**Austin Jackson** is on a fast track, **Rick Porcello **is not, **Mike Moustakas** is on the slow track,** Kanekoa Texiera** is making his own tracks and **Felix Romero** has slipped through the cracks.

### HOT

**Rick Porcello, P, Tigers - **Porcello threw five hitless innings on Saturday for High-A Lakeland, walking two and striking out one. In his four July starts, Porcello's gone 20 innings, given up nine hits and has a BAA of .134 and a GO:AO of 1.89. The Tigers are 11th in ERA, fourth in runs yielded and eight games behind the White Sox in the loss column. However, it may be that the Tigers do not want to jeopardize Porcello's future by bringing him up to a club that has five teams ahead of it in the wild card race, nevermind the division. A good indication of whether the Tigers have given up will be what they do with Porcello over the next month or so.

**Austin Jackson, OF, Yankees - **Jackson went 2-for-3 on Saturday for Double-A Trenton. He's hitting .556 over his last 10 games and .409/.473/.576 in July. He has cut way back on his strikeouts the last couple of months, and the results are becoming evident. The Yankees have moved the 21-year-old aggressively through the system: he played almost half of his games at Low-A last year, was promoted to High-A on June 22 and began this year at Double-A. It would not be surprising to see him in the Yankees lineup before the All-Star break next year - or sooner.

**Kanekoa Texeira, P, White Sox - **Texeira has a .194 BAA and 20 saves over 38 2/3 innings through Saturday for High-A Winston-Salem. He has not given up a home run since 2006 and has not given up an earned run since May. In July, he has pitched in eight games and has an 11:3 K:BB over 10 2/3 innings. This year, he has a 1.85 GO:AO and a 36:14 K:BB. He will be on prospect lists next year for sure.

**Brian Dopirak, 1B, Blue Jays - **Dopirak has six home runs and 24 RBI in his last nine games for High-A Dunedin through Sunday. He is 15-for-38 over that span, with an 11:1 K:BB. This year, he is at .293/.368/.536 with 21 home runs. These are probably his 15 minutes of fame, given his age (24-plus), his level and his past stats.

**Felix Romero, P, Orioles - **Romero struck out two and walked one over 2 2/3 innings on Thursday for Double-A Bowie and then got called up to Triple-A Norfolk, where he gave up a hit and two walks over 1 1/3 innings on Sunday. He had a 21:3 K:BB over his last 16 1/3 innings at Double-A and a 74:16 K:BB in 58 2/3 relief innings (31 games) this year. He also sported a .207 BAA but with six home runs. He slipped through the cracks at Toronto and Boston and missed all of 2006, but with numbers like these, he could get to the big Orioles quickly, though he'd better hurry, seeing as he is 28.

**Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Marlins - **Sanchez was 2-for-5 on Sunday for Double-A Carolina. He is hitting .425 over his last 10 games and has four home runs and 14 RBI in his last 28 at-bats. On the year, he is at .327/.418/.507 with 31 doubles, 10 home runs and 17 steals in 349 at-bats, plus a 51:52 K:BB - a little bit of everything, enough for him to move up on some prospect lists next year and maybe even see some big league time.

**Angel Salome, C, Brewers **– Salome is hitting .432 over his last 10 games for Double-A Huntsville and is at .349/.405/.529 for the year. All of his numbers are considerably ahead of his excellent stats at High-A last year. He should be moving up through the Brewers system soon.

**Mark Melancon, P, Yankees - **Melancon continues to pitch well at Double-A Trenton through Sunday. He has a .190 BAA, a 2.07 GO:AO and a 43:11 K:BB over 44 2/3 innings at Double-A. He could see some relief innings with the major league club later this year if the Yankees contend.

**Trevor Cahill, P, Athletics - **Cahill has a .176 BAA over 21 innings at Double-A Midland through Sunday. He was dominant at High-A Stockton before his promotion and has not really missed a beat except for some control problems (10 walks). His year-to-date composite numbers are pretty impressive: .174 BAA, 126:42 K:BB in 114 1/3 innings with five home runs and a 2.55 GO:AO. He could move through the system rapidly.

**Kris Medlen, P, Braves** – Medlen, recently converted to starter at Double-A Mississippi, is thriving in the role. Over nine starts and 78 2/3 innings, he has a BAA of .254, a 78:18 K:BB and six home runs. His relief numbers were horrendous, so this is a surprising turnaround for Medlen and the Braves.

**Chris Mobley, P, Marlins - **Mobley is having an excellent year as Double-A Carolina's closer through Thursday. He has 18 saves, a sparkling 2.90 GO:AO, a .216 BAA and a K:BB of 46:10 through 41 2/3 innings. Over his last 17 games, he has gone 17 1/3 innings, with a 19:2 K:BB.

**Tony Watson, P, Pirates - **Watson threw seven hitless innings on Saturday for High-A Lynchburg, striking out eight and walking two. He has given up four earned runs over his last 28 1/3 innings. On the year, he has a 77:27 K:BB over 108 2/3 innings and has given up 12 home runs, while posting a .266 BAA. His GO:AO is at an unacceptable 0.49, which will not transition well to higher levels, so he will need to work on that.

