September first is nearly upon us. That means we are nearing the point at which many teams will be bringing up young prospects and long-suffering but worthy veterans of the minor league system, to experience a taste of the big leagues. This is the time, not for superstar prospect debuts, those are carefully cherished and guarded in order to maximize service time. This is, however, the time for quality players with long, productive careers ahead of them to be introduced to both the level of play and the fans they will be playing in front of. This is the time for introducing the lunch pail carrying, blue-collar attitude, doggedly determined players that every team needs, those that often even become fan favourites.
This is also the time for teams in the playoff hunt to bring up quality talent to give the playoff-bound players a bit of a rest after playing such a rigorous schedule through the heart of the summer. This is the time for giving the star catchers like Buster Posey and Yadier Molina a few extra days off. It is the time for resting veteran legs so that they will have fresh bounce in them for the playoffs, enabling speedy outfielders to still maintain that extra step to shag long flyballs or to steal that important base which will move them into scoring position with less than two out.
As the calendar turns from August to September, the Diamondbacks will be completing a stretch of 18 games in 18 days and 31 games in the previous 32 days. September 1 will also bring on a double-header, pushing them to the point of finishing their stretch of games with 21 games in 20 days. The Diamondbacks' rotation, which has been very Jekyll and Hyde this season, will be filled with pitchers reaching their career innings limits. The bullpen, which has mostly been solid this season, will likewise be seeing a rather disturbing piling up of innings. Additionally, there are some position players, especially on the middle infield, who have been struggling mightily this season, and who very well might be showing signs of fatiguing late in the year.
One thing to keep in mind is that, the minor league season ends on September 7, so any appearances by these players in September are opportunities they would not have been given if they were not promoted. Whom then, might the Diamondbacks call up this season? Any player brought up must be placed n the 40-man roster if they are not already there.
Aaron Blair: This one seems like a no-brainer at this point. Despite the front office being reticent to promote the highly regarded right-handed starter to get meaningful innings at the MLB level under his belt in 2015, the team is going to need another starter on September 1 to help handle the double-header. Zack Godley is already coming up against an innings limit. No other pitcher in the system with starter potential is close to big league ready. A spot will need to be made on the 40-man roster, but there are some very easy moves to make that happen.
Brandon Drury: In March, it looked like there was a fair chance that the team might break camp with Drury on the 25-man roster. Instead, the team decided to retain the services of both Cliff Pennington and Aaron Hill, making Brandon Drury the odd man out. Now, with Cliff Pennington gone, Chris Owings struggling mightily, and Aaron Hill aging out of baseball before our very eyes, it seems that the 2B/3B might finally get some at-bats for the parent club.
Phil Gosselin: The return player in the infamous Touki Toussaint trade, Gosselin will be finishing his rehab assignment on August 31. Seen as a marginal replacement for Cliff Pennington in that he has no business playing short stop and is not nearly as solid a defender, it appears that Gosselin will be a better bat from the utility infielder position.
Matt Reynolds: The left-handed reliever has shown himself to be recovered from Tommy John surgery and every bullpen can use an extra arm to throw from the left side. With Andrew Chafin being a workhorse out the bullpen this season, and with Oliver Perez being traded, it seems like a perfect opportunity for Matt Reynolds to make his case to return to the 25-man bullpen for 2016.
Kevin Munson: If not for a number of injuries this season, Kevin Munson is probably on the 25-man roster a month or two ago. The hard-throwing 26-year-old late-inning reliever will probably get a call up here in September so that the Diamondbacks have extra arms available to cover for any short outings by starting pitchers.
Danny Dorn: The career minor-leaguer has been up and down with the 25-man roster this season already. It never hurts to have another left-handed bat off the bench. Given that the team made sure to get him into the team photo before his last demotion, it seems fairly safe to bet that he will be asked to bring his left-handed utility corner bat back for one last month of baseball with the Diamondbacks.
Zack Godley: After making such a stellar impression in his three outings for the parent club in August, he should be back for a few more outings in September. This time though, he will be pitching out of the bullpen, as his innings are beginning to pile up.
Enrique Burgos: The flame-throwing reliever has been mostly solid since his return to Reno on July 21. Two rough outings aside, he has had dominating stuff in the other six. His experience on the 25-man roster will also be of help. Count him as another arm to help shorten the starter's outings, helping to keep all innings counts low across the board.
There are other possible, but far less likely names that are on the 40-man roster that could see action. These would include Matt Stites, Allen Webster, A.J. Schugel, and Will Locante. It would not be surprising in one, some, all, or none of these pitchers were given the September nod.
Additionally, there are two players not on the 40-man roster who could conceivably be given an opportunity. That the team would need to make a 40-man roster move (something they have shown an aversion to), makes it less likely they get the call, but there is plenty of wiggle-room on the 40-man roster to make the call-ups happen.
Peter O'Brien: Since ditching the tools of ignorance, O'Brien's bat has been on a downward spiral. Nonetheless, his bat is a potent one when he is swinging it right. Also, September is commonly used as a showcase for young talent, a place where teams show off their "available assets". Peter O'Brien may just get this sort of call-up as a home run thumping corner outfielder.
Sean Jamieson: Jamieson's career path was derailed by knee surgery at the end of last season. Recovery time and an invitation to the Pan-Am Games further delayed any promotion to AAA Reno this season. However, with the departure of Cliff Pennington, only Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings remain as alternatives on the 40-man roster to play short stop. Sean Jamieson is a very capable defender at the position and has batted well enough in Mobile this season that he may just earn himself an audition to be Pennington's permanent replacement, as Jamieson possess the ability to play all four infield positions.
The Take: Regardless of where the Diamondbacks are in the standings once they finish the grueling rest of August, whether they are in the thick of the playoff hunt, or they are making a final push to end the season at or over .500, the likely additions to the team should make September something exciting to watch, as the future of the team is put on display.