St. Louis Cardinals: Could Justin Williams be the next Cardinal called up?

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: The sun sets over Busch Stadium during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves on August 12, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: The sun sets over Busch Stadium during a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves on August 12, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

September call-ups are on their way to the Major Leagues, and St. Louis Cardinals prospect Justin Williams has been on a tear. Should he be given a shot?

With the minor league season winding down, it turns into one of the best seasons for prospect enthusiasts. The 25-man roster expands to 40, which means September call-ups. Same for the St. Louis Cardinals, and fans get the opportunity to see their favorite Cardinal minor leaguers get their shot at the major league level.

For some teams, they’re basically eliminated from the playoffs, and call up prospects to see if they could potentially contribute on next years ball club. For other teams that are in playoff contention, they call up players to increase depth among the roster and see if they can contribute to the playoff push immediately.

The Cardinals pipeline has plenty of studs, and some are already called back up; including Andrew Knizner and Daniel Ponce de Leon. Some players are already on their way up and will officially be up in St. Louis on Tuesday, like Edmundo Sosa and Randy Arozarena.

Though these players have been great, there is one player who has seriously stood out to me in Memphis over the past few weeks, and he seems like an afterthought to many Cardinal fans, mainly due to the emergence of top prospect Dylan Carlson.

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Last July, the Cardinals traded their starting center fielder Tommy Pham in exchange for a package of prospects including Genesis Cabrera, who has already made a few appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals big league staff. Cabrera wasn’t even the main item of the trade, the Rays also gave up outfielder Justin Williams to potentially make up the void for Pham.

Williams was a top ten prospect in the Rays system and was working on a decent season; but nothing too impressive as he was hitting .258 but lacking power in AAA Durham.

Justin Williams also has already made his debut, but he only had one at-bat, in which he grounded out. The Rays sent him back down to Durham the following day.

The Justin Williams era in St. Louis was off to a very rocky start though. He finished the 2018 season hitting .217 with a .663 OPS in 21 games with the Memphis Redbirds to cap off the 2018 season.

Then over the offseason, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak announced that Justin Williams had broken his hand and dislocated a few fingers after punching a television set and could miss significant time. He said that “emotions were running high over a personal issue and it got the best of him”, during an interview at Winter Warm-Up; per Derrick Goold.

Williams did indeed miss significant time, and didn’t start his baseball season until mid-May, but couldn’t even get his bat going in Springfield. He was hitting .193 with a .508 OPS, and with Tommy Pham tearing up Major League pitching and playing at an All-Star level; Cardinal fans were very dissatisfied with the whole entire deal.

When Williams got the promotion to AAA in late June, he took his opportunity and ran with it. He is currently slashing an insane .357/.439/.612 line with seven home runs and driving in 26 baserunners. Clearly showing that the broken hand is no longer an issue.

So, why could Williams contribute to the Cardinals playoff push? Well, Williams is left-handed, and the Cardinals don’t have a single left-handed bench bat on the 40-man roster after releasing Drew Robinson, who was out for the season anyway. Williams is already on the 40-man roster, so the Cardinals front office won’t have to make a corresponding move to add him to the roster.

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Though the start of the season was rough for the 23-year-old, Just Williams has bounced back and put together a very solid season. He has shown off his power this season and I believe that he could contribute off of the bench as a well-needed lefty. Hopefully, the Cardinals see the same thing I do and give Williams a shot.