Each MLB Team's Most Exciting Potential September Call-Up, 2 Weeks out
While there already has been a large influx of prospects promoted to the major leagues this season, there are even more set to arrive when active rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on September 1.
For teams still vying for a postseason berth, the timely promotion of an impact prospect for the stretch run can provide a much-needed boost to their lineup, starting rotation or bullpen. Meanwhile, teams already out of the playoff hunt use the final month of the regular season to audition some of their top prospects.
Last year’s wave of September call-ups marked the arrival of some of baseball’s most exciting prospects such as speedster Billy Hamilton and the flame-throwing Yordano Ventura.
This year there are even more high-profile talents seemingly in line for a promotion in September, with slugger Kris Bryant, defensive wunderkind Francisco Lindor and toolsy outfielder Joc Pederson each knocking on the door of the major leagues.
With two weeks remaining until the rosters expand, here’s a look at each team’s most exciting potential September call-up.
Baltimore Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy
2014 Stats (SS/A+): 41.1 IP, 3.27 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .250 BAA, 16 BB, 37 K (9 GS)
Dylan Bundy continues to work his way back from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last spring and has now spent the last month at High-A Frederick after a series of dominant starts with Class A Short Season Aberdeen.
The 21-year-old right-hander’s velocity is yet to return to pre-surgery form, with Pat Stoetzer of the Carroll County Times (via The Baltimore Sun) reporting he topped out at only 89 mph earlier this month, and his 15-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio indicates he’s still working to regain his overall feel for pitching.
That being said, Bundy still could be ready to rejoin the Orioles in early September and pick up where he left off in 2012, when he reached the major leagues for the first time as a 19-year-old. However, he'll first need to recover from the lat strain suffered Thursday while running in the outfield, per MASN Sports.
Boston Red Sox: 2B/OF Mookie Betts
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): .348/.434/.532, 87 R, 44 XBH (11 HR), 65 RBI, 32 SB, 60 BB, 48 K (96 G)
2014 Stats (MLB): .244/.279/.366, 6 R, 3 XBH, SB, BB, 5 K (13 G)
After a breakout full-season debut last year across both Class A levels, Mookie Betts entered 2014 as one of the better second-base prospects in the minor leagues. The 21-year-old’s red-hot start at Double-A Portland led to a quick promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, and he began splitting playing between the keystone and outfield.
Betts was called up to the major leagues for the first time shortly thereafter, where he worked exclusively in the outfield in deference to Dustin Pedroia at second base.
He’s since bounced between Triple-A and Boston this month, but he’s expected to consistently see more playing time when he returns to the major leagues in September, as manager John Farrell already has stated that he’d like to find more opportunities for Betts, per Alex Speier of WEEI.
New York Yankees: LHP Jacob Lindgren
2014 Stats (Rk/A/A+/AA): 16.2 IP, 1.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .131 BAA, 8 BB, 34 K (14 G)
Jacob Lindgren was one of college baseball’s better relievers this spring at Mississippi State, and his ability to miss bats at a high rate and potentially reach the major leagues in a hurry led to his selection by the New York Yankees in the second round (No. 55 overall) of this year’s draft.
After a one-inning warm-up outing in the Gulf Coast League, the 21-year-old left-hander has allowed two runs on six hits over 15.2 innings between Low-A Charleston, High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, striking out 32 batters compared to eight walks. During that span, Lindgren has struck out three or more batters in nine of his 12 outings.
The southpaw has the kind of pure stuff, highlighted by a devastating, swing-and-miss slider, to make an impact out of the Yankees' bullpen before the end of the season, and based on his utter dominance, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the major leagues come September.
Tampa Bay Rays: LHP Enny Romero
2014 Stats (AAA): 108 IP, 5.00 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, .271 BAA, 46 BB, 100 K (22 GS)
Enny Romero pitched well in a spot start for the Tampa Bay Rays late last season, but the 23-year-old left-hander is still more of a thrower than a pitcher, as he’ll struggle to repeat a consistent release point and in turn miss his spots both inside and outside of the zone.
