Hard-throwing Chapman tops the 10 September call-ups to watch
Lefty Aroldis Chapman's 100-plus mph fastball will come out of the Reds' bullpen
OF Desmond Jennings and P Jake McGee will give the Rays a stretch drive boost
Power-hitting Mark Trumbo joins the Angels after making quick work of Triple A
That was the speed of a fastball delivered last Friday night in Louisville by Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban lefthander who defected to the U.S. during the offseason and signed a six-year, $30.25 million major league contract with Cincinnati. No matter the veracity of the radar gun at a minor league ballpark -- though the reading was confirmed by a scout -- any pitch that approaches 105 miles per hour is nearly unfathomable.
The raw but precociously talented former star of the Cuban national team will now get his first crack at the major leagues. The Reds are promoting Chapman before tonight's game to complement crafty veteran Arthur Rhodes as a second lefty reliever.
Chapman, who has allowed just two earned runs in his last 21-2/3 minor league innings, headlines the list of September call-ups in the annual late-season rite of passage for promising young players who get a taste of the majors when rosters expand from 25 players to 40. In Chapman's case, his promotion comes one day in advance of Sept. 1, making him eligible for the Reds' postseason roster should they stave off a late charge by the Cardinals. (A few others on the list below, even if they're called up in September, could participate in the playoffs as replacements for players who are on the disabled list.)
Chapman's long-term future is as a starter, but he's more helpful to the Reds as a reliever, so after making 13 starts at Triple A Louisville, he was shifted to the bullpen in late June. Several other September call-ups will also be utilized for only a part of their skill set as they help their clubs make a playoff push. Others will become everyday players in the hope they will provide fans with a coming attraction.
Youth has already made quite an impact this season. The National League boasts a host of strong rookie-of-the-year candidates, and other late-season call-ups have been making a difference, due to a starter's injury at the major league level or because their teams, such as the Orioles and Pirates, have been playing for the future most of the season. So while you know about pitchers like the Rays' Jeremy Hellickson and the Yankees' Ivan Nova, or position players such as Angels centerfielder Peter Bourjos and Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, more are sure to generate headlines after being called up in the coming month.
Several promising pitchers (such as the Mariners' Michael Pineda) won't get the call because they've already reached their innings limits for the season and others (pitcher Louis Coleman and third baseman Mike Moustakas of the Royals) will likely be held back because they are not on their club's 40-man roster. (Only players with a major league contract are eligible for a September call-up.)
So in addition to Chapman, be on the lookout for:
Since being traded from the White Sox for reliever Tony Peņa last July, Allen has pounded the ball at Triple A, hitting 37 home runs with 116 RBIs in 143 games over the past year and a half with Arizona's affiliate in Reno. A burly 6'-2", 235 pound slugger, Allen had an unspectacular 32-game call-up in late August and September last year in which he batted .202 with a .284 on-base percentage and four home runs, but his plate discipline (. 404 OBP thanks to 82 walks in 105 games) has significantly improved in the minors this season. The natural first baseman, blocked by Adam LaRoche in the majors, is learning to play leftfield, a position that has been a revolving door for the Diamondbacks.
The starter who opposed Chapman on the day the lefty hit 105 on the gun was Carrasco. His fastball was below 100, but he allowed just one run over seven innings in what was most likely his final minor league start. A week ago, Indians manager Manny Acta said Carrasco would not only be promoted but join Cleveland's rotation, probably at the expense of Justin Masterson, whom the Tribe may return to the bullpen. A 6'-3" righthander from Venezuela, Carrasco was awful (0-4, 8.87 ERA) in five September starts last year, but the Indians are much more confident in his development: 10-6 with a 3.65 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 150 1/3 innings at Triple A Columbus this season. If not for a forearm injury earlier in the year, he'd already be in the majors.
Once upon a time, Fields was the star of the White Sox farm system. He was a two-sport star at Oklahoma State as a third baseman and quarterback, a first-round pick by Chicago in 2004, and he homered in his first major league at bat, in 2006. The following year, his OBP was only .308 but he hit 23 homers in 100 games in the big leagues. Then his development hit a wall: a combined .214 with a .292 OBP and seven homers in 93 major league games in '08 and '09, during which time he lost his job to Gordon Beckham and was traded, along with Chris Getz, to Kansas City for Mark Teahen. Now Fields is on a comeback tour. After having hip surgery in April, he's hit .415 in his first 12 minor league games in the Royals' system. His talent has always been there and he'll get another chance to display it this September.
The Indians have been unable to find any meaningful offense at third base since the trade of Jhonny Perlata to the Tigers. Jayson Nix, Luis Valebuena and Andy Marte have swung mostly competent bats in the games they've started at third, but they've been dreadful in the field. That's why Goedert will get a good long look. A ninth-round pick out of Kansas State in 2006, he played the first third of the season in Double A before moving to Triple A, collectively hitting .290 with a .364 OBP, 26 home runs and 78 RBI in 117 games. Goedert, however, is not yet on the Indians' 40-man roster, so another player will have to be designated for assignment to make room for him.
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