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Melchior: Callups just around the corner

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Every year around this time, the anticipation over September callups starts to build to a crescendo. Rarely, though, does the reality of a highly anticipated callup's performance meet the expectations.

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This is not to say callups can't make an impact. Though he wasn't the most hyped prospect to reach the majors last September, Chris Parmelee rewarded the owners who did pick up him up, as he hit .355 with four home runs and 14 RBI in his 21 games. So while odds are long on any callup making that kind of impact, it's worth scouring the waiver wire in search of 2012's version of Parmelee.

The biggest-name minor leaguers aren't always the best targets. Top prospects like Anthony Rendon, Jedd Gyorko and Gary Brown may not get added to their respective major league rosters, and even if they are, there doesn't appear to be much playing time available for any of them. Owners are better off leaving some of the big, close-to-major-league-ready names for their keeper league rosters and targeting one of the 10 minor leaguers listed below. Some, like Billy Hamilton and Wil Myers, could already be scarce in deeper leagues, but plenty of others should be widely available in the vast majority of formats.

While not all of these players are certain to be recalled, each has the potential to make a Fantasy impact over the season's final month. I've ranked them in the order of their likely impact, starting with the top player to target.

1. Dan Straily, SP, Athletics (39 percent ownership rate): We already know that Straily can handle big league hitters, as he put together an impressive 3.18 ERA over his first three starts with Oakland. Though he was sent down to make room for Brandon McCarthy, he could very well be the long-term replacement for Bartolo Colon, even though Tyson Ross is handling those duties for now. Should Straily get summoned on or around Sept. 1, he would be the player on this list most worth pursuing in standard mixed leagues.

2. Tyler Thornburg, SP, Brewers (4 percent ownership rate): With the release of Randy Wolf and likely innings limits for Mike Fiers and Mark Rogers, there are going to be opportunities for some young Brewers to prove themselves in the rotation over the season's final weeks. Thornburg appears to have the best shot of getting promoted into a starting role, though Wily Peralta is also under consideration. If the Brewers are looking to reward good performance in the minors, Thornburg should have an edge over Peralta. Depending on his matchups, Thornburg could have some low-end appeal in standard mixed leagues, and he'd certainly be worth pursuing in deeper formats.

3. Billy Hamilton, SS, Reds (25 percent ownership rate): Arguably, Hamilton has generated more excitement than any other yet-to-debut prospect this year. Now that he has broken Vince Coleman's single-season professional baseball record of 145 stolen bases, could Cincinnati be the next frontier? The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Reds are considering Hamilton as a September addition. Should he get the call, Hamilton would probably be relegated to a pinch-running role, but in that capacity, he could still help owners with steals, making him a viable option in most mixed Rotisserie leagues.

4. Jenrry Mejia, SP, Mets (2 percent ownership rate): Just like Straily was passed over for another pitcher to fill a vacancy in his team's rotation, Mejia missed the chance to fill in for Johan Santana (back) Thursday versus the Rockies. That doesn't mean Mejia won't get starts in September, though, and the hard-throwing righty could reward owners looking for a late-season boost in strikeouts.

5. Wil Myers, OF, Royals (35 percent ownership rate): The Royals have indicated they are in no rush to promote Myers, but with so few impact players having a strong chance of getting a callup, it's worth making a speculative pickup. Myers hasn't slowed down much in moving from Double-A to Triple-A, and at the very least, it's conceivable that Myers could be used in a timeshare situation in the outfield down the stretch. Should Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Jeff Francoeur get more than their usual time off, that could afford Myers enough playing time to be a factor in deeper leagues.

6. Avisail Garcia, OF, Tigers (1 percent ownership rate): Most of the hype and callup speculation around the Tigers has centered around Nick Castellanos, but as an outfielder, Garcia is probably closer to being able to help the big league team out now. He is not guaranteed a promotion, and should he come to Detroit, Garcia could merely fill a reserve role. However, Brennan Boesch and Quintin Berry are not the most immovable of roadblocks in right field, so there is a potential opportunity for Garcia to get playing time and be useful to owners in AL-only leagues.

