September call-ups are almost upon us. Despite monster minor league numbers, it appears the Cubs are not going to add Kris Bryant to the roster. Bryant dominated in 2014, hitting an obscene .328/.438/.674 with 43 home runs, 114 runs, 102 RBIs and even 15 steals across two levels of the minors. I couldn’t hit that in Bases Loaded on my Nintendo. While the Cubs did promote Javier Baez and Jorge Soler to get their feet wet, they seem content to leave Bryant where he is whcih in turn makes him worthless to the prospect hounds in redraft fantasy leagues.
There are two sides to the situation. On one hand Bryant could be added to the roster which gives him some major league at bats and makes all of us fantasy owners very happy. On the other hand, the Cubs could give him the full year in the minors without having to drop anybody from their 40-man roster or start his clock. That clock is important, as Bryant being called up a month or two into next seeason could buy the Cubs another year of his services should he decide to become free agent when eligible. Bryant will be worth the wait, but that’s what we’ll have to do – wait. That leaves us to figure out who is worth a look this September. Assuming that the following players will all be called up, here are some of the names (along with their 2014 MiLB stats) that I think could help fantasy owners in redraft leagues this September…
1. Taijuan Walker – 82.1 IP, 4.37 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
Walker has had an up and down season but he’s the arm I’m most confident in for quality innings in September. The Mariners are in the hunt and the 21-year-old right-hander could help their rotation down the stretch. Walker’s last start was not pretty (5 ER) but in his previous three starts he threw 19 innings with 29 strikeouts and six walks including a 13 K effort against Fresno.
2. Francisco Lindor – 72 R, 10 HR, 61 RBI, 28 SB, .276/.339/.384
Lindor is already primed for the majors with his glove. The question is going to be how the bat will play in the bigs. The Indians will give the 20-year-old switch hitter everyday looks at shortstop once he’s up, which has value in leagues where fantasy owners are scrambling for a middle infielder. Of the hitters listed here, I think he gets the most playing time this September. What he does with it is obviously TBD.
3. Carlos Rodon – 19.2 IP, 2.75 ERA, 14.2 K/9, 4.6 BB/9
It seems crazy to think that the White Sox could bring Rodon up this September after drafting him in the same year, but that’s similar to how they handled Chris Sale in 2010. Rodon could have value thanks to his strikeout potential even if he pitches out of the pen. The White Sox haven’t made a decision as of this post, but Rodon has handled his Triple-A promotion nicely with 11 strikeouts in seven innings pitched and has made the case for a cup of coffee.
4. Maikel Franco – 63 R, 16 HR, 76 RBI, 2 SB, .259/.300/.433
Franco may not get the call from the Phillies, but if he does they’ll want to get a lot of looks at their corner infielder down the stretch. The 21-year-old had a slow start to the year, but has recently turned it on again in August slashing .324/.330/.610 with seven home runs this month. He also hit for the cycle recently at Triple-A, which was exciting in itself.
5. Joc Pederson – 103 R, 33 HR, 79 RBI, 30 SB, .307/.437/.590
He’d be the surefire number one add for September if I knew where/how he’d play. As of right now it would take an injury to one of the Dodgers’ current outfielders for Pederson to get any regular starts. Still, he’s got that power/speed combo that fantasy owners love and we’ll be all over him in 2015 for sure.
The great unknown is always sexy. Given how successful recent unknown Cuban imports like Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu have been, it’s not too big a stretch to put some faith in Castillo as well. It’s expected that he’ll be up with the Red Sox sometime in September. A Rajai Davis type performance down is a possibility and we’re all excited to get our first look at the 27-year-old outfielder this afternoon in his first GCL game.
7. Alexander Guerrero – 45 R, 16 HR, 55 RBI, 4 SB, .332/.371/.614
Guerrero suffered the freak ear injury earlier this year but he has put up solid numbers and should be up with the Dodgers this September. Without an injury to one of the Dodgers’ regular stars Guerrero could find himself limited to a super utility role. I wouldn’t expect much value outside of deep or NL-only leagues until next season.
8. Andrew Heaney – 131 IP, 3.23 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9
After struggling with the big club, Heaney continues to put up solid strikeout numbers while showing good control in the minor leagues. A cup of coffee this September could give Heaney another chance to show why he was a top prospect and an interesting option in mixed fantasy leagues for 2015.
9. Alex Meyer – 129.1 IP, 3.41 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 4.4 BB/9
Like many of the names on this, it’s still undecided whether Meyer will be called up or not. The 24-year-old right-hander has certainly deserved it with his performance this year, but he is on an innings limit and will likely be used out of the bullpen if he gets a shot.
10. Archie Bradley – 82.2 IP, 3.92 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 4.8 BB/9
Bradley struggled in his most recent start, allowing five earned runs and five walks in just 1/3 of an inning. That’s pretty terrible and it’s the kind of start nobody can afford when they are chasing a fantasy championship in September. He still has great stuff and will be highly regarded entering 2015, but I can’t put him at the top of a list like this after a performance like that. It may be a moot point anyway, as Bradley has been named to the AFL roster and could be skipped over for a September call-up.
11. Steven Moya – 78 R, 34 HR, 98 RBI, 15 SB, .270/.299/.546
Moya’s 34 home runs came after a 2013 season in which he hit just 12 dingers. A 30% strikeout percentage accompanies that power and the 22-year-old outfielder really has no position in the Tigers’ already crowded outfield if he does get the call.
12. Domingo Santana – 60 R, 15 HR, 79 RBI, 6 SB, .299/.385/.477
The Astros are another team with a crowded outfield and Santana is still looking for his first major league hit. I don’t think he’ll provide much value in fantasy next month but he has some pop in his bat and could run into a homer if/when he does get the call.