As the season heads into the last month, teams are allowed to have up to 40 players on the active roster beginning September 1st. The Dodgers have used this opportunity in the past to exploit their depth as they call up many players in early September. Most teams do not have the depth of players the Dodgers have, so it is an added advantage for them.
Next season the rules change and only 28 will be allowed in September. I’ll address why that is bad later. This article will look at the current needs of the Dodgers and how players not on the current 25 man roster would fill some gaps.
Initially I was going to focus on starting pitching but since the Dodgers are already using a 6-man rotation for the immediate future it comes down to just having more arms available. Some of us also wouldn’t mind seeing Hyun-Jin Ryu take a couple of weeks off to get some extra rest. Given that information, what arms are available? We’ll look at some possibilities as the Oklahoma City Dodgers are not playoff bound. Also, keep in mind, the baseball has been on its’ own special brand of steroids in AAA and that has lead to some very inflated numbers.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that JT Chargois will get called up. He’s been up and down all year but he’s mostly a one inning pitcher. His numbers have been pretty good in AAA with an ERA of 2.76 in 32.2 innings. In those innings he struck out 47 batters but walked 16. With the Dodgers his ERA is 6.33 in 21.1 innings with 28 strikeouts and 5 walks. In the Major Leagues he’s just more hittable with a batting average against of .273 versus .231 in the minors.
Dylan Floro is actually on the Injured List but will be activated on September 1st.
Ross Stripling, Dylan Floro & David Freese will be activated off of IL on Sunday.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) August 31, 2019
With Los Angeles, Floro had an awful few appearances in June and July but has been pretty good otherwise. He still might be in contention for the playoff bullpen. His numbers in his 8 games in the minors have been strong except for some extra walks. He’s another who is best in one inning increments.
Are you surprised I added Dennis Santana? He’s had a nightmarish year as his ERA is 7.12. Yikes! However, he was shifted to the bullpen and in his last 9.2 innings he’s given up just 3 runs but with 18 strikeouts. The negative is he’s also walked 9 batters. I think he could get added to the roster in September but I give it a 50 percent chance of happening.
Personally, I’d like to see him get some innings in relief but, with his walks, the bases need to be empty to get him started.
Josh Sborz did make his Major League debut earlier this season, but has spent most of the season in AAA. His numbers in AAA have been pretty poor with an ERA of 4.78 in 49 innings. The positive is he has 66 strikeouts with only 14 walks. He’s another one that I like going just one inning.
Jaime Schultz has some similar numbers to Sborz so they are pretty redundant. However, another guy who can throw an inning every other game can help out in bullpen games. I think Sborz has a slightly better chance at getting promoted with Schultz a candidate to be taken off the 40 man roster to make room for Rich Hill.
As mentioned above Ross Stripling is coming off of the Injured List on September 1st. Moreover, he’s the starter for Sunday’s finale in Arizona.
He’s a pitcher that will be competing for a playoff spot so the Dodgers will put him to work right away. I’m hoping they can extend his innings so that he could possibly start or relieve. He’s a proven pitcher who was doing well as a starter before getting hurt.
The Dodgers don’t have too many options in AAA for position players. They will already be getting David Freese, Max Muncy, Alex Verdugo and Tyler White from the IL throughout September that will give them a lot of lineup options.
As we all know Austin Barnes started the season as the Dodgers’ starting catcher. His offensive performance ended up costing him his job and earned him a demotion to AAA. In AAA he has slashed .262/.364/.548 (AVG/OBP/SLG) so there is some hope that he’s gotten better offensively. He will be up right away.
In his short stint with the Dodgers, Edwin Rios has impressed as he slashed .286/.419/.571 but that was in only 43 plate appearances. He’s improved his defense and can play 1B, 3B and LF. While Max Muncy is down I expect to see more of Rios once he gets called up. In AAA he has 30 home runs. The only reason he got sent back down was because he had options available.
Like Rios, Kyle Garlick has made an impression on the Dodgers as he has slashed .250/.321/.521 in the Major Leagues. He can play both left and right field. Once he gets called up expect to see him get a few starts against some left handed starters and be a key pinch hitter off of the bench.
2020 Rule Changes
In 2020, Major League Baseball is expanding the rosters from 25 to 26 from the beginning of the season until August 31st. However, the rosters from September 1st until the end of the season will be limited to 28 players. This means that there are fewer opportunities for players who make AAA salaries (around $45K per year if on the 40 man roster) to make about $3,000 a day that they are on the Major League roster. It also means less opportunities for a player to get a chance to make an actual Major League roster. There are so many players that have only made it to the big leagues because of the 40 man September rosters. It’s a shame those opportunities will now go away for so many players.
The Dodgers need more pitching in September as they need to continue to try to limit innings on the starting pitchers. However the best pitching help is coming from the Injured List and not from AAA. There will be some help from AAA but not the quality of Rich Hill or Ross Stripling. Still, let’s remind ourselves of the disaster of the juiced ball on AAA statistics.
The offense will get a boost from Rios and Garlick. Barnes will give both Will Smith and Russell Martin a break and could challenge for a post-season roster spot. It is too bad that Keibert Ruiz is injured so we won’t see his debut this season. All in all the Dodgers will benefit quite a bit from the roster expansion as the phantom IL will not need to be used anymore this season.