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7. Jake Odorizzi, SP, Royals (9 percent ownership rate): Though the Royals don't have an obvious need for a starting pitcher, they have not ruled out the possibility of promoting Odorzzi. After breezing through seven starts at Double-A to start the season, he fared extremely well at Triple-A with a 2.80 ERA, even though he sustained a sharp decrease in his strikeout rate. On the off chance that one of the Royals' current starters gets hit with an injury or a severe late-season slump, it's worth putting in a claim on Odorizzi -- even in standard mixed leagues -- as he would likely be the next in line to join the rotation.

8. Adam Eaton, OF, Diamondbacks (3 percent ownership rate): The Diamondbacks' outfield situation is well set, but manager Kirk Gibson has shown a willingness to bench Chris Young -- and even Justin Upton -- when they have struggled over an extended period. It's not inconceivable, then, that Eaton could factor in as part of an outfield rotation. With Gerardo Parra also in the mix, that wouldn't leave Eaton with many plate appearances, but even with limited exposure, he could help owners with steals. Because he is an extreme long shot to see regular playing time, Eaton is more of an NL-only option. Owners just need to be aware that Eaton may wind up eating a spot on their Fantasy roster, as his debut might not happen until 2013.

9. Melky Mesa, OF, Yankees (0 percent ownership rate): Mesa's minor league stolen base totals aren't particularly noteworthy, but he has enough speed that the Yankees could be interested in bringing him up to use as a pinch-runner. He also has some nice power, but it's probably asking too much to expect manager Joe Girardi to find Mesa regular playing time. Consider him as an option for deeper AL-only leagues.

10. Danny Hultzen, SP, Mariners (20 percent ownership rate): There is no particular reason to expect the Mariners to call up Hultzen, especially since they haven't done so already. However, he had been shut down for a couple of weeks earlier this month, and since returning, he has had better results. The layoff also has meant fewer innings for the southpaw, so at least a callup isn't likely to be ruled out based on workload concerns. Hultzen may be the least likely prospect to be called up out of this group, but if he does get to pitch in the majors, he could provide owners in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only formats a shot in the arm.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:24 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


Orioles' Chris Davis calls using Adderall in 2013 'a moment of weakness'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:56 am ET) Orioles first baseman Chris Davis told reporters Saturday he was denied an exemption for Adderall in 2013 but he took it anyway.

"It was a moment of weakness," Davis said. He was diagnosed with ADD in 2008 and it isn't a performance enhancer for someone who needs it for medical reasons, according to Davis.

"For me, it was off the field, just an everyday life thing," he said. "I was a little overwhelmed, just kind of with everything that was going on with the (oblique) injury. There were a lot of different things that were taking my focus away from baseball. It was a mistake that I wish I could undo, but I can't, so I've just got to move forward."

Davis has one game remaining on his 25-game suspension for amphetamines, which he test posted for in September last year. He finished with a .196 batting average with 26 home runs and 72 RBI.


Report: David Aardsma to throw bullpen next week for teams
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Free-agent pitcher David Aardsma will throw a bullpen session for interested teams next week, according to his agent, Jamie Murphy.

"(Aardsma) is looking to showcase added velocity after a change in mechanics and an extremely intense offseason workout regimen," Murphy told FoxSports.com senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal.

Aardsma missed the entire 2014 season after suffering a torn adductor muscle. He was last with the Mets in 2013 when he posted a 2-2 record with a 4.31 ERA and 36 strikeouts.


Orioles' Jonathan Schoop trying to cut weight for upcoming season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:37 am ET) Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop wants to raise the level of his game for the 2015 season. The 22-year-old is hoping to be more mentally and physically prepared for the grind of the 162-game season.

"My weight is lower than last year. I want to have more range and be faster. Trying to steal some more bases and be faster for the team on the bases to help put more pressure on the defense." Schoop said. "I learned a lot from my teammates. They helped me a lot. One year of experience. I'm better than last year. Mentally and physically, everything. My ups and downs helped me a lot to know myself better too."

Schoop, who hit .209 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI in 2014, is also taking more advice from his teammates about his approach at the plate.

