The September call-ups are not what they used to be. Back in my day you could summon everyone in your system, even from the Q league, players would wear onions on their belts because that was the style at the time. Now, MLB clubs are limited to a roster of 28 players in September, just two more places than they were for the first five months of the season. This smaller list avoids some of the circus of teams playing with 35 active players, but also limits rebuilding clubs that may want to give more possibilities a taste of the specialties. We’ve had a few important calls this week, including the two top potential prospects in the game, so here’s a quick check-in on what to look for from each person and what their calls might mean in the long run.
Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks
What are you looking for: Carroll was the number one prospect in baseball in my mid-season update and has done nothing but produce everywhere he plays in pro football, scoring .307/.425/.610 between Double A and Triple A this year, with 31 steals In 36 attempts. The 16th pick in 2019 also garnered huge cheers for his makeup and feel of the game.
why does it matter: Arizona is in the midst of a major rebuilding process, with a very strong but weak farm system on the Major League roster, particularly its lineup. Carroll is someone to build around him, the team’s long-term quarterback and potential franchise player, and having a month in the majors now makes him better for breaking camp with the team in April while also helping the team out some potential promotions. He’ll still qualify in the offseason rankings, so the D-Backs will go into next year with three of the top 15 odds, with Jordan Lawlar and Drew Jones joining Carroll.
Corbin Carroll is really fast! pic.twitter.com/BfIqNx1kc9
– Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 31, 2022
Gunnar Henderson, SS/3B, Baltimore Orioles
What are you looking for: Henderson’s last two years have included continuous improvement, improving across the board as a hitter even with the solid promotions of the Orioles system. He’s a solid defender at the Short Stop and one of the elite at third base, which gives Baltimore options, although I would support placing him in third, where he might be the best defender in the AL next year.
why does it matter: The Orioles are in a playoff at the moment, but they will be real contenders next year, with Adley Rutschman established, Henderson likely on the Opening Day roster, DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez available at least for the course, and other prospects (Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westberg Colton Kauser is close to getting ready, too. Ortiz is a pretty solid defender in short, so if the Orioles think he’s a regular player out there, they can move Henderson into third and have one of the best defensive ports in the game.
DL Hall, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
What are you looking for: Hall can display three above-average or better pitches, but despite his high level of sport he has always had problems throwing strikes, with a 14% walk rate in Triple A this year and only 63% of his pitches going for strikes.
why does it matter: The Orioles’ surprise rivalry was a better-than-expected show, more than any other factor, as they went from the worst blocking team in the AL with a full run of all nine innings (5.84 ERA teams last year) to one middle league ( 3.79 this year). Several newbies have outgrown their core data, which means they’ll likely see some regression in the future, including Dean Kramer, Spencer Watkins and Austin Voth. One of those guys might end up in the Orioles for the long haul, but Hall and Rodriguez, who just had their first rehab on Thursday, should be a part of it.
Hunter Brown, RHP, Houston Astros
What are you looking for: things. Brown throws hard, up to 99 mph, with a potential four-grade combination from a sturdy 6-foot-2 tire that looks like it’s built for a start.
why does it matter: Brown certainly could help the Astros in a relief role for now, but he could be in the process of being tested for a rotation spot for next year, too, with Justin Verlander having a player option and the much-injured Lance McCullers Jr having made just three starts. This year. But Brown has also walked with a lot of little guys, 11.5 percent this year, and that’s likely to go up in the majors because the hitters don’t chase as often as the little guys do.
Spencer Turkelson, 1B, Detroit Tigers
What are you looking for: Torkelson’s first run in the majors was unsuccessful, as he missed more area than expected and didn’t make a consistently strong connection, which is essential to a corner man whose value will be entirely in his racquet. Can he make more contact in the stadiums in the area and make sure that more contacts he has are of high quality?
why does it matter: The Tigers’ rebuilding has screwed up, at least for now, with three of their best shooting chances as of 2020 shelved, and none of their best strike prospects yet breached – Riley Green leading the team in the WRC +103, And it wasn’t even close to expectations so far. Detroit needs a lot of things that have gone wrong this year to hit the right track next year, and Torkelson, the first pick in 2020, will be in production near the top of that list.
Miguel Vargas, 3B/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
What are you looking for: Vargas could hit by any definition, with a .304/.404/.511 streak in Triple A this year at age 22, including 32 doubles, four triples, and 17 home runs in 113 games. The only real question is where can he play defensively? He can handle first base but he’s played third, second and even a little bit left this year.
why does it matter: The Dodgers’ first base has been covered for some time with Freddie Freeman, but they will have one place open next year with the possibility of leaving Trea Turner as free agent and Max Muncy and Justin Turner (who will turn 38). If Gavin Lux can handle a Shortstop, that means a second or third place would be open to Vargas, who could also end up to the left if the Dodgers decide to bench Chris Taylor, who was an alternate level player in 2022. But he has three years left. Knot.
Miguel Vargas is an influence from AB #1.
– MLB Pipeline (MLBPipeline) August 4, 2022
Garrett Mitchell and Astori Ruiz, CFs, Milwaukee Brewers
What are you looking for: For Mitchell, it’s really about impact with the bat – he’s an 80’s runner and over-center defender, with a good hitting feel but swinging that doesn’t generate a lot of power. For Ruiz, he’s more spacious – he can hit but doesn’t have Mitchell style, or at least he didn’t until this year, and while Ruiz can certainly play quarterback (and really run, with 70 steals this year already, more than any player in MLB) in one season since 2009), he’s not as good as Mitchell and could end up with a corner kick.
why does it matter: The Brewers need a central field answer now, for the rest of this year and for 2023, as they should be contending again next year. One of those players should be the daily quarterback next year, which will help The Brewers try to tackle some of the other weaknesses in the squad.
Ken Waldichuk, LHB, Auckland
What are you looking for: Waldichuk got everyone’s radar with a 30 2/3 point-free streak in the inning to start the 2021 minor league season and went on to miss the bats all the way through Triple A, working with an above-average Fastball due to which he plays spin, movement, and passer above average. He had significant cleavages in the platoon, lacking a good third pitch for right-handed bats, and his below-average driving, both of which indicated a potentially loyal future.
why does it matter: Valdychuk was the front-runner in Frankie Montas’ four-man comeback on the trade deadline, so there’s more pressure on him to work than there would be if he had come through the Oakland system. Team A certainly have chances in their 2023 rotation if Waldichuk looks good this month, and while I think he will likely end up as a savior, this big Auckland stadium has helped a lot of marginal starting prospects in the past.
(Corbin Carroll Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)
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