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Minor League Barometer: M's Franklin Promoted to Double-A

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.

After getting called out in last week's article, Indians third-baseman Lonnie Chisenhall came back with a vengeance, earning International League Player of the Week Honors. The 22-year-old shook off injury to hit .429 with two home runs and 14 RBI in just five games for Triple-A Columbus. Even better for Chisenhall, he finally got the call to the bigs and will start at the hot corner for the suddenly slumping Cleveland offense. He went 2-for-4 with one RBI in his MLB premiere Monday.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Toronto stud prospect Brett Lawrie is still having difficulty gripping a bat after fracturing his left hand about one month ago. The 21-year-old won't come off the DL until mid-July and likely will need some time in the minors before the Jays even think about promoting him to the show. As such, Lawrie's major-league debut looks like it won't take place until August at the earliest.

Let's take a gander at the rest of the prospect scene in this week's Minor League Barometer.

UPGRADES

1. Nick Franklin, SS, SEA -
The M's hope their middle-infield of the future consists of the recently promoted Dustin Ackley and Franklin, who earned his own promotion to Double-A and continues to rake. In four games with Double-A Jackson, the 20-year-old shortstop is 9-for-15 (.600) with one home run, two RBI and one stolen base. His numbers at High-A before the promotion were decent, as Franklin hit .275/.356/.411 with five home runs, 20 RBI and 13 steals in 64 games. Although his power surge of 23 home runs in 2011 may have been a slight fluke, Franklin certainly has more power than scouts expected, and his combination of speed, plate discipline and emerging power makes him among the more intriguing prospects in baseball.

2. Johnny Giavotella, 2B, KC -
The 23-year-old second-baseman is working on his second straight standout campaign. In 2010, Giavotella hit .322/.395/.460 with nine home runs, 65 RBI and 13 steals in 134 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Through 78 games with Triple-A Omaha in 2011, Giavotella has continued his stellar work with the bat, posting a .324/.377/.442 line with five home runs, 53 RBI and eight steals. Although Chris Getz has been serviceable for the Royals at the big-league level, Giavotella appears to have more upside. He should be a September call-up with an eye toward competing for the starting job in 2012.

3. Trevor May, P, PHI -
Over his last 10 starts, May has a 2.05 ERA and 82:27 K:BB ratio for High-A Clearwater. The 21-year-old righty punctuated that superior span with a 14-strikeout gem June 22, allowing just one hit over 7.0 innings. May has fanned at least six hitters in nine of those last 10 starts, including three contests with 11 or more strikeouts. The Phils rotation is obviously stocked with talent, but May's MLB debut likely will not come until 2013 at the earliest anyway. With Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt on the wrong side of 30, May could become a staple at the front of the Philadelphia rotation once those aces are gone.

4. Adam Warren, P, NYY -
Warren is certainly not one of the vaunted "Killer Bs" (Betances, Banuelos, Brackman), but he has more than held his own for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2011. Warren has a 2.87 ERA and 63:36 K:BB ratio through 94.0 innings. He makes the hot list because he's allowed just two earned runs over his last 29.0 innings. Over that span, the 23-year-old righty has fanned 23 batters while walking eight. He's also given up 16 hits over those last four starts for a 0.83 WHIP. With fellow rotation-mate David Phelps on the DL with a shoulder injury, and journeyman Brian Gordon only a temporary solution until Phil Hughes returns, Warren could be next in line for a call-up should the Bombers suffer any more injuries to their aging staff.

5. Eric Surkamp, P, SF -
When you pitch for the world champions and have guys like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner dealing in the majors, it's tough to get noticed. However, Surkamp should be on more radars with the 2011 season he is putting together. In 77.2 innings for Double-A Richmond, the 23-year-old lefty has a 1.74 ERA and 87:24 K:BB ratio. Opposing batters are hitting just .232 against him for the season. Zack Wheeler gets the pub in the Giants system because he just turned 21 and is at High-A, but Surkamp is more polished. He could certainly be trade-bait for the G-Men should they pursue a player like Jose Reyes. Otherwise, a 2012 debut is likely.

6. Blake Beavan, P, SEA -
A piece of the Cliff Lee deal in 2010, Beavan has pitched extremely well after a rough start. Over his last 10 outings for Triple-A Tacoma, the 6-foot-7, 240, righty has posted a 3.36 ERA and 45:13 K:BB ratio. In fact, in each of his last six starts, the 22-year-old has allowed three runs or fewer. Beavan continues to pound the strike zone, though he has left some balls up that have been hit out of the park (nine home runs yielded in 2011). Nevertheless, he has been able to limit the damage effectively, as witnessed in his last start on June 23. Beavan gave up two home runs, but they were both of the solo variety. Overall, he allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings, walking just one while fanning seven and picking up the W. Although the Seattle staff has been splendid this season, Beavan is likely one injury or trade (Erik Bedard?) from getting the call to the Promised Land.

