The Blue Jays made one September call-up as Major League roster expanded today. It wasn’t an exciting one. They added non-prospect Beau Taylor to the big league roster, who was claimed off waivers from Oakland a couple of weeks ago, in order to give the team some more catching depth.
But what about actual prospects? Who should we expect to see when the Minor League season comes to an end tomorrow?
Let’s start with the guys who are already on the 40-man roster. Thomas Pannone, Sean Reid-Foley, Justin Shafer, and Brock Stewart, all guys we’ve seen with the Jays during the season, are sure to be up once Buffalo’s season comes to an end. Richard Urena will re-join the team and I imagine Jonathan Davis and Anthony Alford will too. It won’t be easy for Charlie Montoyo will find those three aforementioned guys playing time, but it’s worthwhile to have them around.
The trickier ones are the 40-man arms who are currently pitching in Double-A. New Hampshire’s season will also end on Monday, making Hector Perez, Patrick Murphy, and Yennsy Diaz all options to join the Jays. We saw Diaz make a spot start earlier in the season and it didn’t go well, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see him again. Murphy’s season got derailed as he had to reinvent his delivery due to it violating some rule and Perez had a pretty meh season in Double-A. None have kicked the door down but all could see some innings at the Major League level this September.
The Jays also need to reinstate Elvis Luciano from the 60-day Injured List from Rule 5-itis. The whole point of stashing him on the IL for a good chunk of the season was to dart around the rules of having a Rule 5 guy on the roster for the entirety of the season so they wouldn’t have to give him back to the Royals. Obviously, the 19-year-old Luciano was in waaay over his depth in the Majors, but the rules stipulate that he only needs to spend 90 days on the active roster. That means he needs to be with the Jays for (if my counting is correct) 15 days in September. He doesn’t even have to pitch.
What about players who aren’t currently on the 40-man roster?
We already know that Nate Pearson won’t join the Blue Jays this month. This isn’t surprising given the fact he was on a strict innings limit this season and adding him to the 40-man roster at this point would make life even more difficult for a team already in Rule 5 Draft trouble. So, as fun as it would be to see Toronto’s top prospect get a cup of coffee at the Major League level, it just doesn’t make sense. Moving along.
T.J. Zeuch had a strong season with the Bisons and Anthony Kay has been excellent since being acquired in the Marcus Stroman deal. There are also a few other pitchers on the Bisons, like Zach Jackson, Kirby Snead, and Ty Tice, who probably pitched well enough to warrant a cup of coffee at the Major League level. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above with Pearson, the Jays are in a 40-man roster bind when it comes to the Rule 5 draft, and decisions around these players will be made with that in mind.
Eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter are, among many others in the system, Kay, Zeuch, Snead, and Jackson. If the Jays deem any of those three important enough to add to the 40-man this winter to ensure they aren’t exposed to the Rule 5 draft, they could be added now and brought up in September. I imagine both Kay and Zeuch will be priorities for the Blue Jays, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them added to the roster now so they can begin competing for rotation spots in 2020.
Correction: I originally thought that Kay wouldn’t be eligible for the Rule 5 draft because he missed 2016 and 2017 due to injury. Major League Baseball still counts those towards eligibility for the Rule 5 draft, so the Jays will, in fact, need to add him to the 40-man. Players drafted at age 19 or older are eligible after four years of professional baseball, regardless of injury.