Still waiting for a proper storm to start here in Baltimore, and looking ahead to some of the candidates for next week’s September call-ups.
Three big names
Jesus Montero – Since the all-star break, the Yankees top hitting prospect has rediscovered his power. He’s hitting .287/.353/.559 in the second half, and he’s had more than one home run in two of his past five games. With that kind of production in the first half, Montero might have pushed for an earlier call-up. As it stands, he seems like a natural fit as a September call-up.
Dellin Betances – He has only two career Triple-A starts — and he walked nine batters in one of them — but he’s on the 40-man, and his Double-A numbers were impressive. A call-up might not be so much about playing a role down the stretch, and more about spending additional time around the big league clubhouse.
Manny Banuelos — He’s left-handed and has a little more Triple-A experience than Betances, but Banuelos doesn’t have a 40-man spot and hasn’t been especially good in Triple-A. His 3.86 ERA is sound, but he has 12 walks and a .307 opponents batting average in 25.2 innings. The raw talent might make him worth a look, but it might not be quite time for him a play a role at the big league level.
Three role players
Lance Pendleton – He spent quite a bit of time in New York earlier this season, and he’s been very good in Triple-A (3.15 ERA as a starter and long reliever). Right now, the Yankees don’t have a true long man outside of Hector Noesi, who’s no longer stretched out beyond three innings or so. Pendleton could fill that role.
Greg Golson/Chris Dickerson – Give the outfielders an occasional late-inning break, and maybe do some pinch running when Eric Chavez, Jorge Posada or Andruw Jones gets on base. Both Dickerson and Golson are familiar faces around the clubhouse, and both have proven they can play at this level.
Aaron Laffey – Aside from Banuelos, Laffey is the only left-hander on the Triple-A roster. If the Yankees want to add a second lefty to the bullpen, Laffey seems to be the most logical target. Steve Garrison is also available — and on the 40-man — and there’s always the outside chance that Damaso Marte or Pedro Feliciano will be ready.
Three who earned it
George Kontos – Fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, Kontos has emerged in his first full season in the bullpen. He’s stayed stretched out enough for a few spot starts, but he’s really thrived in a multi-inning relief role. Triple-A opponents are hitting .225 against him, and this month he’s had 19 strikeouts with only one walk.
Jorge Vazquez – With apologies to Jordan Parraz, who’s also had a terrific and consistent Triple-A season, Vazquez stands out because of his league-leading 30 home runs. The guy has crazy power, but no obvious spot in New York. Not wanting to add him to the 40-man — without an obvious place to play in the future — might hurt his chances.
D.J. Mitchell/David Phelps/Adam Warren – Hard to choose just one of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s top three starters. All three pitched well enough to earn a big league start at some point this season, but the Yankees never really needed them (and they grabbed Brian Gordon when they needed only a short-term fill-in). None of these three is on the 40-man.
Three familiar faces
Brandon Laird – Didn’t play much during his brief call-up earlier this season, but he’s had a nice year in Triple-A. He’s been a productive hitter, who could help give the Yankees an extra corner infielder down the stretch, leaving Eduardo Nunez to backup only at second and short.
Kevin Whelan – His second half hasn’t been quite as good as his first half, but overall, Whelan’s had a terrific season as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s closer. And his month of August has been call-up worthy (six hits, 11 strikeouts, .140 opponents batting average). Hardly got a look during his previous promotion.
Scott Proctor – A different sort of name for his list, but he’s pitched in 31 big league games already this season, and his past two outings in Triple-A have been terrific. There’s probably not a spot for him on the big league roster — the Yankees have plenty of similar right-handers in the pen as it is — but as an experienced bullpen arm, Proctor could be an option.