The Cleveland Indians will be selecting a few of their best minor leaguers to join the team when rosters expand on September 1st. Bullpen arms and position players will get the opportunity to prove they can handle major league opponents for the final four weeks of the season – and maybe even help the team win a few games. With that in mind, Wahoo’s on First debated this Weekly Wroundtable question:
Which September Call-Up Are You Most Looking Forward to Seeing in Cleveland?
Matthew Bretz: The September call-up I’m probably most excited to see is one that I’m not 100 percent convinced will be up (but should be, in my opinion), and that is Giovanni Soto. Don’t get me wrong, I really want to see Tyler Naquin as well, but Soto is a guy that should be up yesterday, helping out this bullpen. Soto is having a very solid season for Triple-A Columbus. He’s striking out nearly a batter an inning and has a 2.79 ERA, 3.11 FIP, .186 BAA, and 1.19 WHIP in 51.2 innings (heading into play on Wednesday). He has walked more than you’d like (4.7 per nine innings) but given that Kyle Crockett is currently the only left-handed reliever on the 40-man, seeing what Soto can do the last month of the year in Cleveland excites me. Been waiting to see this kid for a while now, but injuries have prevented the former Tigers prospect from making it to the big leagues – but he’s showing that he is worthy of a shot now.
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Katrina Putnam: Speaking of left-handers, I would like to see Ryan Merritt get the call in September. He’s not a flashy left-hander, but he posted some solid numbers in Double-A. With a 3.51 ERA and a 10-7 record, along with two complete games, Merritt was better than average and definitely made a case for a call-up. He’s struggled a bit at Triple-A over three starts, but that’s hardly a big enough sample to say he’s not worth a look. Given the lack of lefties in the pen, as Matt mentioned, it seems like any left-hander on the 40-man deserves to at least garner consideration for a roster spot this September. Really, what could it hurt? The Indians are realistically too far out of the playoffs to care about their win total, and it would give an up-and-coming prospect the chance to face some major league caliber hitters. He could be excellent, or he could be the left-handed version of Josh Tomlin – why not find out now?
Andrew Schmid: I most look forward to (hopefully) seeing Tyler Holt in the majors again. While he has struggled greatly through 21 plate appearances in the majors this year and he has struck out in nearly half of those, he has batted very well in the minor leagues. In a much-larger sample size of 374 Triple-A plate appearances, Holt has batted his way to a solid .288/.372/.350 slash line, which is roughly 15 percent better than the Triple-A average. Another reason to look forward to his return is that he has swiped over 30 bags in four of his five minor league seasons, and this boost of speed should help a team that has roughly league-average stolen base totals. Sure, Holt doesn’t bring much power to the table, but the tools that he does bring should make him a dynamic player.
Jeff Mount: I like Tyler Holt, but would anyone be happy if he plays a lot in 2016? I am hoping to see someone in September that shows they can help next year. To me, the guy with the best shot at that, at least on the Columbus roster, is Jesus Aguilar.
David Hill: It may be a long-shot since he’s not on the 40-man roster, but Bradley Zimmer. There is an opening in center field, and Zimmer has been decent in his time in Double-A. Maybe he’s not quite ready for a major league job, but with the Indians being out of the playoff picture, why not see what they have? After all, Zimmer was considered a better hitting prospect than the likes of Kyle Schwarber. If nothing else, bringing Zimmer along may allow the Indians to determine If he should be in the mix for the starting role in center next year, or if he needs more time in the minors.
Ryan Rosko: I really hope Tyler Naquin gets the call-up to Cleveland. I know he is a popular choice by many, and the team needs to know if he has a spot to contend for next season (which he should). There is no one that should be a lock in the outfield outside of Michael Brantley. With so many issues with this team, I would like as many players who have already been called up before. Those types of players have experience with MLB pitching and should be able to contribute something offensively. Players in this category include: Jesus Aguilar, Zach Walters and Tyler Holt.
Cody Norman: Jesus Aguilar will almost certainly see significant at-bats with the Tribe in September. After a breakout 2014 campaign in Triple-A Columbus, Aguilar earned a solid projection as a middle-of-the-order slugger in the Indians’ future plans. He hit .304/.395/.511 in 118 games, clubbing 19 home runs and driving in 77 RBIs. If the 25-year-old first baseman had put together a similar encore season, he would likely already be in Cleveland, as the big league club has struggled for offense. But he hasn’t. Aguilar is hitting just .257 this season, though he’s smacked 15 round-trippers and drove in 79 RBIs. His most recent acknowledgement as the International League’s best defensive first baseman proves he is not a one-trick pony. Aguilar could be an impact player down the stretch at either first base or designated hitter.