Whether your favorite team is at the head of the pack or in the bottom of the cellar, September 1st brings new hope to all 30 teams in MLB. It's a time where we're able to see the future potential of some of the games' brightest young stars.
Depending on a team's respective position when September rolls around, they will utilize their expanded roster in certain ways. A team in contention may be focused more on adding pitching and depth, while a cellar-dwellar will bring up an array of prospects just to give them a taste of the big leagues.
Considering MLB has turned back into a pitchers' league, it should be no surprise that young pitching prospects make up about half of this list. Either way, we have a lot to look forward to over the seasons' final month.
Here are the 30 Best Possible September Call-Ups.
Michael Taylor was shipped from Philadelphia to Toronto in the Roy Halladay deal before later being sent to the Oakland Athletics. At 25 years old, Taylor is now ready to make his mark in the big leagues.
Taylor is putting together a nice season at Triple-A Sacramento, hitting .281 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI. He's shown the potential to be a 20-home run, 20-stolen base threat with Oakland.
Considering most of the A's outfielders will likely be gone in 2012, Taylor will get the chance to get a taste of MLB in September and is a likely candidate for their Opening Day roster next season.
Trevor Bauer—who was selected third overall out of UCLA during the 2011 MLB draft—is quickly turning into one of the hottest young prospects in baseball.
Bauer has carried over his domination in college to his first two stops in the Arizona Diamondbacks' system. At this point, he's already tearing up opposing batters in Double-A ball.
While the Diamondbacks are taking a "wait and see" approach as to whether they'll call him up in September, it may be hard to resist getting his six-pitch repertoire on the mound as they try to outlast the Giants in the NL West.
The 26-year-old Clint Robinson has slowly made his way up through the Kansas City Royals organization, somewhere along the line getting lost amongst all the top prospects in their system.
Robinson has proven successful at every level along the way, while this season garnering a slash line of .321/.399/.526 with 21 home runs and 90 RBI for Triple-A Omaha.
With the way rookie Eric Hosmer has crushed the ball with the Royals this season, there may not be room for both of the first basemen heading into the future. Calling Robinson up in September would at the very least create some value for the slugger on the trade market.
Former top prospect Pedro Alvarez was demoted 36 games into the season after struggling out of the gate. Alvarez was called up again at the end of July but lasted only a couple of weeks until he found himself back in Triple-A.
Alvarez has hit .306 for the Pirates' minor league affiliate in Indianapolis this season with an on-base percentage above .400.
Still only 24 years old, Alvarez has time to regain form and make an impact on an up-and-coming Pirates team that appears headed towards respectability, and he will get another chance at it when the rosters expand on September 1st.
Neil Ramirez has advanced from Single-A+ up to Triple-A this season while making his opponents look silly along the way.
With a 3.30 ERA through 87.1 total innings this season, Ramirez has allowed only 72 hits while striking out 109 batters. Simply put—his arm is electric. The only concern is his above-average walk rate, but a 2.43 K/BB ratio is hardly considered bad.
Ramirez would likely pitch as a long reliever if he were called up this season. With C.J. Wilson almost certain to end up in pinstripes this offseason, the 22-year-old Ramirez will have an opportunity to impress the Rangers' brass.
The Italian-born Alex Liddi has spent a full season at each level in the Seattle Mariners' organization over the last four years. Finally, the power-hitting third baseman should get a chance to provide some much-needed pop to the Mariners lineup.
Since the start of the 2009 season, Liddi has amassed 65 home runs and nearly 300 RBI—including 27 and 96 so far this season, respectively. The only knock on Liddi at this point is his Adam Dunn-esque strikeout rate.
Liddi is still only 23 years old and may need to start next season in Triple-A to fine tune some aspects of his game, but we will no doubt see him swinging for the fences this September.
Manny Banuelos is the top pitching prospect in the New York Yankees' organization, and he may be ready to make an impact with the team during the stretch run.
