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From Farm to Roster: Potential Call-Ups For Week 4


Every Thursday for the duration of the Major League Baseball season, I'm going to be discussing players on a team's Taxi Squad or Alternate Site Camp who are worth keeping an eye on or stashing in hopes of reaping fantasy goodness. I'll list league sizes where the player could be relevant and give you information on the situation so that you can make the most educated decision possible, but remember that this is an unprecedented year, so we don't know for sure how teams will make use of additional players or when exactly players will be called up now that the service time deadline has passed.

As a point of clarification: Taxi Squad and Alternate Site Camp are two different things. When teams go on the road, they are able to bring with them three players who are not on the roster, in case of a medical emergency. This is the Taxi Squad. These players are not on the Active Roster and cannot appear in games unless there is a corresponding transaction, but players on the Taxi Squad are clearly those that are the closest to being "called-up," so it's important to keep an eye on those. They can/will change for each road trip so check them regularly on Roster Resource. The Alternate Site Camp is where all other players in the 60-man pool are and could be seen as this year's "Minor Leagues." They will scrimmage each other and get instruction, but only some of them are potential call-ups this year while others are top prospects who are simply there to get work in. Teams can also add players to their 60-man pool or release them from it, so these will also be fluid.

Now that we've covered that, let's look at some guys who should be on your Pick-Up and Watch List radars. Remember that these are players who are NOT on the active roster, so there will be few pick-ups each week since it's rare you would want to grab a lot of guys who aren't active in a season where every game played counts.

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Priority Pickups

These are players I believe you should put in claims for now (depending on your league size) based on their proximity to playing time.

MacKenzie Gore, SP San Diego Padres

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

I moved Gore up from the Watch List to here because we all know Luis Perdomo is not going to be a full-time starter for the Padres. He threw one inning in a spot start on Tuesday, but the team will have to fill the rotation spot vacated by Joey Luchessi. The Padres also called up Luis Patino last week but claim that he will be pitching out of the bullpen for now, so Gore seems the logical choice. The 21-year-old Gore, struggled slightly in 21.2 innings of AA last year but still had a 10.38 K/9 on the back of plus command and great spin rates on his secondary pitches. Expectations should be tempered at his age in his first taste of the big leagues, but you'll definitely want a piece of him.

Casey Mize, SP Detroit Tigers 

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

The rumor was that Casey Mize was being held down for service time manipulation but that date has come and gone and he's still not up with the Tigers. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when they may call up their top prospect, but I believe it's inevitable. Mize may have never pitched above AA, but he's 23-years-old, so he's not some young kid still learning the ropes and the Tigers could call him up and still control his contract through his prime years. He's a smart pitcher with a solid understanding of pitch sequencing and a deep arsenal of pitches; he needs to learn against the big boys. With Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal also nearing the Major Leagues, it makes sense for the Tigers to see what Mize can do against Major League hitters sooner rather than later.

Dylan Carlson, OF - St. Louis Cardinals

12-teams with deep benches or 15-team leagues

Let's be clear: Dylan Carlson should have been up with the Cardinals at the beginning of the year. Now that his service time manipulation is done, he should be up soon, following in the footsteps of Jo Adell, Nick Madrigal, Daulton Varsho, and other bats who are behind Carlson in terms of readiness. Carlson hit .281 with 21 HR and 18 SB in 108 AA games last year and then .361 with 5 HR and 2 SB in 18 AAA games to end 2019. He was hitting the ball well in Summer Camp and has enough defensive ability to play anywhere around the outfield. He's certainly a bat that the Cardinals can use, but it's impossible to know what's happening with the team since it feels like they've only played five games because of their recent COVID outbreak. If he's not called up when they return to play, he might not be far behind. Tyler O'Neill is hitting .200, and Harrison Bader is batting .091, so it's not like they're really making it hard for the Cardinals to call up their best prospect.

Fernando Rodney, RP Houston Astros

15-team leagues

Oh, man, I can't believe I'm writing this. If there is anything more 2020 than recommending Fernando Rodney in fantasy baseball then I haven't come across it. With Roberto Osuna likely out for the season, the Astros have turned to Ryan Pressly and a mix-n-match of young relievers and it hasn't been pretty. Pressly had a late start to the season and hasn't looked sharp early on, pitching to a 9.82 ERA and 3.27 WHIP in 3.2 innings. He's been throwing his four-seamer more and his curve 16% less despite the fact that his curve was his best pitch last season. Since Pressly has already dealt with an arm issue this offseason, the pitch mix change tells me that he might not be 100%. However, the Astros have nobody behind him they can throw at the end of games with confidence. That's where Rodney comes in.

