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Fantasy Baseball Today

September callups who could matter

By Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer

Joc Pederson is finally in the big leagues. But how much will he play? (USATSI)
Joc Pederson is finally in the big leagues. But how much will he play? (USATSI)

Did you see the game last night?

(Game? What game?)

That disinterest growing inside you can only mean one thing: September is here, and rosters have expanded beyond the point where you can reasonably keep track of them. I mean, who has time with all this football going on?

I do! Let's look at some of the callups who could matter in Fantasy.

First, the super prospects. You already know them, but you don't know what roles they'll play. And neither do I.

Taijuan Walker, SP, Mariners: Manager Lloyd McClendon initially said Walker would pitch in long relief, but that was before Chris Young imploded Monday, causing McClendon to question the veteran's health. Walker did his best to bail out Young in that game, pitching six strong innings of relief. We'll see.

Andrew Heaney, SP, Marlins: Unlike Walker, Heaney doesn't exactly have innings to spare, having already thrown about 60 more than he did last year. But he's one of the candidates to replace Henderson Alvarez if (read: when) he misses time with a strained oblique. He hasn't shown as much as Walker at the major-league level so far, but his upside is similar.

Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies: Projected to overtake Cody Asche since the earliest days of spring training, Franco ended up needing most of 2014 to make his Triple-A numbers respectable. But after hitting .357 (71 for 199) with 11 homers since the beginning of July, he's here. The problem is so is Asche. Franco got the start Monday. If it continues, he could factor at a weak position.

Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers: Pederson's minor-league numbers are intimidating. He hit .303 with 33 homers, 30 steals and a 1.017 OPS in 445 at-bats at hitter-friendly Triple-A Albuquerque, making his potential to contribute in Fantasy obvious if only he had a place to play. Yasiel Puig's slump gave him one Tuesday, and after manager Don Mattingly told the Los Angeles Times the rookie is the team's only true center fielder, more could follow, most likely at the expense of Carl Crawford.

Next, the ... other guys. You may not be as familiar with them, but they have the potential to surprise.

Josmil Pinto, C, Twins: Between last September and this April, Pinto has already had his moments in Fantasy, hitting .265 with 11 homers and a .349 on-base percentage in 211 career at-bats. And that's what he brings to the table: patience and power. The only problem is one of Joe Mauer, Kennys Vargas and Kurt Suzuki has to sit to get his bat in the lineup. With the Twins out of the running, I think it'll happen often enough to make him a serviceable second catcher.

Marcus Semien, 2B/3B, White Sox: The White Sox are in need of a second baseman with Gordon Beckham out of the picture, and I don't think Carlos Sanchez is the answer. Semien had a couple nice weeks as a fill-in for Beckham (and later Conor Gillaspie) earlier this year and hit .296 with nine homers, five steals and a .970 OPS in his final 159 at-bats at Triple-A Charlotte.

Dilson Herrera, 2B/SS, Mets: Herrera actually came up a little before September as an injury replacement for Daniel Murphy, but I'll take any opportunity I can get to talk about a player of this caliber. Rushed to the majors at age 20 after only 61 games above Class A, he's sure to have some struggles, but he hit .323 with 13 homers, 23 steals and an .858 OPS between two minor-league stops this year. And at least for now, he's shortstop eligible.

Andrew Lambo, OF, Pirates: Ultimately, you'd prefer to see Gregory Polanco back in right field, but that doesn't mean you should ignore Lambo while he's there. He hit 32 homers in the minors last year and showed better plate discipline this year, actually raising his OPS a point to .923. At 26, he's nearing his expiration date as a prospect, but NL-only owners may catch lightning in a bottle.

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