Banuelos has pitched well this season aside from an enormous walk rate, but despite issuing 64 walks through 121 innings, the southpaw has held his own with a 3.64 ERA.
Seeing as the Yankees haven't made a move to acquire an arm this summer, it would not at all be surprising to see Banuelos in pinstripes come September. With Bartolo Colon struggling of late, the Yanks will need an arm to step up for the stretch run.
It was somewhat of a surprise to see the Houston Astros send Brett Wallace back down to the minors this season, especially after dealing away Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn.
By no means was Wallace raking it with the Astros, but his .268 batting average sat higher than Carlos Lee's and his .720 OPS sat just below.
Either way you look at it, the Astros have some serious issues they need to work out in order to become a competitive ball club again. Wallace is part of that reformation, and we can expect him to rejoin the team next month.
Jose Iglesias is the shortstop of the future for the Boston Red Sox, and he could be a valuable asset to the team coming off the bench.
Iglesias is known for his top notch glovework at shortstop and has the potential to be the best defensive shortstop in MLB in a few years. Unfortunately, it's taken a long time for his bat skills to catch up, represented by his .223 average at Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
If nothing else, Iglesias would be an asset to the Red Sox as a late-game defensive replacement for Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie or even as a pinch runner.
Kyle Gibson could someday be the straw that stirs the drink in Minnesota, and he should get his first taste of big-league action next month.
Gibson has pitched much better than his 4.81 ERA on the season indicates. The ground-ball pitcher has been the victim of some bad breaks after a great first two months of the season, but he still holds a 3.37 K/BB ratio while getting ground balls at a blistering rate.
With the Twins well out of contention in the AL Central and likely to deal Francisco Liriano this offseason, Gibson will soon have a chance to prove himself and possibly earn a rotation spot for 2012.
As a baseball enthusiast in general, I was very glad that the Philadelphia Phillies didn't give up Domonic Brown to acquire Hunter Pence. The kid has all the tools to make it in the big leagues, he just hasn't been able to put it all together yet.
Brown has been back and forth between the Phillies and Triple-A all season long, but hit only .246 with five home runs in over 200 at-bats in Philadelphia. Although he hasn't fared much better in Triple-A this season, across two levels in 2010, Brown hit .327 with 20 home runs and a sparkling .980 OPS.
Brown will have his name called yet again once September rolls around, likely getting some starts in left field in place of an old and very slow Raul Ibanez.
As the centerpiece of the trade sending Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers, Jake Odorizzi has left the Kansas City Royals completely satisfied during his first season in the organization.
Across Single-A+ and Double-A this season, Odorizzi has compiled a 3.68 ERA with 147 strikeouts through 134.2 innings.
Odorizzi is still only 21 years old, but the Royals will need to get a good look at him this September to get a feeling of whether or not he'll be ready to join their young rotation next season.
When Logan Morrison was demoted to the minor leagues a few weeks ago, no one was more shocked than Logan himself. After all, Morrison had hit 17 home runs with 60 RBI through only 95 games this season, so the move did seem a bit peculiar.
Luckily for him, he'll have a chance to rejoin the team late next week when rosters expand, and he'll step right back into the role as the everyday left fielder.
Jacob Turner has come a long way in very little time, as the 20-year-old right-hander has shot from Single-A up to Triple-A in one year.
Turner even made an impressive spot-start with the Detroit Tigers earlier this season, giving up two runs and three hits over five-and two-thirds innings, while striking out six batters.
Always known for his stellar fastball, Turner has found command of all three of his pitches at a very young age and—at a minimum—the Tigers could use him to bolster their bullpen during their drive for the AL Central title.
Without a doubt, David Cooper will be on the Toronto Blue Jays' Opening Day roster in 2012. You can bet they'll give him a chance to break in his boots this September, as well.
Cooper struggled during a brief 13-game stint in Toronto earlier this season, but he's done nothing of the sort in Triple-A this season. Through 107 games, Cooper is batting .375 with nine home runs, 48 doubles and 90 RBI.
With Adam Lind better suited as a DH, and Edwin Encarnacion better suited anywhere other than on a MLB roster, Cooper will soon get his chance to shine.
Mat Gamel hasn't been considered a rookie for some time now after getting his first extensive taste of big-league action back in 2009.
The bat of Gamel was never in question—it was his shoddy defense at third base that kept him in the minors. After a switch to first base, there's no point keeping him on the bench to hold Prince Fielder's helmet when he can be getting at-bats in Triple-A.
Finally settled in to his new position, Gamel has had the best season of his career. He currently rests with 27 home runs and 92 RBI to go with a .319 average, and you can bet the Brewers will want his big bat for pinch-hitting and some spot starts down the stretch.
Matt Dominguez could someday be the best defensive third baseman in MLB, but he may need his bat skills to catch up for the Florida Marlins to hand him the job permanently.
Dominguez can hit for some power, with 20-25 home runs per season definitely not out of the question once he makes it to the big leagues. He's still only batting .260 on the season, although he began the year recovering from a fractured elbow.
The Marlins desperately want Dominguez ready as their Opening Day third baseman in 2012, and his performance this September will have a large impact on his status going into next season.
Jerry Sands struggled mightily during a 41-game stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this season. The right-handed slugger hit only .200 through 125 at-bats—including a mere two home runs—before being sent back down to Triple-A.
It's been a completely different story for Sands through 82 games in Albuquerque, where he has slugged a ridiculous 25 home runs with 74 RBI, although he is still only hitting .266 to date.
Sands will certainly be called up in September, and it will be very important to see if he can find similar success in the big leagues. If he can show some positive signs, the Dodgers may be willing to part with Andre Ethier to clear up some salary.
Dayan Viciedo made some serious noise after a late-season promotion in 2010, hitting .308 with five home runs in 104 at-bats. The only blemish was his 25 strikeouts as opposed to only two walks.
The Cuban-born third baseman didn't make the White Sox's Opening Day roster this season, but he has strung together the best minor league season of short career. Viciedo has also drawn 44 walks this season after drawing only 34 total during his first two minor league seasons.
With White Sox third baseman Brent Morel struggling all season long, don't be surprised to see "The Tank" assume full duties of the hot corner when he's called up.
After recovering from Tommy John surgery last year, Jarrod Parker has come back to pitch better than ever and could find himself in a Diamondbacks jersey in the near future.
Parker has pitched to a 3.70 ERA in Double-A this season while holding opponents to a meager .234 batting average. He dramatically cut down his walks after the season's first month and has good command of all four of his pitches.
The Diamondbacks have quite a few pitchers who could potentially get called up next month, but I think Parker stands a better chance than 20-year-old Tyler Skaggs at this point.
With Ramon Hernandez likely to be claimed on waivers and then traded within the next week, the future is now for Cincinnati Reds stud catching prospect Devin Mesoraco.
Mesoraco has a great approach at the plate to go along with good bat speed, and he can hit for average and for power—proven by his .293 average, 15 home runs, 36 doubles and 68 RBI in Triple-A this season.
At this point, it appears the catching duties will soon belong to Mesoraco, and it will be his job to lose.
With the consistency he's shown throughout his minor league career, I'd bank on seeing him behind the plate in Cincinnati for years to come.
As the player-to-be-named in the deal sending Ubaldo Jimenez to the Colorado Rockies, Drew Pomeranz made quite the first impression on his new team during his debut.
Pomeranz went seven shutout innings while giving up two hits and zero walks, and striking out four batters. For the season, the southpaw has a 1.84 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 98 innings. He's also held opponents to a .194 batting average.
Rockies fans are eager to see Pomeranz pitch seeing as he was the prized piece they received for the best pitcher in their franchises history. I don't think he'll disappoint.
Wilon Rosario may finally get his chance to put his powerful bat and extremely powerful arm on display in Colorado in the coming weeks.
