Two of Washington’s newest pitching prospects made their team debuts. But how did Josiah Gray and Mason Thompson do?
The Nationals 2019 World Series team will always be remembered in D.C., but that core had reached the end of the road. General Manager Mike Rizzo agreed and took immediate action, shipping out seven players, including four from the World Series team for a bushel of prospects.
Gray, the 59th prospect in baseball per Baseball America made his MLB debut early this season when he was with the Dodgers. In his two pitching appearances with the Dodgers, Gray allowed six runs, including four homers, while striking out 13 in eight innings. This time around, the rookie was poised on the mound.
From the start, Gray made his presence felt by just hammering the strike zone. Against 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, he started off the at-bat with a strike. He was able to retire the first seven Philly batters he faced, including a strikeout of Jean Segura.
It wasn’t until the top of the third that the Phillies recorded their first hit, a single by Odubel Herrera. In that same inning, Gray ran into his first jam after a miscommunication between Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia led an infield hit for Travis Jankowsky. Instead of being out of the inning, the Phillies had two on, with two out. But the 23-year old was unfazed and got Segura to fly out to end the threat.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Phillies threatened again by getting the first two runners on. But for the second inning in a row, Gray shut the door on the Phillies and retired the next three hitters in a row.
However, in the top of the fifth inning Herrera continued to beat Gray, but this time he took the rookie deep to put the Phillies up 1-0. Gray rebounded and was able to get out of the inning while preventing any further damage. After five effective innings, his night was done, but he left a lasting impression on the fanbase. On the night, he threw five innings, allowed only one run, gave up four hits, walked two, and struck out two.
After Gray was pulled, Thompson entered and made his debut. He started off the inning by getting two quick groundouts before running into trouble. The next three runners reached to load the bases. Rhys Hoskins who has been battling an injury was given the chance to pinch-hit. Hoskins’s injury was clearly bothering him as he looked lost at the plate. Thompson was able to escape the jam by striking out the Phillies slugger on three straight pitches.
Overall, the two pitches flashed signs of brilliance and gave the fanbase a glimpse of their immense potential and what is yet to come. Enjoy Nats fans. The future looks bright!