Ranking the Top 25 MLB Prospects Likely to Be Promoted This September

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2016

Ranking the Top 25 MLB Prospects Likely to Be Promoted This September

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    Amir Garrett could get an audition for next year's rotation in September.
    Amir Garrett could get an audition for next year's rotation in September.Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    The July trade deadline and the August waiver period are not the only ways that teams can add to their rosters for the stretch run. September also brings an influx of new players when the active rosters expand from 25 to 40.

    Generally, this is a time when teams promote the guys who have bounced between the minors and majors for most of the season, adding a few arms to the bullpen and bats to the bench in the process.

    However, at least a handful of top prospects get the chance to show what they can do during this time as well.

    Last season, Corey Seager (LAD), Jarrett Parker (SF), Zack Davies (MIL), Max Kepler (MIN), Miguel Castro (COL), Rob Refsnyder (NYY), Carl Edwards Jr. (CHC) and Tom Murphy (COL) headlined the crop of September prospect promotions.

    So who could get the call this year?

    What follows is my best guess at the top 25 prospects likely to be promoted when Sept. 1 rolls around.

    A few things to consider before we begin:

    • Prospects are ranked based on their overall ceiling and future upside, not necessarily on the impact they are expected to make over the final month of the season.
    • To be considered for inclusion, a player must still have rookie eligibility (130 AB, 50 IP).

    Hopefully, that clarifies what we were looking for when we put these rankings together and we'll see in a few days how many of these guys actually get the call.

Other Top Prospects on 40-Man Rosters (AL)

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    James Hoyt could make an impact out of the bullpen for the Astros in September.
    James Hoyt could make an impact out of the bullpen for the Astros in September.Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

    The following players did not crack our top-25 list, because they don't have as high a future ceiling as the 25 players we chose or because a call-up does not seem likely.

    However, they are currently on their team's 40-man roster, so it will be worth keeping an eye on them as well once roster expansion rolls around. 

    Noted next to each player is his organizational prospect rank, via MLB.com's Prospect Watch.


    Baltimore Orioles

    SP Chris Lee (No. 9)
    1B/OF Christian Walker (No. 11)
    SP Jason Garcia (No. 15)
    RP Oliver Drake (No. 16)


    Boston Red Sox

    SP Brian Johnson (No. 7)
    SS Deven Marrero (No. 20)
    RP Williams Jerez (No. 25)

    Chicago White Sox

    SP Tyler Danish (No. 15)
    RP Juan Minaya (No. 30)

    Cleveland Indians

    SS Erik Gonzalez (No. 9)
    SP Shawn Morimando (No. 13)
    RP Shawn Armstrong (No. 29)
    SP Ryan Merritt (No. 30)

    Detroit Tigers

    RP Jairo Labourt (No. 13)
    SS Dixon Machado (No. 14)

    Houston Astros

    SP David Paulino (No. 5)
    3B Colin Moran (No. 10)
    RP James Hoyt (No. 17)
    RP Jandel Gustave (No. 27)

    Kansas City Royals

    OF Jorge Bonifacio (No. 3)
    RP Miguel Almonte (No. 5)
    SP Kyle Zimmer (No. 6)
    SP Alec Mills (No. 9)
    RP Brooks Pounders (No. 23)
    OF Bubba Starling (No. 28)

    Los Angeles Angels

    SP Victor Alcantara (No. 8)

    Minnesota Twins

    SP Adalberto Mejia (No. 10)
    RP Mason Melotakis (No. 20)
    RP Yorman Landa (No. 22)

    New York Yankees

    OF Mason Williams (No. 23)
    OF Ben Gamel (No. 24)

    Oakland Athletics

    SP Frankie Montas (No. 11)
    SP Daniel Mengden (No. 13)
    SP Dillon Overton (No. 15)
    2B Joe Wendle (No. 28)
    1B Rangel Ravelo (No. 29)
    SP Raul Alcantara (No. 30)

    Seattle Mariners

    SP Zach Lee (No. 28)

    Tampa Bay Rays

    SP Jacob Faria (No. 4)
    SP Taylor Guerrieri (No. 13)
    C Justin O'Conner (No. 28)

