Pirates call-ups to help post-season push
The first of September in Pittsburgh normally means the arrival of 10-15 minor league prospects that will be getting their feet wet in the majors for the first time. Those players have been accustomed to being in a loose environment which they can take the atmosphere in without being overwhelmed by the nerves of a pennant race.
2012 will be quite different for the Pirates when September 1 rolls around. The Pirates will not call up the maximum amount of players, 15. Adding 15 players to a squad becomes a distraction, which is something no team in a pennant race needs. The Pirates will only be calling up players that can truly help in their push to the post-season.
Not only will the Pirates be calling up fewer players than in years past, but management also needs to denote who will be on the 25 man roster compared to just the 40 man roster.
Logistics of Active/ 40 Man Rosters
As of Friday, August 31 at midnight, the Pirates must denote which players will be on their 25 man roster for the long haul. If the team were to make the playoffs, only these players would be able to participate. All players on the 7 or 15 day disabled list are eligible for postseason play, but not players added to the 60 day disabled list after August 1.
On September 1, the Pirates can then recall up to 15 players, but these players can only participate in games until the conclusion of the regular season.
The only way around the 25 man roster limitation in the playoffs is if a player were to be injured. If a player is injured, a “like position” player would be eligible to take his spot on the roster. That replacement player does not need to be on the 40 man roster, but needs to currently be a member of the organization.
Current Active 25 Man Roster
Catcher– Rod Barajas
Other 15 Players Not on Active Roster
Catcher– Eric Fryer
*With Erik Bedard being released this week, the Pirates currently have a spot open on their 40 man roster.
The Pirates currently have a six man bench, a seven man bullpen and a four-man rotation, plus eight position starters to give them 25 players. If the team were to be planning for the playoffs, they would keep that four man rotation, with at least one long relief man in an eight-man bullpen and a five man bench.
After seeing the full 40 man roster, lets take a look at what changes should be expected or at least debated before the playoff rosters are set Friday night. The Pirates bullpen should be under much scrutiny due to a lackluster August. Over the last 30 days, the Pirates bullpen is ranked 10th in the NL with a 4.07 ERA.
Chris Resop, Jared Hughes, Hisanori Takahashi and Kevin Correia all could be on the hot seat for making the 25 man playoff roster. Although those players should be considered as players to be replaced, it is highly unlikely that more than two of them would be replaced on the 25 man roster.
40 Man Roster Call-Up Predictions
Locke will absolutely be called up and it seems likely he will take a 25 man playoff roster spot away from someone. Locke could be used in long relief or in the starting rotation down the stretch of the season in September. If the Pirates were to make the playoffs, it seems likely that Locke would be used in long relief, as the Pirates would go to a four man rotation in the post-season.
* 25 Man Roster
Wilson is not far behind Locke, as the Pirates are very intrigued by him. Wilson has been recently moved to the bullpen in AAA Indianapolis and would be a nice addition to a bullpen that has worked with only one lefty for most of the season.
* 25 Man Roster
The Pirates like what they see out of McPherson and he will surely be called up. It is debatable if the youngster will make the 25 man playoff roster or not, but with Hurdle taking a liking to the youngster, it is not out of the question. It will be between McPherson and Morris to get another spot on the 25 man roster, but since McPherson has pitched for the Pirates in 2012, he might have the advantage.
*25 Man Roster
Judging by the numbers, Bryan Morris has been ready to pitch out of the bullpen at the major league level since the beginning of the season, but has yet to pitch for the Pirates. Morris has a 2.56 ERA and 73 strikeouts through 77.1 innings pitched. Morris will absolutely be a call up come September, but without pitching in the majors, it seems unlikely that management would rely on Morris past the regular season.
* 40 Man Roster
McCutchen has shown versatility out of the bullpen in past seasons, but has only made one appearance for the Pirates in 2012 after being injured to start the season. McCutchen could be useful to the Pirates in a marathon game, as he can throw multiple innings and is very athletic, but do not look for him to be added to the 25 man playoff roster.
* 40 Man Roster
The Pirates would love to add another catcher to the mix, as they have been handcuffed all season without having another option behind the plate besides Barajas and McKenry. Adding a third catcher, will allow Manager Clint Hurdle to use McKenry more freely in pitch-hitting and substitutions without worrying about running out of catchers in a game. Barring injury, Fryer will most likely not be added to the 25 man playoff roster.
* 40 Man Roster
With the injury to Starling Marte, Presley will absolutely be called up come September 1. Presley and Jose Tabata have both struggled this season for the Pirates, but in 35 at bats since returning, Tabata has hit .286 with a .375 OBP. With Starling Marte still scheduled to be on the disabled list Friday, Presley could be added to the 25 man roster and be taken off in favor of Marte when the playoffs arrive.
* 25 Man Roster
New Look 25 Man Playoff Prediction
Rotation– Burnett, McDonald, Rodriguez, Karstens
Bullpen– Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli, Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, Kevin Correia, Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, Kyle McPherson/Bryan Wilson
Bench– Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Gaby Sanchez, Alex Presley, Michael McKenry
Chris Resop and Hisanori Takahashi seem the most likely pitchers to be left off the Pirates 25 man playoff roster. Chase d’Arnaud and Jeff Clement will most likely not make the 25 man playoff roster either, as Sanchez, Mercer and Harrison have locks on the backup positions.
Since Marte will still be on the disabled list Friday night, he will be eligible for post-season play and Alex Presley will get the call-up as the extra outfielder. If Neil Walker’s back spasms worsen, do not be surprised if he lands on the disabled list, giving the Pirates another option for the 25 man roster.