With the trade deadline a thing of the past, it is crunch time for MLB teams. Playoff races have taken form, big names have moved and teams are preparing to put the throttle at full power as the final two months of the season get going.
While some teams feel like they did not quite accomplish what they wanted to at the trade deadline, many of these teams can improve themselves from within. There are a great number of prospect who, if promoted, could make a big impact at the major league level.
Some of these players are household names (Devin Mesoraco, anyone?), while others are pretty obscure (Kam Mickolio?). But regardless, these are guys who could be a real X-factor for their respective teams.
This is each team's prospect who is very close to being an impact player on the major league level.
It’s hard to consider Mickolio a prospect because he is 27 years old, but Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers talked a lot about bullpen help, and Mickolio might be an answer.
When Arizona acquired Brad Ziegler at the trade deadline, it was a nice start. But a good, well-seasoned arm like Mickolio could make a nice impact moving into the stretch run.
Perhaps the biggest victory for the Braves at the trade deadline was not having to trade any of their top four pitching prospects (Julio Teheran, Vizcaino, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado).
Several weeks ago, the flamethrowing righty was moved to the bullpen with a clear goal—a September call-up, a powerful arm to help the bullpen.
Vizcaino could have the same effect on the Braves as David Price did for the Rays in 2008.
One of the top prospects in the O’s system and a candidate to be the heir-apparent to Brian Roberts, Adams should see some time in what will be another meaningless September for Baltimore.
He is a very solid player who will never dazzle or necessarily become a star, but he could definitely be a difference maker. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do if called up for September.
I know, Sox fans. Between Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie, Boston seems to have a very nice duo at shortstop. But Iglesias could potentially have the same role as another famous Boston speedster—Dave Roberts.
He probably will be in Boston this September, and he probably won’t play every single day. But if Jose Iglesias finds his way back into the majors, he is an impact player.
The best prospect in the Cubbies’ system, Jackson looks like a potential September call-up for this miserable team.
With Tyler Colvin already giving some glimpse into the future, Cubs fans should perhaps be more excited about the prospect of watching Jackson play this season. He is a great talent and a definite difference-maker on the team.
The big slugger in the ChiSox’s farm system, Viciedo is already an MLB-caliber hitter who is simply too good offensively to leave in the minors much longer.
This is a critical point in Chicago’s season, and bringing in an offensive force like Viciedo almost makes too much sense. It really shouldn’t be long before you see this guy on the South Side.
I know that a lot of these seem very cliché, as most of the players I’ve had on the list so far are considered top-three prospects in their respective systems.
The same goes here for Mesoraco, who is a future franchise catcher itching to break into the bigs.
Despite Ramon Hernandez’s great year, it would be exciting for Reds fans to see Mesoraco play a few September games, even if it is simply to give Hernandez a few rest days.
Judy has been in the majors already earlier this year, but his imminent call-up, which will likely be in September barring injury, could be a high-impact move for the Indians.
He is a very solid reliever who will add a nice, reliable option out of the bullpen for a team that should still be very much in the mix in September.
Bullpen arms are at a premium late in the year, and Judy’s will be used and used well.
One of the centerpieces of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal, White is a very talented pitcher who has the ceiling of a front-of-the-rotation starter.
The Rockies appear to be losing serious ground in the NL West, and once White recovers from his finger injury, he is a logical call-up. He will make an immediate impact, as he is a terrific talent about whom Rockies fans should be very excited.
Tigers fans saw Ruffin briefly before the trade deadline, as the young righty threw in two games before being sent down to the minors.
As the season draws near a close, Ruffin, like many others on this list, could be a very valuable asset to the team come September.
A priority for the Tigers at the deadline was bullpen help, but promoting Ruffin from within is a logical move to bolster the big club’s bullpen.
The top prospect in Florida’s system, Dominguez should see some time in the majors by the end of this season.
With the Fish likely fried, now is a good time to give their big-time prospect some seasoning before what will be his coming out party next season in the Marlins’ new ballpark.
If he is brought up soon, he will make a big impact with his multi-faceted talent.
A toolsy outfielder acquired by the Astros in the Michael Bourn deal, Schafer has had limited time in the majors while with Atlanta. Now, he’ll have a chance to make an almost immediate impact in the cesspool of a team that is Houston.
The ‘Stros made out nicely with some good prospects, but many of them are not close to being MLB-ready. Schafer is next in line.
The Royals’ farm system is an embarrassment of riches, as has been very well-documented. As some of Kansas City’s big-time prospects such as Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have been promoted, many Royals fans are wondering when some of the top pitching prospects will see time in the majors.
Next in line is probably Mike Montgomery, a big lefty who projects as a future ace. A September call-up will be great to give him a chance to get some experience and make an impact.
When Trout was sent back down to double-A after his recent stint in the majors, I was not surprised. After hitting under .200 in the majors, it seemed as if the Angels’ wunderkind just wasn’t ready for the big leagues.
But upon further review, I think that bringing Trout back up in September would be extremely beneficial for him and the Angels.
He truly is a game-changing player and giving him some playing time in a pennant race would be invaluable and beneficial for him and the team.
As Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles reported, the Dodgers are looking to promote young righty Nate Eovaldi to take the spot of Rubby De La Rosa in the starting rotation.
If so, the Dodgers will be adding a very talented arm to their rotation who has really impressed a lot of people. Eovaldi was largely unheralded as a prospect, but he has done himself a lot of favors with a huge season so far in 2011.
When Casey McGehee hit three home runs earlier this week, the chances of seeing Gamel sooner rather than later took somewhat of a hit.
