In late June, I took a look which prospects would be the next to be called up by their respective teams. Wil Myers, Christian Yelich, Brad Miller, Tony Sanchez, Alex Wood, Joey Terdoslavich, Wilmer Flores, Kyle Gibson, Jarred Cosart, Cody Asche, and Jaff Decker were all on that list, some of which were fairly obvious while others may not have been as anticipated. As we now approach September and the expansion of rosters, it's time to take another look at which prospects could be called up for a taste of the big leagues.
September call-ups are different than mid-season promotions, because they are sometimes given to prospects who aren't necessarily ready for the majors. There are two main reasons prospects are called up in September: (1) as a one-month tryout to see if they are ready for next season or, (2) as a carrot in front of a player who's not quite ready as incentive for next year.
Last time around, I broke teams down by why they may be calling up players, but at this point, we all know who's in contention and who's not, and why they may be promoting certain players. This time, I'll just take it division by division. This week, I'll discuss the National League. Next week, the American League.
Atlanta Braves - With Wood and Terdoslavich already up in the majors doing their thing, the Braves don't have a ton left at the upper levels of the minor leagues that can help them down the stretch. That's OK, however, because their 25-man roster is packed pretty tightly. Once the rosters expand, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Braves call up Christian Bethancourt to serve as their third/fourth catcher, just because he's having a strong second half and the expanded rosters allow for extra catchers. Despite his strong second half, Bethancourt isn't ready to hit in the majors at all, but he is ready defensively behind the plate right now and a promotion could serve as a "carrot" for strong play next season.
Miami Marlins - There's not much left for the Marlins to call up since they irresponsibly promoted virtually every prospect in their system this season, but we could see the likes of Marcell Ozuna (if he recovers from a thumb injury in time) and Derek Dietrich (now that his bully, Tino Martinez is gone) in the majors again. Other than players that have already made major league appearances, it's a stretch to see any other prospects get the call. Pitching prospects Justin Nicolino and Andrew Heaney would be a stretch, but again, it's the Marlins, so anything is possible.
New York Mets - Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores are already in Queens, so there's not much else on the horizon as far as impact talent, but Rafael Montero could come up for a spot start or two down the stretch. He's about the only reasonable option to get a late-season call-up, with Noah Syndergaard still too inexperienced to reasonably reach the majors this season. In the field, the Mets have been waiting all season to see Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate, and with his rehab finally progressing, he should get a taste of the majors in September.
Philadelphia Phillies - With Asche and Ethan Martin already in the majors, two of their most obvious call-ups are already in Philly. There's not much left in Triple-A, but with John Lannan going down with an injury, the Phillies will need another starter. Roy Halladay will be back at some point, for some inexplicable reason, but in the mean time, Adam Morgan could be a candidate to come up and make a start or two. He's a better option than Tyler Cloyd, whose entire status as a "prospect" is due to winning 15 games last season, but then again, this is the Phillies, so they'll probably make Cloyd their ace next season.
Washington Nationals - The big call-up for the Nats was Anthony Rendon, who is currently manning second base and has been since June, so there's not much left to help. The Nationals are also in a strange position as a team that isn't competing this season but also isn't looking to add too much to their major league roster. Danny Rosenbaum could possibly help as a second lefty in the pen, or more accurately, as a long-man that could help down the stretch and possibly compete for a spot at the back end of the Nats rotation for next year.
Chicago Cubs - In as deep of a system as you'll find, most of the Cubs impact talent is at the lower levels of the minor leagues, making it ill-equipped to promote. The biggest name you'll see called up to Wrigley this fall, however, is newly acquired third baseman Mike Olt, who is certainly a part of the Cubs future, likely as soon as next year. He's a prime example of a player auditioning for 2014. Josh Vitters will likely be up as well, although at this point, he appears to have been passed on the Cubs crowded hot corner depth chart and could be playing for a fresh start elsewhere.
Cincinnati Reds - Billy Hamilton is incredibly fast, so he's still a candidate to be a call-up and even make the Reds post-season squad as a pinch-running specialist, despite his struggles at the plate this season. He won't play regularly, but his speed is game-changing enough that it could have an impact in the short-term.
Milwaukee Brewers - In perhaps the saddest farm system in the majors, there isn't much to get excited about here, especially with Scooter Gennett currently in the majors. Hunter Morris has power and has spent the entire season in Triple-A, and the current platoon of Juan Francisco and Yuniesky Betancourt isn't blocking anybody, so he's a potential call-up, but he's not the kind of impact talent that will turn the Brewers season around.
Pittsburgh Pirates - The first-place Pirates have already called on what was left of the cavalry when they promoted Sanchez and Andrew Lambo, so despite their exceptionally deep farm system, there's not much more help on the horizon. The Pirates are in full competitive mode, but their top prospect Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco aren't ready to help with that yet. Top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon could get a call-up if the Pirates want to push things, but he won't be getting any starts in a deep Pirates rotation and the Pirates have been notoriously methodical with their prospect promotions, so it's unlikely. At best, he gets a call-up and a few mop-up innings down the stretch, but even that's a long-shot.
St. Louis Cardinals - With the news that Oscar Taveras is done for the season and Michael Wacha's promotion to the major league bullpen, the only player left to come up is Kolten Wong. As it happens, he's on his way to St. Louis as we speak, according to Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wong wont play second base every day, but he could work his way in due to Matt Carpenter's versatility.
Arizona Diamondbacks - When the Diamondbacks were far enough out of the race to trade Ian Kennedy - what? they were only 2 1/2 games out of that point? nevermind. Well the Diamondbacks acted like they were far enough out of the playoff race to justify calling up top prospect Archie Bradley and give him a start or two down the stretch to help get him ready for Triple-A next season, but a sweep of the Orioles has thrust them so far in the race that they can't ignore it. What's good for the Diamondbacks is bad for Bradley's chances in the majors this season, and with Matt Davidson's recent promotion, there's not a ton left in Reno to help out. Chris Owings is also having a great season in Triple-A and might be an improvement at short stop, but the D-Backs seem to be dedicated to Didi Gregorius so if he does get called up, it's likely as a role player.
Colorado Rockies - After a hot start to the season, it turns out the Rockies stink. Their farm system had no such hot start and has pretty much stunk the whole season. There's some talent in the system, but Eddie Butler, Tyler Matzek and Jonathan Gray aren't getting called up this year, and if they do, they shouldn't.
Los Angeles Dodgers - Joc Pederson is really good and is the Dodgers best prospect, but their major league outfield already has four starters, so that's not happening. Zach Lee is having a strong season in Double-A and Chris Capuano hasn't been very good, but if the Dodgers choose to remove him from their rotation, they are more likely to just piece things together until the post-season, given their cushion in the NL West. Call-up season won't be very exciting, Dodgers' fans, but lucikly first place is.
San Diego Padres - The Padres have one of the deeper systems in the minors, but like the Cubs system, much of the impact talent is still far away. Center fielder Reymond Fuentes could jump to his third level this season given how good he's played, as a test to see how long he needs in Triple-A next season. He should be the Padres center fielder at some point next year, and a test this fall wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Still, should the Padres want to keep him in the minors this season, it wouldn't be a terrible decision either.
San Francisco Giants - The Giants farm system isn't deep and the only potential call-up they had on the horizon was Gary Brown, but it turns out that his 2011 season in the California League was a total fluke and he can't actually hit minor league pitching, let alone its major league counterpart. That Wheeler fellow throwing at Citi Field would look pretty good in black and orange, but he had to trade his black for blue a few years back and that pipe dream has long left the Bay. Other than that, the cupboard is pretty bare.