The Milwaukee Brewers have made what is at least their first round of September call-ups prior to Monday’s game in Chicago.
As I first told you on Twitter just before 10pm on Sunday night:
— The Brewer Nation (@BrewerNation) September 1, 2014
I went on to mention how much sense it makes to have a third catcher in the month of September. Just think back to how the Brewers utilized Yorvit Torrealba, and you’ll get the idea.
In order to clear a 40-man roster spot, which I mentioned they’d need, the Brewers moved infielder Jeff Bianchi to the 60-day Disabled List.
The only other true September call-up at this point is outfielder Logan Schafer, likely recalled a day earlier than he would have been due to the uncertainty surrounding the injured wrist of Carlos Gomez. Gomez said he felt a pop in his left wrist while swinging during an at-bat in the top of the third inning on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. He was pulled from the game after awkwardly finishing his at-bat with a bad swing.
To Schafer’s part, he’s had a whole lot full of better looking swings since getting back in a groove due to his regular playing time with Nashville. When he was demoted following the acquisition of Gerardo Parra, Schafer went back to a .236/.349/.375 slash line in Triple-A. All he’s done is get hits in 19 out of his 23 games (including eight multi-hit affairs) and raised his slash line to .273/.356/.461 which is not an insignificant increase. Schafer still brings his glove with him which he might need early.
As for the other additions made official on Monday, while Jimmy Nelson is technically a September call-up (he was only officially with the Brevard County Manatees on paper while awaiting his scheduled MLB start Monday afternoon), the Brewers otherwise activated both Matt Garza and Wei-Chung Wang off of the 15-day Disabled List.
Garza is scheduled to rejoin the Brewers starting rotation on Wednesday in Chicago. He has been out since being pulled during a brilliant start against the St. Louis Cardinals back on August 3rd after straining his left oblique. The Cardinals came back to steal that one from the Brewers prompting Garza to say that they “dodged a bullet.” Hopefully it doesn’t take Garza long to round back into that same form. The Brewers are going to need him.
The Brewers probably won’t need much from Wei-Chung Wang though. Wang has been stretching out during his rehab assignment, most recently completing the longest outing (7.2 IP) of his professional career with the Brevard County Manatees. In it, he tied a career-high with eight strikeouts, something he hadn’t done since his first appearance in 2013 in the Pirates’ system. It will be good experience for Wang to be around a pennant push, though I wouldn’t expect him to pitch maybe at all in September. They’ve got more than enough arms to cover themselves and Ron Roenicke rightfully won’t exactly trust Wang with every pitch being so crucial over the next 28 days.
The other new face in the Brewer locker room on Monday is expected to be relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton whom the Brewers officially acquired from the Cincinnati Reds just after noon on Sunday. For more on that deal, check my write-up here as well as my short interview with Broxton’s agent.
Can you believe that we’re sitting here on August 1st already? The season is two-thirds gone (wait…weren’t we just entering the “second half” two weeks ago? I keed, I keed.) and despite the Brewers lack of success in posting W’s it still seems to be flying by.
About that light Wins column though, that and plenty of other things have been more than enough to make some of the staunchest Brewers supporters yearn for fake football games to get underway. (Yes, a four-game preseason is second only to the Pro Bowl in pointlessness.)
This post, however, is intended as the start of a series of items about which Brewers fans and baseball-first fans can still anticipate and appreciate.
Today we sit on August 1, exactly one month away from the first topic that brought this series into my mind: September call-ups.
A little explanation for more casual readers first. On any given day (except for scheduled doubleheaders) a team’s Major League or “active” roster can have a maximum of 25 players available on it. They can be any combination of positions or any other way you choose to categorize the members. Now normally those up-to-15 players are assigned to various minor league affiliates of a parent club to play games daily. (I’m not going to get into ways that players don’t count against the 40-man limit or option years in this space.)
However, a codicil kicks in on September 1 whereas any player on the 40-man roster can be active for a Major League game. This period of time, give or take one month calendar month, is utilized in a handful of ways. Contending teams can bring up a couple of specialists to bolster their team. Maybe a pinch-runner or an extra lefty for the bullpen as two examples.
For teams like Milwaukee this season, however, the time is often used to get some players a little exposure to big league life, games, clubhouse, travel, etc and to see how they stack up in games against MLB-quality opponents. Many a player has made his debut in “the show” during September.
