We have said it before, but it might have gone unnoticed, or heaven forbid, unheard: September call-ups tend to be overrated. So, let's go ahead and overrate them, shall we?
Roster expansion from 25 men to sometimes over 30 means a lot more players to rotate into the action. More players sharing less opportunities, especially for teams in the race. Not exactly a formula for success.
But we would be remiss if we didn't at least outline the potential September call-ups and pinpoint some of the potential impact ones.
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Morrow is the elite talent -- the Joba Chamberlain merely lost in the expanse of the Great Northwest. His high-90s stuff can produce numbers on the level of Chamberlain, save for wins potential.
Actually, check that. The great Joba, who looks like he might return as a reliever initially come Sept. 1, is merely 4-3 this season. Morrow can go 3-2 in his final six starts, even with the lowly Mariners.
Niese, on the other hand, is a decent pitching prospect in a much better situation with the contending Mets. He is the answer to John Maine's DL sentence, er, stint. He is a pretty good left-handed prospect who will serve as the Mets' No. 5 starter down the stretch.
Consider him a must-add in NL-only formats starting in Fantasy Week 23 (Sept. 1-6), facing the Brewers. He might even prove to be a two-start sleeper for Fantasy Week 24 (Sept. 7-13), which is a potentially crucial week in Head-to-Head playoffs.
Back to Price, which has been the million dollar name since late May: It doesn't look good. First, we didn't see the Rays staying in first place this long -- much less enjoying the cushion they have. Second, whodathunk their young pitching would hold up down the stretch?
It still might, but Price is currently battling the first mini-slump of his career in Triple-A and now, aw gawd, his Triple-A team is in the postseason. That might mean the Rays give Price -- and teammate Wade Davis -- postseason experience in the minors through mid-September before getting majors experience down the stretch with the playoff-bound Rays. (Still can't believe the end of that statement was just made with justification.)
Here is a team-by-team breakdown of potential September call-ups, with a note on who might be potential impact players. There will be some call-ups not mentioned here and many of those named here might not get called up, either.
A player needs to be on the 40-man roster before he can be called up, so beyond the most-owned minor leaguers on CBSSports.com, we include some of the top names on the roster but are owned in less than 1 percent of our Fantasy leagues right now. (Ownership percentage is in the parentheses.)
Tampa Bay Rays -- SP David Price (56), OF Jonny Gomes (4), SP Wade Davis (2), 1B Dan Johnson (1) and SP Jeff Niemann (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Mitch Talbot
Currently on rehab assignments: None
Potential impact guys: Price. But he, Davis, Niemann and Talbot might pitch through the Triple-A postseason and arrive merely as relievers. Gomes and Johnson are nothing more than bench bats.
Boston Red Sox -- SP Clay Buchholz (36), C David Ross (3) and SP Michael Bowden (1).
Unowned 40-man roster notables: C George Kottaras and C Dusty Brown
Currently on rehab assignments: SP Bartolo Colon
Potential impact guys: Colon could pitch in a significant relief -- or even starter's role if Josh Beckett (elbow) gets bad news from Dr. James Andrews. It will be hard to imagine the Red Sox trusting Buchholz or Bowden in a pennant race, but anyone getting starts for them can have decent Fantasy value.
New York Yankees -- OF Melky Cabrera (25), SP Ian Kennedy (13) and 1B Shelley Duncan (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Justin Christian and RP Jeffrey Marquez
Currently on rehab assignments: SP Phil Hughes and SP Humberto Sanchez
Potential impact guys: Hughes and Kennedy should still be interesting. They haven't forgotten how to pitch; they are merely the latest case-study in the dangers of relying on young pitching. It takes some longer than others, but this duo could still help down the stretch in the rotation -- likewise with Joba Chamberlain.
Toronto Blue Jays -- SP Shaun Marcum (72) and OF Kevin Mench (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: UTL Russ Adams, SP Scott Richmond and C Curtis Thigpen
Currently on rehab assignments: None
Potential impact guys: Travis Snider, called up late Thursday night, is a potential star. Adam Lind is likely a DH as Vernon Wells and Alex Rios play in the outfield with the elite prospect Snider. Marcum will return to the rotation and have value in deeper formats, of course.
Baltimore Orioles -- C Matt Wieters (7), SP Garrett Olson (6) and SP Chris Tillman (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Hayden Penn, OF Jeff Fiorentino, 1B Oscar Salazar, 3B Scott Moore and SS Brandon Fahey
Currently on rehab assignments: RP Chris Ray
Potential impact guys: Ray could arrive as a closer, if the O's so choose, but they have said he has nothing to prove to them. They might just reward him in September for a Tommy John recovery well done. Wieters won't arrive, according to O's beat writers, so that makes it unlikely they trust him out of the gate in 2009. He is a big-time slugging catcher prospect. Tillman and Penn are intriguing starting pitchers, but all O's starters are risky Fantasy options, because of the cellar-dweller they would pitch for.
