Tomorrow is September 1, which means MLB teams’ active rosters will expand from 25 players to 40. For clubs in contention, the added depth and access to players who had previously been in the minors can be helpful boosts for the stretch run. The Indians certainly don’t fall into that category, but seeing some fresh young faces get the chance to prove themselves in The Show could add some excitement at the end of an incredibly disappointing season.
So in this edition of the Weekly Wroundtable, we asked our participants, featuring guest contributors Craig Lyndall from WaitingForNextYear and former Tribe blogger David McGarry: Which September callup will make the biggest splash?
Craig Lyndall (WaitingForNextYear): So September callup precludes Matt LaPorta? Just kidding. By default, I’m going to say Russ Canzler. It may just be AAA, but he’s a right handed batter who has 21 homers this season. Considering the year the Indians have had, it won’t take much to make a “splash” in a pool this calm. This all assumes of course that we finally get to see the guy that so many have been clamoring for in light of Shelley Duncan and Johnny Damon at-bats.
It is so hard to not be snarky and negative with this team by this point in the year. Even when the team was clearly bad, I’ve always found a way to get excited about September callups. Let’s hope Canzler can deliver something that cuts the negativity soon.
David McGarry: Unfortunately September baseball looks to be dull for Indians’ fans this year. Wins and losses no longer matter with the playoffs out of reach and due to a bottom-heavy farm system the team lacks exciting prospects to call-up to the big leagues. Outside of a strong finish from our current young core, the one hope Indians fans should have this September is for at least one of our Quad-A first basemen to shake that very title.
Matt LaPorta, the biggest name in the bunch, has already been called up to the majors and is busy doing what he does best – swinging and missing at an absurd number of major-league breaking balls; meanwhile Lars Anderson, Russ Canzler and Jared Goedert await their likely callups to the big leagues. It is difficult to expect much out of the group but with projected holes at both 1B and DH next season we should all hope that one starts to resemble Bryan LaHair.
Lewie Pollis: This is a bit of a wild card since he’s not on the 40-man roster, but I’ll go with Tim Fedroff. The 25-year-old left fielder is raking to the tune of a .324/.389/.529 slashline with 9 home runs in 64 games in Columbus. Jeff Sackmann’s Minor League Equivalency calculator translates that to a .299/.356/.473 triple-slash and 20 homers over a full MLB season—not bad for a guy most baseball people have probably never heard of.
Simply put, Fedroff is the best hitter left in Columbus right now and he plays a position where the Indians don’t have a clear long-term solution. It’d be worth bumping someone like Vinny Rottino off the 40-man roster if it means giving Fedroff the chance to show what he can do in the majors.
Brian Heise: I’m not entirely sure who the Indians are planning on calling up come September 1, but if i had my choice I’d like to see both Russ Canzler and Lars Anderson. Canzler has been an enigma all season long. As a right handed hitter who could play the outfield he was never called up when it was blatantly obvious the Tribe needed a right handed hitting outfielder. If he can make an impact it could be a good sign for 2013.
As for Anderson, Kotchman isn’t the long term answer at first and LaPorta appears to he on the outs. The position is his for the taking and with his potential as a former top prospect with Red Sox it would be interesting to see what he can bring to the table. After all, the Indians thought highly enough of him to make him their trade deadline acquisition this year.
Steve Kinsella: Here’s to hoping that Russ Canzler gets a look during September. He’s had an up and down season for the Clippers but his full body of work in the minors leaves one wondering what can this guy do at the next level? If he can’t break into a major league lineup in a season like 2012 where teh major league team is lacking a RHB and has a gaping hole in LF, 1B, and DH then why is he on the 40-man roster to begin with?