NL September Callups

Matthew Pouliot
Brad Johnson covers all of the top stolen base candidates in the National League

I hoped to have this up a few days ago, but here's the NL version of the September callups preview. In case you missed it, last week's AL version is here.

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September callups

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks dealt Ian Kennedy without picking up another starter at the deadline, increasing the chances that they'll need to dip back into the minors for pitching help in September. Tyler Skaggs it the obvious choice to plug in, and he's hardly embarrassed himself by going 2-3 with a 5.12 ERA and a 36/15 K/BB ratio over 38 2/3 innings in his seven major league starts this season. The fascinating possibility is 21-year-old Archie Bradley, though. Bradley, the seventh overall selection in the 2011 draft, is 9-5 with a 2.00 ERA and a 107/49 K/BB ratio in 108 innings at Double-A Mobile after opening the season with five dominant starts in high-A ball. He could be lightning in a bottle for Arizona, but given that the team probably won't want him topping 160 or so innings this year and he's already at 137, the most likely scenario has him being bypassed for the callup. ... Third baseman Matt Davidson has already gotten the nod as a result of Eric Chavez's injury and is 3-for-13 in five games. Perhaps he'll have a little value in NL-only leagues until Chavez gets back, though the Diamondbacks will give Martin Prado most of the starts at third. Davidson isn't ready to hit for average in the majors anyway, though he does have good power. ... Shortstop Chris Owings will get the call, but he'll have little to do. The 22-year-old is hitting .331/.359/.481 with Triple-A Reno. He could be trade bait this winter with Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hill ahead of him.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves could have tried Tommy La Stella at second base with Dan Uggla on the DL, but they went with the less interesting Phil Gosselin instead. It probably was the safer choice. La Stella, though, is hitting .343/.418/.476 with as many walks (28) as strikeouts (27) in 233 at-bats in Double-A. If Uggla returns on Aug. 28 as hoped, the Braves probably won't call up La Stella next month. He doesn't need to be added to the 40-man this winter. ... First baseman Ernesto Mejia and speedy outfielder Jose Constanza figure to get callups. Catcher Christian Bethancourt could also get the call; the Braves are already carrying three catchers, but Bethancourt would give them more flexibility to pinch-hit with Evan Gattis and Brian McCann. Bethancourt has taken a nice little step forward this year, hitting .288/.316/.456 in Double-A. He'll be nice Gattis insurance if the Braves allow McCann to walk this winter. ... The Braves will have six starters after Paul Maholm returns, so none of their pitching callups are likely to make an impact. They will call up David Hale and maybe former Rangers prospect Omar Poveda, who has impressed with a 3.44 ERA and a 119/48 K/BB ratio in 147 IP for Triple-A Gwinnett.

Chicago Cubs: Ideally, Mike Olt would be the Cubs' third baseman right now. Unfortunately, he's hit just .120/.170/.241 in 83 at-bats since arriving in the Matt Garza deal, and the Cubs may consider shutting him down rather than give him a September callup. They're tracing his problems back to the concussion he sustained in winter ball last year. ... Brett Jackson has also been quite the disappointment this year. He's back in Double-A now after struggling with injuries, and he's hitting .184 with no extra-base hits in 49 at-bats. He probably won't be up. ... The Cubs could give former first-rounder Josh Vitters a look at third. He's been injured most of the year, but he's back playing again and he's hitting a surprising .295/.380/.511 in 88 at-bats in Triple-A. The Cubs need to decide whether it's going to be worth keeping him on the 40-man roster this winter, and 60-70 at-bats in September could serve as his audition. He might have a little value in NL-only leagues. ... The Cubs won't rush shortstop Javier Baez, third baseman Christian Villanueva and second baseman Arismendy Alcantara from Double-A, though it'd be especially tempting in Baez's case with the former first-rounder slugging .631 in 38 games since his promotion. ... On the pitching side, the Cubs have already broken Jake Arrieta into their rotation, and he's worth a try in NL-only leagues. Justin Grimm has a 6.87 ERA in four starts since being acquired, so he might not earn any starts in September.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds do have Billy Hamilton to come up and provide them with a pretty awesome pinch-runner in September, but that's about it for offense. They don't have a single player with an .800 OPS in Triple-A or Double-A this year. Hamilton is hitting .258/.311/.351 with his 70 steals in 83 tries. It doesn't seem likely that he'll get any starts in center field as long as the Reds' playoff position is in doubt. Infielders Henry Rodriguez and Neftali Soto and outfielders Donald Lutz and Derrick Robinson will come back up, but only Robinson, who has spent most of the season in the majors, will be a candidate for any starts. ... The Reds probably won't have much need for pitching help, either. Tony Cingrani will shift to the pen after Johnny Cueto comes off the DL and should be a big asset there. Veterans Zach Duke, who has a 1.31 ERA in 21 appearances for Louisville, and Jose Arredondo will probably get bullpen spots as well.

