Tyler Gilbert made his major league debut on August 3 against the Giants, mowing ’em down 1-2-3 with a pair of strikeouts in the eighth inning of the Diamondbacks’ 3-1 victory. He then made two other appearances out of the bullpen: an extra-inning loss thanks to a Giants ghost runner scoring on August 5, and a couple of scoreless innings in not-quite-mop-up duty in a 6-2 loss in San Diego last Saturday.
Well rested since then, the lefthander, a Rule 5 draft pick out of the Dodgers system last December, made his first major league start at home against the Padres on Saturday night. And, as you know by now from whatever headline one of Deadspin’s extremely good-looking editors has composed, he threw a no-hitter. (Ed. note: Aww, shucks. Also, never lie to the reader — Rich O.)
Gilbert only returned to work as a starter this season, making only one relief appearance among his 11 outings with Triple-A Reno. Wait, Triple-A Reno? Aren’t Rule 5 picks supposed to stay on the major league roster all year? Yes, the major league Rule 5 draft picks need to stay on the major league roster all year. Gilbert was a minor league Rule 5 pick. The number six minor league Rule 5 pick. And minor league Rule 5 picks can go anywhere in a farm system.
So, uh, how are those other top five Triple-A Rule 5 picks working out?
Shea Spitzbarth, RHP, Pirates (from Dodgers): Made his major league debut on August 2, and worked 2.1 scoreless innings over a pair of outings, closing out a pair of Pittsburgh losses in Milwaukee. Got sent back to Triple-A a few days later, and has a 1.53 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 35.1 innings this year for Indianapolis.
Matthew Wivinis, RHP, Rangers (from Yankees): Has been on the injured list all season.
Yunior Perez, RHP, Tigers (from Cubs): Released in March. Hey, the Tigers got Akil Baddoo in the major league phase of the Rule 5 and he’s leading the American League in triples. No complaints there.
Tyreque Reed, 1B, Red Sox (from Rangers): Smashed 14 homers in 48 games for Single-A Greenville to earn a promotion to Double-A Portland, where he’s gone deep three times in 23 games, hitting .222/.333/.417 with an impressive 11 walks in 87 plate appearances.
Rickey Ramirez, RHP, Orioles (from Twins): Didn’t pitch until late June due to injury, and has had a rough go with Single-A Delmarva, allowing runs in six of his nine relief appearances.
Gilbert is a little bit older at 27, so those other guys do have a chance to catch up. For Gilbert, the challenge now is to surpass the last man to throw a no-hitter in his first major league start, Bobo Holloman, a 30-year-old rookie who made four relief appearances for the 1953 St. Louis Browns (a 95-loss team featuring Satchel Paige!) before twirling a no-no against the Philadelphia A’s.
Holloman went 1-3 with an 8.04 ERA over his next five starts, starting with the A’s knocking him out in the second inning of the start after the no-hitter, and ending with a start in which Holloman gave up his first major league homer, to Mickey Mantle. By July of that year, Holloman’s contract was sold to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League, where he put up a 5.07 ERA in 55 innings. The next year was Holloman’s last in professional baseball.
Yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs. You know, Ray Shore. Old time baseball.
Get the bust in Canton ready
Speaking of old minor leaguers, Tim Tebow!
And speaking of people who went to spring training in Port St. Lucie and barely make contact, the Mets in the 10th inning against the Dodgers! They’re doomed, but then, aren’t we all?