There are a few exciting names up today. You’ve got your Maikel Franco in Philly, your Joc Pederson in Los Angeles and your Daniel Norris in Toronto. They’ve been called up to the bigs! But, due to innings limits on young arms, and roster crunches on teams now as much as 50% larger, it’s fair to ask. Will any of these youngsters play regularly?
Baltimore has Christian Walker, an interesting young first baseman, but he’s not on the 40-man, and wasn’t called up yesterday. Henry Urrutia will join Alejandro De Aza and Kelly Johnson in a suddenly-crowded situation on the fringes of the roster. I’d imagine de Aza and Steve Pearce take most of Lough’s time as Johnson often pushes Chris Davis back to first base.
The Blue Jays, on the other hand, took the jump and called up two non-roster prospects that are very exciting. Daniel Norris has cleaned up his delivery and is showing some of the best command of his lift to go along with great stuff. Dalton Pompey has come on this year and looks like a starting major league outfielder now. Both should actually play some and make great pickups for keeper league owners that are out of it as well as redrafters looking for a boost.
Unfortunately, Norris doesn’t have a ton of innings left and will be used in long relief. Pompey has been playing center field exclusively and Colby Rasmus is a free agent at the end of the season. This is one of the few situations where the young player could really get all the burn he can get — and make an impact with power and speed. Anthony Gose is up, too, though, so you have to admit there’s risk there.
Alex Avila has been having a decent year for the Tigers, but prospect James McCann is up. If you have space for a right-handed catcher that will probably play a good amount against lefties, then McCann could give you a little bit of pop and maybe even steal you a base in those situations. Outfielder Steven Moya is also up, but has a contact problem. He’s probably a pinch hitter against right-handed pitching at most.
The Dodgers called up Alex Guerrero, but since he signed he’s lost not only some ear, but also his job to the resurgent Dee Gordon. The Dodgers have responded by trying him some at third and in the outfield, so there’s a crack of daylight for his playing time. But Juan Uribe is once again a plus defender, and while he’s enjoying good batted ball luck, there’s no guaranteed that Guerrero would be any better going forward. After all, Guerrero is 27 and coming out of the Pacific Coast League, so you have to heavily discount his power numbers. And in the outfield? He joins super-prospect Joc Pederson behind the four quality guys they’ve got. If Pederson will mostly be a pinch-hitter and runner, Guerrero doesn’t have much of a chance out there.
The Royals called up what might be your lowest-ceiling prospect with the best chance of actually helping down the stretch: Brandon Finnegan. He’s got more gas than Francisley Bueno, and so therefore he may become the primary lefty in that pen quickly. HOLDS man, HOLDS!
Maikel Franco was a preseason favorite among prospect hounds. Then he sucked for a month or two. But he’s been better recently, and now he’s back with the Phillies. Now they have two guys on the hot corner that are butchers with the gloves and have a little power and some question marks when it comes to plate discipline. One’s lefty (Cody Asche) and Franco’s the righty, so that’s a bad sign if they share time. Also, the team has come forward and said Asche won’t change positions right now, so Franco’s playing time prospects are as murky as most September callups.
There is one September guy that deserves to be a pickup in most leagues. There are no real caveats here (except the ones that are attached to any young player). He should come up and have a rotation spot ready for him, and the innings left to take advantage. Because of his lost time, Taijuan Walker has only thrown 103.1 innings to last year’s 156.2. He’s shown his patented great strikeout ability and the walks weren’t bad in Triple-A. Between Chris Young and Roenis Elias, you’d think his team could find a place for him in the rotation.
And there’s the news… Walker will pitch out of the bullpen.
Sigh. September callups are for suckers.
Quick Take — Dalton Pompey is the most interesting bat once playing time is factored in, but even he has to overcome Colby Rasmus and Anthony Gose. If holds are your thing, Daniel Norris, Taijuan Walker and Brandon Finnegan are all good bets, though Walker might be used more in long relief. None of these players are a must-have in standard re-drafts, with Walker stashable as a possible late-season starting rotation boost.
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