After months, days, or several minutes of speculation depending on how far gone you are, the September call-ups are finally here. The list:
Johnny Monell - C
Francisco Peguero - OF
Nick Noonan - INF
Juan Perez - OF
George Kontos - HR
Ehire Adrianza - SS
Jake Dunning - RP
Heath Hembree - RP
Okay, that was mean. I still like Kontos, and his problem was likely overuse -- he's still just three innings away from the lead in the bullpen despite missing more than a month. But I'm also a weak man with a penchant for cheap shots.
Those are the names. Now it's time to rank them by how excited you are to watch them play. Unfortunately, I have to put them all on one page because of technical difficulties. Curses.
8. George Kontos
Sorry, it's not because I don't like his potential as a pitcher. I still believe. But how excited are you to see him again? As a friendly face, maybe. But it's not like he developed a gyroball over the last four weeks. You know what he features. He'll absorb some innings, but he's the least-exciting call-up by a healthy margin.
7. Nick Noonan
A solid runner-up. Maybe he has a future as a utility guy -- the best utility players weren't exactly tearing up the minors or majors when they were 24 -- but it's hard to see him being a major contributor in 2014 or 2015, even. As such, every at-bat ranks somewhere in the middle of the Juan Melo/Kevin Frandsen Excitement Scale that scientists have used for years.
6. Jake Dunning
I like watching Dunning pitch. But like Kontos, it's not like he's going to show up a foot taller and throwing from the left side. We've seen him, which tempers the excitement just a touch
5. Francisco Peguero
I don't believe. He hit .316/.354/.408 in the PCL as a 25-year-old, and the league average is .270/.342/.414. But I was told there would be tools, so I'm stubbornly going to cross my arms and wait for them. Any day now. Aaaaaaany day.
4. Juan Perez
The homegrown Jeff Francoeur has never been burdened with the expectations of a prospect, plus he's a dynamic center fielder. We've seen him before, yes, but he was doing fun, exciting things when he was up. In the field. Fun, exciting things in the field. Which makes for half of a fun, exciting player! I'll take it.
Anyone else have a sneaking suspicion that if the Cardinals developed him, he'd be on his third All-Star appearance by now. Yeah? Well, TWO IN THREE YEARS, EVERYONE, TWO IN THREE YEARS.
/puts on sweatpants
/watches GIFs from 2012 for three hours
/sighs a lot
3. Ehire Adrianza
It's worth noting again that he's ahead offensively of where Brandon Crawford was at the same age, or at least in the same zip code. But Crawford was kind of a freak development story -- I would have given him a five-percent chance of ever having even one league-average season. Expecting the same from Adrianza is silly.
But I'm excited to see the defense. Because if it's Jose Iglesias/Andrelton Simmons-style magic, it's worth being patient for. If it's Brandon Crawford-type defense, it's worth being patient for, and that would probably make Adrianza as valuable, if not more, than Joaquin Arias already.
2. Johnny Monell
He gets a Beastie Boys song stuck in my head, but I'm sure that will last only for the next five or six years. He's not a prospect -- 27 years old with oft-maligned defense -- but he's left-handed with power. Those kinds of catchers make very valuable backups. They're rare, too. Here's a list of the left-handed or switch-hitting catchers who have hit more than 15 homers in a season. It's not exactly an exclusive club, but not exactly common. Now, hopefully Monell never has a chance to hit 15 homers with the Giants, but he probably could get there if he had the at-bats.
More important to the success he could contribute to the 2014 Giants, though, I'm more interested in him making the team next year to give Hector Sanchez time in Triple-A. I mention this only every other week, and it takes great restraint to do so. I wish I knew what kind of prospect Sanchez could have become with a normal development path. Maybe Monell forces the Giants to find out, albeit belatedly.
1. Heath Hembree
The closer of the future since 1988 or so, Hembree has finally made progress with his control and command, shaving almost two full walks per nine innings off his 2012 totals.
Do you like micro-splits? I like micro-splits when they tell a story I want to believe. In July, Hembree supposedly made a mechanical adjustment. To the micro-splits!
He has a good chance to be in the bullpen next year. Excited to watch him. More excited, even, than the other seven call-ups, as you might guess by this ranking.
There you go. September baseball. You're going to see a lot of these guys over the next 25 games or so. Act excited. Make your own list! Be polite.