Early Grades for the Top 10 September MLB Call-Ups
Since MLB rosters expanded from 25 to 40 players on Sept. 1, there are prospects—some more well-known than others—who have already made an impact with their respective organizations. As the month plays out, there will be more prospects called up capable of strengthening their team.
While some performances have been more notable than others, such as Jurickson Profar’s homer in his first career at-bat or Shelby Miller’s four strikeouts in his two-inning big league debut, they aren’t the only players whose first week in the major leagues is worth recognizing.
Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers
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The youngest player in Double-A all season, the 19-year-old has thrived, making easy adjustments without showing any concerning holes in his game. He possesses an above-average hit tool from both sides of the plate that's highlighted by quick wrists and an advanced feel for the strike zone.
At the time of his call-up to the major leagues, Jurickson Profar was batting .281/.368/.452 with 135 hits, 26 doubles, seven triples, 14 home runs, 16 stolen bases, 79 strikeouts and 66 walks for Double-A Frisco.
Profar blasted a solo home run (from the left side of the plate) in his first big league at-bat. The switch-hitter followed the solo shot with an opposite-field double in his second at-bat and finished the game 2-for-4.
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
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Less than two months ago, it seemed highly doubtful that Shelby Miller would be a September call-up. The 6’3”, 195-pound right-hander owned a 4-8 record, 6.17 ERA and .291 opponent batting average, with 90 strikeouts, 43 walks and 17 home runs allowed in 77.1 innings for Triple-A Memphis.
However, Miller’s second half has been an entirely different story; he rediscovered the ability that made him the No. 4 prospect headed into the 2012 season.
In his 10 starts following the All-Star break, he went 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .217 batting average. More importantly, Miller recorded 70 strikeouts while issuing only seven walks in 59.1 innings.
He was especially dominant in August, posting a 5-1 record and 2.89 ERA with 53 strikeouts and four walks in a little over 37 innings.
In his highly-anticipated major league debut on Wednesday, Miller tossed two scoreless innings against the Mets, allowing one single with four strikeouts. His fastball velocity improved with each batter, as he initially worked in the low 90s before scraping 95 mph with his final fastball.
Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
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Selected in the 19th round of the 2010 draft out of Miami University (Ohio), Adam Eaton has never received much love due to his 5'8", 185-pound stature. While his overall game isn't blinding, the outfielder is a well-rounded player capable of surprising people.
In his first full professional season in 2011, the left-handed hitter batted .318/.434/.463 with 39 extra-base hits, 34 doubles and 72 walks in 121 games between High-A and Double-A.
He was even more impressive at both Double-A and Triple-A this season, batting .375/.456/.523 with 198 hits, 59 extra-base hits, 44 stolen bases and 59 walks. He recently was named the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the Pacific Coast League.
In his major league debut on Tuesday night, Eaton was 2-for-6 with a ringing, opposite-field double, single and run scored against the Giants.
Over his first two games, he is 4-for-11 with three runs scored.
Nick Maronde, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
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One of the more surprising call-ups thus far, Nick Maronde was the Angels' third-round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Florida.
The 22-year-old left-hander possesses a plus fastball and slider, as well as a changeup that has steadily improved. He profiles as much as a starter as he does a reliever.
Logging 99.2 innings this season (only 32.1 at Double-A), Maronde posted a 6-4 record with a 2.26 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 90 strikeouts and 19 walks.
Appearing in two games spanning 1.1 innings, Maronde has fanned each of the four hitters he's faced. It seems as though he’ll be used as a late-inning, situational reliever primarily against left-handed hitters.
Avisail Garcia, OF, Detroit Tigers
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At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Avisail Garcia projects to be a corner player with at least above-average power from the right side of the plate. His hit tool remains suspect, however, as he struggles with pitch recognition and often chases offspeed offerings out of the strike zone.
As the Tigers' top outfield prospect, Garcia has the tools to handle right field, and he has surprising speed for a player of his size with a plus arm and excellent carry. If he outgrows the position, there's a chance that he ultimately winds up at first base.
Due to the fact that he was signed at a young age in 2007, Garcia was already on the 40-man roster.
