These 9 MLB prospects may impression playoff race with late-season call-ups
MLB followers have grown accustomed to seeing the dugouts packed in September when the rosters expanded.
It was once that groups would complete 40 gamers on their lively roster for the season’s remaining month, with minor league skills getting the prospect to carry out alongside the MLB regulars to indicate what they will do when given the prospect to play within the massive leagues.
That will not be the case this 12 months. In 2021, rosters will solely broaden to twenty-eight gamers from the standard 26. Nonetheless, these further few spots might be essential for groups hoping to make a run on the postseason, and there are actually going to be some prime prospects that come as much as assist out their groups.
With the roster enlargement restricted, do not count on to see too many guys not already on the 40-man roster making their debuts. So sorry, Mackenzie Gore and Julio Rodriguez followers, however their time will seemingly wait till 2022.
Sporting Information is having a look at 9 prospects that could possibly be receiving the decision as much as the massive leagues, who may assist make a distinction for his or her workforce within the hunt for the postseason.
MORE: Every MLB contender’s greatest subject heading into the stretch run
Jose Barrero, SS, Reds
The Reds have had a revolving door at shortstop this season, beginning with shifting Eugenio Suarez to the place earlier than transferring him again to his extra pure third base spot and plugging in utility bat Kyle Farmer into the spot. Whereas Farmer has carried out effectively, he could possibly be finest utilized in a versatile position the place the workforce can reap the benefits of his positional versatility.
Enter Jose Barrero. The Reds’ prime prospect debuted final season and struggled to make the hefty soar from Class Excessive-A to the massive leagues. This season, nonetheless, he is crushed Double-A and Triple-A pitching, slashing a mixed .304/.381/.518 on the two ranges with 14 homers, 14 stolen bases, 31 walks and 76 strikeouts in 72 video games of motion. Heralded most for his defensive talents as he was making the early rise within the minors, Barrero has made himself right into a dynamic hitter and appears just like the Reds shortstop of the longer term.
Selling Barrero would give the Reds lots extra infield depth and permit them to relaxation Suarez and first baseman Joey Votto, whereas additionally probably giving them an impression bat at a place that might use one as they hope to chase down the Brewers within the NL Central.
Joey Bart, C, Giants
Giants followers have loved the resurgence of Buster Posey behind the dish after two down seasons — by his admittedly lofty requirements — as he is helped cause them to the highest of the NL West. However he is additionally spent your entire season behind the dish with out enjoying any first base, and whereas Curt Casali has helped spell him behind the plate, he may use extra relaxation time in September than previously because the Giants discover themselves trying to get again to the postseason.
Thankfully, the Giants have among the best catching prospects within the recreation and a man who has already spent a while within the massive leagues. Joey Bart appeared in 33 video games in 2020 and added two extra this 12 months, however he is spent many of the 2021 marketing campaign at Triple-A, the place he is mashed pitchers to the tune of a .311/.376/.532 slash line with 10 dwelling runs. He has struck out 29 p.c of the time and walked at only a 7.6 p.c clip, however the workforce will commerce that for his immense energy and spectacular protection behind the plate.
Bart is a 24-year-old catcher who has logged solely 49 video games this season. He can be greater than prepared to assist soak up the catching workload in September and assist give Posey some much-needed relaxation time earlier than the playoffs.
Vidal Brujan, OF, Rays
Wander Franco was the splashy promotion this season by the Rays as the sport’s No. 1 prospect reached the massive leagues for the primary time in his professional profession. However second baseman/outfielder Vidal Brujan had been having fun with a robust marketing campaign at Triple-A in his personal proper and earned a promotion earlier this 12 months, although he has since been despatched again all the way down to Triple-A. With the Rays trying to maintain onto their lead within the AL East, they may actually be trying to strengthen themselves in any space down the stretch.
Brujan has been placing all his instruments to make use of this season with Durham. He has racked up 9 homers, swiped 21 bases and put collectively a promising .272/.358/.469 slash line. One other spectacular side of his recreation has been his discerning eye on the plate as he is walked 11.9 p.c of the time and struck out simply 14.6 p.c. Although he rose by the ranks as a center infielder, the presence of Brandon Lowe, Franco and Taylor Partitions has brought about the Rays to look into utilizing his elite pace and above-average arm power within the outfield.
