September is upon us, and that can mean only one thing — MLB prospects getting called up to make their big-league debuts!
The month of September can be one of the most intriguing months for fans of teams in the hunt for the World Series, but for fans of teams that have long since fallen to the bottom of the standings, the final month of the year doesn’t just have to be about getting ready for football season. With expanded September rosters, fans of all teams get the chance to see their future stars make their MLB debuts after a call-up.
Teams use their September call-ups for all sorts of reasons. Contenders are looking for an offensive boost off the bench or some additional depth in the bullpen. Quite a few current MLB stars burst onto the scene in a limited role down the stretch. Teams further down the standings also need to take a look at their prospects in September. They reward prospects who have had a good season at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues and expose them to life in the big leagues.
There have been some changes to the September call-up period as some teams elect to wait until the following April or May to call up their best prospects in an effort to manipulate their service time. The league has also made changes to prevent teams from turning all of their September games into four-hour, drawn-out, bullpen affairs.
Even with the lowered expectations for the number of top prospects who will debut in September, there are still plenty worth watching. Even if they aren’t ultimately called up, these 30 prospects have all had outstanding years in the Minor Leagues and are deserving of finishing their 2019 seasons in the Majors.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Daulton Varsho
The Arizona Diamondbacks are surprisingly still nominally in the hunt for the final National League Wild Card. That the Diamondbacks are comfortably above .500 in a difficult division after trading away Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke and losing Patrick Corbin to free agency is no small accomplishment. Arizona has rebuilt its farm system on the fly without having to lose 100 games.
For years, the Diamondbacks had one of the worst farm systems in baseball, so it is going to take a few years to begin seeing their retooling efforts start to pay off at the MLB level. The majority of their top prospects will not be ready for the big leagues until 2022 or 2023, but the depth is much improved.
As far as reinforcements for this year’s stretch run, the Diamondbacks don’t have much to work with in the upper levels of their farm system. Pitchers Taylor Widener and J.B. Bukauskas have advanced to the higher levels but both have struggled all year. Catcher Daulton Varsho has had a strong season at Double-A and is worthy of spending some time around the big club in September. The 23-year-old is athletic for his position and could make the transition to outfield or second base.
Varsho has hit .301/.378/.520 this season with 25 doubles, 18 home runs, 58 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Overall, he is a solid player whose bat and instincts will get him into an MLB starting lineup, even if he does have to change positions due to Carson Kelly’s presence behind the dish in Arizona.