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The best and worst pitching debuts in Tampa Bay Rays history

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United States v Japan - Baseball - Olympics: Day 10 Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images

In a year that’s been filled with several highly anticipated prospects receive promotions to the big leagues, the Rays are bringing yet another one of their touted prospects to the active roster as they are calling up right-handed pitcher Shane Baz to make a start on Monday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Baz was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the deal that also brought Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows to Tampa Bay and sent Chris Archer to Pittsburgh. It took a couple of weeks to find out Baz was the third player coming to the Rays in the deal, but everyone knew the Rays would be receiving one of Pittsburgh’s top prospects as the final piece of the trade; Baz was certainly a top prospect.

Entering the 2019 season, Boz would be ranked 11th in the Rays system but his status has surged within the organization since then and he now currently the team’s number one overall prospect and among the best pitching prospects in all of baseball.

As we await his Major League debut tonight, let’s look back and remember some of the greatest and not so great pitching debuts in team history. Where possible I’ve included a video recap from Youtube.

Games were ranked by Win Probability Added. Below you’ll find the five best and three worst WPA scores in franchise history.

1. Wade Davis

7 IP / 3 H / 1 BB / 1 R / 9 K / .312 WPA

September 6th, 2009 against the Detroit Tigers

2. Brendan McKay

6 IP / 1 H / 1 BB / 0 R / 3 K / .296 WPA

June 29th, 2019 against the Texas Rangers

3. Jeff Niemann

6 IP / 6 H / 1 BB / 1 R / 5 K / .290 WPA

April 13th, 2008 against the Baltimore Orioles
Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays
Not a picture of Niemann’s debut, but was snapped in September of 2008
Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

4. Scott Kazmir

5 IP / 4 H / 3 BB / 0 R / 4 K / .290 WPA

August 23rd, 2004 against the Seattle Mariners

5. Enny Romero

4.2 IP / 1 H / 3 BB / 0 R / 4 K / .221 WPA

September 22nd, 2013 against the Baltimore Orioles

...and on the other end of the spectrum, let’s go in opposite order.

3. Luis De Los Santos

4 IP / 9 H / 1 BB / 9 R / 3 K / -.320 WPA

July 20th, 2002 against the New York Yankees
Luis De Los Santos
Luis De Los Santos at Spring Training in 2003
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

2. Travis Harper

2.2 IP / 8 H / 1 BB / 7 R / 2 K / -.347 WPA

August 4th, 2000 against the Baltimore Orioles
Travis Harper #58
Spring training in 2001. Harper’s eyes tell the story of the Rays pitching staff during his tenure.

1. Jason Hammel

3.1 IP / 8 H / 1 BB / 7 R / 3 K / -.386 WPA

April 11th, 2006 against the Baltimore Orioles
Kansas City Royals vs Tampa Bay Devil Rays - April 16, 2006
This is an image from Hammel’s follow up outing
Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images