Latest Grades for All 30 MLB Teams' Top September Call-Up
With seven days remaining in the regular season, it’s hard to turn on a baseball game without getting a look at one or two prospects. And seeing as how there will not be any more prospects promoted to the big leagues this season, it’s time to review every team’s top September call-up.
To determine the player(s) from each team to feature, I looked at prospects promoted on or after Sept. 1. Furthermore, it was also important to consider whether they still have “rookie” status (fewer than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched). So, while Matt LaPorta was once again a September call-up, his prospect expiration date has come and gone.
While some of these prospects have the potential to make an impact in the major leagues as early as next season, a majority are in the midst of a trial period in which the organization attempts to determine what exactly it has on its hands.
Here are updated grades for each team’s top September call-ups.
Atlanta Braves: Andrelton Simmons, SS
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Originally called up in early June to replace the struggling Tyler Pastornicky, Simmons enjoyed a hot start, hitting .333/.365/.522 with 10 extra-base hits and 14 RBI in his first 25 games.
However, a fractured right hand landed him on the disabled list on July 13, and the 23-year-old didn’t return until Sept. 10. So, technically, Simmons is not a true September call-up. But considering that Julio Teheran was not called up, I had to get creative.
Simmons hasn’t shown the same pop he did in June, but that’s understandable considering the nature of his injury. His defense continues to be spectacular; even though his 359 innings played is a small sample, Simmons’ 31.6 UZR/150 is the highest among all major league shortstops.
Washington Nationals: Christian Garcia, RHP
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After eight years in the minor leagues, several lost due to arm injuries, Garcia received a long-awaited promotion on Sept. 1. Appearing in 45 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season, the 27-year-old saved 21 games and registered a 0.86 ERA, 11.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.
Since making his debut on Sept. 4, the 6’5” right-hander has appeared in nine games for the Nats and has a 3.38 ERA, 12.4 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 through eight innings. In my opinion, Garcia is a player worth adding to the postseason roster.
Miami Marlins: Tom Koehler, RHP
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Despite a mediocre performance at Triple-A New Orleans—and he was even repeating the level—the Marlins made Koehler, 26, one of their September call-ups.
A starter in the minor leagues, the right-hander has been used as a mop-up guy out of the bullpen, appearing in four games.
His 6.00 ERA in six innings is a bit misleading, as it’s a product of the two home runs he’s surrendered. Beyond that, his peripheral stats are impressive: .217 BAA, 12.0 K/9 and 1.50 BB/9.
Philadelphia Phillies: Darin Ruf, 1B, and Justin De Fratus, RHP
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After leading all of the minor leagues with 38 home runs—highlighted by 20 in August—Ruf, 26, was promoted from Double-A in mid-September following the conclusion of the Eastern League playoffs.
His playing time has been limited, but he did record his first major league hit in his first career start on Tuesday night. That it was a home run put the finishing touch on what has been an impressive season.
In five games, Ruf, a right-handed hitter, is 3-for-9 with two RBI.
A September call-up for the second consecutive season, De Fratus missed significant time this season with an elbow injury. However, upon returning in mid-July, the 24-year-old right-hander pitched extremely well in Triple-A.
Appearing in 10 games since he was recalled, De Fratus has posted a 4.32 ERA with eight strikeouts and four walks in 8.1 innings. His ERA sat at a minuscule 1.17 until Wednesday night when he surrendered three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
New York Mets: Jeurys Familia, RHP
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After emerging as one of the Mets’ top pitching prospects following an impressive 2011 season, Familia struggled with his command this season at Triple-A Buffalo. Perhaps the 22-year-old was rushed, but he also struggled in his first stint at High-A only to dominate the level the following year.
Since his promotion to the major leagues, Familia has been used in relief and has been inconsistent. In 8.1 innings, the right-hander owns an 8.64 ERA with seven strikeouts and three walks.
St. Louis Cardinals: Shelby Miller, RHP
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One of the top pitching prospects in the game heading into the 2012 season, Miller, 21, had an atrocious first half. However, the second half was a different story, as the right-hander rediscovered the form that made him so successful in 2011.