So, back to this season. How does this affect the Brewers? Well, plenty of players have already made their MLB debuts for Milwaukee already this season. Any of those could come back up to finish out the season. There are a number of others who haven’t yet debuted and also a couple of players (like the recently added Rob Wooten, and non-debuted Kyle Heckathorn) who the Brewers need to decide whether to protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. They could add someone to the roster for September to help them arrive at a decision.
Here are some names in groups with a little extra commentary…
Healthy players currently in the minors but who have spent time with Milwaukee this season:
Josh Prince, Sean Halton, Johnny Hellweg, Hiram Burgos, Blake Lalli
Healthy players on 40-man who haven’t yet been up this season:
Jesus Sanchez, Michael Olmsted, Ariel Peña, Santo Manzanillo
The Brewers have one spot currently open on the 40-man but could easily open another by moving Mike Fiers to the 60-day DL, for example. The Brewers may also have their hand forced on one spot should Mark Rogers return to health before season’s end.
The point being: Doug Melvin has some room to maneuver and get glimpses. That is something to look forward to. After all, given the results this season it’s all about the future at this point.
The Brewers have recalled RHP Wily Peralta, RHP Tyler Thornburg and OF Logan Schafer from Triple-A Nashville and, as I reported that they would do yesterday on Twitter, recalled RHP Josh Stinson from Double-A Huntsville. All four players will join the Brewers tonight at Miami. With these additions, the Brewers’ active roster is at 30, and the 40-man roster remains at 38.
Peralta, who went 7-11 with a 4.66 ERA (146.2ip, 76er) in 28 starts with Nashville, will start Wednesday’s game at Miami. He made his Major League debut in a relief appearance with the Brewers on April 22 vs. Colorado. Thornburg is in his third stint with Milwaukee (also 6/19-6/20 and 7/13-7/29). Schafer batted .278 with 11 HR, 40 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 124 games with Nashville.
Stinson, 24, went 11-9 with a 3.16 ERA (145.1ip, 51er) in 29 games (24 starts) with Huntsville. His 11 wins tied for the most among Brewers minor leaguers and was tied for second in the Southern League, while his 3.16 ERA ranked third in the league. Stinson was claimed off waivers by the New York Mets on April 4. He made his Major League debut with the Mets on 9/2/11 at Washington in a relief appearance.
On September 1st each baseball season, teams are allowed to carry a MLB roster of up to 40 players. This is as opposed to the standard 25.
Teams almost always promote at least a player or two though the outside amount seems to have something to do with their postseason aspirations. If you’re in the hunt for October you don’t want several inexperienced hands trying to find their way during a pennant race, for example.
The Milwaukee Brewers aren’t exactly in that position this season.
Sure they opened the day 7.5 games behind the brand new second Wild Card berth, and start things have happened as recently as last year, but to call it “unlikely” is quite fair.
In part due to their record and in part because of the situational circumstances for certain player (i.e. shutting down Mark Rogers due to an innings limitation), the Brewers will probably be calling up a healthy group of their higher-end minor league talent.
Infielder Eric Farris was a lock to be recalled in my opinion but was already called up to the 25-man roster yesterday after Cody Ransom was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks. I also expect the Brewers to help out all three areas in a couple of days when the Triple-A regular season has concluded.
For the bench I would be shocked if infielder Taylor Green and outfielder Logan Schafer weren’t recalled. I do think they’re likely to call up outfielder Caleb Gindl as well.
In the pitching side there is an opening in the starting rotation with the aforementioned exclusion of Rogers. Not coincidentally at all, right-hander Wily Peralta made his final start of the season for the Nashville Sounds on the same night Rogers was making his last for the Brewers in 2012.
Along with Peralta, you can expect Tyler Thornburg to come back up and start once or twice add the season winds down.
I would normally expect Mike McClendon to be rewarded for a long season with a recall but he was taken off the 40-man roster the most recent time he was sent back to Nashville.
Any other bullpen help would likely come from outside the current 40-man composition but the Brewers can add as many as three players to it right now should they choose to do so.
I do think they’ll add coverage though so perhaps someone will get an add. Maybe Brandon Kintzler, Donovan Hand, Rob Wooten, John Lowe, maybe even Hiram Burgos…just some names to think about.
Regardless of who gets to don a Brewer uniform for the rest of the year, there should be plenty of reasons to continue to pay attention if only to see these guys get some playing time.
So, those are my thoughts. Anybody I forgot about? Who do you think should come up? Why?