Rosters expand September 1, and although any minor leaguer who gets called up to the Oakland A's likely won't see too much playing time, certain guys may still have an impact.
Typically, rebuilding teams use September to see what the kids can do. Oakland, however, is smack in the middle of a playoff hunt. With the current 25-man roster as is, the team's call-ups ideally will be pinch hitters and runners, late-inning defensive replacements and depth.
With such a heated battle for the AL West crown taking place, the A's can't afford to lose a starter to injury without a viable replacement.
So who might we see brought up to Oakland in September?
In 2004, the Boston Red Sox faced elimination from the playoffs at the hands of their biggest rival, the New York Yankees. Little-used speedster Dave Roberts entered the game late to pinch run in the ninth inning, his team down by one. Roberts then stole second and later scored, tying the game.
It's one of the most memorable steals in recent history. A game-changer.
Billy Burns has game-changing speed. His stolen-base total of 53 is fifth most in all of minor league baseball and most in Double-A.
"Billy gets to full speed as fast as anyone I've ever seen," said Harris. With Burns' speed, Harris said it might almost be "stupid to not take advantage of what he does best."
The A's certainly have the pitching to keep games close. So if the offense struggles in tight games down the stretch, there may be no better person to have on the roster than Burns, who can come in as a late-inning pinch runner, steal a base or two and change the game's momentum.
The Athletics can't seem to have enough pitching this season. So it wouldn't be a surprise at all if, come September 1, the A's call up a pitcher or two.
Tommy Milone and Dan Straily are gone. Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin are out for the year. Jason Hammel is struggling. But the A's still have a ton of depth at starting pitching, including Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz. They might even call up Josh Lindblom.
Or maybe it will be prospect Arnold Leon who gets promoted.
Leon is 10-6 with a 5.27 ERA and a 1.578 WHIP in Triple-A Sacramento (it's worth noting his FIP is a full point lower at 4.22). Not great numbers in the minors this year, but his major league numbers are much better. In five opportunities, including one start, he has not lost one game, earned one save and owns a 2.13 ERA.
Griffin and Straily both made late debuts for Oakland, and both pitchers thrived. Perhaps Leon can be next in that line.
Note: Pomeranz and Lindblom may be more likely to receive a call-up; however, here they are not being considered prospects.
First baseman and outfielder Shane Peterson may be asking, "What's a guy got to do to earn a call-up around here?"
Peterson's .316 average leads the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. Likewise, he leads the team in runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, touched bases and walks. He's second in home runs (with Nate Freiman now on the big league squad) and stolen bases, too.
He had a short stint in Oakland earlier in the year in which he garnered one hit, one walk, one run and one RBI. But at this point, why not bring him up for depth and pinch hitting?
Peterson has earned his call-up.
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