In recent years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have developed a reputation for cranking out starting pitching prospects, from Julio Urias to Dustin May to Walker Buehler to Tony Gonsolin to newest rookie phenom Bobby Miller to ... well, you get the point. But none of the guys above — heck, not even Clayton Kershaw, if you want to go back a bit further — made as impressive a first impression in the Majors as 23-year-old Emmet Sheehan.
Sheehan was dominant in his MLB debut on Friday night, firing six no-hit innings against the rival San Francisco Giants before being lifted. Even more remarkable: Sheehan did all of that despite arriving ahead of schedule, as injuries to several Dodgers starters forced the team to call him up straight from Double-A.
The righty struck out three and walked two before being lifted. He threw 51 of his 89 pitches for strikes, generating a ton of ground balls thanks to a power sinker that averaged 95.6 mph and a Bugs Bunny change up that came in at just 83. Alas, L.A. understandably didn’t want to push its youngster too much, pulling him prior to the start of the seventh inning in favor of reliever Brusdar Graterol — who promptly gave up a single to San Francisco’s Thairo Estrada.
There remains only one pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter in his MLB debut, and it happened more than 130 years ago. On Oct. 15, 1892, a 22-year-old Cincinnati Reds right-hander by the name of Bumpus Jones (no, seriously) blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates on the final day of the National League season. (Of course, if you expand that to first career start, two more have joined the club: On May 6, 1953, Bobo Holloman of the St. Louis Browns completed arguably the most unlikely no-no in history, as the 30-year-old journeyman blanked the Philadelphia A’s in what would go down as his only Major League season. And just a couple of years ago, on Aug. 14, 2021, Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Tyler Gilbert no-hit the San Diego Padres after making only three previous relief appearances.)
Still, no-hitter or not, it was a spectacular debut from a guy who began the year a bit buried behind other Dodgers pitching prospects like Miller, Gavin Stone and Ryan Pepiot. Just a sixth-round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Boston College, Sheehan was expected to spend most of the year at Double-A Tulsa. But he’d been too dominant to be denied so far this season, with a 1.86 ERA and a 3.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio. With Stone struggling mightily in his first taste of the Majors and Pepiot (along with Urias and May) injured, L.A was forced to make the call.
The Dodgers as a franchise have thrown 26 no-hitters. The most recent of which occurred during the 2018 season, when four pitches combined for a no-no on May 4 against the Padres.