Who Will The A's Call-Up In September?

For teams out of post-season contention, the month of September is a time to assess their future. Which young players will the Oakland A's take a look at this September? We take a look at the candidates and assess the likelihood of their call-ups inside...

In an interview last week with OaklandClubhouse, Oakland A's Assistant GM David Forst explained that the team is likely to call up players in September in stages, with a few coming up on September 2nd and the rest coming up as needed (or after the Sacramento River Cats' playoff run is completed).

If history is any indication, the A's will probably call-up a third catcher and one or two relievers when September 2nd rolls around. Then as other roster needs pop up (i.e., due to injury), other players will get recalled. The biggest wave of September call-ups is likely to come the day after the River Cats finish their post-season run, however deep into September that goes.

In some respects, the September call-ups have started a little early for the A's. Last week the A's brought-up catcher Anthony Recker, as well as pitchers Josh Outman, Graham Godfrey and Jerry Blevins. Godfrey and Blevins have been sent back to Sacramento, but Outman and Recker remain on the Oakland roster and will should see a decent amount of playing time out of the bullpen and behind the plate, respectively, the rest of the season. The A's are also recalling reliever Neil Wagner from Sacramento on Tuesday. Wagner was a potential September call-up whose ascension to the big leagues was accelerated by a few days thanks to a bullpen-draining roadtrip through New York and Boston.

Below we take a look at the rest of the players who are likely to be considered for a call-up and analyze the probability of them playing with Oakland in September.

The Candidates

Stats as of Monday morning, August 29

Landon Powell (on 40-man roster)

Powell was just sent down to Sacramento last week and he is likely to return to the A's in September, probably in that first wave of call-ups. Having three catchers on the roster is a luxury that almost every team employs at the start of September and the A's historically have been no exception. Through Sunday, Powell had five hits (including a homer) and three walks in five games with Sacramento.

Call-up Probability: High

Adam Rosales (on 40-man roster)
Rosales' season has been filled with frustration, as he began the year on the disabled list and then was rushed back to the big leagues at the start of a rehab assignment, only to receive scattered playing time at the big league level. Sent back to Sacramento in July, Rosales has had more steady playing time the second half of the season. Although his numbers haven't been great (.267/.320/.385), Rosales is still likely to get a return trip to the big leagues in September. His versatility makes him a valuable defensive asset and he should come into spring training next year with a chance to compete with Eric Sogard for a utility infielder spot. Unless the A's feel that either Jemile Weeks or Cliff Pennington are in need of some regular time off early in September, Rosales may not be recalled until later in the month, as the River Cats are relatively thin at the shortstop position.

Call-up Probability: High

Joey Devine (on 40-man roster)
Devine has had his ups-and-downs this season, his first since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2009. He has shown dynamic stuff for most of the season, but his command, at times, has completely escaped him. He had a particularly poor outing on August 21st in Tucson, but, for the most part, has been pitching well with the River Cats of late. Wagner's promotion to Oakland may mean the A's don't need Devine at the start of September, but he should rejoin the A's bullpen at some point during the month.

Call-up Probability: High

Jordan Norberto (on 40-man roster)
It has been a rough introduction to his new organization for Norberto, who has shown little command during two stints at the major league level with Oakland. Still, the A's like the left-hander's potential and will probably give him another look before the end of the season.

Call-up Probability: High

Graham Godfrey (on 40-man roster)
Godfrey was set to take over as the A's fifth starter when it was believed Oakland had a deal in place with Boston to trade starter Rich Harden. When that fell through, Godfrey remained in Sacramento until this past weekend, when he made an emergency spot start during the A's Irene-induced Saturday double-header. Given that Godfrey has been the pitcher the A's have (or almost have) turned to when they needed to fill a spot in the rotation, it seems likely that he will be given one or two starts towards the end of September when the A's start to stretch out their rotation to ease up on the workload for their current five-man rotation. There isn't any urgency to add a sixth-man to the rotation, however, and Godfrey will have to remain in Sacramento at least until September 8, so it wouldn't be surprising if Godfrey finished the River Cats' post-season run before receiving a recall.

Call-up Probability: High

Jerry Blevins (on 40-man roster)
If there were a yo-yo company in need of a spokesman, Blevins would be their man. The left-hander has spent virtually the entire season moving back-and-forth from Sacramento to Oakland. He was sent down once again on Saturday, but is likely to re-emerge with Oakland sometime during the second or third week of September.

Call-up Probability: High

Chris Carter (on 40-man roster)
Carter's future is one of the most controversial topics surrounding the A's. The first half of the slugger's season was essentially lost due to a sprained thumb and then a stint in the big leagues during which his playing time was irregular, at best. It took Carter some time to get back on track once he returned to Sacramento, but he has found his groove lately. He has four homeruns and a 1070 OPS over his last 10 games, raising his overall minor league OPS to 868 for the season. With Brandon Allen grabbing hold of the first base job in Oakland – at least for the moment – and Conor Jackson and Hideki Matsui still on the A's roster, playing time could be scarce again for Carter if he were to be called up early in September. A call-up after the River Cats' post-season run is more likely.

Call-up Probability: Likely, but later in the month

Michael Taylor (on 40-man roster)
If Carter's future is controversial topic number 1, Taylor's future is controversial topic 1A. The highly touted prospect struggled last season – his first as part of the A's organization – and wasn't given a September call-up. This year, he has played much better after missing the first six weeks of the season with a sprained wrist. In 89 games with the River Cats, Taylor has 15 homeruns and an 827 OPS and he has played solid defense while running the bases well. The A's have a very crowded outfield situation currently. There isn't a rush to bring Taylor up, but he figures to get some time at the end of the month, as much as a reward for recovering from last year's rough season than anything else.

