The dog days of August are almost over. September 1 is quickly approaching which begins a fascinating time in the world of Major League Baseball. For those of you who may not know, on September 1 of every year, MLB rosters expand from the usual 25 players, to 40. Anyone on the 40-man roster on September 1 is eligible to join their MLB team whether their respective team is in a playoff hunt, like our Royals, or 39 games back, like the SF Giants.
This year should be an interesting year for the Royals as far as September call-ups go. Typically, you won’t see more than 5-6 players recalled. Calling up all 15 players may seem advantageous, but when a team is on a mission and trying to work every day, too many guys in the clubhouse can kind of create a cluster that becomes more of a distraction than a help. Especially because most of those players would never get to play anyway, the attention to detail just isn’t the same for those guys. However, the Royals have some serious holes on their roster and could really benefit from some reinforcements from their farm system this season.
Let’s take a look at some guys who could end up in a Royals uniform this September.
- Terrance Gore – Pinch Runner
- Billy Burns – Defensive Replacement/Pinch Runner
- Paulo Orlando – Defensive Replacement/Spot Starter in OF
- Jorge Soler – Pinch Hitter/Spot Start DH against LHP
- Raul Mondesi – SS Replacement/Pinch Runner
- Cam Gallagher – Catching Depth
- Eric Stout – Bullpen Depth
This would be a lot of September call-ups, and the list doesn’t include a few guys who I think are more than likely coming up, but that I don’t want to “lock”.
Terrance Gore’s role ought to be fairly obvious. Billy Burns could also run and I’d expect him to be in the outfield as a defensive replacement if the Royals have a late lead in any game.
Paulo Orlando seems like he’ll definitely be up. Hard to tell what role he’ll play but Alex Gordon is still hitting .198…
Jorge Soler is coming back up, he’s hitting for power in AAA and the Royals are not good against LHP, live with it.
Raul Mondesi is coming back and he’s going to run and spot start at SS. I really hope he’s the starting SS by the time the playoffs roll around. He’s raking in AAA, hitting for power and stealing bases. He’s also terrific defensively. Alcides Escobar is not good.
Cam Gallagher will go down on Tuesday when Salvy returns, he won’t be down long.
Eric Stout has been the Storm Chasers best reliever this year and deserves a call. The Royals bullpen has been scuffling lately and he might offer a bit of a boost. Reminds me a bit of Mike Minor.
- Hunter Dozier – Pinch Hitter/Spot Start 3B/COF
- Brian Flynn – Bullpen/Rotation Help
- Seth Maness – Bullpen Depth
- Sam Selman – Bullpen Depth
11 September call-ups is A LOT of call-ups. The Royals are in a weird situation however in which they have a lot of guys in their farm system that are all playing well and all have good value to the big league club. Most of these guys have also been on the big league club before, so it’s not like they would be adding a ton of new faces to the clubhouse either.
Hunter Dozier has been hitting the ball very well in the minor leagues right now. He’s lost most of the season due to injury, but appears to be regaining his form just in time. I can see the Royals utilizing his bat in a few different ways, and he and Soler may mean the end is near for Brandon Moss.
Brian Flynn has been starting for Omaha lately. This may mean the Royals want to move Junis to the ‘pen in September, which could work well for both parties.
Seth Maness started 2017 with KC. He’s been throwing well as of late for Omaha.
Sam Selman is another lefty that has thrown exceptionally well in Omaha. He’s got some funk to him that I think could play as a lefty specialist in the Royals bullpen.
- Richard Lovelady – Bullpen Depth
- Ramon Torres – IF Depth
- Miguel Almonte – Bullpen Depth
- Kevin Lenik – Bullpen Depth
Ramon Torres appears to be blocked. The Royals will, theoretically, have Esky, Moose, Whit, Hosmer, Cuthbert, Dozier, and Mondesi for infield depth. Torres may be the odd man out.
Miguel Almonte hasn’t been healthy, otherwise he’d be a lock.
Kevin Lenik has been throwing 95 mph with a nasty slider in Omaha. I don’t know what his chances are, but he’s an intriguing possibility.
Richard Lovelady appears to be ready to help this bullpen. He’s freakishly talented and, in my opinion, could help this KC bullpen immediately. The question is whether or not the Royals braintrust agrees with me or not. The biggest reason I have him as a “maybe” and not a “probably” is because he’s still in AA. There’s no rule that says he can’t come straight from AA, but I’d feel more confident about his chances if he were in AAA right now, like Sam Selman. Would they be willing to take a chance with the talented reliever?
For those of you keeping track at home, 5 of these players are not on the 40-man roster, which means someone has to go in order to make room for them on the roster. The Royals also technically have “42” players on the “40-man roster”. Nate Karns and Paulo Orlando are still on the 60-Day DL. So when Paulo comes off of the DL, that will make 6 players that would have to go.
Let’s go through some DFA candidates. I’ll rank them in order from most likely (1) to least likely (6).
- Trevor Cahill
- Neftali Feliz
- Kyle Zimmer
- Ramon Torres
- Joakim Soria
- Brandon Moss
Whoo boy! What a list, aye? Yes, I am completely serious with all 6 of these predictions. Let me explain the thought process behind them.
Trevor Cahill was awful in a Royals uniform. I’ve expressed my displeasures with him before and I don’t think I need to continue with them today. Cahill is a free agent at the end of the season, so he has no financial repercussions if he were to be DFA’d, and I think the Royals have plenty of better options both in the rotation and in the bullpen.
Neftali Feliz was a good example of catching lightning in a bottle for the Royals. He showed flashes of excellence and also his fair share of struggles. His current stretch on the DL may allow for him to go one a rehab stint to prolong his Royals career, but I think he’s about exhausted his value in the KC ‘pen.
Kyle Zimmer. What a run it has been for the former number 5 overall pick. He was pitching so well out of the bullpen for the Storm Chasers, too. Unfortunately for Kansas City, his arm just doesn’t appear like it’s going to hold up. Zimmer may go unclaimed and could potentially return to the Royals in the minor leagues. Perhaps a change of scenery may work better for him. Godspeed, sir.
Ramon Torres doesn’t have much of an elite skill. He’s a pretty good defender. He’s an okay runner. He switch hits. He just doesn’t switch hit very well. The Royals have at least 6 better options on the infield than Torres at the moment, and Nicky Lopez is now playing in AA. Torres would likely go unclaimed and be returned to Omaha.
Good old Jack Soria. Here’s a fun one. The advanced metrics would suggest that Joakim Soria has not been that bad. Literally anything else would tell you he hasn’t been good. Fans appear ready to rip Ned’s head off every time he enters the game, and his current DL stint doesn’t help his case. He’s only got 1 year left on his contract, so a potential DFA wouldn’t be that big of a financial hit. It’s ok to admit your mistakes sometimes. I doubt he gets DFA’d.
Brandon Moss doesn’t seem likely to be DFA’d either. He’s still a great veteran presence and he would potentially be the only LHH on the Royals bench in a potential playoff run, other than Alex Gordon (hopefully he’s on the bench by then). He’s also only got 1 year left on his deal, so, maybe. I don’t think it’s likely, but he’s the very last player on the 40-man roster that even has a chance of getting cut, so, here ya go.
There ya have it. My incredibly scientific analysis of the Royals September call-up situation, complete with DFA candidates to make room for said potential call-ups. Feel free to @ me on twitter: @RoyalsFarm.