Over the past few weeks, information has been slowly trickling in on who will be called up on September 1st. We’ve heard Jesus Montero is all but a lock to get the call, but others are more questionable. Lots of factors go in to calling someone up. Are they close to being MLB ready? Can they help the big league team? Would they benefit from spending time with the club, or are they still too far away in their development? Are they slotted for winter ball in the Arizona Fall League or Puerto Rico? Where are they innings-wise? Each of these factors and others can impact whether or not it makes sense to call someone up, so I wanted to take a look at a few prominent candidates and see if we can figure out who will be called up and who won’t.
Jesus Montero-No great secret that he’s all but a lock. The Yanks can take a look at him as a DH, and even let him catch someone like Freddy Garcia who doesn’t throw all that hard and calls his own game. Not sure that they will let him catch, but its an option. Reports of him being bored in AAA are something I find more troubling than comforting, but it should be noted those quotes came from coach Butch Wynegar, not him. Expect the Yanks to give him a few games at DH the first times they face soft tossing Lefty starters. Don’t expect him to play against Boston just because its September 1st. He won’t be penciled in the following game if Toronto goes with tough righty Brandon Morrow, who will be on his turn. I’m not even sure he’ll play in the series facing the Blue Jays if hard-throwing lefty Luis Perez or the always tough Ricky Romero (on turn for game 2) are going. But if Brett Cecil (on his turn for game 3 of the series) or Jo-Jo Reyes is on the schedule, then yes. They’ll want to let him settle in for a few days and wade in to the major leagues slowly, so just be patient. He’ll get a good look this September, mostly at the expense of Jorge Posada‘s playing time.
“If you asked me do I have plans, right now, that he (Banuelos) is going to be called up?” Cashman said. “No, right now, I don’t have plans that he is going to be called up. I don’t expect him to be called up. It doesn’t mean he won’t be called up. It doesn’t mean we won’t look at it. Right now, his job description is to finish the season at Triple-A in the starting rotation. There are no current plans to transition him to the bullpen, but that doesn’t mean that is not possible either. On day-to-day, week-to-week basis, we change our minds on a lot of things.”
My expectation is they will call up Manny. While he hasn’t logged a ton of innings (116) he has thrown a lot of pitches in those outings and made almost all of his starts (24). I don’t see him as a candidate for the AFL, where he’ll be facing a very mixed level of competition in terms of age and experience. You don’t send a AAA pitcher to the AFL or Puerto Rico unless they need the work, and I don’t think he does. It should be noted he was in the AFL last year, but that’s because he missed significant time due to an appendectomy. He should finish the year around 121-128 IP, and if the Yanks take a look at him in the bullpen he could get a few more innings in at the MLB level. He’s an interesting candidate as a LOOGY, since he’s been tough on lefties in the minors this year, posting a 2.53 FIP and 27.7 K%. I think he gets a look, but I suspect it will be a very limited one. The Yankee bullpen could use another lefty, but its been very good without one. He’s still just 20 and there’s no rush, although you would like to prep him for a possible big league call up in 2012.
Dellin Betances- Very similar to Manny Banny. Has logged 111.1 innings thus far, so he should finish around 121-124 for the year. Has made most of his starts (22) and been his usual self. Very tough to hit (7.52 H/9) piles up strikeouts (9.94 K/9) but walked too many (4.45 BB/9) and has a tendency for the wheels to come off. Despite that walk rate, his 1.33 WHIP and 3.65 FIP were fine since he allows so little else. Another pitcher who won’t benefit from winter ball all that much, and should get a very limited look in pinstripes. Again, there’s no rush but you would like to have him get his feet wet for a serious look in 2012.
Adam Warren- Has had a solid year at AAA, though his 3.97 FIP suggests he may have been a bit lucky with his 3.33 ERA. Hit (8.69/9) and walk rates (3.07 BB/9) are solid, but doesn’t miss many bats (6.08 K/9) and has seen that number decline as he’s climbed the ladder. Was one of the hottest pitchers in the minors in June, allowing just 2 runs across a 29 inning stretch. But he’s come back down to Earth recently, allowing 13 runs in his last 23.1 IP. Could be a spot starter on most teams, but with the Yankees already juggling a 6 man rotation I don’t see him getting a look. 4 pitch pitcher who doesn’t throw overly hard, so he doesn’t look like a bullpen candidate. May travel with the team, but that’s it.
David Phelps-His candidacy could be described as Warren-lite. Had a nice year, posting a 3.87 FIP in 14 starts. But coming off recent shoulder problems I don’t see him getting much of a look at the big league level. He doesn’t have a huge ceiling to begin with, so its unlikely he’d ever pitch even if he did get the call. There are other guys they will want to see in the limited opportunities they’ll have. Let him finish up the season in AAA, rest in the offseason and hopefully come back strong for next year.
Austin Romine-The first of my two sleepers. Despite playing in AA this year, Player Development VP Mark Newman admitted that he would have been in AAA but for the presence of Jesus Montero. Some in the organization think he’s ahead of Montero for being ready to play catcher at the big league level. His timetable could be accelerated with the pending Montero promotion, and they may want to get a look at him as a substitute for Frankie Cervelli next year. Odds are against it, I still think he’s ticketed for a full season at AAA next year. But giving him a September look could be a window into the Yankee catching plans for 2012.
Andrew Brackman-My other sleeper pick, though this one I think is less speculative. We all know he’s had a horrific 2011 season, and the heels of a bad 2010 campaign. He’s been better of late, with reports of his velocity being back and his results improving. There’s simply no harm in letting him hang around the club, pick Rothschild’s brain and get an inning or two in a blowout. Especially as a reliever, which I suspect will be his role in AAA next year. There’s still upside there, and if a fellow big man like CC can help him with a word or two on his mechanics, or Mo can give him a tip on bullpen work, then great. Let him spend some time with the team, it can’t hurt. By his own admission he’s struggled at times with his confidence, and getting some MLB hitters out may help in that area. Using him out of the bullpen means you can limit his exposure, so he won’t get tattooed. Nowhere to go but up for the Brackmonster.
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