    Texas Rangers

    SP Yohander Mendez (No. 2)
    SP Connor Sadzeck (No. 12)
    RP Luke Jackson (No. 17)
    RP Jose Leclerc (No. 18)
    RP Andrew Faulkner (No. 19)
    C/1B Brett Nicholas (No. 25)

    Toronto Blue Jays

    OF Harold Ramirez (No. 5)
    RP Chad Girodo (No. 25)
    RP Brady Dragmire (No. 26)

Other Top Prospects on 40-Man Rosters (NL)

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    The Padres have opted to leave their top prospects in Triple-A for the playoffs, so Manuel Margot (pictured) won't be promoted when rosters expand.
    The Padres have opted to leave their top prospects in Triple-A for the playoffs, so Manuel Margot (pictured) won't be promoted when rosters expand.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    The following players did not crack our top 25 list, because they don't have as high a future ceiling as the 25 players we chose or because a call-up does not seem likely.

    However, they are currently on their team's 40-man roster, so it will be worth keeping an eye on them as well once roster expansion rolls around. 

    Noted next to each player is his organizational prospect rank, via MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    Arizona Diamondbacks

    SP Vicente Campos (No. 4)
    SP Tyler Wagner (No. 9)
    1B/OF Peter O'Brien (No. 10)
    OF Gabby Guerrero (No. 13)
    SP Matt Koch (No. 20)
    RP Silvino Bracho (No. 23)

    Atlanta Braves

    RP Akeel Morris (No. 27)

    Chicago Cubs

    RP Pierce Johnson (No. 17)

    Cincinnati Reds

    SP Rookie Davis (No. 7)
    SP Sal Romano (No. 17)
    SP Jon Moscot (No. 28)
    1B/OF Kyle Waldrop (No. 29)

    Colorado Rockies

    OF Raimel Tapia (No. 5)
    SP German Marquez (No. 7)
    SP Antonio Senzatela (No. 9)

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    SP Brock Stewart (No. 14)
    2B Micah Johnson (No. 21)

    Miami Marlins

    SP Jarlin Garcia (No. 3)
    SP Jake Esch (No. 10)
    C/1B Tomas Telis (No. 12)
    SP Kendry Flores (No. 13)
    RP Tayron Guerrero (No. 24)
    RP Raudel Lazo (No. 28)

    Milwaukee Brewers

    SP Jorge Lopez (No. 14)
    OF Michael Reed (No. 27)

    New York Mets

    OF Brandon Nimmo (No. 5)
    SP Gabriel Ynoa (No. 18)

    Philadelphia Phillies

    C Jorge Alfaro (No. 4)
    RP Jimmy Cordero (No. 26)

    Pittsburgh Pirates

    C Elias Diaz (No. 10)
    SP Nick Kingham (No. 11)
    2B Alen Hanson (No. 14)
    SP Steven Brault (No. 15)
    OF Willy Garcia (No. 16)
    IF Max Moroff (No. 23)

    San Diego Padres

    CF Manuel Margot (No. 2)
    SS Jose Rondon (No. 12)

    San Francisco Giants

    SP Joan Gregorio (No. 7)
    RP Steven Okert (No. 11)
    SP Clayton Blackburn (No. 14)
    RP Ray Black (No. 16)
    SP Ty Blach (No. 23)
    SP Kyle Crick (No. 25)
    SP Chris Stratton (No. 26)

    St. Louis Cardinals

    SP Mike Mayers (No. 30)

    Washington Nationals

    C Pedro Severino (No. 14)

25. SP/RP Austin Brice, Miami Marlins

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    2016 Stats



    Age: 24

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Middle reliever



    Austin Brice looks the part of a future starter with a 6'4", 235-pound frame and a four-pitch arsenal of power stuff, but inconsistent results and a lack of improvement in his overall command stalled his progression through the Miami Marlins system.

    "Though Brice still has upside as a starter, he stands to make a more immediate impact as a reliever given his ability to dominate same-side hitters with his fastball/breaking-ball combo," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    The Marlins appear to agree with that assessment, as they moved Brice to the bullpen in June. His stuff has played up since making the switch.

    In 19 appearances as a reliever, including one perfect inning for the big club on Aug. 12, he's posted a 2.17 ERA, 0.862 WHIP and .188 opponent's batting average with 1.9 BB/9 and 9.0 K/9.

