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Counting Cubs September Callups

Just how many extra bodies will the Cubs add next month?

How many high-fives in this dugout this September?
How many high-fives in this dugout this September?
Brian Kersey

We've been waiting.

And waiting.

And clamoring.

And waiting.

All for the Cubs to call-up players from the minor leagues. Well, rosters expand on September 1st and the team can add anyone from the 40-man roster to the active roster.

We've speculated about names, but who will actually get the call when rosters expand? Let's look at a couple logistical elements that will affect this process.

First, there's the matter of who is on the 40-man roster. Names like Kris Bryant and Armando Rivero (!) are unlikely to be added in September since they'd also have to be added to the 40-man roster (and let's spare the "just DFA that guy!" discussions). So let's look at the candidates. These are the players who are on the 40-man roster but not on the current active roster (as of Friday):

Pitchers: Dallas Beeler, Felix Doubront (DL), Edwin Jackson (DL), Blake Parker, Chris Rusin, Brian Schlitter (DL), Dan Straily, Arodys Vizcaino

Position players: Starlin Castro (bereavement), Mike Olt, Christian Villanueva, Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Jorge Soler

In my view, Villanueva is the only eligible player who surely won't be called up. You could make a pretty compelling case to bring up any of the other 13 players.

But what's reality? I asked Al to look into this and see what the Cubs had done in the past regarding September roster additions. Here's what he found.

I went back to 1990, figuring that was a large enough and recent enough data set, to see how many players the Cubs had added to the normal 25-man roster each season. Not all of these are callups; some of them were late waiver-wire guys (Orlando Merced in 1998, for example). It varied given many factors, including whether the Cubs were in the race or whether there were prospects they wanted to look at, and who was in charge. (1994 obviously excluded as there were no September games.)

1990: 7
1991: 6
1992: 8
1993: 8
1995: 6
1996: 8
1997: 7
1998: 8
1999: 8
2000: 9
2001: 8
2002: 6
2003: 8
2004: 8
2005: 7
2006: 8
2007: 8
2008: 8
2009: 9
2010: 5
2011: 7
2012: 8
2013: 7

Average since 1990: 7.5

Teams generally only recall six to eight players. Why? To save on hotel costs and per diem when there's still limited playing time to go around.

Taking all that into consideration, here's my list of who I think will play for the Cubs in September, as long as health allows:


Yes: Doubront (to get a couple starts), Parker, Schlitter, Straily (to get a couple starts), and Vizcaino

No: Jackson (done as a Cub, IMO), Beeler (not enough innings, lower ceiling), Rusin (ditto)

Position Players

Yes: Castro (obviously, when he's ready), Olt, & Soler.

No: Villanueva, Vitters, Lake (the writing is on the wall)

And a "bonus" yes: Eli Whiteside or Rafael Lopez.  Teams like to have a 3rd catcher in September. Either would need a 40 man spot, but one is available.  Since Lopez would have to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this offseason, he may get the call to see if he could handle the back-up job next season.

So I've got NINE extra Cubs being recalled in September. How many -- and who -- do you think will get the call?