A look at five minor league pitchers who could be in line for late-season auditions.
Tyler Skaggs - Diamondbacks - LHP (21)
You'd have been hearing a lot more about this guy all year had 2011's #3 pick overall, Trevor Bauer, not made so much noise with his strikeout totals and general nastiness. Skaggs was taken 40th overall by the Angels in 2009 and then sent to Arizona in the Dan Haren trade two years ago. He began the 2011 season with High-A and went 5-5 with a 3.22 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 11.18 K/9. Making the jump to Double-A midseason, he improved every single one of his numbers: 2.50 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 11.39 K/9, 2.34 BB/9.
This year the double-digit strikeout rate dipped a bit, but the solid control has remained, and with 13 starts at Double-A and eight at Triple-A he's posted a 2.38 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 8.59 K/9. Skaggs' control is what makes me think his pending major league debut will go much better than Bauer's did. Dbacks GM Kevin Towers has said Skaggs could be called up for the team's doubleheader on August 22nd.
Trevor Bauer - Diamondbacks - RHP (21)
Bauer made four starts for the Dbacks in June and July, and though he struck out 17 in 16.1 IP, he also walked 13 en route to a 6.06 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. In three starts with Triple-A since being sent back down to work on his control he's posted a 2.93 ERA, but a 1.69 WHIP and 5.28 BB/9 in that span tell a different tale. Still, his strikeout upside makes him one to consider down the stretch should he get another shot this season.
Jacob Turner - Marlins - RHP (21)
In 20 minor league starts last year (17 @ Double-A, 3 @ Triple-A), Turner registered a 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.56 K/9 and 2.40 BB/9. After getting lit up in his major league audition last September (12 ER in 12.2 IP), Turner began his 2012 campaign at High-A before jumping back up to Triple-A. Now with the Marlins as a result of the Tigers' trade for Anibal Sanchez, Turner has seen his peripheral skills deteriorate somewhat this year - his K/9 has dropped to 5.91 while his BB/9 has risen to 3.46, but to his credit he's maintained a decent ERA (2.70) and WHIP (1.23). He could be a decent match-up play once called up.
Shelby Miller - Cardinals - RHP (21)
Miller has progressed steadily through the Cardinals' system and made his Triple-A debut to start the season. His overall numbers - 5.22 ERA and 1.49 WHIP - fail to impress but his underlying 10.04 K/9 and 3.70 BB/9 are consistent with previous years' numbers. A .330 BABIP and a crazy-high 1.69 HR/9 (he's allowed 21 HR this year after allowing just 11 in the previous two years combined) are the cause for his inflated ratios. He's been especially hot as of late: in his last five starts he's posted a 3.64 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9.04 K/9 and 0.00 BB/9. Yep, that's a 30:0 strikeout-to-walk rate in his last 29.2 IP.
Dylan Bundy - Orioles - RHP (19)
The only one on this list not old enough to buy a beer also has the most upside; some have called him the best pitching prospect in the game. Bundy began the year in the Sally League where in eight starts (30 IP) he allowed exactly zero runs while striking out 40 and walking just two. His dominance continued once he was promoted to High-A, where he posted a 2.98 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 10.44 K/9 and 2.82 BB/9 in 11 starts (54.1 IP). Yesterday he made his Double-A debut, going 5.1 innings with 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB and 3 K - not nearly as dominant as he'd been at the lower levels, but the jump to Double-A is big. With the rousing [initial] success that Manny Machado has had playing in an O's uniform, it's not out of the question that the team could call on Bundy within the next month; even if it's just in a relief role, the teenager could still help those of you in a tight strikeouts race.