Every year I look forward to September. The changing colors, the end of the sweltering heat and humidity of Southern Ontario, the beginning of the NFL season, and of course, September call-ups!
This year, more than most, there is a level of intrigue around the Toronto Blue Jays. For the first time since 2014 there could potentially be a number of top prospects on their way to the big club. This isn’t just because of the organizational depth that has been grown over the past 20 months; it also has to do with exceptional performances that have come from unexpected places.
This year’s list of Blue Jays call-ups could be a lot of fun. They could also give Jays fans a glimpse into the very promising future of this club. For the fun of this list I won’t be naming the common sense, boring additions like Leonel Campos, Mike Ohlman or Chris Smith. The Buffalo Bisons have many players that are likely to be additions in September but this is not the “September safe-call list”, this is my September Call-up dream list. So let’s go through some names, some you know, some you may not, but they are names that I would love to be called up come September 1.
When the Jays drafted Jansen in round 16 out of Wisconsin high school and he received a $100000 signing bonus, everyone knew this kid could play. Some had doubts about whether he would stay behind the plate, or be forced to move to first base but the talent was clear. Jansen has managed to prove doubters wrong throughout. He has improved as a defender, advanced his approach to elite levels, and cruised through 3 levels of the minor league system this season.
Across 3 levels, Jansen has slashed .340/.416/.513/.929, and when “challenged” in Buffalo he has responded with .475/.563/.850/1.413 in 48 plate appearances. He has not only excelled, but established himself as a legitimate cog in the Blue Jays plans.
Tellez came into spring training with hopes of taking a job from Justin Smoak. Smoak turned into an all-star at age 30 and Tellez struggled, hitting .194 in April. His struggles continued for most of the season. Until recently, a lot of people thought the 22 year old AAA first baseman’s star was dimming. But, in August the big man has turned it around hitting .313 with a .365 OBP. The power hasn’t been a factor but its close, narrowly missing a half-dozen home runs over the past 2 weeks.
After battles with injuries, family sickness, and horrible struggles against LHP, Tellez has found a way to save this season. A September call-up would, in my opinion, change his perspective from tough season to another step taken. He is very young, and has a lot of developing to do, but Rowdy Tellez is the future of this team at 1B. He should be given the chance to experience the MLB before he has to be an impact player.
The major piece acquired for Francisco Liriano. Teoscar Hernandez is a very unique talent in this minor league system. Hernandez has well above-average speed, excellent power potential, solid all-around tools as a defender, and a good approach. Teoscar has all the tools to become an impact player for the Jays in 2018. The issues for Hernandez are very simple to pinpoint. He has a strikeout tendency and makes far too many mental mistakes in the field. Some exposure in September could do him a lot of good. Especially, if they are intending for him to be a piece of the 2018 club.
This Blue Jays team lacks speed, athleticism, youth, and a legitimate leadoff hitter. Those are Anthony Alford’s defining traits. He is a 70 speed guy, who walks at a very high clip, plays all 3 outfield spots, steals bases, and hits for a high average. No player could be in a position to alter the Jays franchise as much as quickly. He is a perfect fit and in my opinion should, with Bautista’s departure, become the opening day Right Fielder for the Jays.
A September call-up with regular playing time could cement that for the 23 year old.
Many people were shocked when the Blue Jays decided to place Borucki on the 40-man roster during spring training.
With average velocity (89-93MPH), and a slender frame (6’4”, 175LBS), many thought the Blue Jays would take their chances exposing him to the rule-5 draft. But given his development it seems the Blue Jays brass saw something most others didn’t. Borucki gets people out by commanding all of his pitches, working 4 quadrants, and changing speeds beautifully. He has some deception is his delivery, and probably the single best change-up in the system.
Borucki has the ability to be a quality #3 or 4 starter at the big league level when given the chance. Hopefully, he sees an opportunity soon.
The last name on my dream list is Carlos Ramirez. Some of you may not know the name at all, and some may remember an OF prospect years ago by that name. He was, in fact, a converted OFer who, last year, showed he had potential to be a back end reliever at the next level.
Carlos Ramirez has outperformed any possible expectations he may have had for this season. The world has now seen, he can be a dominant Major League reliever. At 6’5 210lbs, his fastball can reach 99MPH, and he has a world-class, nasty slider. Beyond that, he commands his pitches well. So far this season here is what Ramirez has done between New Hampshire and Buffalo:
33.2IP, 13H, 8BB, 39K AND ZERO EARNED RUNS!! 0.00ERA with 0.62 WHIP.
He has been the most dominant reliever in Minor League Baseball this season, and has the ability to be an elite bullpen arm today, if called upon. No person deserves the call in September more than the former outfielder Ramirez.
About Marc Nolan:
Marc Nolan is a Blogger, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur originally from Campbell River, BC. Marc currently resides in Port Hope, ON with his Wife and two sons. He has always been involved in sports. A former College Baseball player, current coach and founder of the Northumberland Baseball Academy, Marc has invested his entire life to the game he loves. He has now been able to transition that passion into public speaking and journalism.
Despite the fact he has no formal training in the field, Marc has found ways to get exposure in the industry through hard work and dedication to what he loves. Currently, he operates a personal Blog (www.WestysWorld.com), writes for the LastWordOnBaseball. Hopefully, in the near future, will be starting his own personal Minor League Baseball Podcast. He is very active on Social Media. You can reach Marc with any questions, on Twitter, @MarcWestyNolan