When the minor league season ends in early September, some of the top minor league stars get the call to join their parent club at the big league level. September call-ups are vital to a Major League Baseball franchise. Contending teams look for extra depth to help them in their playoff push while teams building for next year want to see what the young players can bring to the table. Here are some of this year’s top September call-ups and what we can expect from them in the future.
Nick Castellanos – Outfielder, Detroit Tigers
Castellanos is a lucky man. He gets to discuss fielding with Torii Hunter, one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball history and hitting with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, two of the best hitters on the planet. Talk about coming into the right situation. Originally blocked at third base by Cabrera, Castellanos has developed into a dependable outfielder. His call-up this year was designed to give him Major League experience. He will be given a chance to win the leftfield spot during Spring Training. If he does not capture the job in the spring, it should only be a matter of time before he joins the Tigers for good during the course of the 2014 season.
Michael Choice – Outfielder, Oakland Athletics
After tearing up Triple A pitching this year, the Athletics added Choice to their outfield mix. He has hit .313 in a very limited sample size but his real opportunity to prove that he belongs as a starter in Oakland’s outfield will come in the spring. Even if he does not put up spectacular statistics during March, the Athletics, who could decide to go younger and cheaper next year, might keep Choice anyway. If Choice can put up similar numbers to the ones he did throughout his minor league career, Athletics’ fans will have a lot to cheer for.
Billy Hamilton – Outfielder, Cincinnati Reds
Hamilton can flat out run. One year removed from setting the minor league stolen base record for a single season with 155, he stole 75 bases with Triple A Louisville. In 11 games with the Reds, Hamilton has already stolen 13 bases and has not been thrown out once. He also uses his speed to cover a significant amount of ground in the outfield. As long as he continues to get on base, something which has been a little bit of a weak spot in the minors, he will be an ultra productive spark plug at the top of Cincinnati’s lineup for next season and beyond.
Heath Hembree – Pitcher, San Francisco Giants
In five relief appearances, Hembree has been a welcome sight to the Giants. With their pitching struggles this season, Hembree has shown that he is deserving of a spot on the club in some pitching capacity. He has pitched five innings and not allowed anyone to score while only allowing one hit. Count on Hembree to make a run for a starting rotation spot during Spring Training and be a part of the San Francisco rotation by this time next year.
Marcus Semien – Infielder, Chicago White Sox
Semien has given the White Sox some solid production since his arrival in Chicago. He is batting .306 in his first trip to the show. Semien can play second base, third base and shortstop, which gives him added appeal. Expect him to compete for the third base role during Spring Training. In the long run, he could be a very valuable utility man due to his ability to play multiple positions.
Taijuan Walker – Pitcher, Seattle Mariners
In three starts this September, Walker is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 15 innings. Big things are expected out of this right-hander. He leads a group of talented young Mariner pitchers who should make the jump from the minors to the show over the course of the 2014 season. The Mariners view Walker as an essential part of their rotation going forward and hope that he and ace, Felix Hernandez, will form an overpowering 1 – 2 punch for many years.
All statistics taken from baseball-reference.com and are current as of 9/24/13.