– By Cruz Serrano
With the draft now in the rearview mirror, it’s time for teams, and fans as well, to focus on the present. With the pennant races beginning to take shape, teams are beginning to weigh their options for that extra push that may help them get a leg up in their respective divisions. The Astros have already decided to make a change, opting to call up bigtime prospect and fellow Puerto Rican Carlos Correa to the major league team to try and solidify a team that is already in first place, but lacked overall consistency at the shortstop position. After losing Jed Lowrie to start the season, the Astros have virtually gotten no production from short, and Correa can certainly help on defense, even if he struggles to make adjustments on the fly at the big league level. Here are some other teams that can look within their organizations for help as they try to make a push to play in October.
Alex Meyer, SP/Byron Buxton, CF: Minnesota Twins
Much like the Astros, no one expected to see the Twins atop their division in early June. The biggest difference is the Twins looked like a team that was going to be rebuilding, rather than a team that was ending its rebuilding phase. However, the Twins have rocketed to the top of the AL Central thanks to production from the likes of the ageless wonder Torii Hunter, who continues to be productive despite being on the wrong side of 35. The Twins have gotten solid pitching from a few guys, however the lack of punch from the rotation, a spot where Alex Meyer may be able to help. The rotation currently has 3 pitchers that have performed below league average according to ERA+, which is rate stat with a mean of 100 that quantifies a pitcher’s production adjusted for the league and era. Having three below average starters is not a good formula for winning, and Alex Meyer is a big league-ready arm that can help immediately. Meyer is already 25 and is certainly a better option than the likes of Tommy Milone or Ricky Nolasco when he comes off the disabled list. On the other side of the ball, the Twins currently rank dead last in WAR from center fielders with a cumulative total of -1.1. Byron Buxton was considered by many to be the best prospect in baseball a couple years ago, and can certainly make his presence felt this season. His development has been hindered by injuries, and I highly doubt the Twins will actually call him up even if they feel a pennant is within their reach. Although he’s still only 21, he has speed and power, and can definitely impact the Twins by performing above replacement level, production that hasn’t been seen in center field for the team yet this season. Update: Byron Buxton was called up by the Twins on Saturday, June 13th and made his major league debut Sunday afternoon, June 14th, going 0-4 with 2 strikeouts while also scoring a run. Continue reading