Jacob Nix made quite the impression on Friday night, making his MLB debut for the San Diego Padres.
For San Diego Padres fans, Friday night was fun! Fans have been clamoring for it for months and now the process of bringing up young, rookie arms is moving forward, at an alarming rate. Friday night at Petco Park, Jacob Nix made his MLB debut. His outing was one of the more successful debut outings in San Diego Padres team history.
While Nix was pitching in the friendly confines of Petco Park, his opponent was the shockingly good Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies are neck-and-neck with the Atlanta Braves in a race for the National League East crown. As good as the Phillies are, Jacob Nix was better.
Nix went six shutout innings, giving up just four hits and two walks. He also recorded four strikeouts on the evening.
The first two innings were rocky for Jacob Nix. He made the first two outs of the game fairly quickly before getting himself into his first jam. Singles by Nick Williams and Asdrubal Cabrera, along with a walk to Carlos Santana, loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning. After a quick mound visit to calm him serves, Nix forced Odubel Herrera into an inning-ending groundout.
The nerves seemed to float away after the second inning as Nix allowed just one baserunner over his final four frames.
According to BrooksBaseball.net, Nix threw 57 fastballs, topping out at 96.5 mph and averaging 94.4 mph. He mixed up his heater with a changeup that averaged nearly 14 mph slower and produced a 25% whiff rate (3/12 pitches). The changeup was nasty, Twitter hero @PitchingNinja even highlighted the pitch.
Scouting reports on Nix tend to agree that he can be a mid-rotation arm on a major league rotation. It’s only one start, but he showed fans that he has the ability to reach that potential. Don’t expect to see him leave the rotation any time soon. He’s here for good.
One of the top debuts in San Diego Padres history.
Using Baseball Reference’s Play Index, Jacob Nix and his performance rank as one of the best MLB debuts ever, for a pitcher who made his debut in a San Diego Padres uniform.
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Since the team’s debut in 1969, only 28 pitchers went at least six innings in their first career start. Just 15 of those pitchers earned the victory in their start, Nix included.
Ranked by Baseball Reference’s Game Score, Nix posted the 12th highest game score for a debut, earning a 66. As many beat writers pointed out last night, it was the first time a Padres pitcher went at least six shutout innings in their first start since Odrisamer Despaigne in June of 2014. Nix was the ninth pitcher to toss at least six scoreless frames, ever.
The top spot goes to Jimmy Jones, who made his debut in September of 1986. Jones pitched a one-hit shutout, walked none, and struck out five against the Houston Astros. The Padres won that game 5-0, behind a four-hit performance from left fielder John Kruk.
Welcome to the Big Show, Jacob Nix. May this be the start of something special in San Diego.