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Of Prospects and Rosters, Part V: The 40-Man Roster

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Looking at the talent the team is relying on to play out this season.

Current 40-Man Roster

Pitchers

  1. J.B. Bukauskas
  2. Madison Bumgarner (10-day IL)
  3. Humberto Castellanos (minors)
  4. Taylor Clarke (10-day IL)
  5. Tyler Clippard (60-day IL)
  6. Brett de Geus
  7. Chris Devenski (60-day IL)
  8. Jon Duplantier (minors)
  9. Jake Faria
  10. Seth Frankoff (60-day IL)
  11. Luis Frías (minors)
  12. Zac Gallen (10-day IL)
  13. Kevin Ginkel (minors)
  14. Merrill Kelly
  15. Joe Mantiply
  16. Corbin Martin (minors)
  17. Humberto Mejía (minors)
  18. Matt Peacock
  19. Noé Ramirez
  20. Caleb Smith
  21. Riley Smith
  22. Joakim Soria
  23. Luke Weaver (60-day IL)
  24. Jordan Weems (minors)
  25. Taylor Widener (minors)
  26. Alex Young

Position Players

  1. Nick Ahmed
  2. Asdrúbal Cabrera (10-day IL)
  3. Kole Calhoun
  4. Eduardo Escobar
  5. Stuart Fairchild
  6. Bryan Holaday
  7. Carson Kelly (10-day IL)
  8. Ketel Marte (10-day IL)
  9. David Peralta
  10. Geraldo Perdomo (minors)
  11. Josh Reddick
  12. Josh Rojas
  13. Pavin Smith
  14. Josh VanMeter
  15. Daulton Varsho
  16. Stephen Vogt
  17. Christian Walker
  18. Andrew Young

Simply put, the 40-man roster is comprised of the 26-man roster plus the additional players that the team may add to the 26-man roster in cases of injury, trade, or release. The current 40-man roster is full, plus there are four additional players on the 60-day IL. If/when any of those players come off the 60-day IL, a roster space will need to be be cleared to accommodate them.

Today we will be taking a look at the members of the 40-man roster who are not also on the 26-man roster or the 10-day IL.

Humberto Castellanos
Castellanos is a limited upside middle reliever who probably doesn’t make the roster for any team not playing in the Mountain Time Zone. He does, however, have two traits working to his advantage. The first is, he is still only 23 and has had some limited MLB-level success. He’s young enough that he still has time to get things figured out, and has shown some small signs of having the stuff to stick on an MLB roster. He’s going to need to figure out how to limit the long ball though. Much of his limited success has come from favourable BABIP numbers. He’s primarily a cutter, sinker, fastball pitcher who also toys with a change and a slider. In order to have any lasting success, Castellanos is going to need to develop the change or the slider (preferably the change) into at least a league average offering that he can use against batters on both sides of the plate. The second trait that Castellanos has working for him is that he still possesses minor league options, two of them in fact. Minor league options are valuable to a team in the position Arizona is in with its pitching staff. They are also something that the team has sorely missed in the bullpen for the last few seasons. As long as Castellanos can provide a handful of league average, or at least close to league average innings in his time on the roster, expect him to spend the next two seasons as a member of the Reno/Phoenix carpool alliance.

Jon Duplantier
Duplantier’s biggest enemy is his own body. The right-hander is once again on the minor league IL, nursing yet another issue. His days of potentially starting games have almost certainly come to an end. It remains to be seen if his days pitching all together have as well. There is little doubt that, when healthy, Duplantier has some electric stuff. In fact, he has the sort of stuff that could still make him a very effective late-inning reliever. However, the concern remains as to whether or not his body can handle the sporadic workload of a reliever. There is still too much talent in his potent right arm to give up entirely on Duplantier, but his days are probably numbered if he is unable to get back on the field and stay there for the remainder of the season, even if that happens to be in Reno.

Luis Frías
Luis Frías lives on this list to avoid being Rule-5 draft eligible. Frías remains an intriguing pitching prospect for the organization, having made the jump to AA ball early in the season. His results in AA have been something of a mixed bag, but he continues to show a knack for missing bats at a very high rate and his peripheral numbers suggest that his end-results have been somewhat unlucky. The team continues to develop Frías as a starter, with a potential #4/5 starter likely being his ceiling. His 98 mph fastball and above average curve with great depth and late break give the alternative option of being a long-term impact arm for the bullpen. Expect Frías to make his debut at the top level sometime in the first half of next season.

Kevin Ginkel
Like Humberto Castellanos above, Ginkel has the advantage of having minor league options working in his favour. Unlike Castellanos, Ginkel is 27, not 23. This season is Ginkel’s third one putting in work at the top level. Outside of a bright debut back in 2019, his time in the Majors has not been particularly positive. Ginkel has a good fastball and a great slider. Both rate as quality plus pitches. What Ginkel does not seem to have is any sort of consistent control. This leads to Ginkel walking more batters than he should. The second problem for Ginkel is his inability to keep the ball in the park. Combining a propensity for surrendering home runs with a habit of walking too many hitters is never a recipe for success. While Ginkel’s HR rate is well above the average, that is not a one-season sort of development for Ginkel. Giving up an inordinately large number of home runs on fly balls is something that has plagued Ginkel since 2019. It is a feature, not a bug. With poor control that does not show any recent sign of improving and the inability to suppress his home run rate, Ginkel’s tenure may soon be coming to an end, especially as some decisions regarding the future of the 40-man roster start to come into play. For now, the minor league options are keeping him around.

