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Thursday, April 9, 2020

12 late-season MLB call-ups worth watching

Willie Calhoun, OF, Rangers

A key part of the Yu Darvish trade, this 22-year-old has played both second base and, more recently, the outfield since being traded to Texas. As long as his bat continues to progress like it has in the minors, Texas will find a position for him. He has spent the entire season at AAA, hitting .300 with 31 home runs and just 61 strikeouts, a rather remarkable number for a player with the power that Calhoun possesses. He was just called up on Tuesday, and the Rangers will be eager to see if his power already translates to the majors.

Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Tigers

The most MLB-ready of the prospects the Tigers acquired in their deadline selloff, Candelario is getting a lengthy look with the team far out of contention. Picked up from the Cubs in the Justin Wilson deal, the 23-year-old switch-hitter figures to see a lot of time at third base, where he has been solid defensively since being called up in August. The Tigers will be especially pleased with his offensive production; in what is admittedly a very small sample size, Candelario has reached base 18 times in 39 plate appearances. He also has three multi-hit games.

Francisco Mejia, C, Indians

The 21-year-old switch hitting catcher will likely be relegated to limited duty in September as Cleveland marches toward an inevitable division title, but they’ve given him eight plate appearances since his Sept. 1 callup, so he’ll at least get a glimpse of the action. Mejia displayed an impressive bat in the minors, hitting .297 with 14 home runs at AA Akron, which merited a September cup of coffee. He may not see much action, but he’s an exciting prospect who has a bright future ahead of him.

Amed Rosario, SS, Mets

One of the sport’s top-10 prospects, Rosario was called up at the end of July after a tantalizingly great season at AAA Las Vegas, where he hit .328 and stole 19 bases. The early returns have been a bit more muted in the majors, though consecutive two-hit games has him at .267. A rocky transition to the bigs could have been expected for a shortstop who is still just 21. His work in the bigs so far has done little to stop the hype around him, and with good reason — he’s one of the most exciting prospects in all of baseball.

Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets

The Mets’ other highly-touted top 100 prospect also made his march to the majors in August after hitting .330 with 16 home runs at AAA Las Vegas. Like Rosario, he’s found the adjustment to MLB a bit difficult, but he’s shown a bit of power, hitting five home runs in 30 games so far. That’s a good sign for a player who didn’t show a ton of pop in the minors. Smith is regarded as a good offensive player with the potential to be a quality defender as well, a profile for a first baseman that will make the Mets and their fans salivate.

Alex Verdugo, CF, Dodgers

An elite contact hitter at the minor league level, Verdugo hit .314 at AAA Oklahoma City, adding 27 doubles. Touted as possessing one of the best hitting profiles of any top prospect, Verdugo has had something of a bit role since the Dodgers called him up, but he has collected his first hit and his first home run already. Even though he’s hitting under .200 since his arrival in Los Angeles, it’s no secret that he has an extremely bright future, though he’ll probably end up moved to a corner outfield position.

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