Cubs phenom Kris Bryant had a rough welcome Friday to the big leagues, striking out in his first three at-bats and going 0 for 4 in a Chicago loss. But there's reason for hope -- some of baseball's most-hyped prospects laid an egg in their first game in the majors. Others excelled right from the start. Here's a look at some of baseball's other most anticipated debuts.
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Stephen Strasburg (debuted June 8, 2010)
Drafted No. 1 overall in 2009 by the Nationals, Stephen Strasburg was tabbed as a can’t-miss, top-of-rotation starter blessed with an upper-90s fastball and a wicked breaking ball. Strasburg didn’t disappoint in his debut, striking out 14 and walking none in the Nationals’ 5-2 win over the Pirates. He struck out the final seven hitters he faced.
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Bryce Harper (debuted April 28, 2012)
Bryce Harper became a national sensation when he was placed on the cover of Sports Illustrated while he was still in high school. He was drafted first overall by the Nationals in 2010 and made his debut two years later, going 1 for 3 with an RBI in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers. He went on to win Rookie of the Year.
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Mike Trout (debuted July 8, 2011)
Mike Trout made his debut at 19, the youngest player in the major leagues at that time. Though he went 0 for 3 at the plate, he did make a running catch in center field, a sign of things to come, in the Angels’ 4-3 win. He played in only 40 games that season, allowing him to maintain his rookie status in 2012, when he ran away with the Rookie of the Year award and finished second in MVP voting.
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Alex Rodriguez (debuted July 8, 1994)
Before all the controversy, Alex Rodriguez was one of the most anticipated prospects in baseball. He was drafted first overall in 1993 by the Mariners out of high school and was in the majors at 18 a little more than a year later. A-Rod went 0 for 3 in his major-league debut and split time between the Mariners and Triple-A in 1995. Then came his breakout season in 1996 and he never looked back.
Darryl Strawberry (debuted May 6, 1983)
There was no shortage of expectation when Darryl Strawberry, the No. 1 overall pick in 1980, made his major-league debut. The Mets batted the wiry outfielder third in the order against the Reds and he struggled, going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts but added two walks. Strawberry quickly made adjustments that year and went on to win Rookie of the Year.
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Dwight Gooden (debuted April 7, 1984)
Before Dwight Gooden became 'Doc,' he was a highly touted prospect in the Mets organization. Drafted fifth overall in 1982, Gooden quickly ascended through the minors and made his debut at 19, going five innings and striking out five against the Astros. Gooden went on to lead the National League in strikeouts that year, earning Rookie of the Year honors and finishing second in Cy Young voting.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesRich Pilling
Derek Jeter (debuted May 29, 1995)
The New York Yankees thought so much about Derek Jeter that they game him No. 2, a single-digit number reserved for only the most legendary Yankees. They weren’t wrong about the sixth overall pick in 1992. Though he went 0 for 5 in his debut against the Mariners during a brief call-up in 1995, Jeter went on to win Rookie of the Year in 1996. More than 3,000 hits and five World Series title later, Jeter is one of the best Yankees of all time.
MLB PhotosRich Pilling
Yasiel Puig (debuted June 3, 2013)
Signed to a seven-year $42 million deal, the expectations were immense for the Cuban-born phenom. Yasiel Puig exceeded anyone's expectations. He went 2 for 4 and showed off his powerful arm, throwing out a runner at first against the Padres. Puig went on to win the NL Player of the Week Award after hitting four homers and driving in 10 runs in his first five big-league games. Puig finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and has become one of the most electric players in the game.
Ken Griffey Jr. (debuted April 3, 1989)
The son of a former key cog in the Big Red Machine, Ken Griffey Jr. was touted as a five-tool player when he was picked No. 1 overall by the Mariners in 1987. He lived up to the billing immediately, hitting a double off Dave Stewart in his first major-league at-bat. He followed that up by homering on the first pitch he saw at the Kingdome a week later. Injuries cut short his rookie season, leaving Griffey third in Rookie of the Year voting, but he would soon become arguably the best player in the game.
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Mark Prior (debuted May 22, 2002)
Kris Bryant is far from the first Cub to mesmerize the baseball world. Mark Prior was picked second overall in 2001 and was up with the Cubs less than a year later. He didn’t disappoint in that first start, going six innings and striking out 10 against the Pirates. Prior had a solid rookie season, going 6-6 with a 3.32 ERA, but it was his second season (18-6, 2.43 ERA) that turned heads. His career was cut short due to multiple arm injuries.