If that’s not a click-worthy headline then I have woefully misunderstood SEO.
You read correctly, the rosters are expanding in a few weeks and as this season is currently a “step-back-onto-a-banana-peel,” the Mariners can give some playing time to prospects who may be occupying permanent roster spots come 2021 or so.
This article examines whom among the prospects might be called up. But wait, you might be thinking, why not just wait until to September to find out—why even write this article? To that I say: Why? Why do anything? Why read about baseball? Why watch baseball in September at all? Are you new? Do you work here? Is this your job, to come into my articles and ask me questions I can’t answer? Is that what you do? I refuse to answer. Pathetic.
Anyway, the limitation every September, of course, is that to be eligible to be added to the active roster, players must be on the 40 man roster first. It’s been a bit since I looked at the rosters, so let’s take a gander at that over yonder!
This table may or may not be hard to read, I don’t know. The last time I made a table it was to input grades. No one complained then, but to be fair I was the only one reading them. And I did complain.
As I was finishing this article a bit of news broke:
Roster move ... Brennan to the IL and Guilbeau called up pic.twitter.com/RuT0QzzLvg— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 15, 2019
That’s one roster spot already taken. Allow me to change all the numbers in the rest of this article.
So if we are to take this table and put down the most essential info in plain and simple prose, it looks like this: there are currently 37 Players on the 40-Man roster. The Mariners have
3 2 available roster spots (after Féix is added). That’s three two freebies for a September call-up.
Some players on the active roster are fighting for their chance to stay on it. Pop-up prospects from the system like Reggie McClain and Zac Grotz in particular are auditioning to stay through the end of August every time they toe the rubber. We’ve already seen guys like David McKay and Parker Markel file on and off the 40-man, so there’s little to
It is likely, however, that some chaff is going to be disposed of to make way for more sweet, young wheat.
Here are the Chaff Candidates from the chart above:
- Cory Gearrin, RP
- Austin Nola, UTIL
Cory Gearrin is a pending FA and really does not offer much to a rebuilding club in September. If the M’s are going to DFA him, you’d hope they do it soon enough that he can take his particular brand of performance art to a playoff roster.
Nola is still finding his footing, but he’s been hitting the ball in the air to good results, and playing solid enough defense, albeit little if any behind the dish. You could do worse, you really could. He’s 29, yes, but he probably stays.
- Matt Carasiti, RP
- Zac Grotz, RP
- Matt Magill, RP
- Ryan Court, 1B
- Keon Broxton, OF
Look, these are real people worthy of love. They have families and friends from all walks of life who care about them deeply. Their worth is not defined by their position on this baseball team.
That said, they are Chaff.
Ryan Court and Keon Broxton seem the most likely to be Chaff’d as they are older, non-prospects and, in the case of Broxton, are striking out over 50% of the time. Pick one relief pitcher. He’s gone. Chaff’d.
So. If we accept the fact that Court, Broxton, and at least one of Magill or Carasiti (Grotz is a wild card - he dominated in AA and his split-finger has played well in his first exposure, but since the Mariners revived his career wholecloth he could either be more or less likely to slip through) is gone, that leaves between 2-6 roster spots open.
We also need to factor in that most of the players getting called to the active roster are already on the 40-Man: Justus Sheffield, Matt Festa, and Gerson Bautista, along with rehabbers Braden Bishop, Shed Long, and Dan Altavilla. There’s also Ricardo Sánchez, who is already on the 40-man but just 22 and at a career-high 133.0 IP. He’ll probably get to ~150-160 by the end of the playoffs in Arkansas, so our guess is they give him a justifiable rest and also keep his service time down and save his call-up for early 2020. That would put the active at 31 with no DFAs. A fairly stuffed clubhouse as it is.
So who will get the call to fill those 2-6 spots? That’s why you came here, after all. To answer that simple question and instead you had to look at a terrible chart. Fine, here. Take it. Take the information.
Let’s start with some Rule 5 guys, players who will have to be added to the 40-Man in order to protect them from the draft in December (note: list does not include guys likely added after the season, i.e. your Ljay Newsomes, Dom Thompson-Williams, Donnie Waltons, etc.)
The Rule 5s
OF Kyle Lewis, 24—AA—.269/.351/.411/.762—wRC+ 115
Kyle Lewis is playing his first injury-free season of his career and it hasn’t all been roses. He’s struggled with the bat at times, struck out too much, topped too many pitches to short—but he’s been healthy. He also has a revamped, quieter set-up in the box and since July he has an OPS of .834.