    He's capable of emerging as a real weapon for a contending Marlins team, as he's capable of going multiple innings and piling up strikeouts.

24. 1B/OF Adam Walker, Minnesota Twins

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 24

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Bench player



    Adam Walker has some of the best raw power of any prospect, so it's just a question of whether he can make enough consistent contact to utilize it.

    He's whiffing at a 38.5 percent clip this season and has struck out 30.3 percent of the time over the course of his five-year minor league career.

    However, he's also crushed 122 home runs during that span and proved himself as a consistent middle-of-the-order run producer.

    "It will all come down to contact and strike-zone discipline for Walker. If he can continue to learn not to chase quite as much and not try to do too much when he doesn't see good pitches, his power certainly has the chance to play at the highest level," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    A good September audition could set him up to make an impact in the designated hitter role next season.

23. C/IF Austin Barnes, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 26

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Bench player



    Teams generally use roster expansion as an opportunity to carry three catchers, so as the only other backstop on the Los Angeles Dodgers' 40-man roster, Austin Barnes should be a lock to get the call.

    However, he's capable of making a much more impactful contribution than most third-string catchers.

    While the 26-year-old has the defensive skills to catch at the highest level, he also possesses some rare versatility, as he's seen considerable time at second base and played some third as well.

    He's a career .299/.388/.438 hitter over six minor league seasons. While he doesn't have much over-the-fence pop, he does have solid gap power and a good all-around approach at the plate.

    Whether his future is as an everyday catcher or as a super-utility type, he doesn't have much left to prove in the minors.

22. IF Jeimer Candelario, Chicago Cubs

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2016 Stats



    Age: 22

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Bench player



    Jeimer Candelario saw a brief five-game cup of coffee with the Chicago Cubs earlier this season, and he'll likely return to baseball's best team for the final month.

    The 22-year-old's calling card is his plate discipline. He has displayed an advanced approach at the plate since his days in the lower levels of the minors.

    His 14.3 percent walk rate in Triple-A this year represents a career best, and over the course of his six seasons in the minors, he's taken a base on balls an impressive 10.7 percent of the time.

    For now he looks like a 10-15 home run guy who will post a solid on-base percentage and do a good job of putting the bat on the ball, but there's still some raw power to tap into as he continues to develop.

    He'll be a spare part this September but could be a valuable depth piece or coveted trade chip down the line.

21. SP/RP Alex Meyer, Los Angeles Angels

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    Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 26

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Swingman



    Alex Meyer ranked among the top 100 prospects in baseball three years running from 2013 to 2015, according to Baseball America, but his star began to fade last season.

    Expected to eventually challenge for a spot in the Minnesota Twins rotation, he instead walked batters at a 5.5 BB/9 rate over his first eight starts in Triple-A before the team decided to move him to the bullpen.

    Command and repeating his mechanics have always been issues for the 6'9" right-hander, and it's looking more and more like his future will be at the back of the bullpen as opposed to fronting a rotation.

    A shoulder issue had sidelined Meyer since early May heading into the month, but that didn't stop the Los Angeles Angels from targeting him at the trade deadline in the deal that sent Hector Santiago to the Twins.

    He us three appearances into a rehab assignment with the team's Arizona rookie league affiliate and threw three scoreless innings and 61 pitches last time out. A late-season call-up to build some momentum heading into 2017 would make sense for an Angels team that is out of the hunt.

20. CF Socrates Brito, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 23

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Fourth outfielder



    If not for his own injury issues this season, Socrates Brito would have had a prime opportunity to see significant action for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Brito followed up a breakout season in the minors last year and a .303/.324/.455 line in 34 plate appearances down the stretch by earning a spot on the Opening Day roster this year.

    The spring injury to A.J. Pollock had opened the door for him to see significant time in center field, but when he struggled early, the team began playing Chris Owings there more and more.

    While Owings and fellow outfielder David Peralta suffered injuries of their own in the first half, Brito joined them on the disabled list with a broken toe that cost him roughly two months.

    All things considered, it's been a disappointing season for the Dominican native, but he still has an exciting array of skills and the potential to be an everyday player for the D-backs.

19. 1B Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    2016 Stats



    Age: 24

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Bench player



    Unless they want to push left-hander Chris Lee, the Baltimore Orioles' biggest September call-up will likely be a hitter, despite their clear need for more starting pitching help.

