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September Callups: Who will get the call?

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Roster expansion is right around the corner. Who will we see wearing a Padres uniform next month?

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

For most of the season, MLB rosters are limited to 25 men, with the occasional 26th spot for a doubleheader. In September, the 25-man limit goes right out the window, and teams are allowed to add any player on the 40-man roster to the Active List. There has been great speculation about who will come up and who won’t, and the logic behind those potential moves.

There are a couple of mitigating factors involved. Several of the Padres’ minor league affiliates are in the hunt for a minor league postseason berth. Most notably, the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas are leading their division and their juggernaut offense is poised to take them deep into the playoffs. It’s been noted that the experience gained in these experiences carries great value for a player’s personal development, so Padres brass may be inclined to leave those players down so they can experience the thrill of a championship push. The second mitigating factor is service time. By holding certain players back from logging MLB time, the organization can delay arbitration years. This can be a complicated mess to comprehend, but right now it means that some of the team’s top prospects might see little to no MLB action this fall.

Without further ado, here is an informal, incomplete list of the players we might see in the month of September, along with status updates for those on the 40-man roster who are unlikely to return due to injury:

Position Players:

While the Padres infield has seen relative stability lately, the outfield has been thin at times since the departures of Kemp & Upton along with the injury to Jon Jay. There are opportunities around the diamond for some kids to show what they’ve got, as well as chances for veterans to get some reps as relief for starters who are surely feeling the rigors of a full season.

  • Austin Hedges - The defensive wunderkind took a huge step forward this season. One of four Padres to be named to the All-PCL Team, Hedges consistently raked against AAA competition to an impressive .316/.346/.582 line. He’s been blocked at the MLB level by Derek Norris and Christian Bethancourt all season. With El Paso poised to make a run through the playoffs, he’ll probably stay in AAA until their postseason is over. Notably, he only needs to log 17 days on the Padres’ active roster for his arbitration clock to start ticking. If they keep him under that number, they’ll get another year of team control. If we see him at all, it will be in the second half of the month.
  • Manuel Margot - A Padres top prospect, the athletic centerfielder’s status on the 40-man roster makes Margot a logical pick for a call-up. After drawing rave reviews all spring, Margot has had a very successful campaign in El Paso with a blend of speed and power, leading the league in triples and floating near the top of the leaderboard in many other statistical categories, earning him a spot on the All-PCL Team.. Only 21 years of age, the Padres may opt to hold Margot back for a second year in AAA next season, but we still might get to see his talent in Petco for a second time this year.
  • Hunter Renfroe - The power-hitting rightfielder seemed to turn a corner this season, his first full season in AAA. He’s put up a line of .306/.337/.557 while leading the league in home runs for most of the season, which earned him a spot on the All-PCL Team. At age 24, he appears ready for a promotion, and after the AAA season is over, we’ll probably see him at the tail end of September.
  • Carlos Asuaje - A versatile infielder who does everything well, Asuaje is the fourth El Paso teammate on the All-PCL Team. Notably, Margot, Asuaje, and Renfroe are 1-2-3 in runs scored in the PCL, a nice indication of the strength of that offensive unit. Asuaje is likely to break into the MLB next year as a backup infielder but has the tools to be an everyday player. Expect to see him along with Margot, Renfroe, and Hedges once the PCL season is over.
  • Alexi Amarista (15-day DL) - The utility infielder is on the DL with another hamstring injury, his second of this season. He may be back early in September.
  • Nick Noonan - The native San Diegan got a call-up earlier this month and didn’t do much at the plate, but his ability to play shortstop could earn him some playing time.
  • Jose Rondon - The young shortstop prospect impressed with the glove in a brief 8-game audition. The bat didn’t hold up so well, but the kid’s only 22. Now that Luis Sardiñas is on the roster, Rondon’s opportunities might have to wait until next spring.
  • Cory Spangenberg (60-day DL) - Only 14 games into the season, Cory tore his left quadriceps muscle. Then in July, he tore it again. He’s done for this season and will have to battle upstart Ryan Schimpf for a starting role in spring training.
  • Jemile Weeks (60-day DL) - The versatile Weeks came out of spring training looking like a new man, but a rough start relegated him to the bench, and then a hamstring injury in May has kept him out of action all season. He might complete his rehab in time to make some appearances this month.
  • Jabari Blash (15-day DL) - A sprained left middle finger sent the slugger to the DL. Adjustments made during his AAA assignment shortened his swing, which resulted in a .740 OPS after his recall to the Padres. With questions about his future with the organization, Blash needs to impress in this final month to make a case for a roster spot next season.
  • Jon Jay (60-day DL) - The veteran centerfielder was leading the team in batting average as well as leading all of MLB in doubles before an errant pitch gave him a broken forearm. It appears that he’s nearing a return to action. According to a Dennis Lin U-T article, the organization is interested in bringing him back next year, citing his veteran leadership and work ethic as traits that manager Andy Green wants passed down to the talented kids knocking on the door.

