Major League Debuts 2023: Book Review


James Bailey’s Major League Debuts 2023 breaks down all the new players from last season.

Major League Debuts 2023

Major League Debuts 2023 Edition
James Bailey
Independently Published
SRP: $17.95

James Bailey, a former writer for Baseball America, self published the Major League Debuts 2023 Edition book, a look at every player in baseball that made his MLB debut in 2022. Like the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, this is full of extensive scouting reports and stats for every player that played their first MLB game last year.

Each of the 303 players had their bio info, debut information (including date and what happened in the game), scouting report, how the rest of 2022 went, long-term outlook, and statistics (both Minor and Major League for their careers).

Bailey paints the picture of the callup well in the debut information; for example, George Kirby of the Mariners was called up after the team dropped 6 straight games to face the Rays. Bailey notes how Kirby did, why he was effective (mixing 4 pitches), and the outcome of the game (a no decision after no run support in 6 scoreless innings, but the Mariners won in extra innings).

The background (scouting report essentially) goes back to their ametuer days; he lists how the players did in High School and college, if applicable, their draft status, and how they faired in the minors.

The 2022 Season sections gives everything that happened last season, from where they started the season to where they finished. You get the highs and the lows.

Finally, the outlook gives Bailey’s projection of the player; the areas where they excel and what they need to work on. He also lists his long term view of the player; from future ace to minor league journeyman.

Overall the book is very solid. As a close follower of the Cardinals, he nailed their players. He comped Brendan Donovan to Matt Carpenter (Donovan’s favorite athlete in college), which looks even more accurate since Donovan has started to develop power (please don’t lose the average though).

The book also looks at demographics: breakdowns by age, youngest and oldest debuts, by team and draft round, and best/worst debuts.

My only issue with the book was the index; it was great that the book had one, but I would have liked a second one that listed the players by the team they debuted with. The demographics could also have used a breakdown by position, but that’s just me being nitpicky.

Overall, this is a great book and the perfect companion to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook and the Bill James Handbook. I know I’ll be picking it up every year now.

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