As of September 1st, major-league teams will be allowed to expand their active, 25-man rosters to include any player on the 40-man roster. Though not every team will utilize every available roster spot, most teams do use the roster-expansion period to give playing time to younger players without starting their arbitration clocks.
In what follows I've attempted to cobble together a Roster Expansion Dream Team of sorts, looking at one player at each position that might find his way to -- and perform in -- the majors.
When considering each player, I've looked not only at production and pedigree, but also at the odds that said player might get playing time were he called up. Furthermore, I've isolated my choices only to players who have seen no major-league action yet in 2011 -- which is why, for example, you won't find players like Ryan Lavarnway or Anthony Rizzo on this list.
C: Max Ramirez, 26
Organization: San Francisco Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 137 PA, .333/.397/.610 (.378 BABIP)
Comments: Was real-live prospect just a few years ago, but actually on third team just this season. If Giants decide that Chris Stewart-Eli Whiteside combo package lacks pop (hint: they do), Ramirez could get the call.
1B: Matt Hague, 26
Organization: Pittsburgh Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 557 PA, .309/.372/.463 (.330 BABIP)
Comments: Doesn't really have a standout tool (12 HR, 4 SB), but has walked almost as much as he's struck out each of last two seasons and, you know, plays for the Pirates.
2B: Matt Antonelli, 26
Organization: Washington Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 344 PA, .293/.386/.448 (.339 BABIP)
Comments: Was 50th overall prospect in 2008, per Baseball America, but dealt with number of injuries 2008-10. Speed (6-for-12 SB) appears to have decreased, but Antonelli has played second, third, and short at Triple-A Syracuse.
3B: Taylor Green, 24
Organization: Milwaukee Current Level: Majors
Stats: 487 PA, .336/.413/.583 (.360 BABIP)
Comments: Was actually promoted this past Saturday, but still counts because author says so. Green's preserved his plate discipline from previous campaigns but added power, posting an ISO (SLG minus AVG) for first time in his career. Might be auditioning for 2012 job. Could get decent amount of PAs.
SS: Tyler Pastornicky, 21
Organization: Atlanta Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 115 PA, .373/.414/.422 (.407 BABIP)
Comments: Arrived last year in Yunel Escobar trade. Slashed .299/.345/.414 (.315 BABIP) in 395 PA at Double-A before July promotion. With Alex Gonzalez entering free agency, he could be next year's starter.
OF: Brett Jackson, 23
Organization: Chicago (NL) Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 180 PA .323/.397/.595 (.447 BABIP)
Comments: Lack of contact (27.1% K rate in minors this year) very much an issue, but rated as 74th and 38th overall prospect by BA in 2010 and '11, respectively, given excellent tools. Has 19 HR and 21 SB in 108 games between Double- and Triple-A this season.
OF: Leonys Martin, 23
Organization: Texas Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 183 PA, .263/.315/.317 (.301 BABIP)
Comments: Agreed to five-year deal with Rangers in May after defecting from Cuba. Triple-A slash-line is less impressive than .348/.435/.571 (.347 BABIP) he posted in 135 Double-A, but stolen-base rate has improved from 10-for-18 to 8-for-10 between levels.
OF: Logan Schafer, 24
Organization: Milwaukee Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 171 PA, .342/.408/.530 (.354 BABIP)
Comments: Was Milwaukee's Minor League Player of the Year in 2009, but missed basically all of 2010 with fractured foot. Has hit five homers since July promotion. With Milwaukee thin in center, could gets time there -- esp. if Milwaukee clinches early.
UT: Clint Robinson, 26
Organization: Kansas City Current Level: Triple-A
Stats: 550 PA, .328/.403/.535 (.358 BABIP)
Comments: Robinson's 2011 at Triple-A is basically a carbon copy of 2010 at Northwest Arkansas, minus a couple-few homers. Blocked at major-league level by Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer, but could see PAs with Kansas City well out of playoff hunt.