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5 Imminent Call-Ups to Keep an Eye On

We are a week into August and the non-waiver trading deadline has passed, which means teams are either preparing for a playoff push or preparing for next season, and mostly with players that are already in their system. This means that as September approaches you will see a lot of new but recognizable names on major league rosters. These are top prospects getting their shot to show what they can do, and with the fantasy playoffs approaching, they could be the difference maker on your team just as players like Jason Kipnis, Desmond Jennings, and Brett Lawrie are doing right now.

So let's take a look at 5 names that could be making a difference sooner rather than later...

Jesus Montero, New York Yankees, C/DH

"Yankees to Call Up Montero Soon!" news is all the rage right now. If the Yankees want Montero to be a part of the playoff roster, he'll need to be called up before September. With Posada homer-less since June 29th, and hitting .200/.243/.229 in his last 21 games, it would make sense for New York to get Montero in there as at least another option. Russell Martin is hitting .193/.288/.277 in his last 46 games, so having Montero spell Martin at catcher and Posada at DH on different days could certainly be a valuable asset to the Yanks shoring up one of their few holes on offense.

There's been a lot of talk on Monteros "struggles" this season, as he returned to AAA this year and rather than start to dominate in the way that Eric Hosmer or Anthony Rizzo did, his power dipped and his OPS dropped from .863 to .786 overall this season. He hit .365 in April, but he didn't draw a single walk and only hit 1 home run. In June he only hit .235/.333/.333, but he bounced back last month and hit .271/.346/.514 with a .243 ISO. Talk of Montero being "bored' has dominated the cause of those struggles, but maybe his ears started to perk up when he realized that he could be playing on the biggest possible stage sooner rather than later. He may struggle in his first taste of the bigs, but with catcher eligibility, he'll be a must-own once he finally gets called up.


Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays, SP

He has quickly shot up this season from "This guys got some cool strikeout numbers" to "HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE MATT MOORE?! ZOMG!!!" the Rays couldn't really hope to contain him for much longer. He's got nothing left to prove in the minors and it's about time to see what he can do in the big leagues. There's really no knock on the future of Moore right now, potentially leaping over a few other highly touted pitching prospects to become the #1 prospect left in the minors, but as far as what he could do for the Rays in the final month is up for debate.

The Rays are a miracle short of missing the playoffs, so they aren't in a rush to bring him up. Also, their rotation is deep so if Moore is called up, he'll likely come out of the bullpen a la David Price. The Rays don't rush their prospects, but Moore seems to be an exception that is just flat out dominating at every level. Even at his most recent call-up to AAA, he's made 4 starts, posted a 1.09 ERA, struck out 39 and walked just 5 in 24.2 innings. The 22 year old lefty should certainly push for a rotation spot out of spring training next year and could give the Rays leverage to move a starter this off-season like they did with Matt Garza last year to make room for Jeremy Hellickson. Moore is still 17 innings shy of what he pitched last season, so he's got room to get more work in after the minor league season ends. He may only pitch 10-20 innings in the majors, but if you're in the playoffs in your league, those 10-20 innings could make the difference with his potential for high K totals.


Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals, SP

There's not much left to say about Strasburg's talent or repertoire or whatever hasn't already been said about him. But he belongs on this list because he could very well be a fantasy difference-maker this September. He made his 2011 debut last night and though rusty, he still looks like the pre-surgery version that we came to know and love.

Reports had him hitting as high as 98 mph and he threw 25 of 31 pitches for strikes. Though he allowed 3 hits in 1 and 2/3 innings, he did strike out 4 batters. The Nationals will continue to build up his pitch counts and most likely he'll be in the majors next month if all goes well. That means that some team in your league could be adding a bonafide ace right as the playoffs begin. It's probably too late to buy low on Strasburg, if I owned him I would treat him just as I did last season... as the top pitcher who is not on a major league roster right now, even more so than Matt Moore, Shelby Miller, or any other prospect you could name.

Trevor Bauer, Arizona Diamondbacks, SP/RP?

Call is spit-balling, call it a shot in the dark, maybe you can help me figure this one out and give me your opinions. But when looking for potential call-ups, I look for a few things. One of those things is a contender with a gap to fill. The Diamondbacks have surprised everyone this year with a shockingly good performance that leaves them only a half game back of the Giants thanks to an MVP performance by Justin Upton and 4 really good starting pitchers. However, they haven't found a solid rhythm on a #5 starting pitcher. Micah Owings has had 4 starts with moderate success and could definitely be installed permanently into the last spot in the rotation, but that leaves a hole in the bullpen. Could that hole be filled with one of the D'Backs top pitching prospects, of which they have a few?

There's Jarrod Parker, but he's already thrown 103 innings this year after missing all of 2010 with Tommy John surgery. Would they want to push him to the big leagues already? He had his best month of the season in July, but just got knocked around by Montgomery in his last start.

Then there's Tyler Skaggs. He has turned into a gem from the Dan Haren trade and was recently promoted to AA where he sports a 3.28 ERA, 33 K's, 9 walks in 24.2 innings. However, in total the 20 year old has 125.1 innings this year, already a big jump from the 98.1 innings he pitched last year. He could help the D'Backs now, but would he still be able to help them in late September and potentially October?

Calling up Bauer this season would seem too soon, but the White Sox did it with Chris Sale last year and it wouldn't be the first time it ever happened. Bauer was described as a polished pitching prospect when he was drafted and giving him 30 bullpen innings this season doesn't seem all that crazy. He's thrown 5 innings high-A this year with 9 strikeouts, 3 hits, and 4 walks.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels, OF

The top prospect in the game got his first major league trial and hit .163/.213/.279 in 43 at-bats, but do we really think that's the last we've seen of Trout this season? The Angels are 1 game back of the Rangers and Trout, while he only just turned 20 yesterday, is still the most talented outfielder in their organization.

In his 7 games since returning to AA Arkansas, Trout is 9-for-26 with 2 triples and 2 doubles and 5 walks. He could be a vital piece of the Angels puzzle to return to the playoffs, as a valuable pinch-hitter, defensive replacement, and pinch-runner, with occasional starts once he returns to the majors this year which seems very likely. He's still got lot of potential to do for teams in September what Desmond Jennings is doing for teams right now, plus more.