It looks like the batch of September call ups may be pretty small when rosters expand tomorrow. The unofficial word for now is that Gil Meche, Luke May and Josh Fields will be the three players who join the Royals in Kansas City for tomorrow’s series finale.
Noticeably absent from that list is Texas League Player of the Year Mike Moustakas.
Dayton Moore mentioned that some players from Northwest Arkansas and Omaha may be called up once their seasons end, but for now, Meche and Fields will be activated from the 60 day DL (no corresponding move has been announced yet, though David DeJesus and Noel Arguelles are the best candidates to go on the 60 day DL in place of Meche and Fields) and Luke May will join the team from Omaha.
That leaves Moustakas out of the picture, though there were rumblings that he’ll be with Team USA for the Pan-Am Games in late September, and then will get international competition this fall. It seems unlikely that the Royals are looking to move any of their top prospects too quickly and may not make any other moves involving the 40 man roster. That means if you’re looking for candidates to make their major league debut this year, you only have May, Jarrod Dyson and Jordan Parraz to keep tabs on. Gaby Hernandez and Henry Barrera are both on the 40 man and have never made a MLB appearance, but I just don’t see the Royals taking a look at them. Barrera’s been trying to come back from arm issues and Hernandez hasn’t been good in Omaha. With Luke Hochevar, Brian Bannister and Meche returning from DL stints this month, there may not be enough innings to go around. Aaron Crow has very slim odds of appearing this year, as he’s been working out control issues all year and was even demoted to High A.
I don’t see a pressing need to put Moustakas in the majors yet, as he’d only see limited action while also losing the opportunity to play in the Pan-Am Games (open to players outside their team’s 40 man roster). He’ll have his shot to make the team in spring training, and if he continues hitting like this, he’ll have a very good shot to break camp with the big league club.
I’m interested in seeing May get some time behind the plate, too. A lot has been discussed about Jason Kendall and his monopoly on playing time, so adding another catcher will just gum that up even further. But it’s necessary, as Brayan Pena isn’t a fit in the long-term plans, and will probably be looking for work elsewhere come winter. May’s competing now for his future role with Kendall in 2011 and beyond and projects towards at least being somewhat passable as an everyday catcher (moreso than Pena could claim).
Fields’s inclusion could be interesting, as the Royals want to get a look at him after hip surgery and to see if he may have a role on the 2011 team. The 27 year old is only a couple years removed from a 23 homerun season and has hit .429/.417/.600/1.017 with Northwest Arkansas while rehabbing (yes, that’s an OBP less than a batting average – Fields has yet to walk in Double A). He has six doubles in 36 plate appearances, but no homeruns, so he may have most of his rhythm coming back, but the hip may not be strong enough to generate the power yet.
If Moustakas’s 1.010 OPS, 34 homers and 119 RBI aren’t enough to get him a call up, then it’s not likely we’ll see any other accommodations for prospects who aren’t already on the 40 man roster. So the wait continues to see the future saviors of the organization at Kauffman Stadium, but by 2011, the first wave will be knocking on the door.