mlb 05/27/08 11:13 AM ET Lisa Winston is a reporter for]]> In the bigs

Nothing to look at here this week. Really, no one of major interest or potential fantasy impact has gotten called up lately. Feel free to move on to the next category.

Oh, wait a minute -- that Kershaw guy.

To no one's surprise, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally called up lefty phenom Clayton Kershaw, who made his big league debut on May 24. Funny to say "finally" when you're talking about a 20-year-old, but the clock has been ticking ever since the lanky Texas native wowed the crowds in training camp this past spring.

The seventh overall pick out of high school in 2006, Kershaw combines preternatural poise on the mound with a mid-90s fastball, a tremendous curveball and a wicked changeup. Not a bad tool kit.

In his debut against the St. Louis Cardinals, Kershaw allowed two earned runs on five hits over six innings, walking one and striking out seven before leaving without a decision in an eventual 10-inning, 4-3 win for the Dodgers.

Kershaw's fantasy potential can be summed up in two words: Get him (of course, odds are he's already gone in any league where all of the members are actually conscious). The Dodgers kept him on a pitch limit in the Minors strictly to keep him fresh for the big leagues. Now that he's here, he'd really have to pitch himself out of a job with the team needing a full five-man rotation for the foreseeable future, and it's unlikely he'll do that.

Another impressive debut this past week came from a less likely source when the New York Mets summoned first baseman/outfielder Nick Evans from Double-A Binghamton to replace injured veteran Marlon Anderson. Evans became the first position player to jump from Binghamton to New York since Mike Jacobs in 2005, and he responded by doubling on the first Major League pitch he saw in the first inning and adding two more two-baggers before the day was through. He has moderate power and a live bat and could be one of the spark plugs the team needs.

A phone call away

If you look through your cell phone's prospect contact list, among the first names you'll come across will be Adam Miller and Adam Russell (at least if you're like me and list everyone by his first name).

Miller, the Indians' supplemental first-round pick in 2003 out of high school in Texas, is generally acknowledged to be the gem of the system, but he's had something of a "good year, bad year" tendency (or "healthy year, injured year"), and that pattern has certainly held true so far in 2008. After missing much of 2007 with injuries and finishing with a 5-4 record to go with a 4.82 ERA for Triple-A Buffalo, the 23-year-old has been dealing to the tune of a 1.88 ERA in six Triple-A starts this time around. He's allowed two runs over his last three starts and threw five shutout innings of two-hit ball in his last trip to the hill. Remember, this is a guy who was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Year after going 15-6 with a 2.75 ERA for Double-A Akron in 2006. Even with the inconsistency he's shown throughout his professional career, his upside is such that he was named the No. 10 prospect in the Minors in's preseason Top 50.

For Russell, a 6-foot-8 right-handed relief specialist in the White Sox organization, the call has actually already come once this season, but it got disconnected before he could get into a game. Russell joined the team a few weeks ago when Cuban émigré Alexei Ramirez was held back from a three-day road trip to Toronto because of visa concerns regarding his re-entry to the U.S. So Russell went with the club to Canada and while he got to soak in the big league lifestyle for a few days, he never got into a game. But his showing so far for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights could earn him a return trip in the new future. In a full-time relief role for the first time in his four-plus year career, Russell sports a 2-0 record and a 1.64 ERA in 16 games, riding an 11-inning shutout streak to open May. With a fastball that touches the mid-90s and a very good curveball, Russell has the stuff to succeed at the next level.

A year away

His big league debut could come in less than a year, but since the clock on David Price's pro career didn't begin ticking until his debut with Advanced A Vero Beach on May 22, we'll give the phenom the benefit of the doubt. The first overall pick of last year's Draft, Price is the gem of a loaded Rays system. Elbow soreness landed him on the Minor League disabled list for the first two months of '08, but his pro debut was worth the wait as he tossed five innings of three-hit shutout ball with four strikeouts in a 2-0 win over Clearwater (Phillies). A few days before that, he fanned 10 over five innings in his final extended spring warmup against the Yankees, with one of those strikeouts coming against a rehabbing Alex Rodriguez.

Speaking of the Yankees, center-field prospect Austin Jackson is starting to make some noise at Double-A Trenton with a .280 average, three homers, 21 RBIs and seven steals. On May 21, he came up twice with the bases loaded and responded with a grand slam and a triple for a career-best seven-RBI game.

Down the road

Seattle Mariners fans can look forward to a Dutch treat in the form of 20-year-old outfielder Gregory Halman, a native of the Netherlands. He leads the Advanced A California League with 14 homers and has rung up 19 steals without being caught.

Not that baseball folks are known to be superstitious or anything, but the Athletics front office couldn't be blamed for knocking on wood after watching right-hander Craig Italiano get off to a phenomenal start at Class A Kane County. The 2005 second-round pick has been plagued by injuries throughout his professional career, but he hasn't allowed an earned run in 31 straight innings, and his 0.72 ERA leads the Minors.

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