A year of parity in Major League Baseball has made for some underwhelming September call-ups. Nevertheless, it’s an important time of year for Fantasy Baseball owners: You’re either competing in the playoffs or looking toward next year. How you choose to handle waiver wire additions in September is up to you, but it is always better to be a hands-on owner than a neglectful one.
In either case, there’s value in using the waiver wire to snatch up worthwhile September call-ups. As always, it’s important to consider your league’s scoring format, keeper policies and free agent acquisition budget (FAAB).
Keep in mind the youth and inexperience of so many call-ups, too. Do not expect Barry Bonds-like or Pedro Martinez-caliber production from these guys for September, but keep modest expectations and you’ll be content. In keeper leagues, where you’re rebuilding, September is a great time to find some under-the-radar youth.
September call-ups in 2015 leave much to be desired. With that being said, a few guys have opportunities to impact their team’s playoff chances, but do not expect them to do the same for your Fantasy team.
If your team is humming along like a finely-tuned machine, this list of call-ups isn’t for you. But, if you’re injury-bit, rebuilding or desperate for warm bodies, this list will help you look for or avoid the right guys.
Notable September Call-Ups
Wilin Rosario, C/1B, Colorado Rockies
Outside of two-catcher leagues or absurdly deep leagues, I’m not targeting Rosario. I will track his progress—especially home-road splits—to see if he’ll be more valuable in 2016.
Rob Refsnyder, 2B, New York Yankees
Called up earlier this year, Refsnyder had a shot at playing time, but the Yankees sent him back down to let the formidable Stephen Drew-Brendan Ryan combo strike fear in pitchers. Refsnyder’s second half at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has been forgettable (.229/.296/.379), but second base is shallow and at his best, Refsnyder will give you OBP/BB and score runs in that offense. In deep leagues where you lack MINF depth, he’s worth a roster spot.
Javier Baez, 2B/SS, Chicago Cubs
In 313 plate appearances at Triple-A Iowa, Baez’s K% is down to 24.7. His .324/.385/.527 line, 17 SBs, 13 HRs and 14 2Bs don’t hurt his cause. In dynasty/keeper leagues, he’s a must-own as he could be the Cubs’ starting second baseman for several years. Last year at the MLB level, his K% exceeded 41 percent. You have been warned.
Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
There’s no doubt Seager has been productive this year across Double- and Triple-A: .293/.344/.487, 18 HRs, 76 RBIs, 0.49 BB/K rate. But how will Don Mattingly fit Seager into the lineup every night? The Dodgers roster includes Justin Turner, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Jose Peraza, Alex Guerrero and now Corey Seager. In keeper or dynasty leagues, yes, Seager is a must-own shortstop. In redraft leagues, I’m only targeting him if I’m weak at the shortstop position.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) September 3, 2015
Hector Olivera, 3B, Atlanta Braves
Do not be mistaken, Olivera is not your typically youthful September call-up. He’s 30-years-old and injury-prone. This year, he’s played only 35 games in the minors. The Braves could give him the everyday third baseman job. If you’re desperate for a warm body at the deep third-base position, go for it.
Richard Shaffer, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays plan to use Shaffer against left-handed starters just to get him MLB experience down the stretch. He’s hit well at Double- and Triple-A this year, but inconsistent playing time at a deep position does not make him a must-add player.
Joey Gallo, 3B/OF, Texas Rangers
Last year, Baez was the youngster who’d strike out or tear the leather off the baseball. This year, Gallo’s playing that role. I’m only targeting Gallo in keeper leagues. His July and August (228 plate appearances) at Triple-A Round Rock illustrate he has work to do: .195/.289/.450, 14 HRs (two fewer HRs than he had 1B), 90 Ks, 27 BBs. Gallo will carry even more Fantasy value when he cuts down on his whiffs but keeps doing this:
Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
I got this September call-up right. The Jays added Pompey who promptly played in his first game back and swiped two bags. If you need SBs, this is your guy. On that team, he’ll score runs, too. Pompey had a great August at Triple-A Buffalo and could earn more playing time if he outperforms Kevin Pillar or Ben Revere.
Trea Turner, OF, Washington Nationals
Well, Turner got called up as I predicted, but in August. The Nats are using Turner here and there, which could explain why he’s hitless through nine at-bats with one SB. Sadly, he won’t make the impact I anticipated unless the Nats suffer another injury. Where roster size allows, I’m making space for Turner.
Frankie Montas, P, Chicago White Sox
This 22-year-old averages 99 mph on his four-seam fastball. In 112 innings at Double-A Birmingham, he struck out 108 batters, walked 48 and posted a 3.03 FIP. At his ceiling, he should provide Ks and great ratios. I’m willing to take a chance on this youngster based on his strikeout upside.
Zach Davies, P, Milwaukee Brewers
Montas gives you the power pitching, while Davies is the finesse type. He’s small (6’, 150 lbs.), but his great command and control give him these numbers across 128 Triple-A innings: 102 Ks, 45 BBs, 1.53 WHIP and 3.76 FIP. The Brewers tossed him right into the rotation, too. Until I see more, I’m leaving Davies on the wire.
Shawn Armstrong, RP, Cleveland Indians
In 49.2 innings at Triple-A Columbus this year, Armstrong has struck out 38.1 percent of hitters he’s faced and posted a 1.63 FIP. His success depends on his control. He’ll likely be used as a middle reliever, but could become a great value in a league that counts holds.
Miguel Castro, RP, Colorado Rockies
On September 1, Castro debuted as a Rockie and surrendered four ERs on three hits and one walk in 1.1 innings. I’m still avoiding Castro.
Matt Moore, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
Yes, he’s been awful at the Major League level recently. But his five August starts at Triple-A Durham look better: 30 IP, 43 Ks, 8 BBs, 23 H and 11 ER for 3.30 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. When Moore is right, he’ll tally quality starts, strikeouts and wins when the Rays score him runs. Where I need back-end rotation help, I’m adding Moore whose ceiling is much higher than that.
Tsuyoshi Wada, SP, Chicago Cubs
Recovering from a shoulder injury, Wada did not perform well in six August starts at Triple-A Iowa: 31.2 IP, 4.1 K-BB%, 1.67 WHIP, 4.44 FIP. The Cubs added him for depth at the end of their rotation. Unless your Fantasy team needs similar help, pass.
Thanks to this year’s parity in Major League baseball, several teams called up their studs earlier this summer. Consequently, September call-ups in 2015 lack excitement. Please use the comments to ask questions and I’ll be sure to get back to you!
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