Diamondbacks' CF Adam Eaton
As we attempt to gauge the potential impact of various prospects through their brief exposures in September, it’s nearly impossible to predict whether a player will begin the 2013 season in the major leagues.
So much can happen between now and then, as injuries and trades can quickly alter a prospect’s outlook within their organization. At the same time, the team may ultimately decide that, despite an impressive performance in a limited role in the major leagues, its highly-touted prospect would benefit from additional experience in the minors.
However, of the countless September call-ups throughout the major leagues, there are several players who I believe will be on the 2013 Opening Day active roster. And with a full season to showcase their potential, some of these players seem poised to become viable Rookie of the Year candidates a year from now.
Here are five September call-ups who should content for their league’s respective Rookie of the Year honor in 2013.
Garcia wasn’t technically a September call-up considering that the Tigers promoted him from Double-A to the major leagues on August 31. However, he didn’t receive his first big league at-bat until the calendar turned over, so I’ve decided to include him anyway.
The 6’4”, 240-pound outfielder is a physical specimen on the field with surprising athleticism and tools relative to his size. Originally expected to see playing time against left-handed pitching, Garcia has hit so well (.368/.415/.368) that he’s received more looks than anticipated.
Given his performance in the heat of the playoff race, it seems as though the right-handed hitter is here to stay, as he possesses considerably more upside than a Brennan Boesh or Andy Dirks.
In a near-everyday role in 2013, Garcia may surprise some people with his consistent offensive production.
As we all know by now, Dylan Bundy was not supposed to be a September call-up. (However, he definitely should have been.) But after an 18-inning contest against the Mariners on Sept. 20, the Orioles’ decision to promote the 19-year-old was based on necessity.
Bundy has since appeared in two games out of the O’s bullpen, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings without notching his first big league strikeout.
It’s hard to say with certainty what the right-hander’s role will be in 2013. My guess is that he begins the season at either Double-A or Triple-A and reaches the major leagues around the All-Star break. However, depending on how he fares over the final eight games, the chance of Bundy breaking camp with the Orioles cannot be ruled out.
Chris Young’s lingering hamstring tightness and Gerrardo Parra’s mediocre play opened the door for Eaton in September, and he’s shown no signs of relinquishing that role.
After batting .381/.456/.539 with 119 runs, 46 doubles, 53 walks and 38 stolen bases at Triple-A Reno, the speedy centerfielder was named the Pacific Coast League’s rookie of the year and most valuable player. Not bad for a guy who was considered to be, at best, an organizational fourth outfielder headed into the 2012 season.
Since debuting on Sept. 4, Eaton has served as the Diamondbacks’ everyday centerfielder and leadoff hitter and has batted .222/.364/.389 with 16 runs scored, six extra-base hits and 14 walks in 18 games.
His impressive, yet under-the-radar skill set continues to turn heads, and he may have earned himself a shot as the team’s centerfielder in 2013.
Ok, so Straily made three starts in August. However, he was correspondingly optioned back to Triple-A Sacramento with the activation of Brandon McCarty and Brett Anderson from the disabled list.
Well, after both of the aforementioned pitchers once again landed on the disabled list with season-ending injuries, Straily was recalled for the second time this season on Sept. 11.
In his second stint with the A’s this season, the right-hander has pitched well. Aside from a rough outing on Sept. 16 against the Orioles, Straily has allowed four earned runs on 12 hits in two of his three starts spanning 13.1 innings. What’s most impressive, though, is that he’s flashed the ability that made him one of the top pitchers in the minor leagues this season, highlighted by a 16/3 strikeout-to-walk rate since his return.
After a dismal first half of the season at Triple-A Memphis, Miller returned to his pre-2012 form, posting a 7-2 record, 2.88 ERA, .217 BAA and 70/7 strikeout-to-walk rate after the All-Star break..
His impressive second half ultimately earned the 21-year-old right-hander a call-up on Sept. 1, and he’s appeared in four games out of the Cardinals’ bullpen.
Overall, Miller has logged 6.2 innings in which he’s allowed two earned runs on eight hits and two walks while registering eight strikeouts.
His role as a reliever is only temporary and based on the team’s current needs, but his second-half success both in Triple-A and the major leagues should make him a viable candidate for a backend slot in the 2013 starting rotation.