This Utah native just dominated in his MLB debut

Porter Hodge of the Chicago Cubs poses during a spring training photo shoot this past February. Hodge is a Cottonwood High School graduate and made his MLB debut with the Cubs Wednesday night.

Despite a rather forgettable 9-2 loss Wednesday night, the Chicago Cubs did enjoy one surprising, show-stopping performance.

Salt Lake City native Porter Hodge made his major league debut with the club, quietly taking the mound in the top of the ninth inning and leaving to a loud ovation after recording three strikeouts in just 10 pitches.

Such an effort would be impressive against anyone, but the former Cottonwood Colt did it against Atlanta Braves stars Ozzie Albies, Marcell Ozuna and Matt Olson — a trio that combined for 127 home runs last year and have all received MVP votes multiple times in their careers.

Hodge kept his approach simple, pounding the zone with 10 consecutive fastballs, all between 95-96 miles per hour, and no one could touch him.

“Man, Porter was unbelievable,” Cubs outfielder Ian Happ said after the game. “Just in the zone, filling it up. The fastball’s pretty unique and to make it through that part of the lineup with that dominance is pretty cool to see.”

Per the Marquee Sports Network, Hodge was the first Cubs pitcher to punch out all three batters he faced in his MLB debut since 2003.

Hodge was called up to the big leagues this past Friday to replace an injured Chicago reliever, having been added to the 40-man roster in December as an indication that he would be in the organization’s future plans.

Drafted in the 13th round in 2019, Hodge has appeared in 91 total minor league games, sporting a 4.37 earned run average with 338 strikeouts in 263.2 innings of work. At the time of his debut, the 6-foot-4 right hander was rated as the Cubs’ No. 23 overall prospect.

Cottonwood's starting pitcher Porter Hodge (32) throws a pitch in the second inning as Jordan High School takes on Cottonwood High School in prep baseball action at Jordan High School in Sandy on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
Cottonwood's Porter Hodge (32) throws a pitch against Jordan High School on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Hodge made his MLB debut Wednesday night for the Chicago Cubs and struck out all three batters he faced. | Adam Fondren, Deseret News

A two-time state champion at Cottonwood, Hodge earned 5A state MVP honors as a senior in 2019, where he posted an 8-0 record with a 1.00 ERA and 63 strikeouts. He originally committed to play college ball for the University of Utah until Chicago came calling in the draft.

Hodge is the 45th Utah-born player to play in Major League Baseball since the league’s inception. The only other Beehive Staters currently in “the show” are Milwaukee Brewers infielder Oliver Dunn and Chicago White Sox pitcher Tanner Banks.