On Sept. 1 in MLB, rosters expand. For the entire month, teams can bring up and use any player on the 40-man roster. The usage of this is varied, as some teams will empty out their minors and stock their clubhouse and dugout. Others will simply bring up some pinch-runner types and an extra bullpen arm or two.
It all depends on the team’s goals for the season and the construction of their rosters — both 25- and 40-man. Some teams have more MLB-ready players on their 40’s than others, while others have some younger project-type players who the team just as soon would not want to promote and expose and/or pay an MLB daily salary to.
It’s been awhile since the Twins were terribly good heading into September to the point where they were fine-tuning for the playoffs, and that’s frankly not the case this season, either. Most likely, the Twins will bring up any players they think can help them toward the goal of at least one of the Wild Card spots, if not chasing down Cleveland for the division crown in the final days of the season.
And while the proverbial floodgates can open as early as Sept. 1, teams don’t like to leave their minor-league clubs playing shorthanded. For instance, the Rochester Red Wings are not only the current Wild Card team in the International League with a three-game lead over Lehigh Valley, but their regular-season schedule doesn’t end until Sept. 4 against Pawtucket. Thus, if the Red Wings miss the postseason, the mass exodus of players to Minneapolis would most likely start on Sept. 5.
Either way, here are the players we think the Twins will bring up whenever the time is right next month:
Mitch Garver – C/1B/OF
Obviously he’s already up, but what we’re saying here is that he’s almost certain to stay up for the rest of the season. Without the injury to Robbie Grossman, Garver most likely finishes out the season at Triple-A Rochester before coming up. Now, with the timeline for recovery for Grossman likely stretching into September, Garver should be up for the duration, working in mostly at DH or first base with some reps in the outfield. As much as he’s caught this season, it’s difficult to ease a catcher into things this deep into the season on the big-league roster. We saw how Juan Centeno’s trial-by-fire went last year, and he was supposed to be a good catch-and-throw guy as well. Running mate Chris Gimenez raves about Garver’s improvement even since this spring, but he probably won’t catch much, if at all the rest of the way.
Daniel Palka – OF
Palka will be a hitter to watch as playing time unfolds at DH the rest of the way. He’s regarded as a below-average defensive outfielder, but when he’s rolling offensively he packs plenty of punch. He hit 34 home runs between two levels last season and slugged .521, though he’s at just .449 this year with 12 home runs as he missed a large swath of time with a broken finger. He’s still hitting a respectable .279/.330/.449 between Rochester and a brief rehab stint with the GCL Twins. He may be squarely on the trade bubble this offseason, so this might be a good audition for him, as there won’t be much playing time in this outfield in the near future.
Zack Granite – OF
Granite will probably play some against lefties, be a defensive replacement late in games if Grossman plays any outfield and perhaps most notably may pinch run for guys like Miguel Sano late in games. Granite hit just .250/.314/.281 in his first go-round with the Twins, but can provide value in many other ways than hitting. He’s an ideal fourth outfielder on this team — though the team could go more offensive-minded with that spot since all three starters can play center.
Aaron Slegers – SP
He had a nice debut but it’s easy to get carried away. He threw 82 pitches through 6.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on two hits, but he also fanned just three batters and got three swinging strikes. He’s not a high-end guy, but nice back-end depth on a team that desperately needs that, too. Don’t sleep on the idea that he could start again in August if things pan out for him. Either way, he should spend September in Minneapolis.
Nik Turley – SP/RP
The numbers jump off the page for him in the minors this year — 2.15 ERA, 12.4 K/9, 1.03 WHIP — and even though he’s been sent back again but will serve as the 26th man in Monday’s doubleheader, he figures to get a long look out of the pen in September. Don’t be fooled by his MLB numbers; he’s had a high BABIP as a fly ball pitcher in Rochester with great numbers still. If he can do that with the Twins, this outfield defense will chase down a lot of those balls. He throws in the mid-90s with a good curveball. He could be a relief ace.
Buddy Boshers – RP
With the expanded rosters, Boshers will return as a lefty specialist. He strangely got overexposed against righties near the end of his most recent tenure with the big club, but he can get lefties out. They’ve hit just .186/.234/.349 against him this season. It’s the righties — .319/.390/.583 — who he’s made look like the second coming of Mike Trout.
Drew Rucinski – RP
It’s not extremely likely the Twins will go off the 40-man roster to add another arm, but if they do, it’d be a good bet Rucinski would be it. Rucinski has worked 54.2 innings for the Red Wings across multiple roles and has posted a 2.96 ERA with 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings, a 1.06 WHIP and just 1.2 walks per nine.