Guardians rookie loses bat in 1st career at-bat, then homers on next pitch


BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 26: Jhonkensy Noel #43 of the Cleveland Guardians loses his bat on a swing during his first major league at-bat in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 26, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. Jhonkensy Noel makes his major league debut. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Jhonkensy Noel had a fun first at-bat. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Many rookies have made their MLB debuts this season, but none were as eventful as the first at-bat of Cleveland Guardians prospect Jhonkensy Noel.

Facing Baltimore Orioles starter Grayson Rodriguez in the second inning on Wednesday, Noel held off from the first pitch for ball 1. Then came a 97 mph fastball in the zone that Noel foul-tipped, and lost his bat in the process. As in, it slipped out of his hands.

That fun moment got even better on the next pitch, when Noel clobbered another 97 mph fastball into the home bullpen at Camden Yards.

Among those watching was the Guardian’s Triple-A team in Columbus, who spent a rain delay watching their recent teammate open his MLB career with a homer.

That’s a first career hit and home run for Noel, who finished the day 1-for-4 with that homer and two strikeouts. The Orioles won 4-2, however, as Rodriguez recovered from the home run to throw seven innings with two earned runs allowed.

Noel is ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the Cleveland system by MLB Pipeline, with his power naturally rated as his best tool. Before his call-up, he was hitting .295/.359/.578 with 18 homers in 65 games for Columbus.



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