Tomorrow, major league rosters expand as teams around the sport will begin calling up reinforcements for the stretch run. Every team will begin calling up players for September, and occasionally a few will end up making a difference down the stretch. Perhaps this season, one of these callups make an impact on the Rays push for a playoff spot. With that in mind, here is a quick look at some players that may find themselves in Tampa in the near future.
Jeff Beliveau: Beliveau has actually been on the Rays major league squad three times now, and has exactly nothing to show for it, as he is yet to throw a pitch for the Rays this season. However, September may be his time to actually make an appearance. What Beliveau could potentially provide is another power arm out of the bullpen, having struck out 76 batters in 44.2 innings. He does have control issues, having walked 22 batters in that time as well, but a strikeout total such as that is certainly enough to make people take notice. He may end up as someone that faces one or two lefthanded hitters a game, but his ability to rack up strikeouts in the minors certainly makes him an intriguing player.
Josh Lueke: It is seemingly inevitable that Lueke gets a callup when rosters expand, having had several chances to make an impact at the major league level already this season. He is another possible power arm int he bullpen, with solid minor league numbers, yet has had difficulty translating that success to the majors thus far. At age 28, this may be one of his last chances to prove he is more than a possible AAAA pitcher.
Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery: Both came over from the Royals as part of the Wil Myers – James Shields trade, and both may be joining the Rays for the playoff push. Odorizzi has already been up for the Rays, and appeared to have turned a corner in his last start, making him someone who may go from relative obscurity amongst casual fans to the playoff spotlight. Montgomery, meanwhile, was essentially a throw in in the trade, as the Royals appeared to give up on him following two difficult seasons in the minors. With Durham, he has been able to resurrect his career, and could get a chance in September out of the bullpen. If so, then it would be a great turnaround for a player that may have been given up on.
Tim Beckham: Beckham has been labeled as a bust in many circles, perhaps unfairly. What is seemingly forgotten is that, he was a 18 year old high school shortstop when the Rays took him first overall. While players such as Buster Posey and Ike Davis have gone on to make major impacts on their respective teams, both were far closer to being major league ready than Beckham was at the time. Now, at age 23, he may be on the verge of getting a taste of the majors. As Beckham has been learning second base at Durham, he may slide in as a solid utility infielder, bouncing between shortstop and second a couple of times a week. Should Beckham make a positive impression in September, it may be a springboard in his attempt to make the Rays 25 man roster in 2014.
Chris Gimenez: The Rays are going to need a third catcher, and Gimenez is the only other catcher on the 40 man roster, so he would seemingly be guaranteed of a callup by default. But Gimenez is more than just a thrid catcher – he has the versatility to play both corner outfield positions and has even made appearances at first and third. Also, Gimenez actually outperformed Jose Lobaton in Spring Training, but was sent to Durham in part because Lobaton was out of options. While he has struggled with the Bulls, Gimenez may be able to impact the stretch run due to his ability to play multiple positions, allowing the Rays to rest their starters, since they have only one off day for the rest of the season. Even if he does not produce much offensively, that versatility may be enough for Gimenez to make an impact.
These six are likely not the only players that the Rays will call up in September, but they may be the most likely to make an impact during the stretch run. If there is another player not yet on the major league roster that you think would have a chance to play a vital part in the Rays postseason hopes, let us know in the comments below.