September is approaching and one of the strange things about baseball is that when it rolls around the rosters expand. No other sport operates like that and it’s a rather confusing rule. The fun part for people like you and I who follow the minor leagues so much is that we get to see new faces come up and maybe even get some playing time after the minor league season is over. Today I wanted to look at all of the guys who could get a call up and their chances (in my opinion) on them getting the call.

The Long Shots

Ismael Guillon has probably the smallest chance of anyone to get the call up to the big leagues. Of the players on the 40-man roster, he’s the furthest from the big leagues in terms of his current level and he hasn’t been having much success in Bakersfield.

Rasiel Iglesias simply isn’t going to be ready to pitch in time, having just arrived in the US from Haiti after waiting for his work VISA for months.

Juan Duran also falls into this group for me. His bat simply isn’t ready to do much right now and you can’t put him in the field much either.

David Holmberg has performed about as poorly as you could expect in two starts for the Reds this season. The left hander simply hasn’t been able to get big leaguers out so far and with no bullpen experience, he may just get to head back home for the offseason.

The Likely

Carlos Contreras, assuming he is healthy, will likely find his way back to Cincinnati. Teams tend to like as many bullpen arms as possible and Contreras was up earlier in the season.

Jake Elmore is new to the system, coming over from Oakland earlier in the year. He’s walked more than he’s struck out this season and can play all over the field. He would fit in on the bench well for some versatility.

Yorman Rodriguez has been on a tear in August down in Pensacola and even more so over the last two weeks. He can play all three outfield spots, and it’s worth noting the last few days he’s been playing left field. 2015 will be his last option year unless he isn’t optioned at all, which is unlikely. Giving him a taste of the big leagues seems like an easy call.

The Almost Guaranteed

Dylan Axelrod has been mentioned by Bryan Price as a guy who is very likely to get starts moving forward, probably even coming up before September gets here.

JJ Hoover spent nearly the entire year with the big league club. I really can’t see a way in which he doesn’t come back up when the rosters expand.

Curtis Partch has been on the short route between Louisville and Cincinnati the last two seasons. Big arm and previous experience means very little chance he doesn’t come up.

Tucker Barnhart gives the team a third catcher, which gives the Reds a chance to use both Mesoraco and Pena as either pinch hitters, or Pena as a first baseman and keep everyone just a little bit more fresh. He provides huge roster flexibility.

Donald Lutz, like Partch earlier, has been back-and-forth between the minors and the Majors over the last two years. He hasn’t played much while he’s been up, but he provides a power lefty bat off of the bench, solid defense and even an ability to work as a pinch runner in some scenarios.

Neftali Soto can play the corner infield positions and even catch in an emergency, allowing the Reds to get creative with their lineups. He’s been up before and his position flexibility leaves it as an easy call to make.

The Really Long Shots

Rey Navarro isn’t on the 40-man roster currently and that alone makes him a long shot. With that said, the Reds are going to need to add him to the 40-man roster or risk losing him to free agency or the Rule 5 draft if he does re-sign. He would provide a lot of position flexibility on the infield, he can run a little bit and his bat would probably play a little bit as well.

Ross Perez also isn’t on the 40-man roster and adding him would put four catchers on the roster, which I’m not sure I can recall seeing. But Perez has hit .322/.381/.443 on the season, mostly with Pensacola with more walks than strikeouts. He provides a high contact bat from the left side and like Barnhart, he would allow you to use other guys on the roster without having to worry about that scenario where a catcher gets hurt.

Kyle Waldrop isn’t on the 40-man roster yet, but will need to be added in the offseason to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. He’s hit .338/.387/.508 between Bakersfield and Pensacola. He could give you some additional outfield depth and be a good lefty bat to bring off of the bench. The Reds have rewarded guys in the past with an early addition in similar situations, so don’t be surprised if it happens with Waldrop.

Everyone else not mentioned is the longest of the longshots for one reason or another.

10 Responses

  1. Dale Pearl

    Doug is there a reference out there to see who needs to be protected from the rule 5 draft?

    • Doug Gray

      No, but I will have one well before the time gets here. I’ve got a spreadsheet on my computer that has everyone in the system and their signing dates, which spits out when they are or aren’t eligible.

  2. Alan Horn

    I would hope they take a long look at Soto and Lutz. Now is the time to let them play everyday and see what they can do. Some critical decisions need to be made in the off season.

  3. DaveCT

    I agree that we need to see if Lutz and Soto can hit enough to be with the team or act as trade bait going forward. And I agree there are a few critical decisions looming ahead. But realistically neither is going to be anything but a complementary piece or, at best (Lutz), keeping the seat warm for Winker or maybe (Soto) getting some value in a trade. So decisions around them are for bench strength where, as you and others have been consistently vocal, we need a reliable, productive major league bat in LF.

    • Doug Gray

      If they can’t hit enough to be with the team, they also won’t be trade bait.

  4. DaveCT

    I think Hoover ultimately is headed for DFA, in all honesty.

    He’s had all year with Price and Pico to fix things and he just hasn’t done it. If as reported, he tried to add a slider to go with the curve, then OK, one step forward, two steps back. But he still throws a straight fastball that now gets teed off on by major league hitters. So he has some significant work to do and I’m at a point where it doesn’t need to be at the cost of a 40 man spot this winter.

  5. MK

    At least one person needs to come off the 40-man for Votto so it makes the long shots even longer.

  6. Jim Delaney

    I know he would be a big long shot but Felix Perez should be given some consideration, his versatility in OF and line drive bat plays as a 4th-5th OF. Still a little surprised Reds haven’t given him a shot. Would rather see him starting a few games in September than Heisey. You know what Heisey is.