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Minor League Notes, April 28, 2011

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Jameson Taillon spring training video

**Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon made his professional debut for Low-A West Virginia last night, but the game didn't count, being called on account of rain in the bottom of the second inning. He pitched two innings, allowing three hits and two walks, fanning nobody. It won't show up in his stat lines since the game wasn't official. Taillon struggled with his location but he did hit 95-96 MPH. Good in-person report here from

**Atlanta Braves pitching prospect J.J. Hoover is off to a nice start for Double-A Mississippi. He's had two strong starts in a row (April 21st and April 26), with a 12/1 K/BB, nine hits, and three earned runs in 14 innings. Overall, he's got a 2.28 ERA and a 22/5 K/BB in 24 innings with 21 hits allowed. Hoover works in the low-90s with his fastball, has a good curve, and also mixes in a slider and changeup, giving him a four-pitch arsenal. He's got strong legs and has been durable so far in his career. He doesn't get a lot of attention outside of Braves fandom, but that could change this year if he continues pitching like this.

**New York Yankees outfield prospect Slade Heathcott is hitting well for Low-A Charleston in the South Atlantic League: .370/.440/.616 so far, with eight doubles, two triples, and two homers in 73 at-bats. He hit .258/.359/.351 last year at the same level, showing a disappointing lack of power, but he's already matched his home run total for last year and in general is hitting much more like the Yankees expected he would when they drafted him (first round, 2009, Texarkana, Texas). Heathcott had a shoulder injury last year and Yankees officials theorized this spring that better health would result in more power. His strike zone judgment is an issue with an 8/21 BB/K so far and it is true he is repeating the league, but at age 20 and with his tool-set I'm not concerned about the competition level. If he remains hot, he'll move up to High-A Tampa soon enough. He also has impressive range in center field.

**Another highly-promising toolsy outfielder with some strike zone issues is Toronto Blue Jays prospect Jake Marisnick, currently hitting .328/.419/.531 in 17 games for Low-A Lansing in the Midwest League. He hit just .220/.298/.339 in 127 at-bats at the same level last year, so like Heathcott it appears he's made some adjustments this year. Marisnick has stolen eight bases in 10 attempts in addition to his strong hitting. His BB/K at 6/14 isn't great, but his strikeout rate is down substantially from last year. Midwest League sources are impressed with his progress. He was a third round pick in 2009 from high school in Riverside, California. Like Heathcott, Marisnick is a center fielder and has the arm and range to remain there.