Colorado Rockies: Infielders Jordan Pacheco, Josh Rutledge and Ryan Wheeler and outfielder Tyler Colvin will rejoin the Rockies in September, but with all of the competition for at-bats, none seem like good bets to possess fantasy value. Wheeler, hitting a modest .311/.353/.464 for Triple-A Colorado Springs, hasn't made much of a case for replacing Todd Helton at first base next year, so that spot will probably go to Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer will likely play some first base in September, but Corey Dickerson could get most of those extra starts in right field. ... Charlie Culberson is already up, but he hasn't amassed any fantasy value yet, as the Rockies have used him as a spot outfielder rather than a second baseman. It's make sense to give him a look at second in September to see if he can be an upgrade over D.J. LeMahieu or if that's a spot the Rockies will have to address this winter. If Culberson starts seeing time at second, he'll be worth playing in NL-only leagues. ... The Rockies could have Tyler Chatwood, Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz back from the DL in September, giving them a bevy of rotation options without having to further raid the minors. ... The hope was that Mitchell Boggs would get straightened out and give the pen a boost, but he's allowed 21 runs and 22 hits in 6 2/3 innings for Colorado Springs.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Center fielder Joc Pederson is the Dodgers prospect most would like to see and he's started to heat back up in Double-A, but with Matt Kemp on the way back, there wouldn't be much for Pederson to do this September as the team's fifth or sixth outfielder. Since he doesn't need to be added to the 40-man this winter, the Dodgers might decide not to add him, presuming that the outfielders in front of him stay healthy. ... Dee Gordon has performed so poorly in his major league stints that he might not do much more than pinch-run in September. At least he can help there: he's 44-for-52 stealing bases in Triple-A. ... Stephen Fife will be back as the Dodgers' alternate starter next month. Since the team has built a big lead, Fife could make at least three or four starts to give the veterans some rest, and he'll be worth using in NL-only leagues when he's starting ... Top prospect Zach Lee probably won't be needed, though he's made a case with his 3.19 ERA and 121/31 K/BB ratio in 130 innings in Double-A. ... Ex-Giants closer Brian Wilson will be called up prior to Sept. 1 and get a chance to earn a setup role in front of Kenley Jansen.

Miami Marlins: The Marlins' most intriguing callup would have been Marcell Ozuna, but he's out with a thumb injury and might not see any action during September. That bodes well for Jake Marisnick to continue getting playing time. Perhaps Kyle Jensen will get a little look in the outfield, but he's been mediocre Triple-A, hitting .223/.283/.465 in 157 at-bats. ... The Marlins will have to decide whether to give catcher Rob Brantly and second baseman Derek Dietrich their starting jobs back. They might as well. Brantly has had a disappointing season, but he's still the Marlins' only real hope behind the plate for 2014. Dietrich has hit .187/.315/.373 with 30 strikeouts in 23 games since being sent back down to Double-A. If he can pick it up a bit from there, the Marlins should put him at second base and slide Donovan Solano over to third for the final month. The Marlins, though, are considering bringing Chris Coghlan back from the DL as a third baseman. That's another situation NL-only leaguers should monitor; Coghlan might be a nice little asset as a starting third baseman. ... Brad Hand will probably be first in line for starts available next month, though he missed a big chunk of the year and has struggled in two of his three outings since coming off the DL. Overall, he has a 3.67 ERA and a 69/34 K/BB ratio in 61 innings for Triple-A New Orleans. Fellow left-hander Brian Flynn is another option; he has a 3.20 ERA and a 112/39 K/BB ratio in 118 innings since moving up to Triple-A. He's more of an NL-only sleeper than Hand.

