Everything’s bigger in September (Part I)

Hordes of players will be joining the major league ranks on Sept. 1 when rosters expand. I am going to run through some of the bigger names and tell you what type of impact they are likely to have.

Chris Young

In his third MLB season, Arizona outfielder Chris Young has taken a major step backwards. Instead of putting up good power and speed numbers with a poor average, he has produced average power and good speed numbers with a downright abysmal batting average this year.

+--------+---------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-------+
| Season | Team    | AB  | R  | HR | RBI | SB | AVG   |
+--------+---------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-------+
| 2007   | D-backs | 569 | 85 | 32 |  68 | 27 | 0.237 |
| 2008   | D-backs | 625 | 85 | 22 |  85 | 14 |	0.248 |
| 2009   | D-backs | 315 | 35 |  7 |  28 | 11 |	0.194 |
+--------+---------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-------+

Even with a depleted outfield, on Aug. 10 the Diamondbacks decided to send down Young to the minors, where in 10 games he has strutted his stuff, batting .350 with a home run and two steals. Still alarming are his 10 strikeouts in 44 Triple-A plate appearances, so I am skeptical Young will continue to strut when back in the bigs.

Couple that with uncertain playing time—due to Justin Upton and Eric Brynes returning from the DL and Gerardo Parra and Trent Oeltjan staying in the mix—and you’ve got a situation that seems best to stay away from. Let someone else take a chance on him.

Chris Davis

Another disappointment, Chris Davis, will surely be called up by the contending Rangers. In 44 Triple-A games, Davis has really gotten his act together, batting .333 with six home runs. That home run total is less than you would expect, but intuition tells me he was probably working most on being selective and making contact with pitches than trying to blast them into different area codes.

image
Davis grits his teeth after striking out. (Icon/SMI)

He was successful in shaving a few percentage points off his K rate to 23.5 percent and most notably doubled his walk rate to 13 percent. When called up, I expect Davis to play well, batting around .250-.260 and hitting as many home runs as his playing time will allow.

He will be battling with Hank Blalock and Andruw Jones for playing time—two hitters batting similar to how Davis will—so Davis should be added mostly in AL-only and deeper (14-plus teams) mixed leagues.

I’m excited for next year and hoping the Rangers send plenty of playing time his way in September; he deserves it.

Mat Gamel

Hyped Brewers prospect Mat Gamel is another youngster looking to have an impact in September. I am skeptical, however, that any impact he will have will be positive.

After a quick start to the season in Triple-A, people were expecting him to win the Brewers’ third base job by midseason. However, after a poor major league showing, Gamel found himself back down in the minors after a two-month stint. And since returning to Triple-A, Gamel has looked far from the player who ran over Double-A last year and Triple-A in the beginning of this year. Take a look:

Note: 2009-a represents Gamel’s numbers in the minors before getting called to the majors; 2009-b are his numbers after.

+--------+--------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-------+ | Season | Level | AB | R | HR | RBI | SB | AVG | +--------+--------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-------+ | 2007 | A+ | 466 | 78 | 9 | 60 | 14 | 0.300 | | 2008 | AA | 508 | 96 | 19 | 96 | 6 | 0.329 | | 2009-a | AAA | 119 | 25 | 8 | 31 | 0 | 0.336 | | 2009-b | AAA | 101 | 10 | 2 | 14 | 1 | 0.228 | | 2009 | Majors | 113 | 10 | 4 | 16 | 1 | 0.239 | +--------+--------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-------+

Those are worrisome numbers over his last 215 at-bats split between the majors and Triple-A, and Gamel’s strikeout rate over that span—a whopping 40 percent in the majors and 36 percent in Triple-A since—show that perhaps this 24-year-old third baseman could use a bit more seasoning before he gets truly tasteful.

Other people seem to be more optimistic about Gamel’s immediate future than me; let them worry about him.

Concluding thoughts

That’s all for now. On Thursday expect to see the breakdown on another 3-4 players. Thanks to Fangraphs for some of the numbers, and a great resource is Matthew Pouliot’s breakdown of every team’s September call-up situation, both American and National League.

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Comments

  1. Jake in Columbus said...

    Thanks Paul. I was invested in all those guys at some point this year so it’s good to have a reality check before I spend time and roster spots on them again before 2010.

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