A number of rookies called up this season have already made an impact (Price, Wieters, McCutcheon, etc). Others are being called up late-season to get a “taste of the big leagues.” The following are several late-season callups who have solid long-term value. The list includes several players who have been called up along with several elite prospects who might be brought up in September.
Recent Callups (note: accidental omissions possible)
1. Neftali Feliz (P, Texas)—Feliz is currently in the bullpen, but he could become an elite starter within the next few years. He is unhittable when pitching well, and if available, is a great pickup in keeper leagues. There is talk that the Rangers may try him as a closer. Either way the talent is there so he will have value on your roster.
2. Brian Matusz (P, Orioles)—Matusz is an extremely good left-hander who should be a 2-3 starter in Baltimore for the next several seasons. Chris Tillman is another pitcher that Baltimore called less than a month ago who is also the future of their rotation. Both have had a rough start to their careers this season and probably can’t be counted on down the stretch but are definitely worth a pick up in keeper leagues.
3. Alcides Escobar (SS, Brewers)—Escobar has taken over for J.J. Harday as Milwaukee’s starting SS. He is a great source of stolen bases who should not hurt your team’s batting average.
4. Mat Latos (SP, Padres)—Mat Latos was called up about a month ago and after five starts he appears to be meeting expectations immediately. He is 4-1 with an ERA under 3 and a WHIP of 0.94. He has always been a strikeout pitcher so even though he plays for the Padres and might get shut down early, he is most definitely worth the pickup.
5. Junichi Tazawa (P, Boston)—Tazawa is the first Japanese playing to avoid the “posting” system by signing directly with a major league team. He has the chance to be very good. Boston is loaded with talented pitching prospects (Bowden, Bucholz, Bard, etc), but could have a spot in Boston’s rotation next season if he pitches well down the stretch. His fastball tops out at only 90 mph so he must know how to pitch if he’s gotten this far. He has great control and has moved through the system pretty quickly. He is young so there will be some dumps in the rode but someone worth grabbing if you can.
6. Alex Avila (C, Detroit)—Avila’s callup has been receiving a lot of publicity in Detroit. Avila moved quickly through the minors despite posting a .264 batting average, and he is viewed as Detroit’s catcher of the future. He has shown better defensive skills then Dusty Ryan. He takes a decent amount of walks and has some power. If he can hit at all he’ll have some staying power and be worth picking up.
7. Josh Reddick (OF, Red Sox)—He’s only 22 and some think that this call up may have been premature. However, he has been an intriguing, multi-tooled prospect. Reddick is a career .301/.353/.533 hitter in the minors and is also a base stealer. He shown some power and believers see a .300 hitter capable of 20+ HRs and 10+ SBs but that may not come till 2011 or even 2012.
8. Jhoulys Chacin (P, Rockies)—Like Feliz, the Rockies’ called up their top pitching prospect to see if he can provide a similar boost to what David Price provided Tampa last season. Chacin is a solid pitcher, but there is the problem that he pitches in Colorado. He was recently demoted because he had a hard time throwing strikes and he’s only 21.