by John Viril—
As long as Kansas City remains on the fringes of the playoff race, any Royals September call-ups will be brought in with an eye on wins rather than “prospect development”. With that criterion in mind, I will try to anticipate who might appear in KC from the minor leagues this September.
The most obvious need is additional bullpen help. The Royals have multiple major-league quality arms stashed at AAA. However, the Stormchasers are in a playoff race. The Royals can’t completely strip the AAA roster if Omaha makes the playoffs.
Even so, I think we can expect to see left-handed relievers Everett Teaford and Fracisley Bueno. Teaford has bounced back and forth between AAA and MLB the last two seasons. Meanwhile, Bueno has has pitched well for KC in short stints at the end of 2012 and earlier this year.
Other obvious recalls are Wade Davis and Louis Coleman. Both were sent to High-A Wilmington from the KC roster on Wednesday to stash them for a quick return. Since Wilmington’s season ends September 1, they will be eligible for immediate recall rather than the mandatory 10-day wait after being sent down from MLB. Since Omaha and AA NW Arkansas could still make the minor-league post-season, Wilmington became the place to send Davis and Coleman.
We could also see former Royals starter Felipe Paulino, who has been struggling with his rehab from 2012 Tommy John surgery. Paulino has scuffled in AAA with a 8.24 ERA after suffering a shoulder injury earlier this season, but still could see action in KC as a long-reliever. Another candidate is lefty Donnie Joseph, who has also seen time in KC and has been devastating vs. left-handed hitters in AAA (40K’s in 23.0 IP).
I doubt the Royals would bring up hot prospect Yordano Ventura, despite his strong strikeout numbers in AAA (155K’s in 134.1 IP). The 134 IP is a career high for the small-framed righty. I think management will not want to stress his developing arm by piling on more innings in MLB.
As for position players, I think we could see both 2B Johnny Giavotella and INF Christian Colon. Giavotella has been up and down between AAA and MLB the last two years, but has not been able to stick in KC. Meanwhile, Christian Colon has been on fire since the minor-league All-Star break with a .322/.391/.487 line. Colon appears to have made a breakthrough at the plate after mostly failing to meet expectations during his minor-league career. Colon, who was drafted no. 4 overall in 2010, is not on the current 40-man roster. He will require a roster move to appear in KC. Calling up Giavotella and Colon seems like a no-brainer for a team that is playing infielders Jamey Carroll and Chris Getz despite below .600 OPS performances this season.
Other position players that could receive call-ups include catcher Brett Hayes and recent waiver pickup 1B Carlos Pena. The 35-year-old Pena has fallen on hard times, but has led the AL in home runs as recently as 2009. Pena could provide pinch-hit power off the bench.
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