Looking ahead to possible September call-ups

The trade deadline has passed, and the Royals once again are out of contention. For most Royals fans, it's that time of year to make the migratory swoon to their College or NFL Football team of choice. This year actually seems just a little bit different. There's hope.

The Royals may be out of contention, but the influx of young players is finally arriving in Kansas City, making it more interesting to watch even if they aren't chasing the pennant. We are starting to see the minor league talent infuse the MLB team, and that's just the scratch on the surface. Despite Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, Nate Adcock, Louis Coleman, Everett Teaford, Manny Pina, and Johnny Giavotella all making their MLB debuts this year, Omaha and NW Arkansas still have players pushing for big league time in September. Here's a quick look at three pitchers and three position players who could get the September (if not earlier) call up, in no particular order.

Salvador Perez – Catcher has been a spot Kansas City has been trying to fill for the long term for quite a while, and that chance starts with Perez. Only 21-years old, Perez, known more for his defense and handling of the pitching staff, has started to hit the ball well. In 79 games at Double-A NW Arkansas, he hit .283 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs, and since being promoted to Triple-A Omaha, Perez has hit .325 with one home run (a grand slam) and 10 RBIs. Kansas City would have to make a move on the 40-man roster to get Perez here in September, possibly deterring the Royals from calling him up. However, if the Royals want to get an extended look at Perez before spring training, it would be a good time to get him some familiarization with the pitching staff.

Lorenzo Cain – Cain, 25, played briefly with the Brewers last year, and he will probably get some at bats for the Royals in September. The Royals have let Cain hit at Triple-A this year instead of sitting the bench, and hit he has, posting a line of .318/.389/.907 with 13 homers, 59 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. The Royals want to keep him in Omaha for their playoff games (assuming they hang on to their division lead), but we can expect to see him in Kansas City sometime in September.

David Lough – If I had to guess, it will be between Lough, 25, and Cain to be brought up in September, but not both. Lough is hitting .312/.359/.846 with seven home runs, 10 triples, and 12 stolen bases while manning right field for Omaha. I think the Royals will likely give him more of a shot next Spring Training, rather than this September, but with an injury on the MLB club, he could be up.

Other possible September call ups of note include outfielder Jarrod Dyson, first baseman/designated hitter Kila Ka'aihue, designated hitter Clint Robinson, and infielder Jeff Bianchi. Also look for Yamaico Navarro to get the call again once the rosters expand to give some infield flexibility.

We're likely to see some veterans called up to help alleviate the innings pitched by the young bullpen, so some pitchers called up could include right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez, right handed starter Luis Mendoza, right handed starter Vin Mazzaro, and right handed starter Sean O'Sullivan. Some of the more intriguing options are the younger players that Kansas City could potentially call up to get that brief MLB experience.

Mike Montgomery – Montgomery, a 22 year old lefty, has struggled with his command since starting at Triple-A Omaha, going 4-6 with a 5.37 ERA in 112 innings of work. Even with his command issues, he still has 92 strikeouts against 57 walks. I can see the Royals bringing him up to give him a change of scenery and possibly a couple of starts to get him ready to challenge for a rotation spot next year. He'll also benefit from being around pitching coach Bob McClure and other major league quality pitchers.

Kelvin Herrera – If you asked me two weeks ago if Herrera would get a shot this September, I would've said no, but now he has a legitimate chance. Herrera, only 21, was recently promoted to Triple-A with catcher Salvador Perez. Since being promoted, Herrera has struck out seven and walked three in five scoreless appearances, frequently touching 100 MPH on the radar gun. The Royals may choose to limit Herrera, who has moved up fast, and keep him down, but he may be too good to pass up.

Will Smith – While Smith is another stretch to make it up in September, he certainly has earned it. The 22 year old lefty has been pitching stronger as of late, going 7-2 with a 4.18 ERA and 40 strikeouts in his last 10 games. Overall he is 10-8 with a 4.52 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 125 innings pitched. While I would be hesitant to call him up based on the number of innings he will be at, he has definitely earned a shot, and he should start at Triple-A Omaha next year with the potential for a midseason call up.

It should be a fun September as a Royals fan to see a glimpse of what may come in the future. While the nature of most Royals fans is to adopt a "wait and see" approach, it's about time we have a glimmer of hope about baseball in Kansas City, because the boys are coming up fast, and they're ready to play. Let's just hope the front office can keep up.

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