Brujan would not instantly have a wide-open path to enjoying time because the outfield is crammed by Randy Arozarena, Austin Meadows and Kevin Kiermaier with depth like Manuel Margot and Jordan Luplow, however along with his pace — he stole 48 bases in 2019 and 43 in 2018 — he could possibly be used as a weapon off the bench late in shut video games.
Luis Campusano, C, Padres
Austin Nola has established himself as one of many higher bats behind the dish within the massive leagues, however this season, he is been battered with accidents. He fractured a finger in his catching hand in spring coaching and later within the 12 months sprained his knee. The 31-year-old backstop hasn’t logged many innings at catcher this 12 months due to the accidents, however to restrict the danger of one other harm, he may discover his time behind the plate a bit sporadic in September to ensure he is prepared for the postseason.
Like their counterparts in San Francisco, the Padres have a greater than serviceable catcher ready within the wings. Luis Campusano has impressed scouts in his minor league profession with among the best hit instruments amongst catchers and energy that has began to emerge as he is progressed by the minors. Although he is struggled in his restricted time within the majors, he has continued to bash Triple-A pitching in 2021, posting a .838 OPS whereas strolling 7.9 p.c of the time and placing out solely 19.9 p.c. His protection may nonetheless use some enchancment, one of many chief causes the 22-year-old backstop has spent extra time within the minors, however his bat may present the Padres with some thump if he is capable of preserve his success in El Paso stepping into San Diego.
Campusano is not a splashy bat that’s going to shake up the postseason race. However he would add some essential depth for the Padres and could possibly be an improve as a backup catcher over Victor Caratini, who has mustered solely an 80 wRC+ this season.
Luis Gil, RHP, Yankees
Luis Gil has been up and down lately from the Yankees after he made his MLB debut on Aug. 3 in opposition to the Orioles, a matchup through which he threw six shutout innings with six punchouts, 4 hits and only one stroll. The Yankees discover themselves pushing to make the playoffs after an aggressive run on the MLB commerce deadline, however they nonetheless have been trying to shore up the backend of the rotation with accidents to Domingo German and Corey Kluber, and Jordan Montgomery testing constructive for COVID-19. Gil could possibly be the reply to that, in addition to an alternative choice out of the bullpen for September.
Gil has lengthy been thought of one among New York’s prime pitching prospects thanks largely to his explosive fastball that hits triple-digits with ease. His slider has improved to be an above-average providing and he is labored to make his changeup a legit third providing. His drawback has all the time been management. He walked 10 p.c of batters at Double-A this season earlier than that quantity spiked as much as 16.8 p.c at Triple-A when he was promoted, contributing to a 5.64 ERA. He has by no means posted a stroll price beneath 10 p.c within the minors, however his strikeout price has sometimes been between 25 and 35 p.c.
The management points would seemingly imply that Gil can be an inconsistent beginning choice within the massive leagues, however his fiery fastball/slider mixture may make him a legit weapon popping out of the bullpen if he can maximize his stuff in shorter stints. Whether or not it is making a spot begin or pitching in reduction, count on to see Gil in some significant innings for the Yankees down the stretch.
Tanner Houck, RHP, Crimson Sox
Beginning pitching has been the largest weak spot for the Crimson Sox this season, who exterior of Nathan Eovaldi, lack a starter with an ERA beneath 4.50. Even with the upcoming return of Chris Sale, that lack of depth within the rotation is regarding for a workforce hoping to both catch the Rays within the AL East or maintain onto one of many two Wild Playing cards. That is the place Tanner Houck could possibly be an asset to the workforce.
Houck has already been up with the Crimson Sox this season, having made a number of begins and pitched out to a 2.45 ERA throughout six appearances — 4 begins — with the massive league membership. The hard-throwing right-hander has struck out 33.7 p.c of opposing batters confronted whereas strolling solely 5.6 p.c. His ERA in Triple-A is alarming at 5.14, however the underlying numbers present he is truly been dominant. Batters are hitting simply .238 in opposition to him and have struck out 28.9 p.c of the time to simply at 7.8 p.c stroll price, resulting in a 2.93 FIP.
