Call-Ups and Hang-Ups: Cleveland Indians, Goedert and Phelps

Once again it is collaborative post time here on Call to the Pen. This month’s topic is September call-ups. To get the ball rolling, I posed the following question to each of our Lead Writers, “Which player do you want your team to call-up in September and why?” It is a simple question but I think you will find the responses to be very diverse.

Taking the path less traveled this month, I decided to post each team’s write-up individually instead of grouping them by league or division as we have done in the past. To mix things up further I decided to chime in with my own thoughts on each team.

Up 7th in our series is the Cleveland Indians. Representing Deep Left Field is the site’s Lead Writer Ed Carroll and Contributing Writer Marc Bigelow.  Check out what they have to say after the jump.

Ed’s Take:

Many of the major players the Indians were expected to call on in September have already been pressed into duty due to trade or injury (Jeanmar Gomez, Josh Tomlin, Michael Brantley) or have become injured themselves (Hector Rondon). There are still a few players the Indians could call up that might be ready for a taste of the bigs, though.

RHP Carlos Carrasco is a lock to be called up, as he should be. One of the players the Indians acquired in the Cliff Lee deal, Carrasco was hammered last year during a brief stint in Cleveland, but has pitched well of late in AAA Columbus. His stuff is there, but his head sometimes isn’t. OF/DH Jordan Brown will probably get a call-up as well. Yawn.

However, there are a few young players less likely to be called up that I would love to see in Cleveland.

Heading up my wish list is 3B Jared Goedert. Goedert has really cooled off with the bat, but still owns a .354 OBP at AAA Columbus and has hit 19 HR in 328 PA (288 AB). Those are lofty numbers in Cleveland these days, especially given the players who have manned third since the trade of Jhonny Peralta (Jayson Nix, Andy Marte and Luis Valbuena). Goedert would be a sight for sore eyes, even if his defense needs some work. It sounds like the organization isn’t going to give him a token call-up, though.

Next on the list is RHP Josh Judy, a reliever who has been outstanding throughout his minor league career, and has a 2.78 ERA in 45.1 IP at Columbus. He has 53 K and a 1.32 WHIP, and will probably get a chance to earn a spot in next year’s bullpen. I’d like to see him get an audition in now.

Finally, I’m never a fan of rushing a player to the bigs (especially since a team like the Indians has to put so much emphasis on controlling a player’s salary), but seeing as he’s probably going to have to be added to the 40-man roster after the season (as he is Rule-5 draft eligible), I wouldn’t mind seeing LHP Nick Hagadone get a call-up. Acquired by the Indians in the Victor Martinez deal, he’s being converted to a reliever full-time and the results have been positive (ERA of 3.00 in 18 IP, 0.209 BAA as a reliever). Since he’s in the pen for good now, I’m sure manager Manny Acta can find him some work. Unfortunately he’s only at AA Akron and could get rocked in the majors.

The other problem with all three of my dream call-ups is that none of them currently reside on the 40-man roster. Luckily for the Indians, their roster currently stands at 39 and they have a lot of dead weight on it. Designating DLF favorite Marte for assignment would be an easy way to get one of those guys up here.

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Marc’s Take:

If the Indians aren’t going to call up Jared Goedert, then it is time to call Lonnie Chisenhall‘s name. He is the third baseman of the future and there’s no way things can get any worse at the five-hole for the Tribe. Without Geodert there, he would have a chance to play every day and at least get his feet wet. Whether or not he plays well, it would give the team a good outlook on what they’re going to do at third going into spring training next year.

Another guy I’d like to see is Wes Hodges. The former second round pick hasn’t been much more than average in Columbus, and the Indians even designated him for assignment about a month ago only to reclaim him off waivers from the Rockies. I think this may be his last chance to impress. If he could do so at the big league level, it may save his job or at the very least make him a valuable trade piece for the club if they’re in contention in the near future.

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My Take:

When you are in rebuilding mode and your record is the 5th worst in baseball, September may as well shift your team into “all hands on deck” mode.  If a player is on the 40-man roster already, and as an organization you feel you can balance the playing time of an expanded roster, then the more the merrier.

Of course the Cleveland Indians should be in this mode and considering the make-up and production of much of their major league roster, guys not on the 40-man may merit a look.  There is plenty of fodder here to be cast off in the name of progress.

Jared Goedert is a fine choice for a promotion.  His line of 0.290/.364/.545 with 35 2B and 26 HR between AA and AAA certainly merits a look given the other options.

Lonnie Chisenhall may be the latest 3B of the future, but his somewhat pedestrian line of 0.277/.347/.455 in Double-A doesn’t exactly scream that he is ready to skip over Columbus and debut in Cleveland.  He’s on the right track, but 2010 is a bit early.

Wes Hodges falls into the category of fodder to be cast off in favor of someone else.  In 203 Triple-A games he’s hit 0.267/.308/.403 and as a Royals fan I can speak from experience when I say that a 0.308 OBP in AAA is not going to hold up in the majors.

Nick Hagadone, and his 6.1 BB/9 in Double-A, is far from ready and I question if he will ever be.  Josh Judy looks the part of a guy who can help out in the pen and Carlos Carrasco certainly deserves a shot at this point considering the other “starters” the Tribe has on hand.

One guy that Marc and Ed failed to mention that I think merits a call-up more than any other is 23-year old 2B Cord Phelps.  Since being promoted to Triple-A in June, all he’s done is hit 0.319/.392/.509 in 226 AB. He also boasts a strong career minor league OBP of 0.378. Cord also recently made the “Sleeper Alert” section in the August 19th edition of TWiP.  At that time Nathaniel wrote the following about him:

Phelps gives me something of a Dustin Pedroia vibe, as he’s a max-effort guy with good gap power and a great feel for hitting. The 23-year-old second baseman is batting .332/.403/.530 in Triple-A.

Phelps doesn’t strike out very often, and consistently squares up the ball, so he could be a .300 hitter in the majors. He won’t be a 20-30 HR guy, but his power is average-plus for a middle infielder, comparable to that of Mark Ellis. He’s considered a plus defender with good smarts at second base, but he won’t be a basestealing threat like most middle infielders.

Phelps is an impressive all-around player with the potential to quietly develop into one of baseball’s better second basemen.

Apologies to Jason Donald, Luis Valbuena and anyone else who has played 2B for Cleveland this season, but Cord Phelps offers an immediate upgrade at a position of need. This is true in both the short and long term which means he should be leading the team’s call-up charge in the coming week.

Tags: Carlos Carrasco Cleveland Indians Cord Phelps Jared Goedert Jordan Brown Josh Judy Lonnie Chisenhall MLB Nick Hagadone Wes Hodges

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