**David Bromberg, P, Twins - **Bromberg struck out six and walked two over six innings on Friday for Low-A Beloit. He has a 55:13 K:BB over his last 54 2/3 innings, and on the year has a dominant 113:37 K:BB over 102 2/3 innings with just eight home runs, a 1.33 GO:AO and a .266 BAA. He should be moving up a notch before long.

**Alcides Escobar, SS, Brewers** – Escobar is hitting .422 over his last 10 games for Double-A Huntsville and is at .336/.366/.440 for the year with 25 steals. He is running way ahead of last year's numbers, which were split between High-A and Huntsville.

**Jesus Castillo, P, Dodgers - **Castillo is having a solid year at Double-A Jacksonville through Friday. Over 19 starts and 99 1/3 innings, he has 1.29 WHIP and a 70:29 K:BB with seven home runs. His 1.08 GO:AO is a little low for Double-A, though it goes up by 20 percent with runners on, which is a good sign. He becomes increasingly less effective with runners on, which is another point of weakness. However, he is a sleeper to watch: not overpowering, but steady and consistent keeps the ball in the park, reasonably low WHIP throughout his four years in the minors.

**Michael Antonini, P, Mets - **Antonini went seven one-hit innings, striking out seven and walking one on Saturday for High-A St. Lucie. Over his seven starts since being promoted from Low-A, he is 4-0/1.84 with a 33:7 K:BB in 44 innings, with three home runs, a .211 BAA and a 1.18 GO:AO.

**John Raynor, OF, Marlins - **Raynor is hitting .342 over his last 10 games at Double-A Carolina through Friday. On the year, he is at .304/.397/.480 with 34 steals. He has cut back on his strikeouts recently and should be ready to move up.

**Todd Redmond, P, Braves - **Redmond gave up one hit over eight innings on Friday for Double-A Mississippi, striking out six and walking two. Over his last 10 starts, he has a 53:10 K:BB in 64 innings, and in three July starts he has a .178 BAA. He appears to be in the middle of a breakout year, with a 0.67 GO:AO being his only weakness.

**Vincent Mazzaro, P, Athletics - **Mazzaro struck out 10, walked none and gave up four hits over eight innings for Double-A Midland on Tuesday. Over his last 10 starts, he has a K:BB of 51:16 spanning 66 2/3 innings. On the year, he has a .236 BAA, a 1.66 GO:AO and has given up just three home runs over 119 1/3 innings. He is sure to move up soon.

**Fernando Salas, P, Cardinals - **Salas continues to pitch well, starting with his 74:12 K:BB over 54 2/3 innings. Only nine pitchers, all starters, have more strikeouts than he in the Texas League. He also has a .207 BAA. Some weaknesses include a low GO:AO (0.78), leading to a high home run rate (nine over 54 2/3 innings) and a tendency toward wildness with runners in scoring position.

**Aaron Cunningham, OF, Athletics - **Cunningham went 2-for-3 on Sunday for Double-A Midland and is hitting .371 in July. Despite a 77:31 K:BB over 252 at-bats, Cunningham is at .301/.376/.480 with nine home runs and nine steals for the year. If he can cut back on the strikeouts, he may become even more productive.

**Sam Demel, P, Athletics - **Demel has a 19:5 K:BB over his last 13 1/3 relief innings through Saturday for High-A Stockton. On the year, he has a 65:24 K:BB over 46 1/3 innings, one home run, a 1.59 GO:AO and a .213 BAA, stats worthy of moving him up the prospect lists for 2009.

**Carlos Santana, C, Dodgers - **Santana is hitting .315/.420/.560 through Sunday for High-A Inland Empire. He has a 59:63 K:BB over 336 at-bats, along with 32 doubles and 14 home runs. While he did not hit for average last year at Low-A (.223), he had 28 extra-base hits in 292 at-bats, excellent numbers for a catcher.

**Leonardo Gonzalez, P, Mexican League - **Gonzalez, not yet 25, has posted some nice numbers for Olmecas de Tabasco in the Mexican League. Over 19 games, 18 of which have been starts, he has a 2.07 GO:AO and a .237 BAA, with a K:BB of 87:31 in 110 innings and just four home runs. It is somewhat surprising that more MLB teams don't sign players from the Mexican League, given what is generally thought to be a paucity of decent pitching.

### NOT

**Will Inman, P, Padres - **Inman went four innings on Sunday for Double-A San Antonio, walking six. He continues to be plagued by serious control problems, occasionally coming up for air, such as during his 11-strikeout one-walk performance over seven innings on June 23. Since then, he has a 21:20 K:BB over 18 2/3 innings, which is way out of line. He also sports a 0.64 GO:AO. His one upside is the fact that he has 113 strikeouts over 99 1/3 innings. What is liable to happen as Inman moves up is he will strike out fewer people, he will walk more and that 0.64 GO:AO will translate into a lot of home runs. Sure, he's only 21, and he could turn all of those things around, but he has quite a way to go.