The Crimson Sox may use pitching assist past simply the return of Sale, and Houck has already proven he is able to getting batters out on the massive league degree. Together with his mixture of a hard-biting sinker and wipeout slider, he’d be a robust addition to the again finish of the rotation or to be used as an extended reliever within the bullpen.
Cristian Pache, OF, Braves
The Braves have been dealt probably the most devastating harm of any contender with Ronald Acuna Jr. dominated out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. He had been enjoying at an MVP degree and his absence cuts into the depth of that Atlanta lineup. That’s the reason it could possibly be extra essential than ever for a participant like Cristian Pache to step up heading into the ultimate month of the season, particularly with Atlanta not far out of the NL East race.
There isn’t any one who may actually change Acuna within the lineup, however Pache has the potential to assist reduce the blow of shedding the All-Star. Pache has been thought of one of many highest regarded prospects within the recreation largely for his defensive prowess in heart discipline and his pace. Nonetheless, he is flashed five-tool potential previously with scouts praising his capability to make contact and his uncooked energy. Pache was referred to as up earlier in 2021 and struggled mightily, placing out almost 40 p.c of the time and strolling below 3 p.c, however he is been swinging a a lot hotter bat since July 8, slashing .270/.350/.427 in Triple-A with 4 homers and 4 steals.
Pache is already on the 40-man roster and has twice now been given an opportunity to play in Atlanta. Although his bat actually nonetheless wants extra time to develop within the minors earlier than he is prepared for a full-time position, the Braves may wager on the uncooked toolset giving them a spark within the outfield once they want some assist in September.
Nate Pearson, SP, Blue Jays
The Blue Jays’ lineup may be among the best within the league, however their pitching has left one thing to be desired this season. The pitching workers as an entire has the sixth-lowest Fangraphs WAR in baseball at 6.4, with the workforce missing rotational depth previous Hyun-Jin Ryu, Robbie Ray and Alek Manoah and the bullpen having some points behind Jordan Romano and Tim Mayza. So the workforce may use an electrical arm in some capability down the stretch, and there aren’t many who present extra of that electrical energy than Nate Pearson.
The 6-6 right-hander might need probably the most over-powering stuff within the minors. He throws a fastball that has been clocked as excessive as 104 mph and routinely sits within the upper-90s, together with a slider that zips by the zone and offers him a standout providing. He is improved his curveball and changeup to try to wipe out any considerations over whether or not he could be a starter long-term, however for the stretch run, the Blue Jays may discover that his stuff would play up within the bullpen. Pearson has missed a whole lot of time this season with accidents, however he is on the way in which again now and when he has pitched at Triple-A this season, he is fanned 34 p.c of batters — albeit with a ten.4 p.c stroll price — in 24.2 innings of labor.
Pearson’s transient stint within the majors final season did not go too effectively, nor did his one begin earlier in 2021, however the stuff is just too overpowering to miss. He is bought probably the most uncooked potential of any pitcher within the Blue Jays group and if he can harness it in September, he could possibly be an actual weapon for a workforce hoping to succeed in the postseason.
A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics
Much like Pearson, A.J. Puk provides a ferocious fastball/slider mixture, solely his comes from the left aspect. The Athletics used him as a weapon popping out of the bullpen in 2019 and it labored to nice success with the 6-7 southpaw delivering a 3.18 ERA and three.39 FIP in 11.1 innings. Now with the A’s pursuing the Astros within the AL West, they might use him once more to assist their playoff push.
The Athletics rotation has been stable, however the bullpen has needed to lean on Jake Diekman as its solely dominant left-handed arm. Since initially arising by the minors as a starter, Puk has centered solely on relieving the place his triple-digits fastball and wipeout slider have performed effectively. The outcomes this 12 months at Triple-A are combined as he is struck out 25.5 p.c of batters and walked solely 6.9 p.c, however opponents are batting .301 in opposition to him with 10 homers to contribute to a 6.08 ERA. Las Vegas, nonetheless, is a notoriously hitter-friendly surroundings, and since June 26, he is pitched higher anyway, posting a 1.64 ERA over 22 innings with only one homer, 24 strikeouts and 4 walks.
Oakland loved attending to make the most of Puk in 2019 down the stretch of the season, and he may play the same position in 2021. His stuff makes him a possible asset out of the bullpen and will make a distinction because the A’s attempt to attain the playoffs.