Prospects Already on the 40-Man Roster

“When is Alex Bregman getting called up?”

–I don’t know.

“When is Alex Reyes getting called up?”

–I don’t know.

“Do you know when any prospect with the first name ‘Alex’ is getting called up?”

Alex Verdugo: May 22nd, 2017

Prospect call-up inquiries are the toughest to answer because in the majority of situations the team doesn’t even really know when they will call a guy up. With the trade deadline looming, prospects on the cusp get even a little more focus as they could either be traded to a situation with playing time availability or see their team move someone out in order to give them playing time directly. While far from a surefire method, one factor I like to consider is presence on the 40-man roster. It’s easier to get the call when you don’t force an additional move.

Here are a bunch of guys on the 40-man who could be on the way:

Manuel Margot | OF, San Diego Padres

He was acquired in the Craig Kimbrel deal with Boston and he’s done pretty well in his first shot with Triple-A, hitting .297 with 24 SBs. His .761 OPS generates just a 102 wRC+ in the Pacific Coast League, but he is a speed and defense asset in the short-term. We saw both on display at the Futures Game with an excellent home run-robbing catch. Melvin Upton or Matt Kemp (more likely Upton with Kemp signed for three more years) could be moved at the deadline to open a spot for Margot in early-August. If not, we may have to wait a little longer for Margot, but the 21-year old should get at least a taste this year.

Joe Musgrove | SP, Houston Astros

Eno and I discussed Musgrove recently on the podcast and he’s also a former Fringe Fiver so there are a couple Fangraphs contingents eager to see him get the call this year. There aren’t a lot of cracks in the Houston rotation and they might actually strengthen it at the deadline so he might only get a shot out of the bullpen, but the second you start thinking a team’s rotation is set, it’s not. The home run ball has gotten the best of him at times in Triple-A, but the rest of his skills have been sharp around a 4.60 ERA.

Adam Brett Walker | OF, Minnesota Twins

Walker isn’t exactly a major prospect because he has a flawed game, but he can absolutely crush the ball when he does get a piece of it. He has a career .487 SLG in the minors and .481 during his first tour of Triple-A. He only has a .242 AVG thanks in large part to a 40% strikeout rate. I shudder to think what a 40% strikeout rate at Triple-A might do in the majors, but he could be a poor man’s Chris Carter out of the gate. Jorge Polanco has already gotten brief tastes of the majors, including May of this year, so he’s probably in line ahead of Walker, but I wanted to point out Walker’s ridiculous power.

Dan Vogelbach |1B (sorta), Chicago Cubs

Vogelbach’s position is hitter. He’s got a .288/.389/.483 career line with some of his best work coming this season in Triple-A: .310/.419/.533. His 15 homers are more than double the seven he had last year in just seven more games. He’d have a hard time working his way into the Cubs’ lineup with a true position, let alone the fact that he “plays” first base, a position that couldn’t be more blocked. So why is he on the list? Because he’s perfect trade bait for the Cubs. He’s almost a free asset to them because they can command a handsome return, but losing him doesn’t really hurt them as it would, say, Eloy Jimenez.

OAKLAND A’S

They get their own section because they could be very active at the deadline and they have plenty of guys who could replace traded players. Three-quarters of their infield is 29 years of age or older and could be moved. Ryon Healy was already called up to start cutting into the third base reps of Danny Valencia despite an .845 OPS in 285 PA. Any of these three guys could make their way up soon, listed in order of intrigue:

(I’ll mention off the bat that Nashville is a nightmare for hitters so keep that in mind when viewing the numbers of these guys. It has an 86/84 left/right runs park factor and just 74/75 for homers according to StatCorner. By the way, this info makes Healy’s .867 OPS even more impressive.)

Joey Wendle | 2B

Call it a hunch because, well, that’s what it is, but I think Jed Lowrie gets moved at the deadline which puts Wendle in line for a call-up. He was brought over in the Brandon Moss deal last year and profiles as a better real life than fantasy player, kind of in a Joe Panik model, but sometimes those guys are underrated, especially when they are getting playing time. Wendle’s second time around Triple-A hasn’t been great with just a .254/.302/.412 line, but he did have a .289/.323/.442 line in 618 PA with Nashville last year. Was he figured out or is it some fatigue for repeating Triple-A? Even with this year’s meager output, he still has a .285/.337/.452 career line and could put up something like a .275 AVG with 5 HR/3 SB in a month-plus of work. I like Chad Pinder a bit better as a prospect, but this where the 40-man tiebreaker comes in, because Pinder isn’t on it.

Renato Nunez | 3B

I feel like Nashville has to be playing a role in Nunez’s season or maybe a nagging injury because he’s so far below his established levels. His wRC+ totals were between 102 and 147 prior to this year and now he’s down at 75. His strikeout (19%) and walk (6%) are right in line with his career marks of 20% and 6%. His .171 ISO is down from a career .192, but that seems like it’s more Nashville-influenced. Prior to this year, a .293 BABIP last season was his lowest ever. This year, he’s at .241. I think a confluence of events, including some plain ol’ bad luck have held his numbers down and I wouldn’t be surprised if he played better than what we’ve seen if given an MLB shot.

Rangel Ravelo | 1B

I’ll forgive you if you’re still not blown over by Ravelo’s .253/.310/.371, but it’s not like Yonder Alonso is tearing it up so why not give some plate appearances to the guy who is five years younger with a career .296/.362/.420 minor league line in 2237 PA?

We’ll see what happens at the deadline!





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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j.gordon
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j.gordon

So why is he on the list? Because he’s perfect trade bait for the Cubs. 7/19

Sources: Cubs and Mariners nearing a deal. LHP Mike Montgomery would go to Chicago. DH/1B Dan Vogelbach would be a piece going to Seattle. 7/20

Nicely done.