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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
Orioles pitcher Bud Norris not worried about spring struggles
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:37 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris had another tough outing Friday, giving up three runs in four innings of work. But Norris, who has allowed 12 earned runs over 11 2/3 innings, isn't concerned just yet, reports MLB.com.

"Every outing I've given up a home run," said Norris, who has allowed five homers in four official spring starts. "But you are trying to work on things, trying to get comfortable out there. We had a great year last year and [now we're] just trying to get the ball rolling again. Different beast, obviously in the regular season and postseason."

Manager Buck Showalter noted his command has been off.

"Command has not been very good, as good as he's capable of," Showalter said. "He's an athletic guy, can throw it where he wants to most of the time. He hasn't been very consistent with that yet. He's crisp with most things, just not [with the] consistency of command."


Yankees pitcher Scott Baker to throw Wednesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:29 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Scott Baker is expected to throw Wednesday after having his scheduled start rained out Thursday, reports the Journal News.

"We wanted (Baker) to go long," manager Joe Girardi said. "I called him in before that (last) inning and I said, 'We're going to wait, because we don’t want you to go just an inning or a half an inning and all of a sudden it starts pouring and they call the game.' So he'll start tomorrow."


Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda tosses five strikeouts in outing Friday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:13 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda threw five scoreless innings Friday against the Phillies with five strikeouts and five hits allowed. 

Pineda, who has a 1.32 ERA so far this spring, did not allow more than a single to any hitter in his appearance.


Drew Storen returns to mound for Nationals
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:09 pm ET) Drew Storen pitched one inning in the Nationals' game on Friday, returning to the mound for the first time since having hand surgery on March 13.

Storen had surgery on his left, non-throwing, hand to remove a hook on the hamate bone. He has been throwing bullpens and making minor league appearances to prepare for the game back, per Jamal Collier of MLB.com.

Storen pitched one inning, allowing one hit and one walk.


Denard Span takes swings for Nationals
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:06 pm ET) Nationals outfielder Denard Span was able to swing a back for the first time since abdominal surgery on March 9. 

Span had a procedure to fix a small tear in his right abdomen. 

Span was able to swing a fungo bat in the batting cage, per MLB.com's Jamal Collier.

"It's good progress," manager Matt Williams said. "It's part of the rehab progression. Of course, yeah, we want him back as quickly as possible, keeping in mind that he's just coming off of surgery. So any time you have to go in there, you have to take time to get well again. But yeah, it's encouraging."


Nationals' Anthony Rendon tests knee with lateral movement
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:04 pm ET) Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon tested his knee by running in the outfield on Friday. Rendon has been out with a sprained left knee since March 9. He can run straight ahead, but in his Friday workout, he tested the knee with lateral movement, per MLB.com's Jamal Collier. 

Rendon still hopes to be ready for Opening Day. 


Mookie Betts hits second spring homer for Red Sox
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4:46 pm ET) Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts hit his second home run of the spring, and this one left the ballpark. 

Betts' first homer of the spring was an inside-the-parker in his first game back. On Friday, he hit one the old fashioned way, lining a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left center for a two-run homer.

Betts was two for three on the day and improved his spring average to .487.


Report: Delino DeShields closing in on breaking camp with Rangers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:43 pm ET) Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields, a Rule 5 draft choice, is nearing a spot on the Opening Day roster, according to the Dallas Morning News. Manager Jeff Banister wouldn't confirm DeShields would break camp with the club, but did reveal that he envisions him as a late-inning speed weapon.

"He has a skill set that can help you win games," Banister said. "If he makes this club and stays with this club, he adds value in winning situations.

"Given the construction of the core guys on our roster, he's unique" Banister said. "I'd hate for us to have a double late in the game and not be able to score from first on the play. I think he has the potential to be a contributor, but there is a ways to go to finalize the roster."

DeShields would be sent back to the Astros if he is not on the Rangers' opening day roster.


Red Sox's Buchholz gives up 12 hits in spring loss Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:34 pm ET) Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz had his worst start of the spring during a 4-2 loss Friday against the Braves, which was called after 6 1/2 innings due to rain. Buchholz (2-2) allowed four runs on a spring-worst 12 hits and one walk, while striking out six in five-plus innings.

The Braves did most of their damage against Buchholz during a three-run second inning. Kelly Johnson added a solo home run off Buchholz leading off the sixth inning, which chased the right-hander from the game.

His ERA went from 1.80 to 3.60 in his fourth spring start. Buchholz has allowed eight runs (six earned) in his last two starts.


Rangers release five from minor-league camp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) The Rangers released the following five players from minor-league camp: Right-hander Ryan Bores, outfielder Saquan Johnson, infielder Nick Urbanus, infielder Nick Vickerson, and catcher Fernando Vivili.

 
 
 
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