MLB Rosters expand on September 1st from 25 to 40 players, a tradition that goes back at least a century – Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig was a September call up in both 1923 and 1924, before sticking for good the following season.
Minor League regular schedules end on Labour Day, and with AAA Buffalo out of the running for a post season spot, it’s reasonable to expect at least a half-dozen Bisons players will cross the Rainbow Bridge and head to Toronto shortly.
RHP Sean Reid-Foley had a decent MLB debut earlier this month, but was hit hard in his second start before being sent back to the minors. SRF has fanned 150 batters over 129 innings this season between two levels, but he may be running out of gas after being roughed up in his return to AAA.
1B Rowdy Tellez seemed to be on the verge of earning a big league job after mashing 23 Homers in AA as a 21 year-old in 2016. Justin Smoak’s resurgence, and issues with his mother’s health dropped him off the prospect radar, but a post All Star break line of .320/.371/.536 has probably earned him a look-see in September.
OF Anthony Alford’s last two seasons show that the jump from the minors to the majors is huge, and takes some players several trips back and forth to AAA before they establish themselves. Alford, quite frankly, has had a disappointing season. A strained hamstring coming out of spring training landed him on the DL, and while he appeared to be breaking through in June, Alford’s season has fallen short of expectations. Just the same, he has to be part of the Blue Jays plans going forward, and even though the Toronto outfield is crowded at the moment, it’s reasonable to expect another shot for Alford in September.
OF Dwight Smith Jr has acquitted himself well in his brief MLB tours, and even though his playing time might be limited and his AAA numbers were not overwhelming, he’s earned another shot as well.
OF Dalton Pompey is out of options next year, and after a difficult season, perhaps out of chances as a Blue Jay as well. 2014 was a coming out year for the Mississauga native, when he started at High A and finished in Toronto. Since then, he’s averaged 65 games per season, as injuries have taken their toll. Before they let him go, however, the Blue Jays need to see what they have in Pompey, and this September may offer him one last chance.
C Reese McGuire was more than Danny Jansen’s back up in Buffalo. With Jansen DHing on occasion to keep his bat in the lineup, and his promotion to Toronto, McGuire has appeared in almost 100 games. Added to the 40-man last fall, McGuire might be ready for an MLB audition this month.
SS Richie Ureña has been lost in the prospect shuffle this year. Injuries and time on the QEW Shuttle have limited him to 67 games and some disappointing numbers this year. He gives the team some added flexibility when he is on the roster, however, so we may see Ureña in Toronto once more next month.
None of these players are apt to see significant playing time in September, but in one way or another, they’ve all merited a chance to spend a month on an MLB roster as the team looks toward 2019. Fans will be clamoring for the promotion of top prospects Vlad Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio, but the latter pair will be headed to the minor league post season, and all three area lock to go to the finishing school that is the Arizona Fall League in October. Since none of the trio is on the 40-man roster at the moment, they won’t be eligible for promotion next month, anyway.