by Jason Martinez
Players on the verge of a big league call-up, in my opinion, are considered to be 'Knocking Down the Door'.
Alex Castellanos, IF/OF - Los Angeles Dodgers: Without their superstar center fielder Matt Kemp in the lineup since he was placed on the DL for the 2nd time this season on May 31st, the Dodgers have gone 12-19 and have fallen behind the Giants in the NL West. Now, right fielder Andre Ethier appears headed for the DL with an oblique strain. Kemp and second baseman Mark Ellis should return shortly but it also might be a good time to find out if a certain prospect who has crushed Triple-A pitching can succeed at the big league level. That prospect would be Castellanos, a 2B/OF who is hitting .360 with 8 HR, 25 RBI, 15 2B, 5 3B, 20 BB, 33K, and 11 SB in 41 games.
In a bench role during his first major league stint earlier this season, the 25 year-old went just 3-for-21 with 0 BB and 7 K. Making a start every 2-3 days is not an easy way to break into the major leagues, if you ask me. Since being returned to Triple-A, he's 25-for-74 in 19 games. With Ethier out and Juan Uribe dealing with a sprained ankle -- and the fact that he just can't hit anymore (.539 OPS in 42 games) -- it doesn't seem that difficult to give Castellanos regular playing time (2B, 3B, OF) for a couple weeks to see what he can do. Am I wrong? Who's currently blocking him in the outfield? Tony Gwynn, Jr. (.617 OPS )? Juan Rivera (.659 OPS )? Bobby Abreu (5 for last 45)? Didn't think so. He has also played third base in the minors, although not this season. If he can play passable defense at the hot corner, there's no one in his way there either.
|Marte is hitting .291 with 35 extra base hits in AAA|
Picture courtesy of US Presswire
A 3rd Round pick in 2011 out of Mt. Olive College, the 21 year-old is making the transition from starting pitcher to reliever this year. So far, so good. In 39.1 IP, Capps has a 1.14 ERA with 13 saves, 10 BB, and 60 K. With M's relievers Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon League certain to be shopped in the coming weeks, we could see an early preview of the team's future late-inning tandem with Capps and Pryor breaking into the big leagues later in the season.
Daniel Straily, RHP - Oakland Athletics: Prospect guru Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus was recently asked on Twitter whether Straily would be in the team's list of top 15 prospects next season, a question that was prefaced with, "he's probably not in your Top 100", referring to Goldstein's annual top 101 prospects list. Goldstein replied, 'Guess again'. Making the jump from non-prospect to a top 101 prospect list is quite a feat but all you have to do is take a look at Straily's numbers this season to know that it's probably warranted.
After an impressive 15-start stint with Double-A Midland (3.38 ERA, 85.1 IP, 70 H, 23 BB, 108 K), which included a 15-strikeout game on May 18th, the 23 year-old was promoted to Triple-A where it's been much of the same result. In three quality starts, Straily has allowed just 3 ER and 11 hits in 19 IP with 8 BB and 26 K. The A's could shop Bartolo Colon and Brandon McCarthy at the trade deadline in order to make room for Straily, who is making it clear that he'll be part of a future rotation that would likely include Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, and Tom Milone.
Click HERE to see the 'Knocking Down the Door' archive for 2012.