September is an exciting time for sports fans. Playoff races are heating up, friends argue about whether the White Sox can hold off the Tigers in the AL Central, and fantasy owners scramble for every last edge before playoffs begin.
On that last point, owners race to the waiver wire every time a big-name prospect gets the call. While more teams are exhibiting a patient developmental approach with their future starts (e.g. the Orioles and Dylan Bundy or the Royals and Wil Myers) there are several recognizable names joining big league clubs as rosters expand.
Not all the players on this list are for every league. Some will only be useful in deeper leagues, but all of these players have the potential to be useful as you finalize your roster and look to a title run.
Javy Guerra was tabbed as the closer in Los Angeles on Opening Day, and acquitted himself reasonably well before command issues forced his demotion. That being said, the 26-year-old returns to the majors with a 2.66 ERA and 7.6 K/9.
He also returns to the Dodgers the week that current closer Kenley Jansen will visit a cardiologist about his irregular heartbeat. The result of that visit could end Jansen's season, and provide an open door for Guerra to tally a month's worth of fantasy playoff saves.
Considering saves are coveted in fantasy circles, the mere possibility that Guerra could be the Dodgers' ninth-inning man for the rest of the season is worth a speculative add.
Just another name among Texas' wealth of young talent, Leonys Martin struggled in his first 17-game stint with the Rangers, until he was sent town on August 20 with a .184 average. Fortunately for Martin, rosters expanded just two weeks later and he is back with the big club.
Martin batted .375 in eight games in 2011, and has a career .891 OPS in 128 minor league games. The struggle for Martin will be to find playing time in a stacked Rangers lineup.
David Murphy, Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz figure to see the most playing time, but Martin could serve as a fourth outfielder, perhaps playing more regularly if Texas distances themselves in the division and wants to give their regulars extra rest.
At Triple-A Round Rock in 2012, Martin had 12 home runs and 10 steals in 55 games; so, he could provide some assistance in both power and speed for a fantasy owner willing to bear a likely low batting average.
Andrew Romine, batting .285 in 87 games at Triple-A Salt Lake this season, got the call when rosters expanded in September as a backup utility infielder for the Angels as they attempt to chase down the Athletics and Rangers in the division.
Romine is a career .179 hitter in the major leagues, over three short stints in the majors.
The Angels find themselves 7.5 games back in the AL West, and 2.5 back in the wild-card race. If they fall much farther, they may give Romine additional playing time to get a better idea what the 26-year-old is capable of.
He has over 20 steals in each of the last five minor league seasons, including 62 at A-Ball in 2008, so there is speed enough to help fantasy owners if he earns regular at-bats.
Tony Campana had 26 steals in 71 games before being sent down to the minors on August 3, so you know what you are getting out of him.
The Cubs' starting outfield consists of Alfonso Soriano, Brett Jackson and David DeJesus, but with the Cubs far out of contention, it is not impossible the Cubs go with Campana over DeJesus down the stretch to get him additional experience.
Campana had 114 stolen bases over his last two seasons in the minor leagues, and could be an energetic addition to the top of the Cubs order. He will score some runs with his speed, and as long as the at-bats come regularly, he should be good for about one steal every two games for the remainder of the season.
Martin Perez has had command problems throughout his minor league career, posting a 1.473 WHIP. His 7.7 K/9 is promising, but the walks have led to runs.
After a breakout 2009, in which he had an ERA of 2.90 and decent 1.299 WHIP, his 2010 crumbled to the level of an ERA just under six and WHIP of 1.676. The past two seasons have seen ups and downs.
Between June 27 and July 31, he made his first major league appearance, pitching in six games with three starts. He ended that stint with 20 innings, a 4.05 ERA and 1.500 WHIP, with just 4.5 K/9 and more importantly a 1.25 K/BB.
Perez' command issues are not fixed, but he could provide some useful outings down the stretch, especially with that vaunted Rangers offense behind him.
No, Perez is not the last Ranger on this list. The rich keep getting richer.
In 2007, Reid Brignac was coming off a season in which he batted .321 with 24 home runs and 15 stolen bases.
Brignac played in 113 games for the Rays in 2010, batting .256 with eight home runs and just three stolen bases (he was also caught three times). He followed that up by batting just .193 with a .448 OPS in 2011.
It is hard to imagine Brignac hitting for a high average or a lot of power in the major leagues, but the Rays currently have Elliot Johnson starting at shortstop and the option of moving Ben Zobrist to right field and playing Brignac at second.
There are chances for at-bats here, and Brignac could still produce for fantasy owners in need of infielders.
Make no mistake—Peter Moylan's value is reserved for deep leagues at the moment. The Braves are set at the back of their bullpen with Craig Kimbrel and Johnny Venters.
Moylan has struggled with injuries, but has a career 2.59 ERA and 7.2 K/9. He will likely fill a middle relief role with the Braves in September, but can provide decent strikeout numbers, ERA and even some WHIP help for deep-league owners.
Some of the prospects on this list are here because of their superstar potential; others, like Francisco Cervelli, are here because they could fall into regular at-bats at positions hard to fill in fantasy baseball.
The New York Yankees suddenly find themselves in a tight division race with the Orioles and everyday catcher Russell Martin is batting .196 with a .660 OPS. At some point, they would do well to see what Cervelli can offer as an improvement.
Let us be clear: Cervelli is a career .263 hitter in the minors. He has never hit as many as five home runs and had five stolen bases in his minor league career before stealing six in 2012. Between 2009 and 2011, he has a .272 average through 181 major league games.
Considering how shallow the position is, Cervelli could prove useful, with opportunities for some runs and RBI in the Yankees lineup.
Collin Cowgill impressed many fantasy owners with his first stretch in the majors this season, batting .271 with nine home runs in 32 games. The power seems legitimate, considering Cowgill hit nine home runs in 36 games in 2011, while batting .239.
The Athletics outfield is somewhat set with Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes and Coco Crisp.
However, if Cowgill keeps hitting for power when given the chance, the A's will have to find ways to work him into the lineup. One option may be to sit Seth Smith and DH Cowgill.
As with other names here, Cowgill will have to play his way into regular at-bats, but if he can, the power will certainly be helpful to fantasy lineups in the playoffs.
Jurickson Profar led off the Futures Game with a home run in July, he then made his major league debut on Sunday, September 2, and hit a home run in his first at-bat. Profar was starting in place of Ian Kinsler.
With Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, the Rangers are fairly set in the infield; however, the call-up of Profar seems to indicate they are prepared to work him into the lineup regularly and likely means he will begin 2013 on the major league roster.
Profar joins August call-up Mike Olt, another top infield prospect.
If all the players on this list get the same amount of at-bats, Profar is easily the most valuable, with the highest upside and is worth owning in any league in which you have an expendable player to drop.