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.

AP Images

The final month of Major League Baseball’s regular season is just around the corner. For many teams, that means help is on the way.

Starting Monday, Sept. 1, teams are allowed to carry as many as 40 players on their active roster. And after playing the first five months of the season with a strict 25-man squad, the chance to bolster a roster with upward of 15 additional players, whether it be in the form of serviceable depth or young, talented prospects, can be the deciding factor for teams still in the playoff hunt.  

At face value, the expansion of rosters in September makes for an exciting end to the season—especially after the implementation of a second wild-card spot. However, MLB teams will never be fully on board with the idea until the system itself is reformed to favor all 30 clubs equally.

Outrage over September call-ups is nothing new. Back in 2009, Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin blasted the notion of expanded rosters in a conversation with MLB.com:

Elsa/Getty Images

With rosters set to expand from 25 to 40 players on Monday, September call-up fever is officially in the air.

In the last week we’ve looked this year’s potential call-ups in a variety of ways, including an overall ranking, position-by-position breakdown and, more recently, a deeper look at prospects capable of improving their teams’ playoff chances.

And with roster expansion still a long weekend away, we’ll be rolling out even more call-up-related content in the coming days.

The rankings for this article were based on those released earlier in the week in our look at the top 25 call-up candidates. However, instead of simply identifying the best prospects, this article strives to focus on players who have been rumored to be in the mix for a call-up as well as those facing an imminent promotion thanks to a spot on the 40-man roster.