A look at prospects coming up for our area teams during September roster expansion
It’s September, which means MLB rosters have expanded.
While some of our area’s teams are in the thick of playoff races, others are using the regular season’s final month to see how some of their top prospects will perform at the Major League Level.
Here’s a look at who you may see playing for our four area teams this month:
SS J.P. Crawford — Crawford got off to a rough start over the first two months of 2017, batting just below .200 while playing for the AAA Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. However, Crawford has turned it around, and is hitting a respectable .239 while showing some pop that he had never exhibited before with 14 HR and 60 RBI on the season.
Last week, the Phillies played everyday SS Freddy Galvis in center field, making it clear that they are opening a spot for Crawford in the lineup once the AAA season ends. In the past few weeks, Crawford has also gotten some time at third base, creating defensive versatility to get his bat in the lineup.
2B Scott Kingery — Kingery has had the most impressive season of Phillies’ minor leaguers. He began the season at AA Reading and has spent the last month and a half at AAA Lehigh Valley, but has totaled 26 HR and 65 RBI over his two stops. He has also displayed strong defense, though he has been playing shortstop in recent weeks to expand his versatility, similar Crawford. He’s a shoo-in to spend the last few weeks of the season in Philadelphia.
OF Dylan Cozens — Cozens is the wildcard to be called up out of the Phillies’ prospects; he has been in a rough slump during the second half of the season. After dominating at AA Reading in 2016, Cozens moved to AAA Lehigh Valley with high expectations, but has struck out 186 times and watched his batting average fall all the way to .211. However, he has totaled 27 HR and 74 RBI this season, and must be added to the Phillies’ 40-man roster this off season, meaning that he is more likely to be called up in the next month, despite his struggles.
C Chance Sisco — Sisco is one of the Orioles’ top prospects and has already been called up to the Major League level on the first day of roster expansion. The O’s have fallen pretty well out of playoff contention, and can take the time to see if Sisco is ready to handle everyday catching duties.
While playing at AAA Norfolk this season, Sisco batted .267 with 7 HR and 47 RBI. He’s also a left-handed bat, which can be valuable to a very right-handed hitting Baltimore Orioles team.
OF Austin Meadows — During the 2016 off season, the Pirates were rumored to be trying to move OF Andrew McCutchen, thus opening a spot for Meadows to take an everyday spot in the outfield. However, a trade never materialized, and Meadows was stricken with injuries during the 2017 season. He’s only played 72 games at AAA Indianapolis this season, batting .250 with 4 HR and 36 RBI.
While those numbers won’t blow anyone away, with the Pirates out of the playoff race, it may benefit them to see if Meadows is ready for the Major Leagues with another off season looming where it is possible McCutchen gets moved.
P Nick Kingham — The Pirates have had a knack for developing arms in the last few seasons, and Kingham could be the next in line to make a splash in Pittsburgh. While his numbers at AAA Indianapolis haven’t been terrific (9-6, 4.69 ERA), Kingham has shown great control by walking only 29 batters in 113 innings while striking out 93.
With innings to kill in September, Pittsburgh may be willing to give Kingham a look in the regular season’s final month.
The Nationals are the lone one of our area’s teams that is in the thick of a playoff race. This status means that they are unlikely to bring up many or any prospects, as they will want to rely on their proven players as they prepare for the postseason.
Due to this, and the fact that many of their prospects are further from Major League ready or are already in Washington, I don’t believe the Nationals will bring up any top prospects during roster expansion. Look for them to add some fringe players, such as guys who have had Major League experience but little success at the game’s top level.