A few years ago, Major League Baseball teams could effectively call up all their prospects in September. Dugouts would be cramped as youngsters got a cup of coffee and a taste of big-league life. In 2020, the league caped September roster sizes at 28 players. That means manager Scott Servais will add two players for the upcoming playoff push. There are a few options, but first, let’s lay the groundwork.
With both rookies Bryan Woo and Bryce Miller in uncharted territory well-surpassing their previous innings highs, it is safe to say Servais will add one pitcher to the roster on the first day of September. There is a good chance that the player will have multi-inning ability – meaning high-leverage relievers are probably out of the picture (see Riley O’Brien, Travis Kuhn). Another factor will be the recent waiver claim of Luke Weaver, who Servais said will hold an innings-eater role out of the pen. The no-brainer move should be calling upon Arkansas Travelers gas man Prelander Berroa.
With a triple-digit fastball, a wipe-out slider, and the ability to go multiple innings, Berroa should be the first arm up in September. Take a minute and imagine the Mariners’ established arms handing the ball to Berroa in the seventh and then lining up some combination of Tayler Saucedo, Gabe Speier, and Justin Topa to get the game to flamethrowers Matt Brash and Andres Munoz. That is the recipe for shortening a game.
Offensively speaking, the other roster spot will more than likely be a revolving door. Why? Because playoff chase baseball requires defensive replacements and some dynamic baserunning off the bench. That guy is Sam Haggerty, who recently was optioned to make room for Bryan Woo. The 29-year-old speedster could play a huge role down the stretch as the Mariners look to run the pressure cooker that is September baseball.
Haggerty will probably be with the team for the first two weeks of September. Why not longer? Because wunderkind Jarred Kelenic is on the mend and projected to join the team next month.
Adding Kelenic to the roster could create some redundancy with Cade Marlowe and Dom Canzone also on the roster. However, there could be some lineups where all three posts, along with superstar Julio Rodriguez, because Canzone can also play first base. That September lineup with Kelenic is going to hit differently, for sure.
wRC+ (as of August 23rd)
SS - Crawford
CF - Julio
3B - Suarez
1B - France
C - Raleigh
DH - Hernandez
LF - Kelenic
RF - Canzone
2B - Moore
A bench comprising Tom Murphy, Cade Marlowe, Jose Caballero, Josh Rojas and Mike Ford provides Servais with plenty of late-game options to turn a game or pressure the opposing pitcher (see Caballero, Moore). Either way, it will be an exciting month of baseball for our hometown nine.