31 August 2011
Everything has been going right for the Diamondbacks over the last nine days, but the team can always use some extra options for the bench and the bullpen. Teams are allowed to expand their rosters after September 1st, so expect some additions for the start of the weekend series in San Francisco. However, since both AAA Reno and AA Mobile will be in their league playoffs next week, the team's options might be restricted. But the Major League team always get priority if they think they really need a minor leaguer.
Jack Magruder quoted Manager Kirk Gibson as saying the team will call up IF Geoff Blum, LHP Alberto Castillo, a third catcher, and a couple of bullpen arms. Who might these other players be? For the third catcher position, the two likely choices are either Konrad Schmidt or Luke May from AAA Reno. Both are 26 years old, and have limited major league experience. Schmidt is hitting .282/.332/.451 for Reno, while May is at .258/.349/.450. But May spent most of the year with the Royals AAA affiliate, where he was only hitting .176. Plus, May hasn't worked with most of the pitchers on the Diamondbacks' staff, so Schmidt seems like the better choice. But would the organization prefer to have Schmidt starting in the AAA playoffs and playing every day, or sitting on the bench in the Majors? I think they would rather have Schmidt in the Majors, just in case they want to pinch-run for Montero in a key situation.
As for the bullpen arms, I think Sam Demel is the most likely choice. Although Demel's overall ERA in AAA is 5.06, he has been much more effective of late, with six straight scoreless outings. The next choice is probably Ryan Cook. Cook has a 2.25 ERA between AA and AAA, with a solid 61K/22BB in 60 IP. He has been the closer in AAA, and has been Reno's most consistent reliever. Unfortunately, Cook struggled in his earlier major league opportunity, but I think he could still be a useful arm to have around. In preparation for one of the relievers moving up, Mobile's closer Mike DeMark has already been promoted to Reno.
After Demel and Cook, Kam Mickolio has a 5.07 ERA and has not pitched well recently (11 ER and 25 baserunners over his last 9.1 IP), and Esmerling Vasquez's ERA is up to 6.57. Among the Reno starters, Barry Enright has the lowest ERA at 5.21, so he could be an option if the team wants one more innings eater. There have been reports that Mobile's outstanding rotation of Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin, and Charles Brewer will be kept together for the AA Playoffs, so it's unlikely that any of them will be called up this weekend, although there is still a possibility that Bauer might see a call-up after Mobile's season ends.
So my guess is that Sam Demel, Ryan Cook, and Konrad Schmidt will join Geoff Blum and Alberto Castillo with the Major League club in San Francisco this weekend. If Arizona decides they want one more long relief option after Micah Owings and Zach Duke, then Barry Enright could be the 4th pitcher called up.