    An eighth-round pick in 2013, Trey Mancini is a .307/.357/.475 career hitter over 2,002 minor league plate appearances and has topped the 20-homer mark each of the past two seasons.

    At this point he's jumped ahead of Christian Walker on the organizational depth chart among first base prospects, and with Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez both set to hit free agency, he could factor into the team's plans for next year as the primary DH.

    "Mancini has an advanced feel for hitting, as his strong hands and wrists give him excellent barrel control and allow him to utilize the entire field. His natural approach is to stay up the middle of the field or go the other way, and he's strong enough to drive the ball over the fence to any part of the park," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    He may not play a ton, but it will be an audition for bigger things in 2017.

18. C Tom Murphy, Colorado Rockies

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    2016 Stats



    Age: 25

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Part-time catcher



    If any prospect on this list is going to see significant playing time following his September promotion, it's Colorado Rockies catcher Tom Murphy.

    He was among the team's call-ups last season and posted an .879 OPS with three home runs in 39 plate appearances.

    However, with veteran Nick Hundley back for the second season of a two-year, $6.25 million deal, the Rockies had no reason to rush Murphy, so he's been back in Triple-A, where he's raking.

    On top of his plus power, Murphy has also regained his strong throwing arm after dealing with some shoulder issues early in his career. He's more than good enough as a receiver to stick behind the dish.

    Platooning Murphy with Hundley down the stretch and setting him up for a run at the starting job next spring seems like a no-brainer for a Rockies team that is hovering around .500 but not really in the postseason picture.

17. SP/RP Jharel Cotton, Oakland Athletics

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    Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

    2016 Stats



    Age: 24

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting pitcher



    One of three pitchers traded to the Athletics in the deadline deal that sent Josh Reddick and Rich Hill to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jharel Cotton could be the first of that group to reach Oakland.

    Grant Holmes and Frankie Montas were the other two acquired in that trade and are generally regarded as the better prospects, with Montas actually earning a September call-up last year from the Chicago White Sox.

    However, Cotton is an intriguing arm in his own right, especially if he's able to stick as a starter.

    While most scouts believe his future is in the bullpen due to his undersized 5'11" frame and average-at-best command, it didn't take him long to turn heads in a starting role after joining the Oakland organization.

    In his second start for Triple-A Nashville, he came out with nearly a perfect game, finishing the shutout with just a lone hit allowed while striking out 12.

    Whether his future does in fact lead him to the rotation or the bullpen, the A's could be ready for a closer look at one of their newest acquisitions.

16. 1B/3B Renato Nunez, Oakland Athletics

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    Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 22

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Part-time corner infielder



    The Oakland Athletics system is loaded with corner infield prospects, as Matt Chapman, Renato Nunez and Matt Olson are all playing in the high minors and Ryon Healy has already earned a promotion to the big leagues.

    While Chapman and Olson are not members of the 40-man roster, Nunez is, and that could put him in a position to join Healy down the stretch.

    The 22-year-old has begun seeing time at first base and in left field this season in an effort to find other ways to get his power bat in the lineup. With Chapman viewed as the best defensive third baseman of the group, Nunez's future will likely be off the hot corner regardless.

    His numbers this season may not jump off the page, but he's been hitting much better of late with a .273/.319/.534 line and 11 extra-base hits in August.

    At this point, the at-bats the team is giving to veterans Danny Valencia and Billy Butler would be better served going to someone who actually factors into the long-term plans like Nunez.

15. RP Zack Burdi, Chicago White Sox

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    Associated Press

    2016 Stats



    Age: 25

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Middle reliever



    The Chicago White Sox have a history of putting polished college arms on the fast track to the majors.

    Chris Sale made his MLB debut just two months after being taken No. 13 overall in the 2010 draft. Carlos Rodon worked just 34.1 innings in the minors before debuting less than a calendar year after going No. 3 overall in 2014.

    Zack Burdi could be next.

    The No. 26 pick this June after a standout career at Louisville, Burdi has already climbed four minor league levels to reach Triple-A, striking out 46 hitters in 31 innings along the way.

    With a fastball that can touch 102 mph and a wipeout slider, he has all the makings of a future closer. His dominance of minor league hitters so far shows he could be ready for the next step.

