Every season on September 1st, Major League Baseball teams are allowed to expand their 25 man active rosters. Each club has the ability to bring up to 15 additional players to the big leagues with a full 40 man roster. Teams almost never call up that many players, of course, but this is a time of year when contenders may call up a couple of power bench bats, additional relief help, or base stealing specialists that may give them an edge in September.
Call ups often come in waves, with perhaps a couple of players coming right away on the first of September and then more reinforcements once the minor league season (and playoffs, if a team qualifies) is officially in the books. The management for the Milwaukee Brewers has already said that the big league team and pennant race would take precedence over the minor league playoffs, which is notable as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox chase a postseason berth.
The Brewers have already used 50 players in 2018, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them recall most of the players who have appeared for the team this year that are currently down in the minor leagues. There’s also a good chance that we’ll see additional help from players who are not currently on the 40 man roster, which means other moves will probably be coming.
So who might we see get the call to join the Brewers for the stretch run? Let’s discuss:
Players on the 40 man roster:
RHP Zach Davies
After posting a 3.91 ERA through his first 67 big league starts, it was assumed that Davies would play a major role for the team this year. But he’s battled shoulder and back maladies, as well as ineffectiveness, which has limited him to just eight starts and a 5.23 ERA in 43.0 innings. But he’s healthy now and will start Monday’s game against the Cubs once he’s recalled.
RHP Adrian Houser
Houser has been part of Milwaukee’s bullpen carousel this year, posting a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 MLB innings as well as a 5.13 ERA in 73.2 innings covering 20 starts between AA and AAA.
RHP Corey Knebel
Milwaukee’s All-Star closer last season lost his grip on that role this year, pitching to a 5.08 ERA in 39.0 innings after missing a month with a hamstring injury early on. He struggled so mightily coming out of the All-Star break that the team relegated him to the minors in order to try and get his problems straightened out.
RHP Freddy Peralta
Freddy has spent most of this season entrenched in Milwaukee’s starting rotation, logging 73.2 innings across 14 starts with a 4.40 ERA. He was optioned earlier this week while the team was trying to get fresh arms for the bullpen, which also allows the rookie right-hander some extra rest. He figures to slot back into the rotation once he can be recalled.
RHP Jake Thompson
The Brewers picked Thompson up in a cash deal with the Phillies earlier this month, and while he hasn’t made any MLB appearances with Milwaukee yet, he authored a 4.96 ERA in 16.1 innings with Philadelphia earlier this year. The former top prospect also owns a 4.30 ERA in 52.1 innings in AAA, including a 1.69 mark through his first six appearances with the Sky Sox.
RHP Aaron Wilkerson
Wilkerson has made three appearances for Milwaukee this year - including one start - but was lit up to the tune of 10 earned runs in 9.0 innings. He’s been stellar for the Sky Sox, though, working to a 2.48 ERA in 65.1 innings with 56 strikeouts against 23 walks.
RHP Taylor Williams
Williams has been a fixture in the bullpen for most of the season, but his recent struggles and a roster crunch prompted an optional assignment to the minors earlier this week. In 50 appearances for the Brewers this year, he’s posted a 4.35 ERA and 55:25 K/BB ratio in 49.2 innings.
RHP Brandon Woodruff
Woodruff began the year as Milwaukee’s fifth starter but seems to have become a forgotten man. He’s been back-and-forth from the majors to minors in several different roles, and in 30.0 MLB innings he’s compiled a 4.80 ERA and 31:11 K/BB ratio. He’s also started 17 games for Colorado Springs and logged a 4.04 ERA across 71.1 innings at that level.
C Jacob Nottingham
The young catcher has missed most of August with a wrist injury, but he’s close to returning to the Sky Sox and should be healthy enough for a September call up once the minor league season ends. The 23 year old made his MLB debut this season and has gone 4-for-20 so far, but tore the cover off the ball when healthy at Colorado Springs. In 193 plate appearances in the minors, he’s slashed .286/.352/.537 with 10 home runs.
UTIL Nate Orf
Orf became a fan favorite this season by making the big leagues six years after signing as an undrafted free agent. He has long put up impressive numbers in the minors and this season was no different with a .298/.396/.428 slash and 6 homers in 451 plate appearances. At the big league level, though, he hit .095/.240/.238 with one dinger in 25 PAs.
INF Tyler Saladino
Saladino got some run as the everyday shortstop this season in the midst of Orlando Arcia’s struggles, starting off red-hot before eventually cooling to an overall .260/.322/.404 slash with four homers in 116 plate appearances. He was optioned to the minors shortly after the trade deadline, and in 36 games for the Sky Sox this year he’s batted .262/.370/.408 with three bombs.
OF Keon Broxton
Keon was the team’s regular centerfielder in 2017 but has been relegated to a backup role this year, resulting in only 72 plate appearances across 31 games for Milwaukee. He’s batted .197/.319/.393 with two home runs and five steals, but has made some impressive defensive contributions when he’s been out there. In 82 games for the Sky Sox, Broxton has hit .254/.323/.421 with 10 homers and 27 stolen bases.
OF Domingo Santana
‘Sunday’ was a breakout star and clubbed 30 home runs for the Brewers in 2017, and he opened the year as the team’s regular right fielder. A puzzling loss of power eventually cost him his roster spot, though, and he was optioned to the minors after a meager .249/.313/.354 slash and just three home runs in his first 62 games and 211 plate appearances. It took awhile, but his bat finally did start to get going in Colorado Springs. In 225 plate appearances at AAA, Santana has hit .290/.408/.497 with eight home runs.
Other potential non-40 man roster players:
C Jett Bandy
Bandy broke camp with the big league club this year as Manny Pina’s backup, but he was DFA’d and outrighted to the minors after slashing only .188/.268/.266 in his first 71 plate appearances. He’s been much better for the Sky Sox, batting .296/.355/.519 with nine home runs in 212 plate appearances while also gunning down 32% of would-be base thieves.
C Christian Bethancourt
With Nottingham not yet ready to return, one of either Bandy or Bethancourt will get called up in the meantime as catching depth. After signing a minor league deal last winter, Bethancourt was a Pacific Coast League All-Star with a .299/.329/.508 batting line and 19 home runs in 98 games. He also caught an astounding 44% of attempted base stealers and has a sterling defensive reputation.
OF Tyrone Taylor
Once considered a top prospect within the org, Taylor impressed during his first shot at the AAA level in his final season before minor league free agency. He’s capable of manning all three outfield positions, has good speed on the bases, and batted .276/.319/.493 with 18 home runs and 13 steals in 455 PAs.
LHP Quintin Torres-Costa
A 35th-round pick out of Hawaii back in 2015, Torres-Costa has impressed every step of the way while ascending the minor league ladder. In 41 games and 53.1 innings between AA and AAA this season, he’s recorded a sparkling 1.35 ERA with a 63:24 K/BB ratio. He’s held both lefty and righty batters to a sub-.500 OPS this year.
RHP Erik Davis
The 31 year old veteran has previously logged some time in the big leagues and was one of the top pitchers for the Sky Sox this season. In 46 games out of the bullpen, Davis logged a 3.88 ERA across 62.2 innings with a 54:25 K/BB ratio.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference