5 Pittsburgh Pirates That Should Be Called Up In September
5 Potential Pittsburgh Pirates' Call-Ups
September in Pittsburgh usually means the beginning of the NFL season. This year, not only does it mean that, but it also brings with it a pennant race in the National League Central division. Over the past 20 years, when September came around, the Pittsburgh Pirates were always out of the race and playing to avoid 100 losses; this season they are playing to make the postseason for the first time since 1992.
I know for sure that this is a weird experience for me. I haven’t experienced a relevant Pirates team this late into the season; I’m only 20 years old. Normally around this time of the year, I’ve entered about five fantasy football leagues and I’m getting hyped about the NFL and college football seasons. This year I haven’t done one fantasy football draft yet, and I can’t even think about football right now. The Pirates are probably going to the playoffs, and I can’t get enough of it.
Another thing September brings is September call-ups. What this does is transform the MLB roster from 25 players to the entire 40-man roster, meaning the Pirates could potentially call up 15 players if they wish. Will the Pirates really bring up 15 players? Probably not, but if they want to they can. Even though September call-ups happen every season, it’s going to be different in this particular season for the Pirates. Instead of calling up young players to see what they can do at the MLB level, the Pirates will be calling up players to actually contribute down the stretch in this march to the postseason.
Stolmy Pimentel has had a very good season in the Pirates’ minor league system so far. In Double-A, Pimentel started 13 games and went 4-3 with a 3.61 ERA. In 13 starts at Triple-A, he is 2-5 with a 3.03 ERA. If he is called up, the Pirates will probably use him out of the bullpen, but he would still be a nice option.
Promoting Gregory Polanco in September would be extremely unlike the Pittsburgh Pirates. Polanco is only in Double-A at the moment, and the Pirates don’t let minor league players skip levels. Polanco would be on a timetable to reach the MLB around June of next season if he handles Triple-A pitching well. However, Polanco does have a great approach at the plate and he strikes out less than he walks in Double-A; a lot of experts say hitting in Double-A is tougher than Triple-A because the Triple-A rosters are filled with failed MLB players and Double-A rosters are filled with young prospects that throw hard and have good stuff.
Vic Black has already pitched a few innings with the Pirates this season. In four innings, Black struggled with command, but for a guy that throws as hard as he does with the movement on his slider, walks are going to be an issue at times. Black wouldn’t be used in close games anyway; he would be used in games that are either blow outs or in games that the Pirates are losing.
Ivan De Jesus
Ivan De Jesus should have been promoted already. All he has done this season is reach base constantly. He has a slash line of .322/.382/.459 and a wRC+ of 134 in Triple-A. He would be very nice infield depth for the Pirates down the stretch if they need to give guys like Jordy Mercer and Neil Walker a rest. De Jesus could step in and hold his own at the plate.
Kelly Shoppach was signed a few weeks ago to provide catching depth in the minor leagues. The Pirates were forced to promote Tony Sanchez to be the backup catcher after Michael McKenry was lost for the season due to knee surgery. Shoppach will probably be up in September as the third catcher.