September is a great month for baseball. Tensions rise as the pennant races heat up and the postseason nears. September also marks the month for expanded rosters and prospects being recalled league-wide. In September, a team can play with up to a 40-man active roster with no penalty, as opposed to the 25-man limit during the season.
For the 2018 Yankees, September will likely mark the recalling of several familiar faces, as well as a few intriguing prospects. Here’s a quick look at the call-ups that the Bombers will consider over the next week before September 1.
On the 40-man roster
This first round of recalls is made of players who are already on the 40-man roster, thus no one has to be cut to make room for them. Teams always carry three catchers in September, and while Kyle Higashioka is technically on the active roster already, he would have been sent down when Gary Sanchez returns.
If Sanchez returns on September 1 though, the Yankees can keep Higashioka on the MLB club without having to send him down. The Yankees also traded for a Double-A catcher, Chris Rabago, who is on the 40-man and could easily be recalled in case of emergency.
Luke Voit and Ronald Torreyes are also on the active roster due to various injuries, but would have been sent down when another player heals. Thanks to September call-ups though, these players will also stay on the roster into the season’s final month and provide some depth and versatility. Chance Adams was recently demoted, but he will certainly be back before season’s end.
Every team needs a classic speedster and a utility player on their expanded roster, and with Tyler Wade, the Yankees get both. He can play almost any infield or outfield position and may be the fastest player on the team. Wade might even be used in the playoffs as a late-game pinch runner if he avoids careless outs.
Luis Cessa has been up and down a handful of times this year, and will surely stay up as a long reliever and spot starter for the stretch run. The only other healthy player on the 40-man roster is Double-A lefty Ryan Bollinger. He too could be used as a long reliever, but there are some more attractive options.
Injured, but on the 40-man roster
These next four players certainly would have received September recalls if they weren’t injured. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for these guys. Jonathan Loaisiga, has made two starts for the Double-A Trenton Thunder this month after rehabbing a shoulder injury. I’d expect Loaisiga, the club’s number three prospect, to be an option for the Yankees in a little over a week.
Another pitcher on the Thunder who is on the 40-man roster is Domingo Acevedo, the club’s fifth-best prospect. Acevedo was recalled in July, but didn’t pitch. He is currently rehabbing an injury in Staten Island, but should be good to go in September if the Yankees are interested in recalling him.
Domingo German had some ups and downs this year in the Bronx, but showed good velocity and generated a high whiff rate. However, he hurt his elbow in his first minor league start since his demotion. German just began a rehab stint with the Gulf Coast League Yankees, so he is on track to return sometime in September.
Finally, there’s Clint Frazier. Red Thunder would have played a big role for the Yankees this year with all of the injuries to their outfield, but Frazier suffered a concussion with lingering effects. While Frazier is reportedly doing “baseball activities,” there is no timetable for his return. It’s a shame, too, because he’d be arguably the most impactful player of anyone on this list.
Players not on the 40-man roster
Although the 40-man roster is full, all signs point to Justus Sheffield, the Yankees’ top prospect, receiving a promotion. The club has shifted him into the Triple-A bullpen, an indication that he will operate as a big league reliever in September. Yankees fans have waited a long time to see Sheffield in the Big Apple, and that time is finally near.
The Yankees have a couple of veterans stashed away at Triple-A who could also be helpful depth. George Kontos is a familiar arm who’s pitching at a level too low, and could help lengthen the bullpen while Aroldis Chapman rehabs. Also, infielder Giovanny Urshela, who started for the Indians in a couple of playoff games last year, is an option for infield depth.
The Bomberss could go really outside the box and reward a couple of more unheralded prospects, but this seems unlikely. Still, infielder Abiatal Avelino and pitchers Erik Swanson and Michael King have been good enough this year to at least warrant consideration for a call-up. They may be added to the 40-man roster this winter anyway, so why not give them a shot?
The Yankees are a team that will benefit greatly from September call-ups this year. With all of the injuries they’ve suffered, being able to play with an expanded roster will help Aaron Boone rest the players who need it most heading into the playoffs. Some of the call-ups, like Wade, Adams and Sheffield, may even have a chance to make it on the postseason roster if this audition goes well.