MLB Prospects & Call-Ups
This week, I took to the phones and email to try to get a scoop on which prospects will get called up when rosters expand to 40 players on September 1. I put in some work trying to track down information on rookies and sleepers from all 30 major league teams, and though the responses I got were limited, they were certainly helpful.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe each told me that their employers forbid them from sharing any of their information. That’s tough, but fair, even though it violates the principles of a free exchange of information. Newspapers compete for readers. It’s a money business. So if you’re interested in reading what Mr. Biertempfel or Mr. Abraham have to write about the Pirates or Red Sox, pick up a copy of their papers or read their content online.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel indicated that the Brewers likely wouldn’t make any significant callups in September. Jimmy Nelson and Mike Fiers are already up with the big club, contributing to the rotation, and the Brew Crew doesn’t really have any other significant guys ready in their system (my words, not Tom’s).
Toronto Blue Jays
Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star named eight Blue Jays who might be up in September, some that we’ve seen before in the bigs: Ryan Goins, Anthony Gose, Chad Jenkins, Rob Rasmussen, Dan Johnson, Daniel Norris, Sergio Santos and Steve Delabar.
Gose and Jenkins are locks to be up, based upon Kennedy’s educated guesses. Goins, Johnson and Rasmussen are strong bets. For the other pitchers, it will depend on how each pitched over the next few weeks.
Anthony Gose may be an interesting fantasy option down the stretch for a team needing to move up the ladder in the stolen base category. In 175 AB with Toronto this year, Gose slashed just .234/.333/.291, but he manages to swipe 14 bases. He was sent back with Edwin Encarnacion's recent return from the disabled list, but Gose should be back on September 1 at the latest.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times believes that Joc Pederson and Alex Guerrero will be up in September, which makes for a pair of interesting guys to look at down the stretch. I spent a lot of time at Dodgers camp this spring, and I was impressed with what I saw from Pederson.
Though he's has been blocked all season by the Dodgers’ veteran outfielders, and I’m sure he was the subject of a lot of trade negotiations at the deadline, Pederson is a true five-tool player at centerfield who has dominated a Triple-A Albuquerque this season with 30 HR, 28 steals and a .298/.428/.571 triple slash line. He is projected to be a solid contributor in the big leagues for a long time-- he just needs a place to play.
Alex Guerrero is best known for getting a chunk of his ear bitten off in a scuffle with former teammate Miguel Olivo, but before this season, Guerrero was the front-runner to take over second base for the Dodgers. Dee Gordon changed all that with a strong spring and a fast start. Like Pederson, Guerrero has played like a major leaguer stuck in the minors this season, putting up a .317/.356/.561 line in Albuquerque.
With Gordon entrenched at second base, Guerrero could maybe see time as a utility infielder down the stretch. He played shortstop in Cuba, but the Dodgers converted him to the keystone due to Hanley Ramirez’s presence on the team. Hanley is on the DL, though, and the Dodgers have turned to Miguel Rojas to fill the gap. Juan Uribe is also on the DL, so L.A. may look to add a little more offense to the left side of their infield.
Finally, Matt Mowery of the Oakland (Michigan) Press filled me in on potential Detroit Tiger callups. Prefacing his remarks with the caveat that they are opinion only and don't directly from the organization, he said that he expects to see catcher James McCann and infielder Hernan Perez called up in September. Mowery said that he’s surprised that McCann is not already up.
McCann is a defense-first catcher whose bat probably won’t play in most fantasy leagues-- his baseball value comes from his work behind the plate and his handling of the pitching staff. McCann is more of a gap hitter than a power threat. He has six homers in 425 at bats at Triple-A Toledo this season, but he sports an impressive .305/.355/.436 line. With Alex Avila hitting .220 and Victor Martinez’s catching career all but over, McCann could see time down the stretch.