Honorable Mention

1. Chase d'Arnaud, SS, PIT
2. Robbie Erlin, P, TEX
3. Jeurys Familia, P, NYM
4. Grant Green, SS, OAK
5. Drew Pomeranz, P, CLE

DOWNGRADES

1. Ross Seaton, P, HOU -
Although he was drafted the same year as Jordan Lyles, Seaton has not lived up to his potential thus far. A third-round pick in 2008, Seaton has a 5.70 ERA and 46:28 K:BB ratio through 83.2 innings for Double-A Corpus Christi. His 2010 season wasn't any better, as the 21-year-old righty posted a 6.70 ERA and 85:45 K:BB ratio in 146.1 innings at High-A Lancaster. Opposing batters hit an astounding .327 against him last year. Seaton allowed 22 home runs that season and is already halfway there in 2011. His inability to keep the ball down, with his lack of a true strikeout pitch, has really hurt Seaton in his quest to get to the big leagues. He's still young, but Seaton has certainly not shown much promise the last two seasons.

2. Marc Krauss, OF, AZ -
Krauss's strikeout woes appear to have finally caught up with him at Double-A Mobile. Although the 23-year-old has drawn 36 walks in 69 games, he has also been punched out 79 times over that span, including 14 times in his last 10 contests. Over those last 10 games, Krauss is hitting just .200/.256/.429. His overall line isn't awful (.234/.331/.452 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI), but one wonders whether he will be able to hit for average at the higher levels. Likewise, his power numbers certainly are not staggering enough to warrant the high strikeout total and low batting average. As a comparison, teammate Paul Goldschmidt has fanned 61 times in 75 games, but is also hitting .316, has drawn 58 walks and has slugged 23 home runs for the BayBears.

3. Edgar Olmos, P, FLA -
Another third-round pick in 2008, Olmos has been wild in his first two full seasons in the minors. In 2010, he posted a 4.37 ERA and 108:59 K:BB ratio in 117.1 innings at Low-A. This season has been no better for the 21-year-old lefty, who has walked 46 batters in 73.1 innings despite fanning 66 hitters for High-A Jupiter. His ERA stands at 4.79, and Olmos has given up a home run in each of his last three starts. The 6-5, 180-pounder also got more ground balls last season, furthering the notion that he has been even wilder in 2011, particularly up in the zone. Olmos has time to correct these mechanics, but remains a project for the Fish.

4. Jay Jackson, P, CHC -
Jackson made a name for himself in 2009 with a 2.98 ERA and 127:46 K:BB ratio between three levels. In 2010, he sputtered a bit in a full season at Triple-A at 22, posting an ERA of 4.63 with a K:BB ratio of 119:48 in 157.1 innings. He has regressed even further in 2011, sporting a horrific 7.71 ERA and 41:23 K:BB ratio in 67.1 innings for Iowa. Opposing batters have really hit Jackson hard; in fact, they are hitting a robust .318 against him. He has also shown a penchant for yielding the long-ball throughout his minor-league career. The right-hander surrendered 20 dingers in 2010 and has already given up eight in 2011. Once thought of as a possible middle-to-back of the rotation starter, Jackson's future with the Cubbies may be in jeopardy.

5. Jean Segura, 2B, LAA -
After posting Mike Trout-like numbers to begin the season at High-A Inland Empire, Segura has not played in a game since May 27 due to lingering hamstring issues. At the time of the injury, the 21-year-old was batting .276/.343/.428 with three home runs, 19 RBI and 18 steals in 37 games for the 66ers. Obviously hamstring injuries are even more of a concern for a speedster like Segura, who likely will make his fantasy mark on the base paths. As such, monitor Segura's recovery closely. If healthy, he has the chance to be special player.

6. Andrew Brackman, P, NYY -
Brackman has made an appearance in the Downgrade section before during this season, as his 2011 year has been largely a disaster with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 25-year-old hurler has a bloated 7.71 ERA and 46:48 K:BB ratio through 58.1 innings. Even more alarming for his future prospects, though, could be his move to the bullpen. Brackman has pitched out of the bullpen over his last six contests, with much of the same results. In his most recent stint, Brackman recorded just one out while allowing five earned runs on three walks and one hit. The 6-10, 230-pounder will turn 26 this offseason, meaning he's dangerously close to gaining fallen prospect status.

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