But Gamel, one of the top-rated prospects for the Brewers, could be a valuable bat off the bench for the Brew Crew as they move towards the stretch run.
He is not exactly a game-changer, but Gamel’s bat has some pop and could be an injury replacement, off-day starter or simply a pinch-hit specialist. He could make a fairly large impact.
The Twins are in a state of limbo right now. With the AL Central in flux, the Twins remain a considerable distance back, but definitely are within striking distance of the Indians and Tigers ahead of them.
A common thread among the players listed here seems to be the ability to impact the team for the stretch run. That is exactly the case for Benson, a great outfield prospect who can run, hit and field with the best of them.
He wouldn’t start, but he would be an extremely valuable bench player for a team making a playoff push.
As the Mets stagnate in the middle of the NL East, the future is starting to look very bright for this team. With the trade deadline acquisition of future ace Zack Wheeler from the Giants, the Mets finally are giving the fans something to be excited about.
Speaking of which, Jordany Valdespin should do just that come September. The excellent second base prospect should see a good amount of playing time, as he has been doing extremely well in the minors. He should be fun to watch.
When I first read that the Rockies were asking the Yankees for Ivan Nova, Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, I broke down laughing.
New York would have been absolutely out of their minds to take that deal. But of all of those prospects, Banuelos might be the most exciting.
For a team that is trying desperately to keep pace with the Red Sox, bringing in an electrifying arm like Banuelos could do wonders. If he is called up soon, he will no doubt make a huge impact for the Bronx Bombers.
2011 looks to be a lost cause for the A’s, but that doesn’t mean that Billy Beane and his underlings can get fans excited for the future.
That may all begin with Chris Carter, a big-time offensive prospect who looks to be a future middle-of-the-order guy for Oakland.
He should be called up in September at the latest as he will give the team and its fans a glimpse into what their future middle of the lineup might look like.
The big (and I mean big) righty has been dominant this year in Triple-A and is almost guaranteed a September call-up.
He could be a very valuable arm for the Phillies in the bullpen.
With arguably the most complete team in baseball, the Phils don’t need a whole lot of help from the minors, but having a good reliever like Carpenter could go a long way in gaining separation from the Braves.
As the Pirates start to (get ready for the groans, Bucs fans) fade, the focus will start to turn to a suddenly very exciting future. With many top-notch prospects on the way up, the Pirates will start to see the first wave in September.
One of the more exciting players that could see some playing time is Gorkys Hernandez, a leadoff-type player who plays great defense and runs extremely well. He’ll be a nice sparkplug off the bench if he is called up.
While Tony LaRussa has what is seeming like a mental breakdown and GM John Mozeliak has made one of the more baffling trades in recent team memory, Cardinals fans have to be nervous.
Their chances in NL Central seem to be fading, but one guy who could be a potential spark is third base prospect Allen Craig, who has seen time in the majors already this year.
His return could be very beneficial to the Redbirds, even if it won’t guarantee a playoff berth.
Darnell is a very exciting prospect for the Padres simply for the fact that he can hit. Offense is something that Padres fans have all but forgotten recently, but the pop in this young man’s bat should give them hope for the future.
Darnell tore up pitching in Double A and is holding his own in Triple A. By the time September rolls around, he should be getting a call. Fans at PETCO Park will be able to see what their future middle-of-the-order bat can do.
Despite being in Double A right now, Surkamp seems like a possible September call-up and even an impact pitcher for the Giants down the stretch.
He is pitching at a very high level right now, and his arm could be put to good use for the Giants in September.
Whether for a spot start, long relief or even short bullpen stints, Surkamp’s talent should not go to waste as the playoffs approach. The Giants would be smart to call him up in a month.
Acquired by the Mariners at the trade deadline, Trayvon Robinson is an excellent prospect who was among the best young players in the L.A. Dodgers’ system.
Now, he becomes an excellent potential future leadoff man for the Mariners, who are slowly but surely building a heck of a young core of players.
Expect Robinson to be a September call-up. You’ll know his name early next year.
Torres was in the majors for one game this year and gave up the winning run to the Yankees in a very peculiar ninth-inning appearance. But if used properly, Torres could be a great piece for the Rays during the stretch run.
At this point, the Rays look to be out of contention. Either way, it would be smart to give Torres a few starts (even if it means shutting down Jeremy Hellickson) in September to season him.
He’s got tremendous talent, and the Rays should be very excited to see him in the majors.
The multi-talented Martin is one of the best prospects in Texas’ system, and his presence in Arlington would be a huge help.
He has been hitting minor-league pitching very well this year, and his ability to be a playmaker on offense, defense and on the basepaths make him a very attractive option for a team looking to pad its division lead.
Expect to see him soon, and get ready to have your head turned.
Yesterday’s call-up is the one that Blue Jays fans have been awaiting anxiously. Lawrie is the prize possession of the Jays’ farm system and would have been called up a few weeks ago if not for a hand injury.
Now healthy, Lawrie will have a chance to show what he can do at the major league level. The Blue Jays are definitely not out of contention, and it will be interesting to see if Lawrie’s presence can spark them past the Tampa Bay Rays and possibly even challenge the Yankees.
In Washington’s relatively rich and deep farm system, the most MLB-ready prospect might be Brad Meyers.
The big 25-year-old righty has done fairly well in the minors, and with another season out of contention in Washington, now might be a good time to give Meyers his shot.
He’ll be able to contribute some good innings and may even impress a few people. It’s worth a shot.