"Be patient. Don't chase too many pitches. Let them throw strikes and swing at strikes. Just have to work on getting better pitches to hit. See how they pitch you. If I can do that, I'll be better," he said. "I worked on everything (this winter). I want to get faster. You have to work on all of it, speed, defense. I want to be a better player than last year."


Twins' Byron Buxton named No. 1 prospect by MLB.com
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was named the top prospect in baseball by MLB.com Friday.

Buxton played just 31 games in 2014 due to wrist and concussion issues and finished with a .240/.313/.405 line along with four home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases in 121 at-bats with high Class A Fort Myers. He also went 0 for 3 at the Double-A level. Buxton is making his second straight appearance atop MLB.com's top prospect list.

The rest of MLB.com's top-five prospects (in order) are Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Astros shotstop Carlos Correa, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. None of the quartet appeared in the top five of last year's MLB.com prospect list, though all four cracked the top 12.


Red Sox designate Drake Britton for assignment
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Red Sox designated pitcher Drake Britton for assignment Friday, clearing a roster spot for pitcher Alexi Ogando.

Britton appeared in seven games with the Red Sox in 2014, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out four batters and walking two. He posted a 5.86 ERA and 37:38 K:BB ratio in 58 1/3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket.


Peter Moylan 'doing fantastic' in return from Tommy John
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Free-agent pitcher Peter Moylan indicated Friday that he's "doing fantastic" in his return from his second Tommy John surgery, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"I’m doing fantastic, mate. Dropped 35 pounds," Moylan said. “My goal is to be 100 percent by end of spring. Ball is coming out great, though. Probably have to throw for some teams right around the start of spring to gauge interest, but there have already been some nibbles, which is encouraging."

Moylan underwent the procedure last March after receiving a non-roster invitation from the Astros. He's throwing from about 70 percent strength off a mound and in the process of deciding whether to sign a a deal in the near future or after the season begins. He hopes to resume pitching in the big leagues by midseason at the earliest.

Moylan has made 309 appearances since debuting in 2006, compiling a 21-9 record, 2.80 ERA and 213:121 K:BB ratio in 276 innings.


Braves' Shelby Miller: Sinker is 'going to take me to the next level'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller had an up-and-down season with the Cardinals in 2014. He began the season by going 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA before going 2-7 with a 5.11 ERA over his next 16 appearances (15 starts).

Miller, however, was able to finish the season on a high note, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and .190 opponents' batting average over his final seven starts. Miller attributes his success down the stretch to incorporating a sinker into his repertoire, per FOX Sports South.

"I said I'm going to throw some of these, and we'll see where it's at," Miller said of a conversation he had with catcher A.J. Pierzynski before an Aug. 23 start against the Phillies. "It felt good so we just went with it. I started throwing it literally within three days. It's a good pitch that I picked up quick.

"I still need a lot of work with it. I need a lot of work with all my pitches. There's all sorts of ways to get better. But I think that's definitely a pitch that will help me be more efficient and take me deeper into games. That's [the sinker] going to be a huge pitch for me this year that's ultimately going to take me to the next level. Not only that but kind of mixing it all together, becoming more of a complete pitcher more than a thrower."

Miller added he will also begin to work more on his changeup, which he threw just 2.2 percent of the time in 2014, per FanGraphs.com.

"I know [Braves pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] has been known for changeups," Miller said. "A lot of great pitchers have come through this organization, [and] that's a pitch I would love to pick up. I want to be able to throw it more consistently, [and] have a little bit more confidence in it."


Scott Baker agrees to minor-league deal with Yankees
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Yankees agreed to a minor-league deal with pitcher Scott Baker, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. If Baker makes the major-league roster, he will be paid $1.5 million.

Baker made 25 appearances (eight starts) for the Rangers in 2014, going 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA. He had 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.


Rockies designate Jayson Aquino for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) After completing a two-team trade Friday, the Rockies decided to designate Jayson Aquino for assignment, the team announced.

Aquino spent 2014 bouncing around the minor league, pitching in 18 games with a 5.13 ERA in 107 innings pitched. He went 5-10 with 83 strikeouts in stints with both Double-A Tulsa and Class A Modesto.


 
 
 
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