Per Buster Olney, Tanner Scheppers has reportedly been promoted to AAA Oklahoma.
The move was inevitable...Scheppers has done nothing but impress folks since signing last year, and his numbers in Frisco are freak-like: 6 games, 11 IP, 19 Ks, 0 walks, 3 hits, 1 HR, 1 run allowed.
Scheppers is 23, so age-wise, AAA is appropriate for him...the plan seemed to be to get him acclimated at Frisco, and then bump him up when he showed he was ready. He clearly appears to be ready.
The question looming is going to be when he gets a look in the bullpen this year. The pen has, of course, been a source of much consternation so far this year...but really, there's no obvious choice as to who should be sent down.
There's Doug Mathis, of course, but Mathis is primarily in a long man/garbage guy role, the guy you use in low-leverage situations. You could send Mathis down and put Dustin Nippert in that role, and let Scheppers replace Nippert as a 2 inning power middle reliever, I guess. But the real problems have been with Neftali Feliz and Frank Francisco, primarily -- no one else in the pen has an ERA higher than Mathis's 4.15 -- and I don't think you're going to send either of those guys down.
Still, if leads keep getting blown late, you're probably going to see Scheppers sooner than later. I think you'd have a hard time arguing that all seven guys in the pen right now are better pitchers than Scheppers.
In the Tanner Scheppers Challenge, I picked May 18, 2010, as his major league debut date. That's probably early, but I don't think he'll be down in the minors much past May 18.