by Jason Martinez
Players on the verge of a big league call-up, in my opinion, are considered to be 'Knocking Down the Door'.
Jordan Danks - Chicago White Sox: With starting left fielder Dayan Viciedo (.246 OBP) struggling at the plate, the Sox could soon turn to John Danks' little bro' Jordan, who is off to a strong start with Triple-A Charlotte. Fourth outfielder Kosuke Fukudome has a .483 OPS in limited action so it's unlikely he gets much of a shot to supplant Viciedo. The 25 year-old Danks, however, would would not only give the team a defensive upgrade, but a potential boost on offense, as well.
The left-handed batter is showing some much-improved plate discipline (27 BB/37K) after combining for 98 BB and 306 K in his first two Triple-A seasons. While he struggled earlier in the month, his OBP is still at .389 and he's on pace for 15-20 HR and 15-20 SB. The Sox will soon need to consider giving away a good share of Viciedo's at-bats (.501 OPS vs RHP) and Danks is putting himself in position to take them.
|Rizzo is a man among boys in Triple-A|
Picture courtesy of US Presswire
Barring injury, the Cubs will have to make a choice in the near future. Sell high on LaHair, trading him to a team in need of a first baseman, or they can move him to the outfield. Alfonso Soriano would be out of a starting job but the Cubs would likely have a much better hitter in the middle of their lineup. Ideally, the 36 year-old Soriano can continue his hot streak (20 hits in last 65 at-bats) and the Cubs can trade him.
Andrew Carraway, RHP - Seattle Mariners: As was the case with the Diamondbacks and their top pitching prospects where the more polished and less talented duo (Wade Miley and Pat Corbin) made it to the big leagues before their future top of the rotation duo (Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs), the Mariners next starting pitcher to reach the big leagues might not be the one that baseball fans have heard anything about. The 25 year-old Carraway could be the guy that disappoints Mariners' fans by getting the call to the majors before top pitching prospects Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, and Taijuan Walker.
The team's 12th Round pick in 2009, Carraway had a 5.33 ERA in 2010, but that was in the hitter-friendly California League. His numbers were terrific before (2.09 ERA between LoA/Short-Season) and after (3.66 ERA in Double-A). A repeat of the Southern League to start the season posed no real challenge as Carraway was 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA, 7 BB, and 32 K in 38 IP over 7 starts. Promoted to Triple-A Tacoma, he was perfect for six innings before finishing his debut with one-hit ball over 7.1 scoreless innings.
Julio Teheran, RHP - Atlanta Braves: Considered the top pitching prospect in baseball going into the 2011 season, Teheran proved that he wasn't quite ready for the big leagues. In five games, including three starts, the 20 year-old rookie allowed 11 ER in 19.2 IP with 8 BB and 10 K. Still ranked amongst the best pitching prospects in baseball this year, he seems to be a bit of a forgotten man.
Only 21 years old, the Braves are determined not to rush him again and can probably afford to be patient since they are in 1st place and probably the hottest team in baseball. But like Rizzo, Teheran is doing what he can to expedite his next opportunity to play at the big league level. In 7 starts, he has a 2.47 ERA with 12 BB and 27 K in 32.2 IP. Over his last three starts, he's allowed just 2 ER in 16 IP. If he's ready this time around, it's hard to see the Braves falling apart at the end of the season as they did in 2011.
Click HERE to see the 'Knocking Down the Door' archive for 2012.