    Assuming the White Sox trade David Robertson at some point between now and the start of next season, Burdi could find himself as the primary setup man to Nate Jones by next season.

14. CF Roman Quinn, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 23

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Part-time outfielder



    The speedy Roman Quinn turned heads during spring training when he went 6-for-20 with three triples, two stolen bases and five runs scored.

    However, he's had a hard time staying on the field over the course of his career. This season has been no different, as an oblique injury sidelined him for a month-and-a-half.

    There's no question he's one of the fastest players in professional baseball when he is healthy, though, and he possesses legitimate 80-grade speed.

    The Phillies already have a crowded outfield situation with Peter Bourjos, Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera and Tyler Goeddel on the active roster and Cody Asche likely to be among the September call-ups as well.

    That being said, Quinn has a chance to be a big piece of the team's future. A strong performance over the final month could put him in position to claim one of the starting corner spots next spring.

13. RP Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers

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    Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

    2016 Stats



    Age: 21

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Setup reliever



    Joe Jimenez signed with the Detroit Tigers as an undrafted free agent out of Puerto Rico in 2013 and has a chance to be one of the biggest steals in franchise history.

    The 21-year-old has the prototypical fastball-slider combination that teams look for in a late-inning reliever. He's been nothing short of dominant while skyrocketing through the Detroit system.

    His 13.1 K/9 rate over four minor league seasons illustrates just how overpowering he can be, but equally impressive is his 2.6 BB/9 rate.

    "Unlike some relievers who throw hard, Jimenez stays around the plate and doesn't hurt himself with walks," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    Francisco Rodriguez has been a welcome addition to the bullpen this season, but the relief corps as a whole remains a weakness with a 4.27 ERA that ranks 24th in the majors.

    Jimenez could immediately step into a key setup role, with an eye on taking over as closer once K-Rod reaches free agency following next season.

12. SS Gavin Cecchini, New York Mets

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    2016 Stats



    Age: 22

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Utility infielder



    Gavin Cecchini had entered the New York Mets organization with plenty of hype after going No. 12 overall in the 2012 draft, but his prospect star began to fade going into last season after three years of mediocre numbers.

    He rebuilt his stock with a .317/.377/.442 line that included 37 extra-base hits over a full season at Double-A Binghamton, and after posting similar numbers in Triple-A, he's ready to make the jump.

    Where exactly Cecchini fits into the team's long-term plans remains to be seen, as Amed Rosario is generally regarded as the shortstop of the future, incumbent Asdrubal Cabrera is signed through 2017 with an option for 2018, and the team has shown interest in re-signing second baseman Neil Walker.

    With the glove to play anywhere in the infield, the 22-year-old could carve out a role as a utility type, and if he continues to hit in the bigs this September, he could fill a similar role down the stretch.

11. 1B Dan Vogelbach, Seattle Mariners

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    Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images

    2016 Stats



    Age: 23

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Platoon first baseman



    With Dan Vogelbach limited to first base defensively and blocked by Anthony Rizzo long-term, it was a question of when, not if, the Chicago Cubs would trade the burly slugger.

    They answered that question last month when he was shipped to the Seattle Mariners in a four-player deal that sent left-hander Mike Montgomery to the Cubs.

    Vogelbach has always turned heads with his plus raw power, but he's also consistently demonstrated an advanced approach at the plate and a willingness to go the other way with pitches, as opposed to getting pull-happy like some young power hitters.

    The 23-year-old might already be a better option for the Mariners than Adam Lind as the left-handed hitting side of their first base platoon, and he could have a chance to play his way into a significant role for a contending team once he's promoted.

10. 3B/OF Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 25

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Part-time outfielder



    The Kansas City Royals reached for Hunter Dozier when they took him No. 8 overall in the 2013 draft, using the savings from that pick to sign left-hander Sean Manaea when he slipped to No. 34 overall.

    Nevertheless, that high draft position came with some lofty expectations for the Stephen F. Austin product, who struggled to live up to them prior to this season.

    In a full season in Double-A last year, he hit a paltry .213/.281/.349 with 12 home runs and 53 RBI in 523 plate appearances.

    That earned him a ticket back to Double-A this year, but he was quickly promoted to Triple-A and has turned in a breakout season across the board with an improved approach and more in-game power than he's ever shown in the past.

