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…

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Rosters expand on Monday to allow for the big league clubs to take a look at 15 more players during the last month of the season.  All the mainstream experts say to pick up the top prospects who will get to see playing time for the last month to boost your roster.   But I’m so bitter today that I can’t recommend doing anything like that if you’re in a points league.  You see, I woke up early and picked out just the perfect outfit, but not one person has mistaken me for homeless.  I hate people.  And I hate prospect call ups (for points leagues).  They’re so new and trendy and just not sustainable enough for me.  In fact, even my moustache hates them.  I’m so heated over the matter that all 12 handlebars I waxed into it are now pointing down.  I used Burt’s Bees and now I can breathe like Brian Wilson on the mound.  Sinuses are so clear!

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Hello, I’m Keith Morrison of Dateline. Today’s story is about a young closer who had the life that we all dream about — money, girls, Tony La Russa’s private phone number to find out if a product used animal testing. What Trevor Rosenthal didn’t have, his shut ‘em down stuff. We pick up the story right after Rosenthal took the mound on April 7th. He was in for his third save, but there was something wrong. Could it have been he lost his control? Or was something else lurking deep in his past — perhaps a high school sweetheart who assumed the identity of Rosenthal’s favorite Starbucks barista, who was putting Visine in his favorite latte drink. Visine that has been known, when digested, to cause runs. Coming up later, Rosenthal can’t find the strike zone for three months, he blows numerous saves, Pat Neshek looks incredible in a setup role and Matheny groans. This is the story of The $12 Salad That Became A Brain Freeze. So, the Cards have been patient with Trevor Rosenthal, even while he hasn’t looked good for the majority of the year, but recently he’s been hideous. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards go to Neshek, who has a 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and four saves already. Yesterday, Seth Maness (no relation to Brandon Guyer) got the save, but that was more because Neshek had thrown already in the game. As for the title, you may not stay…for Trevor stung! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Yeah, last week I told you to buy Kris Bryant. This week it’s Jorge Soler. Next week, it’ll probably be Jody Davis Jr. After that, we’re all going to move to the north side of Chicago, get one of those beef sandwiches they say are Italian that don’t look like anything any Italian I know would eat, then we’ll chow down on some pizza that could double as mattress padding and we’ll say da instead of the. Chicago’s my kind of fantasy prospect town. The only reason why I’m talking about these Cubs prospects — well, not the only reason, but a good reason — it’s late in the year and prospects are called up on September 1st. Specificlly talking about Cubs prospects, because I want to get in a Hot Tub Time Machine with them and go back one minute every other minute so I can stretch out my time with them. Like a real romantic! So, on Jorge Soler. He’s hot butter on Oprah’s thigh with Stedman moving in. Sexy and weirdly erotic. Soler, Bryant and Baez are like 1A, 1B, there’s no 1C and 1D. Soler missed a month earlier in the year with a hamstring injury, but he’s been fine for a while now. Shoot, I’d even say F-I-N-E, fine. He has some slight speed, 30-homer power and a .280 average. Basically, every All-Star outfielder of the last ten years. Unlike Bryant, Theo hasn’t said Soler won’t come up. Soler almost definitely will. Grabbing a guy with something to prove with this much talent, this is what H2H leagues are won with! Or any leagues, for that matter. Look at Baez, he’s on a 70-homer pace. What, you don’t want 70 homers? I’d stash Soler now. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Happy Sunday gang, time for another Razzball look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game– prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). In our constant attempt to frame information and discussions to be as helpful as possible to our readers and fantasy owners, we’re restructuring our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top 50/Top 100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

We will continue our “Panning For Gold” series moving forward for owners in deeper leagues, but these won’t be a regularly-scheduled feature, but keep checking in for true “sleepers” daily… I’ll continue trying to “shine the light” on players that may not impact your leagues in the short-term, while revealing players you might scoop your fellow owners with as time warrants and permits.

