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Notes: Callups Coming for Carroll, Henderson

Corbin Carroll

Corbin Carroll

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

(Sorry, but this will be a quick column today due to illnesses around the house. September rankings next week!)

It seems clear that the Diamondbacks are just waiting to promote Corbin Carroll until they’re sure he’ll retain his rookie eligibility in 2023. That never used to be a thing, but the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows a team to earn an extra draft pick for having a Rookie of the Year candidate (top three finishers) on an Opening Day roster. The Diamondbacks have 40 games left now and it takes 131 at-bats for a position player to lose rookie eligibility, so the team should be nearly in the clear. Carroll walks quite a bit and probably won’t hit leadoff right away, so figure him for about 3.5 at-bats per start. That would be 37 games for him to reach 130 at-bats, and if it starts to get hairy, the Diamondbacks can always sit him for a couple of games at the end.

Carroll should be a strong fantasy contributor right from the get-go. Perhaps his power won’t show up immediately, but he’s 31-for-36 stealing bases this year and the Diamondbacks will have no reason to hold him back in that department. Overall, he’s hit .311/.427/.608 with 22 homers and a 98/62 K/BB ratio in 422 plate appearances, about one-third of which have come since his promotion to Triple-A. Since the Diamondbacks seemingly intend to have him open 2023 in the majors, he projects as a top-20 fantasy outfielder next year.

National League notes

- After 31 strikeouts in 62 plate appearances, Jose Barrero finally drew his first two walks Tuesday, one of which actually plated a run. He did strike out once, too, but hey, his K rate is down to 49% now. The Reds were right to give Barrero a chance, but at this point, it might be worth sending him down and taking a look at Spencer Steer instead. Steer, acquired from the Twins in the Tyler Mahle deal, is hitting .309/.397/.515 in 17 games since joining Triple-A Louisville, leaving him at .275/.367/.526 with 23 homers overall in the minors this year. The Reds gave him his first ever outfield start in right field for Louisville on Tuesday, but they’ve otherwise had him split time evenly between shortstop, third base and second base. They could either have him replace Barrero or put him at third base and go back to Kyle Farmer at short. Third base figures to be his long-term home, particularly with Jonathan India at second.

- Bryce Harper (thumb) hitting two homers in his first rehab game seems like a good sign. The Phillies already sent down Darick Hall, who did a nice job filling in at DH during Harper’s absence. Hall will likely be back in September, but probably only in a bit role, since Harper is still going to be limited to DH duties by his injured elbow.

- I’d definitely stick with Brett Baty for now. He’s hitting the ball on the ground too frequently, which is a problem he also had in the minors prior to this season. Still, he doesn’t look the least bit overmatched by major league pitching. He might not finish out the season as a regular, but I’m good with relying on him while Luis Guillorme (groin) remains sidelined.

- 2020 first-round pick Cade Cavalli was an early disappointment for the Nationals this season, but he’s sporting a 2.10 ERA and a 77/25 K/BB ratio over 68 2/3 innings in his last 15 starts for Triple-A Rochester. It sounds like he’ll make one last start in the minors this weekend and then join the Nationals rotation for the final month. I’m not predicting mixed-league value, especially not while pitching for such a bad team, but I’ll be watching closely to see if his command has come along far enough to make him an interesting 2023 pick or not.

- I don’t really know what to write about Josh Hader at this point, but there’s still a decent chance that he’ll get fixed up as quickly as he fell apart. If I couldn’t bench him, I’d still rather have him active than drop him at this point. There’s no clear favorite for saves in San Diego in the meantime, but Robert Suarez is throwing well and makes for a decent flier.

American League notes

- Gunnar Henderson might be receiving the same treatment as Carroll, but it looks like the Orioles are getting close to giving the 21-year-old a chance. He just made his first two starts at first base last week, and now he’s played second base three games in a row. Before that, he was exclusively a third baseman and shortstop this season. Henderson hasn’t quite hit as well recently as he did during the middle of the year, but he also hasn’t really slumped at any point (by month, he’s posted OPSs of .885, 1.079, 1.095, .826 and .838). He’ll be a regular if he gets the call and he should steal a few bases, so those who can stash him probably should do so now.

- Byron Buxton was finally forced to the IL on Tuesday, though it was because of a right hip strain and not the right knee problem that’s been plaguing him for months. The Twins also hinted that there’s more going on than just those two issues. If the Twins were out of contention, there’d likely be serious thought given to shutting down Buxton for the season. As is, he’ll almost certainly give it another try in two or three weeks. Still, those in shallow leagues with limited IL slots can move on.

- Drew Waters is getting an opportunity in Kansas City, apparently at Kyle Isbel‘s expense. Waters hit .295/.399/.541 for Triple-A Omaha after being acquired from the Braves for a draft pick, so he did earn the promotion. His OPS was 240 points better in his 31 games for Omaha than in 49 games for Gwinnett before the trade. Still, his short-term fantasy value will probably come down to steals. He was 18-for-19 there in his 83 Triple-A games this year, and if he keeps running like that, he’ll probably be somewhat helpful. I’m rather skeptical, though, and I wouldn’t grab him at this time.

- The Yankees are getting Giancarlo Stanton back on Thursday, which should result in a sharp reduction in Oswaldo Cabrera‘s playing time. The Yankees, though, already seem quite fond of Cabrera, even though he’s 4-for-25 with nine strikeouts since coming up. That could be bad news for Gleyber Torres, who is hitting just .190/.222/.314 with a 37/4 K/BB ratio in 126 plate appearances in the second half. If Torres starts sitting twice per week -- and he probably should until he turns it around -- he’s likely to be useless in mixed leagues.

- Spencer Torkelson got off to a slow start in Triple-A following his demotion in July, but he is up to .257/.388/.443 in 85 plate appearances in August. If he can keep that going for another week, perhaps the Tigers will bring him back for the final month of the season. He’s already remained down long enough to ensure he won’t get a full year of service time, so that’s not a concern for the club.

- It’s rather discouraging that Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley has restored Kole Calhoun and his .261 OBP to the starting lineup following the outfielder’s stay on the injured list. Bubba Thompson has started just one of three games since Calhoun was activated. I don’t know that Thompson is a better player than Calhoun at the moment, but it’s something the Rangers should be trying to figure out, rather than wasting at-bats on a soon-to-be 35-year-old who has a 79 OPS+ and a negative WAR the last two years. Thompson is also a whole lot more interesting in fantasy leagues, of course. He’s 6-for-6 stealing bases in 60 plate appearances since being called up.

- Josh Jung is crushing the ball since returning from shoulder surgery, coming in at .356/.420/.800 with five homers in 11 games for Triple-A Round Rock. He’s also likely getting the Carroll treatment at this point; the Rangers will call him up once they’re sure he’ll still be rookie eligible in 2023. He could be an option in shallow leagues next month.

- The Rangers should also have Nick Solak up in an effort to determine whether he’ll be worth tendering this winter. That he’s still in the minors suggests the decision has already been made. Solak is limited by his lack of home run power and mediocre defense, but I bet another team gets something out of him last year. I feel that way about Willie Calhoun, too, and he might have already gotten a chance with the Giants if he hadn’t just missed a few weeks with an injury.