COMMENTARY | As soon as Sept. 1 rolls around, teams around Major League Baseball are allowed to expand their rosters from 25 players to a maximum of 40 players. Seems like an odd time for such a stipulation, right? Maybe such an event should take place at the beginning of the season rather than at the end?
Oh well. It is what it is, and teams contending for the postseason typically don't feel the need to take full advantage of the roster expansion besides having an extra arm in the bullpen or bat on the bench.
But then there are teams like the Milwaukee Brewers. Teams that have been trudging along, that wouldn't mind if the 2013 season ended tomorrow. Teams like that might as well bring up as many players as they can to see what rising young stars might have what it takes to play at the big league level -- even if their general manager hates roster expansion.
It will make for a crowded dugout, but Milwaukee can use this opportunity to evaluate players expected to contribute in 2014. It may also provide fans with a reason to watch Brewers baseball.
RHP: Jimmy Nelson
The ascension of Jimmy Nelson through Milwaukee's prospect rankings (now No. 1) and minor league system this season has been a pleasure for the Brewers to watch. After going 5-4 with a 2.74 ERA with Double-A Huntsville, Nelson was called up to Triple-A Nashville, where he is currently 2-4 with a respectable 3.70 ERA.
The Futures Game participant has seen his walk total rise since the promotion but between the two levels, Nelson has posted a 2.55 K/BB ratio. You can bank on seeing Nelson get a few spot starts in September as someone who should compete for a back-end rotation job in 2014.
RHP: Johnny Hellweg
People would be a lot more excited about Hellweg's arrival if he hadn't already arrived. With all the injuries in the starting rotation, the Brewers finally bit the bullet and called up Hellweg, who promptly went 0-3 with a 10.97 ERA in three starts and four appearances.
At Nashville, Hellweg has been a completely different pitcher, going 10-4 with a 2.44 ERA. Hellweg throws hard, but he's not a strikeout pitcher and needs a good infield behind him to succeed. Hopefully, for the Brewers, he just needed to get some jitters out in his first big league cycle.
1B: Hunter Morris
The Brewers' minor league MVP in 2012, Morris has spent all of 2013 with Nashville after there were mummers about him playing for the parent club following injuries to Corey Hart and Mat Gamel. He might as well have played for the Brewers considering their mess of a first base situation, although that may have hindered Morris' development, and he is only hitting .242 this season.
However, the power is still there for Morris (21 HRs in 108 games), and he's gradually become more patient at the plate throughout his professional career. He can expect to get some starts over at first for Milwaukee once the minor league season concludes.
UTIL: Josh Prince
Prince can just about play any position on the diamond, so he's a useful guy to have around. He already had a cup of coffee with the Brewers earlier this season and is hitting .240 with 10 HRs and 44 RBIs for Nashville this season.
C/1B: Blake Lalli
Teams usually like to add a third catcher to the roster in September so they can use their backup catcher to pinch-hit without having to worry about their starter getting injured. Lalli has spent the majority of his time catching for Nashville this season and also saw some time with the Brewers earlier in 2013. The 30-year-old is hitting .263 with 9 HRs and 25 RBIs for the Sounds.
1B/OF: Sean Halton
Halton isn't really a necessary add, but another guy you can turn to in a pinch. Like Lalli and Prince, Halton had a stint with Milwaukee earlier in the year, but he's worthy of another call-up based on his .294/.347/.504 split with Nashville this season, which includes 10 HRs and 39 RBIs.
RHP: Jesus Sanchez
You never want to run low on bullpen arms, and the Brewers have burned through their relievers this season thanks in part to their poor starting pitching. Only two teams have seen their bullpen log more innings, which makes the promotion of Sanchez in September all the more logical. He should make a bid at a roster spot in 2014 and in the past two years between Huntsville and Nashville, Sanchez has an impressive 1.95 ERA.
RHP: Mark Rogers
This may be a bit of a longshot, but Rogers is back on a rehab stint after being shut down for a long stretch due to shoulder issues. It's a familiar tune for the former first-round pick and 27-year-old, but if Rogers is able to stay healthy and progress normally through rehab, the Brewers may want to get another look at him after he was in line to make the opening day rotation.
LHP: Chris Narveson
Narveson appears to be set to start for the Brewers on Wednesday due to Tom Gorzelanny's forearm injury, so his September call-up might be coming a little early. He's struggled down in Nashville this season and has dealt with injuries over the past two seasons after being a solid No. 5 for Milwaukee back in 2011.
Note: Nelson, Morris, Narveson and Rogers aren't on the 40-man roster -- there are currently 39 players on the 40-man roster -- so three players would need to be removed/added to the 60-day disabled list to make room for these additions.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_.
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