Every year in Major League Baseball on September 1 the rosters expand from 25 to 40, meaning teams can call up prospects to get some Major League action, regardless if they’re truly ready or not. Last year the Los Angeles Dodgers called up their top prospect, Joc Pederson. The then 22-year-old went just 4-for-38 in limited action, but he got his first taste of the big leagues, which helped him prepare to be the starting center fielder for Los Angeles in 2015.
That date is just a couple weeks away, and the Dodgers currently have a few potential prospects that could be called up.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly recently talked about the situation, stating that there’s no set number or maximum number they’re targeting, decisions will be based on team needs. “We’ll keep talking about it,” Mattingly said. “We haven’t decided who, but I think in general you don’t want guys here for no reason if you don’t have any plans to use them. More is not the merrier in the situation where you’re in a pennant race.”
“I know Andrew [Friedman] has talked about bringing X amount, probably in waves. We’ll bring a few guys and let them continue on, and then bring the rest of the guys. We all agree we don’t want a ton of guys here for no reason.”
Possible promotions include, of course, the Dodgers top two prospects Julio Urias and Corey Seager, as well as a couple of guys who have already seen Major League action in Austin Barnes and Zach Lee. Barnes will be brought up, as all teams bring a third catcher aboard for the final month.
Mattingly recently said that an innings restriction wouldn’t limit Urias, as he missed time earlier in the season while having eye surgery. If the 19-year-old were called up he would likely go into the bullpen, where the Dodgers have struggled recently.
Seager, on the other hand, is less likely to be called up as the Dodgers are currently pretty set at shortstop with the second half resurgence of Jimmy Rollins. The 21-year-old is batting .295 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs in the minors this season though, so it is still possible that he is called up and used as a bat off the bench and spot starter at short or third base.
Lee, who was the Dodgers first round pick in 2010, made his Major League debut earlier this season. While it did not exactly go as planned, as he gave up 11 hits and seven runs in 4.2 innings July 25 against the New York Mets, Lee will get another chance in September. The Dodgers rotation is currently pretty set, so he likely won’t get any starts, but he could be utilized in a relief role.
Mattingly also talked about trusting young players called up in pennant race. “You never know what’s going to happen, it’s really hard to say when you don’t know the guys,” the 54-year-old skipper said. “There have been times where young guys come up, you saw it with K-Rod and the Angels and he lit the world on fire. And he’s been doing it ever since. I’m not opposed to young guys at all, but we’ll just see how it goes.”
With the recent falters of the bullpen specifically, Mattingly and the Dodgers can use any help they can get down the stretch.