After speculating who might get the call this September, we now know which prospects are getting their feet wet in the majors. More importantly, we can decide which ones may provide some fantasy value. Unlike hitter call-ups, pitchers sometimes change roles completely when they first break in. So an arm like Taijuan Walker – whom we all know is destined to be a starter – finds himself pitching out of the pen to help the Mariners in their playoff hunt. It’s not exactly Earth-shattering and it happens often, but it means we’re not going to be streaming a start from the likes of Walker or Andrew Heaney over these last two weeks, making them all but irrelevant in anything but the deepest of redraft leagues. Here – in no particular order – are the September pitcher call-ups with varying degrees of fantasy relevance for the rest of this season…

Taijuan Walker, RHP | SEA

Don’t let the recent long-relief appearance in his game logs fool you. Walker looks to be locked into a relief role for the remainder of this season, which limits his value for those of us hoping to see him get a start or two down the stretch. Roenis Elias and even Chris Young have given the Mariners just enough to keep their rotation spots. On the bright side, the 22-year-old right-hander has struck out six in 7.1 innings this September and remains one of the best pitching prospects heading into 2015. AL-only option. 

Rafael Montero, RHP | NYM

Montero is part of a very young and talented collection of arms in New York. The 23-year-old threw five scoreless innings against the lowly Rockies with seven punch-outs. The bad news is that he’ll head to the bullpen now. The good news is that Terry Collins left the door open for one more spot start during the last week of the season. That could provide some streamer value in mixed leagues if it indeed shakes out. Meanwhile, it’s starting to look like the bullpen will be where Montero starts the 2015 season. NL-only option.

Andrew Heaney, LHP | MIA

I figured Heaney would get at least a spot start this September, especially with the way Brad Penny has pitched. However as of this writing he has yet to throw a pitch since being recalled earlier this month. Heaney’s first taste of the majors came earlier this season and didn’t go particularly well (15 ER in 20.2 IP). Still, you’d like to see him get at an inning here or there instead of sitting. Despite the up and down season, I’m still in buy mode on Heaney in keeper and dynasty leagues. He should be in the Marlins’ rotation to start 2015. NL-only option.

Nicholas Tropeano, RHP | HOU

Tropeano already has a solid start under his belt and figures to stick in the rotation for the remainder of the season. That gives him more value than some of the others listed here as he can be used as a streamer/spot starter in deeper mixed leagues. Facing the Mariners, the 24-year-old threw five innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out five batters. It was only 80 pitches and I’d imagine the Astros aren’t going to allow him to go too deep into games at this point. Still, he’s worth a flier as he’s actually getting starts. Deep mixed option.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, RHP | PHI

Still a part of the Phillies’ future plans, Gonzalez joins the major league club this September after making his way through three levels of the minor leagues in 2014. The Phils forked over $12 million for the 27-year-old Cuban import, who struck out 54 batters in 46 innings pitched in the minors. Those strikeout numbers came with a 5.1 BB/9 however. That’s a mark he’ll obviously need to improve upon. He posted a 1.62 ERA with 19 Ks in 16 IP in Triple-A prior to his call-up and the Phillies are still trying to determine Gonzalez’s future role with the team. NL-only option. 

Brandon Finnegan, LHP | KC

Finnegan made the big jump from the draft to the major leagues this season. Taken 17th overall by the Royals, the 21-year-0ld is already contributing to their bullpen. He has been perfect through 2.2 innings pitched with three strikeouts and could find himself in a high-leverage situation or two in the remaining two weeks. His fastball/changeup/slider arsenal works out of the pen, but keep an eye on him as a starter down the road as well. AL-only option.

Daniel Norris, LHP | TOR

Norris has been excellent in his first taste of the majors. Like Marcus Stroman, Norris should find his way into the Blue Jays’ rotation at some point despite this first taste of relief pitching. For now, the 21-year-old has recorded a hold with two strikeouts and no runs allowed in 1.1 innings pitched. The 3-2 curveball he threw to strike out David Ortiz showed why he topped many of the Blue Jays’ prospect rankings this midseason. AL-only option.

