Colorado Rockies: Why September 1 will be more important than July 31
At the moment, Colorado Rockies fans are looking to see how the team will upgrade by the July 31 trading deadline. The Rockies have already acquired Pat Neshek from the Philadelphia Phillies to upgrade the bullpen (read about it here), and rumors have the Rockies looking at other key pieces which could bolster their run at the postseason.
However monumental July 31 might be, September 1 could well be a more important date for the Rockies. That’s the day when Colorado can call up any position player or pitcher on its 40-man roster, expanding the 25-man limit that we see throughout the season.
With all of the talent Colorado’s farm system has and not enough places on the 25-man roster to fit them, September 1 will be a big day for the Rockies. They will be able to add depth on the field and on the mound … and it’s MLB-level depth at that.
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So far this season, the Rockies have typically used their 25-man allotment for 13 position players and 12 pitchers. Colorado manager Bud Black has employed a four-man bench for the majority of the season. Even when injuries have caused the Rockies to shuffle their roster, the ratio of 13 and 12 has primarily remained the same.
Last season, the Rockies called up pitcher Christian Bergman, catcher Tom Murphy and outfielder Raimel Tapia on September 2. On September 6, Colorado added pitchers Eddie Butler and German Marquez, catcher Dustin Garneau and utility players Jordan Patterson and Pat Valaika. All of these players added depth for the Rockies. It also gave players like Valaika and Tapia critical at-bats and Marquez valuable time on the mound at the big league level.
So who could the Rockies add on September 1 this season? Remember, it’s not about having 40 players available at any moment with the roster expansion. It’s about picking and choosing which players on your 40-man roster will make an impact.
Of course, players like Tapia or Murphy could join the Rockies at any time if an injury occurs. Worst case, they will most likely be a part of Colorado’s bench when September dawns. Which other players are likely to join the Rockies in September? Here are a few names to watch.
Raimel Tapia – Mucho swagger will return to the Rockies, perhaps sooner than later.
Tom Murphy – A disappointing start to the season sent him to Triple-A. It will interesting to see what happens if the Rockies acquire a veteran catcher by the trade deadline. Will they keep Ryan Hanigan as their third catcher or bring up Murphy in September? Heading into Friday, a four-game hitting streak finally pushed Murphy’s average over .300 at Triple-A so he seems to be rediscovering his swing in Albuquerque.
David Dahl – Heading into Friday’s action, Dahl had just 14 games and 59 at-bats under his belt at the Triple-A level this season. Still going through his “spring training” after suffering a rib injury that sidelined him until earlier this month, Dahl could use another month in Triple-A and rejoin the Rockies for the stretch run in September.
Mike Tauchman – This could be the third outfielder joining the Rockies in September, along with Tapia and Dahl. Tauchman got a taste of the big leagues earlier this season and could well be back after going 2-for-9.
Ryan McMahon – He’s not currently on Colorado’s 40-man roster but that could well change by September. Hitting .386 in Triple-A and earning numerous PCL honors, McMahon quickly made the transition from Double-A to Triple-A this season. He could take the next step in September.
Zac Rosscup – A pitcher with big league experience who could fill a need in the bullpen. The left-handed Rosscup was up with the Rockies for three games this season.
Sam Moll – Another lefty who could make an impact in his first time in the big leagues. As Purple Row pointed out in this article, he outlasted players like McMahon, Jeff Hoffman, Kyle Freeland and others in spring training cuts. The Rockies like what they see in him. In his second season at Triple-A, Moll has a 3-2 mark and 4.29 ERA in 40 outings.
Next: Why Bud Black is worried about Colorado's high walk rate
The September call-ups will come just in time for the Rockies to tackle a month that is filled exclusively with games against National League West foes, excluding a three-game set at Coors Field against the Miami Marlins. Check out Colorado’s tough September schedule here.