Usually I don't do this, so excuse me if I'm being a bit reactionary. Sparked by Jonah Keri's 10 things to do to get back into contention, I offer an 11th: call-up Jeremy Hellickson. I know, I have said all along to keep Hellickson in the minors to continue development, but a few months won't hurt right?
Currently, Hellickson is cruising along in Durham. Entering last night his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was a fantastic 2.42. He is also striking out 9.06 batters per nine innings (K/9), and walking just over two batters per nine (BB/9) at 2.06. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is a reasonable.312 despite the low batting average against of .231. In terms of swings and misses, Hellickson's above-average arsenal induces a whiff more than 14% of the time.
Of course, this all comes against Triple-A competition and not the American League East.
Major League equivalency calculators are far from exact science. Nevertheless, according to minorleaguesplits.com, Hellickson's minor league numbers would earn him a 3.42 FIP with a K/9 of 7.62 and a BB/9 of 2.73 at the next level. Those numbers would be nice, if a tad optimistic.
That said, we don't need Hellickson to be a beast out of the gate. At this point of the season, and in my current state of mind, I only need the answer to one question: Is Jeremy Hellickson one of the 12 best pitchers right now in the Rays organization? To me, the answer is yes. As much as it pains me to say it, I understand the fungible-ness(?) on bullpens. Lance Cormier, you're out.
One problem in promoting Hellickson to the big league club is it does nothing to improve our offense - something which has been a bit of a problem lately. At the same time, outside of Desmond Jennings (where do you play him everyday?) and Dan Johnson (Quad-A star?), I don't see many ways to improve the offense outside of our hitters actually hitting. More so, my call for Hellickson is more geared toward improving the club in every area possible - putting forth the best 25-man roster right now.
In terms of what role Hellickson would fill, I have no idea. Like I said, I'm flying off the reactionary handle here. Fortunately for all of us, the Rays have smarter, more reasonable men in charge.
On the other hand, if this is the last hurrah with this current nucleus, why not give them the best possible team to capture that forever-flying flag?