Fantasy baseball managers, much like major league skippers, understand that September is the most pivotal part of the baseball calendar. Every mistake–whether made through the lineup or via the waiver wire–could cost an armchair GM their trophy at the end of the season. That is why playing the month correctly is crucial, and it starts with September call-ups.
Now that baseball’s up-and-coming prospects have been promoted and given the chance to debut, navigating the 60 players fresh from the minors through an active and ambitious approach becomes essential. And while the headline prospects are of course center of attention, everyone paying attention at the wheel is capable of assessing their value because of their big names. That is why it is the overlooked, under-the-radar prospects that end up making or breaking late-season fantasy pennant races. And in an effort to assist the enterprising skippers looking to compete over the season’s final month, let us begin to explore those very same under-the-radar September call-ups.
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Six Under the Radar September Call-ups
Please note that all statistics are accurate as of 8:00 pm ET on September 3
Michael Stefanic, 2B, 3B, LAA
.359/.459/.458, 4 HR, 58 RBI, 8 SB in 90 AAA games this season (343 AB)
Michael Stefanic has fought hard to crack the big leagues. Undrafted out of Westmont College and unranked in the Angels organization, his eventual MLB debut was anything but guaranteed. Still, after two brief cups of coffee with the Angels back in June and July when he struggled, the plucky 27-year-old is back in the show and should get every chance to play.
While skippers should not expect power hitting or many stolen bases, with his incredible ability to get on-base (*he had a 62-game on-base streak in AAA earlier this year*), hit for average, and score runs, Stefanic is a fine addition to any offense. Better yet, because of his limited prospect exposure, Stefanic should remain available for those looking to take a low-risk flier. Look to him for some average-first offense as the season winds down and a potential dynasty candidate if he comes through.
Forest Wall, OF, ATL
.280/.372/.427, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 52 SB in 90 AAA games this season (354 AB)
Drafted out of high school back in 2014, Forest Wall has been a prospect forever. Almost a decade later, the 27-year-old has finally managed to put it all together. Selected to replace an injured Sam Hilliard on the Braves’ roster, Wall has some sneaky value as a September call-up. While it is imperative to remember Atlanta has an absolutely loaded offense (thus there is not much opportunity for Wall), as the best team in baseball, their magic number is shrinking every day. That means down the stretch, it is players like Forest Wall who will get every opportunity to showcase their skills.
In addition to pinch running, with his elite stolen base and on-base ability, expect Wall to receive playing time, get on base, and run with a green light. After all, in the limited big-league action Wall has seen so far, he already has 2 SB. As far as available players go, skippers in need of a boost in SB should look no further than Forest Wall.
Ernie Clement, INF, TOR
.339/.394/.533, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 12 SB in 69 AAA games this season (274 AB)
While not technically a September call-up because he was promoted on August 28, Ernie Clement is enjoying a solid big-league tenure. Through 19 games on the season overall, the infielder is slashing a fantastic .452/.455/.645 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. Coinciding with his great play, of course, are injuries to both Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman that have afforded Clement everyday playing time.
Despite struggling with the Guardians and Athletics during his ’21 and ’22 campaigns, Clement’s success this year is indicative of the fact he seems to have genuinely turned a corner in Toronto. Although secluded from the fantasy radar of most managers, considering how valuable he is right now, adding the infielder is probably worthwhile.
THAT’S FAIR! ✅
Ernie Clement hammers a solo home run to tie the game. pic.twitter.com/hlLmhjs8QA
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 2, 2023
Miguel Andujar, OF, 1B, PIT
.338/.404/.536, 16 HR, 86 RBI, 5 SB in 103 AAA games this season (414 AB)
Every fantasy manager paying attention at the wheel understands the potential Miguel Andujar has at the plate. Despite being derailed by injuries, his 27 HR, 92 RBI and .297/.328/.527 season in 2017 with the Yankees speaks for itself. That is why even if his name fails to make headlines anymore these days, it was worth a second look when the Pirates announced Miguel Andujar as one of their September call-ups.
With the Pirates out of the race and his promising numbers in AAA, the hope is that Andujar will be able to live up to his All-Star potential with consistent playing time. Obviously, as a readily available flier, the former infielder turned outfielder could provide a solid return to gutsy skippers willing to take a risk.
Miguel Andujar gets us on the board! pic.twitter.com/ppYQpWSMAt
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 3, 2023
Randy Vásquez, SP/RP, NYY
4.59 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 3-8 W/L, 96 SO in 80.1 IP through 17 AAA starts
While his MiLB numbers fail to turn many heads, Yankees hurler Randy Vásquez has impressed during his limited time in the majors. Across 24.1 IP (6 appearances, 4 starts), the young RHP is 2-2 with a stellar 2.22 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 17 SO.
Pitching out of the Bombers’ pen as a bulk reliever as it stands right now, Vásquez could easily end up starting games down the stretch this month. In the event, he would obviously be of fantasy interest. As a result, skippers still in the race should watch Vásquez and the state of the Yankees starting rotation in the coming weeks.
Brett Sullivan, C, SDP
.328/.401/.517, 7 HR, 41 RBI, 9 SB in 61 AAA games this season (238 AB)
As an offensively competent catcher, the value that Brett Sullivan brings to the table is crystal clear. Save for a rough 2021 campaign, with a career .277 BA and 74 HR across eight seasons of minor league ball, the 29-year-old has always been able to hit. Now that he has arrived at Petco Park and has joined a Padres team that has been looking for additional offense behind the plate all season, expect Sullivan to get a long look.
While he did make his major league debut earlier this season and struggled across 21 games, Sullivan should be primed for a substantial second chance now that the Padres playoff hopes have been more or less quashed. Managers looking for some offense at the Big C–and who isn’t–should keep an eye on Sullivan’s performance over the next month.