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Guessing the White Sox' September call-ups

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There's room for at least three pitchers and three position players, one of whom is Erik Johnson

David Banks/Getty Images

The White Sox are done with their August schedule, so the next time we see them, they may have a few extra bodies in tow. Rosters can and will expand on Sept. 1, and the Sox have at least one player in mind.

We could just wait until Tuesday, which is when the White Sox are likely to announce the first wave of September call-ups. Then we'd know the names and could accurately report and reflect on them.

But why do that when we can speculate first?

The guidelines: The Sox can call up anybody from their 40-man roster, and they also have two open spots if they'd like to add somebody who is not yet on it. However, teams generally avoid calling up more players than they can find reasonable use for over the final month, as those extra guys add clutter to the clubhouse, and a little bit to the payroll, too.

That being the case, I can see the Sox adding at least three pitchers and three position players before the active roster starts getting redundant.

Pitchers

Erik Johnson: He was scratched from Sunday's start with the Charlotte Knights, which seems to mean that the Sox have designs on him to start rather soon. Robin Ventura was rather coy with the details, even going so far to talk around a name:

"The starter," Ventura said, "that would be generic." [...]

"There is a starter that will be coming up," Ventura said. "At some point he will start. There’s not much reason to bring a guy up here if he’s not going to be able to start a game. So, he will get mixed in at some point."

Now that Johnson's numbers are in the books, we can stack him up against his 2014 numbers at Triple-A and laugh about how absurd his struggles were:

W-L ERA G IP H R ER HR BB K
2014 5-7 6.73 20 105.2 136 82 79 11 54 63
2015 11-8 2.37 23 132.2 108 40 35 5 41 136

Frankie Montas: He's supposed to start for Birmingham tonight, so either 1) he could also be scratched, or 2) it underscores the immediacy of Johnson's promotion, since Montas figures to join him in Chicago in September. Montas has shown signs of progress in Birmingham, posting a 2.97 ERA and 108 strikeouts to 48 walks over 112 innings. He's still building himself up as a starter (only one of his 23 starts has exceeded six innings) ... unless he's about to hit a fork in the road that takes him toward relief work, but he might get a shot at both over the next month.

Zach Putnam: Assuming he comes off the disabled list on Sept. 11 or thereabouts.

Scott Carroll: He might not be needed if Montas is confined to a relief role, but he's comfortable doing the dirty work.

Dark Horse: Zach Phillips. He's not on the 40-man, but he's had the best season of any left-handed reliever in the high minors after coming to the Sox via non-roster invitation to spring training. He's held lefties to a .208/.278/.222 line in Charlotte, but his work against righties ain't bad, either (.242/.307/.290).

Of course, the Sox might need a third lefty as much as they need another reliever named "Zach," but there's a good chance he represents the best LOOGY option remaining. Also, I would like to have Duke and Phillips in the bullpen at the same time.

Position players

Third catcher: Rob Brantly's first stint in the majors was a success, as he hit .290/.372/.460 for the Marlins in 2012. He then lost 300 points of OPS the following year while being one of the worst receivers in the game, and so he hasn't been back in the majors since 2013.

He's younger than Kevan Smith. They've had about the same year in terms of merit, and they're both on the 40-man roster.

Micah Johnson: Assuming the Sox don't hold his platinum sombrero on Sunday against him, he should be back. He's hitting .319/.376/.468, and it might be worth a look throwing him some at-bats as a DH.

Leury Garcia: He did a good-enough job replacing Emilio Bonifacio a few weeks ago, and Ventura usually likes having a superutility guy at his disposal.

Dark horse: Jason Coats. His numbers are practically identical to Trayce Thompson's at Charlotte. If you extrapolate Thompson's numbers over an extra 79 plate appearances to match Coats' total of 496, here's what you get:

  • Coats: .267/.310/.438, 25 doubles, 17 homers, 27 walks, 92 strikeouts
  • Thompson: .260/.304/.441, 27 doubles, 15 homers, 27 walks, 94 strikeouts

Coats is a year older and doesn't have Thompson's defensive talents, so he's not a clone. Also, Coats isn't on the 40-man roster, and they wouldn't need an extra outfielder if Garcia gets the call, so it looks like there's at least one obstacle too many this time around.