him, saying, “Hey. You’re not in Reno anymore, buddy.”
If Jameson continues pitching the way he did Friday night, that’ll be true for the rest of his professional baseball career.