Nationals

Where does Franco's debut rank with Strasburg's, Harper's?

Nationals

Major League Baseball's No. 1 overall prospect, Wander Franco, made his Big League debut on Tuesday for the Tampa Bay Rays, and the 20-year-old infielder did not disappoint.

Franco dazzled, finishing the game 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. But, the phenom's debut was spoiled as Tampa Bay would lose 9-5, to the Boston Red Sox extending their losing streak to seven games.

After watching Franco put together an incredible Big League debut, MLB Network analyst Greg Amsinger was inspired to list his nine most memorable debuts of the TV station's era. At the top of the list were a pair of players who played their first MLB game wearing a Nationals uniform.

Coming in at No. 2 was former Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who like Franco was also the top prospect in baseball when he was called up.

Harper made his debut for Washington on April 28, 2012, as just a 19-year-old. In four plate appearances, Harper went 1-3 with a double and a walk in a 4-3 Nationals loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also showed off his incredible arm, throwing out James Loney at home plate from the outfield.

"This kid was talked about since the age of 16," Amsinger said. "It was Bryce Harper running with his hair on fire, showcasing his cannon of an arm, losing his helmet on a double as he ran into second base with his Show hair."

Harper had an impressive Big league debut, but the one of Stephen Strasburg's was on another level. That's why the 2019 World Series MVP's MLB debut in 2010 was ranked the No. 1 most memorable debut on Amsinger's list.

 

Strasburg was called up to the Big League midseason in 2010 and made his debut on June 8 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Strasburg, who was considered arguably the best pitching prospect ever, lived up to the hype, throwing seven innings allowing just four hits and two runs while striking out 14 Pirates hitters.

"I don't know if we'll ever see another MLB debut with the hype and the performance meet eye to eye," Amsinger said. "Fourteen strikeouts in his Big League debut. The greatest pitching prospect of all time."

Strasburg and Harper had two of the most memorable debuts in recent history. And, as impressive as Franco's was on Tuesday night, it'll be difficult for anyone to top the performances of those two.