The Phillies have made a flurry of roster moves over the last few days, starting with the trades of infielders John McDonald and Michael Young, and ending with the addition of several minor leaguers as the Major League roster has expanded to 40.
According to Matt Gelb of The Inquirer, the Phillies have called up catcher Cameron Rupp, infielder Freddy Galvis, and pitchers Tyler Cloyd, Luis Garcia, Mauricio Robles and Joe Savery.
While the names and talent levels of most of the players on that list are known to most, there are a pair of players who will be receiving their first cup of coffee with the Phillies this month, and as such, can go a long way in attempting to secure a roster spot for 2014.
Robles, a left-handed reliever, was acquired off waivers last December from the Seattle Mariners. Originally a starter, Robles has been a full-time relief pitcher with the Phillies this season, and has posted a 1.97 ERA in 64 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, with a 6.2 BB/9 and a 8.9 K/9. At 24, he's logged eight seasons in the minor leagues, with a 3.92 ERA in 207 games.
He's the type of pitcher that the Phillies have stocked up on lately – a reliever with the ability to get strikeouts, but at the cost of control. Like Phillippe Aumont, he looks to be a potentially valuable piece to to the bullpen, but poor control ultimately will be his undoing unless he can make a significant change at the Major League level. With the Phillies out of the playoff race, manager Ryne Sandberg would be wise to give Robles quite a few looks, perhaps as a left-handed specialist. Although, interestingly enough, Robles allowed a higher OPS to left-handed hitters this season (.653) than right-handers (.486).
Rupp, however, is the more interesting of the two call-ups. A 24-year-old catcher who was drafted by the Phillies in 2010. While he doesn't have a tremendous offensive skill set (he owns a .741 OPS in four minor league seasons), he has impressed the organization enough to have warranted a mid-season promotion from Double-A to Triple-A. In 93 games this season, Rupp has a .260/.320/.440 line, with 14 homers and 16 doubles. It's the third straight season that Rupp has increases his slugging and OPS.
While Carlos Ruiz is the likely starter next season (pending how Ruben Amaro handles the contract of the free agent in the off-season), Rupp may very well earn himself a back-up role if he can make the most of his time with the Phillies this month.