Strikeouts continue to be a problem, with 451 in 523 career minor league games.
Prior to his promotion, Garcia was batting .299/.333/.455 with 14 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 122 games between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie.
Appearing in five games, including three starts, Garcia is 4-for-8 with an RBI and walk.
Brock Holt, SS/2B, Pittsburgh Pirates
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Selected in the ninth round of the 2009 draft by the Pirates, the 24-year-old has received his first big league call-up after ascending the system in four seasons.
A 5'10", 165-pound left-handed hitter, Brock Holt has a respectable hit tool, but no power. In 371 career minor league games, he's batting .317/.381/.427 with 87 doubles, 19 triples, 11 home runs, 49 stolen bases and 206 walks.
Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Holt is batting .344/.406/.453 and has committed 23 errors in 98 games at shortstop.
Since debuting on Sept. 1, Holt is batting .438 (7-for-16) with a double and three RBI over five games.
On Tuesday night, Holt was a catalyst in the Pirates' 6-2 win over Houston, going 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.
Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
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At 6’2”, 240 pounds, Wily Peralta throws a heavy fastball with late, arm-side sink that induces more groundouts than strikeouts. His command of the pitch still can vary, but he’s improved his command over the second half of the season.
The right-hander also features a slider and changeup, the latter of which can still be fringy. For both pitches, when Peralta establishes his fastball command, they have a tendency to grade up and be more effective offerings.
He struggled through the first half of the season, posting a 5-8 record with a 5.10 ERA, .277 opponent batting average and 2.11 GB/FB rate in 90 innings.
Since the All-Star break, though, Peralta has turned around his 2012 campaign. In 56.2 innings spanning 10 starts, the right-hander registered a 2.78 ERA, .179 opponent batting average and 1.54 GB/FB rate.
Overall, he recorded 143 strikeouts, issued 78 walks and registered a 1.88 GB/FB rate in 146.2 innings.
In his first major league start on Wednesday, Peralta picked up the win after allowing three earned runs on five hits and four walks while collecting three strikeouts over six innings.
Jeurys Familia, RHP, New York Mets
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At 6’4”, 230 pounds, Jeurys Familia possesses a power arm that generates mid- to upper-90s fastballs. The right-hander’s primary offspeed pitch is his slider, which grades out as above average when he’s able to locate and utilize it in relation to his heater. He also throws a changeup, although it’s noticeably a less developed offering.
Despite being 22 years old, Familia has seemingly struggled with his command for years, and this season was no different.
Making 28 starts for Triple-A Buffalo, Familia posted a 9-9 record with a 4.73 ERA and 1.59 WHIP with 128 strikeouts and 73 walks in 137 innings.
The right-hander made his long-awaited big league debut on Tuesday, giving up a hit while notching a strikeout in a scoreless inning against the Cardinals.
Russ Canzler, IF/OF, Cleveland Indians
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Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 30th round of the 2004 draft, Russ Canzler spent six seasons in the organization before he was signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2011 season. The Indians inked him as a free agent headed into the 2012 season.
In nine minor league seasons, the 6'2", 225-pounder has seen time at first base, third base and in the outfield. He has posted a career minor league batting average of .278/.347/.472 with 208 doubles, 106 home runs and 721 strikeouts in 868 games.
His only major league experience came last season when he was 1-for-3 in three games with the Rays.
Since his promotion on Sept. 1, Canzler is 5-for-16 with a double and three strikeouts in four games, playing primarily left field.
David Lough, OF, Kansas City Royals
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A 26-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder, David Lough was an 11th-round selection by the Royals in the 2007 draft.
Having spent the last three seasons at Triple-A Omaha, one can assume that his September call-up was more than welcomed.
In six minor league seasons, Lough has batted .294/.346/.458 with 115 doubles, 49 triples, 62 home runs and 91 stolen bases in 640 games.
Prior to the news of his promotion, he was batting .275/.317/.420 with 40 extra-base hits and 26 stolen bases in 130 games at Triple-A.
Since debuting on Sept. 1, Lough is 5-for-17 with a double, stolen base and RBI over four games.