**Kyle Winters, P, Marlins - **Winters has not been pitching well lately at High-A Jupiter, excluding his most recent start on Sunday. He has a 35:18 K:BB over his last 48 1/3 innings spanning 10 games with a 5.03 ERA. His year-to-date stats are OK, except for a K:BB of 54:32 over 88 innings. He has an excellent 1.71 GO:AO and just five home runs. It's a little early to pigeonhole him, but these read like middle reliever numbers.

**Jason Stephens, P, Yankees - **Stephens has not transitioned well following his recent promotion to High-A Tampa. Through his weather-shortened one-inning start on Thursday, he has gone 21 2/3 innings, giving up 33 hits and posting a 14:10 K:BB. At Low-A Charleston, he had put together a 52:10 K:BB over 59 2/3 innings with a 2.29 GO:AO, good signs both. It may just take him a little while to acclimate himself.

### Somewhere in Between

**Clayton Kershaw, P, Dodgers - **Kershaw struck out five, walked one and gave up two hits over seven innings on Friday for Double-A Jacksonville, without giving up an earned run. His two starts at Double-A since his demotion are in line with how he pitched before he got called up. He has a couple of issues. First, he does not get a lot of ground balls, so a 0.91 GO:AO at Double-A that yields zero home runs over 56 1/3 innings is not going to hold in the bigs. He got more grounders with the Dodgers, but he gave up three home runs over 38 2/3 innings - not a bad ratio, but in combination with his other problem, walks, it is. He had about a 3:1 K:BB ratio at Double-A. With the Dodgers, it was 33:24. Maybe the walks were from nerves, maybe the Dodgers told him to keep the ball down more, maybe the umps are better in the bigs - for whatever reason, he was very wild. Finally, he just turned 20 and should probably be pitching at the college level, maybe Double-A, not Triple-A and not the Dodgers. Twenty-year-olds in major league rotations are few and far between, for many of the reasons referenced. Nevertheless, Kershaw was recalled by the Dodgers on Monday to fill a hole in the rotation.

**James McDonald, P, Dodgers - **McDonald walked three and gave up five hits over six innings on Thursday for Double-A Jacksonville, striking out three and giving up an earned run along the way. He had a great June. In five starts, he posted a .205 BAA and a 39:11 K:BB over 35 innings with three home runs. He has been wrestling with control issues since May. He also has a GO:AO of 0.75, which will not fly in the bigs, as Clayton Kershaw has learned. The time to teach pitchers to keep the ball down is in the minors, not when they are facing live major league pitching. Unless McDonald solves the control problems and gets the ball down, he will not book any quality major league innings. Most major leaguers can pound the high fastball.

**Felix Doubront, P, Red Sox - **Doubront is drifting in some bad directions at Low-A Greenville. His walk rate has gone up every month since the beginning of the year, and his BAA has risen. Despite that, his year-to-date numbers are very good: an 89:15 K:BB over 92 1/3 innings, seven home runs, a borderline .267 BAA and a 1.17 GO:AO that is also sinking. The control issue is not new. He had it bad last year at lower levels. The Red Sox are loaded with pitching, so Doubront has plenty of time to work on his control.

**Angel Villalon, 1B, Giants - **Villalona went 1-for-4 on Sunday for Low-A Augusta. He has finally gotten more patient at the plate recently and has the results that often come about when this happens. Entering July, he had a K:BB of 75:13 over 256 at-bats and monthly averages of .213, .250 and .250 since April. This month, he's hitting .281 over 64 at-bats, with an 11:2 K:BB. As so often happens when young players go through this phase, his power has dropped off - no home runs and just five doubles since June - but that should clear up as time passes. This is an encouraging development for Villalona owners, if it holds, and more remarkable because he has accomplished it so early.

**Carlos Triunfel, SS, Mariners - **Triunfel went 2-for-5 on Sunday for High-A High Desert. After a June of .154/.214/.246, Triunfel is at .306/.359/.431 in July, with a couple of home runs and a 5:5 K:BB ratio over 59 at-bats. If he can concentrate on hiking his OBP (.306), his steal numbers (16) should follow, and his road to the majors could become shorter, given the needs of his organization.

**Kris Johnson, P, Red Sox - **Johnson struck out eight and walked none over 6 2/3 innings on Friday for Double-A Portland. Over his last three starts, he has walked just three in 17 1/3 innings, his best stretch of control thus far. If he has turned a corner, he might be OK. If he lapses back to his old ways, which got him to 38 walks in 81 1/3 innings, not counting the last three starts, he may not advance as fast as he or the Red Sox would like.

**Cesar Valdez, P, Diamondbacks - **Valdez gave up seven hits and three walks over six innings on Saturday for Double-A Mobile. This was his fourth start since being promoted from High-A. His first three were decent, so this may just be a blip. His composite numbers include a 10-5 record, a 2.68 ERA, a 98:23 K:BB over 117 1/3 innings, five home runs, a 1.65 GO:AO and a .243 BAA. He should continue to move up.

*Article first appeared 7/22/08*