Griesser’s Suggested Change of the Week
The trend over the last few installments of this column has been opportunity. I’m sure this will come as little surprise, but this week will be no different.
For the Orioles, giving unproven players the chance to step up at the MLB level is something worth doing, especially at this time of the year. The team is firmly in the cellar, scrapping to get through the season, and focusing organizationally on rebuilding a farm system that has been dry for the better part of the last decade.
Between now and September call-ups, the best plan for the O’s is to give guys who may have been in the league for a while the opportunity to get major league experience to see if they can uncover a gem that could end up being a trade chip or building block.
Even if it’s unlikely, it’s going to be worth a shot.
This week, I think a decent candidate for a call-up is outfielder Mason Williams.
(To make room, let’s go ahead and send Tom Eshelman and his 6.09 ERA to the big DFA in the sky.)
The 27-year-old has grinded his way through the minors to end up batting .316 for the Tides this year, belting 16 dingers and driving in 60 runs. Altogether, that’s a really strong season.
While players like Ryan Mountcastle receive a ton of hype – rightfully so – and have fans clamoring for their arrival, it’s veterans like Williams Elias should look to bring to Baltimore first.
At the end of the day, when you’re building your farm system, encouraging less highly touted prospects to continue battling for a position remains integral in reaching that goal. To do that, you have to reward guys like Williams for their efforts and improvements.
That way, even if Williams himself doesn’t turn into a consistent member of the Birds, the organization is promoting a culture that gets the best out of anyone brought in, whether a top pick or a journeyman.
In Williams’ case, Elias would be rewarding the latter.
While the outfielder has been a professional ballplayer since 2010 without finding significant time in the bigs, he’s actually put together really nice career numbers: .279/47 HR /300 RBI in 804 minor-league games.
I’ve been keeping track of him a good bit this season, as he really reminds me of Caleb Joseph, a man who produced at a nice clip in the minors but never seemed to take that next step. Turns out, when he was given the opportunity, he took advantage. Perhaps Williams would do the same.
As for the timing of this call-up, two factors are playing into my thinking here.
First, Williams is downright raking recently. In his last 10 games, the lefty is hitting an unreal .472 with two homers. Taking that into account, I can’t imagine a better time to give him the nod.
Additionally, after DJ Stewart took a fly ball to the head and ended up in concussion protocol, the Orioles only have three full-time outfielders on the active roster.
Though they do have guys like Jace Peterson or Hanser Alberto that have dabbled in the outfield before, I believe it makes sense to bring that fourth man in to take Trey Mancini’s place if he could use a DH day or a break altogether.
Even if it’s for a short stint, I wouldn’t be surprised if he impressed in a return to the majors. In his time there before with the Yankees and Reds, Williams has actually hit .289 in 76 games (200 PA).
That ain’t bad for a guy riding the bus between levels.
If I’m Mike Elias, Mason Williams is on my radar as someone who could succeed, and as for whether or not he will, there’s only one way to find out!