This article is part of our The Z Files series.
It's been a busy couple of weeks for MLB transaction trackers, as many teams are releasing veterans since they no longer have the option to work out a waiver deal. Some, like Billy Hamilton and Jonathan Lucroy, have found new homes, though neither moves the fantasy needle. However, there have also been a slew of callups, with more on the way. Playing time and roles for many is unclear but with just over five weeks left in the season, the wait-and-see approach is a fool's errand.
That said, urgency doesn't excuse recklessness. Decisions should still be supported via tangible means. There's just a wide range of outcomes when dealing with the unknown. Heck, in a 30-game sample, there's a huge range for established players.
If you need steals, gamble on a callup with a track record of running. If you need power, speculate on those going deep on the farm. If you just want production, focus on the newly ordained major leaguers with a clearer path to playing time. Ideally, you find someone to help you in a specific category likely to play regularly down the stretch, but sometimes it's necessary to settle on a player checking only one of the boxes.
Below are some recent callups. Some have previous MLB tenure; others just made their debut. I offer my best guess as to their role, playing time and expected production.
Abraham Toro, 3B, Houston Astros
With Carlos Correa returning to the disabled list, the Astros will take