5 MLB Call-Ups That Clearly Weren't Ready for 'The Show'
For every prospect that excels following a promotion to the major leagues, there are countless others who, for some specific reason, struggle. Most of the time, the problems stem from an unresolved issue from the minor leagues, such as poor plate discipline or the inability to command a certain pitch. Other prospects are seemingly rushed to the major leagues in the wake of an injury.
Sometimes we forget that not every prospect possesses superstar potential, regardless of what his minor league production may suggest.
So to put things in perspective, here’s a look at five prospects who struggled after finally getting the call.
Charlie Culberson, 2B, Colorado Rockies
MLB Stats: .136/.136/.136, 0 XBH, 7 K, 0 BB (6 G); -0.2 WAR
Culberson had a cup of coffee with the Giants in May when the team was desperately seeking production from a middle infielder. The 23-year-old hardly seized the opportunity though, collecting only three singles in 22 at-bats.
He was ultimately traded to the Rockies around the deadline in exchange for veteran infielder Marco Scutaro. The change of scenery has done wonders for Culberson, who batted .336/.344/.488 with 14 extra-base hits in 30 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS/3B, Toronto Blue Jays
MLB Stats: .228/.262/.316, 5 XBH, 25 K, 3 BB (27 G); -0.3 WAR
A shortstop exclusively in the minor leagues, Hechavarria was called up to play third base when Brett Lawrie landed on the disabled list.
The athletic 23-year-old is excellent defensively, but there are still concerns about his bat, as he’s a free-swinger with below-average power and strikes out too often. It’s difficult to say whether his plate discipline will ever improve, but until it does, Hechavarria’s poor approach will be exploited in the major leagues.
Shawn Tolleson, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB Stats: 1-1, 29.1 IP, 4.60 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 4.6 BB/9 (31 G); -0.1 WAR
Tolleson breezed through the minors, recording 47 saves with a 1.35 ERA and 13.4 K/9 rate over 102 games. And with his excellent command of a plus fastball and slider, the right-hander has the making of a future closer.
Although he’s battled injuries at times this season, the 24-year-old has still appeared in 31 games for the Dodgers. However, his command has been inconsistent, as reflected by his 4.6 BB/9 rate.
Joe Wieland, RHP, San Diego Padres
MLB Stats: 0-4, 27.2 IP, 4.55 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 24 K, 9 BB (5 GS); -0.3 WAR
Despite making only two starts at Triple-A to begin the year, the Padres called up Wieland in mid-April to replace the injured Corey Luebke in their starting rotation.
The 22-year-old was decent in his five starts, largely due to his above-average command of three pitches. However, he at times looked like a pitcher with virtually no experience above Double-A, as neither he nor the Padres were expecting such an early arrival.
Wieland's season ended prematurely in July when he underwent Tommy John surgery.
Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs
MLB Stats: .103/.155/.205, 4 XBH (2 HR), 5 RBI, 27 K, 4 BB (26 G); -1.0 WAR
After posting an .869 OPS with 32 doubles and 17 home runs at Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs promoted Vitters and fellow prospect Brett Jackson when the rosters expanded on Sept. 1.
Since then, however, Vitters has struggled—mightily. In addition to amassing 27 strikeouts in 78 at-bats, he also battled through an 0-for-21 slump. The Cubs would love to make him their third baseman in 2013, but his unconvincing performance this September may force them to explore an alternative.
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