Cleveland Indians: Are More September Call Ups on the Way?

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Sep 28, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Zach Walters (6) is congratulated by Cleveland Indians center fielder Tyler Holt (62) after hitting a home run during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians have already called up a numbers of players, including Shawn Armstrong and Giovanni Soto, but could there be more on the way?  The Triple-A Columbus Clippers are currently up two games to one in their best of five series with the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh farm team).  If they hang on and win the series they’ll play in the Triple-A Championship Game on Tuesday, September 22nd. If they were to lose the series to Indianapolis their season will end this Sunday.  Either way, the Clippers season will end within a week, and there are several members that could soon join the big league club in Cleveland to bolster the big league roster.

The 40-Man Roster Members

There are several members of the Clippers who are already on the Tribe’s 40-man roster so bringing them up would be simple. These players include Tyler Holt OF, Michael Choice OF, Zach Walters OF/IF, Jesus Aguilar 1B, C.C. Lee RP, and Ryan Merritt SP.  Now just because these players are on the 40-man roster doesn’t mean they are locks to be called up in the coming week.  The roster is starting to get full and calling a guy up just to sit on the bench isn’t always the best move for a player as it can needlessly waste service time.

That said, I’d expect to see Tyler Holt recalled as the Indians are really without a true backup centerfielder at the moment behind Abraham Almonte.  Michael Martinez did start out there the other day but he’s an infielder by trade as is Mike Aviles.  Holt has already seen some action with the big league club and has enjoyed a very good season with the Clippers batting .302 with a .386 OBP and 125 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus). This is the second consecutive year that Holt has hit over .300 at Triple-A.  Oh, and he’s not too bad in the outfield as seen by this game winning catch the other day:

Michael Choice and Jesus Aguilar are two guys I would personally like to see called up; however, I’m not convinced we will see them in an Indians uniform this year.  Both are right-handed and the Tribe already has Ryan Raburn, Chris Johnson, Mike Aviles, and Jerry Sands on the bench from the right side.  While I’d like to see a guy like Aguilar get some more big league at-bats, it would seem Sands is ahead of both him and Choice so at-bats would likely be hard to come by. 

More from Away Back Gone

Aguilar had another very good year for the Clippers hitting .267 with a .771 OPS and 121 wRC+. He was an All-Star again and also hit 19 home runs and had 93 RBI.  He was also named the best defensive 1B in the International League by Baseball America.  There’s really not much more Aguilar has to prove at Triple-A so it’ll be very telling how the Indians organization handles him. I think the Indians will almost have to call him up, whether he plays though remains to be seen…

Michael Choice was a late addition after he was acquired in August from the Texas Rangers. Choice has spent some time in the big leagues in the past including 86 games in 2014.  He struggled this year though in Triple-A batting just .204 with the Clippers. He has, however, enjoyed a nice postseason hitting two home runs in the last two games for the Clippers. The Indians obviously saw something in Choice they like and there’s a reasonable chance the former top prospect could be called up though as mentioned with Aguilar, playing time could be very tough for him to get.

Zach Walters got passed over for Michael Martinez earlier this month and is not having the best season for the Clippers.  His versatility could still get him recalled, but the Indians may just have him take a mental break and come see him again next spring.  Walters though would provide the Indians with some much needed bench power. While he hit only .181 in the big leagues last year he did slug 10 home runs in just 137 plate appearances last year. He’s a guy I would call-up given versatility/power potential.  He even hit for the cycle last night in the Clippers’ 6-5 loss. However, he was also injured on a play at the plate and it appeared serious. Health could determine whether he’s called up or not.

C.C. Lee has become the forgotten bullpen arm down in Triple-A as he’s been passed up by fellow righties Austin Adams and Shawn Armstrong.  Lee is running out of time though to prove his worth to the organization so a final call-up could be in order as his roster spot seems tenuous at best heading into the offseason.  He did, however, have a very good year in Triple-A posting a 3.39 ERA, 2.68 FIP, and 1.18 WHIP in 58.1 innings. He also struck out over ten per nine innings and had a 4:1 K:BB ratio.  Even with the addition of Trevor Bauer to the bullpen there would appear to be a spot for Lee, even if his usage was virtually zero.

Ryan Merritt is on the 40-man roster so he at least deserves a mention; however, it would seem like a long-shot that the left-handed starting pitcher would get a promotion. He pitched very well in his first taste of Double-A and got a late call-up to Triple-A Columbus, where he handled himself well enough. However, the Indians are not in need of another starter and Merritt doesn’t have the strikeout stuff the Indians are likely to look for in bullpen arms. The only reason he’d get any consideration is the fact that he’s left-handed, though even then he’s still a long-shot in my eyes. 

Next: Players Not on the 40-Man Roster