Predicting the Indians' immediate September call-ups

And perhaps doing so poorly

Alex Hooper
August 30, 2018 - 1:39 pm
Feb 25, 2018; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton (right) advances to third on a single by third baseman Nick Senzel (not pictured) beating the tag by Cleveland Indians third baseman Yu Chang (left) during the sixth inning at Good

© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The witching hour is upon us, in which some Major League teams add up to 15 players to their rosters, while others can choose to abstain. The confusing, perhaps unfair, and certainly water-muddying September roster expansion happens Saturday.

Of course, as it pertains to the Cleveland Indians and a handful of other teams, their September call-ups will somewhat depend on what happens the day prior: waiver trade deadline day. Terry Francona’s bunch added outfielder Jay Bruce on August 31, 2017, and are quite depleted in the outfield again a year later. They could also choose to pursue more relief help.

The players that will emerge from the minors on September 1 will likely not impact the Indians in October, but that is not out of the realm of possibility.

Terry Francona said that when rosters expand on Saturday, he expects to add another ‘pitcher or catcher,’ and ‘maybe’ an infielder. He also said that he does not want to disrupt the playoffs, where both Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron could be bound.

Important to note is that while the Indians’ 40-man roster is currently full, they will likely create a space by transferring OF Leonys Martín to the 60-day disabled list. Should they need two, OF Tyler Naquin is also a candidate to head to the 60-day should his season be ruled dead due to a hip injury.

Here are the players who may come to Cleveland immediately:

Pitchers

Evan Marshall seems most likely to be called up as soon as possible on Saturday, having been with the club. In his last ten outings, the 27-year-old has allowed two earned on six hits over 10 2/3 innings.

Fellow righty Ben Taylor is also on the 40-man roster, and could be promoted in tandem with Marshall, but with Columbus still in the playoff hunt, the Indians may not see it necessary to grab two depth arms.

The wild card in the situation is 2018 2nd round draft pick Nick Sandlin. The 21-year-old is wrapping up the season with the Akron RubberDucks after three games in rookie ball, 10 appearances at Low-A Lake County, and seven more at High-A Lynchburg, before his 2 2/3 innings in Double-A. In that time, Sandlin has allowed five earned in 22 1/3 frames.

Sandlin is not currently on the 40-man, and would likely come up following the minor league playoffs, should he come up at all.

Righty James Hoyt could eventually work his way to the Majors, but he is currently on the disabled list in Columbus with knee soreness.

Catchers

It would seem a foregone conclusion that Eric Haase will wear an Indians jersey before the regular season wraps up, but the question is whether or not it will happen prior to the minor league playoffs wrapping.

Having never played a Major League game, the team is probably in no rush to send the 25-year-old to the bigs, especially at the expense of playoff at-bats. At the same time, Haase is the only other catcher on the 40-man that could provide days off for Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes.

If they desired a catcher so, but wanted to save Haase, Chris Antonetti and company could use Martín’s spot for four-year MLB veteran Rob Brantly. The 29-year-old is a career -0.2 WAR player with a 71 wRC+ and -21 career defensive runs saved.

Infielders

Both Yu-Cheng Chang and Eric Stamets are on the 40-man roster and both shortstops could see time for the Indians in September. The former is performing well enough at the dish with a 104 wRC+, while the latter has fallen off greatly since a breakout year in 2017 (116 wRC+ to 68 this year).

As for who would make more sense immediately, Chang is capable of playing third, providing relief for José Ramírez, while getting innings at a spot where he more realistically projects as a Major Leaguer. Stamets doubles as a second baseman, and while being five years Chang’s senior, Erik González is more apt to handle those duties.

What each can handle defensively or not is likely not a concern for the front office. Like Haase, the decision will likely come down to whether or not they value potential playoff at-bats for the duo, or if they would rather the either or both to simply spend time as a big leaguer.

Again, the big league club could afford the services of a veteran, in the form of Adam Rosales. The 35-year-old boasts a .227/.292/.365 career slash in 640 ML games, and currently holds a 114 wRC+ at Triple-A.

Defensively, Rosales has nine DRS at first base, 12 at second base, one at third, and -17 at shortstop. The veteran has 59 innings in the outfield in his career, as well, with 0 DRS.

Rosales is not currently on the 40-man.

Outfielders

Oscar Mercado, acquired in an under-the-radar trade from the St. Louis Cardinals at the non-waiver trade deadline, is the lone minor league outfielder on the 40-man. He will almost assuredly finish the post-season in the minors, but could be called up afterwards.

(Very loose and probably wrong) Prediction:

Marshall, Haase and Rosales will be called up on September 1, while Martín heads to the 60-day. Chang, Stamets and Taylor join them following Columbus’ playoff run. Mercado remains in Triple-A and is not recalled.

Again, all is subject to change should the Indians acquire a player prior to the Friday deadline.