Sunday, 17 August 2008

See You in September?

As much fun as it was to slap around Beckett and the Beantowners this afternoon, the chill winds of non-contention turn our thoughts, of course, to September call-ups. That's not to say that there isn't some TINY hope we can charge back into contention but looking at the upcoming schedule, my most optimistic projections for the AL East still leaves the Jays 3-5 games out. Not that finishing within 5 games of the WC and ahead of the Yankees wouldn't be a salve on my disappointments over this season, it definitely would, but I can't hold back my opinionating under the illusion of contention.

So naturally, the thoughts turn to the future - whether might our young players depart hence?

Well, for the eager, yet uninformed, fan, the obvious assumption is the Man, the Myth, the Machine - Travis Snider. Turns out, though, that said assumption would be wrong. At least, according to Jordan Bastian. The reason for the error? Said eager fans are forgetting the Arizona Fall League. In general, a player who's going to the AFL doesn't get a September call up. Bastian informed us Friday that Snider, along with JP Arencibia and Scott Campbell were already ticketed to be three of the Jays six players to head west. The other three will be pitchers, as yet unnamed, but we can - of course! - speculate.

The obvious candidates at first glance are: Brett Cecil, Rickey Romero, Davis Romero, Scott Richmond, Brad Mills, and Robert Ray. Why Ray you asked? Because this is the year he (along with Rickey Romero) would have to be added to the 40 man roster or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft and so the Jays might want a look at him against tough competition.

How to whittle that list? OK, first things first - it's pretty much a given Rickey-Ro is going. Also, the Wiki article on the AFL states that a team can only include one foreign player among it's alloted six and that player from a region which doesn't have a winter league (I am assuming that in this context being Canadian is not "foreign"). That rules out Davis Romero.

So we have 4 possibilities for 2 spots. Another factor to consider is the "Rule of Thumb" concerning stretching young pitchers. As I have alluded to before, the Jays have tightly managed Brett Cecil's IP in order to get him through a full season. The rule says that you should limit a young pitcher to no more than 30 IP over his previous high total for a single season. There is a notable pattern of injury history when this rule is violated (see Fausto Carmona for the latest example).

Cecil's previous high before this season was 112. S o far this season he has 99.1 and he has about 3 starts left for the Chiefs. If we postulate that he posts 15-18 IP the rest of the way then he has no more than 25 available to him before he hits the ceiling. Given that the AFL has a 32 game schedule, and a SP might expect to make six starts, that put's Cecil right on the fringe of where the team would want him to go. All that said, he might go and pitch in relief.

Brad Mills is right at the ceiling now with three regular starts left. He could conceivably be shut down before the end of the AA season. He's not going. Ray is in a similar situation.

That leads me to believe that Scott Richmond becomes the rather obvious choice. I can't think of a single good argument for not sending him. And given the lack of an obvious third candidate, count Cecil in too.

So there you have, friends and neighbors, six players who almost certainly will NOT be September call ups. what does that leave us with? We know from previous years (hat tip to Thomas at Batters Box) that JP's Jays tend to call up about 5 players - usually three pitchers, a catcher, and one other guy. It should be noted here, in answer to the persistent misunderstanding, that a September call-up does NOT start the service-time clock that seems to be on everyone's mind the last few years.

The catcher is the most obvious call - JPA has other plans, Jeroloman isn't hitting AAA pitching yet, and Thigpen seems to have forgotten how. The above-pictured Robinzon Diaz is penciled in as the front-runner for the back-up job next year and has already had a couple of cups of coffee, he's in like Flynn.

Two of the three pitchers are easy calls - Brian Wolfe and Jeremy Accardo (or whoever is demoted for him if he's activated within the next two weeks). The third guy is almost certainly John Parrish. That would leave Davis Romero on the outside looking in here too. I, for one, think the young man has done all he needs to do to earn the look, and that the team might want to at least let Arny look him over in anticipation of his being a candidate for next year's pen. I can't predict D-Ro will be added, but neither would I be surprised if they found room in the new clubhouse for one more guy.

Finally, the one other position player. Some will call for Coats here, or some crusty never-will-be like Hector Luna, or ride a dark horse like David Smith. But as Thomas pointed out, the guy who best suits the situation is erstwhile disappointment, Russ Adams.

Besides having the higher profile within the organization, and the ability to play (at least to some degree) multiple positions, Adams is facing a potential removal from the 40 man roster (IMO, he won't be but at least there is some noise about it) and, more importantly, the man has been ON FIRE since the AAA All Star Break. In 104 post-ASB at bats, Adams is hitting .356 - .415 - .558 - .973 and he's gotten hotter as he moved into August. In fact, if Adams had not had the sort of June (at the plate) that a pitcher would have been ashamed of, he'd have had a respectable year. Take out June and his numbers look like this: .285 - .372 - .463 - .835

I don't see the Buck Coats and the Hector Lunas of the world having a better argument than that. Off topic but I'd really like to see Adams get a shot at playing 2B in the majors for some team next year. He is probably better right now than Tad Iguchi, or Adam Kennedy, or Luis Castillo, to name just a few.

There is also the possibility that Scott Rolen will take one more try before calling it a season. I'm not sure if you technically call it a September call up but he may well be added to the roster on September 1.

So, to filter all that down into one sentence: your September call-ups will be Brian Wolfe, Jeremy Accardo, John Parrish, Robinzon Diaz, and probably Russ Adams, with Davis Romero also a possibility.

Now you know.



Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Russ Adams? Woooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

i look forward to all the douchebags who will be calling in to Wilner's show to rip JP about his draftage of Adams. Because, you know, no other GM in history has ever drafted a kid who didn't pan out.

Anonymous said...

Nice break down.