Phillies: 5 candidates for the September expanded roster
With September less than a month away, here are five early candidates to fill one of the additional two roster spots on the Philadelphia Phillies.
September rosters will look a little different this year compared to the most recent 162-game season, when the Philadelphia Phillies finished fourth in the NL East, with a .500 record.
In 2019 and previous seasons, teams could use as many players as they wished from their 40-man roster at any given time during the month. Now, current active rosters will increase from 26 to 28 players in September, with teams still able to carry a taxi squad on road trips.
The additional two roster spots still provide an opportunity for more depth and more big-league experience for players who spent most of the year in the minor leagues.
The Phillies are in the midst of a close battle for the division title, which is their most likely route to making the postseason; they’ve actually never made a Wild Card berth. So, why not throw something different at the competition down the stretch?
Here are five early candidates, with limited-to-no time on the Phillies so far this season, who could occupy one of these roster spots at some point in September.
Rafael Marchan, Phillies catcher
Catching prospect Rafael Marchan has impressed at the plate through limited opportunities in the majors.
Marchan, who made his MLB debut on September 14, 2020, went 7-for-23 (.304 batting average), with a double and a walk, in 11 big-league games so far this season. He also appeared in three games for the Phillies last year, going 4-for-8, with a three-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 18.
With a healthy J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp, it could be hard to justify carrying an extra catcher on the active roster, though the two additional spots may help. Marchan also spent one inning at first base this season, so perhaps he could spend time there if needed.
Marchan hasn’t done as well offensively in the minor leagues but is currently ranked as the Phillies’ fifth-best prospect. He has a career .271/.332/.324 slash line, though much of that has come at lower levels. In 45 games between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, he is slashing .203/.284/.222 with a .506 OPS. He does not have a home run in the minors.
His quick success in the majors would be enough of a reason to give him a chance on the extended roster. It will also be interesting to see if he can keep up his recent hit streak, where he’s had at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 games with at-bats through August 8. He appeared in nine games at Triple-A, one at Double-A, and three with the Phillies during that stretch, going 12-for-51 (.235 batting average), with five RBI.