Looking at which players could get called up from the 40-man roster when rosters expand September 1st

Brennan Delaney
1 year ago
With August rapidly coming to a close, it’s time to look at which players could fill the two remaining roster spots.
We’ll look at guys on the 40-man roster, as no one will need to be designated for assignment. Furthermore, Ross Atkins announced that recently re-acquired Bradley Zimmer, who’s apparently on the 40-man, will fill one of the two roster spots. However, we’ll look at who could be called up in case an injury occurs to a big league position player.

Gabriel Moreno:

The most logical call-up is the 22-year-old catcher. Although his .276/.300/.293 slash line in 60 plate appearances with the Jays wasn’t great, the young catcher is making waves with the Triple A Buffalo Bisons.
This season, Moreno is slashing .320/.383/.416 with two homers in 243 plate appearances. He has an 8.2 BB% and 16.5 K%, and a wRC+ of 118. Since his return to the minors, he’s slashing .313/.387/434 with a 124 wRC+.
At this point, the 22-year-old needs reps at the position, hence why he was sent back down after Jansen returned. However, if an injury occurs to Jansen or Kirk, there’s a chance that Moreno will be the catcher that gets the call-up.

Otto Lopez:

When his season first started, the 23-year-old utility player showed some worrisome signs. However, after an incredibly hot August, he’s slashing .295/.373/.425 with a 10.1 BB% and a 17.1 K% in 316 games.
Since July 15th, he’s slashing an absurd .410/.457/.543 in 116 plate appearances with a couple of homers. Lopez would offer a different look to opposing pitchers, as he’s not the type of player that swings for the fences like most of the current Blue Jay players.
He also offers speed once he’s on the bases, as he’s 13/18 in stolen bases for the Bisons this season.
What’s more, is that Lopez is a super utility player, as he’s had experience in centre field, left field, right field, shortstop, and second base. If an everyday player goes down, Lopez could be a direct replacement for them.

Vinny Capra:

The 26-year-old utility player has missed significant time due to injury, but has had a solid season with the Bisons. He’s slashing .273/.349/.382 in 186 plate appearances and has a 12.4 K% and a 10.2 BB%. He has four homers, but somehow has a wRC+ of 99.
I’d put Otto Lopez over him in my depth chart for utility players, but Capra looked solid when he was with the Jays earlier in the season.
Capra may be DFA’ed off the 40-man roster come the off-season so that the Jays could add one of their Rule 5 eligible prospects to the list. Other options include Zack Collins, Tayler Saucedo, Casey Lawrence, Anthony Kay, Foster Griffin, and Matt Gage.

Zach Pop:

The only reason why Zach Pop was sent to the Buffalo Bisons was that he was the only player with options who could feasibly go down. In the majors this season, he has a 3.38 ERA and 3.31 FIP in 26.2 innings pitched. He also has a ground ball percentage of 55.4%.
His numbers with the Jays are even better, as he has a 2.70 ERA and 4.78 FIP in 6.2 innings. Although he has been giving up more fly balls and line drives while striking out less. He sits in the upper 90s and has a nasty slider. In the future, we could see a more 50/50 split between the two pitchers
Pop is one of the few options that may be called up on September 1st.

Julian Merryweather:

Although he has been hit pretty hard with the Blue Jays this season, Merryweather has a respectable 3.51 FIP with the team. This is because he has a fantastic 3.6 BB%, despite giving up a normal amount of homers. In reality, Merryweather has been singled to death, even if those balls have been hit hard.
The 30-year-old flame thrower is currently on a rehab assignment with the Bisons. In his 11 innings pitched, he hasn’t allowed an earned run while posting a 2.14 FIP. Merryweather has an impressive 35.7 K% with the Bisons, and is holding batters to a .108 average.
I’m ready to believe again, and if he struggles, we’ll always have those 4.1 innings at Yankees Stadium at the start of the 2021 season.

Nate Pearson:

According to Ross Atkins, Nate Pearson will be throwing live batting practice in the upcoming days. If he’s okay, he’ll get the green light for a rehab assignment.
He’s pitched briefly with the Buffalo Bisons this season, posting a 3 ERA and 5.83 FIP in six innings pitched. In that time, he’s struck out 40.9% of the batters he’s faced while throwing heat.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think he’ll pitch for the Blue Jays this season. I also believe that the best course of action for the 26-year-old is the bullpen where he can throw gas for an inning. Cut your losses – he isn’t a starter. That doesn’t mean he can’t be an impact reliever coming out in high-leverage situations.
I wish only the best for Pearson, so hopefully, he stays healthy.

Tayler Saucedo:

The 29-year-old lefty has pitched 15.2 innings with the Buffalo Bisons on a rehab assignment. He has a 0.57 ERA and 2.48 FIP. Saucedo has a pretty good 34.8 K% while owning an elevated 12.1 BB%. Batters are hitting .179 off of him this season, which is a solid number for the pitcher.
Is he better than Tim Mayza? I don’t think so. However, if there’s an injury to either Mayza or Yusei Kikuchi, he could be one of the lefties called up.

Matt Gage:

The 29-year-old lefty Matt Gage is another option for a call-up come September 1st. With the Bisons, Gage is rocking a 1.85 ERA and 2.56 FIP in 34 innings pitched. He has a 28.9 K% and 8.1 BB%, and at this point, there’s nothing left for him to do at Triple A.
Gage has also shown to be an effective reliever with the Blue Jays this season. The 29-year-old lefty has a 1.38 ERA and 3.90 FIP in 13 innings pitched. Gage also has a 24 K%, but a rather high 12 BB%. Batters are hitting an incredibly low .140 against him in the majors.
While he wouldn’t be pitching in high leverage, he has earned the general public’s trust to pitch in the MLB, so hopefully, he gets another opportunity this season.

Trent Thornton:

Is Trent Thornton a high-leverage reliever like one of my earliest articles claimed? No. He does, however, have very good stuff and the velocity tick has improved that stuff even more.
With the Blue Jays this season, he has a 4.30 ERA and 4.72 FIP in 44 innings pitched. Thornton doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts (19.8 K%), but does limit walks just fine (8.8 BB%).
The 28-year-old’s numbers with the Bisons have been quite good. In 16 innings pitched, he has a 1.69 ERA and a 2.12 FIP. To go along with this, he’s seen an increase in strikeouts (29 K%), while having a near identical 8.7 BB%. He has a BABIP against of .372, so you can say he’s also been quite unlucky, despite the great numbers at the level.
My biggest fear is that the Houston Astros, the Dodgers or another good team will get a hold of him, and turn him into a fantastic reliever.

So who’ll fill the last two roster spots:

As I had mentioned in the article, General Manager Ross Atkins has already confirmed that Bradley Zimmer will be taking one of the two roster spots. However, if someone gets injured, I could see Otto Lopez getting an opportunity due to his insane past month.
As for the pitcher spot, it’s anybody’s guess. I’m leaning towards Merryweather, as he’s been dominant in Triple A, but has also provided some positives with the big league club in a rather large sample size.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. The last two articles in the month of August will be the last Top 60 article (10-1), as well as looking at who should be added to the 40-man roster at the end of the season.

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