Update: Rangers third base prospect Josh Jung will reportedly be called up for Friday's game. This article was written prior to that news, so adjust your expectations accordingly. 

Right now is an awkward time for stashing prospects in a redraft league.

September is here. Many of the top prospects we were hoping would get the call already have -- more than in years past, actually, thanks to some sneaky incentives built into the new CBA. Basically, if a team suspects one of its top prospects is ready for an opening day job next year, then it makes sense to call him up now for a little sneak peak, provided he doesn't lose rookie eligibility in the process. Additional draft picks hang in the balance.

But by now, rosters have already expanded. They're at 28 as of Sept. 1, which is the biggest they're going to be. So if such a prospect hasn't already gotten the call, why should we think he still will?

Any number of reasons, of course. Injuries, for one. Maybe a team suddenly comes to grips with its deficiencies or changes its motives as the playoff picture evolves. But there's an even simpler reason why we could still see what I consider to be the top two prospects worth stashing: a return to health.

I'm talking about Josh Jung and Grayson Rodriguez.

Five on the verge

(These are the prospects most worth stashing in redraft leagues.)

Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers

2021 minors: .326 BA (304 AB), 19 HR, .990, 31 BB, 76 K
2022 minors: .267 BA (120 AB), 9 HR, .865 OPS, 7 BB, 33 K

You know, if I ran the Rangers, I'd have seen enough from Jung by now to believe he's fully recovered from his surgically repaired left shoulder. His hitting has been fine, and he's now appeared 20 times at third base after beginning the rehabilitation process at DH. But I don't run the Rangers, and I don't have as much information as the guy who does. Here's what he has to say:

"Josh is doing everything he can," GM Chris Young said. "He's played [21] games in Triple-A, and he's performing well. But [21] games doesn't expose you to everything you're going to see at this level. We want to make sure that he continues to progress. But he's doing great, and my anticipation is that it will happen at some point"

Progress how? Well, interim manager Tony Beasley pointed out that a diving play would still be a test for Jung's shoulder. It also doesn't help that the 24-year-old has been scuffling in his past 13 games, batting .190 (11 for 58), which takes some of the pressure off the Rangers to make something happen right now. Still, Young has described Jung's arrival as "imminent" and this minor-league stint as his "spring training stage." It still sounds like the plan is for him to come up this year, and when he does, he could make an immediate impact at a weak position.

Grayson Rodriguez, SP, Orioles

2021 minors: 9-1, 2.36 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 103 IP, 27 BB, 161 K
2022 minors: 5-2, 2.12 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 59 1/3 IP, 18 BB, 85 K

The top pitching prospect in baseball is still in the early stages of the ramp-up process after missing three months with a strained lat, throwing 1 1/3 innings in his first start last week and two in his latest one Tuesday. It begs the question why the Orioles would even bother to build him up if they weren't still hopeful he could contribute to the big club, and clearly, Rodriguez is thinking the same thing.

"Pitching in the big leagues is something I've always wanted to do," the 22-year-old said. "That's the main goal right now. That's the focus: just to get myself ready. We're close. I think this next outing is when we're really going to get in there and turn it on."

Rodriguez needs at least two more rehab starts until he's built up to the point where he can start a major-league game. The Orioles, meanwhile, still have five turns through the rotation remaining. Shane Baz came up late last year and made an impact in just three starts. Could Rodriguez do the same? It would be akin to threading a needle, timeline-wise, but he feels like he's in a good spot to do that. And the upside might be worth the gamble on your end.

"This is the best my arm's ever felt, honestly since I was in high school," Rodriguez said. "The long break, getting in there and being able to do rehab, my arm is stronger than it was before."

Mark Vientos, 3B, Mets

2021 minors: .281 BA (310 AB), 25 HR, .933 OPS, 33 BB, 100 K
2022 minors: .280 BA (365 AB), 23 HR, .875 OPS, 42 BB, 118 K

Vientos' chances of a promotion have only improved since I released my 20 impact call-ups for September, though it's a little disconcerting he hasn't already gotten the call. Fellow prospect Brett Baty, who the Mets thought would be their solution at third base, was first ruled out for the season a week ago, but it has only led to Eduardo Escobar getting a second chance to secure the role. Escobar has been pretty bad this year, especially against right-handers, so you'd think the Mets wouldn't want to put all their eggs in that basket. Word of Vientos being scratched from Wednesday's lineup turned out to be a false alarm, though. He was simply out with a headache.

The 22-year-old is well-tested in the upper levels at this point, generating premium exit velocities and considerable power, albeit with the typical strikeout issues. Defensive concerns may also be a factor in his delay.

Sal Frelick, OF, Brewers

2021 minors: .329 BA (146 AB), 2 HR, 12 SB, .880 OPS, 21 BB, 25 K
2022 minors: .325 BA (415 AB), 7 HR, 20 SB, .863 OPS, 49 BB, 56 K

Judging by his usage, it doesn't seem like the Brewers are supremely confident in Garrett Mitchell as their center fielder, and Tyrone Taylor clearly isn't the answer either, recent two-homer game aside. Meanwhile, down at Triple-A, Frelick has been exactly the spark plug he was drafted to be with the 15th overall pick last year, extending his on-base streak to 24 games with a walk Tuesday. It's basically coincided with his move up to that level, where he's batting .366 (41 for 112) while reaching at a .454 clip. He doesn't offer much power, so I question how big the impact can be. Still, if Frelick can make a Steven Kwan-like contribution, he'll matter.

