September Call-Ups Allow Padres to Glimpse into Future

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There are not many times in life in which we get to see into the future. Maybe you’ve used the AgingBooth app to see what your face will look like when you’re older. Perhaps you or someone you know has gone to visit a psychic, hoping to find out whether you will get rich, or find the person of your dreams. Baseball has its own version of looking ahead, trying to find out what the future holds. It’s called “September call-ups”.

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Now, September for this year’s San Diego Padres isn’t exactly a parade of future major league stars, not after General Manager A.J. Preller traded away the vast majority of minor league talent in a failed attempt to compete in 2015. But there are a few players who are likely to spend some time collecting major league paychecks over the next few years. And one, or maybe more of them, was called up this week.

Following the September 1 promotions of Nick Vincent and Marcos Mateo, the Padres recently called up AAA closer Jon Edwards, outfielder Alex Dickerson, and catcher Rocky Gale. Edwards came to the Padres in the Will Venable trade. Of the three, Edwards seems most likely to see time in San Diego in 2016.

Edwards came to the Padres in the Will Venable trade.  He has already had a cup of coffee or two in the bigs, playing 20 games for Texas prior to the trade. In the minors, he has been a strikeout machine, collecting 70 Ks in 47 innings over the past two seasons. Since the trade, Edwards has collected three saves for El Paso while pitching five scoreless innings and striking out eight. Edwards’ 95-mph fastball, combined with a slider and curveball, make him a candidate for the Padres’ bullpen next season.

Dickerson will have a built-in rooting section for his first San Diego at-bats. Born and raised in Poway, local fans have been looking forward to seeing him in a Padres uniform since he was traded from the Pirates in late 2013. A left-handed line-drive hitter, Dickerson was fifth in the Pacific Coast League in hits and doubles prior to his call-up, and his .307/.374/.503 slash line put him in the top 20 in each of those categories. Dickerson has also played first base in the minors, and one wonders if that might be a faster route to the Padres’ major league roster for the 25-year old.

Gale was drafted by the Padres in 2010, and has spent time at every level of the minor leagues. Overmatched at the plate his first few seasons, Gale has found some success the past two seasons, hitting over .300 in both 2014 and 2015 for the Chihuahuas.  But Gale’s path to the majors is more likely to be forged squatting behind the plate than standing next to it. Gale’s defense and intelligence are his primary strengths. He has thrown out 35% of baserunners in his career, and seems to be universally respected for his knowledge of the game and his approach to the game. His ability to get on base will certainly help him as he strives to wear the big league uni, though.

This players in this group aren’t likely to end up as major league all-stars, but we might be seeing them as positive contributors in the future.

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