It may seem like a joke since he's almost 44-years-old, but the veteran certainly has experience. Despite his 5.66 ERA last year, his pitch mix, velocity and x-stats were near identical to 2018, when he finished with a 3.36 ERA and 25 saves. He also gave up fewer fly balls and less hard contact in 2019, so I think the poor results were a bit flukey. If you roster Rodney, you won't be doing it for the ratios, but he should have a mid-9 K/9 and could be in line for saves on one of baseball's best teams. If you stash him now, you could get that for free.

Alec Bohm, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies

15-team leagues

Most people assumed Bohm would have been up by now. The 2018 first-round pick moved all the way up to AA last year, showing solid patience at the plate and some pop in the bat. His FB% and ISO increased as he moved up levels, and his Pull% hovered around a respectable 35%, showcasing an approach that could lead to power at the Major League level. However, the Phillies kept him down to start the year and he's seen Jay Bruce, his main competition for DH at-bats, start off with a .273/.333/.727 line with 3 HR and 7 RBI.

Bohm's natural position is 3B and Jean Segura has come off a bad 2019 and struggled to a .194/.341/.361 slash to start the year with only one stolen base. On the other side of the infield, Scott Kingery is whimpering to a .100/.163/.100 slash line with 0 HR and 0 SB. If the Phillies want to push to make the playoffs, they may want to call up Bohm and give him some at-bats at the hot corner to see if he can provide more juice in the lineup.

 

Watch List

These are players who I don't believe warrant an immediate add but are guys who should be on your radar for a call-up in the near future. If you're in a really deep league, perhaps some of these guys could act as a bench stash, depending on the size of your roster and health of your team. 

Max Schrock, 2B/3B - St.Louis Cardinals

NOTE: Schrock was promoted to the active roster last week but the Cardinals have not played

Schrock could be another Cardinal to get an opportunity in the wake of the team's recent COVID outbreak. The 25-year-old has been at Triple-A the last two years, so he's the readiest to go if a middle infield spot opens up. The left-handed hitter made great strides with his plate discipline last year, bumping his BB% from 5.3% to 12.2%. It coincided with the largest FB% of his career (39.2%) and the highest K% (16.2%). It didn't quite work as he hit only two home runs, but his average was still .275 with a .366 OBP and 12 SB. He's likely never going to be a power bat, but he makes a fair amount of contact, gets on base a lot and can swipe a bag. He's basically a poor man's Nick Madrigal. While Schrock has mainly played 2B in his career, he did play 56 games at 3B and seven in LF last year, so perhaps the Cardinals can move him around.

Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/OF - Baltimore Orioles 

At some point this season, the Orioles are going to call up Mountcastle, we're just not entirely sure when. He doesn't really have a set defensive position, but he has plus-power and hit 25 HR with a .321 average for the Orioles AAA club last year. He doesn't draw a lot of walks but doesn't have an egregious K% either, so he could profile as a .260 hitter with solid pop. If you have deep benches, you can stash him in 12-team leagues since it's a near-lock that he'll be up eventually, especially with D.J. Stewart starting the year on a 0-for-21 skid. There's no logical reason for the Orioles to trot him out over Mountcastle, but so far they show no indication that they're going to do anything differently.

Brandon Marsh, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Angels

Brandon Marsh has begun getting reps at first base, which makes me think that the Angels are experimenting with ways to call him up despite their crowded outfield. With Shohei Ohtani locked in at DH, that means 1B is the only spot for Marsh. It's currently being held down by 40-year-old Albert Pujols, who is off to a .196/.255/.392 start with 3 HR and 8 RBI. The power output has been nice, and I can't see the Angels immediately going to Marsh; however, he's a talented prospect with a good eye and solid speed. He's often overlooked because he shared an outfield with Jo Adell, but if he seems primed to get a call-up, you're going to want him on your roster.

Seth Beer, 1B/DH, Arizona Diamondbacks

I'm likely dreaming on this one a little bit since Beer has never played above AA, but the Diamondbacks are struggling on offense and might be aggressive in trying to remedy that since this was a season they were built to compete. Also, there has never been a more perfect year to call-up Beer since he's a below-average defender who will benefit greatly from the DH position where Jake Lamb is currently slotted in and hitting .063 in seven games. As a former college player, Beer has a mature approach at the plate. He's yet to register the walk rate in the minors that he displayed in college, but he demonstrates good patience and is not a major strikeout bat. He has always been relatively pull-centric in his approach and has the power to be a consistent force as a middle of the order.