Cam Bedrosian, RHP | LAA

Bedrosian has yet to allow a run in 3.2 relief innings for the Angels. The 22-year-old son of former major leaguer (and Phillie) Steve Bedrosian struck out a whopping 82 batters in 45 innings pitched with 18 saves across three levels of the minors this year. With the big club, Bedrosian continues to strike out more than a batter per inning, although he has had to work around a walk in each of his September appearances. Bedrosian should be a future piece in the late innings for the Angels even he doesn’t see any high-leverage situations this season. AL-only option.  

Hunter Strickland, RHP| SF

Strickland has already made four appearances with four strikeouts and no runs allowed in 3.1 innings pitched for the Giants. In 38.2 innings between High-A and Double-A this season, Strickland struck out 55 batters and recorded 11 saves. Like Bedrosian, Strickland figures to be a big part of the late innings for the Giants as soon as 2015. Unlike Bedrosian, Strickland doesn’t walk many batters. He issued just four walks all season. NL-only option.

John Holdzkom, RHP | PIT

One of the names that wasn’t at the forefront of the September call-up lists was Holdzkom. But since September 2, the 26-year-old right-hander has struck out nine batters in five innings of work. He’s walked only one. Surprise, surprise but Holdzkom might be one of the most fantasy relevant arms of this group. He has already notched a save and two holds for the Pirates since his promotion. Deep mixed option. 

 
  1. de nachos says:
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    BedRock, the original beard. Every time Brian Wilson makes an appearance Bedrosian should earn a nickel.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      haha no doubt. If Cam pitches like his pop the Halos will be in good shape

  2. Matt says:
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    Offtopic, would you start Puig or Trumbo this upcoming week? Could use help in avg, hrs, rbi, nsb, and obp as all these roto categories are close (I know both players have their flaws). Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d roll with Puig

      • Matt says:
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        @Mike: thanks, hope yesterday’s Giants rout jumpstarts Puig! Haha

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          anytime…good luck!

  3. Sparty Scott says:
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    Is it worth keeping Kris Bryant as a 6th round pick in 12 team keeper? I can keep him forever at that price. If I don’t keep him, I’m looking at Trout, Rizzo, Longoria, Xander, Soler, and Fielder as my 6 keepers. My other option is to drop him for extra roster flexibility as I contend for a championship this year. I’d use that spot to fill in for hitters with a day off and such. Thanks for all that you guys do!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      In a keep forever I think you go with Bryant over Fielder

  4. Nightpandas says:
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    Hey Mike,

    Sounds like Castillo coming up this week so yahoo should add him. Would you grab him with your last move for a potential 12th keeper in a 15 team league? Have mostly power bats so steals upside would be good. Have no third basemen either so Franco is another option.

    Thanks man

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah, I would grab Castillo.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Mike: him or pompey in a dynasty where since it’s semi finals i probably only have room for one. both if i drop norris, my backup catcher, but he also fits in at util sometimes these days, with many broken guys taking up bench space too.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Castillo

  5. tim says:
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    who do you like in a keeper league:

    keep 2:
    mookie, xander, jon singleton, alcantara

    keep 2:
    arrieta, ross, odorizz, walker, wheeler

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      1. Xander and Mookie
      2. Wheeler and Ross

  6. Dan Pants

    Dan Pants says:
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    Mike! Last day of my H2H first round and I could use some advice. I am tied, but since I am the 4th seed a tie is a loss. I could have a chance to win runs or HR. I’m down 3 runs and 4 HR so runs is my best shot. If I tie him I will likely win. Without listing my whole lineup, I’m considering dropping a guy like Sandoval (facing Kershaw) for someone who’s going to score me runs. Who do you think is going to score me runs and get me to the next round!? Some available bats: Carl Crawford, Neil walker, Chris Young, Blanco, Bourn, Pagan, De Aza, Pollock, Enciarte, Cain, A. garcia, L. Martin, R. Davis. What do you think?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d go with Pollock or Cain

  7. dp says:
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    Last day of h2h playoff round. Need a win to take that category, but I’m barely winning era and whip, so need a win without blowing up my ratios. FML. Its a 20 team dynasty with 40 player rosters, so theres nothing on waivers. Have 3 guys rostered with starts today. SON likes garza vs cin the most but its hard for me to trust him with 2 not so great starts since coming off the DL. Also have minor @ Tex and niese vs wash and SON doesnt like either of those too much. What say you mike? Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d go with the Garza start. Minor start sounds fine but I don’t like Niese vs. Wash as much.

