As it is each season about this time, it has been a real bonanza of prospects available as rosters are expanded to 40 players at the Major League level. For the most part, clubs have brought up the elite prospects that have been protected on their 40 man rosters, so there has been accuracy and predictability in advance of the actual moves. If you have reserve rosters, giving the prospects a shot in a “no brainer”, however if you cannot “stash” the talent and are forced to run with them “active”, then that’s a much different story. If you are in a “keeper” league and aren’t in the running for the league prize, then you should certainly be tapping into some of these future stars. This week’s edition takes a look at ten recent hitters who were called up at, or since September 1st roster expansion. At the top of the list, three potential future All-Star back stops, then a taste of the flavor at each position.
Jesus Montero- Catcher New York Yankees
We’ve been talking about him for months, and he didn’t disappoint, arriving in the Bronx with a bang! A notorious opposite field hitter, Montero drove a pair into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium in his fourth game. The 21-year old right hander is well seasoned after a pair of seasons at the Triple-A level. While Montero has the stick to contribute at any position, he provides top shelf numbers as a backstop. Defensively, he has a cannon for an arm, needing only refinement in footwork and positioning.
Devin Mesoraco- Catcher- Cincinnati Reds
According to Reds Manager Dusty Baker, Mesoraco will work towards regular playing time in September (IE. no guarantee of immediate full time at bats). With veteran Ramon Hernandez a free agent to be, Mesoraco is definitely trying to impress enough to get a shot at the full time job in the spring. After quickly climbing the minor league ladder in 2010, Mesoraco settled in at Triple-A this season with 15 home runs, 71 RBI while batting .289.
Wilin Rosario- Catcher- Colorado Rockies
With Chris Ianetta proving too inconsistent for Rockies management, Rosario is also getting a look towards the spring and potentially a full time role. Rosario approached this same crossroad a year ago, but injury delayed his arrival. Rosario made his debut on Tuesday night going 0-3 with a walk and a run scored. The 22 year old banged out 21 home runs, driving in 48, in 426 plate appearances in Double-A. Like Mesoraco, Rosario will be phased-in with regular duty not coming up April at the earliest.
Chris Parmalee- First baseman- Minnesota Twins
Parmalee was the 20thoverall pick in the 2006 draft out of high school and the Twins have nurtured him along, eventually expecting middle of the order power. The 23-year-old left hander didn’t disappoint this season, raking Double-A pitching to the tune of .287 with 13 home runs and 93 RBI in 142 games. The presence of Justin Morneau doesn’t block Parmalee as he is capable of playing corner outfield.
Steve Lombardozzi- Second baseman- Washington Nationals
Lombardozzi is expected to compete for a middle infield spot, most likely bumping Danny Espinosa over to his natural shortstop. Ian Desmond’s spot in the lineup is at risk; look for an extended battle in March. The 22 year old switch hitter has it all, but not considered plus in any aspect. Espinosa will be expected to bring gap power, decent speed and a reliable glove.
Eduardo Escobar- Shortstop- Chicago White Sox
With Alexei Ramirez entrenched at short, Escobar may contribute as a middle infield defensive specialist initially. Long term, Chi sox may explore moving Ramirez or Gordon Beckham to the hot corner to make room for Escobar. The 22 year old switch hitter is a typical young slugger, developing power with a need to improve contact. He’s ready with the glove, but needs to learn better use of his plus speed.
Matt Dominguez- Third Baseman- Florida Marlins
Dominguez has had bad luck with injury this season. Projected as the Marlins opening day starter, Dominguez was injured in spring training, putting those plans on ice. Dominguez appeared ready for call up when he again was setback due to injury. Defensively, Dominguez has long been ready, but needs to make more contact. The 22 year old was a first round pick in ’07 and should be the Marlins opening day starter in the spring.
Corey Brown- Outfielder- Washington Nationals
The 25 year old Brown is yet another of what has turned into a loaded farm system in Washington. The 25 year old, acquired from Oakland in the Josh Willingham deal in December, was a first round selection by the A’s in the ’07 draft. It’s no secret that the Nationals are looking for an everyday center fielder and General Manager Mike Rizzo loves Brown’s potential. September will certainly be his audition.
Michael Taylor- Outfielder- Oakland Athletics
Long a big time prospect, Taylor bounced back this season after struggling through 2010. In 349 at bats at Triple-A Sacramento, the 25 year old stroked 16 home runs and added 14 stolen bases. Taylor is massive (6’5” 25) and is still thought to have a nice upside, with decent speed and due to his enormous frame, big power potential. While not the elite prospect he once was, he will be given a look at corner outfield by the cost conscious Athletics.
Logan Schafer- Outfielder- Milwaukee Brewers
Another prospect beset by injuries, Shafer took a step back in 2010. The 24 year old is smooth defensively due to plus athleticism. A third round pick in the ’08 draft, Schafer stole 15 bases between Double and Triple-A while hitting a combined .314. With the Brewers chasing post season, expect Schafer to be used to tighten up the defense in late innings.
Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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