Anyone who has known me for any length of time is aware that, at some point between mid-May and mid-June, I begin scouring the minors for players who I feel are being unjustly held at a level against their will (so to speak). I am proud to say that I have managed to avoid that annual diatribe up to this point. This has partly been due to an MLB squad that has been worth following far deeper into the season.
It has also been due to a minor league season that, by and large, has featured three types of prospects: guys like McPherson, Curry and Mercer who performed at a given level and earned a subsequent promotion, guys like Chambers or Baker (A) who have either just now started to hit or just now cooled off a bit, and guys with obvious holes in their game (error prone defense, unsustainable BABIPs, ridiculous K/BB ratios, etc).
Of course, I wouldn't be making this FanPost if I hadn't finally found something to beef about, and SURELY you're all riveted and anxious to find out. Of course, that's what the jump is for!
As I mentioned, a lot of the talent in the system has either been promoted in accordance with their production or has not produced consistently enough to advance, but there are a few notable exceptions in my opinion: Brett Lorin (A+), Robbie Grossman (A+) and (perhaps arguably) Brad Lincoln (AAA).
Lorin is the most obvious candidate for a long overdue boost. At 24, he's a little long in the tooth for high-A ball, and it certainly shows in his stat line. Lorin struggled during his first three appearances of the season, but after another strong performance last night (6IP, 3H, 0R, 5K) this is how his line has looked both early on and since those struggles:
|First 3 outings||11||15||8||8||2||4||9||6.55||1.73||7.36||3.27|
|April 24 - present||86 1/3||67||31||20||3||12||79||2.08||0.92||8.24||1.25|
As you can see, he has put up very strong numbers. Again, I can't feel too surprised at what is very quality performance given his age and level - if anyone has a good reason why Lorin shouldn't be spending August in Altoona, I would love to hear it. Pshaw to not wanting to push him too hard after an injury season, he clearly has put two and two together in Bradenton.
Next possible gripe? Robbie Grossman. I understand that much like Tabata (and Marte, and Cunningham) we are still waiting for him to find that power stroke. He also, at age 21, is not old for the level by any means. That said, I'm hard pressed to believe that Grossman has much left to demonstrate at a level below Altoona. In June and July combined, across 251 plate appearances, Robbie has posted a split line of .321/.486/.484 with 14 doubles, a triple, and five homers to go with a 0.66:1 K/BB ratio. What more does a guy need to do to get promoted when he's spent two full months getting on base in nearly half his at-bats?
Last but not least, Brad Lincoln. Since the start of last season, Lincoln has logged 202 2/3 IP at the AAA level and has posted a 3.95 ERA to go along with 7.8 K's and 2.0 BB per nine innings, 1.15 WHIP and ,240 BAA (although 15 HR in 35 starts might cause concern). Not too shabby at all, and then factor in that since May 1st, Lincoln has been even a bit better - 87 1.3 IP, 2.99 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and only two home runs in his last 14 starts. I know this isn't Roy Halladay we're talking about here, but with 6+ innings and three runs or less in eight of his last ten starts, he sure seems like a guy who has done what he came to do at AAA and is ready for a new challenge.
Of course, even more so than the other two, giving Lincoln a promotion means a shove off the rotation for someone. I'm of the opinion that neither Karstens, McDonald Maholm or Correia is pitching poorly enough to be the odd man out right now, so the only realistic option seems to be either swapping him with Morton (if you think a stint in AAA is worth his while) or shifting to a six-man rotation and using Lincoln as best you can to mitigate Correia and McDonald's noticeable home/road splits.
So there you have it. Let the incredibly educated and not at all troll-rific discussion that always consumes our comment treads commence! Anyone I missed? Disagree? Feel free to expound at length...y'know, within the confines of your character limit.