MLB Call-Ups: 8 Players Guaranteed to Impress in Their September Auditions
Jesus Montero is a New York Yankee. Despite going 0-for-4 in his big-league debut, Montero is finally getting his chance, and Yankees fans have reason to be excited.
But how will Montero fare in his first month on the job, as New York cruises toward the playoffs? How quickly can he adjust to big-league pitching and actualize some of his tremendous potential? Will his power materialize in this short audition, or will we need to wait until 2012 to see that skill on display?
Count this as one voice in support of Montero. Tools like his bat, and especially his pop, do not fail very often. Nor will Montero be the only big-name prospect to make a September splash. These eight stud youngsters will have sparkling final months, making good impressions and angling for 2012 gigs.
8. Leonys Martin
Martin got $15 million-plus on a five-year deal prior this season. The Texas Rangers feel his bat will still develop a bit, as he's just 23, and he did destroy Double-A before a mid-season promotion to the Pacific Coast League.
Martin did not hit much there, and will not play every day in Texas, anyway, so let's not dwell on his long-term offensive development. Martin will impress you this month by playing sensational defense in center field, running very well and making plays with his athleticism.
7. Anthony Rizzo
Rizzo posted a 1.077 OPS at Triple-A this year, and a pitiful .547 figure in a 117-plate appearance sneak peek with the parent club. Is he a Quadruple-A guy, then?
No. Rizzo just needs seasoning yet. He will be up this month, and his power and plate patience will be even more on display. He might strike out a lot, again, but it doesn't matter much. Rizzo's sweet swing and ability to reach the right-field seats even at PETCO Park, will have you drooling.
6. Brandon Guyer
Guyer got all of six turns at the plate in not one, but two stints with the Rays this year. Meanwhile, in Durham, he posted a .905 OPS and began to overcome questions about his unorthodox batting stance and mechanics.
Guyer can hit, and will this month. He is athletic, fast and sturdy of build. He would be exposed, everyone agrees, if he were to become a full-time regular, but in just a month he has every chance to continue to succeed. Look for Guyer to flash some power and shoot the gaps, but by the third and fourth week of the month, opposing pitchers might be able to shoot gaps of their own—in Guyer's compact, rather crowded swing.
5. Wilin Rosario
Rosario's promotion (not yet reality, but widely reported) registers as a mild surprise. If I were the Rockies, I might have simply sent him to Arizona to continue getting stronger and start an offseason conditioning program. Rosario tore an ACL last season, so a minor-league role (where the season ends sooner and he can DH to rest his legs) fits him well right now. But the Rockies might want him to get a taste for Coors Field, and to learn to adjust to those environs sooner rather than later.
4. Jacob Turner
As close to a necessity call-up as any made this September, Turner made his second career start Thursday and scuffled a bit. On the other hand, his stuff—a low-90s fastball with good breaking stuff, a changeup and impressive command—suggest he could really torch teams (like the rival Indians) whose lineups go a bit soft as the season progresses.
3. Jesus Montero
This promotion was far overdue, but then again, Montero struggled out of the gate in the minors. He seemed to have stalled in his development, and was not hitting for power until about the second week of July.
Montero will take full advantage of his opportunity now, though. He hit .333/.381/.769 over his final 10 games in Triple-A, with five home runs. Never overestimate minor-league stats, but when a prospect whom many already think of highly has a hot streak like that one, it's noteworthy. Montero might strike out a ton, but he'll run into a couple and do enough to coax New York into sending Jorge Posada packing this winter.
2. Devin Mesoraco
Drafted out of Punxsutawny, Penn., Mesoraco is now to be treated like a groundhog himself. The Reds need to decide whether or not he can replace Ryan Hanigan or Ramon Hernandez, and they'll use this four-week shadow of Mesoraco's potential to determine whether he can do so next spring, or whether he'll need 10 more weeks in the minors in 2012.
Mesoraco can hit, could actually stay at this very valuable position and has always shown more polish than that for which the Reds have given him credit. He'll impress with his bat, especially at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.
1. Stephen Strasburg
He will not likely be hitting 100 miles per hour during his brief return to a big-league mound, but Strasburg's stuff is still jaw-dropping. He's held it together through the initial rehab from Tommy John surgery, but now it's Strasburg's turn to perform constant maintenance and pitch at less than maximum effort for a while as his arm regains strength and flexibility. Strasburg's Sept. 6 start is appointment television if you can get it, baseball fans.