Tomorrow is the first day of September. In baseball, that means that rosters expand from 25 players up to a possible 40 players if the team wants to go that route. The Reds, like some other teams, will not always expand to their full planned roster immediately. They may allow the players complete their minor league season. The Louisville Bats will not make the playoffs and their season will be complete on Monday. Double-A Pensacola qualified for the playoffs, so they will end their season at a yet to be known date. With the Reds not competing for a playoff spot, it’s likely that anyone in Double-A who could be called up will remain with the Blue Wahoos through the playoffs to gain that experience before being recalled.
Here’s the list of players that are on the 40-man roster that are in the minor leagues right now and aren’t out for the season (that we know of):
Who will get the call?
Two of the pitchers are on the disabled list. They won’t be recalled immediately, if at all. Beyond them, though, let’s look at who should be recalled. Lucas Sims was listed as the probable to start tonight for Louisville, but now it’s Brandon Finnegan listed as the starter. That’s probably pretty telling as far as what the Reds plan seems to be with Sims. And maybe even with Finnegan, who has struggled mightily for the Reds and Bats this season.
Matt Wisler has posted a 1.83 ERA with Louisville since he was acquired in the Adam Duvall trade a month ago. He would seem like a lock to be recalled. It would also seem very likely that Preston Tucker will come back up when eligible. He’s spent 90% of the season in the big leagues this year. Tanner Rainey has dominated Triple-A hitters all year. But he’s had a lot of struggles in his big league time this season. Still, it’s likely he’ll be recalled to help add some depth to the bullpen.
Who could go either way?
Tyler Mahle is an interesting choice. He seems to have really hit a wall in August. And while his ERA is 2.73 with the Bats in five starts since being sent down, his walk and strikeout numbers aren’t what you’d expect from him. Perhaps he just gets the rest of the season off and comes to spring training next year looking to win a spot in the rotation. With no spots open in the rotation that may be a better fit than forcing him to the bullpen.
The same thing could be said for Jose Lopez. Sort of. Unlike Mahle, he didn’t seem to hit a wall in August. But, as a starter all year, and no spots in the rotation available, the fit doesn’t quite seem to be there. Perhaps he could provide some length out of the bullpen if the team feels the need for that, though.
On the position side of things it would seem that the lone guy on the fence would be Jose Siri. He’s had some struggles at the plate in Double-A. The strikeout rate is way higher than you would like to see. But he’s brings big defense with him in center field, where no one besides Billy Hamilton can really play on an every day basis at this point. Add in his base running abilities, and the threat of him hitting the baseball out of the park at any given moment and despite the concerns with his contact, he could probably help the team in more than one way and you could find ways to use him in most games.
Who is unlikely to get a call?
Shed Long has had a solid season in Double-A this year. But it’s been a very inconsistent one, too. He crushed the ball in April, but between the start of May and end of July he hit just .223/.319/.385. He’s been hitting well once again here in August. The Reds also named him as one of their representatives in the Arizona Fall League. While that wouldn’t disqualify him from playing in September, it would seem unlikely that he’d be doing both things.
Aristides Aquino got his first taste of the Major Leagues earlier this month when the team needed another outfielder for a handful of days. He only got one at-bat in the time he spent on the roster before heading back to Double-A. On the season as a whole, he’s had some struggles. But over the last two months he’s performed quite a bit better, hitting .259/.337/.477 with 19 walks and 41 strikeouts in 196 plate appearances. Still, he would be joining a very crowded outfield in Cincinnati with not a lot of room for playing time. He’d be a threat of power off of the bench, but he’s probably not an upgrade on defense over your starters and he’s not likely to be a pinch runner.
Will there be non-roster call ups?
It’s possible that the team could choose to call up some players that currently aren’t on the 40-man roster. When looking at the minor leagues there are three guys that stick out as possibilities. Jimmy Herget needs to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. That move is going to happen eventually. If it’s made now, you would need to clear a roster spot for him. Is it a move that the team wants to make to get his feet wet in the Majors and have him come to the spring and pitch for a spot in the bullpen?
Gabriel Guerrero may need to have a decision made even sooner. The 24-year-old has spent most of his season in Louisville, but spent the first month of the year in Double-A Pensacola. Between the two stops he’s hit .286/.324/.466. He’s got 24 doubles, five triples, and he’s hit 18 home runs. He’s got solid defense and can cover you in center as a back up, while providing a big time arm in the corners. If he’s not added to the 40-man roster after the season (or before), he will become a minor league free agent. If the team would like to keep him around, this is a move that would make sense.
The last one would seem to be Brian O’Grady. Like Jimmy Herget, he will need to be added to the 40-man roster if the team would like to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this offseason. The decision is a bit tougher than with Herget because pitchers are more likely to be selected. O’Grady is already 26-years-old, so he’s not one of the youngest guys around. But, he’s had a breakout season in 2018 between Double-A and Triple-A. He posted an .826 OPS with Pensacola.
He’s been even better since his promotion. With Louisville in 38 games he’s hit .313/.369/.578 with 18 extra-base hits. He plays a little bit of everywhere, too. This season he’s played first base, third base, left, right, and center. Ideally he’s more of a corner outfielder and first baseman. He can run a little bit, he understands the strikezone, and there’s some pop in his bat. That could be useful on the bench. You could probably find a few ways to use him down the stretch.
What do you guys think? Is there someone that was missed that shouldn’t have been? Who would you call up, or not call up that’s on the 40-man roster?