However, there’s no denying that Romero has impressive stuff, with an explosive fastball that ranges anywhere from 92 to 97 mph, a power curveball that flashes plus potential due to its velocity and downer break, and a raw, inconsistent changeup that shows at least above-average potential.
The Rays’ rotation has been excellent as of late and seems poised for a strong finish to the season. Therefore, Romero seems more likely to work out of the team’s bullpen when he’s recalled in September.
Toronto Blue Jays: LHP Daniel Norris
2014 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 108 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .214 BAA, 36 BB, 135 K (22 GS)
Daniel Norris quietly has emerged as one the game’s better left-handed pitching prospects this year, thanks to a mechanical adjustment he made late last season.
The 21-year-old was recently promoted to Triple-A Buffalo after a dominant showing at both High-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire. The southpaw was outstanding in his International League debut last weekend, striking out 10 batters while allowing just two hits over six scoreless innings.
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently stated that Norris could potentially work out of the team’s bullpen in September, per Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. The southpaw should fare well in the role given his ability to miss bats, limit hard contact (.214 BAA) and keep the ball in the yard (0.42 HR/9).
Chicago White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon
2014 Stats (Rk/A+): 12.2 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .220 BAA, 5 BB, 20 K (6 G/3 GS)
Long considered the likely No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, Carlos Rodon wasn't as consistent or dominant this spring at N.C. State as he was in previous years, posting career worsts with a 1.17 WHIP and 7.66 H/9, but the 21-year-old left-hander still finished the season with an excellent 2.01 ERA and dropped his BB/9 below 3.00 to go along with a 10.67 K/9.
He went on to be selected by the Chicago White Sox with the No. 3 overall pick.
After making his professional debut on July 22 in the rookie-level Arizona League, Rodon has rattled off three consecutive scoreless appearances at High-A Winston-Salem during which he’s posted a 12-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 8.2 innings and allowed just six hits.
According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, there’s a “better-than-average chance” the White Sox will promote Rodon to the major leagues in September as they did with the organization's Chris Sale in 2010. If that does happen, the left-hander is likely to work out of the bullpen so as to limit his innings.
Cleveland Indians: SS Francisco Lindor
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): .267/.335/.379, 27 XBH (9 HR), 57 RBI, 28 SB, 45 BB, 82 K (110 G)
After getting his first taste of Double-A late last season, Francisco Lindor has excelled on both sides of the ball this year, despite being one of the youngest everyday players in the Eastern League.
In addition to his trademark defensive prowess at shortstop, Lindor, 20, has once again hit for both average and modest power this year while reaching base at a high rate and stealing bases with efficiency. In 88 games at Double-A Akron this season, he batted .278/.352/.389 with 22 extra-base hits, 48 RBI, 25 stolen bases and a 61-to-40 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
It's long been believed that the Cleveland Indians would promote Lindor to the major leagues at some point this season. After trading Asdrubal Cabrera to the Washington Nationals on July, the Indians made a corresponding move by promoting Lindor to Triple-A, suggesting that his debut could be coming sooner rather than later.
He's set to take over as the Tribe’s everyday shortstop in 2015, so it makes sense for the Indians to have the youngster get his feet wet in the major leagues over the final month of the season.
Detroit Tigers: OF Steven Moya
2014 Stats (AA): .262/.290/.525, 59 XBH (29 HR), 91 RBI, 15 SB, 19 BB, 140 K (117 G)
Steven Moya’s nearly elite raw power has long ranked among the best in the minor leagues, but a rash of injuries caused the 22-year-old to fall behind the developmental curve, which is why he’s experiencing Double-A for the first time this year in his sixth professional season.
The 6’6” left-handed hitter still lacks any semblance of plate discipline and has fanned 29 percent of the time this season, but his ability to stay healthy has allowed him establish new career highs in home runs (29), RBI (91), OPS (.815) and stolen bases (15).
