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August 29, 2019

Why Phillies' September roster call-ups probably won't help much

The Phillies are somehow still very much alive in their bid to make the postseason.

With 30 games remaining (in just 31 days), Philly is in a race against the Cubs, Brewers, Mets and Diamondbacks for the second wild card spot in the NL, currently sitting two behind Chicago and slightly ahead of the other aforementioned teams.

In theory, they could be getting a boost come Sunday, when September call-ups permit the Phillies to extend their active roster from 25 men to 40. But as has been seen through the revolving door which has brought a ridiculous 53 players to the lineup or pitching staff through five months this season, there isn't a lot to be excited about.

The team is permitted to make changes to its 40-man roster up until September begins and have that player be eligible for the major leagues — so changes could be coming. But any move would then release a player onto waivers which is a risky move. 

Here's a look at the 15 players not currently on the roster who could join the team next week. Remember that top prospects Alec Bohm, Mickey Moniak and Spencer Howard — among others — are not currently eligible for a call up:

The injured (Adam Morgan, Juan Nicasio, Roman Quinn, Jay Bruce)

It's worth mentioning, first, that Philadelphia has 12 players on its injury list — four of whom still hold 40-man roster spots (meaning they are expected to return). Of those four, pitchers Morgan and Nicasio are each expected to return sometime during the first half of September. Outfielders Bruce and Quinn are expected to return even sooner. Here's what the Phils will be getting back from them:

Juan NicasioRHP2-3, 4.93 ERA45
 Adam Morgan LHP3-3, 3.94 ERA40
Jay BruceOF.250/.266/.550, 10 HR, 29 RBI34
Roman QuinnOF.213/.298/.370, 4 HR, 11 RBI44

Triple-A re-tread pitchers (Nick Pivetta, Jerad Eickhoff, Enyel De Los Santos, Cole Irvin, J.D. Hammer)

None of these pitchers have you excited? The depth coming will certainly help, as each of this quintet of hurlers has shown at least some signs of big league talent during their various stints on the MLB roster. Irvin, for one, had a great start to his career but wound up out of steam after his eight big league appearances. Hammer, too, looked like a solid bullpen piece early before coming back to earth after 20 appearances.

Here are some MLB numbers from the five Triple-A pitchers, each likely to rejoin the team in South Philly right away as the Iron Pigs will miss the playoffs:

Nick PivettaRHP4-6, 5.38 ERA24 (13 starts)
Jerad EickhoffRHP4-3, 5.71 ERA12 (10 starts)
Enyel De Los SantosRHP0-1, 7.36 ERA3 (1 start)
Cole IrvinLHP2-1, 7.98 ERA8 (3 starts)
J.D. HammerRHP1-0, 3.79 ERA20

Hammer, Eickhoff and De Los Santos, it's worth noting, have been subpar in Triple-A as well — but Pivetta and Irvin have combined to go 11-2 with ERA's under 4.

Old friends with (some) power (Nick Williams, Maikel Franco)

That's right, when Lehigh Valley ends its season with a losing record on September 2, Williams and Franco will be back in the Phillies dugout. 

Each has been a highly touted offensive prospect and each has shown bright spots in the big leagues — but each has also lost their MLB job this season. Let's start with the good news: Williams is crushing it in the minors. The left-handed outfielder is hitting .315 with 10 homers and 25 RBI through 48 Triple-A games. Franco hasn't been as solid, mustering just four hits over his six games in between demotions. 

Here's what they did when members of the Phillies:

Nick WilliamsOF.158/.206/.257, 39 Ks60
Maikel Franco3B.233/.299/.407, 15 HR, 48 RBI105

The prospects (Adonis Medina, Arquimedes Gamboa)

There are two prospects on the Phillies 40-man roster right now and neither one is really playing like they deserve a promotion. But if the Phillies don't make any other moves before Sunday, Gamboa and Medina could be the 54th and 55th players to appear in a game this year.

Both were rated in's top 25 for the organization before the season started (Medina No. 2, Gamboa No. 22) and both currently play in Reading — a team slated to make the postseason, which could delay any possible call up.

Medina is the top arm in the Phillies farm system (though Howard is pitching much better in Double-A right now), while Gamboa is a fantastic shortstop who can't seem to hit well enough to keep up with his defensive talent. He also has a truly bizarre slash line with a higher on-base percentage than slugging percentage. Then again, 57 walks compared to just 27 total extra base hits in more than 400 at bats will do that. 

Here's how they've fared in the minors this season:

Adonis MedinaRHP6-7, 4.97 ERA21
Arquimedes GamboaSS.183/.303/.265, 57 walks, 21 SB105

Who? (Jose Pirela)

The final man currently on the 40-man roster is a journeyman utility position player acquired by the Phillies from the Padres in late July. Pirela is 29 and a career .258 hitter who has played for San Diego and for the Yankees. In 27 games down in Lehigh Valley, he's hit .289 with 11 stolen bases. He's played all his games as an outfielder but he has started in the big leagues at first, second and third base.

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