Projecting Cards September Call-Ups: Part One

In the first of a two-part report, we look back at recent years to help determine which players might receive a final-month promotion to St. Louis.

Every year about this time, I put together my annual forecast of which players the St. Louis Cardinals might call up in September when rosters expand beyond the normal limit of 25 to as many as 40.


I am certainly not the only one to make such predictions, but I believe I am one of the few to take into account a wide variety of interrelated factors. These factors include player performances, the Cardinals' 40-man roster situation, roster needs of the MLB club as well as St. Louis' past history in September additions.


Let's start by looking back at recent Septembers. Tony La Russa has often said that he doesn't want too many extra players with the team in September, but what does that mean? Well, the club added eight last season and nine the year prior.


Four of the 2008 call-ups had to be added to the 40-man roster first:

1B/OF Josh Phelps

IF Brian Barden

C Mark Johnson

RHR Josh Kinney (on the 60-day DL coming off a rehab)


None of the four had appeared in the majors that season prior to September, though all had seen MLB time previously.


The other 2008 additions:

RHR Kelvin Jimenez

LHR Randy Flores

IF Brendan Ryan

RHS Chris Carpenter (activated off a rehab assignment)


All four had been in St. Louis at some point during the season. Of the eight, only four remain with the organization today, less than 12 months later – Barden, Kinney, Ryan and Carpenter. In terms of timing, Phelps came up with five days remaining in August, while the rest arrived on September 1 or 2.


At least six other candidates did not receive the call in 2008:

RHS Mitchell Boggs (shut down)

LHS Jaime Garcia (Tommy John surgery)

RHS Mike Parisi (TJ surgery)

RHR Mark Worrell

C Bryan Anderson (not on 40-man)

3B David Freese (not on 40-man)


Not to revisit all the details, but to add the three to the 40-man and bring Kinney off the 60-day DL, three players were put on the 60-day (Mark Mulder, Jason Isringhausen and Chris Duncan) and another was dropped (Rico Washington).


In 2007, there were two waves, totaling nine players. Three of them were not on the 40-man already.


On September 1, the club added:

OF Skip Schumaker

RHR Andy Cavazos

RHR Kelvin Jimenez

IF Miguel Cairo (purchased from Memphis and added to 40-man)

LHP Mike Maroth (activated off 15-day DL and rehab assignment)


2007's wave two occurred at the conclusion of Memphis' season:

IF Brian Barden

C Kelly Stinnett

RHR Brad Thompson

RHR Brian Falkenborg


Stinnett and Falkenborg, while having seen Major League time with the Cardinals that season, were not on the 40-man.


So what can we glean from this?


The Cardinals may add about eight players for the final month in an approximate balance of position players and pitchers. Up to three or four of them may not currently be on the 40-man.


A representative group:


Pitchers – three righties and one lefty

Catcher – one

Infielders – two

Outfielder – one


2009 considerations


In terms of timing, Memphis' regular season schedule runs through September 7. There is also a reasonable chance the club could make the post-season. As such, the 2009 call-ups may arrive in several waves to ensure Memphis would have a viable roster to complete the regular season and compete in the playoffs, if they make it.


40-man roster strategy


The Cardinals have a large group of players that will require addition to the roster this winter to avoid being at risk of being lost in December's Rule 5 draft. As such, the Cardinals may decide to avoid adding any other players prematurely.


An example of this was Freese, who was our 2008 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year, yet did not receive a call up that September. That was perhaps due in a large part to the fact he was not yet on the 40-man and was not required to be added at that time.


40-man roster size


Currently, the Cardinals have 37 players on the 40-man. That means three can be added without any immediate damage. To go beyond, an injured player such as Troy Glaus could be moved to the 60-day DL to open up a fourth spot. Another alternative is to remove a player from the 40-man that does not seem a part of the club's short-term plans, such as reliever Matt Scherer.


Premium Article What's ahead


In Part Two of this report, exclusively for subscribers, we will handicap the chances of a number of potential September call ups and end with the ones most likely of making it to St. Louis for the final month.


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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.


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