Pitchers

The starting rotation is of the six-man variety right now, and yet it’s still weak. We’ll probably see the most relief from the pitchers who have been working in the minors all season or are nearing ready to come back from injury.

  • Buddy Baumann - This lefty reliever has been very good in AAA (1.05 ERA, 0.974 WHIP) but roughed up a little in his three short MLB stints to a 6.75 ERA.
  • Ryan Buchter - Far and away the Padres’ best reliever this year, Buchter was sent down last week to get him some rest after the heaviest usage of his career.
  • Leonel Campos - This righty reliever has seen MLB action in ten games this season and wasn’t any more effective than in years past. His MLB ERA of 6.59 is a little worse than his AAA mark of 4.32, but at age 28 he could be a candidate for release if roster space is needed.
  • Carter Capps (60-day DL) - Recovering from Tommy John surgery last year. Could return next spring.
  • Jon Edwards (60-day DL) - Recovering from a flexor strain suffered in Spring Training, Edwards may be ready to make some relief appearances in late September. The converted outfielder came to the Padres in the Wil Venable trade.
  • Robbie Erlin (60-day DL) - Recovering from Tommy John surgery performed in May. Could return mid-season 2017.
  • Erik Johnson (60-day DL) - Recovering from a flexor strain, Johnson will not return this season.
  • Colin Rea (15-day DL) - Opted for PRP injection instead of Tommy John surgery. Hasn’t resumed throwing yet, unlikely to return this season.
  • Tyson Ross (60-day DL) - Rehabbing from a shoulder injury. May make a couple of starts before the end of the season. Pitched a rehab start in Lake Elsinore earlier this week.
  • Jake Smith - Claimed off waivers from the Giants, this righty reliever has been in San Antonio, yielding one earned run through four one-inning appearances. Given his status on the 40-man roster, the 26-year-old is likely to get a call to the pen next month.
  • Jose Torres - While starter Drew Pomeranz was the recognizable name to come back in the Alonso/Rzepczynski trade, reliever Jose Torres is starting look like a stud prospect. The 22-year-old lefty has dominated in AA San Antonio to the tune of a 1.24 ERA and 0.881 WHIP. His status on the 40-man roster means that he’ll likely get a cup of coffee to show what he’s learned this season.
  • Cesar Vargas (60-day DL) - On the DL since late May with a flexor strain, Vargas is unlikely to return this season.
  • Rafael De Paula - The forgotten man in the Chase Headley trade, De Paula has had an excellent season in relief, spending most of the season in AA San Antonio. The 6’2” righty would need a roster move to join the 40-man, but at age 25 it might be time to call him up for a quick look.

As noted above, this is by no means a comprehensive list, but the idea was to give the casual fan an idea of the talent that we might see this final month of the season. With an MLB roster that’s already bursting at the seams with young talent, we’ll get a taste of what next year holds to offer. I’m looking forward to a defensive alignment of Jankowski-Margot-Renfroe in the outfield. How would Asuaje and Sardiñas look up the middle? Can any of those power arms translate to the majors?