Given Moya’s light-tower power from the left side and current spot on Detroit’s 40-man roster, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a few looks off the Tigers’ bench in September.
Kansas City Royals: Brandon Finnegan
2014 Stats (A+/AA): 20.2 IP, 0.87 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, .164 BAA, 3 BB, 17 K (8 G/5 GS)
Selected by the Kansas City Royals with the No. 17 overall pick in this year’s draft out of TCU, Brandon Finnegan began his professional career at High-A Wilmington, where he posted a 0.60 ERA, allowed five hits and fanned 13 batters in 15 innings.
The Royals moved him up to Double-A Northwest Arkansas last week to work out of the bullpen, and the southpaw has responded well to the challenge by allowing one run in 5.2 frames over two appearances.
The left-hander sits consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball and has the potential to work a few ticks higher in shorter bursts, and he’s also shown the ability to hold the velocity deep into games. His breaking ball was slurvy at the time of the draft, but he’s since cleaned it up and used it to put up impressive numbers at a pair of advanced levels.
The Royals will continue to limit his innings this summer, but I wouldn’t rule out the chance they use him out of the bullpen in September, especially now that they’ve overtaken the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.
Minnesota Twins: RHP Alex Meyer
2014 Stats (AAA): 117.2 IP, 3.37 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .230 BAA, 60 BB, 139 K (24 GS)
Alex Meyer, 24, has checked all the developmental boxes this season at Triple-A Rochester.
The 6'9" right-hander has held opposing hitters to a paltry .230 batting average this season while posting a 10.6 strikeout-per-nine innings pitched rate in 117.2 innings. His command still needs some refinement, hence the career-worst 4.6 walks-per-nine IP rate, and he’ll get hit around when working up in the zone with his fastball.
With a 2.72 ERA and 56 strikeouts over his last 46.1 innings spanning nine starts, it’s time for the Minnesota Twins to turn him loose on major league hitters and see what he can do, even if that means breaking him in with work out of the bullpen.
Houston Astros: OF Domingo Santana
2014 Stats (AAA): .292/.375/.469, 40 XBH (14 HR), 63 RBI, 51 BB, 127 K (104 G)
2014 Stats (MLB): 0-for-17, 14 K (6 G)
Domingo Santana, 21, is on pace to put up career-best numbers across the board this season, despite being one of the youngest everyday players at the Triple-A level. His hit tool is still suspect due to his penchant for whiffing, but the right-handed batter’s power is legit and should translate to 20-plus home runs annually at the highest level.
Santana has received two cups of coffee with the Houston Astros this season, though he’s still in search of his first major league hit after going 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts. However, there’s a good chance he’ll get that first knock in September when he rejoins the Astros.
Los Angeles Angels: RHP Cam Bedrosian
2014 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 16 SV, 39.1 IP, 1.14 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, .102 BAA, 13 BB, 75 K (37 G)
2014 Stats (MLB): 10.2 IP, 7.59 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, .311 BAA, 7 BB, 11 K (10 G)
No reliever was more dominant than Cam Bedrosian during the first two months of the minor league season, as he registered a 1.13 ERA and saved eight games while striking out 45 batters in 24 innings (16.9 K/9).
Since then, the 22-year-old has received three separate call-ups to the major leagues but struggled to make an impact out of the Los Angeles Angels’ bullpen, with a 7.59 ERA and 11-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10.2 innings over 10 appearances.
Bedrosian is back at Triple-A Salt Lake now after a demotion earlier this week, but he should rejoin the Angels bullpen in September and receive work in low- or mid-leverage situations.
Oakland Athletics: OF Billy Burns
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): .242/.324/.311, 67 R, 24 XBH, 53 SB, 50 BB, 75 K (104 G)
2014 Stats (MLB): 0-for-5 (3 G)
The Oakland A’s acquired Billy Burns from the Washington Nationals during the offseason after he was named the organization’s Player of the Year in 2013, and he promptly flashed his potential during spring training by batting .306 with 10 stolen bases in 26 games.
