Comparing Ben Braymer’s First Start To Other National’s Debuts
By Max Rayman
On Sunday night Ben Braymer made his first professional start and threw five shutout innings, picking up his first professional win.
Ben Braymer’s first MLB start went smoothly and left many wondering if the team has found another diamond in the rough. His shutout performance immediately puts him towards the top amongst Nationals making their first start. But where does Braymer’s first start compare to other Nationals pitchers?
After flourishing in the Nationals farm system, Braymer was called up and made his MLB debut in relief against the Red Sox on August 28. Fast forward to yesterday and he was handed the ball to start Game Two of the doubleheader against Miami. From the get-go, Braymer showed why he was named the Nationals 2018 co-Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He threw five shutout innings, while allowing only one hit, walking three, and striking out four. While the Marlins lineup isn’t the most dangerous, they do have their team in a position to make the playoffs. Led by Starlin Marte, Jesus Aguilar, Brian Anderson, and Garrett Cooper, the Marlins lineup has many capable hitters. Instead, Braymer overpowered them with ease, with his lone hit allowed being a single off the bat of Aguilar.
While Braymer’s first start was excellent, Stephen Strasburg was on a whole different level. The number one pick in the 2009 draft made his long-awaited pro debut on June 8, 2010. With all eyes on him, Strasburg showed the world why he was the most hyped pitching prospect of all time. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Strasburg threw seven innings and only allowed two runs on four hits. He walked none and struck out a whopping 14.
Strasburg’s 14 strikeouts broke the team’s record for most strikeouts in a game (13). Strasburg’s first start is by far the best starting debut in Nationals history.
Entering the 2009 season, Jordan Zimmermann was the Nationals top pitching prospect. That same year, he made his MLB debut, a start against the Atlanta Braves. Zimmermann was the winning pitcher, allowing only two runs across six innings. He gave up six hits, walked one, and struck out three. Most impressive was the fact that Chipper Jones only went 1-3 against Zimmerman, including a triple and a strikeout.
Similar to Ben Braymer, Tanner Roark made his MLB debut out of the bullpen. He had nine relief appearances under his belt before he made his first professional start on September 7, 2013, against the Marlins. Roark threw six shutout innings, only allowing four hits, while walking none, and striking out four. At the time, Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton were both still on the Marlins, and the two went one for four with a strikeout. Yelich had a single in the fourth, but Stanton immediately hit into a double play to end the inning. The righty’s performance was just a preview of what he would bring to the table while in D.C.