    On top of his offensive outburst, he's also begun playing the outfield. He could see time at third base and both corner outfield spots down the stretch to help keep guys fresh.

9. SP/RP Carson Fulmer, Chicago White Sox

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 22

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Middle reliever



    Carson Fulmer was hit hard in his first go-around at the MLB level earlier this season, but he still has the stuff to be a dominant reliever and perhaps future closer for the Chicago White Sox.

    It will be interesting to watch the progression of both Fulmer and 2016 first-round pick Zack Burdi, as they were both fast-tracked to the majors after standout collegiate careers and have closer stuff.

    They could be a dominant one-two punch alongside incumbent Nate Jones in the near future, giving the South Siders that overpowering bullpen trio that teams have been trying to build.

    Fulmer was working exclusively as a starter in the minors, and that was his role during his junior season at Vanderbilt, but his max-effort delivery and inconsistent command led most evaluators to believe his future was in the bullpen.

    At any rate, the White Sox have every reason bring him back down the stretch, since he's worked just 103.2 innings on the year. A nice run of scoreless appearances in September could give his confidence a shot in the arm heading into next season.

8. SP Robert Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 23

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting pitcher



    Robert Stephenson got his feet wet with a pair of spot starts in April when the Cincinnati Reds rotation was thinned by injury, but he's spent most of 2016 in the minors, refining his command.

    His second MLB start showed why he's such a prized commodity, as he went seven innings and allowed just three hits and one run against a good Colorado Rockies offense.

    However, he's continued to struggle with consistency at the minor league level and has pitched beyond the sixth inning just four times in 24 total starts.

    There's no question the ingredients are there for Stephenson to be a front-line starter.

    He has a strong 6'2", 200-pound frame, a fastball that can touch the upper 90s and a good curveball-changeup combination to complement it.

    With a wealth of young pitching talent in the Reds organization right now, he'll need to prove he's capable of making the necessary adjustments, or he could wind up being forced to the bullpen.

7. SP Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 22

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting pitcher



    Josh Hader has already been a part of two trade deadline deals, but it appears he's found a home with the Milwaukee Brewers.

    His stock was on the rise after a dominant performance in the Arizona Fall League last year in which he posted a 0.56 ERA and 0.938 WHIP with 19 strikeouts in 16 innings of work.

    That carried over to the start of this season when he posted a 0.95 ERA and 1.000 WHIP with 73 strikeouts in 57 innings for Double-A Biloxi before running into some bumps following his promotion to Triple-A.

    The left-hander still needs to further refine his changeup as a passable third offering and improve his command, as he's posted a 4.2 BB/9 mark since moving to Triple-A.

    However, he's probably the one pitcher in a talented Milwaukee farm system with legitimate front-line upside. His development will be one of the biggest keys to the team's rebuilding efforts.

6. SP Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 24

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting pitcher



    A two-sport athlete who averaged 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in two seasons playing basketball at St. John's University, Amir Garrett finally turned his full attention to baseball in 2014.

    He's progressed quickly since dedicating his time to pitching, and with a strong showing in the upper levels of the minors this year, he's taken over the top spot among Cincinnati Reds pitching prospects.

    The 6'5" southpaw is a terrific athlete on the mound with smooth mechanics. Plus, his secondary stuff has come a long way in a short amount of time.

    "At the very least, it looks like Garrett will be a solid Major League starter capable of beating anyone on any given day. If he can continue to improve his consistency, he could reach his ceiling as a front-line starter," wrote MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    The Reds could be hesitant to start his MLB service time, especially with so many other starting pitching options to evaluate, but he's proved he's ready. It could be worth rewarding him with a call-up and seeing if he's ready for the jump in 2017.

5. 2B/SS Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 19

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting second baseman



    Still just 19 years old, Ozzie Albies put on a show during spring training when he went 13-for-35 with one double, one home run and eight runs scored.

    That was enough for the Braves to send him straight from Single-A to Double-A to begin the season. He wasn't there for long, as a .319/.393/.442 line over 71 games earned him a promotion to Triple-A at the end of June.

    Considering he's the youngest position player in the International League by nearly two years, he's held his own with a .248/.307/.351 line over 247 plate appearances.

    With Dansby Swanson locked in as the shortstop of the future, Albies has moved to the other side of the bag this year, where he has a chance to be one of the best defensive second basemen in the league.

