With September 1st just a few weeks away, the chance for all MLB clubs to expand their rosters with the players from the minor leagues is quickly approaching. So I was thinking about which players from the Chicago White Sox system would help the big league club as they fight to win the AL Central over the Detroit Tigers. The Sox are currently two games up on the Tigers.
So lets start with the pitchers that could be called up in September. First, would be the return of left hander Hector Santiago. Santiago has been a stretched since being sent down to AAA Charlotte and has pitched outstanding in 14.2 innings pitched to a 0.00 ERA. Next would be Jhan Marinez, who has an ERA of 3.16 ERA with AAA Charlotte, could really help take some pressure off guys like Nate Jones and Brett Myers down the stretch. Some other pitchers they may be called upon could be Charlie Leesman (2.75 ERA in AAA), Brian Bruney (1.70 ERA in AAA) and Dylan Axelrod (2.72 ERA in AAA, 5.63 ERA in MLB).
When a position player is called up in September, they are normally relied upon as a pinch hitter or pinch runner rather than a spot starter. I think the first player that should be called up is first baseman/designated hitter Dan Johnson. He has hit 27 home runs this season and has the experience of playing in a tight division race. He would be a great left handed pinch hitter off the bench. Next would be outfielder Jordan Danks, who was just recently sent down after hitting a walk-off home run two nights before. He would serve as the fifth outfielder and a pinch runner. He could also be a defensive replacement. The next player would be the recently acquired Jose Lopez. He plays pretty much every infield position and still has some pop in his bat. Either Hector Gimenez or Josh Phegley will be called upon to be the third catcher. My guess would be Gimenez. I would think maybe they could call up another guy with speed just for pinch running situations such as Greg Golson or Jared Mitchell.
The one interesting name that hasn’t come up yet is Brent Morel. Morel was injured earlier this season and after Kevin Youkilis was acquired, Morel hasn’t even sniffed the major league club. He could be used as a late inning defensive replacement at third base with Youk moving over to first base. But Morel is not hitting at all in AAA with a .200 batting average.
Overall, September call ups aren’t known for making big impacts on a division race like the Sox are in. But if just one pitcher and one position player can help get a win down the stretch, that can make the difference between winning the division or even making the playoffs as a wild card team.