The calendar is about to turn to September. And, the Toronto Blue Jays are in first place! General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos has assembled a Blue Jays roster that is the envy of (and a nightmare for) the rest of league. In previous years, September meant calling up some prized prospect to get him some big league experience. It meant that we get the chance to put a face to a name we’d been hearing about for a while. It often provided the only excitement at Rogers Centre; the only thing to look forward to as the season winds down. But, not this year. This year’s roster moves won’t be exciting or flashy.
On the latest episode of the Jays’ Nest Podcast, we were asked to speculate on the Blue Jays September call ups. This year’s list will likely look like depth moves designed to provide relief to the core members of the roster, a late inning runner, an extra arm or two, but nothing like what has happened in the past. No, there is no exciting young prospect to get hyped up about.
Some might have been excited to see Anthony Alford continue his year of progress. After all, he’s hitting .333 in Dunedin in his first full year in the system. But, he hasn’t seen action since the 19th of August. This is likely (as Doug Fox, @Clutchling77 pointed out) due to him not having a break for nearly a year. Once he made the decision to stick to baseball, he’s been all go. It’s been working for him, but everyone needs a rest.
Toronto Blue Jays
Others would like to see Dwight Smith Jr or even Roemon Fields. Smith has been having a so-so year in AA and would have others ahead of him on the depth charts. Fields would be an interesting speed option for a post season run, but he was demoted from AAA. That doesn’t scream “ready”. As well, all of these guys would have to be put on the MLB 40-man roster to call them up. So, keeping them where they are might be a better way to protect them.
So, who can we expect to see, then? Get ready to yawn. None of the following will be exciting, in the previously stated sense. It’s not like when Dalton Pompey made his first appearance, or Aaron Sanchez. Nope. Compared to those much anticipated call ups, this list is rather boring.
But, it is needed. Firstly, you can expect to see some bullpen reinforcements. We already know that Drew Hutchison will be coming back to make his next start, so I won’t include him. But, guys you can expect to see are Steve Delabar, Jeff Francis (I’ll touch on him in a moment), Colt Hynes, Todd Redmond, Aaron Loup (How long has John Gibbons been waiting to bring him back?), Ryan Tepera or Chad Jenkins. All of these guys have been used already and provide varying levels of “help” for the bullpen. Mostly, what it does, is provide more arms to lighten the workload for the current occupants. With playoffs looking likely, you want your best guys all fresh and full of energy.
When Marcus Stroman is cleared to make his return to Toronto, don’t be surprised to see them start him and have him go 4 or 5 innings. Then, with extra arms in the bullpen, guys like Jeff Francis become valuable. Stroman, Francis and Redmond are enough to round out a game. Whatever it takes to maximize Stroman’s impact. The value of the above arms may not be sexy, but they bring a level of usefulness that the Blue Jays need right now.
The position players are in the same boat. You can expect to see Matt Hague come back (maybe he’ll get some at bats this time), Munenori Kawasaki and Dalton Pompey. Each of these guys will provide a breather here and there without costing too much on either side of the game. It will be great to see Pompey make his return. Hopefully, he’ll get the right opportunity. His speed on the base paths is exciting and his defense is great. Now, none of these guys (knock on wood) will be called upon to see significant playing time, but guys get banged up this time of year and could use a break now and then. This list provides that. Again, nothing flashy, but helpful.
Here are some guys who have an outside shot of getting the call: Caleb Gindl and Brad Glenn in the outfield. Though, Glenn is on the 7-day DL. It might be cool to see infielders Andy Burns or Jon Berti (who it would be OK to add to the 40 man roster). Catcher, Sean Ochinko would be an interesting choice. The Blue Jays already have 3 catchers, so his chance is very outside. But, he’s had a fairly good year after hitting .333 in AA and then .259 in AAA. He doesn’t have much pop to speak of, but I’d be interested in seeing him behind the plate.
This year’s call ups will have a distinctly different feel. They’ll be guys who can provide regulars with rest. They aren’t the flashy, sexy names of hot shot prospects that will get Blue Jays fans excited. The current playoff race and roster make up has dictated that. But, at this time, in this season, with this club, if you need more reason to get excited, there might be something wrong. The 2015 Blue Jays’ September call ups sure won’t do it for you.