Corbin Martin
Corbin Martin was already covered at some length in the coverage of pitchers in the upper minors who profile to have a future impact on this team. The 2021 future of Martin raises a number of question marks. Notably, he needs to find the solid control he once exhibited that seems to have simply evaporated. There are real reasons for concern regarding his ability to be able to relocate that control while pitching in Reno. At the same time, throwing Martin to the wolves at the MLB level was killing the bullpen, as too many innings were being left for them to cover. Martin has shown in the past, as recently as this season, that he is capable of having success at the top level. He simply isn’t there yet. A return to AA for Martin might be just what he needs to get right again. Something else that may help Martin is simply pitching often this year, regardless of outcome. His raw stuff clearly does not have the same oomph that it had before he underwent Tommy John surgery, the recovery from which was impeded by the pandemic.

Humberto Mejía
Mejía too, has already been covered extensively in the upper minors pitching coverage. After an early rough go of things, Mejía has been rising to the challenge of performing in Reno. With some potential trades on the horizon and roster expansion in September, Mejía could return to the Majors as soon as this season. He still needs to get his walks down a bit, but if he didn’t, he would probably already be an established member of the rotation.

Geraldo Perdomo
Perdomo got his first taste of the Majors earlier this season. Hopefully, the young man took plenty of notes so that he has a good idea of what he needs to work on in Amarillo if he wants a return engagement. He has the glove to play shortstop, but his bat is still very much a work in progress. Perdomo still has a bright future as a regular shortstop if he can continue to develop his bat to the point where he is hitting at league average levels for the position. He is never going to hit like Trevor Story, but his glove says he doesn’t have to. He merely needs to do enough with the bat to avoid sinking the value of his glove. Unfortunately for Perdomo, his glove work is not elite, so anything less than a league average bat is liable to force him into bench duties in the future.

Jordan Weems
Listing having minor league options available as a mark in Weems’ favour is akin to putting lipstick on a pig. There is a reason that, after eight years of development time, the Boston Red Sox simply cut Weems loose. Things didn’t go much better for him in Oakland, where he eventually made his MLB debut. Weems has elite strikeout numbers. He also has gaudy walk numbers which limit his success resulting in an xFIP in excess of 5.00 combining all of his work at the AA-level and above. He’s also already 28 and had more time than most are ever allotted in order to finally develop some semblance of command. Weems’ position on the 40-man roster feels a great deal like a technicality at this point. With Tyler Clippard preparing to return form the 60-day IL, Weems’ days on the roster are likely numbered. It also seems unlikely he will see any sort of return engagement.

Taylor Widener
Taylor Widener’s existence on this list is merely a roster manipulation technicality. While his peripheral numbers still indicate his MLB success is something of a fluke, the reality remains - he is having success as a Major League starter. With the team’s rotation a hot mess of injuries and ineffectiveness, Widener will get every chance to continue in the rotation through the end of the season, assuming he can stay healthy. While Widener’s future may still be in the bullpen, that future is still no closer than next April, and could be even further off if he continues to be one of those somewhat uncommon pitchers who simply outperforms his peripherals on the regular. Widener will be returning to the 26-man roster in a few more days once his slot in the rotation rolls around.


60-day IL

Tyler Clippard
Clippard is a veteran journeyman reliever who has had a ton of success just about everywhere he has gone that was not Arizona. Until this season, he had also never been injured. Clippard’s 2021 is the perfect storm of bad luck for Arizona. Not only did Clippard land on the IL for the first time, putting a dent in Arizona’s already thin bullpen, but he will be returning from the IL at a point in which it is unlikely he will be able to create any trade value or interest. This creates something of an issue for Arizona as, his future with the franchise is non-existent. His contract is up at the end of the season, and there is no incentive to sign him to another one for 2023. Despite this, the team is likely to be saddled with him on the 26-man roster through the end of the season. Hopefully, his presence in the bullpen provides some kind of mentoring/veteran leadership for team youth. Otherwise, he will simply be soaking up developmental innings that could go to potential members of Arizona’s future bullpen.

Chris Devenski
Devenski’s days in the Majors are quite possibly at an end. While there is still something to dream on in his right arm, he is already 30 and has been unable to stay healthy when throwing a pitch since 2019. The end-result is that Devenski underwent Tommy John surgery in June. He won’t be throwing a competitive pitch again until near the All-Star break next season. Then he still needs to show he has anything left in the tank. Because he is on the 60-day IL, he does not impact the roster. He too is on a one-year deal, so he will be gone once the season comes to a close.

Seth Frankoff
Frankoff’s time in Arizona is done. Should he somehow manage to return from the 60-day IL before the season ends, he will be an immediate DFA candidate. At 32 and with no indications of any kind that he as the stuff to enjoy even a modicum of MLB success, there is simply no reason to block a valuable 40-man roster spot for him.


TL/DR

The team has a few players on the 40-man roster who should probably not expect to spend much more time there. Jordan Weems’ days are numbered Kevil Ginkel should not be far behind. Humberto Castellanos and Jon Duplantier both need a few breaks to go their way if they are going to stick around (or even to be able to argue that they should stick around). The team is in something of a conundrum regarding Tyler Clippard, but there is still the small possibility (however unlikely) that something might work itself out there in the next two weeks.

While there is clearly some work that could be done to improve the 40-man roster, this is not where Arizona’s roster troubles lie. For the most part, this portion of the roster is made up of precisely the sort of player it should be, future impact players to be protected from Rule-5 poaching and serviceable relievers with minor league options remaining.

Up next: The 26-man roster