Brewers: Why LHP Ethan Small Will Not Be A September Call Up

Mar 1, 2021; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers Ethan Small #74 poses during media day at American Family Fields. Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2021; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers Ethan Small #74 poses during media day at American Family Fields. Mandatory Credit: MLB photos via USA TODAY Sports /
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September 1st marks when MLB rosters expand from 26 players to 28. Most commonly this is known as September call ups. While this is a significant decrease in players allowed on the active roster than years previous, those two extra spots are still valuable to the Brewers.

Often times it is minor league prospects who benefit from the roster expansion. This allows players to get a taste of big league play for the final month of the season. In the Brewers case, they will be battling for playoff positioning this September. This means they will be looking to add players who they expect to contribute in a positive manner.

While the Brewers are not known for having an exceptional farm system, there are still plenty of players to be excited about.  One of those players is 2020 first round draft pick Ethan Small. After the recent mid season update, Small is currently the fifth ranked prospect in the Brewers organization.

Being an experienced college arm, many expected Small to progress through the minor leagues quickly. However, at this point it is rather unlikely that he is one of the players the Brewers call up in September.  

To begin the minor league season, Small was assigned to the Double-A affiliate Biloxi Shuckers.  After posting a 1.98 ERA and striking out 67 batters in 41 innings he was promoted to Triple A- Nashville. Unfortunately after three starts, he was injured and has most recently just returned on a rehab assignment.

With being sidelined for an extended period of time, it is going to take time for Small to ramp back up.  This in itself may prevent Small from being promoted to the Brewers. He additionally only made three appearances at the Triple-A level. It seems very likely that the Brewers would want him to finish out the year there.

The other factor to consider is that Small would have to be added to the 40 man roster in order to be called up this September. There are plenty of players who are in danger of losing their 40 man roster spot, but if added it is hard to imagine how Small could be utilized given the depth of the bullpen.

With still ramping up following an injury, limited Triple-A playing time, and having to add him to the 40 man roster it is hard to imagine the Brewers calling up Small in September. Unfortunately, the injury to his finger might have delayed his MLB debut, otherwise his play this year had him right on track.

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Perhaps in a year where Triple-A ended on Labor Day and rosters expanded to 40 in September, Small could earn a promotion, but it’s not looking likely this year.

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