Phillies

Players Phillies are most likely to call up on Sept. 1

Players Phillies are most likely to call up on Sept. 1

As depressing as this is to everyone who loves summer, Saturday is Sept. 1.

In the baseball world, that means expanded rosters.

Starting on Sept. 1, teams can activate everyone on their 40-man roster if they so choose. You typically do not see a team make use of all 40 spots because it crams the clubhouse and dugout and some of them aren't needed.

But the 2018 Phillies figure to use more extra men in September than the last few years because of two reasons: They are in contention, and Gabe Kapler loves to match up.

Here's a look at the players most likely to be called up to the majors on Sept. 1. Keep in mind that the Triple A IronPigs will be going after a championship this month, so you could see a few players left at Lehigh Valley until they're actually needed.

SP Jerad Eickhoff
Eickhoff has started five games in August in his attempt to come back from lat and hand injuries. He has a 1.83 ERA in those five starts, including six shutout innings for Triple A Lehigh Valley on Saturday.

Eickhoff figures to work as a long man for the Phillies in September because their rotation is full. He could still make a spot start if there's an injury, if Nick Pivetta struggles or a rainout forces the Phils to play a doubleheader.

C Andrew Knapp
Knapp is currently on the Phillies' 25-man roster, serving as a bench bat and third catcher with Wilson Ramos' lingering wrist and hamstring issues.

Knapp could be the odd man out by Tuesday afternoon if the Phillies are able to acquire Jose Bautista from the Mets (see story). But even if Knapp is sent out to make room for Bautista, he will definitely be back by the weekend. Every team in baseball calls up a third catcher for the month of September.

SS/3B J.P. Crawford
Crawford, who homered Monday night, last appeared in a game with the Phillies on June 19. He is the type of player who might benefit from some more regular playing time at Triple A before a mid-September call-up. 

But the Phillies could also bring him back as a patient bat off the bench. This has mostly been a lost season for Crawford because of a forearm strain and a broken hand that kept him out for nearly six weeks each.

INF/OF Pedro Florimon
Florimon had his rehab assignment transferred to Triple A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He's been out since May 30 because of a broken foot caused by a foul ball.

Florimon has played shortstop, third base, center field and right field for the Phillies this season. He's pitched too, of course.

The Phillies could utilize Florimon's defense on the left side of the infield late in games. He's a better defender at this point than Asdrubal Cabrera and is obviously more seasoned than Scott Kingery.

OFs Aaron Altherr, Dylan Cozens
Altherr hasn't done a lot of hitting since being demoted to Triple A on July 22. Entering Monday night, he had hit .245/.314/.340 in 30 games with the IronPigs.

But the Phillies could use his speed and defense late in games. He's still a better and more instinctive outfielder than everyone on the Phillies' 25-man roster other than Roman Quinn.

Cozens, theoretically, could provide left-handed power off the bench, but he hasn't hit much lately — .156 with 19 strikeouts in his last 54 plate appearances.

The Phillies could call up both Altherr and Cozens on Sept. 1 but it seems more likely they wait to bring Cozens back until a bit later in the month, when he's seeing the ball better.

LHP Austin Davis and RHP Edubray Ramos
Both are on the 10-day DL — Davis with a back injury and Ramos with a blister.

Davis started a rehab assignment at Triple A on Monday.

Both have spent plenty of time up with the big club this season and had their share of successes. Davis is not a conventional lefty specialist. Lefties have actually hit .293 against him compared to .213 for righties. 

The Phillies value Davis' endurance, though. Of his 22 appearances in the majors this season, seven were scoreless outings longer than an inning.

Ramos has a 2.00 ERA in 42 appearances and was arguably the Phillies' most consistent reliever in the first half.

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

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Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

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