Of course, he has since hurt his toe.
The Mariners are pretty set on having Lewis playing with Arkansas through the Texas League postseason before being called up https://t.co/n2a7xvVe2R— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 14, 2019
Assuming he recovers quickly, Kyle Lewis will likely get a call because he needs to be added, is old enough, could use a taste of MLB pitching, and Jerry has basically said he will. There is no one in the org I want to succeed more than Kyle and I cannot wait to see what he does in September.
RP Art Warren, 26—AA—1.55/ 2.43/2.45—23.1% K-BB
Art Warren is the pitching version of Kyle Lewis. He’s struggled with injuries but comes packed with potential (though the potential is of a late-inning bullpen guy), is older than you’d expect, and has finally put it all together. Working in the Arkansas bullpen has given him plenty of high-leverage opportunities, and his stuff that should translate to those same situations in the bigs.
The Assured Sweet Wheat
OF Jake Fraley, 24—AAA—.263/.324/.519/.853—wRC+ 96
There is almost no debate that Jake Fraley has earned his chance at the big leagues. This is as sure a lock for a 40-Man add as you can have. Fraley has been playing well with the glove and is picking up steam in AAA after being slowed by a quad injury in early August. He has speed and power and the organization loves him. Moreover, at 24, he’s at the age where he should be given a big league test. It’s only been a season, but Fraley has made quite the impression since coming over with Mallex from the Rays. He’ll be fun to watch.
SP Justin Dunn, 23—AA—3.66/3.35/3.46—21.0% K-BB
All Justin Dunn has done since coming over in the Suddenly-Good-New York Mets trade is lead all of the Texas League in Ks with 132. He still struggles occasionally with command, but Dunn has likely earned himself a ticket to the show. Despite his performance, if the team doesn’t want to pull the trigger on a DFA, or think Dunn has reached his innings limit, we might see him sit this one out. Though given the organization’s comments about keeping guys together, I’m sure they’d prefer Dunn to rise up with Sheffield.
The Gestating Question Marks
1B Evan White, 23—AA—.290/.338/.494—wRC+ 129
I have my doubts about this one, but Evan White isn’t too young to handle the jump and has already spent a lot of time in big league camp in spring training. He’d slide onto first base no problem and has actually been hitting better than Lewis. He’s made a ton of progress with his swing this season and the organization might not want to push him too fast. Also, Vogelbach still needs at-bats. They might get aggressive and add him, but they may as well wait until he’s fully bloomed.
RP Wyatt Mills, 24—AA—3.86/2.59/3.08—20.8% K-BB
Wyatt Mills is a reliever drafted out of college, a Top-30 prospect in the org, misses bats, and is in his second taste of the high minors. If that’s not the profile of a September callup then I don’t know what is. He’s been especially hot since July where he’s held hitters to a .083 batting average and struck out 43% of them. Yet this is the first time he’s had this level of sustained success since being drafted and still has some issues with consistency to iron out. Like White, he isn’t mandatory and could probably wait another year.
RP Sam Delaplane, 24—AA—0.67/2.54/2.95—32.7% K-BB (in 27 IP in AA )
Nearly everything that I said about Mills can be C&P’d right here. But that would be lazy so I won’t. Sam misses bats better than any relief arm in the system and although he walks a few too many, his K-BB% is still best out of any Travelers pitcher with at least 20 innings. Where Mills has a funky sidearm delivery that generates grounders, Delaplane misses bats and spurs pop-ups. He is going to be in the big leagues at some point, but he’s already jumped a major level this year. My guess is he stays put. (Aaron Fletcher could also be inserted here, but it’s more of the same.)
If you’re keeping score at home the Mariners have 2 free spots on the MLB roster to be filled by 4 likely call-ups and 3 long-shots. This means that 2 of the players on the 40-Man will need to be DFA’d, with 3 others potentially Chaff’d.
- Matt Magill
- Ryan Court
- Keon Broxton
- Kyle Lewis
- Art Warren
- Jake Fraley
- Justin Dunn
- One of... Sam Delaplane/Wyatt Mills/Aaron Fletcher
When it’s all said and done there will be ten faces on the active roster that weren’t there before, and five of which have never been on an MLB roster in their careers. We will see first strikeouts, first home runs, first stolen bases. Every inning in the field is an audition.
It’s very likely that this team is more fun and interesting in September than it was in April.
The whole situation reminds me of a poem I made up just now:
Young Wheat//Late Summer
the dying light lays
over gold fields,
at the end of August
our eyes become scythes
prepared for harvest.