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Rosters expanding: Grading potential Diamondbacks September call-ups

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On Tuesday rosters expand, meaning that anyone on the 40-man roster can potentially be added to the main squad. Let's take a look at who we might see on the Diamondbacks.

Brandon Drury leads the list of potential September call-ups for the D-backs
Brandon Drury leads the list of potential September call-ups for the D-backs
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Note. I've already had to revise this piece several times since I wrote it on Saturday morning. If the D-backs pull any further surprise moves out of the hat between scheduling and publication, it's not my fault, dammit!

The candidates

In alphabetical order, these are the players currently outside the 25-man roster, but eligible for call-up on September 1st are as follows, along with their current level:

  • Archie Bradley - AAA
  • Socrates Brito - AA
  • Enrique Burgos - AAA
  • Jhoulys Chacin - AAA
  • Andrew Chafin - AAA
  • Brandon Drury - AAA
  • Zack Godley - AA
  • Jeremy Hellickson - DL
  • Keith Hessler - AAA
  • Dominic Leone - AA
  • Will Locante - AA
  • Evan Marshall - AAA
  • Kevin Munson - AAA
  • Jamie Romak - AAA
  • Matt Stites - AAA

It's a list heavily skewed towards the mound, with 12 of the 15 being pitchers; the only exceptions being Brito, Drury and Romak. It's also heavily dominated by Reno Aces, who have two-thirds of the players eligible on their roster. Four are with Mobile in Double-A and Hellickson is currently on the DL with a hamstring strain. He was scheduled to pitch off the mound for the first time on Friday, but it appears he was not able to do so. While he may well return before the end of the season, he won't be doing so on September 1.

Additions to the 40-man

There are two on the 60-day DL, who thus do not count against 40-man roster spots at this point. One is Tuffy Gosewisch, who has a torn ACL and whose season was pronounced dead at the start of June, after he suffered the injury, so he won't be an issue. However, the other is infielder Phil Gosselin, received from the Braves in the Touki Toussaint trade (insert deadhorse.png). He is coming back from a fractured thumb, and is currently with the Aces on a rehab assignment. For him to be activated, he needs to be put back on the 40-man, so a spot will need to be cleared there. Word is he will likely be activated on Monday, so we'll see what transpires.

The same would go for anyone else the team might want to call up, not currently on the 40-man roster: the Diamondbacks would need to free a spot by removing someone else, and like Danny Dorn yesterday, potentially losing them if another team decides to claim them. There are some who would probably either sneak through waivers, or who would be no great loss e.g. Dominic Leone is likely one or other. However, we also need to think ahead, as 40-man spots are vital in December, to protect players from selection in the Rule 5 draft. If we add at this point a player who don't yet need protection. that spot then can't be used for protecting one who is vulnerable.

I tend to think this is the main reason why we haven't seen Aaron Blair - and, indeed, may well not do so in September. As someone who signed at 19 or older, he gets four years in the minors before being eligible, and this is only his third. Adding him would let the team see what he can do at the major-league level, and it certainly doesn't seem like he has much left to prove in the minors. But there are prospects who, unlike Aaron, will be Rule 5 eligible this winter, and the team may decide to protect them instead. We already say this with reliever Silvino Bracho, added to the 40-man roster just this morning.

The likelies
  • Archie Bradley - AAA
  • Enrique Burgos - AAA
  • Brandon Drury - AAA
  • Zack Godley - AA

At least the Reno Aces season is not going to be extended into the post-season, so there's absolutely no reason to spare their roster as needed. Bradley made his first start for Reno on Friday, throwing 4.1 somewhat wobbly, but eventually scoreless innings; he may not be up here on the 1st, but I do expect him to get starts with us at some point in the month. Drury is obviously the name we're more interested in seeing; this season, he has shown good plate discipline (unlike certain infielders we could mention), though his lack of power - just five HR in 555 PAs through August 28 - is concerning, especially given almost half of those have been with hitter-friendly Reno.

Burgos and Godley will be helpful to our bullpen, which has found itself heavily used during the recent and ongoing slog of 21 games in 20 days. Godley's long-term future still appears to be as a starter, and his audition for the role, standing in for Chase Anderson, did nothing to reduce that possibility. But having been a reliever up until coming to Arizona in the Miguel Montero trade, his workload is quite deliberately not going to be as heavy the rest of the way. Gosselin is probably the top candidate to take over from Cliff Pennington in the utility infielder role for next season, being able to play a number of positions, and better with the glove than the lumber.

The likelies (just not immediately)
  • Jhoulys Chacin - AAA
  • Andrew Chafin - AAA
  • Jeremy Hellickson - DL

Hellickson, as noted, is some way off a  return; depending how his rehab progresses, it's possible the team may decide it's not even worth it, if all he's going to get is one or two starts. Chacin was optioned yesterday, following his start, so there is a waiting period before he can be called back up, and the same goes for Chafin, who was surprisingly optioned to Reno this morning, to make way for Silvino Bracho.  Neither of those were merited on performance., and I have to think that both men will be returning at the end of that blackout period, by which point 25-man considerations will no longer be an issue.

The possibles
  • Socrates Brito - AA
  • Keith Hessler - AAA
  • Kevin Munson - AAA
  • Jamie Romak - AAA
  • Matt Stites - AAA

As the only outfielder, Brito may get time with the club, though given the tricky task Chip Hale already has of juggling four more or less competent outfielders, not sure there's room for a fifth. Hessler kinda sucked in his earlier outings (Matt Reynolds seems likely to have reclaimed a spot as regular LOOGY), but may get another look. While Munson saw his 2015 derailed by injury, you can't knock a 29:3 K:BB over 29.2 PCL innings. Both Romak and Stites had cups of coffee earlier this year, and didn't disgrace themselves.

The long-shots
  • Dominic Leone - AA
  • Will Locante - AA
  • Evan Marshall - AAA

Various reasons here. Leone sucked in a brief stint at the major-league level, and was little better in Reno; his Mobile numbers are okay, and he is still only 23. After a 1.53 ERA last year, Locante has not moved up well, posting a 5.85 ERA in Double-A, with 34 BB in 40 IP, and is likely to be a cut this winter. Marshall might want to pitch again this year, but there's no reason at all to rush. Both A.J. Schugel and Allen Webster were originally listed here too, having been slapped around silly with the Aces. Schugel has a 10.18 ERA in nine starts; Webster, an 8.37 ERA over 14 starts. However, both are at time of writing back on the 25-man roster, so what do I know!

[All stats through August 28]