Sunday, September 7, 2008

Get To Know Your September Call-Ups- 2008 Edition

By TwinsWin83

Check your calendars because it’s that time of year again. Maybe you’ve been too busy pulling your hair out the past week to realize (thank you Twins bullpen), but it’s September and that means some things are about to change: the temperature, TV lineups, the number of seasons the Vikings haven’t won a Super Bowl, the color of the leaves outside, and most importantly, MLB rosters.

Last year around this time we covered the expansion of the Twins roster here at AH! during a time when there wasn’t much else to celebrate for a team that had fallen out of contention. We introduced you to such unknown names as Nick Blackburn, Denard Span and Brian Buscher. Things are a bit more interesting in Twinsville as September arrives this year as the team fights for the Central Division title with the White Sox, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pause to get to know a few of the new faces on Minnesota’s bench.

Jason Pridie- OF L/R- Some of you might recognize this name as Pridie was part of the Torii Hunter-replacement discussion before the season started. There were even some who felt Pridie had the best claim to the spot based on performance coming out of spring training among the three players battling to make the opening day roster at CF (Gomez and Span being the other two). The organizations hand was almost forced, however, to insert Gomez into that spot as an unhappy fan base was looking for an instant-impact player from what was perceived by most as a one-sided trade that unloaded star Johan Santana.

In 138 games at AAA Rochester this season, Pridie hit .270 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI’s. Team officials like his ability to drive the gaps (50 extra base hits), but his OBP is low at .305 and he struck out a whooping 152 times, compared to only 30 walks. Pridie is an above-average fielder and because of his potential to be more than just a singles hitter he could see some at-bats this September, regardless of the situation.

Philip Humber- Pitcher R/R- This 25 year-old righty is one of the players the Twins received when they shipped Santana to New York last offseason. He was a much heralded pitcher out of Rice when the Mets took him with the third overall pick in the '04 draft but following an elbow injury during the 2005 season he underwent Tommy John surgery and hasn’t been the same since. Humber got off on the the wrong foot again this season but following the terrible start he slowly began to come around for the Red Wings and is being rewarded for the turn-around with a call-up to the big club.

In 31 games, 23 of those starts, Humber went 10-8 with a 4.56 ERA in just under 137 innings pitched. His ERA is high, but his strike out to walk ratio was better than 2 to 1, and any kind of relief he can offer will be much appreciated right now for a bullpen struggling the way the Twins is. There weren’t a ton of options for the Twins looking at the staff Rochester had at the end of August, and almost everyone who had experienced any kind of elongated success this season at AAA had already been called up at some point or another, so Humber made the most sense for the team when it came time to make their call-ups.

Matt Macri- INF R/R- Macri is a 26 year-old infielder from Des Moines, but don’t hold that against him. In 89 games at Rochester this summer, Macri hit .259 with 11 home runs and 48 RBI’s. The fact that Matt Tolbert is returning to the team with the September call-ups to join the log-jam the Twins already have at the middle infield positions means Macri probably will see little or no playing time this month. That being said, Macri has shown he has a little bit of pop in his bat and when you compare that with the home-run hitting ability of the Twins current middle-infielders it could mean a pinch-hitting appearance or two down the stretch for the young infielder.

Bobby Korecky- Pitcher R/R- Hey, you know this guy, don’t you? Korecky appeared in 10 games during April and May for the Twins this season and was even the hero in a win against Texas, both on the mound and at the plate (after an odd pinch-hitting scenario). Although his stay in the majors was a brief one, Korecky went ahead and had quite the season at Rochester as the Red Wings closer.

In 53 games, Korecky (19th round, 2002- Phillies) racked up 26 saves to go along with a 6-5 record and an impressive 2.91 ERA. Similar to Humber, Korecky might see some time on the hill this September as a direct result of the struggles facing the majority of the pen. If there happen to be any mop-up situations in the season’s final three weeks expect to see Korecky as well, as the team might want to see how he responds in that role.

Also worth mentioning:

Jose Mijares- Pitcher L/L- Left handed-arm out of the pen that went a combined 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 23 appearances between AA New Britain, A Fort Myers and Rookie Ball. Don’t expect to see to see Mijares much, if at all.

Matt Tolbert- INF S/R- Tolbert isn’t so much a September call-up as he is a call-back. After providing a jolt for the team early this season he went down with an injury in mid-May and hasn’t returned until now. Tolbert hit .265 in 30 games for the Twins before being placed on the DL and could play the biggest role of any of the players called up this September. As Tolbert showed in April, he can be a spark plug when he gets the chance to play.


soup said...

I hope Mijares is more than an also-worth-mentioning. He's got good stuff and is at least something different.

haasertime said...

pridie needs to go back to rochester..i don't care if the red wings season is over. I blame him for two of the losses within the past week.

TwinsWin83 said...

Patrick Roy woulda let that ball past him in right field in Toronto the other day. The playing suface is one giant gong show that looks more like a jigsaw puzzle then fieldturf.