We don't have much to look forward to as Cubs fans this September. The team hasn't come close to contention all year, the trade deadline has come and gone, and the Cubs have already called up the minor league prospects most likely to start next season.
But September call-ups are right around the corner and we should get a look at some new Cubs players as well as a fresh look at some players we've seen earlier in the season. Here's a look at some possible call-ups with their chances ranked as high, medium, or low.
High chance of getting recalled
- Jeff Beliveau, LHP: Beliveau has already spent some time with the Cubs and showed some flashes of being a bullpen option for 2013. Despite a 3.18 ERA, he struggled with his command (5.56 w/9 IP) but has shown the kind of swing and miss stuff the Cubs really need in their bullpen while in Iowa (10.9 Ks/9IP).
- Casey Coleman, RHP: We all know what Casey Coleman brings by now and he can give the Cubs some depth in their starting rotation as well as an extra bullpen arm. He was almost recalled earlier when the Cubs thought they'd made a deal to trade Ryan Dempster to the Braves. (Edit: Coleman is currently on the DL and may not return before the year is over)
- Rafael Dolis, RHP: Dolis made the team out of spring training and even temporarily became the Cubs closer when Carlos Marmol was demoted. He's been rehabbing in the AZ Rookie League. Dolis has a great arm, reaching 97 at times early in the season, but command has been an issue.
- Chris Rusin, LHP: Rusin was impressive in his one Chicago start, going 5 innings and allowing one hit and one run. His AAA season has been up and down, struggling with command more than he had in the past and leaving the ball up, not a good combo in the PCL.
- Miguel Socolovich, RHP: Socolovich spent some time in the bigs with the Baltimore Orioles and will almost certainly get a look this September as the Cubs look for cost effective bullpen options. The 26 year old has averaged a 2.91 ERA and 10.3 Ks/9IP in 3 AAA seasons, while walking 4 batters every 9 innings. This year Socolovich has a 1.90 ERA but that was fueled partly by a 2.25 ERA and an above average strand rate of 83.3%.
- Anthony Recker, C: The Cubs don't have a 3rd catcher and adding him this September will give the team more flexibility. Recker has shown some power and plate discipline at AAA.
- Adrian Cardenas, 2B: Cardenas can hit and the Cubs have had a hard time finding him somewhere to play. With the AAA season over and Cardenas already having MLB experience, it's likely he'll be recalled to give them a left-handed pinch-hitter. Cardenas has hit .234 with some extra base power (.128 ISO). At AAA, Cardenas hit .313/.396/.476.
- Tony Campana, OF: Campana can flat out fly and that alone makes him a weapon you can carry on the bench. His problem has been getting on base, including utilizing his speed to do that.. Campana is likely to be used primarily as a pinch-runner down the stretch.
- There's not much room for playing time if all of the above players get called-up, so these players here may get squeezed out. The first is Dave Sappelt. Sappelt, OF, has been rather mediocre at AAA but he's been better in the 2nd half and he has hit lefties all year. He can also run a little , hit lefties, play all 3 OF positions, and has some MLB experience. So there's some value there. He has an .817 OPS vs. lefties this season and a .775 OPS overall since the break. Granted that's not spectacular, given that the numbers are in the PCL, but hey, they're not looking for a starter here, they're just looking for a potential replacement for Reed Johnson or Joe Mather. Sappelt may be able to fill those shoes and maybe the Cubs will give him an early audition for the 5th OF'er spot. Like everyone else on this list so far, he's already on the 40 man roster.
- Junior Lake, SS: Lake has two things going for him 1) Dale Sveum is intrigued and seems to want him up and 2) He can play SS and the Cubs haven't had a backup at that position except for starting 2B Darwin Barney. He could give Castro a breather or two down the stretch, but don't expect him to be a full-time SS long term.
- Matt Szczur, OF: Szczur has just 28 AA games under his belt. He's on the 40 man roster, but the only reason to bring him up at this point is to pinch-run, but that's what they have Tony Campana for. The Cubs need to find out more about Jackson before giving MLB ABs to Szczur.
- Marcus Hatley, RHP: Hatley is a AAA reliever with big league stuff (mid 90s FB, hammer curve) and he'll have to be put on the 40 man roster to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 draft, where he'd have a good chance of being taken. Hurting his chances is an 8.79 AAA ERA, though his FIP is just 2.78. Hatley had much greater results in AA where he had a 3.40 ERA and struck out 9.2 batters per 9 IP.
- Nick Struck, RHP: Struck has arguably been the Cubs most successful minor league pitcher this year, going 13-10 with a 3.30 ERA. Like Hatley, Struck has to be placed on the 40 man roster or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. He can probably be a middle reliever in the bigs right now, so there's a chance a team could take him.
- Greg Rohan, 3B: Rohan, 26, has been extremely productive at 3 different levels this year, but he's not really considered a prospect considering he was still in Class A to begin the year. His defense and on-base skills aren't special and will almost certainly leave him on the outside looking in.
- Logan Watkins, 2B-SS-CF: Watkins is also due to be added to the 40 man and if the Cubs decide they want to give him an early taste, he can actually provide value off the bench by playing 3 key defensive positions and adding some speed and OBP skills. The Cubs will likely put him on the 40 man roster, but that probably won't happen until after the season.