Another played named Daniel Robertson, taking a shot with some non-closers, and the Eddie Butler revival.
The hitting options in this week’s Deep League Report are thin, especially in the AL. The pitching is pretty interesting, though, particularly on the AL side, where there are several relievers with double-digit K/9 potential. Beyond that, there’s a recently traded outfielder who’s been getting a lot of playing time in his new home, a hitter on the wrong side of a platoon who hasn’t been good since 2015 and a starting pitcher filling in on a team that’s close to a lock for the playoffs. OK, no more spoilers. Just keep reading.
AL-only position players
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Big names from the prospect world enter the morass of utility players and middle relievers.
A couple of notable call-ups are mixed in with the usual cast of utility players and middle relievers in today’s column. Hang the garland, pop the champagne and fire up the band—it’s a banner week here at the Deep League Report.
Here comes the call-ups again; can we trust the stats they'll put up in September?
It's September. People are starting to use words like "crisp." Christmas trees are already out. Kids are back in school, and the world smells like nutmeg. Everyone's getting ready to tweet that Green Day joke at the end of the month. And major-league rosters have expanded to roughly 68 players each. On top of that, a lot of minor-league seasons have ended, meaning that teams are free to call up the veteran guys they had signed as cover during the offseason, their top prospects, their not-so-top-prospects who just happen to be left-handed or fast, and Larry, the guy who is about to pitch the only three innings of his major-league career in garbage time … but he wore a major-league uniform!!!
And why the Astros would have been silly to promote George Springer sooner.
If you stretch, maybe you could come up with a good baseball reason for the Astros not to have called up outfield prospect George Springer until earlier this week. And yes, GM Jeff Luhnow probably did need to stick with baseball reasons in his public explanations of the delayed promotion: Springer needed some more at-bats to work on cutting down his strikeouts, or the team wanted to see whether Robbie Grossman could start this season as strong as he finished the last one, etc.
You understand why Luhnow can’t say the real reason, but at some point, you wish that we could let a smart guy be a smart guy and tell you that by waiting two weeks, he was able to exchange a minimal amount of Springer in a bad season for a full year of Springer in what could be a good season. That would be the 2020 season, which is now part of the Astros’ control period on Springer as he won’t have a full six served after 2019. (Read more of the details in this Evan Drellich piece at the Houston Chronicle.)
Scouting and fantasy takes on five pitching prospects promoted to the majors this month.
We’ve devoted full articles to the most promising prospects promoted to the majors late this season, but we’ll be offering scouting and fantasy takes on the best of the rest in a two-part series running today and tomorrow. First up: the pitchers, with position players to follow on Friday.
Brian Flynn, LHP, Marlins
Scouting Take: Flynn, a former seventh-round draft pick (2011) out of Wichita State, was one of the pieces the Marlins acquired at last season’s trade deadline in the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade, and is the last of the trio to make it to the majors (following Rob Brantly and Jacob Turner). The 6’8”, 240-pound left-hander has seen his strikeout rates spike this season, precipitating a rise through the Marlins system that saw him start the season in Double-A Jacksonville and end it at Marlins Park pitching in front of a similar-sized crowd. He has good control for a tall pitcher and features a low-90s fastball with a good downward plane to go with a pair of usable off-speed pitches—a slider and changeup—and a show-me curveball. The improvement in his changeup is what helped him jump from striking out 7.0 batters per nine innings in 2012 to 8.2 in the 2013 season, and it gives him a chance to stick as a back-end starter. He should compete with Henderson Alvarez, Tom Koehler, and others for a spot in the back of the Marlins rotation next season. —Jeff Moore