posted 8/2/11 2:09 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'.
Mike Baxter, 1B/OF - Triple-A Buffalo (NYM): The 26 year-old hasn't wasted any time proving himself to his new team. After 'knocking down the door' last September with an outstanding Triple-A season (.301 BA, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 30 2B, 10 3B, 58 BB, 22 SB), Baxter underwent thumb surgery this spring and wasn't officially activated from the 60-Day DL until the Padres tried to slip him through waivers last month.
The Mets pounced on the Queens native, claiming him and sending him to Hi-A St. Lucie for a few games. After going 7-for-16 in four games, he was sent to Triple-A Buffalo where he's picked up where he left off last season with 10 hits in 27 AB's, including two triples and a homer. It wouldn't surprise me to see the versatile Baxter with the Mets by the end of this week, giving them a left-handed hitter who can handle the bat, as well as play first base and both corner outfield spots.
Jerad Head, OF - Triple-A Columbus (CLE): After trying hard to land another outfielder at the trade deadline, the Indians came up empty. Reported target Ryan Ludwick went to the Pirates and they weren't able to land any of the other available players after giving up three quality minor leaguers to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez. Some may have argued that the answer to adding a right-handed hitting outfielder was already in the organization. His name is Jerad Head and he's a 28 year-old who signed with the Indians as a non-drafted free agent back in 2005. On a Columbus team filled with talented players, Head has separated himself from the pack with a recent power surge. The right-handed hitter has homered in each of his past four games to bump his season total to 19. Sometimes the best trades are the one's you don't make. If Head gets the call and contributes to a team in the thick of the pennant race, this could be one of those cases.
Brett Lawrie, 3B - Triple-A Las Vegas (TOR): OK, so Lawrie already officially busted down the door to the big leagues back in June. Unfortunately, he suffered a fractured left hand in what was supposed to be his last Triple-A game before he was called up to the Jays. Nearly two months later, the 21 year-old is back doing more damage against Triple-A pitchers with 21 hits in 61 AB's, including 3 HR, 5 2B, and 2 3B, since his return. The Jays have a bit of a log jam in their lineup with four outfielders fighting for AB's, not including Jose Bautista, who has been playing third base. Still, Lawrie has nothing left to prove in the minors with his bat. If there are still concerns about his defense at the hot corner, it might be a good idea to have him work with the big league coaching staff and with a defensive specialist like veteran John McDonald to take him under his wing. Look for him to debut shortly.
Addison Reed, RHP - Triple-A Charlotte (CWS): Much like another former college closer, Tigers right-hander Chance Ruffin, who was picked early in last year's draft, Reed is moving through the minors at a very fast pace. The 22 year-old has recently arrive in Charlotte after making stops at each of the other three full-season White Sox affiliates. Overall, he has a 1.34 ERA and a remarkable 11 BB and 90 K in 60.2 IP across the four levels while limiting opponents to a .167 BA. In two appearances with Charlotte, he's retired 10 of 11 hitters (Pirates infielder Josh Harrison hit a solo HR against him), including seven strikeouts. He should definitely get a look when rosters expand in September but to think we'll see him in Chicago earlier than that wouldn't be too much of a stretch.
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