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Thursday Potpourri

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**Braves prospect Kala Ka'aihue is off to a slow start at Double-A Mississippi, hitting .194/.275/.355 through 17 games, with seven walks and 16 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. He is very similar to his brother Kila: big, strong, slow, with tons of power and a patient approach, but an inconsistent track record. He is a right-handed hitter unlike his brother, which reduces his chance to slot into a platoon role, and I think his chance to end up as a Quadruple-A slugger is higher. They were born exactly a year apart, Kila on March 29, 1984 and Kala on March 29, 1985. Will Kala follow his brother's lead and have a huge breakthrough at age 24? So far it looks like the answer is "no."

**Marlins outfielder Michael Stanton is hitting .296/.390/.507 for Class A Jupiter, with four homers, 10 walks, and 22 strikeouts in 19 games, 71 at-bats. The strikeout rate remains very high, walks are fine, plenty of power so far; overall numbers very similar to last year, granted the small sample sizes involved and the difference in park/league. So far Stanton's strikeouts have not harmed his production, and given that he draws some walks, maybe they won't. If he keeps hitting like this, I imagine the Marlins may promote him to Double-A sooner rather than later, and at that point we will get a better read on how quickly he will adapt.

**Someone asked me about Oakland shortstop prospect Dusty Coleman. Coleman was a 28th round pick as a sophomore last year out of Wichita State, but is an excellent athlete who would have been drafted in the third round range if not for signability questions. He signed for $675,000 after a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. He is off to a nice start for Kane County in the Midwest League, hitting .323/.405/.554 so far, though with seven walks and 21 strikeouts in 65 at-bats. I'm not a fan of the high strikeout rate, but so far it hasn't hurt him. Coleman is rated as very good with the glove and has enough strength and bat speed to be a good hitter, for average and moderate power, if he keeps the strike zone under control. Oakland is obviously aware of this, and indeed his walk rate is up: he drew just six in 99 at-bats in his pro debut. Coleman is definitely worth tracking.

**Boston's Michael Bowden made an impressive relief outing this past Sunday but went back to the minors afterward to rejoin the Pawtucket rotation and await another slot in the majors. He's pitched great so far this year, the two scoreless innings in the majors, and a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings in Triple-A, with a 15/5 K/BB and 10 hits allowed, giving him a 17/5 K/BB in 16 combined innings with 10 hits. Ideally I'd like to see him get 15 starts of Triple-A under his belt. Roster needs may intervene of course, and his command has been good enough that I would have less hesitancy about promoting him than I would with many other young pitchers.

**Andrew Lambo is thriving thus far at Double-A Chattanooga, the Dodgers prospect hitting .321/.371/.556, with eight doubles and three homers. Some scouts have wondered about how much distance power he'll produce in the long run, given a line drive-oriented swing, and his plate discipline isn't always the best, but he has terrific bat speed and is quite young for Double-A at age 20. I'm still not exactly sure what the shape of his career is going to look like, but this fast start is good to see and helps solidify his status as an elite outfield prospect.

**An interesting outfielder in the Angels system is Peter Bourjos at Double-A Arkansas, currently hitting .290/.375/.435. An excellent athlete with plus speed, he stole 50 bases in 60 attempts last year in the California League, hitting .295/.326/.444. He drew just 19 walks against 96 strikeouts in 509 at-bats for Rancho Cucamonga, but has massively improved his strike zone judgment so far this year, drawing eight walks already in 69 at-bats. He has eight steals in 10 attempts for Arkansas, and if he can maintain the improved patience, the better OBP, speed, and occasional pop would make him an ideal leadoff guy. We need to see if he can maintain the current progress, but he must be tracked.

**I took some crap about rating Anaheim lefty Trevor Reckling highly this winter, but he started off in the Cal League with a 0.95 ERA and a 16/3 K/BB in 19 innings with nine hits allowed. Just promoted by the Angels to Arkansas, he pitched six shutout innings in his first start, giving him a 0.72 ERA with a 20/6 K/BB in 25 innings this year, 12 hits allowed. It's early, but I'm happy to see this.

**The Potpourri idea seems to be pretty popular, and I like doing it. It is more of a traditional "bloggy" style post, which I have kind of gotten away from at times, but I think mixing these in with other features seems like a good way to approach things, keeping it fresh. Somebody says "potpourri" is a bad title for this feature. Does anyone have something better to suggest, perhaps more baseball-oriented? Some suggestions have been made; offer more if you like.

**I thought the Wieters/Strasburg question would be closer, though I expected Wieters to win and would vote for him myself. Perhaps I should have asked "Strasburg or David Price." How would you answer that one? Price hasn't been quite so lights-out this year, but is obviously much more proven against good competition than Strasburg is.

**Off-Topic: It isn't our official wedding anniversary, but today is the 20th anniversary of when Jeri and I started dating. She is the best friend and spouse anyone could have. I am so blessed it is impossible to explain. This is for her.