For all those at Thursday afternoon’s Indians game, you witnessed history in the making. Danny Salazar, a 23-year-old right-handed prospect, delivered a standout performance in his MLB debut, among the best in franchise history.
The final line for the Dominican Republic native: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. He had 89 pitches in the contest — as many as he had delivered in his 17 minor league games this season — and carried a no-hitter into his final frame.
Per the Game Score statistic, it was tied for the sixth-best MLB starter debut since 2010, according to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index Tool. Some of the other names on the top-10 debut list are among the best prospects in baseball in the last few years (Wacha, Strasburg, Harvey) along with a fellow Cleveland Indian (Tomlin).
What was more notable, however, was where Salazar’s performance stood out on the list of all-time Cleveland Indians starter debuts. He also ranked sixth in this list, per Game Score, among all Tribe starter debuts dating back to 1916.
The stat that was being thrown out all around yesterday afternoon on Twitter was this: Salazar’s 7 strikeouts were the most by an Indians starter in a debut since Luis Tiant’s 11 in 1964. Herb Score had 9 in his 1955 debut and Floyd Weaver had 8 in 1962. Then, Salazar ranks fourth.
Per Elias Sports at ESPN, Salazar is also only the fourth pitcher to defeat a reigning Cy Young winner (R.A. Dickey) in their MLB debut.
I’ve written plenty about Salazar already this season, most notably after his promotion to Columbus in early May and then his announced MLB promotion earlier this week. Overall on the season, even though he’s only two years removed from Tommy John surgery, he ranked 8th in the minor leagues with a 33.1% strikeout rate (min. 50 IP).