Milwaukee Brewers: Juan Francisco has claimed first base for himself, so it doesn't look like Hunter Morris will be a factor in September. The door was wide open for Morris earlier this year, but outside of a strong May, he's floundered in Triple-A, hitting .235/.300/.447 with 22 homers. ... Outfielder Caleb Gindl and catcher Blake Lalli will be called up, but probably won't have any fantasy value. The Brewers have picked Logan Schafer and Khris Davis over Gindl in left. ... The Brewers should have starts available in September, but whether they'll go to Hiram Burgos, Johnny Hellweg, Alfredo Figaro, Jimmy Nelson or Chris Narveson remains to be seen. None would be great bets in NL-only leagues. Nelson is the most interesting, but he's faded some after an excellent first three months between Double- and Triple-A. Hellweg has the nice 2.77 ERA in the PCL, but he's posted a 72/67 K/BB ratio in 111 innings and he was horrible in three major league starts earlier this season. Narveson, who hasn't returned from shoulder surgery as hoped, is likely looking at getting released this winter, but he may get a September audition to show what he can do.

New York Mets: The Mets made their most important callup Saturday in promoting catcher Travis d'Arnaud to replace John Buck while Buck is on paternity leave. D'Arnaud, though, will probably be sent right back down when Buck is activated and then return on Sept. 1. Hopefully, he'll start over Buck during the final month as the Mets gauge his readiness to take over as the starter next year. He played in just 19 Triple-A games during an injury-plagued campaign, but he hit .304/.487/.554 in his 56 at-bats. ... The Mets could give Ruben Tejada another crack at the shortstop job, though he hasn't really earned it by hitting .257/.314/.317 in Triple-A. Maybe he and Omar Quintanilla will split time. ... Outfielders Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis will be back. Duda should get starts in left field over Eric Young Jr. and possess at least a little value in NL-only leagues. ... The Mets may need starters in September, but top prospect Rafael Montero won't get the call. He's likely to be shut down right around Sept. 1. Jake deGrom and Erik Goeddel could be possibilities. DeGrom has done a nice job since his promotion to Triple-A, posting a 4.02 ERA and a 55/19 K/BB ratio in 63 innings for Las Vegas.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies have already called on several of their youngsters. How many more they add will depend on the status of Roy Halladay, John Lannan, Ryan Howard and Ben Revere as they return from injuries. Halladay is the only one who seems poised to be back by Sept. 1. ... The Phillies have outfield prospects Tyson Gillies and Zach Collier on the 40-man, which would seem to put them in line for callups, but both have been disappointments all season and neither is deserving of the promotion. Rather than add either, the Phillies might give Cesar Hernandez a look in the outfield. After all, he's been cut off at second base by the Chase Utley extension. Hernandez, 23, has hit .309/.372/.405 with 30 steals in 346 at-bats with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... Third baseman Maikel Franco, the Phillies' best position prospect, probably won't get an opportunity next month. He's been terrific in Double-A, but there's no need to start his clock just yet. ... The same should go for top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle, who has a 3.72 ERA and a 137/72 K/BB ratio in 123 innings in Double-A. He might be ready to help at some point in 2014, but probably not now. ... Tyler Cloyd will be added and should join Ethan Martin in the mix for starts. Neither of those two is very interesting in NL-only leagues, though.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew Lambo, the minor league leader with 31 homers at the time of his callup, was sent down Sunday after just nine at-bats, but he'll be back on Sept. 1 and he should get more of an opportunity. How much of one depends on whether Jose Tabata is still hot in right field, but he'll be worth owning in NL-only leagues regardless. While I'm not particularly confident about his ability to get on base in the majors, he should be good for a few homers down the stretch. ... Fellow outfielder Alex Presley will also rejoin the team. Jerry Sands has struggled all year and might not be so lucky. Top prospect Gregory Polanco could help as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement if added, but he probably wouldn't do more than that. ... If Wandy Rodriguez can return next month, the Pirates shouldn't need any extra starters. They have options like Brandon Cumpton, Kris Johnson, Stolmy Pimentel and Andy Oliver ready and waiting, though. Johnson was called up Sunday to pitch out of the pen. Pimentel will probably get the same treatment; he's out of options after this season and he deserves a look. Vic Black and Ryan Reid will also likely be added to the pen.

