Alex Kielar | Aug 22nd, 2019
With September looming and pennant races tightening, it’s almost time for major league rosters to expand from 25 to 40. So I am going to give you a series of articles breaking down the likely most impactful September Call-Ups for all 30 teams. Now for the American League West.
Houston Astros: OF Kyle Tucker
The Astros have the AL West all but locked up, eight games ahead of the Athletics. Their one concern is fighting it out with the Yankees for home field advantage in the playoffs for the American League. As of Wednesday, August 21, they are two games behind the Yankees. The Astros don’t really have many weaknesses, they have two potential Cy Young candidates in their rotation, a couple MVP candidates in their lineup, and are built for October. Their only real weakness, which isn’t even much of one, is Josh Reddick, who hasn’t had the best season. His BABIP for August has only been .182, however, so some bad luck could be involved. His on-base percentage is only .305 for the season, almost 20 points lower than last season. One way to improve that position is to call-up their number one overall prospect in Kyle Tucker but still, keep Reddick for defense. Tucker has hit 32 home runs and stole 28 bases at Triple-A Round Rock, and hit .268. He will be an exciting player in September for the Astros and should give them solid production.
Oakland Athletics: LHP Jesus Luzardo
The Athletics are fighting for a playoff spot, as of Wednesday, August 21 they are tied with Tampa Bay for the second wild-card spot, and will need all they can get to find their surprising way in. A solid option to get a call-up is their number one prospect Jesus Luzardo. Just last week, Luzardo returned to Triple-A Las Vegas after an extended rehab assignment following a lat injury. While he struggled in his first start back last Thursday, surrendering five runs (four earned), six hits, and a walk over 3.1 innings, he bounced back nicely in his next start. On Monday, he only allowed one earned run with three hits and two walks over 4.2 innings. Prior to September, Luzardo should have the chance to prove himself more with one or two potential starts. If he does well, and the A’s have room to give him innings, he should get the call. He will be important to them squeaking into the playoffs if he is effective. He certainly has the stuff for it.
Los Angeles Angels: 3B Taylor Ward
The Angels already have the best player in the league and one of the best of all time when it’s all said and done in Mike Trout. They have him locked up for the future, but they just need to develop around him. Most of their top prospects are a few years away from breaking into the league, so I have to go off their Top 30 prospect lists to find who can make an impact in September this year. Taylor Ward is one guy that got his first chance in September last year for the team. He disappointed after he was hyped up a bit, only slashing .178/.245/.333, but this season at Triple-A Salt Lake, he has performed very well. He has slashed .306/.429/.594/1.023 with 26 home runs and 66 RBI in 99 games. If he gets the call-up this season, he has another chance to prove himself. Ward’s future could be decided with how well he plays in September, as the Angels need to know if he’s worth developing further or cutting ties with. They already have strong depth at infield and Ward has fallen behind a couple of the other top prospects already.
Texas Rangers: LHP Kyle Bird
The Rangers got Bird in the three-team trade with the Rays and Athletics last winter involving Jurickson Profar. The Rangers are rebuilding and need to see what they have with their current prospects. Bird made 12 starts earlier this year for the Rangers, surrendering 11 earned runs over 12.2 innings, which inflated his ERA to 7.82. Bird did, however, save one game in once chance, and allowed just a .229 batting average against. His weakness was his control, as he walked 15 and only struck out 10. He has had a pretty solid year at Triple-A Nashville, over 30 innings he holds a 2.70 ERA with 33 strikeouts, 12 walks, and a .270 batting average against. If he can bring his success from Triple-A to the big leagues in September, he should find himself on the Opening Day roster in 2020 as an important bullpen piece. September is important to him and the Rangers as to who will be on their pitching staff next year.
Seattle Mariners: RHP Justin Dunn
One of the prospects the Mariners received from the Mets for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, Dunn could be a big piece to the Mariners’ plans. If he turns out like he is projected to, that trade could be the most lopsided in history. Jarred Kelenic was the other player they got in the deal, and he is a very prized prospect. Anyway, back to Dunn, he has been solid this year for Double-A Arkansas, holding a 3.70 ERA with 138 strikeouts and a 1.234 WHIP over 116.2 innings. While the Mariners would have to do some maneuvering to get Dunn up to the big club, jumping over Triple-A, they should do it, and see what he can bring to the table. They do have nothing to play for this season, and giving him a few innings in September won’t hurt anything just to see where he’s at. If he pitches effectively, he should get the chance to start in at least Triple-A next season.
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