Earlier tonight on August, 19th, 2020, Dane Dunning made his MLB debut for the Chicago White Sox. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking one in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers. Dane's solid debut was spoiled when he gave up a three-run home run with one out in the top of fifth inning, prompting manager Rick Renteria to pull him from the game on just 73 pitches. However, the White Sox offense responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame to at least ensure that Dane would do no worse than a no decision in his first major league contest.
Born in Fleming Island, Florida, Dane played ball at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Florida, before committing to stay in-state and play at the University of Florida. From 2014 through 2016, Dane was a force to be reckoned with for the Gators. Primarily as a relief pitcher, Dane posted a 12-6 record with a 3.32 ERA in 160 innings pitched. He struck out 170 batters, walked 46, and notched two saves.
Dane earned two collegiate honors that both came during his junior season. He was named a member of the 2016 SEC Community Service/Good Works Team as well as a member of the 2016 NCAA All-Regional Tournament Team. He also helped Florida reach back-to-back College World Series appearances in 2015 and 2016.
After a successful junior year where he posted a 2.29 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 33 appearances, Dane was selected 29th overall in the first round by the Washington Nationals in the 2016 MLB Draft. Dane would not be a National for long, however, as he was one of three players sent to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton on December 7, 2016.
As a highly touted prospect in the White Sox farm system, Dane thrived in the minor leagues and was called up to AA by 2018. Maintaining a 2.76 ERA in 62 innings pitched with 69 strikeouts at the AA level, Dane looked on track to keep climbing the minor league ladder. However, Dane would not finish out the 2018 season due to a right elbow sprain. To make matters worse, he would not get to pitch at all in 2019 as he had to undergo Tommy John surgery right after the conclusion of spring training. Fortunately, the surgery was a success and Dane fully recovered.
A rough fifth inning might have knocked him out of the game, but overall I would say Dane had a fine major league debut. His seven strikeouts of 19 batters faced is encouraging. I have no idea if the White Sox will keep him in the rotation or if they just needed a guy to throw a game in the middle of the week. Regardless, Dane made a whole lot of us proud tonight. It was great to see a guy I watched for three years at UF finally get his opportunity in the MLB. That being said, Dane becomes the fourth member of the 2016 Gator draft class to reach the big leagues along side A.J. Puk (Oakland Athletics), Peter Alonso (New York Mets), and Shaun Anderson (San Francisco Giants).