St. Louis Cardinals: Kolten Wong is already up and the high ankle sprain suffered by Oscar Taveras knocked him out for the season, so there won't be much of interest coming up for the Cardinals on the hitting side next month. Ryan Jackson is probably just as good of a shortstop option as Pete Kozma, but the Cardinals have had months to try him and haven't so far. Jermaine Curtis, Brock Peterson and Adron Chambers will be recalled to stock the bench, but they won't play much. ... The Cards said they'll stick with Jake Westbrook as their fifth starter rather than give his spot to Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez or Tyler Lyons. I'm not a fan; Westbrook was put in a tough spot by some of Mike Matheny's recent decisions, but he's really struggling. It seems likely now that Wacha will spend the rest of the season in the pen; he's been dominant in his two appearances thus far, and if he stays there much longer, the Cardinals won't want to risk stretching him back out again. Martinez is still a rotation alternative with upside, and maybe he'll get a shot if Westbrook struggles again on Wednesday. Either Martinez or Lyons would be worth using in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues if named to the rotation.

San Diego Padres: Center fielder Reymond Fuentes is making his case for a callup by going 14-for-34 in his first eight games for Triple-A Tucson. Overall, the 22-year-old has hit .325/.404/.447 with 33 steals this year. Still, the Padres might decide their outfield is too crowded to make a Fuentes promotion worthwhile. It'll probably depend on how the rehabbing Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin come along these next two weeks. If Maybin suffers another setback, then Fuentes could have some NL-only value next month. ... Infielder Dean Anna should get a call, and now that he's playing more shortstop, he's a possibility to possess NL-only value as well. The 26-year-old has hit .332/.412/.497 for Tucson this year. There's definitely some PCL inflation there, but he makes a lot of contact and he's versatile enough to help as a utilityman in 2013 and beyond. ... Keyvius Sampson has struggled since his promotion to Triple-A (he's walked 21 in 23 innings), so he can probably be ruled out for a September rotation audition. Burch Smith is likely first in line for starts, with Robbie Erlin and Anthony Bass also among the possibilities. I prefer Erlin to Smith, but both flopped in their initial auditions.

San Francisco Giants: A lot of people would like to see Gary Brown get a look, even though the former first-round pick is hitting just .232/.288/.391 with 13 homers and 14 steals in 25 tries for Triple-A Fresno. Considering that the Giants have Angel Pagan coming back and three minor league outfielders already on the 40-man that are outplaying Brown, I don't see much reason for the Giants to promote Brown. They might anyway, but others who have done more to warrant the opportunity. I expect that we'll see Francisco Peguero get those extra outfield at-bats, though he's hardly a great bet, either. He's hit .310/.348/.397 in 239 at-bats for Fresno. ... The typically light-hitting Ehire Adrianza has been a nice surprise for Fresno, hitting .330/.444/.443 in 97 at-bats. This after he came in at .240/.331/.312 in 250 at-bats in Double-A. He could be in line for a few starts at short and second. ... There isn't a whole lot of rotation help on the way. Eric Surkamp, who was bombed in his one start for the Giants last month, should be the first man in ahead of Mike Kickham. Fellow lefty Chris Gloor has never been viewed as much of a prospect, but he's been very solid in Double-A (3.56 ERA, 106/38 K/BB in 139 IP) and the Giants need to decide whether to add him to the 40-man this winter anyway, so he might get a shot.

Washington Nationals: The Nationals will only be playing for pride next month, and they'll have to decide whether to sit some of their regulars a couple of times per week in order to give looks to fringe youngsters like Tyler Moore, Jeff Kobernus, Corey Brown, Eury Perez and Chris Marrero. Moore, who was recalled on Saturday, is the only one of the bunch to crack an .800 OPS in Triple-A this year. He's also the only one to have gotten much of a shot previously, though. Kobernus has hit .325 with 39 steals in the minors, but since he's been limited to 17 extra-base hits and 21 walks in 317 at-bats, he has a .759 OPS. He might be a good 25th man, but probably nothing more. Brown has pop, but he's getting on base at a .302 clip and has fanned 116 times in 339 at-bats. Perez is batting .300 without much power. Marrero has hit .273/.322/.414. I wouldn't count on anyone from the group amassing fantasy value. ... Danny Espinosa is still struggling with his injuries and has hit just .204/.272/.279 in the minors. 2013 will go down as a completely lost year for him. ... Taylor Jordan has been shut down for the year, opening up a rotation spot. However, that's set to go to Ross Ohlendorf as he comes off the DL this week. Tanner Roark, who is currently pitching out of the pen, could also be a candidate for starts. It's unclear whether we'll see Nate Karns again. The 25-year-old got a look in June and gave up five homers in 12 innings. He might fit better in the pen anyway.