After the All-Star break, Miller posted a 7-2 record, 2.88 ERA and .217 BAA with 70 strikeouts to just seven walks. His success was rewarded with a promotion to the major leagues, where he’s registered a 2.35 ERA with nine strikeouts and two walks in 7.2 innings. He’s pitched roughly every five days, and four of his five appearances have been scoreless.
Cincinnati Reds: Tony Cingrani, LHP
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Beginning his first full professional season at High-A, Cingrani, 23, emerged as one of the top pitchers in the minor leagues. Between two levels, the left-hander was 10-4 with a 1.73 ERA, .191 BAA and 172 K/52 BB in 146 innings.
Despite his dominant season, Cingrani was not expected to be a September call-up. However, he’s thrived in his two big-league appearances, registering a 2.08 ERA and 8 K/1 BB in 4.1 innings.
Houston Astros: Matt Dominguez, 3B
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As I did with Andrelton Simmons, I’m making an exception with Dominguez, who was technically promoted on August 30.
In his second stint with the Astros following a midseason trade from the Marlins, the 23-year-old has shown surprising power given his reputation as a glove-first third baseman.
The right-handed hitter is batting .257/.288/.400 with three home runs and 11 RBI in September and must continue driving in runs to contend for an everyday role next season.
Chicago Cubs: Jaye Chapman, RHP
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One of the prospects traded by the Braves in exchange for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson, Chapman has adapted quickly to his role in the Cubs’ bullpen. In fact, the right-hander has been one of the Cubs' more dependable relievers in September.
Appearing in 10 games, the 25-year-old has registered a 1.93 ERA, .156 BAA and 10 K/8 BB in 9.1 innings.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Justin Wilson, LHP, and Brock Holt, 2B
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After making his debut in late August, Wilson was recalled along with a host of mediocre prospects on Sept. 1. Primarily a starting pitcher this season at Triple-A, the left-hander has been used out of the bullpen in the major leagues.
He’s actually been one of the Pirates’ more reliable relievers (whatever that means) amid an epic collapse for the second consecutive season.
Although he owns a 2.70 ERA through 3.1 innings this month, he’s been somewhat lucky, considering that he's allowed seven hits and three walks.
Called up to the major leagues for the first time on Sept. 1, the undersized left-handed hitter enjoyed a hot start, hitting safely in 10 of his first 12 games. However, the 24-year-old cooled off, and, as a result, has received less playing time.
As somebody who is only, at best, an organizational infielder, Holt has swung a decent bat, with a .295/.333/.361 slash line through his first 61 at-bats.
Milwaukee Brewers: Wily Peralta, RHP
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Peralta, 23, made his big league debut on April 22, logging one inning out of the Brewers’ bullpen before resuming a starting role at Triple-A Nashville. Already on the team’s 40-man roster, the right-hander was recalled when the rosters expanded and has pitched well as a starter.
In four starts this month, Peralta is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA with a 1.56 GB/FB rate and 17 K/10 BB. He seemingly enjoys pitching at Miller Park, as well, where he boasts a 1.20 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with 10 K/2 BB in 15 innings.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Paco Rodriguez, LHP
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Selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, Steven “Paco” Rodriguez became the first player from his draft class to reach the major leagues when he was promoted from Double-A on Sept. 5.
Used as a left-handed specialist out of the Dodgers’ bullpen, the 21-year-old has pitched exceptionally well. Appearing in nine games this month, Rodriguez has posted a 1.59 ERA, .059 BAA and 4/4 K/BB rate over 5.2 innings.
San Francisco Giants: Jean Machi, RHP
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Although he’s far from a prospect at 30 years old, Machi reached the major leagues for the first time with the Giants—his fifth team—after a 10-year minor league career.
Since his promotion, the right-hander has pitched well, save for the rocky outing against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 5. Still, he’s posted a 3.86 ERA and .222 BAA with three strikeouts and one walk in 4.2 innings.
Colorado Rockies: Matt McBride, 1B/OF
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The 27-year-old made his big league debut with the Rockies in early August and posted a .450 OPS with seven strikeouts in nine games. The right-handed hitter endured a brief demotion to Triple-A before he was recalled once again on Sept. 1.