      • dp says:
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        @Mike: Cool thanks mike. I’m prolly gonna start both Garza and minor, just to get more innings so if they are bad it doesn’t affect my ratios overall too much. Fingers crossed it works out. Thanks again for all you guys do.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          no problem

  8. Mike says:
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    For next year who do you like in a keeper league
    Finnegan, May, or Nelson
    The cost would be $6 are either guy worth it

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Not sure I’d want to drop 6 on any of them to be honest. I like Finnegan the most of the group though.

  9. Swfcdan says:
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    Any under the radar prospects that have blown up recently Norris/Pompey style? Still got a space or two on my farm I can fill, dropping Alfaro and M Taylor before the offseason locks our rosters.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’m an Alfaro fan, so not sure I’d take these guys over him…but some of the names I’ve been eyeing are Margot (Sox), Devers (Sox), Jose Pujols (Philly), Keone Kela (Texas). There’s also Moncada (Cuba). Those guys are still far away, but I think they’ll be popping up more in the future.

      For a guy that is closer and I think doesn’t get enough love, I’m still a fan of Alen Hanson (PIT)

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Mike: Another Pujols, he must be great!!

        Yeah I like Hanson too but he’s owned, no worries probably won’t matter much anyway as these are the spaces i’ll likely be filling in our offseason prospect draft. Your top 5 order of the new draftees this year (Schwarber and Rodon 1 &2 im guessing)?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Yup, that sounds about right. I like Nola as well.

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Mike: And btw, are you the swiss army knife of fantasy baseball? Filling in for Grey, doing your own column, now taking over from our new prospect guy who took over from Scott who didn’t last long. Dunno what razzball would do without you!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Thanks for the kind words! Razzball is a great community. I’ll do my best to keep up the awesome work Scott and Chris did here.

          • Swfcdan says:
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            @Mike: What do you make of Joc’s rough start. Any worry there about the high K’s, could lead to an iffy year in 15 at least in BA? I’m just not sure we can expect all that much of these sept call up rooks in 15, thinking we might get a Bogaerts type year from him with lots of ups and downs. Then the year after is when it all starts to come together….thats the expected route at least!

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              it’s hard to say, but obviously there is going to be normal period where guys have to adjust. I think where it gets interesting is when you see how a guy responds to a struggle. how long do the slumps last, does he look comfortable, what’s he doing differently the second or third time he’s facing a pitcher, etc. with any of these prospects, it’s normal to expect a Bogaerts type struggle, especially if they are hitting the majors that young. I’d agree with you that it’s that second or even third year where we get better handle on what they are…give a guy his 600 ABs or even more before we pass judgement kind of thing.

              • Mike

                Mike says:
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                short answer…I’m not worried about Joc. he has the tools to succeed…but temper expectations in 2015 as you mentioned

                • Swfcdan says:
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                  @Mike: Seeing as you’re still here, would like to know your opinion on my contract decision on Bogey for next year. Currently $0, can give him a 3 year deal for $8, or could give him an option deal for 6 then would be +6 or +8 for 2/3 more years.

                  I’d like to have him longer than 3 years to really see his potential, but is it too costly at potentially 14 bucks in a years time?

                  • Mike

                    Mike says:
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                    I’d go ahead and give him the option for the longer contract. 14 not too much IMO

                • Swfcdan says:
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                  @Swfcdan: @Mike: Go on I’ll throw one more interesting decision too seeing as youre a phills fan. Maikel Franco, another exciting young bat, but will he go nuts as soon as next year. Got him on my farm, if I promote him he’ll cost $0 for the first year, question is he worth having next year or just holding down until 16 (10 team, 8 man farm)? Thanks!

                  • Mike

                    Mike says:
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                    I really think anytime your league rules allow you to keep a guy down, then you keep them down as long as possible. I want my players contributing to my team as close to their peak as possible, so if I can let them figure out that first full year in the minors, that’s a good thing. So yeah, I’d hold until ’16

                    • Swfcdan says:
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                      @Mike: Wow interesting on Bogey. Yeah it is an interesting dilemma with Franco as of course if I promote him I can then add another good prospect in the offseason draft…tough dillema! But think I agree, unless you’re pretty sure he’ll be valuable that year, best to keep him down Rays style!

                      Thanks a lot man!

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      anytime dan

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