Chicago White Sox -- 3B Josh Fields (11) and OF Jerry Owens (2)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Aaron Poreda is not on the 40-man, but he very well could be added next week for a call-up
Currently on rehab assignments: None
Potential impact guys: Poreda is a nice sleeper if he gets starts, but after last week's near call-up, he looks like a long shot to start for a top contender right now. Fields has been a bust and will be nothing more than a reserve, while Owens is nothing more than a base-stealer off the bench.
Minnesota Twins -- SP Philip Humber (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Jason Pridie and 3B Matt Macri
Currently on rehab assignments: 2B Matt Tolbert
Potential impact guys: Many of their best prospects are not on the 40-man roster, so we don't see much in the way of help -- especially since a lot of their pitchers would merely be middle or long relievers. Pridie does have some steals potential off the bench.
Cleveland Indians -- OF Matt LaPorta (15), SP Aaron Laffey (9) and RP Jon Meloan (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: 1B Michael Aubrey and OF Brad Snyder
Currently on rehab assignments: C Victor Martinez, DH Travis Hafner and 2B Josh Barfield
Potential impact guys: V-Mart can mash in the next few days, while Hafner is far more of an uncertainty. LaPorta is more intriguing long term, but they should give him a call just to unveil their big CC Sabathia piece. Laffey and Meloan can get starts and we might see SP David Huff added to the 40-man roster, too.
Detroit Tigers -- SP Dontrelle Willis (14), SP Chris Lambert (2) and SP Rick Porcello (2)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Brent Clevlen and SP Eddie Bonine
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but RP Joel Zumaya could get one
Potential impact guys: Willis is battling a sore elbow and Lambert already had a look and it wasn't pretty. Porcello would be real interesting, but we don't see them rushing him along this year from Class A.
Kansas City Royals -- 1B Kila Kaaihue (4)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Shane Costa and 1B Ryan Shealy
Currently on rehab assignments: RP Jimmy Gobble and RP John Bale
Potential impact guys: We have already chronicled Ka'aihue meteoric rise, so he certainly can make a Chris Davis-like smash.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- SP Nick Adenhart (3) and 1B Kendry Morales (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Dustin Moseley, 3B Matthew Brown and OF Terry Evans
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but Howie Kendrick (hamstring) went on the DL on Thursday night and could return by mid-September.
Potential impact guys: Brandon Wood was recalled Thursday and has been long-awaited as a power bat. The other guys here are nothing more than bit players down the stretch.
Texas Rangers -- C Max Ramirez (2), C Taylor Teagarden (1), SP Luis Mendoza (1), SP Neftali Feliz (1) and SS Elvis Andrus (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: 2B German Duran, 3B Travis Metcalf and SP Tommy Hunter
Currently on rehab assignments: SP John Reinecker. Also, OF David Murphy and perhaps 2B Ian Kinsler could return before the end of the year.
Potential impact guys: Save for Kinsler and Murphy DL returns, the Rangers don't figure to have a single guy to expect much from. They have a great collection of guys, though, especially at catcher -- where they were pretty well set already anyway. Feliz is an intriguing pitching prospect, but his age makes him less likely to garner a look.
Oakland Athletics -- OF Travis Buck (4), SP Trevor Cahill (3), OF Matt Murton (1) and SP Brett Anderson (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Richie Robnett, OF Javier Herrera and OF Chris Denorfia
Currently on rehab assignments: RP Keith Foulke and DH Mike Sweeney. Also, SP Justin Duchscherer and/or SP Sean Gallagher could return after mid-September.
Potential impact guys: The A's system has a glut of mediocre outfield prospects they will have to sort through. That means some call-ups but no full-time shots. Recently demoted Carlos Gonzalez is in that group after Thursday now, too. Pitchers Cahill and Anderson are must-haves in deeper formats if they get a look, but it will only come after their minor league postseason teams are eliminated in mid-September.
Seattle Mariners -- RP Brandon Morrow (43) and RP Mark Lowe (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: INF Yung Chi Chen, SP Jared Wells and RP Sean White
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but Carlos Silva is slated to return from the DL for a Sept. 1 start.
Potential impact guys: Morrow is a lot better than he has been or will get credit for. But, like, most everything already in Seattle, there is not much else to look forward to.
