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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
Yoenis Cespedes exits game with hamstring injury
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:57 pm ET) Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was forced out of Thursday's contest because of a left hamstring injury, and is expected to miss "a few games," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Cespedes was seen limping after legging out an infield single in the seventh inning. He was checked out by trainers and replaced by Josh Reddick. He finished 1 for 5 before the injury. He is hitting .238/.316/.464 on the year.

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After the game, manager Robin Ventura told MLB.com Beckham will be his starter at second base moving forward, despite solid play from Marcus Semien in his place.

"You don't lose that spot just because you're hurt," Ventura said. "So we expect [Beckham] to be in there."


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Torres struck out one and pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning in the 11th before the offense scored the go-ahead run in the 12th. He owns a 0.93 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP over 9 2/3 innings pitched.

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(11:37 pm ET) Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner became the first pitcher in franchise history to play outfield on Thursday against the Nationals.

Manager Bud Black replaced injured Seth Smith with Cashner at left field, setting himself up for a potential double-switch later in the game. Cashner played the field for one batter before he was replaced by Tommy Medica in a 4-3 win.

Cashner owns a 2.10 ERA and 31:10 K:BB ratio in 34 1/3 innings. He'll make his next start Saturday against the Nationals.

Seth Smith exits game with groin strain
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:31 pm ET) Padres outfielder Seth Smith was forced out of Thursday's game against the Nationals because of right groin strain.

Smith was removed from the game in the 11th inning after grounding out to second base. He was replaced by starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. Cashner became the first pitcher in franchise history to play outfield.

Smith doubled in a run in the fourth and finished 1 for 3 with two walks, a run scored and an RBI before the injury. He is hitting .277 with two home runs and seven RBI in 65 at-bats. His status remains uncertain for the second game of a four-game series on Friday.

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by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
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Chacin was not as his best, as he allowed four runs -- two earned -- on five hits and one walks while striking out four over 4 2/3 innings pitched. He will likely need at least one more start with the Sky Sox before rejoining the rotation.

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by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:06 pm ET) Astros pitcher Paul Clemens was ejected Thursday night against the A's after hitting Jed Lowrie with a pitch in the seventh.

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Clemens allowed three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and one walk while striking out two over 2 2/3 innings before the ejections. He owns a 5.40 ERA over 10 innings pitched.

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by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:57 pm ET) Padres pitcher Eric Stults was unable to factor into the decision Thursday night against the Nationals.

Making his fifth start of the year, Stults surrendered a sacrifice fly in the third and a solo home run to Danny Espinosa. He was charged with two runs on 10 hits and no walks while striking out three over 5 1/3 innings pitched.

Stults owns a 4.15 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP over 26 innings pitched. He'll make his next start Tuesday at San Francisco.

Brendan Ryan could be back in a week
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A's not ready to add Ryan Cook to ninth-inning mix
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:05 pm ET) Athletics manager Bob Melvin is still not ready to consider Ryan Cook part of the closer-by-committee mix, MLB.com reports. However, he remains impressed with the progress Cook has made since returning from the disabled list.

"He was the one guy coming out of spring late, not as many appearances as the other guys, so we were kind of spoon-feeding him into a more prominent role," Melvin said. "He just gives us another option late in games, and we have a lot of them."

Cook owns a 1.35 ERA, with an 8:6 K:BB ratio over 6 2/3 innings pitched.

 
 
 
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