Written by: Tre LyDay – Staff Writing Intern (@trelyday03)
The MLB roster expands to 40 players on September 1st. It’s a time that some people hate. Why, because teams call up a handful of situational pitchers, and make a pitching change after every batter. It’s mundane really, and slows the game down. Although the teams that are essentially out of the playoff hunt use the roster expansion as a good reason to call up some of their top prospects. Here are some guys that you should keep an eye out for in the next month.
Hunter Renfroe: OF Padres
Hunter Renfroe is the 46th ranked prospect according to MLB.com. One of the Padres most coveted prospects has spent the last couple years in AAA just waiting for a chance, and it might come sooner than later. The main reason it’s taken so long for this opportunity to present itself is, because the Padres outfield had been so crowded most of the season. All the way up till the trade deadline the Padres sent out Melvin Upton Jr. and Matt Kemp every day, and there just wasn’t enough room for him. Now that the Padres have traded both players, the outfield has now become somewhat thin. Their everyday outfielders consist of Travis Jankowski, Alex Dickerson and Patrick Kivlehan. Not the greatest group of outfielders. The Padres aren’t making the playoffs, and they’re thin in the outfield. This is a perfect opportunity to get Renfroe some major league experience.
Jose De Leon: RHP Dodgers
If the Dodgers are going to stick with Julio Urias’s innings limit then he doesn’t have much time left. I’ve mentioned this before that the Dodgers might have an ace in the whole given the health issues they’ve had on their pitching staff. Right now the Dodgers have a whopping seven pitchers on the DL. Clayton Kershaw is still progressing, but there’s still no timetable for his return. With the injuries, and Urias’s innings limit then Jose De Leon could find himself thrown right into a pennant race. The Dodgers have gone from 6.5 games back on July 12th, to leading the division by 3 games, and on the verge of sweeping the Giants. Since July 12th the Dodgers are 20-15 which is the fourth best record in the National League in that time frame. They’ve miraculously done it without Kershaw, and a new pitcher on the DL seemingly every other week. Should the Dodgers lose another pitcher or Urias hit’s his innings limit then you could see De Leon sooner rather than later.
Josh Hader: LHP Brewers
The Brewers are one of those teams that have no chance of making the playoffs. They traded Jonathan Lucroy, so it looks like they’re still in rebuild mode. Hader came over from Houston in the Gomez/Fiers trade. In his time in the Southern League he compiled a miniscule 0.95 ERA, and a whopping 73 strikeouts in only 57 innings pitched. He’s done the same thing in AAA. He’s racked up 81 strikeouts in 62 innings. His ERA has spiked to 4.79, but that’s of no concern, because he can get on roll, and mow people down. The Brewers don’t have the greatest pitching staff, and Hader being the 39th ranked prospect, I am almost certain he will be called up this year.
Lewis Brinson: OF Brewers
Brinson is the 16th ranked prospect, and he’s in Milwaukee farm system courtesy of the Jonathan Lucroy trade. He didn’t become the fifth ranked outfield prospect by accident. Since he got to the Brewers AAA club, he’s hitting .407. His batting average is actually higher than is OBP, but has still managed to compile an OPS of 1.004 in the 14 games he’s been there. He’s a five tool outfielder, and the scouts rave about him. Some even say he could be a 30-30 player should he avoid the leg injuries that have plagued him throughout his short career. The Brewers have already called up Keon Broxton, so I would assume that Brinson will be on his way to the big leagues along with Hader.
Brendan Rodgers: IF Rockies
The Rockies are falling fast in the Wild Card race, and while they are not conceding they need to still think towards the future. The Rockies are currently without shortstop Trevor Story who tore a ligament in his thumb that effectively ended his season. We all know the infield is set when they’re healthy Arenado at third, Story at short and LeMahieu at second; but since Story went down the Rockies have had a hard time finding someone to play short. Cristhian Adames has played some short, so had Daniel Descalso, but I think it would be in the Rockies best interest to get a good look at their top prospect. The Rockies top pick in 2015 is a mirror image of Trevor Story. A shortstop with power. This year in AAA he’s hitting .285 with 19 home runs and 71 RBI’s in 105 games. Although he does strike out like Story the risk, reward when he’s at the plate is all the same especially in that Colorado air. Who knows the Rockies call him up he could provide a spark, and the Rockies could repeat 2007. You just never know with baseball.