New York Mets -- SP Jonathon Niese (4), RP Eddie Kunz (4), OF Fernando Martinez (3), RP Al Reyes (2) and SP Claudio Vargas (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: RP Ruddy Lugo, RP Carlos Muniz and UTL Argenis Reyes
Currently on rehab assignments: RP Ambiorix Burgos, OF Trot Nixon and OF Marlon Anderson. Billy Wagner, John Maine, Ramon A. Castro and Matt Wise might also attempt to return before the end of the season.
Potential impact guys: RP Juan Rincon and 1B Mike Carp might also get added to the 40-man roster in September, but Niese is the only real potential impact Fantasy option. We don't see Fernando Martinez getting a real look for at-bats, even if he is called up. Burgos could be interesting coming off Tommy John surgery, but likely only as a middle reliever and not closer.
Philadelphia Phillies -- SP Carlos Carrasco (4), SP Adam Eaton (2) and SP J.A. Happ (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: 1B Mike Cervenak, UTL Oscar Robles, OF T.J. Bohn, C Jason Jaramillo and SP Andrew Carpenter
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but Geoff Jenkins might still return before the end of the year and Kris Benson is expected to be added to the 40-man roster to arrive as a long reliever.
Potential impact guys: Carrasco could have been up already. In fact, he has a pretty good chance to help as a starting pitcher down the stretch for a top contender with a great offense. He is an elite pitching prospect who has had some outstanding starts in Triple-A in August.
Florida Marlins -- OF Cameron Maybin (14), 3B Dallas McPherson (2), RP Taylor Tankersley (1) and SP Rick VandenHurk (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Ryan Tucker, OF Jai Miller, C Mike Rabelo and SS Robert Andino
Currently on rehab assignments: SP Andrew Miller, RP Renyel Pinto and OF Brett Carroll. RP Burke Badenhop might also make a return.
Potential impact guys: Maybin could impact Rotisserie leagues with his steals potential, but we doubt he gets regular at-bats. McPherson has huge power numbers and has deserved a call-up already. McPherson, and his 40 homers, should be starting in the major leagues right now.
Atlanta Braves -- SP Chuck James (3), OF Jordan Schafer (1) and SS Brent Lillibridge (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Jason Perry, SP Matt DeSalvo and RP Francisley Bueno
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but 2B Ruben Gotay hasn't been shut down for the year yet.
Potential impact guys: Schafer is a speed-and-power talent with a potential opening in center with the trade of Mark Kotsay. Take a flier in NL-only formats. He could enter spring 2009 as a starter.
Washington Nationals -- OF Christopher Marrero (1), SP Ross Detwiler (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Justin Maxwell, SP Matt Chico, SP Tyler Clippard, OF Roger Bernadina, 3B Kory Casto, RP Chris Schroder, RP Ryan Wagner and SP Michael O'Connor.
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but SS Alberto Gonzalez could return as a reserve in September.
Potential impact guys: Marrerro and Detwiler are intriguing long-term prospects, but we don't see them factoring in at all. Maxwell is an underrated talent, too, so watch him for potential at-bats to help in deeper NL-only formats.
Chicago Cubs -- OF Felix Pie (4)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: 1B Micah Hoffpauir, OF Sam Fuld, RP Kevin Hart, RP Michael Wuertz, RP Jose Ascanio and RP Adam Harben.
Currently on rehab assignments: RP Angel Guzman and RP Jon Lieber. Also, Chad Fox could return before the end of the season.
Potential impact guys: The contending Cubs don't figure to trust anyone in a pennant race, especially because their rotation is so deep. Pie and/or Fuld could steal some bases off the bench, perhaps.
Milwaukee Brewers -- 3B Matthew Gamel (4), OF Tony K. Gwynn (1) and SS Alcides Escobar (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: 1B Brad Nelson, 2B Hernan Iribarren and C Vinny Rottino
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but Yovani Gallardo is still hoping to attempt a return before the postseason.
Potential impact guys: Gamel slowed considerably after the trade of Matt LaPorta, as we expected he would. He is in Triple-A now, but his suspect glove won't get him anything more than pinch-hit at-bats. Gwynn can steal some bases off the bench, while Gallardo could be interesting in the season's final weeks, perhaps.
St. Louis Cardinals -- OF Colby Rasmus (7), SP Jaime Garcia (4) and SS Brendan Ryan (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Blake Hawksworth
Currently on rehab assignments: RP Josh Kinney. Also, SP Chris Carpenter and OF Brian Barton could return in September in their previous roles.
Potential impact guys: Rasmus would be joining a really crowded outfield, even with Chris Duncan (back) out for the season. The contending Cardinals have already been to the well often this year, so most of their call-ups will be relievers to match up with down the stretch. We didn't bother to list those guys here.
Houston Astros -- C J.R. Towles (7)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: RP Fernando Nieve, RP Samuel Gervacio and OF Yordany Ramirez
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but 2B Kazuo Matsui and perhaps SP Felipe Paulino will try to return in September.