He’s fared much better in his second stint with the Rockies, highlighted by a .250/.268/.400 slash line that includes two home runs and eight RBI. However, it’s still concerning that he’s yet to draw a walk in his first 60 at-bats.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Adam Eaton, CF
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Viewed as a fourth outfielder heading into the season, Eaton, 23, was named the Pacific Coast League’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player after batting .381/.456/.539 with 119 runs, 46 doubles, 53 walks and 38 stolen bases for Triple-A Reno.
Although Chris Young’s hamstring issues opened the door for him, the Diamondbacks already were interested in giving Eaton a fair look. Since making his big league debut on Sept. 4, the left-handed hitter has served as the Diamondbacks’ everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter.
Through 18 games this month, Eaton is batting .222/.364/.389 with 16 runs scored, six extra-base hits and 14 walks in 88 plate appearances.
San Diego Padres: Brad Boxberger, RHP
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Over the course of the season, the Padres recalled Boxberger, a right-handed reliever acquired in the Mat Latos deal, on three occasions. He quickly showed that when he was on, he was on, and when he was off, he was torched.
The 24-year-old’s performance this month has been the best of his nascent big league career, as he owns a 1.86 ERA, .182 BAA and 11 K/4 BB in 9.2 innings.
New York Yankees: Melky Mesa, Outfielder
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It’s not that I want to humiliate Mesa beyond what he’s presumably already endured. But a major leaguer missing third base in a potential game-winning situation should never happen. But if that pinch-running opportunity also happens to be a major league debut, it’s understandable why Mesa was so nervous.
Since he’s yet to receive his first major league at-bat, it’s hard to judge the 25-year-old on anything other than that baserunning gaffe. Unfortunately, Mesa has been the only notable prospect called up by the Yankees this month, so everything he does is highly magnified.
Boston Red Sox: Chris Carpenter, RHP
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After working as a starter during his first two minor league seasons, Carpenter became a full-time reliever in 2011and has quickly pitched his way to the major leagues.
The 26-year-old right-hander has pitched in six games for the Red Sox this month and owns a 1.93 ERA and .188 BAA. However, Carpenter has walked seven batters in 4.2 innings, so his luck may not last forever.
Tampa Bay Rays: Chris Archer, RHP
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Archer was finally able to harness his swing-and-miss arsenal this season, lowering his walk rate while maintaining a high strikeout rate. The 24-year-old right-hander impressed in his two starts in June, and it came as no surprise when he was recalled in early September.
Since his return, Archer has a 3.45 ERA, .218 BAA and 20/9 K/BB ratio in 15.2 innings this month. Despite the Rays already possessing a loaded starting rotation, Archer is a weapon who can be used in either role.
Baltimore Orioles: Dylan Bundy, RHP
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Not expected to pitch in the major leagues this season despite the 19-year-old’s blinding ascent through the minors, Bundy was promoted out of necessity on Sept. 21 after an 18-inning game against the Mariners ravaged the Orioles’ bullpen.
Since his call-up last week, the right-hander has logged 1.2 scoreless innings in relief—he entered both games with the Orioles trailing.
He’s yet to notch his first big league strikeout, though he has flashed all four above-average-to-plus pitches in his arsenal.
Toronto Blue Jays: Anthony Gose, Outfielder
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After the rash of injuries to cornerstone players like Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie, Gose was promoted from Triple-A ahead of schedule and made his big league debut in his age-21 season.
Although the toolsy outfielder spent most of July and August with the team, he was sent back to Triple-A briefly before returning to the major leagues when the roster expanded.
Playing in 21 games this month, Gose is batting .270/.333/.397 with 11 runs scored, five extra-base hits and five stolen bases.
Chicago White Sox: Brian Omogrosso, RHP
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Omogrosso first debuted with the White Sox earlier in the season when he registered a 4.26 ERA over five games in July. The 28-year-old right-hander returned to Triple-A where he bided his time until the rosters expanded on Sept. 1, and he was promoted once again to the big leagues.
