posted 5/3/10 11:03 AM PST
by Jason Martinez
*Players on the verge of a big league call-up are considered to be 'Knocking Down the Door'.
For previous 'Knocking Down the Door' features, click on the following links: April 12, April 19, April 26
Zach Braddock, LHP - Triple-A Nashville (MIL): After struggling with control in his first three professional seasons (91 BB's in 157.2 IP), mostly as a starter, Braddock was moved to the 'pen full-time in 2009 and the results couldn't have been better. The 6'2", 235 lb lefty walked only seven batters in 40.1 IP between Hi-A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville while striking out 62 and holding opponents to a .193 BA. It's been more of the same in 2010, where Braddock has pitched three-hit ball over 11.1 shutout innings to start the season with 4 BB's and an astonishing 22 K's. Recognized by Baseball America for having the best slider in the farm system, the 22 year-old has been unhittable against lefties, recording strikeouts on 14 of his 18 outs without allowing a hit. The Milwaukee bullpen currently has a 5.27 ERA and only one lefty, Manny Parra, who might end up back in the rotation in the near future, which could open the door for Braddock.
Scott Mathieson, RHP - Triple-A Lehigh Valley (PHI): A former 17th Round pick by the Phillies nearly nine years ago (2002), Mathieson (pictured, courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.) pitched in only seven games in 2007 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2008 season following a second Tommy John surgery. But the 6'3" Mathieson came back strong in 2009, posting an 0.84 ERA over three different leagues (GCL, Hi-A, AA) with 34 K's and only 17 hits allowed in 32.1 IP. Added to the 40-man roster this off-season, the 26 year-old has continued to make progress in 2010 with an 0.77 ERA and 3 saves in three appearances with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The one run Mathieson allowed this season came in the second game of what has been his only chance to pitch in back-to-back games. This might be the only hold-up in bringing the hard-throwing right-hander to help a struggling Phillies bullpen. Once he proves he can handle the workload, he could be back in the big leagues for the first time since his 37.1 inning stint in 2006.
Chris Tillman, RHP - Triple-A Norfolk (BAL): OK, it's probably time to stop putting Jake Arrieta on this list. With Brad Bergesen struggling and Arrieta dealing earlier this season, it appeared to be an easy call. Especially after Bergesen was demoted. But the team opted to go back to Bergesen after skipping his turn in the rotation and while he was better in his latest start (5 IP, 4 ER), it might not be enough to hold off Tillman, who is coming off of a no-hitter. The 22 year-old, who went 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 big league starts in '09, was the favorite to win the #5 spot out of spring training but lost out to David Hernandez. After sputtering through his first three starts for Norfolk (9.2 IP, 9 ER, 17 H), Tillman has righted the ship with a strong performance on April 23rd (8 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 5 K) and a dominant no-hit performance (9 IP, 0 H, BB, 6 K) against Triple-A Gwinnett on April 28th.
Knocking Down the Door (Position Players)