Eric Mack
Friday August 19th, 2011

Everyone loves to talk all year about September call-ups.

So-and-so is going to make his debut late this season. Bryce Harper could be up as a teenager after Sept. 1. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Blech. It's all a waste of time and energy.

September call-ups are perhaps the most overrated piece of fantasy baseball. They just don't impact a fantasy owner's season enough to worry about them.

Sure, we should see a number of elite prospects come back to the majors this year, namely the likes of OF Domonic Brown, C Jesus Montero, OF Mike Trout, SP Julio Teheran and 1B Anthony Rizzo. Also, retreads like OF Logan Morrison, 3B Pedro Alvarez, SP Edinson Volquez, OF Travis Snider, SP Kyle Drabek and 3B Brett Wallace should be back and might even get back some lost status.

But mentioning all those names was once again just a waste of time. They are not guaranteed anything in the way of consistent playing time.

And, get this -- it should be obvious but it tends to not be for fantasy owners -- if they were so useful, they would be in the major leagues right now.

Perhaps only Morrison and Volquez have a decent case of not belonging in the minors. They have proved major league- and fantasy-worthy in the past. The rest of the names have loads of potential, but they have loads of things to still work on.

That's way they are in the minors and not in fantasy starting lineups right now.

Yes, fantasy owners need every advantage they can get, but they are better off sorting the recent stats of the current waiver-wire opens than perusing the minor-league leaders and the most-owned minor-leaguers.

Now on to the rest of our weekly baseball planner ...

Jay Bruce has taken that next significant step to fantasy superstardom with his recent hot stretch. His five-homer, 15-RBI week helped him set a career high in homers and he is on pace to be a .270-35-105-90-10 masher. He is in a great ballpark and lineup in Cincy and has a lot more room to grow statistically as a 24-year old. He might eventually be .280-40-120-100-10 player annually. He is that good, and he is Fantasy Week 19's top performer.

Past players of the week: 18. Matt Holliday, STL; 17. 1B Billy Butler, KC; 16. OF Cameron Maybin, SD; 15. OF Nick Markakis, BAL; 14. OF Jose Bautista, TOR; 13. 3B Aramis Ramirez, CHC; 12. SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; 11. SP Justin Verlander, Tigers; 10. 1B Prince Fielder, Brewers; 9. 1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals; 8. SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers; 7. SP Michael Pineda, Mariners; 6. OF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays; 5. SP Francisco Liriano, Twins; 4. 2B Ben Zobrist, Rays; 3. SP James Shields, Rays; 2. SP Dan Haren, Angels; 1. SP Jered Weaver, Angels.

The most-added players:

1. 1B Mike Carp, SEA 2. OF Jose Constanza, ATL 3. 3B Edwin Encarnacion, TOR 4. SP Ivan Nova, NYY 5. SP Randy Wolf, MIL

Carp and Constanza are scorching minor-league journeymen worth using in deeper leagues while they are hot. They really aren't this good over a longer time span. Encarnacion might be and he is finally proving that over his long-lasting wrist issues. Pick him up in any format. Nova is coming off a bad start which he still managed to win, but he has a long winning streak -- like Wolf does -- that makes him a must-start in all leagues right now.

The most-dropped players:

1. SP Carlos Zambrano, CHC 2. OF Logan Morrison, FLA 3. SP Jason Marquis, ARI 4. C A.J. Pierzynski, CHW 5. SP Doug Fister, DET

The top two on this list are the organizational pariahs. The teams have ruined their fantasy values, not the players. Marquis is out for the season, Pierzynski still hopes to come back, and Fister's bad last start should just be a blimp on the radar.

The most-scouted players:

1. C Ryan Lavarnway, BOS 2. SP Mike Minor, ATL 3. OF Mike Stanton, FLA 4. SS Hanley Ramirez, FLA 5. 2B Jason Kipnis, CLE 6. SP Carmona, CLE 7. OF Constanza, ATL 8. 1B Carp, SEA 9. OF Michael Cuddyer, MIN 10. 3B Brett Lawrie, TOR

Lavarnway has posted some sick offensive numbers in hitter's parks in Double- and Triple-A, combining to go .293 with 30 homers, 85 RBI, 71 runs, a .372 OBP and .559 SLUG. He is going to get some at-bats and might even be able to help in mixed leagues, especially with catcher eligibility, if he hits right away. While Lavarnway's season and career are just getting started, Ramirez's lost season just might be done now. He has had shoulder issues for years and his career star has fallen precipitously. Stanton and Cuddyer are dealing with injury, but they should avoid the DL, while Kipnis likely will not. The Braves' Minor is ready to take off and is a must-add and maybe even a must-start in all leagues. Speaking of big-time, must-start call-ups, Lawrie looks like the real deal and perhaps the best rookie hitter to have in any format here on out.

Eric Mack rounds up the fantasy baseball movers, shakers and projected two-start pitchers every Friday at SI.com. You can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy.

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