mlb 08/25/08 1:37 PM ET Jonathan Mayo is a senior reporter for]]> That, of course, is roster expansion day, when Minor Leaguers can be called up to the bigs and given a chance to show what they can do. It also provides fantasy owners with the opportunity to get a last-minute lift and plan for the future.

That will be the focus for next week's column. For now, we'll squeeze in one more regular Exchange for your consideration.

In the bigs

The one guy called up recently who really sparked my interest was outfielder Nelson Cruz. I know he hit a disappointing .235 with the Rangers last year, but even then he collected 26 extra-base hits in 96 games. Cruz enjoyed one of the best all-around Minor League seasons in some time this year, as he hit .342 with 37 homers, 99 RBIs, a 1.123 OPS and even 24 steals in 103 games for Triple-A Oklahoma. He's out of options and will be a six-year free agent at the end of the year, so look for Texas to find him plenty of playing time, at least until David Murphy comes back. If you're in need of outfield help, especially in AL-only leagues, Cruz is worth a shot.

The other interesting callups will come a week from now, but one more guy to watch is Kam Mickolio. The 24-year-old, who came to the O's in the Erik Bedard trade, has had an interesting season. Mickolio posted a 4.70 ERA in 28 games for Double-A Bowie (albeit with 40 Ks in 38 1/3 innings), but turned things around with a 1.50 ERA and a .169 average against in 18 innings after a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk. He's not going to help you much now, but he's got closer's stuff, and unless you're convinced George Sherrill is your long-term answer, I'd keep an eye on Mickolio.

A phone call away

His overall numbers (11-1, 2.24 ERA, 104 K, 29 BB, 1.12 WHIP, .228 BAA in 104 2/3 IP) are still ridiculously good, but David Price has found Triple-A to be a little challenging. He's managed to strike out 12 in 13 innings over three starts, but he's also surrendered 18 hits and owns a 4.85 ERA at that level. Price is already on the Rays' 40-man roster, so bringing him up in September wouldn't be that difficult, but I could see the Rays waiting until after Durham's playoff run finishes. Even then, it's unlikely he'll make the Joba-like impact some expected this year.

It's been a while since I mentioned Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs -- I'm not even sure if it was this year -- but he's close to knocking on the big league door. The home run power hasn't come yet, but Stubbs does have 32 doubles, five triples and seven blasts across three stops this year. He's managed to bring his strikeout rate way down, from 142 in 129 games in '07 to 112 in 123 games, and he's also stolen 33 bases. Stubbs has looked quite comfortable at Triple-A, batting .348 with a .587 slugging percentage in 11 games. He's not on Cincinnati's 40-man roster and thus may not earn a September callup, but we should see him in 2009 at the latest.

We'll finish this section with a pair of Blue Jays prospects. Left-hander Brett Cecil was taken by Toronto just a year ago as a supplemental first-round pick. The Jays turned the University of Maryland reliever into a starter, a conversion that often slows a pitcher's development. It seems Cecil didn't get that memo, however, as he's gone from the Class A Advanced Florida State League up to Triple-A in his first full pro season. Altogether, he's rung up a 2.70 ERA with 124 Ks and just 37 walks in 113 1/3 innings. Cecil has posted a 3.55 ERA in five Triple-A starts, but he's allowed no earned runs and fanned 11 in 14 innings over his last two outings.

Joining him in Triple-A is Toronto's 2006 first-round pick, Travis Snider. The guy just hits wherever he's playing. Snyder has racked up 22 homers and 88 RBIs for the year, and has hit .360 with 14 RBIs in 14 Triple-A games. People may get concerned about the 150 Ks, but keep in mind Snyder is only 20 years old. I'd love to see him get some time with the Jays in September, but if not, a 2009 debut is looking like a real solid possibility.

A year away

It's always interesting to see how a young player, such as O's pitcher Chris Tillman, deals with some adversity. Tillman got off to a great start for Bowie, earning a nod to the Eastern League All-Star team. He then stumbled to a 5.82 ERA in July, but he rebounded with a 1.88 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 24 innings over four August outings. For the season, Tillman owns a 3.32 ERA, a .228 BAA and 139 Ks in 124 2/3 innings.

The Angels signed first baseman Mark Trumbo after grabbing him in the 18th round of the 2004 Draft, giving him a nice bonus to forego his college commitment. Trumbo's pro career got off to a slow start, as he spent two seasons with Class A Cedar Rapids and displayed nominal power. But things have finally clicked into place for the first baseman, who batted .283 with 26 homers, 28 doubles and a .533 slugging percentage in 103 games for Rancho Cucamonga. Granted, that was in the hitter-friendly California League, but he's continued to swing a strong bat in the Texas League (also friendly to hitters, but with presumably more experienced pitchers), hitting .297 with six homers, seven doubles and a .545 slugging percentage in 26 games. Even with the repeat season, he's just 22 and is right on schedule.

Down the road

It's hard not to like the way 2008 first-rounder Aaron Hicks has kicked off his pro career. The Twins outfielder was supposed to be the raw, toolsy type who takes a while to deliver strong results. Instead, Hicks has hit .313 with a .482 slugging percentage, a surprising .405 on-base percentage and 11 steals in 43 games. I'd be shocked if he didn't start 2009 in a full-season league.

Another high school outfielder from this class who's started well is Dan Diego's Jaff Decker. He's really too good for the rookie-level Arizona League, but since he's an Arizona native, my guess is the Padres assigned him there for the comfort level. Whatever the reasoning, Decker has taken off with a .354 average, a .556 slugging percentage, an insane .533 on-base percentage and even nine steals in 10 tries. Look for him to join Hicks in the Midwest League in 2009.

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