by Jason Martinez
Players on the verge of a big league call-up, in my opinion, are considered to be 'Knocking Down the Door'.
Wil Myers, OF - Kansas City Royals: The first repeat 'Knocking Down the Door' pick in 2012, Myers made the list on May 8th as he was putting a hurting on Double-A pitching. He 'knocked down the door' to Triple-A shortly after, and 25 games later, he's proving that he has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. The 21 year-old is hitting .340 with 9 HR and 28 RBI with 8 BB and 20 K for Omaha. Overall, he now has 22 HR in 60 games between Triple-A and Double-A.
While there is talk that the Royals should try and trade Jeff Francoeur to clear right field for Myers, it might not be necessary in the short-term. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain is recovering slowly from a hip injury and does not appear close to a return. It just so happens that Myers has been playing center field with Omaha. His future is still at a corner outfield spot but he's probably athletic enough to do an adequate job in center field for now. The Royals are 10 games under .500 and in the midst of a four-game losing streak. I'd say it's time for a spark.
Roberts has been very good since a horrible start but if he's not going to play everyday (he's doing most of his damage against LHP), they may be better served giving the extra at-bats to the 23 year-old Wheeler, who is hitting .383 against right-handed pitching.
The 25 year-old is 9-1 with a 2.04 ERA in 13 starts between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading while averaging nearly seven innings per start. Cloyd has very likely moved to the front of the a small group of starting pitchers who are 'next in line'. If you don't think the Phillies will need another starter at some point, then you haven't been paying very close attention. With the rash of injuries affecting each team around the league, it's only a matter of time before the Phillies will have to go to their '7th starter.'
Zack Wheeler, RHP - New York Mets: Minor leaguers like Trevor Bauer, Anthony Rizzo, and Wil Myers have dominated the prospect talk around the baseball world when it comes to much anticipated big league promotions. But it's Wheeler that could be joining that conversation in the near future. Jon Heyman of CBSSports recently tweeted, "scout on #mets prospect zack wheeler: "he's about the best pitcher i've seen this year, at any level.'' While a promotion to Triple-A seems more likely in the short-term, the 22 year-old could find himself pitching for a Mets team that is competing for the NL East title later this season.
In 10 Double-A starts, Wheeler has yet to allow more than 2 ER's in a game and has allowed just 4 runs and 9 hits in 29 IP over his last 4 starts. He has 25 BB and 67 strikeouts in 59.2 IP with only one homer allowed. Having thrown only 115 innings last season, the Mets could shut Wheeler down after another 14-16 starts. My guess is that at least half of them could come in the big leagues.
Click HERE to see the 'Knocking Down the Door' archive for 2012.