After yesterday’s 12 inning win, I know of at least one loyal commenter to this site who is delighted and one big league manager who is smirking at everyone right now. Not to mention at least one writer on this site who is delighted with Kila Ka’aihue’s home run, double and two walk game yesterday.
Given that Ned Yost did the unthinkable by batting Willie Bloomquist third (even national guys were chiming in on Twitter with sarcastic comments), then guaranteed that Willie would get two hits and THEN actually saw the guy do it, including the game winning homer, who am I to criticize? Frankly, I don’t even know what to say.
Instead, let’s take a quick look at what the expanded roster in September might include. Who, if anyone, will get a call-up and of those, who will actually get a real look?
We’ll start with the easy ones: veteran players who have been on the disabled list:
- Gil Meche – all signs point to Gil getting a look out of the bullpen next month. The Royals will be careful with him at this point, so we won’t see him even every other day, but I imagine six or seven appearances at least. The snag here is that Gil is on the 60 day disabled list (which does not take a 40 man roster spot) and a spot would have to be made on the 40 man roster to accommodate his activation.
- Luke Hochevar – if you can believe the organization, Hochevar will make a rehab start or two shortly, which would put him on pace for a couple of September starts. Part of me says that is a good idea, the other part of me says that Hochevar should just shut down and come back 100% next spring.
- Brian Bannister – probably could be pitching right now if the Royals really wanted him to. Made a two inning appearance in Omaha earlier this week and will be back up in September. Brian’s September starts – he might well step into a regular rotation spot for the month – will likely determine if he has a future with the Royals.
- Robinston Tejeda – supposedly will be ready in early September. If he is, Tejeda will step back into the late inning setup role that currently makes him the third most stable member of the entire staff.
- Josh Fields – remember him? He has been on a rehab assignment in Northwest Arkansas after spending the season the 60 day disabled list. Like Meche, someone has to go if Fields comes off the 60 day DL.
- David DeJesus – there was talk of getting him back in the final couple weeks of the season, but I have not heard much about that as of late. You kind of wonder why the rush given that DeJesus is clearly the best outfielder in the organization and not exactly a mystery as to what he will give you when healthy in 2011.
I am pretty sure the organization wants to see what Meche looks like coming out of the bullpen, so he will be activated from the 60 day DL. They could make space on the roster for him by shifting DeJesus to the 60 day list or Hochevar if they decide to shut him down until next spring. If the Royals also want to bring Fields up, then they will need another spot cleared. They could make room by putting Jeff Bianchi on the 60 day list, as he has not played yet this year or Noel Arguelles, who is apparently not going to pitch this season, either.
Now, what about other guys that might get a look in September? We will start with players who are on the 40 man roster now and would not require any correponding roster move to come up to the majors:
- Victor Marte – I put him here only because he is on the 40 man roster and the organization still seems to have some attraction to him. Now, given that with the above veteran activations, the Royals’ staff could already be at 15 pitchers, they might just call it good. I have no burning desire to see Marte again and would, in fact, advocate his removal from the 40 man in favor of calling up someone else.
- Brian Anderson – if you look at the Royals website, Anderson is listed under outfielders, but he has transitioned quickly into a relief pitcher. Playing at three levels this year, after a lengthy instructional stint in Arizona, Anderson has thrown 13.1 innings, struck out 14 and allowed just six hits. In three innings thus far in AAA, Brian has been perfect. That the Royals already have him pitching in AAA tells me they don’t want to waste any time with Anderson. I think he comes up and gets a handful of September appearances once Omaha’s season is over. The O-Royals, by the way, are in the hunt for a playoff berth, so they could conceivably be playing into the teens of September. I don’t imagine anyone on that roster gets the call until that is wrapped up.
- Amongst position players, the other guys already on the roster that might get consideration are catcher Lucas May and outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Jordan Parraz. I could see May getting a call ‘just to get a feel for the majors’, but if he does he will not play much. If Trey Hillman was still manager, Dyson would probably be up now, but he is hitting just .257 in Omaha and the organization would be better served by getting a true look at Gregor Blanco this September. As for Parraz, his season was probably not enough to warrant a spot on the dugout bench.
Now, it gets interesting, as the players we are going discuss might well deserve a look, but would require making a 40 man roster move to get them to the majors:
- Mike Moustakas – .273/.294/.453 in AAA probably cooled any front office ideas of giving Mike a look this year, but he has improved over time at this level (including an .856 OPS the last 10 games). That said, with the Royals wanting to see what they have in Wilson Betemit and likely to take a look at Josh Fields, I imagine Moustakas’ major league career will start sometime next summer instead of this fall.
- David Lough – A slow start this year has kept Lough’s numbers in Omaha to a modest .279/.343/.440, but he has exploded in August with a 1.006 OPS. This is a guy who could truly factor into the Royals’ future, especially if 2011 turns out to be DeJesus’ last year with the club. Who would you rather see, Lough or Victor Marte? There’s your roster move if you want a look at Lough.
- Louis Coleman – It’s always nice when a plan works and the Royals’ plan for Coleman after drafting him in 2009 was to ‘fast track’ him as a reliever. Just over one year later, Coleman is in AAA with 39 strikeouts in 33 innings and opponents batting just .214 against him. If Lough in place of Marte, why not Coleman? If the future of the bullpen is Coleman and Greg Holland (who has struggled thus far in the majors, but has a habit of doing so the first couple weeks at a new level before become pretty decent) are the future of the pen in front of Tejeda and Soria, the Royals would be wise to make that move this September.
- Blaine Hardy – He was dominant as a reliever, I mean flat-out dominant, at four levels including AAA before the Royals moved him into a starting role. Blaine has been just okay as a starter (7 starts) but probably is not ready for major league action in that role. I would expect some fall/winter work with an eye towards him getting a shot at the number five starter role next spring.
- Ed Lucas – He has played pretty much every position and hit .304/.394/.500 this year in Omaha, but I don’t know what the Royals do with him in the majors this September. They want to get a good look at Getz, will not impinge on the Yunigma’s playing time and already have Aviles and yesterday’s hero Bloomquist. It would be nice to reward Lucas for a good season with a major league salary for part of the month, but the Royals probably don’t want to mess with the 40 man roster just to be nice.
So, in the end, the September roster likely will swell quite a bit, but not with any player all that exciting. Meche, Hochevar, Bannister, Tejeda and Fields are almost certainties. With a pretty good chance that May and Anderson get a call, if not much of a look, once Omaha’s season wraps up. After that, the club could get imaginative and bring up Coleman or Lough, or stay the course and look to Victor Marte once more for no other reason than he has been in the majors this year and has a 40 man roster spot.
Truthfully, the players the Royals really need to get a feel for are already up and playing in Kansas City. That is progress right there over previous years under this regime.