The 24-year-old speedster hasn’t had a great season in the minor leagues, with a .242 batting average over 104 games, but he’s still reached base at a favorable clip (.324 OBP) and continues to steal bases like it’s going out of style.
Burns received a cup of coffee with A’s in late July due to injures to Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry, but he appeared in just three games, going 0-for-5, before returning to Triple-A. That being said, he’s due to return to the major leagues next month and likely will be used in a similar manner to what the Reds did with Billy Hamilton last September.
Seattle Mariners: 3B/1B D.J. Peterson
2014 Stats (A+/AA): .300/.366/.559, 57 XBH (26 HR), 97 RBI, 41 BB, 99 K (106 G)
Regarded as the most advanced college hitter in the 2013 draft class, D.J. Peterson’s mature approach and potential for plus hit and power tools already have him moving quickly through the Seattle Mariners’ system.
The 22-year-old was promoted to Double-A Jackson in late June after posting a .997 OPS with 18 home runs and 73 RBI in 65 games at High-A High Desert. However, he’s cooled off a bit at the more advanced level, with a .255/.339/.458 batting line in 41 games, but he’s still hit eight home runs and seven doubles to go along with 24 RBI during that span.
If it seems crazy to think that the Mariners would promote Peterson to the major leagues at this point in his career, just remember that the team called up catcher Mike Zunino in June of his first full professional season.
Though he’s technically a third baseman presently, Peterson's bat would represent an obvious upgrade at first base for the Mariners and allow them to use Kendrys Morales exclusively at designated hitter.
Texas Rangers: 3B Joey Gallo
2014 Stats (A+/AA): .281/.400/.634, 87 R, 59 XBH (38 HR), 95 RBI, 76 BB, 160 K (112 G)
Joey Gallo led all minor league hitters in 2013 with 40 home runs, and he’s on pace to shatter that mark this season with 38 through 112 games, including 17 in his first 58 games following a midseason promotion to Double-A Frisco.
Beyond his legitimate 80-grade power, the 20-year-old slugger has shown better plate discipline and pitch recognition this season, as he’s drastically improved both his strikeout (33.6 percent) and walk (16.0 percent) rates and hit for a solid average without sacrificing any power.
Gallo is a long shot to reach the major leagues this season, but one has to believe it’s at least on the Texas Rangers’ minds given his success at the Double-A level. It’s certainly a fun thought to entertain.
Atlanta Braves: 2B Jose Peraza
2014 Stats (A+/AA): .341/.366/.445, 79 R, 33 XBH (11 3B), 43 RBI, 60 SB, 16 BB, 47 K (108 G)
After opening eyes last year with a .288 batting average and 64 steals in his full-season debut at Low-A Rome, Jose Peraza, 20, has jumped on the fast track to the major leagues—indicated by his shift from shortstop to second base in deference to Andrelton Simmons—this season with his outstanding performance at a pair of advanced levels.
Peraza received a midseason promotion to Double-A Mississippi in late June after tearing up the Carolina League, and he’s continued to thrive at the more advanced level with an impressive .341/.366/.430 batting line, 35 runs and 35 stolen bases through his first 42 games. The speedy middle infielder shows no signs of slowing down until he reaches the major leagues, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the Atlanta Braves considered utilizing his speed off the bench in September.
Miami Marlins: LHP Andrew Heaney
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): 112.1 IP, 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .233 BAA, 26 BB, 120 K (20 G/19 GS)
2014 Stats (MLB): 20.2 IP, 6.53 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, .300 BAA, 6 BB, 13 K (4 GS)
Andrew Heaney opened the season with a dominant showing between the Double- and Triple-A level, resulting in a promotion to the major leagues in early June. However, the 23-year-old left-handed pitcher couldn’t replicate his minor league success against the game’s top hitters, going 0-of-3 with a 6.53 ERA and five home runs allowed in 20.2 innings over four starts.
