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.
It’s hard to choose a prospect for Houston. Jordan Lyles is their most intriguing prospect and resident #1 guy with Castro now an everyday major-leaguer (although he shouldn’t be yet). But despite a Triple-A promotion already under his belt, Lyles is just 19. The young pitcher has rocketed through the Astros farm system but still has some area to refine his skills. Lyles is still a special talent and should be in the Houston rotation by 2012.
Young relief pitching is the main area I’d like to see addressed with this club but Sammy Gervacio and Chia Jen-Lo (number 4 and 5 prospects, respectively) both had their seasons ruined by injuries. And Houston’s number 6 overall prospect, Tanner Bushue, is sputtering with a tendency to give up homeruns.
Outfield is definitely the deepest position in the Astro’s system but with Lee, Bourne, and Pence taking up every at-bat in Houston, it’s also their least-needed. Jay Austin, T.J. Steele, and Jon Gaston could all turn into major league players while J.D. Martinez, who entered the season Houston’s 20th ranked prospect, could be an everyday player in a couple years and will be in my top 5 organizational prospects entering next season. According to minorleagueball.com:
Martinez “Hit .362/.433/.598 for Lexington in 88 games, then jumped to CC and continued bashing at .336/.400/.483. Overall: .356/.424/.569, 18 homers, 37 doubles, 44 walks, 81 strikeouts in 464 at-bats. I had him rated as a sleeper in the book and he’s definitely woken up. He’s got decent physical tools and it is hard to believe he lasted until the 20th round last year.”
But Martinez is still young and hasn’t seen any time above the Double-A level so he’d be better served playing every day in the minors than occasionally in the majors.
My pick for most wanted September call-up is 26-yr old outfielder Brian Bogusevic. A a five tool guy who can contribute in every category Bougusevic has shown flashes of potential at every stop he’s made through the minors. In 329 minor league games (268 in Triple-A), Bogusevic has a .284/.364/.409 line. This season he’s hitting .278/.365/.416 with 13 HRs and 23 SBs in 130 games for Triple-A Round Rock. Many scouts see him as a fourth outfielder but he could potentially be an everyday player. The fact is, he has nothing left to prove in the minors and isn’t getting any younger. I know Carlos Lee has an enormous contract (is el cabayo spanish for albatross?) but why not give Lee a couple days at first and a couple days off here and there to see what you have with Bogusevic? Bogs can’t produce less than Lee and could be a big part of Houston’s offense the next couple years. I can see Bogusevic impacting a team a lot like how Angel Pagan has in New York this year.