On the season, the 6’4”, 230-pounder owns a 2.89 ERA and .222 BAA with 14/8 K/BB in 18.2 innings pitched. He’s been especially sharp in his last two outings, with no earned runs and five strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
Cleveland Indians: Russ Canzler, Outfielder
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The epitome of a Quad-A hitter, the 26-year-old is enjoying his first extended exposure at the major league level after spending nine season in the minors. To his credit, the right-handed hitter has made the most of his opportunity. He's batting .307/.325/.467 with three home runs, 11 RBI and 15 strikeouts in 21 games.
Canzler enjoyed a strong series against the White Sox, as well, going 6-for-12 with two home runs and four RBI over three games.
Detroit Tigers: Avisail Garcia, Outfielder
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As was the case with Andrelton Simmons and Matt Dominguez, I'm making an exception for Garcia, who was promoted from Double-A Bowie on August 31, although he didn’t receive his first at-bat until the following game.
At 6’4”, 240 pounds, Garcia possesses a football-like build with surprising athleticism and baseball skills. Highly regarded for his ability to punish left-handed pitching, the right-handed hitter has hit so well that he’s received additional playing time.
The 21-year-old is batting .368/.415/.368 with three RBI in 18 games. Garcia also is currently enjoying a modest seven-game hit streak in which he’s batting .444 (8-for-18).
Minnesota Twins: Chris Herrmann, C
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There were few players in the Twins’ system worth promoting on Sept. 1. Herrmann, who had just completed his season at Double-A, was a borderline candidate for a call-up. Well, to offer Joe Mauer additional rest, the team ultimately promoted the 24-year-old and he made his big league debut on Sept. 16.
The left-handed hitter failed to collect a hit in his first 10 at-bats, but finally got on the board on Wednesday night with a pinch-hit single against the Yankees.
Kansas City Royals: David Lough, Outfielder
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After six minor league seasons, the last three of which have been at Triple-A Omaha, Lough finally received a promotion to the major leagues on Sept. 1.
The 26-year-old left-handed hitter enjoyed a hot start, collecting eight hits in his first six games. Since then, however, he’s only 2-for-14 over his last eight games.
It is worth noting that Lough has played excellent defense at all three outfield positions.
Los Angeles Angels: Nick Maronde, LHP
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Pitching in his first full professional season, the 23-year-old left-hander began 2012 at High-A and reached Double-A before he was called up on Sept. 1.
A starter in the minors, Maronde has been used by the Angels as a reliever to utilize his ability to get out left-handed hitters.
Since joining the Angles, the southpaw has tossed 4.1 scoreless innings spanning eight appearances. He's allowed only two hits while posting a 6/2 K/BB rate.
Texas Rangers: Jurickson Profar, SS/2B
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Widely regarded as the top prospect in baseball, the Rangers’ willingness to promote the 19-year-old from Double-A to the major leagues came as a surprise. With one of the better middle-infield pairings in the game (Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler), it was difficult to see where Profar fit into the team’s immediate plans.
Even though Profar has seen time at shortstop and second base as a defensive replacement, consistent playing time has been scarce for the immensely talented switch-hitter.
After a dazzling big league debut in which he homered and doubled in his first two at-bats, Profar has seen his average drop to .176, as he’s amassed only three hits in 17 at-bats.
Oakland Athletics: Dan Straily, RHP
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When he was first promoted in August, Straily led all minor and major league pitchers with 190 strikeouts in 151 innings. After making three starts for the A’s, the right-hander returned to Triple-A Sacramento when Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson were activated from the disabled list.
A month later, both pitchers were back on the disabled list and Straily was back with the A's. He has pitched much better this time around, lasting beyond the sixth inning and recording eight strikeouts in two of three starts.
In 35 innings, Straily is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA, .243 BAA and 29/12 K/BB ratio.
Seattle Mariners: Carlos Triunfel, SS
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As a 22-year-old at Triple-A this season, Triunfel posted career highs in a number of offensive categories: doubles (31), home runs (10) and RBI (62). As always, he received rave reviews for his defense.
Since making his big league debut on Sept. 7, the right-handed hitter has appeared in only six games. In his limited playing time, Triunfel is batting .182/.250/.364 with two doubles in 11 at-bats.
It’ll be interesting to see what the plan is for him next season, with the defensively gifted Brendan Ryan blocking his path and Nick Franklin on his heels.