The left-hander continued to scuffle after returning to Triple-A, as he’s registered a 4.79 ERA and yielded six more home runs over his last 35.2 innings spanning seven starts. Heaney is likely to return to the major leagues as a September call-up, as the Miami Marlins would like to see him have success at the highest level before adding him to their 2015 starting rotation.
New York Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard
2014 Stats (AAA): 113.1 IP, 4.76 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .300 BAA, 37 BB, 119 K (22 GS)
Noah Syndergaard’s command and execution has been challenged this season in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, which accounts for his 4.76 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .300 BAA and 10.7 H/9 in 113.1 innings. Beyond that, however, the right-hander has posted an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 119-to-37 and is once again inducing ground-ball outs at a favorable rate.
The 21-year-old right-hander went through a rough patch during June and early July, but he’s since put together a run of six solid outings during which he owns a 3.48 ERA with 37 strikeouts over 33.2 innings.
The New York Mets recently announced that Syndergaard is unlikely to reach the major leagues before 2015, per Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, as he likely won’t have any innings left following the Pacific Coast League playoffs. However, the right-hander could always get a look out of the bullpen in September should Las Vegas get bounced from the postseason earlier than expected.
Philadelphia Phillies: 3B Maikel Franco
2014 Stats (AAA): .245/.290/.393, 42 XBH (11 HR), 62 RBI, 28 BB, 73 K (115 G)
Maikel Franco entered spring training with an outside chance of making the Philadelphia Phillies’ Opening Day roster, but he ultimately was assigned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after batting .184 over 16 games. Unfortunately, the 21-year-old’s struggles didn’t end with spring training, as he posted a disappointing .209/.267/.318 line with five home runs in 78 games spanning the first three months of the season.
Since the beginning of July, however, Franco has looked more like his 2013 self, with a .318 average, .881 OPS, 20 extra-base hits (6 HR) and 31 RBI over his last 37 games. His turnaround couldn’t come at a better time, too, as current third baseman Cody Asche has struggled to the tune of a .531 OPS with three extra-base hits in 24 games since the All-Star break.
Franco hasn’t made a strong case for a call-up this year, but a strong finish to the regular season at Lehigh Valley could convince the Phillies to offer him a look in the major leagues in September.
Washington Nationals: RHP A.J. Cole
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): 118 IP, 2.90 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .278 BAA, 26 BB, 95 K (22 GS)
A.J. Cole, 22, opened the season at Double-A Harrisburg, posting a 2.92 ERA 61-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 71 innings over 14 starts and received a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse in late June.
Though the right-hander has registered a solid 2.87 ERA over 47 innings in the International League, he’s only fanned 34 batters against 11 walks during that span, while opposing hitters are batting .284 with five home runs against.
Cole won’t carve out a consistent role with the Nationals until 2015 (at the earliest), but a September call-up to work out of the team’s bullpen is a distinct possibility.
Chicago Cubs: 3B Kris Bryant
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): .336/.431/.685, 73 XBH (40 HR), 103 RBI, 15 SB, 74 BB, 140 K (122 G)
Kris Bryant has done nothing but blow past all expectations since the Chicago Cubs selected him second overall in the 2013 draft, as the 22-year-old third baseman has put up remarkable numbers this season between the Double- and Triple-A levels.
The right-handed hitting slugger clubbed his MiLB-leading 40th home run of the season Thursday, which also was his 18th in 54 games since reaching Triple-A Iowa.
Cubs president Theo Epstein previously stated, via ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers on Twitter, that he doesn’t “foresee” Bryant playing in the major leagues this season—which is what any wise front-office official would say when trying to temper expectations.
Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing I want to see more than Bryant playing alongside Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara and Jorge Soler during the final month of the regular season. Those four players have spent a good chunk of the year playing together in the high minors, so it actually makes more sense than one would think for the Cubs to at least consider giving Bryant a look in September.
Cincinnati Reds: RHP Robert Stephenson
2014 Stats (AA): 115.2 IP, 4.59 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .224 BAA, 64 BB, 116 K (23 G/22 GS)
Robert Stephenson has held his own this season at Double-A Pensacola, but the 21-year-old right-hander’s inconsistent command has led to an elevated walk rate (5.0 BB/9), while his tendency to pitch up in the zone with his mid- to upper-90s fastball has allowed hitters to take him deep 14 times (1.1 HR/9).
That being said, Stephenson is still young for the level, so the fact that he’s held opposing hitters to a .224 batting average and missed more than one bat per inning speaks volumes about his overall potential.
There’s no denying that Stephenson’s pure stuff gives him impact potential, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Cincinnati Reds consider using him this September. If they do, it’ll likely be in a bullpen role.
Milwaukee Brewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): 129.2 IP, 3.96 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .257 BAA, 48 BB, 118 K (24 G/23 GS)
Taylor Jungmann was expected to reach the major leagues quickly following his selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the 2011 draft. However, the right-hander didn’t progress as hoped, struggling in his first two professional seasons while dealing with a nerve issue in 2013.
The 24-year-old finally has started to put things together this year, as he reached the Triple-A level for the first time in late May after a strong showing at Double-A Huntsville. He hasn’t fared as well in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, with a 4.75 ERA and six home runs allowed in 77.2 innings, but he’s still fanned 72 batters during that span and held opposing batters to a .253 average.
With both Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse sidelined with respective injuries, Jungmann is seemingly next in line to receive a promotion to the major leagues. He’s unlikely to make a significant impact over the final month of the regular season, but he is certainly capable of eating innings and could potentially take some of the pressure off the workload of rookie Jimmy Nelson.
Pittsburgh Pirates: RHP Nick Kingham
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): 140.1 IP, 3.14 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .233 BAA, 44 BB, 106 K (23 GS)
Nick Kingham has continued his quick rise toward the major leagues this season with a strong showing between Double- and Triple-A. The 22-year-old right-hander has fared well at the more advanced level, with a 3.25 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 52-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69.1 innings, and he’s also held opposing batters to a .205 average during that span.
The right-hander has an advanced three-pitch mix highlighted by a heavy fastball in the low- to mid-90s, and he’s made noticeable strides this season both with his control and command. Though the Pittsburgh Pirates are still very much alive in the playoff race, the team’s starting pitching has scuffled a bit with a 3.63 ERA since the All-Star break.
Meanwhile, Kingham has already logged 140.1 innings this season after accruing 143.1 in 2013, so he could still have some innings left in his arm for the final month of the regular season.
St. Louis Cardinals: OF Stephen Piscotty
2014 Stats (AAA): .292/.355/.412, 37 XBH (8 HR), 63 RBI, 10 SB, 37 BB, 56 K (120 G)
Stephen Piscotty has continued to rake this season at Triple-A Memphis, but so far he hasn’t shown the in-game power that many were expecting in his second full professional season. However, he did show good pop last season (15 HR, 23 2B) and certainly has the physical strength at 6'3", 210 pounds to be a 15- to 20-home run guy in his prime.
Piscotty's above-average hit tool should get him to the major leagues at some point this season, likely in September, though it's important to remember that he's behind Oscar Taveras on the organizational depth chart and isn't on the St. Louis Cardinals’ 40-man roster.
Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley
2014 Stats (Rk/AA/AAA): 73.2 IP, 4.28 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .248 BAA, 37 BB, 66 K (15 GS)
Archie Bradley has spent a majority of the season on the disabled list due to a mild flexor strain in his right elbow, but the 22-year-old is now healthy and pitching at full strength.
