September call-ups can not only give fantasy baseball players a late-season jolt in the arm, but also give baseball fans a glimpse into the next season and beyond. Consider this: last year, Corbin Carroll, Gunnar Henderson, and Josh Jung — three rookies that have impacted the 2023 fantasy baseball season — were all call-ups in the final month. With the 2023 fantasy baseball year drawing to a close, here’s a look at five September call-ups that have not only made an impact, but also garnering early attention for 2024.
2023 September Call-Ups That Have Made an Impact This Month
Mets SP Jose Butto isn’t a newcomer to the Majors, as the young righty made five MLB outings prior to September. But with the Mets looking forward to 2024, Butto’s received ample time in the starting rotation this month and excelled. Through three September starts, the 24-year-old is 1-0 with a 19:5 K:BB ratio and 2.05 ERA in 17 innings.
Butto’s ERA is 14th-best for September, among the 110 pitchers that have thrown at least 15 innings in the month. The September call-up’s been a steady hand for the Mets rotation, thanks in large part to his plus changeup and a nifty slider. Both pitchers have Whiff% rates north of 40%.
We touched on Sawyer Gipson-Long earlier in the month, after he put up strong numbers in his first two MLB starts. The Tigers right-hander went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 16 strikeouts over ten innings, and recorded Whiff% rates north of 50% on both his changeup and slider.
It’s a small sample size, but nonetheless a strong one for a righty who struck out 405 batters across 338 career Minor League innings. If Gipson-Long can have a strong end to September, he should put himself in the conversation for a rotation spot come Opening Day 2024.
Butto isn’t the only September call-up for the Mets that’s become an interesting fantasy baseball name. Mets infielder Ronny Mauricio recorded at least one hit in 12 of his first 15 MLB games to give him a .298 (17-57) batting average for the Amazins.’ Not to mention, he’s been a hard-hit machine and tied for ninth in the league in stolen bases (6). Forget about 2024 for a second: Mauricio’s been one of the more productive fantasy baseball players in the month of September altogether, and not just among 2023 call-ups.
Primarily a shortstop in the Minors, Mauricio’s logged time at both second and third with the Mets thus far. Should he play enough games at the hot corner to gain third base eligibility, Mauricio could prove to be quite the valuable asset if he makes the Mets out of camp.
Red Sox SS/OF Ceddanne Rafaela emerged as an exciting bat in the Boston farm system over the last two seasons. Now in the Majors, the 23-year-old’s performed well in his first month up in Boston. Rafaela hit .298 with a pair of home runs and two stolen bases. However, Rafaela’s struck in 20 of his first 59 plate appearances.
The addition of Rafaela has given the Red Sox some stability at short — needed after the offseason departure of Xander Bogaerts — and a potential option at the position for next season. If Rafaela is the starting shortstop, his power/speed combo will make him a sneaky option in drafts next season.
Yankees catcher Austin Wells was a bat-first catcher in both college and the Minors, The 24-year-old proved to be an adept power hitter prior to his callup in early September, and has largely shown it when he’s made contact at the plate. While Wells only hit .128 (5-39) through his first 11 games, the Yankees rookie’s done a solid job working counts and making hard contact when he gets a hold of one.
Granted, Wells has been a little too chase happy, but it’s to be somewhat expected of a rookie. However, it’ll be interesting to see how the Yankees handle Wells for 2024. The Yankees still have arbitration rights for both Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka next season.
All stats as of September 20.