As we close in on two weeks since Major League Baseball’s annual roster expansion date, the New York Mets’ September call-ups—both young and old—continue to settle in. In accordance with the interminable digital media world of today, it’s never too soon to analyze and provide some early grades on their respective performances thus far.
Few familiar faces have been recalled in the past few weeks. Others—likely recognizable only by name—have managed to reach baseball’s highest level for the first time in their professional careers. Either way, the traditional notion of “September call-ups” has been rendered something of an abstract concept in Queens this year.
The call-up process at this point of the season varies from team to team as circumstances dictate—a fact that actually has some baseball circles clamoring for an amendment to the current rules governing such roster discrepancies in September.
David Wright announced that he expects to return from his hamstring injury before the conclusion of the season. If he does rejoin the team, at this point one has to wonder if he will even recognize his own locker room. As of September 13, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy are the Mets’ only Opening Day starting position players still on the active roster.
By the time rosters increased from 25 to 40 active players, the Mets already featured a team comprised of early call-ups. Prior to the first wave of legitimate September call-ups, management’s hand had already been forced. Circumstances compelled the Mets to begin raiding their minor league rosters in August, rather than waiting for September as is typical. Believe it or not, Wilmer Flores—for example—has already been with the team for over a month, and with mixed results.
With that in mind—and, perhaps, providing a more worthwhile basis for player evaluation—the definition of a September call-up for our purposes is as follows:
Any current Met added to the team’s roster since August 17—the date John Buck was placed on paternity leave and replaced by Travis d’Arnaud—is eligible for inclusion. Grades will be based on production since their most recent call-up. Respective career standards and expectation levels will be considered in grading. "C+” indicates average performance on the grading scale, where production was virtually indistinguishable from the anticipated results.
In many ways, the aforementioned date turned out to mark the Mets’ effectively conceding 2013 and the beginning of player auditions for 2014. Shortly thereafter, a myriad of factors prompted a series of organization-wide transactions.
Certain players—like Duda and rookie Matt den Dekker—were added to the active roster prior to September 1, yet they have as much to prove as any ballplayer this final month. Such a liberal eligibility standard permits their inclusion. After all, what would an evaluation of September call-ups be without the call-ups most likely to be actively graded by the Mets’ brass themselves this September?
Lacking the good fortune of creative liberty—that’s what.
Continue reading for the early grades of the Mets’ September call-ups. The last page is reserved for call-ups receiving "incomplete" grades due to insufficient at-bats or innings pitched.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and current as of Thursday, September 12.