Enmanuel Valdez, 2B, Red Sox

2021 minors: .255 BA (365 AB), 26 HR, .860 OPS, 38 BB, 89 K
2022 minors: .304 BA (437 AB), 28 HR, .968 OPS, 60 BB, 107 K

Valdez edges out Alec Burleson ever so slightly for the final spot here, mostly because the Cardinals seem to have enough corner outfield and DH bats already. If they haven't yet found reason to call up Burleson, who has been hitting well over .300 all year at Triple-A, then it must mean they really don't want him on the 40-man roster just yet.

As for Valdez, he's gotten back on track, coming within a single of the cycle Sunday and batting .414 (12 for 29) with three homers over his past seven games. His struggles came soon after coming over from the Astros in the Christian Vazquez deal and may have prevented him from capitalizing on Trevor Story's absence, which has since ended. Valdez is capable of playing several positions (though none of them well), so the Red Sox could still give him a trial run, particularly now that they're all but out of the race.

Five on the periphery

(Here are some other prospects doing something of note.)

Matt Mervis, 1B, Cubs

2021 minors: .209 BA (259 AB), 9 HR, .677 OPS, 37 BB, 70 K
2022 minors: .313 BA (441 AB), 30 HR, .985 OPS, 38 BB, 94 K

The hype is finally beginning to build for one of the breakthrough performers of 2022, not only with him being added to the CBS player pool but also with Cubs director of hitting Justin Stone recently comparing him to Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo's contact rate has always stood out among power hitters, and Mervis shares that trait, striking out just 19.1 percent of the time across three levels. It's actually improved with every step up the ladder, settling at 14.2 percent at Triple-A. But of course, it's the power that makes Mervis the asset he is. After homering in three consecutive games last week, he's up to 30 for the season. He and Alexander Canario are the first Cubs minor-leaguers to reach that number since Kris Bryant in 2014.

Andrew Painter, SP, Phillies

2021 minors: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K
2022 minors: 5-1, 1.24 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 94 2/3 IP, 24 BB, 141 K

Painter has gone from graduating high school to dominating Double-A in just a year's time. The 19-year-old hasn't missed a beat since his second move up the ladder, going six innings in all three of his starts there with 23 strikeouts compared to one walk in 19 1/3 innings. It's getting serious now. Him breezing through two levels of A-ball is one thing, but him dominating this level of competition at such a young age puts him firmly in the running for best pitching prospect once Grayson Rodriguez graduates. It's not unthinkable he could debut as a 20-year-old next year. He overpowers hitters with a fastball that's bolstered by his 6-foot-7 reach, and he's already able to command a full secondary arsenal. It's mostly just a matter of building up now.

Aaron Zavala, OF, Rangers

2021 minors: .293 BA (75 AB), 1 HR, 9 SB, .819 OPS, 13 BB, 20 K
2022 minors: .295 BA (376 AB), 15 HR, 13 SB, .915 OPS, 85 BB, 96 K

If Double-A is still considered the ultimate proving ground for prospects, then I think it's fair to declare Zavala a prospect of the highest order. His production has only improved with that move up the ladder, where he's batting .364 (28 for 77) with four homers in 21 games. Even more impressive than the hitting, though, is the approach. He has reached base at a .495 clip there and a .439 clip overall. He profiles best in left field, which gives him a limited path to the majors, and his power may max out in the 20-25-homer range. The on-base skills alone should be enough to carry him, though.

Miles Mastrobuoni, 2B, Rays

2021 minors: .296 BA (382 AB), 5 HR, 8 SB, .802 OPS, 51 BB, 91 K
2022 minors: .301 BA (469 AB), 16 HR, 21 SB, .844 OPS, 52 BB, 88 K

The biggest knock on Mastrobuoni may actually be that he plays for the Rays, an organization that produces so many prospects of his type that it doesn't have a chance to break in them all. By "his type," I mean a guy who can play anywhere while demonstrating pretty good bat skills, but without a standout tool. Jake Cronenworth lite, we'll call it. Like Cronenworth, Mastrobuoni's best bet may be with a different organization, and the good news is he can become a minor-league free agent after the season. Don't be surprised if he's playing a super utility role for some team next season. He's certainly ending this one on a high note, batting .369 (41 for 111) with eight homers, five steals and a 1.071 OPS since the start of August.

Nathaniel Hickey, C, Red Sox

2021 minors: 6 for 28 (.214), 2 2B, 9 BB, 10 K
2022 minors: .274 BA (245 AB), 16 HR, .965 OPS, 61 BB, 72 K

The Angels' Edgar Quero has been the breakthrough catcher in the lower minors this year, but Hickey deserves some attention, too, particularly now that the power has begun to show up. As with Zavala, it's the on-base skills that stand out the most -- between Low- and High-A, he's reached base at a .422 clip -- but a recent home run binge, as in seven in his past 11 games, has opened eyes to all he could be. He has always earned high marks for raw power, so having it translate is an important step in the 22-year-old's development. Of course, it also puts his bat well ahead of his glove, making a position change all the more likely.