September has finally arrived, and with it comes 15 new roster spots for every MLB team to utilize as they see fit. Some have surprisingly strong negative opinions about this late-season roster quirk, but I’m mostly indifferent on the matter. On many occasions, the expansion results in fans getting their first real opportunity to watch the future of the franchise on the biggest stage, which is undoubtedly fun. The Angels are no exception in this regard: Two years ago at this time, we got our first glimpse of Kole Calhoun; last year, it was Matt Shoemaker.
This year, though, the Halos’ initial roster expansion has a slightly different feel to it. While there’s still a chance that interesting prospects like Drew Rucinski and… well, that’s about it… get a cup of coffee in the show this month, most of the 11 (!) new players suiting up in Houston this afternoon have either already had ample time with the big-league club this year—e.g. C.J. Cron, Cam Bedrosian, Cory Rasmus, Brennan Boesch, Efren Navarro—or are unlikely to be with the organization come next spring—e.g. John Buck, Wade LeBlanc, Tony Campana.
Just three of the call-ups—Buck, Campana, and Shawn O’Malley—have yet to see any action in Anaheim this season. Buck is the third-string catcher the Halos haven’t needed for two years now, Campana is essentially a full-time pinch runner, and O’Malley is utility guy whose career year (in a hitter-friendly park) has earned him his first promotion to the Show.
The club’s uncommonly large influx of fresh arms and legs—most teams have called up four or five guys—smacks of a strong desire to give the regulars as much rest as possible down the home stretch. I doubt the meat of the lineup gets many full days off this month, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more late-inning “defensive replacements” as the season winds down. The addition of four bullpen arms seems to portend that Scioscia is planning to go with Rasmus and Friends again in Garrett Richards’ rotation spot rather than try a traditional “starter” like Michael Roth or LeBlanc. So long as the club’s able to rely on the new guys and not tax Joe Smith, Huston Street, Kevin Jepsen, et al., that seems like a pretty solid plan.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster for LeBlanc and Buck, the Angels designated J.B. Shuck and Michael Kohn for assignment.
Here’s the full list of roster additions: