MLB: Seven-day September call-up report

September 7, 2023

Each team in Major League Baseball must bring their 26-man-roster to 28 by September 1. Teams use this opportunity in different ways, but here we’ll focus on the clubs that brought up prospects to either debut or get another chance after a previous short stint. Seven days on a big league roster won’t tell us much, however, we’ll see what they’ve done in the last seven days, as well as preview how they might be able to help their big league club for the rest of the month and in the future.

Jasson Dominguez, OF — New York Yankees No. 2 prospect

Dominguez in 21 plate appearances has seven hits, three of them home runs and three strikeouts. He is off to a hot start for the Yankees despite it being probably too late to help them make a playoff run (Yankees are 6.5 games back of the wildcard spot with just 23 games left to play). Still, seeing a top five prospect in any organization come up and get off to a good start promotes confidence and is never a negative thing. “The Martian” is just 20-years-old and has shown a beyond-his-years mature approach at the plate. In 507 plate appearances in Double-A ball in 2023, Dominguez walked in over 15% of his plate appearances and sprayed the ball around the field going opposite field 30.2% of the time and pulling the ball 47.3% of the time. Already with a hit over 110mph in exit velo in his first 21 plate appearances, the raw power he has shown throughout his minor league career should begin to show. The young outfielder has a chance to be a 5-tool-player with solid defense, elite speed and good contact and power at the plate.

Ronny Mauricio, 2B/3B/OF — New York Mets No. 6 Prospect

Mauricio is the no. 6 prospect in the Mets organization and has torched Triple-A ball this year, slashing .292/.346/.506 with 23 home runs — all while striking out at just an 18.6% clip. In 19 plate appearances in the big leagues he hasn’t slowed down a bit, with 8 hits (one of them a double) and already three stolen bases. The rookie infielder hit the ball hard all year in Triple-A, averaging a 91.1 mph exit velo and figures to do the same in major league ball. The 76% contact% this season in the minors suggests he finds the ball well, but will need to find the barrel a little more than 6.8% of the time. He probably projects best at third base defensively but will be able to help all over the infield for now.

Alexander Canario, OF — Chicago Cubs No. 5 Prospect

Just one plate appearance (a strikeout) for Canario since he was called up on September 1 by the Chicago Cubs. That is almost fitting for a guy that K’d in 28% of his 161 plate appearances in Triple-A ball in 2023. The rookie outfielder went from High-A straight to Triple-A this year after having a 350 plate appearance stint in Double-A in 2022 that produced results good enough to hold a 124 wRC+ and 24 home runs. Power production and a reduced strikeout rate is going to be the way that Canario stays in the big leagues. Canario likely fits best in a corner outfield spot with his 6’1″ 215-pound frame despite playing mostly center field in the minors.

Austin Wells, C — New York Yankees No. 6 Prospect

The 24-year-old signal caller in 16 plate appearances in the majors has a double, a single and a walk with 5 strikeouts. New York will look for Wells to provide an offensive minded presence from the catcher spot, however in Triple-A ball this year he carried a slash line of just .254/.349/.452 with a 23.3 K% and only 5 home runs. If Wells can blossom into a power hitting catcher with solid on-base ability and be good enough behind the plate to stick, it would go a long way to solidifying their back stop spot.

Nick Loftin, 3B — Kansas City Royals No. 4 Prospect

The hit tool should play and the power has started to break through with 14 home runs and 13 doubles in Triple-A this year. The 0.72 BB/K in 315 Triple-A plate appearances in 2023 is outstanding and he provides solid defense in the infield. Just 15 plate appearances since being called up to the majors, but he has six hits, three of them doubles. I would expect a lot of what we saw in the minors to translate — the hit tool at the forefront — to the majors. The lack of power may suggest a move to a corner outfield spot may be best, but the 24-year-old should hit for average in the majors for a long time.

Ceddanne Rafaela, OF — Boston Red Sox No.3 Prospect

Signed out of Curaçao in 2017 by the Red Sox, the 22-year-old outfielder mashed in Triple-A the second half of 2023 to the tune of .312/.370/.618 in 219 plate appearances. The power is real with 14 home runs in that time span and he’s shown a solid ability to limit strikeouts (just 21.9%) in Triple-A this year.

The 15 plate appearances he’s had in the majors this year have resulted in seven hits and six strikeouts. Rafaela has played center field and shortstop in the minors, with the outfield figuring to be his primary position in the majors. Speed and defense will play a major part in his ability to stick.

Darius Vines, RHP — Atlanta Braves No. 6 Prospect

Vines starting off his major league career by going six innings pitched and giving up 2 hits for 2 earned runs. His next outing was just two innings and he gave up a home run for a total of eight innings pitched, three earned runs and 3 hits. Not too shabby. Control of the fastball is name of the game for Vines, and he does it well. Hindered by injury for most of 2023, the young righty has just 28.1 innings pitched in Triple-A competition this year but performed well with a 2.86 ERA. The 5.38 FIP suggests he was a little lucky and he walked 9.6% of batters, but the 86.7 left-on-base percentage shows he is able to dial in and get out of jams.

Drew Millas, C — Washington Nationals No. 22 Prospect

At 25-years-old, Millas crushed minor league pitching this year. 99 plate appearances in Double-A ball yielded a .341/.455/.537 slash line and 229 plate appearances in Triple-A ball yielded a .270/.362/.403 slash line with an impressively low K% of just 14.4. Simply put, the Nationals might just have a surprise on their hands. Heralded for his defense when he was drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics, Millas has found a way to turn it around at the plate despite a dismal start at the plate in 2021 and 2022.

We’ll check in at the end of the regular season to see how the listed rookies fared in their first month in the big leagues.

Casey Bellon

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