Every year on September 1st, the active rosters of MLB clubs expand to 40 players from 25 and MLB rumors begin to swirl. Thus, it is often in September that we see several prospects making their debuts as an early audition for the following season. With the Toronto Blue Jays’ playoff hopes swirling down the drain, the Jays could have an interesting pair of September call-ups in John Stilson and Marcus Stroman.
Of course, in order for any prospects to be called up to the majors, they have to first be added to the 40-man roster. Do the Blue Jays have any candidates to be dropped from the 40-man roster in favor of some of their exciting prospects?
Chad Beck and Jesse Chavez are the only players on the 40-man roster who are unlikely to have any future with the Blue Jays. Jesse Litsch, Mike McCoy, and Omar Vizquel are also unlikely to have a future with the club, but are unlikely to be dropped by the club.
Thus, the Blue Jays likely have just two available spots on their 40-man roster.
With those two spots, the most likely candidates for a brief stint with the big club are right-handed power pitchers John Stilson and Marcus Stroman.
Given that the Blue Jays will likely give Adeiny Hechavarria as many opportunities as possible in September, it is unlikely that the Blue Jays will call-up infielder Ryan Goins, who has had an impressive year with the Blue Jays AA affiliate in New Hampshire. Read more on Goins in the most recent edition of the Toronto Blue Jays prospect hot sheet.
Marcus Stroman has begun his professional career as a reliever, and as I reported in a recent article, John Stilson has recently been converted to the pen. Since both pitchers are near major league-ready with excellent stuff, it is possible that the Blue Jays cut some dead weight in Chavez and Beck in order to make room for a couple of high upside arms.
Though the Blue Jays have made most of their would-be September call-ups already due to injuries, don’t be surprised if they make two more. It won’t be an incredibly busy roster expansion period for the Jays – they’ve already called up Adeiny Hechavarria, Moises Sierra, and Anthony Gose, and Travis d’Arnaud will be out of action until the Arizona Fall League – but there is a good chance that both Marcus Stroman and John Stilson see their major league debuts in September.
Of course, this will only happen should Stroman and Stilson continue to enjoy success over the next couple of weeks. Stroman has now pitched in 5 games out of the bullpen for AA New Hampshire, working 5 innings and giving up just 1 run on 3 hits, walking 4 (2 of which came in a single outing) and striking out 6. Stilson has pitched in just 2 games out of the bullpen for New Hampshire. He’s given up a single base hit and a walk to go along with 2 strikeouts.
Both Stilson and Stroman are high-energy players who work at a frenetic pace. Both throw harder out of the bullpen and have the stuff to get quick outs on swing-and-misses. Though both have the potential to start down the road, both will have to develop a more mature approach before being entrusted with a rotation stuff. Giving them major league experience this year could help to expedite that process.
Blue Jays’ fans don’t have much to be excited about right now, but seeing Marcus Stroman and John Stilson in the big leagues could make for an interesting ending to an otherwise disappointing season.
Charles Davis is a baseball writer for RantSports.com with a specific focus on the Toronto Blue Jays, their farm system, and prospects league-wide. Read his articles here and follow him on Twitter @CPDavis90.