Phillies fans have another intriguing rookie to follow in OF Matt Vierling.
In his first MLB career plate appearance as a pinch-hitter opposite the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, Vierling logged a single to right field. He ended up scoring an important insurance run that sixth inning, giving the Phillies a two-run advantage in the eventual 13-6 victory.
The Phillies drafted the 24-year-old outfielder in the fifth round of the 2018 draft out of the University of Notre Dame. Three years prior, the St. Louis Cardinals drafted Vierling, who is from the area, but he chose to join the Fighting Irish instead. According to WSBT’s Samantha Waddell, Vierling is the 93rd Irish player to make their MLB debut.
Listed at 6-foot-3, the right-handed hitter was promoted from Triple-A LeHigh Valley this weekend as the replacement to injured outfielder Matt Joyce (low back strain). Vierling was only recently promoted to Triple-A after a strong start to the season with the Reading Fightin’ Phils — slashing .354/.426/.616 with six doubles, one triple, six home runs, and 17 RBI in 27 games. In only 12 at-bats over three games with Triple-A, Vierling hit five singles and drove in a run.
Coincidentally, Vierling’s first Triple-A hit last week opposite the Worcester Red Sox also went the other way, as did his first big-league hit on Saturday.
The young outfielder is having a bounce-back year overall after his disappointing 2019 season with the Clearwater Threshers, hitting just .232 across 118 games. As Maton and Williams have shown, there can be roles established and opportunities for growth for rookies on the 2021 Phillies roster.
While not all players will hit a walk-off home run in their first week in the Majors as Williams did, Vierling — who can play all three outfield positions — will surely get his chance to shine at some point as well.