by Jason Martinez
*Players who may be on the verge of a big league call-up are considered to be 'Knocking Down the Door'.
Taylor Green, 3B - Triple-A Nashville (MIL): With starting third baseman Casey McGehee having a terrible season (.587 OPS) for Milwaukee, it wouldn't surprise me to see them try to upgrade via trade in the next week. But if that doesn't happen, Green is giving them a viable option to choose from based on his breakout season in Triple-A.
The 24 year-old is hitting .318 with 14 HR, 26 2B, and 58 RBI in 91 games. He's also showing an above average ability to control the strike zone with 42 walks and only 57 strikeouts. A former 25th Round pick, the left-handed hitting Green is hitting .373 since June 1st. Something the Brewers will be thinking about soon when they decide if their 3rd baseman is going to be McGehee, someone acquired in a trade, or Green.
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B - Triple-A Syracuse (WAS): There are a few reasons that you'll hear Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond's name come up in trade talks this month. One is rookie Danny Espinosa's ability to shift over from second base. The other is Lombardozzi, a 22 year-old second baseman who is making a case for the big leagues. Since a mid-June promotion to Triple-A, the switch-hitter has hit .343 with 3 HR and 17 RBI for Triple-A Syracuse. The son of the former Twins second baseman of the same name, Steve Jr. appears to be an ideal #2 hitter in the Nats' lineup. This year's top pick, Anthony Rendon, is considered to be the team's second baseman of the future once he signs, but Lombardozzi should have a head start to change some minds.
Chuckie Fick, RHP - Triple-A Memphis (STL): The Cardinals' top priority is to acquire relief help before the trade deadline. Possibly even a closer, which is why Heath Bell's name has been connected with the team in trade rumors. But with more than two months to go in the season, the Cards are likely to keep tabs on their minor league arms to see if any can help. Which brings us to Fick, who has been lights out over the past two months. The 25 year-old has a 1.73 ERA since June 1st with 13 hits and 11 walks allowed and 27 strikeouts. It won't slow the team's search for relief pitching this week but knowing that help could be on the way should ease their worries a bit.
Matt Moore, LHP - Triple-A Durham (TB): It's unclear whether the Rays are buyers or sellers at this point. They're 9.5 games out in the AL East and 6.5 back in the Wild Card race. One thing is near certain, though. They'll go into the offseason with one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Moore was already near the top and he's continued to rise in a season where he posted a 2.20 ERA with 28 walks and 131 strikeouts in 102.1 innings with Double-A Montgomery. His Triple-A debut also went well (5 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K). At 22 years old, the left-hander might only have about 60 innings left before the team has to think about shutting him down for the season. Whether he utilizes his upper 90's fastball against minor league hitters or big league hitters might depend on where the team is in another week or two. If the Rays fall further out of the race, it might be a good idea to give Moore a few starts in the big leagues to get his feet wet before he joins the rotation for good sometime in 2012.
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