Potential impact guys: Towles has been much better in the minors and perhaps he can shake the Quadruple-A label in September. Consider him a flier in deeper NL-only leagues.
Cincinnati Reds -- SP Homer Bailey (11), 2B Danny Richar (1) and SP Daryl Thompson (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Bobby Livingston, RP Todd Coffey and SS Paul Janish
Currently on rehab assignments: RP Jared Burton. Also, OF Ryan Freel and Jerry Hairston will try to return from leg injuries.
Potential impact guys: Richar is nothing more than a reserve infielder. Bailey, if he can prove healthy, and Thompson, should get starts, but they are high-risk NL-only options down the stretch.
Pittsburgh Pirates -- OF Andrew McCutchen (5), OF Steve Pearce (5), C Ronny Paulino (4) and RP Craig Hansen (2)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: SP Ross Ohlendorf, SP Jimmy Barthmaier, RP David Davidson, SP John Van BenSchoten and SS Brian Bixler
Currently on rehab assignments: None
Potential impact guys: McCutchen will have to earn his at-bats if he is called up, but his steals potential makes him a poor man's Lastings Milledge down the stretch. McCutchen could have more Fantasy value long term than his comparison player, though, because of the steals.
Arizona Diamondbacks -- SP Micah Owings (21) and SP Max Scherzer (17)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: C Robby Hammock, RP Doug Slaten, RP Jailen Peguero
Currently on rehab assignments: OF Justin Upton
Potential impact guys: Owings hasn't pitched in Triple-A, amid reports he was a piece of the trade for Adam Dunn with the Reds. That likely won't become official until after the season at this point, so don't expect Owings to pitch again in September. Scherzer is a must-have Fantasy option in leagues that use true middle relievers -- or any format if he gets spot starts down the stretch. You have already seen what that arm can do.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- SP Eric Stults (3), SP James McDonald (1) and SS Chin-lung Hu (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Jason Repko and RP Greg Miller
Currently on rehab assignments: OF Delwyn Young. Also, SS Rafael Furcal and OF Andruw Jones might attempt comebacks
Potential impact guys: SP Clayton Kershaw was sent back to the minors after a stinker Thursday and can be an option to return come mid-September again. Scott Elbert was recalled for the rotation and is an outstanding pitching prospect in his own right. Consider him a sleeper in all deeper leagues.
Colorado Rockies -- SP Franklin Morales (3), 1B Joe Koshansky (1), 2B Jayson Nix (1), OF Dexter Fowler (1), SP Greg Reynolds (1) and SP Jason Hirsh (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: OF Cory Sullivan, RP Juan Morillo and 2B Jonathan Herrera
Currently on rehab assignments: OF Ryan Spilborghs and RP Matt Herges. Also, 1B Todd Helton could make a return next month.
Potential impact guys: Fowler is an elite outfield prospect, but we just don't see a position for him right now or for spring 2009. Any one of the starting pitchers could be a sleeper, but their Triple-A numbers don't quite look Fantasy-worthy. They will have to get better results in the majors. Their talent suggests that is possible.
San Francisco Giants -- OF John Bowker (5), OF Daniel Ortmeier (1), OF Nate Schierholtz (1) and RP Brad Hennessey (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: 2B/3B Travis Denker, SP Patrick Misch, SP Matt Palmer, C Eliezer Alfonzo and OF Brian Horwitz.
Currently on rehab assignments: None, but SP Jonathan Sanchez is tentatively slated to return to the Giants' rotation Sept. 1. Consider him a two-start sleeper for real deeper leagues, perhaps.
Potential impact guys: Schierholtz was arguably Team USA's most clutch hitter in Beijing and the Giants have been waiting to bring him up for a chance to hand him a full-time job. We don't think he stars right way, but he can be useful in NL-only formats down the stretch, if he gets the regular at-bats they promised. Denker has pop and is interesting because of his position.
San Diego Padres -- SP Josh Banks (7), 2B Matt Antonelli (2), RP Cla C. Meredith (1), SP William Inman (1) and SP Justin Germano (1)
Unowned 40-man roster notables: RP Joe Thatcher, C Luke Carlin, 1B Brian Myrow and 2B Craig Stansberry
Currently on rehab assignments: SP Shawn Estes. Also, Chris Young is expected to return to the Padres rotation from the DL this upcoming week.
Potential impact guys: Antonelli has been one of the biggest prospects busts of the year, but he could get a token call-up as a reserve. Inman is a wild card here. Kind of like a Yusmeiro Petit, a minor league strikeout man who doesn't figure to carry it over to the pros. We could get a chance to see that for ourselves. Consider him a sleeper in deeper NL-only formats.
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