With the midway point of the season coming on Tuesday for Indianapolis, there are several players who are eyeing the next level. While many of the prospects are looking at a September call-up when rosters expand, there are still players who could see their call-ups coming with an injury or an emergency situation.
Could Come Up Now
The first three players are guys who could see a promotion to Pittsburgh any day with the right situation.
Adrian Sampson: With Sampson, consistency has been there most of the season. However, two outings ago, he did not have his best stuff and got beat around some. Rather than stay in the rut, Sampson bounced back nicely on Friday night.
For the season, Sampson has a 3.39 ERA and a strong 72 strikeouts to only 18 walks. This season, he has established himself as more of a strikeout pitcher and has shown that he is not afraid to elevate the ball. While this hasn’t always worked, the stuff is there to show that he is ready for the next level. In addition, it might just be a coincidence, but he was lined up with Jeff Locke until an off day threw off the latest start.
Casey Sadler: Sadler is the player with the most big league experience of all of the prospects on the Indianapolis roster. He also has experience as both a starter and reliever, both in the minor leagues and with the Pirates.
Sadler has a 4.22 ERA, but that can be deceiving, as he allowed 10 earned runs in his last outing on Sunday and four earned runs in the start prior. He has been strong with his two-seam fastball and sinker in getting hitters to pound the ball into the ground. One slight issue with the right-hander is that the walk totals have been inflated as well, with 15 in his last five outings.
Jaff Decker: Decker missed the start of the season with a leg injury and then some more time later in the campaign with a thumb injury. However, he still did not miss a beat after a strong Spring Training.
Decker is hitting .305 with an .824 OPS through 33 games with Indianapolis this season. With that, he has six doubles and three home runs. He is a strong defensive outfielder and got his feet wet with the Pirates last season, but was shunned as a September call up last season. He used this as offseason motivation and has taken it with him into the season.
Waiting For September
In addition, there are also a handful of players who could find themselves added to the September rosters once they expand. This is where you find some of the prospects making their first splash.
Alen Hanson: With a strong start to his Triple-A season and career, Hanson has himself in a nice position to get some big league action before the year is out. A hand injury has provided a bit of a setback to his season, but he is only expected to miss a couple of weeks.
Additionally, Hanson has shown strong play at second base, to go along with his .362 batting average and .998 OPS in May. While April and June have not been quite as strong for Hanson, he still has put together a strong season altogether. He is also on the 40 man roster, which adds some motivation to give him a shot to see what they have in September.
Elias Diaz: Diaz’s defensive prowess is well-known around baseball circles, and his strong arm has people raving, his offense appears to have caught up as well. Along with Hanson, Diaz has also gotten better at the plate as the season has gone along.
After hitting just .203 in April with a .559 OPS, Diaz raised that to .325/.782 in May and .313/.903 in June. He also has 11 doubles and three home runs while splitting time behind the plate with Tony Sanchez with Indianapolis. It would be difficult to see Diaz supplanting Sanchez if a catching injury happens before September, but afterwards seems to be a toss-up if the success continues.
Along with these names, there are pitchers like Bobby LaFromboise and John Holdzkom who are on the 40 man roster. Both are names that could find themselves in the bullpen by September. Holdzkom has seen more success since coming off the DL, and LaFromboise has been fairly consistent most of the season.
Blake Wood and Deolis Guerra are both players who have seen a lot of success in the Indianapolis bullpen most of the season. However, neither player is on the 40 man and both may be long shots for promotions.
Steve Lombardozzi and Willy Garcia are both on the 40 man as well as position players. Lombardozzi has been strong all season and appears to be a lock to be there, but Garcia is far from a lock as he just joined Indianapolis last week. Gorkys Hernandez has seen a strong season with Indianapolis, but isn’t on the 40-man roster and also still looks like a long shot.