Time for September call ups! For those who are new to the weird machinations of Major League baseball, you are forgiven. Teams have a 25 man active roster, plus a 15 man inactive roster that can be added to the 25 man roster at any time without having to do weird stuff with contracts. On September 1, those 15 extra spots get added to the regular roster. So you end up with a 40 man active roster. For most teams, it gives them a chance to bring up young talent to either a) help them in the playoff run or b) assuming there will be no playoff run, give guys real Major League experience. No need to guess which category the Nats are in.
Call ups since Sept 1 include Matt Chico, Winston Abreu, Ross Detwiler, Justin Maxwell, Ryan Langerhans, Jonathan Albaladejo and Arnie Munoz .
The guys we’ve seen
Chico, we know all about. When the 24 year old lefty was back down in the minors he pitched with mixed results. One game he looked very good, one he looked pretty bad. Which fits in well with his 2007 career. What’s important with him is that his mechanics are correct and he pitches to his ability. Winston Abreu is a middle reliever who isn’t young, has already spent some time with the club this year, and while he has given up too many runs in his career, he can strike people out. Meanwhile, he’s done great in the minors, a 1.20 ERA, 36 appearances, 20 walks with 82 strikeouts. Whatever he’s done down there, if he can come close to that with Washington, he’ll help bolster an already strong bullpen. Langerhans will continue his quest to have one of the worst offensive seasons in baseball history.
The guys we’ve heard about
On the other side of the call ups, there are the young’uns. The two big names are Detwiler and Maxwell. First up is the Nats’ first round pick from this year, Ross Detwiler. Detwiler has done ok in single-A baseball, a 3.51 ERA but with 12 walks and 28 strikeouts in 33 /13 innings, his control has been decent but not spectacular. The 6’5″ lefty is one of the big names from this year and at 21 years old, will hopefully benefit from time spent in the bullpen with some real pitchers. If you have seen any Yankees games in the last month, phenom Joba Chamberlain always seems to be talking to Roger Clemens or Mariano Rivera about pitches, giving Yanks fans a warm and fuzzy feeling. While there isn’t that caliber of talent sitting around the Nats bench, conversations with vets like Redding, Cordero and King couldn’t hurt. On the other side of the ball Justin Maxwell is coming to show that Terp MLBers are more than just Eric Milton. Alright, he’ll probably play about as much as Detwiler this fall, but he is a 6’5″ righty who can hit for power. Baseball America lists him as the farm system’s best baserunner and best athlete. He destroyed low-A baseball, hitting .301/.389/.579 with 14 HRs in 56 games. After being promoted to high-A, he still hit well, but not as well. He hit 13 HRs in 58 games, but his splits dropped to .263/.338/.491. So his average dropped, but he still took walks and his ISO dropped from about .270 to about .230, which is still pretty good. An added bonus to the power is speed, he has stolen 35 bases over the year, making him 3 HRs away from being a 30-30 guy this season. He’s likely done with single-A, so we’ll see how he does a level or two up next season, but for now he might get a few pinch hit/pinch run appearances. Detwiler could definitely use some more time practicing, as could Maxwell before being exposed to any sort of major league baseball. But since the single-A season just ended, they aren’t missing any time at their level. You may not see much of them playing, but if you do, these guys are the alleged future of the franchise, so you may want to pay attention to their ability, while taking the results with a grain of salt.
And then 2 other guys
The other call ups are Jonathan Albaladejo and Arnie Munoz. Albaladejo is also listed at 6’5″, which makes me think the ruler is broken, how can everyone be that big? He isn’t so young at 25 and has pitched lights out in relief since coming to Columbus. 21 Ks, 7 BBs, and an ERA of 1.13 suggests he was ready to come up to the majors regardless of roster size. With that performance, he needs to be used over the next month. Munoz was also rewarded for a good season. He’s pitched all year in AAA with Columbus and compiled a 2.56 ERA, 46 Ks to 18 BBs, and he’s a lefty who has much better numbers against fellow lefties. Perhaps he will become the new lefty specialist since Ray King got traded today (thanks for the head up, Mike). So the big names probably won’t play too much, which is probably better for them, while the guys you may not have heard of should get a chance to show what they can contribute to a major league pitching staff.