September is just 16 days away. With
15 games in those 16 days, a lot of things can happen with the Nats. They can
go on a run and get back into the thick of things in the Wild Card race. They
could also go on a losing streak and drop out of the race just as easily. For
the most part, the Nats’ September call-up candidates will be the same, but
their eventual roles may differ.
The only player on the 40-man roster
that I don’t think has a chance of making it to the Majors in September is Matt
Purke, who has always struggled with injuries and is just starting to hack it
in high A ball.
RHP Ryan Mattheus –
He was just sent down yesterday to make room for Drew Storen. I’ve never been a
huge fan of Mattheus because I don’t trust relievers who don’t strike guys out,
but he’s traditionally been one of Davey’s go-to guys (before punching a
locker, at least), and will be back.
Xavier Cedeno – He’s on the 40-man roster and has already been called up
to the bigs this year. Cedeno has handled his AAA opposition pretty well this
year, putting up a 1.50 ERA and 3.07 FIP. His control hasn’t been great (4.8
BB/9), but he’s striking out a more-than-impressive 11.7 per nine to help balance
it out. He’s a lock for a call-up.
RHP Erik Davis – Just
like Cedeno, he’s on the 40-man and has been called up this year. He’s got a
hilarious 6.23 ERA and 0.50 FIP (neither of which are typos) in the big leagues
this year and a 3.09 ERA/3.31 FIP in AAA that makes much more sense. Davis has
almost a 3:1 K/BB in the minors this year and has succeeded despite an unlucky
.341 BABIP. He’s a healthy candidate for a 2014 bullpen spot and will have
plenty of chances to audition next month.
1B Chris Marrero – He’s
hacking it okay in AAA this year (.276/.324/.419) and has made it up to the
bigs this year. He’ll be auditioning for a bench spot next year. Also on the
UTIL Jeff Kobernus –
Kobernus will be up as a super utility guy. His inclusion to September’s roster
gives the Nats an option allowing them to shut down Espinosa if necessary. He’s
still hitting over his head in AAA (.327/.371/.395 in 341 plate appearances),
but the defense and speed are real. Also on the 40-man.
1B/OF Tyler Moore –
Davey seems to be suggesting that Moore makes it up before September. He’s
currently at .314/.393/.568 in 196 AAA plate appearances and will get plenty of
opportunities in the big leagues between now and the end of the year. Also on
OF Eury Perez – I’ve
never been a huge fan of Perez, but I have to give him props for developing
some power (7 HR this year after only having 11 in the rest of his career).
He’s at .301/.334/.429 this year and will be up predominantly as a pinch runner
and defensive replacement. Also on the 40-man.
from the DL
If Ross Detwiler, Christian
Garcia and Ross Ohlendorf get healthy, they’ll all be up.
IF Danny Espinosa –
he’s still not hitting well in the minors (.211/.281/.289 overall, .212/.298/.240
since the all-star break, .260/.339/.300 in August). His glove will probably
get him back up for September, but I think there’s also a greater than zero
chance that he’s shut down to get healthy. Also on the 40-man.
SS Zach Walters – In my
opinion, he and Rhymes are the only non-40 man candidates to be added to the
September roster. His .254/.285/.541 triple slash is both awful and awesome,
and he has 28 HR. The 15 BB/116 K ratio needs to burn, though.
2B Will Rhymes – The former
Tiger and Ray has a .281/.365/.353 triple slash and an amazing 57/25 BB/K ratio
this year. He can fill in at 2B and 3B to spell Rendon and Zimmerman and could
serve as a good contact/on base lefty off of the bench.
OF Corey Brown – Brown
could have helped the Nats weeks ago as a lefty option off of the bench
(#FREECOREYBROWN). He’s been just okay in AAA this year (.241/.303/.467), but
his career numbers are much better, so I’ll chalk it up to being a partial
abberation. He’s got plenty of pop still and has a history of good plate
patience. He’s on the 40-man.
RHP Nate Karns – He was bad
in his 3 ML starts (7.50 ERA, 8.38 FIP in 12 innings), but got pretty unlucky
with homers (3.75 HR/9 ain’t gonna stick). Karns’ 20 AA starts look much
better, with a 3.45 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 10.58 K/9 and 3.53 BB/9. He’s a
candidate to replace Taylor Jordan in the rotation once he’s shut down, but
could also contribute in the bullpen. Also on the 40-man.
LHP Tyler Robertson – As guys
on the 40-man go, he’s the second least likely to make the September roster
after Purke. Robertson has a decent ERA (3.63) and improved control (7.0 BB/9
with Minnesota’s AAA squad this year, 3.3 with Syracuse), but is still a
mediocre option where the Nats already have some decent depth (Krol, Abad and
Cedeno are all ahead of him).
C Jhonatan Solano –
Either Solano or Leon will make the playoff roster. I’d say Solano has probably
an 80% chance, but he’s struggled with injuries and poor performance this year,
hitting just .211/.244/.274 in 136 PA in Syracuse. He’s on the 40-man.
C Sandy Leon – Leon is
currently under the Mendoza line for AA Harrisburg, but is at least taking
enough walks to not be a total zero at the plate (.194/.303/.277 in 323 plate
appearances). He’s still the Nats’ backup of the future over Solano, but is
still not qutie ready. He’s on the 40-man.
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