    Even if Albies is not necessarily ready offensively, giving that future double-play combination a chance to play together on a regular basis at the MLB level over the final month would be beneficial. Plus, it's not like incumbent second baseman Jace Peterson represents a significant roadblock.

4. SP Jose De Leon, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 24

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting pitcher/swingman



    It's somewhat surprising that the Los Angeles Dodgers have not already called on Jose De Leon this season, considering they have used 14 different starting pitchers this year, including fellow prospects Julio Urias and Brock Stewart.

    Part of it has to do with the fact that shoulder soreness and an ankle injury kept him from getting going this season until the beginning of June.

    He's settled in nicely, though, and he's really hit his stride of late with double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back games and five consecutive quality starts.

    A 24th-round pick in 2013, De Leon has come a long way since joining the Dodgers organization. He has continued to dominate hitters this season with 98 strikeouts in 78.2 innings of work.

    Whether he's used as a spot starter, multi-inning reliever or setup man, he's too valuable of a weapon for a Dodgers team that is fighting for a division title not to promote him when rosters expand.

3. 1B/3B Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 22

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Part-time designated hitter



    Joey Gallo won't be a prospect much longer.

    He's just seven MLB at-bats away from exhausting his rookie eligibility and figures to reach that mark once he rejoins the club next month.

    While he's flashed his 80-grade power at the highest level with seven home runs, he's hit just .187/.281/.398 with 66 strikeouts in 139 plate appearances.

    The question remains whether he's the next Adam Dunn, the next Russell Branyan or something in between, but enough people still believe in his power potential that he was a popular name at the trade deadline.

    The Rangers wound up moving Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz and Dillon Tate instead as the centerpieces of their trades to acquire Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran, which leaves Gallo as the organization's top prospect once again.

    With Mitch Moreland headed for free agency at season's end and Prince Fielder forced to retire, the door is open for Gallo to seize the everyday first base job in 2017.

2. SP Lucas Giolito, Washington Nationals

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 22

    40-Man Roster: Yes

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting pitcher/swingman



    His first three MLB starts were a mixed bag, but Lucas Giolito remains one of the game's elite pitching prospects, and it's easy to see why.

    With a 6'6", 255-pound frame, a blazing fastball that sits in the upper 90s, a devastating hammer curveball and the arm issues that plagued him in high school and eventually led to Tommy John surgery now in the past, he has all the makings of a future ace.

    And yet, he has not exactly dominated minor league competition this season and failed to pitch beyond the fourth inning in any of his three big league starts.

    With Joe Ross still nursing a sore shoulder and Stephen Strasburg recently joining him on the disabled list with a sore elbow, the Nationals could use some help in the rotation.

    Fellow prospects Reynaldo Lopez and A.J. Cole are currently filling those two vacated spots, but it's fair to assume that Giolito will get at least one more start once he returns to the majors.

    If he pitches well, he could stick in the rotation over the final month. Otherwise, he could be a valuable weapon out of the bullpen, similar to how the St. Louis Cardinals have utilized Alex Reyes.

1. IF Yoan Moncada, Boston Red Sox

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    Age: 21

    40-Man Roster: No

    Potential Sept. Role: Starting third baseman



    The Boston Red Sox have already promoted one top prospect since the All-Star break with impressive results, as Andrew Benintendi is hitting .325/.365/.485 in 21 games since taking over as the primary left fielder.

    Yoan Moncada is next.

    The Cuban phenom has looked like a man among boys in the minors this season, showing the full five-tool package that made him such a coveted prospect. He would have already been in Boston if not for an ankle injury that slowed him for much of August.

    With Dustin Pedroia entrenched at second base, the hot corner seems like the obvious landing spot for the 21-year-old.

    Aaron Hill (82 BA, .203 BA, .551 OPS) and Travis Shaw (105 PA, .181 BA, .628 OPS) have provided next to nothing offensively since the All-Star break while splitting time at the position.

    Moncada has played third base just four times in his professional career, but he's the type of special talent who is capable of making that transition on the fly, a la Manny Machado when he first joined the Baltimore Orioles.

    Even if he doesn't play every day, he's still capable of being a major X-factor as the Red Sox try to chase down the AL East crown.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted.

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