September callups are just around the corner, meaning some hotshot prospects will get to strut their stuff for their respective clubs. Names to watch include the Reds' Billy Hamilton, the Tigers' Nick Castellanos, the Astros' Jonathan Singleton and the Mets' Rafael Montero. However, don't put all of your eggs into the prospect basket, as this is a particularly weak class of callups. Xander Bogaerts, Travis d'Arnaud and Kolten Wong have already received promotions. Hamilton and Castellanos will not play much, as their teams are in pennant races. Montero could take Matt Harvey's slot in the rotation, but the Mets may choose to limit his innings. Singleton is the best bet to play extensively during the final month of the season, but has also been scuffling at Triple-A since returning from suspension. In other words, your fantasy teams aren't likely to receive much help from the minors down the stretch in 2013.
Five more minor-league items to take into consideration:
1. Taijuan Walker will make his MLB debut before September is finished. Jameson Taillon and Archie Bradley will not.
2. Three under-the-radar prospects: Andrew Aplin (Houston), Tommy La Stella (Atlanta), Zach Petrick (Cardinals).
3. No. 6 overall pick Colin Moran is batting .474/.533/.658 with two home runs and four RBI over his last 10 games for Low-A Greensboro.
4. Javier Baez (Cubs) will be a better future fantasy option than Francisco Lindor (Indians) due to the former's plus-power.
5. A.J. Cole has officially found his groove; the 21-year-old righty has a 2.58 ERA and 42:8 K:BB ratio through 38.1 innings for Double-A Harrisburg. Just one year ago, he struggled so badly that he was demoted from High-A to Low-A. What a difference a year makes.
Let's look at the rest of the ups and down in this week's edition of the Minor League Barometer.
Tyler Glasnow, P, PIT - Glasnow and Colorado Rockies pitcher Eddie Butler are two of the biggest risers of the year. Glasnow is a tall, thin righty who has fanned 160 batters in just 106.1 innings this season for Low-A West Virginia. Glasnow just turned 20, but that hasn't stopped him from dominating the competition. Opposing batters are hitting a putrid .148 against him en route to a 2.29 ERA. The one concern with Glasnow will be the ability to repeat his delivery and find his release point consistently, due to the fact that he is 6-foot-7. He has walked 57 batters this season, including five in his last start Aug. 22 in which he did not allow a hit in five innings. Did I mention that 13 of the 15 outs recorded were strikeouts? It's clear Glasnow has the stuff (fastball/curveball mostly at this point), and if he can harness his command even a little bit more, it could be lights-out for opposing hitters at the higher levels.
Justin Nicolino, P, MIA - Nicolino was among the prospects sent back to the Fish in the monster offseason trade with the Blue Jays. He hasn't allowed a run over his last 13 innings for Double-A Jacksonville. The 21-year-old lefty has fanned 15 batters over that span, while walking four. Nicolino isn't overpowering, but he knows how to pitch, maintains standout control and has a free and easy delivery. He also has a penchant for keeping the ball down in the zone, as seen by his 1.31 GO:AO ratio between two levels this season. With command of three pitches (fastball/curveball/changeup) and the aforementioned downward movement, Nicolino has the ability to be extremely successful in the big leagues.
Delino DeShields Jr., 2B, HOU - After a slow start, DeShields has turned up the heat at High-A Lancaster. He is slashing .429/.529/.619 with four RBI and five steals over his last 10 games. Overall, the 21-year-old is hitting .319/.406/.463 with four home runs, 51 RBI and 47 steals through 104 games. DeShields will have to prove he can hit away from the friendly confines of the California League, but since he isn't a power hitter, he shouldn't be as affected as some other prospects. His speed will play in any ballpark, and he has also cut down on his strikeouts this season. He remains among the better second base prospects in the game.
Jake Lamb, 3B, AZ - Lamb was a sixth-round pick out of the University of Washington in 2012 and hasn't stopped hitting since entering the minors. The 22-year-old is batting .318/.441/.602 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI through 56 games for High-A Visalia. He has drawn 44 walks over that span. Lamb has been surging of late as well, slashing .395/.480/.71 with three home runs and nine RBI over his last 10 contests. The knock on Lamb thus far during his brief professional career has been his health; he has been on the disabled list on two separate occasions this season, including most recently due to a hamate injury. When he's been on the field, Lamb has shown he can handle the bat. Assuming the injuries won't be a theme, Lamb could be primed for future success for the D-Backs.
Michael Choice, OF, OAK - Call this one a gut feeling; I'm not sold on Choice. His numbers look good for Triple-A Sacramento. The 23-year-old is batting .300/.386/.443 with 14 home runs and 88 RBI through 126 games. Despite the .300 average and 88 RBI, Choice has now shown the power that made him a must-own prospect after the 2011 campaign in the California League. He hit just 10 home runs in 91 games at Double-A last season, and will play his future home games in cavernous O.co Coliseum. Choice has fanned 122 times this season as well and does not bring any speed to the table. In other words, because his power has been underwhelming, he strikes out a lot and will not steal any bases, he does not have the same luster as some other prospects in my view.
