September call-ups are always an interesting decision for teams to make. One, it makes teams (especially those in contention) really look into how their 40 man rosters are constructed so that those players can be of help to the team down the stretch. Two, and more relevant to the Braves this season, its a chance for young players who are on the cusp of a major league starting gig to get a taste of the majors.
The way it works is fairly simple, although minor league options and the intricacies of the 40 man roster are far from simple, but that's a story for a different day. Starting on September 1st, a major league team's roster expands from the 25 man active roster to the entire 40 man roster. This was allowed so that at the end of a long season, a team would have the personnel to finish out a season and postseason.
For reference, here are some (but not all) of the players on the 40-man roster that are still in the minors that COULD be called up
- Christian Bethancourt
- Todd Cunningham
- Sugar Ray Marimon
- Tyrell Jenkins
- Daniel Castro
- Joey Terdoslavich
- Ryan Kelly
- Jake Brigham
- Mauricio Cabrera
Before we go any further, no, Mallex Smith is not on the 40-man roster so calling him up to the majors would require him to be added to the 40 man roster first.
Given the Braves' focus on developing its young talent this year to prepare for contention possibly next year and certainly in 2017, it would make a certain amount of sense to have a high number of September call-ups to give these young guys some time in the majors to prepare them. However, it does not appear as though that will be the case.
Bethancourt could be brought up soon as next week, but Don't expect #Braves to call up many in September.Don't expect Mallex Smith, Jenkins— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) August 22, 2015
Christian Bethancourt's call-up was essentially inevitable as using the roster expansion to bring in a fresh catcher, especially one who has already used his minor league option this year, is a no-brainer. This is particularly true when that catcher has been hitting well down in the minors and the Braves need to see how he looks in the majors before deciding whether to move on from him or not. Todd Cunningham may or may not be called up (already used his option and is a good defensive replacement if nothing else) while several of the relievers on the list above could see time as well.
Sadly, it doesn't look Braves fans will see heralded prospects Tyrell Jenkins and Mallex Smith this September. Mallex Smith does only have half a season in AAA under his belt and while he has been producing very well of late, it may be best to give him some more time down at AAA and not add him to the 40-man roster quite yet. The same could be said for Tyrell Jenkins, although he has been on the 40-man roster all year so his case is different in that regard.
The Braves will also be welcoming Hector Olivera to the majors sometime in the next week, although he isn't what one would call a September call-up. He is just rehabbing an injury and it just so happened that he was ready to go around the same time as roster expansion. It seems unlikely he will join the team Monday, but later in the week seems like a good bet.
The #Braves are still discussing when to activate Hector Olivera. Monday is a possibility, but later in the week might be more likely— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 22, 2015
Looks like Hector Olivera is traveling with Triple-A Gwinnett for its three-game trip to Charlotte. http://t.co/t4AL40YaIH— David Lee (@David11Lee) August 24, 2015
We will keep you posted as we learn more about the Braves plans for September call-ups as well as the latest news on Hector Olivera's impending debut with Atlanta.