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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

Amazingly, we are again  at another Labor Day, our 19th with you, and as usual I thank you for your support, and hope you are having a great and safe weekend with family and friends.

Out here on the West Coast, I am having trouble watching the Athletics--I just had to flip to "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" as I could not handle watching Scott Kazmir lose it.

I still think the Athletics will work through this slump, and make it to the post-season, and with a rotation of Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija and Sonny Gray, that is formidable in a short series.

Similarly, the arrival of Adam Dunn is a good thing, for Dunn is a guy I have liked for a long time, and he is another fellow who fits well into the Oakland role playing scheme, of walks and dingers.

I do think the Athletics loss of Yoenis Cespedes had a bigger impact than the front office imagined, but I also think knowing the Athletics and the law of averages, the team was due for a flat period.

Better to have it now and work to get hot as the post-season begins.

Ok, so to the now, and since it is September 1, it is also roster expansion time. So, this time, let's take a look at some top prospects who might indeed make a first appearance at the show as the season rumbles to a finish.

Topping the list is the next in line for the Cubs--and an outfielder--to help lead the North Siders to the promised land with Jorge Soler.

Signed in 2012, the 22-year-old has blazed a path to The Show that includes just 151 games over two years, from Rookie Ball up, and the outfielder shot through four levels from Class A to the Majors, posting a minor league line of .340-15-57 with an incredible 1.132 OPS, and then picked it right up at Wrigley, going .533-3-7 over his first four games.

Yet another amazing Cuban import, I am not exactly sure just what it is that makes players from the island so much more Major League savvy that any other location on the planet, but it is certainly so. Don't be shy: grab Soler.

I admit to being a sucker for Stanford grads, just like those from UC Berkeley, and St. Louis, deep in young talent, has such an alum in Stephen Piscotty, the team's first round pick in 2012.

Now an outfielder (formerly a third sacker), Piscotty has hit a strong .287-8-66 at Memphis this year, with 31 doubles, 11 swipes and a very good 42 walks to 61 strikeouts (.353 OBP).

Quintessential Cards hitter, he is, making contact, getting on base, and so on. Piscotty should indeed get a call now, and similarly will make a bid for the big league roster next year.

Cleveland might well advance their top prospect, Francisco Lindor, this month. The 20-year-old has done well enough at Triple-A Columbus, hitting .277-5-14 over 37 games. Lindor has been exploited by Triple-A pitchers, having just nine walks to 34 strikeouts, but give him time to learn the zone along with the dazzle of stuff at the higher levels (he did get 40 walks to 61 strikeouts at Double-A Akron this year) and the young heir apparent to Asdrubal Cabrera should be fine.

Look for September time and a challenge to start at short in 2015.

The Mets could advance Noah Syndergaard, the Jays #1 pick in 2010, traded to New York as part of the R.A. Dickey deal. The 6'6", 240-pounder bagged 144 strikeouts at Las Vegas this year over 131 frames (473 over 424.6 minor league innings) though he has been vulnerable to the hits (153) this season.

Still, it is time to see what he can do at the top level, and perhaps the 21-year-old can join Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey and make an exciting rotation core that might well lead to a Mets renaissance.

Talk about depth, the Dodgers have more outfielders than they know what to do with, hence which way does Joc Pederson go?

The Dodgers' first rounder in 2010 has really ripped it at Albuquerque this year, hitting .303-33-78 with 30 steals and 100 walks to 149 whiffs (.435 OBP).

An early L.A. clinch could indeed earn Pederson some time, but clearly, among Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, one or more vets will be moved during the off-season to make room for Pederson.

Finally, Carlos Rodon was the #3 pick this year--and first rounder of the White Sox--who is on one of those Tony Cingrani drives to hit the Majors during his first professional year.

Rodon, who was drafted out of North Carolina State, has twirled 24.6 minor league innings since being signed, posting a 0-0, 2.92 record, with 38 strikeouts that includes three Triple-A Birmingham starts.

The 21-year-old southpaw is apparently on a mission, with talent to boot, though he still has some command aspects to tweak (13 walks over those 24.2 innings).

Still, sooner, rather than later.

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