Disclaimer: the bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top 50/Top 100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

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This is not to be confused with Krispie Young. I’m squarely in on a Buy for Kris Bryant. I need a Bryant! Great, now I’ve alluded to Anita Bryant and Buys in two sentences and I will be flagged by the Association of the Free and Unified Commitment Keepers. Though it would be fun to get a strongly-worded letter from them on their letterhead. Bigots can be unintentionally funny, but only if they were THAT funny. “Hello, this is Anita Bryant from the Ass. F.U.C– Hey, Paul, are we sure we want to go with the acronym here?” Kris Bryant has torn the roof off minor league pitching, then built a roof ten feet above that first roof, tore that 2nd roof off too, and then jumped in a hot air balloon, soared up 3,000 feet and built another roof. Between Double and Triple-A, he has 36 homers, 15 steals and is hitting .341. Seriously. He’d be a prospect to keep an eye on if he were a third baseman playing behind Josh Donaldson. In other words, if he had to surpass a great 3rd baseman for playing time, he’d still be someone to watch. Right now, he’s behind Luis Malbuena. *extended burp* The Cubs have already brought up Arismendy and Baez. They are not sitting on prospects anymore and the next one to get the call is Bryant. He could be a top 50 player for all of fantasy as early as next year, but for now he’s a flyer in redraft leagues that I’d absolutely take right now. Grab him, he could be up within two weeks and carry your teams in the final six weeks. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

PSYCHE! Before we get into the Buy/Sell, I just wanted to remind people to go join a Razzball fantasy football league. As if pride wasn’t enough reason, you can win a custom bobblehead! You know you always wanted a little bobbly bust of yourself. Anyway II, here’s the BUY/SELL:

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Happy Hump Day (cue the Geico camel) fellow prospect hounds! Another week of minor league action is in the books as the top prospects continue jockeying for spots on various “up and coming” lists, and try to better position themselves for promotions closer to their ultimate goal — a call to “The Show”. Time for our weekly look at some of the prospects that have made some noise recently in the hope of climbing a little closer to the big leagues, whether that step ultimately comes this season or a little further down the road. Refill your coffee cup, get comfortable, and let us guide your continuing research as we try to help you scoop your fellow fantasy competitors with our Wednesday Twelve-Pack.

We’ll start by mentioning the obvious, Cubs fans that follow me on Twitter got the news Monday afternoon that Javier Baez was on his way to join the big club in Denver for last night’s game. Batting second and playing 2B (where he likely winds up for the long haul at this point), he struck out against Brett Anderson in the 1st, grounded out to Nolan Arrenado in the 3rd, struck out against Franklin Morales in the 4th and 6th, and lined out to Brandon Barnes in RF with the bases loaded in the 7th against Matt Belisle after the Rockies pen imploded and walked half the guys on the Cubs’ 40-Man Roster. (EDIT: Baez did deliver his first big league hit, a solo shot off of Boone Logan in the top of the 12th, and was 1-6 with 3 Ks at publishing deadline.) Don’t fret Chicago hopeful, Kris Bryant isn’t far behind.

A couple of the guys we’ll take a look at this week had help clearing their way when the smoke cleared on one of the wackier non-waiver trade deadline days in memory as players on their organizations’ big-club rosters were moved. The deals won’t necessarily create immediate openings for them at the MLB-level, but they’ll help move timetables and ETAs along. Here’s who I’m watching closer going into week 19…

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Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

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Happy Sunday again gang – hope there weren’t too many of you that overdid it with your personal firework shows to celebrate the 4th – baseball (as always) seems to help us in that regard every year around this time, and the big Billy Beane shocker provided everyone a great finale for a lot of contenders. Of course this also helps bring more clarity for those looking to make a run at the MLB-level (obviously defining the market for ANY contender looking to shore up their rotation) just as it will ultimately lead to even more prospect machinations and opportunities as we move forward.

Given the rising level of prospect interest this time of year (both in potential trade/promotion opportunities, but in general as well), and in addition to our hopes of expanding our prospect coverage and helpful information and discussion for you guys in our Razzball community, Sundays will feature, what I’ll refer to as my Sunday Twelve-Pack, as opposed to a Sunday Six-Pack. As always, pace yourselves – Monday morning still looms, and never drink and drive!!!

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With Dylan Bundy having returned to live baseball, the focus around the 21-year-old phenom shifts from “when will he throw again?”, to “when will he throw in the bigs again?”. At the time of this writing, Bundy is preparing to take mound in Aberdeen for a start in the short-season New York Penn League. It’ll be his second outing since Tommy John surgery — the first one was quite good: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Now, while it’s terrific see Bundy pitching so well upon returning to game action, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s still a long rehab process ahead of him, and the O’s won’t jeopardize his progress by pushing him too quickly. Baltimore has scripted Bundy’s recovery, and barring any setbacks, I believe their plan includes some big league action this season, but I wouldn’t expect more than 1 or 2 starts in August/September.

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