Minor League Notes, April 9, 2012
**Los Angeles Dodgers outfield prospect Scott Van Slyke hit a homer and a double yesterday for Triple-A Albuquerque, giving him an 8-for-16 (.500) line in his first four games, with three homers, two walks, and zero strikeouts. A 14th round pick in 2005 from high school in Ladue, Missouri, Van Slyke isn't as toolsy as his father Andy, who was a three-time major league All-Star, but he's got significant power potential and hit a marvelous .348/.427/.595 with 20 homers and 45 doubles last year for Double-A Chattanooga. He's received little attention in the prospect press, despite his performance last year and his family pedigree. He's already 25 years old and many scouts wonder if his swing will work against advanced pitching, but he'll certainly receive a major league trial at some point soon if he continues to hit like this.
**Seattle Mariners shortstop prospect Brad Miller is off to an excellent start for High-A High Desert in the California League, going 9-for-18 (.500) with two doubles, two triples, four homers, three walks, and four strikeouts in his first four games. Yes, this was all at High Desert, renowned for a friendly hitting environment, but Miller has always hit well. He went 22-for-53 (.415) in 14 games for Low-A Clinton after signing last summer. He was an excellent hitter in college, hitting .395/.498/.559 for Clemson last year, which earned him a spot in the second round. Miller would have been a first round pick in some draft classes, but last year's crop was rich and questions about his defense were enough to drop his stock slightly. He's made three errors already in four games this year, and while he's got the physical tools to handle shortstop, many scouts think he'll wind up at second base. Wherever he plays, the bat looks special.
**Fast start for Houston Astros outfield prospect Austin Wates: 9-for-16 (.563) with three doubles and a triple for Double-A Corpus Christi. He's fanned once while drawing three walks. Wates hit .300/.366/.413 for Lancaster in the Californi League last season and has been an efficient line drive hitter since his college days at Virginia Tech. A third-round pick in 2010, he's got solid plate discipline and above-average speed, but hasn't shown the home run power most teams look for in a left fielder. He played quite a bit in center field last season and performed adequately, but is in left so far this year.
**Manny Machado Watch: 5-for-15 (.333) thus far with a homer, a double, one walk, and four strikeouts for Double-A Bowie. The BB/K/AB bears watching, especially given this aggressive posting: he didn't hit especially well in High-A last year, and the Orioles are showing exactly how highly they think of him by having him open the season in Double-A.
**Minor League Ball community member daman316 has a detailed scouting report for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Low-A Midwest League, including a look at top Blue Jays prospects Robert Osuna and Daniel Norris.