With less than a week until rosters expand from 25 to 40 on September 1, the St. Louis Cardinals will welcome a handful of reinforcements as they enter the final month of the regular season in a jam-packed National League Central Division race.
A club looking for an extra jolt will benefit from the added depth and talent when rosters expand.
Manager Mike Matheny isn't going to balk at an opportunity to fortify his roster.
"I think everybody is pretty clear in our system what the priorities are, and the priority is winning here," he told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. "If we have need, we go get players who can come and help us. They do a great job of adapting in our system to fill holes."
The Cardinals certainly have need for players who can provide a spark of energy. The most glaring void is the bench, where Cardinals pinch hitters rank 13th in the majors (sixth in the NL) with their combined .234 average.
That said, here are five players the Cardinals will promote come September based on their success at Triple-A Memphis this season:
Randal Grichuk, Outfielder
Randal Grichuk spent nearly a month with the parent club and never found his groove at the plate. He hit just .136 in 19 games. However, the 23-year-old outfielder has made the most of his time in Memphis this season. He's hitting .259 with 71 RBI and a .311 on-base percentage in over 100 games with the Redbirds. More impressive is Grichuk's team-leading 25 home runs this season.
The Cardinals could use Grichuk's bat in late-game situations. Matheny could also utilize Grichuk by giving him a chance or two to keep starting outfielders Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos fresh.
Pete Kozma, Shortstop
With Jhonny Peralta, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong eating up innings in the Cardinals infield, Pete Kozma was the odd man out. He eventually landing in Memphis.
But with Mark Ellis on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle, the Cardinals need depth in the infield.
For the season, Kozma has 30 extra-base hits to his credit, including eight home runs.
Kozma may only be hitting .253 at Memphis this season, but he brings playoff experience. And that's always a plus for any team.
Stephen Piscotty, Outfielder
Stephen Piscotty is the most major league-ready outfielder in the Cardinals organization, and he's more than deserving of a promotion in September.
The 23-year-old has a knack for getting on base with his .348 on-base percentage this season. He's also gone deep eight times and driven in 65.
When it comes overall production at the plate, the Cardinals need Piscotty's presence on the bench, if not in occasionally in the lineup.
Xavier Scruggs, First Base
With Matt Adams the everyday Cardinals first baseman, Xavier Scruggs won't be called up permanently for the foreseeable future. However, his overall stats this season at Triple-A Memphis warrant a well-deserved promotion. At the very least, the Cardinals should give the 26-year-old minor leaguer a few at-bats in September.
Scruggs, who is hitting .280 for the Redbirds this season, has launched 20 homers and driven in 83. Moreover, over his last 10 games, Scruggs is hitting .297 with a pair of homers, four RBI and eight runs scored.
Tim Cooney, Pitcher
You can never have enough pitching, which is why the Cardinals need to take a long look at 23-year-old lefty Tim Cooney.
Cooney (13-6, 3.55 ERA) is having a stellar season for Memphis. He leads the team in wins and innings pitched (152).
The Cardinals could utilize Cooney by putting him in the bullpen to eat up innings in order to keep the other relievers fresh.
"We just push forward with the best that we have," Matheny told Langosch. And these five players will certainly help the Cardinals in the final month of the regular season.
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