For this installment, I'll look at Atlanta Braves infielder Wes Timmons, a longtime Triple-A mainstay with consistently high on-base percentages.
Timmons, 29, made it to Triple-A in late 2005 and has remained there ever since, never getting to the major leagues. He can play all four infield positions.
In four-plus years in Triple-A, Timmons has hit .267/.379/.367. He has little power, with just 14 Triple-A homers. He's hit fewer homers each year in Triple-A, with six in 2006, five in 2007, two in 2008, and just one last season.
So why do I think he deserves a major league job?
Timmons was second in the International League in OBP last year at .416, three points behind leader Brian Myrow, a big-time Quad-A hitter himself. It wasn't a fluke either: Timmons posted a .394 OBP in 2008, .384 in 2006, and has a .386 OBP in his minor league career.
He has a shocking 109/172 K/BB ratio in his Triple-A career, and 233/370 for his minor league career overall. He posted a 36/62 K/BB ratio last year.
Given his lack of power, it's clear that pitchers have no real incentive to pitch around Timmons, so his spectacular plate discipline is almost entirely his own doing.
The 109 strikeouts in four years show that he can almost always make contact, and the 172 walks show he almost never swings at a bad pitch.
The other reason that Timmons is a good fit for the majors is his defense. He's a sound defender at first, second, and third, and can handle shortstop. He has no outfield experience, but he is athletic enough to handle both outfield corners, if not center field.
It makes sense that Timmons could be great as a utilityman/pinch hitter with excellent plate discipline, an attribute that would likely work well in the No. 8 slot in the batting order in front of the pitcher in the NL.
Will he get the chance?
It's unlikely to happen in Atlanta, given the presence of Martin Prado and Yunel Escobar as the middle infield starters and Omar Infante and Brooks Conrad (a Quad-A guy himself) also on the 40-man roster.
It would take a trade or some luck for the minor league vet to get his big break, but teams looking for some OBP (I'm looking at you, Kansas City) should look into Timmons as a potential second base or third base starter or utilityman.