Mercifully, the Phillies have a little over a month left in the 2015 season. Soon, it will be September, and it will be time to call up some extra players to give the bench some flexibility, or to get a look at a prospect who might make next year's team. Last year, it's when we got our first look at Maikel Franco. Who will we see this year?
The first tier of candidates would appear to be anyone on the 40 man roster. The next tier would appear to be guys that it makes sense to add. Ultimately anyone they add has to have a 40 man spot. So while Alec Asher's name comes up a lot, he'd have to be added. The battle between adding kids to the 40 man roster and adding veterans is always tough this time of year. This year will be no different in that aspect. Currently the Phillies have 38 players on the roster.
Obviously the first and easiest consideration is given to guys on the 40 man, especially to players who are currently on the DL and have been in the majors. So obviously, if Maikel Franco is cleared, he's coming back. I would expect the Phillies will re-call Jordan Danks too, if for no other reason than he's on the 40 man roster now, so if you're not calling up a career majors-minors swingman like Danks for September, you should outright him off the roster for space. I'd also expect that Dalier Hinojosa will be re-called as well, if for not other reason than that their bullpen has been taxed a lot this season, and he has had AAA success over the past few years. He's a good arm to get a look at. Even with those three though, the Phillies would only be up to 28. Will they re-call more?
There are some less-clear decisions about 40 man members facing the Phillies. I would be somewhat surprised to see Kelly Dugan get a call-up in September, despite good numbers in Reading, because of a slow start in AAA this month. I could just as easily see him being sent back to Reading for the playoffs, or sent to Arizona for the Fall League. Tommy Joseph remains on the roster, and is playing again now as a first baseman, but his performance in AAA this year has been pretty ugly. He could get the call because they need more time to assess him as a first baseman, but he could also get outrighted. Nefi Ogando could get the call to give the bullpen another arm, but he is a work-in-progress at AAA this season. Joely Rodriguez is in Reading, and that makes it much more likely he pitches in their playoffs than in Philadelphia. Severino Gonzalez and David Buchanan could and probably will get the call, but there are reasons to not do so as well. We've seen a lot of Gonzalez already this season, and he's probably going to start next season back in AAA. Buchanan is as good of a candidate as I have seen for being given an early off-season to clear his head and go get away from what has been a tough season. Jesse Biddle is also on the 40 man, but I'd actually think the Phillies would be smarter to give him a break or send him to Fall ball, as he still has some work to do. If I had to guess, Ogando, Gonzalez, and Buchanan will get the most consideration here.
There are a few other 40 man roster members who will not be called up this year no matter what. My guess is that Chad Billingsley's season, and possibly career, is over. If the Phillies are smart, they will not rush Matt Harrison back anytime soon, and wait until Spring Training to see how the veteran is fairing. We'd all love to see Jorge Alfaro, but he won't be playing again for a while. The Phillies could 60-Day DL all three of these guys to create some flexibility for call-ups.
All of this leaves the Phillies with between two and five spots they could open up to add players for September. Given the discussion around Asher, I'd expect they will strongly consider him. There is an outside shot they will consider Nick Williams from Reading, but with their squad in the playoffs, I strongly doubt that. I'd expect them to give a long look to Erik Kratz, as they don't have a third catcher at the moment that is active and on the roster. I'd also expect that Brian Bogusevic will get considered after a very good season in AAA. Chase d'Arnaud, Tyler Henson, Tyler Pastornicky, Seth Rosin, Anthony Vasquez, and Sean O'Sullivan are also people the Phillies will probably consider, though there will be no more than two spots probably available for these guys, and they have varying levels of a future in the organization. I'd guess that Asher, Kratz, and Bogusevic are good bets for call-ups, while Henson, d'Arnaud, and Pastornicky will get the best looks of the rest.
In terms of priorities, it's important they call up another starter, a back-up catcher, and an arm or two for their bullpen. Those fill needs for the major league team to get everyone through 2015 healthy and without any more issues this season. Hinojosa, Kratz, Asher, Danks or Bogusevic, and possibly one more pitcher would make sense, to me.