Minor League Prospect Notes, May 22, 2012


**The San Diego Padres promoted first baseman/outfielder Cody Decker from Double-A San Antonio to Triple-A Tucson today. He was hitting .286/.385/.662 for the Missions, with 14 homers, 21 walks, and 37 strikeouts in 133 at-bats.

A 25-year-old right-handed hitter, he was drafted in the 22nd round in 2009 out of UCLA. He's always shown excellent power (28 homers, 35 doubles in Low-A in 2010, 15 homers in just 59 games last year) but scouts have never warmed to him. Defensive limitations, a "bad body" (he's 5-11, 220 pounds), and a propensity for strikeouts conspired to keep him off most prospect lists, plus he was drafted as a senior, and right-handed-hitting corner players can be tough to fit on a major league roster unless their bats are truly outstanding. Nevertheless, Decker has always hit well when healthy, and has certainly earned his way into a full Triple-A trial. He could make a lot of noise in the Pacific Coast League.

**The Kansas City Royals moved outfielder Wil Myers and pitcher Jake Odorizzi up to Triple-A Omaha late last week. Myers is 5-for-15 (.333) in his first five games with four walks, while Odorizzi threw 6.2 innings last Friday, allowing three runs on nine hits but fanning four with one walk in a no-decision against Tacoma. Neither had much learning left to do in Double-A, so the promotions make sense to me. Meanwhile, back in Double-A, shortstop/second baseman Christian Colon has hit .364 in his last 10 games and has a current line of .312/.370/.433 with 13 walks and just 15 strikeouts in 157 at-bats. The 2010 first-round pick was disappointing last season but is showing more with the bat this year and should be destined to join Myers and Odorizzi in Triple-A at some point later this year.

**After a ridiculously effective April (.345/.383/.828 with nine homers), New York Yankees prospect Tyler Austin has cooled off in May (.225/.333/.479 with four homers), although note that he's still showing power. His overall season line now stands at .291/.360/.671 with 13 homers, 15 walks, and 41 strikeouts in 158 at-bats, along with 10 steals in 11 attempts. The 20-year-old right fielder/first baseman was a 13th round pick in 2010 from high school in Conyers, Georgia. He's got some plate discipline issues to work through but shows power to all fields, and utilizes his average running speed to good effect.

**Is Wilmer Flores finally breaking out? The New York Mets prospect had a solid April (.293/.319/.463) and has been even better in May (.329/.380/.534), leading to an overall line of .310/.347/.497 with seven homers, nine walks, and 16 strikeouts in 155 at-bats for High-A St. Lucie. This is his third run through the Florida State League but he's still just 20 years old (21 in August). It is interesting to note that his offensive improvement coincides with a shift of his defensive position from shortstop to third base this year. Given that he now has 242 games of High-A on his resume, a promotion to Double-A seems like a good bet sometime soon.

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