Parker Bridwell, P, BAL - Bridwell can look like an absolute stud on some days; on Aug. 16, Bridwell threw eight scoreless innings for Low-A Delmarva. The 6-4 righty allowed just two hits, did not walk a batter and fanned an astounding 14 batters in eight innings. Other times, the wheels completely come off; Bridwell has had three starts the last two months in which he has allowed at least six earned runs. Part of the problem has been Bridwell's control, which can abandon him for stretches. He has walked 55 batters in 132.2 innings, though he does have 138 strikeouts over that span. Nevertheless, due to the blowup starts thrown in here and there, Bridwell's ERA sits at 4.75 for the season. This is also his third try at Low-A. He just turned 21 this month and should move to High-A next season. A ninth-rounder in 2010 out of high school, Bridwell must be more consistent if he is to figure into the O's future plans.
Mark Sappington, P, LAA - The 22-year-old Sappington is further along in his development than Bridwell, but has also struggled with control. Between High-A and Double-A, the 6-5 righty has a 3.31 ERA and 131:79 K:BB ratio through 152.1 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .216 against Sappington, which has helped to alleviate some of the strain from the additional walks. Sappington is a small-school product out of Division III Rockhurst, but has gained velocity on his fastball since college, making his slider and emerging changeup more effective. In a farm system starved for talent, Sappington could be fast-tracked to the big leagues. That assumes, of course, his walks don't come back to haunt him at the higher levels.
Mauricio Cabrera, P, ATL - Cabrera is a rare find because he has three quality pitches at age 19. His changeup has drawn rave reviews, while his curveball is also a plus-pitch. With a low-90s heater, Cabrera appears to have the goods on first glance. Cabrera keeps the ball down, an extremely promising sign for a young hurler. He has a 1.40 GO:AO ratio at Low-A Rome, having allowed just three home runs this season. However, his inability to locate has caused inconsistency. The 6-2 righty has been very wild this season, issuing 71 free passes in 131.1 innings for Low-A Rome. His ERA sits at 4.18. He was rocked in his last start Saturday for six runs in four innings. Cabrera walked four batters while fanning three. Cabrera has the raw talent to be a future rotation anchor, but needs some seasoning and won't make an impact for some time.
D.J. Peterson, 1B/3B, SEA - Peterson took a baseball to the left side of his jaw Thursday for Low-A Clinton and fractured his left mandible as a result. He has already had surgery, including having his jaw wired shut Friday, and may require another surgery before he can return to the baseball diamond. He'll likely miss the rest of the 2013 season and perhaps the Arizona Fall League as well. Peterson was the No. 12 overall selection in the 2013 draft by the Mariners and had shown off his power stroke before the injury. After a brief stint in the short-season Everett, Peterson slashed .293/.346/.576 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 26 games for Low-A Clinton.
Carlos Sanchez, 2B, CHW - Not much has gone right for the White Sox this season, and Sanchez has been no exception. In 2012, he hit .323/.378/.403 with one home run, 56 RBI and 26 steals between Double-A and Triple-A. In 2013, he is batting just .245/.298/.302 with 25 RBI and 16 steals through 104 games for Triple-A Charlotte. Perhaps the White Sox pushed the 21-year-old too hard and promoted him too quickly. After all, Sanchez started the 2012 campaign at High-A, and has played in less than 200 games at Low-A or higher. Lack of plate discipline hasn't helped Sanchez's cause, as the middle infielder has drawn just 28 walks while fanning 70 times in 2013. Sanchez looks to need a lot of seasoning before hitting the big leagues.
D.J. Davis, OF, TOR - A 2012 first-round selection, Davis has been brought along slowly for the Jays. He's hitting .246/.323/.440 through 53 games in the Appalachian League. The 19-year-old has six home runs, 24 RBI and 10 steals over that span. Davis has been struggling lately, batting just .211/.279/.421 with 13 strikeouts over his last 10 games. In fact, he has been punched out 69 times. However, it's not that Davis has been that bad, but that other prospects of similar age from the first round of the 2012 campaign have already reached higher levels. This includes scintillating performances by fellow teenagers Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Addison Russell. Davis has plenty of time to mature, but it's clear he's going to need more seasoning than some of his fellow draftees from last year's class.
Jace Peterson, SS, SD - Just a 2013 downgrade for Peterson, who will miss the rest of this season due to a foot injury. The 23-year-old shortstop impressed with a slash line of .303/.382/.454 with seven home runs, 66 RBI and 42 steals in 113 games for High-A Lake Elsinore. He should be good to go for the 2014 campaign, which will likely start at Double-A. However, the specific ailment is an arch injury, which could bear watching, since Peterson relies so much on his speed. He will also turn 24 in May 2014, so Double-A will be crucial in determining his future potential. It will be a make-or-break season for Peterson.