Using players from an organization’s farm system is an important part of any successful team’s strategy. With the upcoming roster expansion teams will be able to call up players to supplement their roster for the playoff push. Pete Hodges has some possible Major League Baseball September call ups to look forward to.
On September 1, the rosters for Major League Baseball teams expand from 25 to 40 players. Teams will use this expansion in multiple ways, ranging from bolstering exhausted bullpens with quad-A filler to giving five-star prospects their first taste of the big leagues. So far 2015 has seen many of the top prospects in baseball called up: 12 of Baseball America’s pre-season top 20 prospects are now in the big leagues. However, there remain plenty of prospects in AA and AAA that are deserving of promotions when rosters expand.
Jose Berrios: The Minnesota Twins’ top pitching prospect has had an excellent year, but is running up against his reasonable innings limit. He has already thrown 155 ⅓ innings after logging 140 IP last year. Assuming that the Twins use a 30% increase in innings as suggested by Mike Beradino, Berrios would be limited to 180 innings pitched this year. The Twins could use him out of the bullpen, currently ranked tenth in the AL by FIP. Berrios features a plus fastball that sits between 93-96-mph with the ability to touch 98, which could prove very effective coming out of the bullpen.
Alex Meyer: Meyer has had a rocky 2015, but turned it around in August with a 2.41 ERA and 8.7 K/9 over 18 ⅔ innings. In six of his eight August appearances, he has thrown 2 or more innings, which could mean that the Twins plan to use him as a long-man out of their bullpen. Pairing Meyer with Berrios could provide a valuable boost to Minnesota’s struggling bullpen, and help the Twins grab the second wild card.
Luke Jackson: The failed Texas Rangers starting prospect has found new life in the bullpen. Jackson has always had the ability to strike out batters, but it has come with a high number of walks. In Jackson’s five starts at the beginning of the season, he had a 5.24 BB/9 and a 6.85 K/9. However, since he has been shifted to a bullpen role, Jackson has slightly reduced his BB/9 to 4.15 to go along with an eye-popping 12.67 K/9. The Rangers have the twelfth-ranked bullpen by FIP, and Jackson could help their cause with his ability to strike batters out.
Aaron Judge: The New York Yankees have said that they do not plan to call up their top prospect, but an injury to an outfielder could force the Yankees, who are trying to win the AL East, to bring up the young slugger. The 23-year-old outfielder started the season in AA, but was promoted after putting up an .866 OPS, and now sports a .726 OPS over 52 games at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Brandon Finnegan: Finnegan was traded from Kansas City to Cincinnati in the Johnny Cueto deal. While in KC this year, Finnegan was sent up and down three times, pitching in the bullpen while in the big leagues but primarily in the rotation in the minors. Since being traded he’s made six starts with the Louisville Bats, sporting an ugly 5.32 ERA in 24 ⅓ innings. However, the Reds could use another starter in the big leagues so Finnegan should get the call at some point in September despite the mediocre recent results.
Corey Seager: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ top prospect has hit well enough in 101 games in AAA to earn the call with a .776 OPS, 13 home runs and a 14% strikeout rate. Seager could be promoted to back up both shortstop and third base while providing a solid bat off the bench. One thing holding back this move, however, is that the Dodgers would need to make room on their 40-man roster to call Seager up.
Aaron Blair: The Arizona Diamondbacks are not making the playoffs this year, but they still have to play out the schedule. Blair has proven that he is ready for the big leagues, and will have innings left to pitch after the minor league season ends; he pitched 154 ⅓ innings last year and has only pitched 149 ⅓ innings so far this year.
Nick Wittgren: The Miami Marlins’ closer of the future seems primed to receive a cup of coffee with the big league club this September. In 58 ⅔ innings in AAA, Wittgren struck out 9.05 batters per nine innings while only walking 1.07. The Marlins don’t have much to look forward to, but Wittgren could give the fans something to cheer for at the end of another fruitless season.
There will be many more call-ups in the coming weeks, as there are every year, but these eight players represent hope for struggling franchises or a chance to help their team make it to the playoffs. Feel free to leave suggestions of players you think will be called up this September in the comments section below.