No matter how late it is in the season, fantasy baseball owners are always looking for a change that can make their teams better. This even includes September, when rotisserie and head-to-head leagues are in their final weeks. So as all MLB rosters expand by 15 players in this month, it’s only logical to imagine that some of these newcomers will make an impact in fantasy.
While there are no guarantees of who is getting called up, it’s worth taking note ahead of time as to some big names that we may see. It’s certainly not wise to count on them to save your team, but occasionally, these youngsters end up doing big things. So, here’s a list of the prospects with the best chance to produce in the final month of fantasy:
Kris Bryant, 3B (CHC): Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, has recently attempted to convince the media that Kris Bryant will not be called up to Chicago this September. However, as I’m writing this, Bryant just crushed his 40th home run of the year in a walk-off for Triple-A Iowa. With a .336/.442/.684 slash line on the season, Bryant has put up absurd numbers this season in the highest levels of the minors. I don’t think I’m being bullish to predict that Bryant would perform like a top-5 third baseman if he were to get everyday at bats in September.
Jorge Soler, OF (CHC): Right alongside Bryant is Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler, who is also crushing the ball for Iowa. Since being promoted to Triple-A, Soler holds a .952 OPS with 5 home runs in only 22 games. While he is often criticized for his aggressive approach, his 19.5% strikeout rate and excellent walking ability is a testament to his good plate discipline. The 22-year-old has the tools to hit for power and average immediately, which could be useful for fantasy owners come September.
Joc Pederson, OF (LAD): Joc Pederson is doing it all this year for Triple-A Albuquerque, as he has recorded 29 home runs, 27 stolen bases, and a .424 OBP in only 107 games. With a 30-30 season looking likely, the Dodgers cannot ignore the five-tool ability that the outfielder has shown at Triple-A. I have almost no doubts that Pederson will be called up in September, but playing time could be an issue considering the Dodgers crowded outfield. However, injuries are a commonality in that outfield, so there is a slight chance that Pederson gets decent playing time to conclude the regular season.
Henry Owens, LHP (BOS): Henry Owens was only recently promoted from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket, but his total numbers on the season have been very impressive. In 132.2 innings pitched, the lefty holds an excellent 2.65 ERA, 1.138 WHIP, and 9.5 K/9. Boston’s pitching situation is one of the worst in the American League right now, so slotting Owens in to take some else’s place would not be difficult. We may see a plethora of starting pitching prospects make their debuts in September, but Owens could be one of the few I’d trust in fantasy.
Alex Guerrero, 2B (LAD): There’s clearly still a question of where Alex Guerrero will play defensively for the Dodgers, but there’s much less to wonder about his offense. Despite a mid-season scuffle that sent the Cuban slugger to the disabled list with an injured ear, Guerrero has been impressive in his time with Triple-A. In just 52 games, the infielder is batting .321 with 11 home runs, 22 extra-base hits, and 3 stolen bases. He’s already on Los Angeles’ 40-man roster, so it all really comes down to the playing time that he will receive in the majors come September.
Maikel Franco, 3B (PHI): It’s disappointing to see how much Franco has fallen off since last season, coming nowhere close to his .320 AVG and 31 home runs in 2013. However, after a very slow start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, it seems that Franco has turned things around. Franco is batting .303 with 5 home runs and 5 doubles in his last 25 games, which should be good enough to convince the Phillies that he’s worth a call-up. Phillies third baseman Cody Asche has not done much to prove that he deserves to stick around in the hot corner, so Franco could potentially find everyday at-bats throughout the month of September.
Matt Wisler, RHP (SDP): By traditional standards, Wisler has not performed well enough in Triple-A to be promoted to San Diego at this point. But despite Wisler’s 4.45 ERA on the season, it’s still encouraging to see him striking out a fair amount of batters (8.2 K/9) and keeping the walks to a minimum (2.4 BB/9). The Pacific Coast League is an incredibly tough landscape for young pitchers, so a promotion to San Diego could be a good change of scenery for him. In the best pitcher’s park in baseball, Wisler could put together some starts that fantasy owners will want to take advantage of in the final month.
Nick Kingham, RHP (PIT): Despite not showing the strikeout potential that he did in the past, Kingham has proven that he’s likely ready for the majors. With good command of a three-pitch arsenal and great control, the 22-year-old has recorded a 3.14 ERA and 1.190 WHIP in 140.1 innings between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. He may not have “ace” upside, but the righty could be useful in fantasy if he takes the place of one of the Pirates’ fringy starters. Keep an eye out for his call up, as good match-ups could help your team in September.