Prospects often spend years in the minors before finally getting the call-up; which players should MLB teams call up now to maximize their team’s potential?
Every day, MLB managers and general managers have to make decisions about how to construct their roster, how to use the bullpen and how to build their lineup.
One of the hardest decisions is to figure out when and why to call up prospects from AAA, and who to cut from the active roster to make room for them. The infinite permutations of roster construction and usage are one of the reasons why managing a Major League Baseball team is so complex and relies on so many coaches and scouts.
For some teams, calling up a top prospect is about the pursuit of a World Series Championship. For others, it’s about preparing the team and the player for the future. But for every team, finding the right time to call up a future star is critical when navigating the long and arduous MLB season.
Let’s look at one prospect that each team can call up right now to help their respective major league ball clubs in the most productive way.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a position this season to make a run at the playoffs, currently 11-10 and in second place in the West. But, they also possess the league’s 25th-ranked bullpen based on ERA (5.13), the 23rd-ranked opponent’s batting average (.258) and they’ve already blown three saves. It’s difficult to envision a world where they may keep up with the Dodgers, but to remain in the thick of the playoff race, it is imperative that they improve the pitching staff in order to close out games throughout the season.
Enter Jon Duplantier. He’s a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher and the No. 2 prospect in the Diamondbacks system, and the 69th-overall prospect on MLB.com’s top 100 list. So far this season, he’s thrown 5.2 innings in relief and allowed no earned runs for the AAA Reno Aces. Duplantier has been up some this season, throwing four scoreless innings in relief for Arizona. The club believes that he has the stuff, with raw athleticism and a plus fastball, plus slider and plus curveball, to be a mid-level rotation piece, which fits well with what the team should be looking for.
It gets a little more difficult to predict who he may replace at the moment. One option is Matt Andriese. He’s a relief pitcher for the Diamondbacks who’s pitched 11.2 innings so far this season. He’s posted a 4.63 ERA but given up three home runs and six walks. Those numbers are slightly concerning for a team working towards a Wild Card push.