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Minor League Barometer: The Second Wave of Call-Ups

Jesse Siegel

Jesse Siegel

Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

The second wave of call-ups has begun, with September and roster expansion just around the corner. With Domonic Brown, Jeremy Hellickson, Chris Carter and Mike Minor making their way to the bigs, a new crop of minor league phenoms will take their place. Let's take a look at who's got next.

UPGRADES

1. Zach Britton, P, BAL
- Britton had his best start for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, allowing one run on five hits in eight innings for the Tides. The 22-year-old lefty walked three and fanned nine. Britton has been getting an abundance of ground balls with his power sinker, posting a 2.06 GO:AO through 43.1 innings in Triple-A. Though the Orioles have been playing well of late, Britton could still see the big club in September, and has become an elite prospect for the O's.

2. Jesus Montero, C, NYY
- Though his defense still hasn't been up to snuff, Montero's offense hasn't suffered. The 20-year-old catcher is batting .410/.477/.744 with three home runs and six RBI over his last 10 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has a nice overall line of .286/.359/.493 with 14 home runs and 53 RBI. On the down side, he leads the league in passed balls, and is throwing out only 23% of opposing baserunners. Still, the Yanks are hopeful that Montero's defense will eventually meet up with his fantastic offensive skill set.

3. James Darnell, 3B, SD
- Darnell has been surging of late, hitting .378/.455/.676 with three home runs and 10 RBI over his past 10 games for Double-A San Antonio. It took the 23-year-old nearly the entire season to get warm, but he's batting .396 in August and has a chance to at least make his overall numbers with the Missions respectable. He remains one of the better hitting prospects in the Padres system with a late 2011 ETA.

4. Julio Teheran, P, ATL
- I'm running out of superlatives to describe Teheran, who at 19 years of age is already at his third different level in 2010. In 23.1 innings for Double-A Mississippi, the 6-2, 150-lb righty has a 2.70 ERA and 23:10 K:BB ratio. The command has been a little off, but Teheran has held opposing batters to a paltry .175 BAA. He should come into 2011 as a Top-10 prospect with an eye towards a second-half of 2011 debut.

5. Matt Moore, P, TB
- Moore has been a strikeout machine for High-A Charlotte, fanning an insane 182 batters in 127.2 innings for the Stone Crabs. Over his last 10 starts, the 21-year-old has posted a 95:21 K:BB ratio and 1.62 ERA. In a system that remains ripe with pitching prospects, Moore may be the best of the bunch at this time.

6. Manny Banuelos, P, NYY
- Playing High-A Tampa has been no picnic over the last month or two between rotation mates Dellin Betances and Banuelos. The latter, at just 19 years of age, has a 1.64 ERA and 56:14 K:BB ratio in 38.1 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .218 against him. Having never posted higher than a 2.64 ERA in three seasons in the minors, it's hard to believe "Man Ban" went undrafted in 2008.

Honorable Mention

1. Todd Frazier, 3B, CIN
2. Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
3. Matt Dominguez, 3B, FLA
4. J.D. Martinez, OF, HOU
5. Chris Archer, P, CHI

DOWNGRADES

1. Michael Ynoa, P, OAK
- After just three starts with the AZL Athletics, Ynoa was shut down and will likely undergo Tommy John surgery, putting him out of commission for 12-18 months. Though the 6-7, 210-lb lefty will turn only 19 in September, clearly he has become an even longer-term project than originally projected.

2. Ryan Lavarnway, C, BOS
- Lavarnway has been slightly disappointing since moving up to Double-A Portland, batting .271/.346/.396 with two home runs and 22 RBI through 24 games for the Sea Dogs. Over his last 10 games he is hitting just .195/.233/.244 with one measly RBI. The 23-year-old's bat is considered his biggest asset, with his glove work lagging behind. So while there's no reason to panic with the small sample size thus far, Lavarnway has some work to do before being considered an integral part of the future of the Red Sox.

3. Michael Taylor, OF, OAK
- Taylor has taken a step back in 2010 after simply destroying opposing pitching in 2008 and 2009. He's batting .264/.342/.387 with five home runs, 64 RBI and 12 steals for Triple-A Sacramento. Taylor is on pace for career-lows across the board, while likely setting a career-high in strikeouts. The 24-year-old is still athletic and has the potential to be a five-tool player, but right now he's having a hard time putting it all together.

4. Henderson Alvarez, P, TOR
- Alvarez has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last five starts, and at least three earned runs in each of his last eight starts. Opposing batters are hitting .303 against the 20-year-old righty, who has a 6.22 ERA over his last 10 starts. Alavarez is still just 20 years of age, but has been entirely too hittable despite a 74:26 K:BB ratio.

5. Jemile Weeks, 2B, OAK
- It's been one of those weeks for Jemile, who is batting .171/.239/.244 with four RBI over his last 10 contests for Double-A Midland. In fact, through 47 games with the RockHounds, the 23-year-old has just two home runs and eight stolen bases. His eye has been decent, but with below-average power and only slightly above-average speed, Weeks may not approach his older brother's fantasy success at the big-league level.

6. Lars Anderson, 1B, BOS
- It's been a rollercoaster season for Anderson, who is in Triple-A for the Sox but continues to strike out entirely too much. He's fanned 88 times in 92 games, while hitting just seven home runs and 40 RBI. Anderson has never hit more than 18 dingers in a season in the minors, and statistically reminds me a lot more of Ike Davis. Not a terrible comparison, but not superstar-caliber either.

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