Mike Nickeas and Zach Lutz are First Round of September Call-ups

By Matt Musico

The calendar has officially flipped to September, and that means Major League teams can expand their rosters from the normal 25 players up to 40. With the Buffalo Bisons not finishing their season until Tuesday, the Mets will be making their call-ups gradually, but have started with promoting a third catcher in Mike Nickeas and third baseman Zach Lutz.

It’s customary for teams to bring up a third catcher for the last month of the season, and with Rob Johnson out for the rest of the year with an injury, that left Nickeas as the only backstop left to bring up. Even though he hit .168/.241/.228 in 42 games and 101 at-bats with New York before he got sent back to Triple-A, he’s been quite productive for Wally Backmanin 22 games, as he’s hit .364/.405/.500 with 1 homer and 6 RBI. We’ll see if it can translate into anything at the Major League level, depending on the amount of playing time he receives from Terry Collins.

Zach Lutz had a cup of coffee with the Mets earlier this year, going 1-for-8 before he shuffled back to Buffalo. The 26-year-old third baseman had a successful season in the minors, as he hit .295/.404/.496 in 78 games and 264 at-bats, including 11 homers and 43 RBI. Collin McHugh, who Collins has already declared as the starter for Monday’s series opener in St. Louis, will be called up then.

Other than that, New York will hold off on their remaining call-ups until Buffalo’s season wraps up. Elvin Ramirez and Jordany Valdespin are anticipated to re-join the team after their multiple stints with the Amazins this season, as well as Jenrry Mejia, and Jeurys Familia. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York also reported that veterans such as outfielders Fred Lewis or Matt Tuiasosopo could possibly be added to the roster as well.

It will be interesting to watch the performances of McHugh, Mejia, and Valdespin in particular, as their role within the organization could go in various ways. Each of these young ballplayers could have a significant job with the team next season, but with strong performances this month, they could also be used in trade talks this winter, as Sandy Alderson has stated that he will be looking to improve the team by swapping players with other teams. If they make a big impression on the front office, it could spur them to shop some of their current MLB players to see what kind of value they hold with other teams instead. We’ll see what happens, as there is plenty left for the Mets to figure out in the final four weeks of 2012.