Frank Schwindel, 1B, Detroit Tigers

Let's mix in another non-prospect here. With C.J. Cron going on the IL with ligament damage to his knee, the Tigers may be looking for a first baseman for the rest of the season. They're currently moving Jeimer Candelario to first despite him being their best defensive infielder and planning to go with some combination of Dawel Lugo and Willi Castro at third. Forgive me if that doesn't inspire much confidence.

The Tigers meanwhile have Schwindel hanging out at the Alternate Site, and I'm intrigued by his solid power potential. He has back-t0-back seasons at AAA with an ISO over .200 for the Royals and had an ISO of .301 in 28 games at AAA with the Tigers last year. After arriving with the Tigers his Pull% and FB% adjusted back to his 2017-18 levels after a dip to begin 2019. He doesn't walk a lot, but he also doesn't strikeout a lot for a power bat, and Cron showed that, despite the perception, right-handed pull power can clear the fence in Comerica. If Schinwdel gets a chance to hold down the 1B job, I'd take a flyer in deep leagues.

Franklyn Kilome / Thomas Szapucki, SP, New York Mets

The Mets were dealt a pair of blows to their rotation this week when Michael Wacha went on the IL and Marcus Stroman opted out for the remainder of the season (although it was highly questionable that he was going to be able to pitch again). The Mets have some internal options in moving Seth Lugo or Robert Gsellman to the rotation, but their bullpen has been such a mess this season that it seems likely they wouldn't want to deplete it even more. If they do call up a starter from the Alternate Site, the two most likely options are Kilome and Szapucki. Acquired from the Phillies in 2018, Kilome has already had a taste of the major leagues before Tommy John surgery shut him down last season. Back and throwing again, he has a mid-90’s fastball with a natural cut, a solid 12-6 curveball, and a developing changeup. He does have some control issues and many scouts believe he's destined to be a strong bullpen arm, but he could get the first crack at the rotation and has the raw stuff to be successful.

The dark horse for the rotation spot is Szapucki, who was the Mets' fifth-round draft choice in 2015. He throws three solid pitches in a low 90s fastball that touches 95, a breaking ball with sharp bite that has been called the best in the Mets system, and a solid sinking changeup. The pitch mix, plus his deceptive delivery has led to an 11.7 career K/9 in the minors. However, he's never pitched above AA and has also had issues staying healthy, so the Mets may be cautious with him.

Ian Anderson, SP Atlanta Braves

Anderson stays on the Watch List for this week with the loss of Soroka and Newcomb. Here's what I said before:

If you took everything I said about Bryse Wilson and were not convinced, then keep an eye on Ian Anderson, the Braves top pitching prospect. He still needs to refine his curveball, but the 21-year-old has a dynamic fastball and changeup pairing that, if he finds that consistent third pitch, could make him another dynamic young arm in the Braves staff. The key is that curveball, so keep your eye out for news on how he's throwing it in camp, and if you start to read that it's looking legit, it might not be long before he gets the call, especially with Kyle Wright struggling.

Dane Dunning, SP Chicago White Sox

Dunning also stays on the Watch List since there was a rumor that Dunning would be called up to start last week, and while that rumor proved to be false, it does signal that Dunning is on the team's radar. With Carlos Rodon going down with an injury, there are likely to be opportunities in the near future. The only reason Dunning isn't on the pick-ups list is that he missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery.

The right-hander has a lot of talent, as evidenced by his 2.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 10.02 K/9 in AA in 2018, and K-BB% that are over 20% combined across multiple levels in 2017 and 2018. He has good movement on his fastball and shows good pitchability, which could help him avoid getting blown up by opposing offenses. It's hard to find out exactly how he's throwing at the Alternate Site Camp, but I need to see him face major league hitters given his injury year last year before I'm throwing down any real FAAB on him.



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The more data we get as the season goes on, the better equipped we are to interpret matchups and make informed decisions. Then Week 6 comes along and blows it all to hell. The unpredictability of sports is what keeps us intrigued, as frustrating as it may be at times. Numbers are supposedly to be... Read More


The King's Week 7 Fantasy Football Lineup Rankings (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers!  Below you will find my Week 7 fantasy football lineup rankings. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions. Skill Position analysis is primarily based on the PPR ranks. The rankings are powered by... Read More


Slow Starters Ready to Break Out in Fantasy?

We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards... Read More


Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 7

The warning signals get brighter by the week since we have more data to work from. The larger the sample size the easier it is for us to connect the dots from the latest trends. Football is a game of small samples and many variables, making it one of the hardest sports to predict. How... Read More


How to Value Clyde Edwards-Helaire with Le'Veon Bell in KC

Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100%... Read More


NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New... Read More


Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right? Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift. Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain. The... Read More


FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs. In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only... Read More


More Recent Articles

 

Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More