Rosario has the defensive capabilities of Yadier Molina mixed with a batting prowess of Brian McCann. Although he may never bat .300, the possibility of 30-35 home runs seems realistic in Colorado.
The Rockies currently have Chris Iannetta as their backstop, but he has struggled all season long, so it comes as no surprise that Rosario should get a look next month.
There is no prospect Chicago Cubs' fans want to see at Wrigley in September more than outfielder Brett Jackson, and rightfully so.
Jackson could probably step in and be the best outfielder on the team from Day 1—including Alfonso Soriano. He has the tools to be a perennial 30 home run, 30 stolen base threat and he is quick enough to play center field should the Cubs so desire.
With Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Reed Johnson and Tyler Colvin crowding the outfield at Wrigley, the Cubs would have to be creative in order for Jackson to get enough playing time to make it worth a call-up.
Shelby Miller gets my vote as the top young pitcher in baseball not named Stephen Strasburg.
Miller started the season at Single-A+ but was quickly moved up to Double-A after overpowering his opponents in the Florida State League. When it's all said and done, Miller has a 2.98 ERA with 155 strikeouts in just over 126 innings pitched, spanning 23 starts this season.
With the Cardinals free-falling out of the NL Central race, it's not out of the question that Miller gets a good look come September. He will be a viable replacement should Chris Carpenter not be retained this offseason.
The Jesus Montero naysayers were out in full force at the beginning of June when the slugging backstop sat with a slash line of .214/.297/.329, while appearing to lose all sense of bat control.
After shaking off the poor start, Montero has fired back at an absurd pace—proving once again that he is one of the top hitters in the minor leagues and that he belongs with the Yankees come September.
Montero's new slash line sits at .285/.345/.449, including 15 home runs and 62 RBI. He will be a welcomed addition to an already potent Yankees lineup come September, where he should have no problem getting a majority of the starts at DH or behind the plate.
I, too, was a bit surprised when the San Diego Padres called up a 21-year-old Anthony Rizzo earlier this season, but with the numbers he's put up in Triple-A ball, it's hard to blame them.
Through 82 games at Triple-A Tuscon, the centerpiece of the Adrian Gonzalez deal has 23 home runs, 31 doubles and 97 RBI while hitting .339. For most players, those would be monster numbers over a full season.
Rizzo wasn't able to make it happen during 35 games with the Padres, hitting only .143 with one home run. As the future face of the San Diego Padres, you can bet he will be given every opportunity in September to earn a spot on the roster for 2012.
Julio Teheran joins a crowded group of young pitchers coming up with the Atlanta Braves, and he may just be the leader of the talented pack.
Teheran seemed to be in way over his head during a two-game stint with the Braves earlier this season, allowing five earned runs and 10 hits over eight-and two-thirds innings, striking out only two batters. However, it's been a different story for the power right-hander at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he currently stands at 14-2 with a sparking 2.19 ERA and a 2.83 K/BB ratio.
With his curveball and changeup showing dramatic improvement throughout the season, there is no doubt Teheran is ready to make an impact on the Braves down the stretch.
Matt Moore is the next in a long line of young pitching phenom's brought up in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He's arguably been the best pitcher in all of minor league baseball for three years now.
Not only is his fastball lighting quick, but it has incredible movement. Moore also sports one of the most dominant curveballs in the minors, while his changeup has shown enormous progress this season.
The Rays already boast one of the best pitching staffs in MLB without Moore, but he's gotten to the point where the team can't keep him down any longer. We will get a good preview of the hurler this September before the Rays decide which pitcher he will replace heading into the future.
Thanks to season-ending Tommy John surgery late last season, Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg tops the list two years in a row.
While his ERA sits at 6.75 through his first four rehab starts, Strasburg has shown the same signs of brilliance we saw in his debut last season. Strasburg has averaged nearly two strikeouts per inning while sitting comfortably with a 4.33 K/BB ratio.
Some people have questioned whether the Nats are rushing Strasburg by getting him back to the big leagues this season, but there is no doubt the kid will perform when he takes the mound in Washington.