With September just four days away, it's high time we start looking forward to September call-ups. As you know, Major League Baseball allows every club to call up players on the 40 man roster, up to 15 extra men if managers and general managers so choose. The only requirements are that the players called up must have a spot on the 40 man roster. So if you're Daniel Fields or Adam Wilk, for instance, odds are you're not coming up.
That being said, the Tigers are often reluctant to call prospects up in September, considering they rarely do. To add to the already long odds, Beck also wrote an article Sunday that quoted manager Jim Leyland, who said that "The cupboard's pretty bare down there (in AAA Toledo)".
We probably shouldn't expect a ton of players to come up. However, I'd like to examine the players currently on the 40 man roster and their odds of coming up, staying down or getting designated for assignment or otherwise taken off the roster. I'll also give five guys who I think could get added to the 40 man and called up.
Players on the Roster
LHP Fu-Ti Ni
Ah, our good buddy Fu-Ti Ni. His numbers have been absolutely awful in AAA Toledo: he has a fielding independent pitching stat of 7.06 FIP overall and a 15.34 against righties. He is also hurt and is currently going through a throwing program. What he was doing, when healthier, was holding lefties to a .158 average. He has a FIP right around 2 against lefty hitters, which indicates something we've known all along: Ni is a situational reliever. But Leyland seems to think he's not, considering Ni's usage patterns. So this one is a tough call. My brain says they keep him as a LOOGY, my gut says that the Tigers designate him for assignment. I'll go with the brain and say he gets called up, if he's healthy.
LHP Andrew Oliver
So the good news is that Oliver is doing well in AAA- his FIP is 4.18 and he's got a FIP of exactly 5.00 against righties, but that includes a really tough five innings in July which messes with his rate statistics. He seems to be using his breaking balls more effectively, he's dropped the speed on his fastball ever so slightly (which seems to be getting him better results) and he's actually using breaking pitches. But that doesn't mean he comes up. My guess is that he gets two months to help him rest and he goes off to the AFL to pitch. So he stays down.
RHP Jay Sborz
The Tigers really like Sborz, even though he's got a FIP of 5.25 and walks way too many batters (4.80 per nine innings). While he strikes out almost a batter per inning, he's also homer prone (1.60 per nine innings) which makes me think that we shouldn't trust him in late innings relief roles. But the Tigers really like him, and sometimes that's enough. So he takes 75 north to Detroit and becomes the next Freddy Dolsi.
Update: Jay Sborz is on the 7-day DL in AAA Toledo, which means he won't come up right away. Expect to see him eventually, however.
RHP Jacob Turner
Want to see me have an aneurysm? Have the Tigers call the kid up. Turner struggled in his initial exposure to Advanced-A Lakeland, but his FIP is down to 3.45, partially due to several good starts in August. The strikeout rate isn't exceptional (6.62 per nine innings) but he's also 19 in a league populated by 21-year-olds (good Lord, sometimes the front office drives me nuts). So I'm not overly concerned. He's also on a pitch count, and because of that, I'd say he stays down and possibly goes to the AFL, though that's unlikely considering he's a young arm adapting to the rigors of minor league baseball.
RHP Robbie Weinhardt
He was up, he just went down, he's done well in the eight innings he's pitched in AAA since his demotion (seven strikeouts to two walks). He's coming back up.
INF Audy Ciriaco
Ciriaco is... an interesting prospect to say the least. After struggling in April through June, he put up a line of .298/.340/.532 in 47 plate appearances. in July But his K:BB ratio hasn't changed much and he's been on and off the DL all year long. Combine that with his AA status and he's not coming up to Detroit. He may go to the AFL though.
INF Brent Dlugach
Currently hurt (strained left oblique) which means he won't be promoted. He might have been provided he wasn't hurt, but then again, .259/.304/.364 with 141 strikeouts in 437 AB's isn't really major league material. Can you believe some moron thought he'd be better than Ramon Santiago longterm? He gets designated for assignment if he gets healthy.
2B/INF Scott Sizemore
Sizemore better come up. He was the starting second baseman to begin the year, he's hit .295/.374/.469 with Toledo this year despite being shifted around the infield more often than a utility player and he's a top prospect with a bright future (despite the tarnish from this year). The only reason he might not come up is if he gets ticketed to the AFL (again) which would drive me up a tree. He comes up.
1B/OF/DH Ryan Strieby
I'd like to see Strieby in the Olde English D, but he's got to get healthy first. Currently on the mend for recurrent wrist problems, he may never be healthy, which would be disappointing. Expect him to stay on the bench for the rest of the year and maybe spend the offseason in the AFL.
1B/OF Jeff Frazier
What did he "hit" with Detroit, .217/.250/.261? He looked overmatched too, so while that 24 plate appearances may not be a big sample, it's not like he's just a good prospect struggling with the Majors. He gets designated for assignment, much like Jeff Larish before him.
OF Clete Thomas
I know Thomas had microfracture surgery on his knee in June.but finding any updated information on it is next to impossible. However it appears he'll be out until next spring training comes around. So, he's not coming up, but the Tigers could use his roster spot by moving him to the 60 day DL.
Five Guys to Watch For
- LHP Charlie Furbush: After his steady progression from Advanced-A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo, it would only make sense that he debuts in the majors this year. Expect him to be the first guy up in case Detroit needs a spot starter or a starter down the stretch.
- RHP Lauren Gagnier: While he's currently in the rotation, his stuff would play up better in the bullpen. He's put up a 4.37 FIP in the rotation though, which isn't too shabby.
- RHP Zach Simons: My favorite relief prospect (though not the best in the system), he's struggling a tad in Toledo with a FIP of 4.16 and a lower K/9 ratio of 6.55. But this is an easy way to give him some major league innings in a low pressure environment to see if he can stick.
- OF Andy Dirks: He's a scrappy, battling dirtbag. Like a normal-sized Will Rhymes who plays outfield with a better bat. Okay, that makes him nothing like Will Rhymes, but he's had a breakout year and he's loads of fun to watch play. A future fourth OF that could get a cup of coffee.
C Robinzon Diaz: It's not like he'd take away any time from a legitimate starting catcher, and teams always seem to like to call up a third catcher just in case. That being said, I'd like Avila to start virtually every game down the stretch so he gets his reps in for next year.
Coming up: Fu-Ti Ni, Jay Sborz, Robbie Weinhardt, Scott Sizemore
Staying down: Andy Oliver, Jacob Turner, Audy Ciriaco, Ryan Strieby
Designated for assignment/DL'ed: Brent Dlugach, Jeff Frazier, Clete Thomas (60 day DL'ed)
Added to the roster: Robinzon Diaz
Leave your predictions in the comments!