Getty Images

The 2014 Major League Baseball season is down to the final stretch, with contenders battling for playoff positioning and postseason berths. But September also, in some ways, is about next season—as in which young players promoted to The Show this month will be there again at the start of 2015.

Some prospects can use a strong September as a springboard to a starting job—or at least a 25-man roster spot—next spring. Others have a clear path to playing time next year because of their standing in the organization or their team's lack of other options.

While some of this September's young talent will ascend to regular roles during the course of 2015, the focus here is on those who actually could be on Opening Day rosters come next March/April.

What follows is a group of highly regarded prospects listed in order of least to most likely to be in the majors from the very start of 2015.

Getty Images

This week we’ve seen the arrival of some of baseball’s top prospects.

Highly touted outfielder Joc Pederson debuted on the day of his promotion, Sept. 1, and he’s already received two starts in center field for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Meanwhile, Daniel Norris, one of the better left-handed pitching prospects in the minor leagues, should make his debut in the near future after having his contract selected by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the week.

Other than those players and perhaps third baseman Maikel Franco (Philadelphia Phillies), however, there were no big-name prospects called up for the first time when rosters expanded. Therefore, I thought we’d look at some of these players and lay out why they were kept in the minor leagues and how it might affect their futures.

For the selections, I decided to stay away from guys currently playing in the minor league playoffs, especially players who are currently on a 40-man roster or will need to be added following the season. Basically, we’re looking at prospects whose chances of a September call-up officially have been ruled out.

USA Today

The Kansas City Royals have their sights set on their first postseason berth since 1985, as the team holds a 1.5-game lead in the American League Central over the Detroit Tigers entering Thursday.

However, for the Royals to fend off the Tigers and lock down a playoff spot, the team will need rookie fireballer Yordano Ventura to further his success down the stretch.

Ventura opened eyes with his outstanding start to the season, as the flame-throwing right-hander registered a 2.40 ERA with 53 strikeouts over 48.2 innings (eight starts) and held opposing hitters to a .213 batting average.

But Ventura's performance regressed toward the end of May, possibly due to a minor elbow injury that led to severely decreased velocity and ultimately an early exit from his May 26 start. Though Ventura was able to avoid the disabled list, he still didn't appear to be pitching at 100 percent in subsequent outings. His numbers from June 5 through July 20 tell a similar story, as the 22-year-old posted a respectable 3.75 ERA over 50.1 innings but struck out only 29 batters compared to 16 walks during that span.

Getty Images

Over the course of the 2014 season, a number of notable prospects have received call-ups to the major leagues. With the final month here, rosters are expanding and changing all the time, meaning more young talent will be arriving—and soon.

Heck, take a deep breath and read through this rundown of just some of the big-name prospects who were promoted in the past week alone: Taijuan Walker, Daniel Norris, Joc Pederson, Andrew Heaney, Dalton Pompey, Maikel Franco, Marco Gonzales, Alexander Guerrero, Dilson Herrera, Steven Moya and Anthony Ranaudo.

More will be joining the mix too. Who will be the next to reach the majors? In order to predict estimated times of arrival with what's left of this season, we've classified the prospects on this list using the following color-coded scale:

Here's a look at the top prospect call-up report for Week 23 of the 2014 MLB season.

Getty Images

With Major League Baseball rosters everywhere expanding now that September is here, it's easy to get lost in all the extra names that are on jerseys and in box scores each night.

But you don't have to be overwhelmed! If you're simply in search of the new players who are the best young talent to pay attention to, then click on. For what follows is a run-through of the All-September Call-Up Team, which lays out the very best prospects recently brought up at each position.

To be considered, players must meet a few criteria. First, they must still be prospect eligible, meaning they have not exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the majors.

That disqualifies the likes of right-hander Jimmy Nelson of the Milwaukee Brewers, lefty James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners or Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco, each of whom is making his way back to the bigs this month.

Getty Images

Oscar Taveras hasn’t gotten hot yet, but the 22-year-old rookie is getting close.

Taveras was the reason St. Louis felt comfortable dealing Allen Craig, one of the team’s more accomplished run producers, to the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline. Craig had been stealing playing time in right field from Taveras prior to the trade, but neither player was producing in the shared role.

In trading Craig, however, the Cardinals officially turned over right field to Taveras, who long has been considered the team’s long-term answer at the position as well one of the baseball's premier prospects.

But Taveras hasn’t made the impact in the major leagues that was expected following his highly anticipated promotion on May 31. Instead, the promising young outfielder has struggled during his 60 games with the Cardinals, batting .224/.268/.292 with nine extra-base in 205 plate appearances.

Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs are ticketed for another last-place finish in the National League Central this year, but there won’t be a more exciting team to watch over the final month of the season.

The Cubs have played .500 ball (23-22) since the All-Star break thanks to an electric offense that is pacing the National League with 57 home runs during that span.

In general, things have been looking up for the North Siders since the beginning of July, when they began infusing the big-league lineup with some of their prized prospects.

Now, a little less than two months since the process began, it’s easy to see why the Chicago Cubs’ future is so bright.

Getty Images

The door to The Show opened for some of baseball’s top prospects Monday with the expansion of the active roster from 25 to 40 players.

The Los Angeles Dodgers wasted no time promoting outfielder Joc Pederson, as the team purchased his contract from Triple-A Albuquerque before Monday’s game.

The Blue Jays and Royals took advantage of the expanded rosters by each calling up a pair of non-roster prospects.

The Royals added game-changing speed to their bench for the stretch run in outfielder Terrance Gore, and they also called up 2014 first-round left-hander Brandon Finnegan, who is expected to work out of the bullpen down the stretch.

Getty Images

Sept. 1 marks the expansion of every team’s active roster from 25 to 40 players. In general, it allows teams to address their needs at the major league level by essentially plucking specific talent from within their farm system to add bench and bullpen depth.

More importantly, at least as far as we’re concerned, the final month of the season represents a time when teams have the freedom to audition their top prospects at the highest level.

Even though most organizations hold off on promoting their young talent until the completion of the minor league playoffs, which are set to begin this week, there should be several notable promotions announced Monday.

As part of our ongoing coverage here at Prospect Pipeline, we’ve put together a list of each team’s announced call-ups headed into Monday. And as news pertaining to September call-ups develops over the coming week, we’ve got you covered with updated information, scouting reports and predictions on baseball’s top prospects.

David Kohl/Associated Press

The 2014 season has seen a number of notable prospects receive call-ups to the major leagues. With the final month and the corresponding roster expansion approaching, there will be more to come—and soon.

September brings with it 40-man rosters, so Monday should be filled with prospects getting promoted.

During the past week or so, Jorge Soler and Daniel Corcino debuted, among a handful of others.

Soler, as you might've heard or seen or read, hit a homer in his very first plate appearance with the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Corcino, a right-hander in the Cincinnati Reds' system, hurled a perfect inning on Aug. 26—which just so happened to be his 24th birthday.