posted 6/21/11 12:28 PM PST
by Jason Martinez
*Players who may be on the verge of a big league call-up are considered to be 'Knocking Down the Door'.
Kyle Blanks, 1B/OF - Triple-A Tucson (SD): When Blanks debuted with the team in 2009 and ended up hitting 10 HR in a 32-game span before an injury ended his season, it was assumed Blanks was in the big leagues for good. But a slow start in 2010 followed by Tommy John surgery pushed him all the way back to the Double-A Texas League in 2011, a league in which he dominated back in 2008. Appearing to find his groove and healthy enough to begin playing the outfield again, the 24 year-old was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago and has been on fire during a recent nine-game hitting streak (18-for-37, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 2B). With Anthony Rizzo clearly the team's first baseman of the present and future, Blanks' only chance to make it back to San Diego would probably be in left field, a position he seemed to handle just fine before his injury. If the team trades Ryan Ludwick in the coming weeks, it is Blanks who could get an extended look in his place. Either that, or the Padres look to trade him as he continues to rebuild his value in the minors.
Jason Kipnis, 2B - Triple-A Columbus (CLE): I hate adding Kipnis to the list shortly after another recent 'Knocking Down the Door' pick, Cord Phelps, was promoted and expected to receive significant playing time at second base. But let's face facts. Phelps is considered by most to be a future solid bench player while the 24 year-old Kipnis is considered the second baseman of the future. Until recently, Kipnis was having a pretty good season but wasn't doing anything to expect the Indians to rush him to the big leagues not even halfway through his first Triple-A season. But with the Indians in need of a spark offensively and Kipnis heating up, maybe there is a fit. The left-handed batter has his average up to .295 after a 10-game tear in which he's hitting .400 (16-for-40) with 3 homers and 3 triples.
Dayan Viciedo, OF - Triple-A Charlotte (CWS): White Sox GM Kenny Williams has already acknowledged that Viciedo was ready to contribute, and I'm sure Triple-A pitchers would agree, but also said there currently wasn't a spot for the right-handed slugger with manager Ozzie Guillen expected to stick with Juan Pierre as his left fielder. This doesn't mean they won't change their minds. Especially if Viciedo continues at his torrid pace. After a mediocre month of April (.677 OPS), the 22 year-old Cuban is hitting .366 with 8 HR, 36 RBI, and 18 2B since May 1st. He's even drawn 12 walks over that span - impressive considering he drew 13 in 124 games between the big leagues and Triple-A last season. I'd expect him to make his way to Chicago in the next few weeks. Pierre can't stand in his way much longer.
Knocking Down the Door (Pitchers)
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