The Atlanta Braves will take the field for the first time since Friday night. Their three game series against the New York Mets saw two games postponed due to Hurricane Irene, which created havoc all along the east coast of the United States. The Braves also had an off day yesterday. This break gave the Braves a mini break in the midst of their push towards the 2011 MLB playoffs. They are 6.5 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East, while they have an 8.5 game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wild Card.
This break has given their starters a chance to rest and heal from nicks and bruises that occur in the daily grind of the MLB schedule. Their overworked bullpen has gotten a chance to take a breather and their starting rotation has been set the way Fredi Gonzalez wants heading into the showdown in Motown next week.
This break also has brought the Braves closer to the September call ups. Rosters expand on September 1st and teams can use this time to bolster their playoff run and get some of their top prospects some MLB seasoning. For the Braves, this will be a time for them to bring up players that will help spell their starters and add depth to their pitching staff. Here is a list of certain and possible call ups for the Braves:
Julio Teheran – The Braves’ top pitching prospect has completely dominated AAA all season long. He made his MLB debut May 7th against the Philadelphia Phillies. He took the loss as the Braves could not muster any run support against the Phillies. In the International League, he has gone 15-2 with a 2.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, with 121/43 K/BB ratio in 141.2 IP.
Randall Delgado – Delgado has pitched two games for the Braves in 2011 at this point. He has lived in the shadows of Teheran for most of his professional career. But, he showed the potential that he has when he shut down the San Francisco Giants with no hits over 6 innings. He got a no decision and gave up one hit, a home run to Cody Ross in the 7th inning. He has pitched most of 2011 in AA. He received a call up to AAA and dominated through his first two starts. He got hammered in his 3rd start to the tune of 8 earned runs in 3.2 IP. He has been overshadowed by Mike Minor and Arodys Vizcaino too. But, he has a ton of potential for the Braves.
J.C. Boscan – He is a solid defensive catcher for the Braves. He has hit only .186 this year, but he will be brought up to strengthen the bench. His addition will allow Fredi Gonzalez to pinch hit David Ross in certain situations, as his best right-handed pinch hitter option and have a back-up catcher…just in case.
Jairo Asencio – I have heard no sure statements about Asencio’s potential call-up to Atlanta. However, I don’t see how he could be left off the team. As good as Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty have been in 2011 in Atlanta, Asencio has been as dominant in AAA. Feast your eyes on this: 3-2 with a 1.39 ERA with 24 saves, 67 Ks, 21 BB, 1.06 WHIP in 51.2 IP.
Anthony Varvaro – He pitched valiantly for the Braves a few weeks ago. He has had a solid year in Gwinnett to boot. He has a 2.79 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP with a 2/1 K to walk ratio through 58 IP.
Cory Gearrin – Gearrin has pitched in Atlanta on two seperate occassions in 2011. He struggled at times in Atlanta. He has performed well in AAA. He has a 1.79 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP, 53 Ks, 18 BBs in 45.1 IP. He has shown that he needs to only pitch to right-handed hitters in the majors at this point.
Brandon Hicks – He will probably be called up to Atlanta. He should be there already. Instead, we have Julio Lugo sitting on the bench and finding his way into the lineup at times.
Wilkin Ramirez – He is not needed anymore at this time in Atlanta, with the emergence of Jose Constanza. He could still get the call to be a right-handed bench and defensive replacement potentially. He has seen playing time in Atlanta this year as well. He is still young and has shown glimpses of great potential for the Braves.
Stefan Gartrell – He is a long-shot. He has had a nice year in AAA. I am putting him on the list because I would like to see him play in the majors. He has had a great year for the Gwinnett Braves. He has hit .265/.340/.520 with 26 HR, 91 RBIs (leading the International League) in 427 ABs. He is 26, but I would still like to see him play in Atlanta. Constanza has enjoyed success in Atlanta, though brief and most people expect this not to last. Why not give Gartrell a chance as a player off the bench? One key detail is that he would have to be added to the 40 man roster. This may prevent him from getting called up in September.
I admit that there may be other players that may not be on this list. I feel these are the best candidates for the call-ups. Players not on the 40 man roster can be called up, only if they are placed on the roster. This may prevent other players from getting called up.