Bradley’s last nine outings have come at Double-A Mobile, where he’s posted a solid 3.77 ERA in 45.1 innings but struggled to consistently pound the strike zone (37-to-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio).
Bradley has logged only 73.2 innings this season due to his time spent on the disabled list, which means he won’t run into any workload concerns. Manager Kirk Gibson recently mentioned that the Arizona Diamondbacks could switch to a six-man rotation in September, leading Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter) to speculate that Bradley could be added to the rotation.
Colorado Rockies: RHP Jon Gray
2014 Stats (AA): 122.1 IP, 3.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .231 BAA, 41 BB, 111 K (23 GS)
Jon Gray has been impressive this year in his first full professional season, as the 22-year-old right-hander has pitched well against advanced competition at Double-A Tulsa.
While he’s experienced some growing pains here and there, which was expected given his lack of professional experience, Gray has been tough to barrel (.231 BAA) and has maintained steady strikeout (8.2 K/9) and walk (3.0) rates throughout the season.
Given the struggles of the Colorado Rockies’ starting rotation as well as Eddie Butler’s injury in early June following his big league debut, it’ll be interesting to see how the organization handles Gray’s development during the final two months of the regular season.
It has no obvious reason to promote the hard-throwing right-hander, but a September call-up could serve as a healthy challenge for Gray as the team grooms him for a spot in the 2015 rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers: OF Joc Pederson
2014 Stats (AAA): .301/.424/.577, 88 R, 47 XBH (29 HR), 67 RBI, 27 SB, 82 BB, 131 K (107 G)
Joc Pederson has been on a power surge since the beginning of July, with 12 home runs over his last 33 games—including five in his last seven games entering Friday—but is batting only .262 with 36 strikeouts during that span. Still, the 22-year-old outfielder is having yet another impressive season, with a 1.002 OPS, 29 home runs and 27 stolen bases.
However, there are still concerns about his strikeout rate (27.1 percent) at Triple-A Albuquerque this season, which seems to be the primary reason—besides the presence of Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford in an overcrowded outfield—Pederson is yet to debut in the major leagues.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will need to add Pederson to the 40-man roster if they decide to promote him in September, so he’s not a lock to reach the major leagues this year. However, given his power/speed combo and ability to play all three outfield positions, I’d expect him to get a look during the final month of the regular season.
San Diego Padres: RHP Matt Wisler
2014 Stats (AA/AAA): 129.1 IP, 4.45 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, .264 BAA, 35 BB, 118 K (25 GS)
Matt Wisler dominated at Double-A San Antonio during the first month of the season, posting a 2.10 ERA and an outstanding 35-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 innings (six starts). However, the 21-year-old right-hander has been knocked around since reaching Triple-A in early May, where he's pitched to a 5.16 ERA with 19 home runs allowed and an 83-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 99.1 innings (19 starts).
Though pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League is a challenge in itself, Wisler has continued to struggle versus left-handed batters this season, as they’re batting .278/.325/.476 with 12 home runs in 275 plate appearances against the right-hander.
The San Diego Padres surely will want to see significant improvements on all fronts before exposing him at the highest level, but there’s still a decent chance he gets a look with the parent club before the season’s over.
San Francisco Giants: RHP Kyle Crick
2014 Stats (AA): 86.2 IP, 3.32 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, .237 BAA, 55 BB, 104 K (20 GS)
The San Francisco Giants have kept Kyle Crick, 21, on a short leash this season at Double-A Richmond due to his inconsistent control, which explains why he’s completed six innings in only three of his 20 starts.
Overall, the hard-throwing right-hander has issued 55 walks in 86.2 innings this season (5.7 BB/9), but he’s continued to miss bats with ease (10.8 K/9), while holding opposing batters to .237 average during that span.
Crick should be in the major leagues by mid-2015, though it will be interesting to see if he will be able to flourish as a starter with below-average command. He’s not a lock to receive a September call-up, but there is a chance he could work out of the team’s bullpen with less than 90 innings under his belt this season.