It’s almost September, which means that soon, the roster will swell with mostly young players, taking the pressure off a tired roster and perhaps giving some previews of young players and their future…but probably not anything special.
May be an unpopular opinion but I’ve long held stance that nothing worthwhile is ever “learned” in September: expanded rosters, tired vets looking forward to offseason—it’s not real. September is where you fool yourself into thinking Manny Burris is going to be great next yr!— Roger Munter (@rog61) August 21, 2018
Roger is not wrong there. Anything you see in September is wrapped in and embodies the idea of small sample size.
That said, it’s going to happen, and players will get called up, so what can anyone expect?
Yeah, expect pitchers. For a number of reasons, the Giants’ 40-man roster is outsized on pitching, with 22 of their 40 players from the mound (not including two pitchers on the 60-Day DL, Johnny Cueto and Julian Fernandez). In fact, there is only one outfielder on the 40-Man roster who isn’t up in the big leagues. So yeah, pitching is something to expect.
First, let’s discuss the rules of who can get called, who can’t, and why; if you know this, just skip, some people may need this. The 40-Man roster contains the 25-man roster, and 15 extra players that teams can call up in case of injury, bad performance, or more. If a player is going to be called up to the big leagues, they have to get a spot on the 40 as well as the 25. Players on the 10-day DL count against the 40-man roster. Players placed on the 60-day DL do not, and can be replaced… but that only means that when a 60-day DL player comes back, someone has to get cut. That last part is a big consideration in September.
So, with that out of the way, here’s your guide of who’s coming up:
The Key Pitchers
These are the pitchers who have a serious chance at being in the Majors next season, the key players for not only the 40-man roster, but next year’s 25.
Ray Black - He throws huge velocity. He’s been pretty dominant in the minors. But anyone can hit a fastball in the bigs, and he got hit a couple of times. Not a ton, but enough to give him a breather. Still, this guy is a big part of the 2019 roster.
Derek Law - He’s had big moments and some pretty poor ones on the big league roster. But if he finds a way to make his mechanics work, he could easily be back in the big leagues.
Pierce Johnson - A waiver claim form late 2017, Johnson was one of the guys who might be one of the forgotten players that were a part of the 2018 season. His numbers in the majors weren’t impressive, but the Giants seem to like him, so he’s likely to be in the mix in 2019.
Tyler Beede - Yup, he’s on this list. His draft pedigree merits it. Let’s be honest, he’s had as bad a season as I’ve seen a Top 3 prospect at the Triple-A level have in the Giants’ system. But it’s rare that someone falls off a cliff so badly unless it’s either mechanical or injury. If it’s the former, I don’t expect to see a big revelation this September, but maybe he can get the right momentum.
Notice the lack of starters on this list (Beede being moved to the bullpen midseason)? That’s not really an indictment of the system, it’s more a reality that most of the depth of starters was needed because of so many injuries in the rest of the season.
Steven Okert - One of the future left handed relievers in the bullpen, Okert hasn’t recovered from a rough 2017 in the Majors. He had a 4.85 ERA in Triple-A and hasn’t returned to the Majors yet this season. He will in September, but he’s no longer a big part of this team’s future.
Josh Osich - Osich has been in the Majors this year, and had an 8.25 ERA in 12 appearances, and a 5.40 ERA in Triple-A. Osich was last effective in 2016, and honestly is looking like a cut in November to clear space for returning 60-Day DL guys or Rule 5 protections.
Casey Kelly - The former first round pick has been in the big leagues, with a 2.16 ERA in four appearances. He had a 4.78 ERA as a starter in Sacramento, though, and is mostly looked at as depth at this point.
Not Likely To Come Up
Tyler Herb - Remember him? He was the PTBNL the Giants got for Chris Heston. After an early injury, he had a season to forget once he came back. He had a 6.17 ERA in 11 starts at Sacramento, giving up an abnormally high amount of hits for him. That might just be a blip thanks to the injury, but it’s possible the Giants won’t want to push him.
Chase Johnson - Speaking of recovering from injury, Chase Johnson missed almost all of 2017 and the first month of 2018. He put together a 4.04 ERA in 17 Double-A starts, a return to starting after he shifted to relief in 2016. It’s not clear where he fits in the Giants’ plans, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a callup after spending the year in Double-A.
Kelby Tomlinson - Alen Hanson has taken his role on the team, but Tomlinson just keeps hitting (singles) in Triple-A. Goggles will be back this fall, and is still in the mix for a 2019 role.
Ryder Jones - Christian Arroyo’s draft partner has had a quiet year in Triple-A, batting .272/.325/.408, a big drop off from his 2017 in Triple-A when he had an abnormally high .969 OPS. Let’s not forget that in his sole appearance this season, he hit a mammoth home run in Oakland. He’ll get another shot at Major League pitching for a few at-bats anyway.
Miguel Gomez - It’s a little unusual to look at Gomez’s stats and not see a .300+ batting average, but he only hit .280 in 55 games at Sacramento this year. He got a lot of help with a recent 9-game hitting streak, which included a lot of multi-hit games. He’s hit just .250 in the Majors, but would likely be a bit player in September.
Mac Williamson - First Mac made adjustments and hit like a monster, forcing a callup. Then he had a concussion, then he struggled in his return to Triple-A, and was back on the DL in early August with more concussion issues. Even if he’s healthy at some point in September, I bet the Giants will try to let Williamson recover from the concussion, and make one more go of it in 2019.
Could there be any surprises? The Giants’ 40-man roster is full, but they could always push an injured player like Buster Posey to the 60-Day DL, and bring up someone else. That always has some consequences, because there is no DL in the offseason, and someone will have to come off the roster when Posey comes back.
That’s why this is unlikely. If anything, the Giants would only do this if there was another player they were planning to add to the 40-Man roster in the offseason. It just so happens, there is one name that stands out here, and another depth option to consider.
Chris Shaw - Shaw’s season wasn’t exactly a top prospect payoff, batting .261/.311/.505 in Sacramento, but he’s on the verge of the Majors. He needs to be protected on the 40-man roster for the upcoming Rule 5 draft, so the Giants may push him up for September, and plan to see another cut in November. The only thing in the way is an oblique injury he suffered in mid-August, but has since come back from. The Giants may want to take it easy with him, but I’d still expect him to get the callup, even if they plan to use him only barely. Bryan wrote about this more over the weekend, so go read his stuff!
Trevor Brown - Brown has played in 39 games, batting .238/.326/.270, got released and re-signed midseason, and generally hasn’t been in much of any discussions. But with Buster on the DL, the Giants already called up Aramis Garcia, a former top prospect who has struggled big time this season. They have no other catchers on the 40-man roster, and they may want to add a depth/emergency guy. Brown, who has major league experience, makes sense in that role. He likely would be cut in November, and the Giants can open up a spot if they push Samardzija to the 60-day DL, so there’s little risk.
So, there’s your September. Don’t expect anything huge. No Joey Bart. No Heliot Ramos. A lot of players you’ve already seen, some of whom are getting in some last pushes for momentum going into 2019. But no GM is going to make any postseason decisions or change their minds off of what is seen in September. But hey, it’s a chance to see some young players that you don’t get to see often, so it could be worse.