Call-up Probability: Likely, but later in the month

Josh Donaldson (on 40-man roster)
Donaldson was seemingly leap-frogged on the A's depth chart by Recker when the latter was called up by Oakland last week. However, Donaldson has had a decent season in his own right. He got off to a horrible start in April, but recovered to post OPSs of 837 or higher in May, June and July before slumping again in August. Overall he has a 770 OPS and 16 homers in 107 games. Donaldson has improved defensively behind the plate and has appeared in more games at third and first base, increasing his versatility. With Suzuki, Recker and likely Powell up in the big leagues in early September, Donaldson probably won't join the A's until after the River Cats' post-season run concludes – if he is called up at all. Even if he isn't called up, he should still have an opportunity to compete for the A's back-up catcher role next spring.

Call-up Probability: 50/50

Adrian Cardenas (on 40-man roster)
Like Taylor, Cardenas had a disappointing season in 2010 and didn't receive a September call-up. This year, the infielder has maintained a .300 average for virtually the entire season and is batting .374 in August. Defensively, Cardenas is still looking for an identity, as the A's have moved him from third to second to left field at various points of the season. He has also spent a lot of time at DH. Cardenas doesn't have the power to be an everyday DH or corner outfielder in the big leagues, so his infield defense will need to improve to establish himself as a big league regular. Still, his offensive improvements at the Triple-A level (more than a 100 point jump in OPS from last season to this season) have been impressive and it wouldn't be surprising for the A's to reward the work that Cardenas has put into this season with a call-up after the River Cats' post-season run is finished.

Call-up Probability: 50/50

Tyson Ross (on 40-man roster)
It has been another season interrupted by injuries for Ross, who has only 67.2 innings under his belt this season despite spending practically the entire year in the starting rotation. Ross got decent results at the major league level before an oblique injury sidelined him, but after being optioned to the minor leagues following a rough rehab assignment, Ross has failed to get back on track. After an encouraging start on August 15 during which he struck-out nine in five innings, Ross has allowed 12 runs over his last 10.1 innings spread over two starts. If the A's truly feel he is healthy, they may have him return to the majors to make a spot start or a few relief appearances at the end of the season. Otherwise, they may shut him down at the end of the River Cats' season and give him the off-season to get back to the form he demonstrated early in the year.

Call-up Probability: 50/50

Bruce Billings (on 40-man roster)
Like Norberto, Billings didn't make the strongest first impression during his first stint with the A's. Acquired from Colorado this season for Mark Ellis, Billings appeared in three games with the A's, allowing nine runs (seven earned) in five innings. He walked six during that stretch. Billings also struggled during his time with Sacramento, posting a 5.14 ERA with 13 walks and 19 strike-outs in 21 innings. Given that Billings is already on the 40-man roster and that the A's thought enough of him not only to acquire him during the season but also to recall him in August, there is a chance that he will get another look in September. However, if he continues to struggle with Sacramento in the playoffs, the A's may wait until the spring to get another look at him.

Call-up Probability: 50/50

Jermaine Mitchell (not on 40-man roster)
There has arguably been no better story in the A's system than the resurgence of Mitchell as a prospect. Once one of the most highly regarded outfielders in the A's system, Mitchell had become something of an after-thought after two undistinguished seasons with Stockton in 2008 and 2009. After finally conquering the Cal League in 2010, Mitchell surprised everyone by destroying the Texas League in 2011. He put up a ridiculous line of .355/.453/.589 in 74 games with the Rockhounds and was named to the league's post-season All-Star team despite spending the second half of the season at Triple-A. Mitchell has continued to fare well with the River Cats. In 48 games, he has a line of .286/.381/.447 and is red-hot in August with a .330 BA and a 981 OPS. That Mitchell isn't on the A's 40-man roster is working against him, as well as the fact that the A's have so many outfielders on their current roster. However, the A's will need to add Mitchell to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this off-season, so they may decide to make the move in September rather than waiting until November. Even if he isn't recalled in September, Mitchell should come away from this season knowing that he has played himself back from the edge of oblivion and into big league conversations.

Call-up Probability: 50/50

Jai Miller (not on 40-man roster)
Like Mitchell, Miller has put together a career year. Miller was named to the PCL's post-season All-Star team and has a career-high 30 homeruns for Sacramento. He has also been successful on all 14 of his stolen base attempts. Although not on the A's 40-man roster, Miller does have the advantage over Mitchell in that unlike Mitchell, Miller will not be under the A's control after the season ends unless Oakland adds him to the 40-man roster before the end of the season. Working against Miller is the fact that his worst month of the season has come in August and he has struggled with some minor injuries. If the A's want to get a look at Miller on the big league stage, they'll have to do it this September, but his 168 strike-outs in 102 games and the emergence of Mitchell may lead the A's to let Miller walk at the end of the season.

Call-up Probability: Less than 50/50

Wes Timmons
Timmons is a man looking for a break. All he has done is post on-base percentages of .394 or higher in each of the past four seasons at the Triple-A level, but he has yet to taste the big leagues. That streak could continue this year despite the fact that Timmons has hit .341 with a .421 OBP in 87 games split between Triple-A and Double-A. Timmons is best suited for second base, but with Weeks, Sogard, Rosales and Cardenas in front of him in the Oakland system, it isn't likely he will get a shot there with Oakland. Although the A's can appreciate Timmons' skill-set as much as any team, the fact that they sent him to Double-A for a good portion of the season is a decent indication that he isn't in their long-term plans. Stranger things have happened and he is certainly deserving, but it doesn't appear likely that Timmons' debut will come this September.

Call-up Probability: Slim


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