Welcome back fantasy baseball eficionados! As our season is winding down, hopefully you are all gearing up for your playoff runs to the 'ship! I'm here today to answer many people's biggest question this time of year as the calendar flips to September: What prospects are getting called up for the annual "cup of Joe" September audition? First of all, I want to talk to all the Gregory Polanco owners out there. Settle down! Seriously, stop freaking out. He will be back up September 1. If he's not up, I'll eat my hat and give you your money back for this blog post. How's that for putting it on the line: promising to eat my hat when no one can ensure that I actually did and giving money back for a free blog post.
Anyway, let's get back to the prospects on their way up to the majors September 1, when all rosters expand from 25 to 40, freeing teams up to "waste" roster spots on younger, unproven players that they can't use earlier in the year. I'm going to give you some names of players that should be up and what you might be able to expect from them in MLB. Let's just say that with the promotion of Jorge Soler this past week, the well of top prospects is a little dry, especially position players. I'll do my best to highlight the names of guys that will be useful to you, whether you are in a shallow league or a deep one.
Sadly, Kris Bryant, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and other super exciting prospects won't be called up this September either due to injury, or in Bryant's case, financial considerations, so we are left with some interesting names, but few elite options.
Let's do a full twisting double in the pike position and dive in!
Joc Pederson, LAD OF
There's really not much analysis needed here. Pederson is ready to play CF for the Dodgers right now after tearing up AAA with a 30 HR, 30 SB season. He has a .304/.434/.590 slash line. He has a massive 17.8% walk rate, but a somewhat worrying 27% strikeout rate. Nonetheless, he's ready and has more fantasy value than anyone else on this list except....he won't have much playing time when he is called up. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has already stated that he will not be playing Pederson very much. LA already has four capable outfielders, so Pederson will probably only start one or two games per week, unless there is an injury. Pederson has massive upside if he gets regular playing time, but beware, he may have an adjustment period like George Springer did, since he has similar strikeout issues. Sigh, if only he could get a full-time job this year. That will have to wait until next year. Those in very deep leagues may take a flier on him or if a Dodger outfielder goes down, everyone should pick him up.
Francisco Lindor, CLE SS
Many thought Lindor would be called up earlier this summer, but that didn't happen despite the Indians trading away their starting SS, Asdrubal Cabrera. Now that it is September, there is a very good chance he will get the call. Lindor's primary fantasy contribution is speed. He has 28 steals in the minors this year and has put up decent numbers in AAA (.278/.305/.382 with 4 homers) in 33 games, but his walk rate has plummeted from 10% to 4%. His strikeout rate is OK and probably won't be an issue. Unfortunately, that line is not world-beating and he probably will offer little offensively in September. He doesn't have much power, but the speed is above average and he has good contact skills, so he could hit for a decent average eventually. I would guesstimate his line for September like this: .260/.300/.360 with 5 steals, 10-12 runs, 5-7 RBI and 1-2 homeruns. If that is useful for you, he should get regular playing time at SS assuming he gets the call, so you can take a chance on him and get some late-season shortstop help.