Back in the spring of 2008, Scott Van Slyke was a still a viable prospect and Tot Holmes of Dodger Scout.com had him as the 35th top prospect in a loaded system. The 14th round pick in 2005 had made little progress after three years of professional ball and 2008 was little different. Even while struggling in Low A last year he was promoted to A+ and while he surpassed his dreadful numbers as a Loon the results were still less then impressive for a corner outfielder. Time was running out for Scott to add to his father's legacy.
This year found Scott back with the Inland 66er's and he predictably started off slow but something clicked last week. After going hitless on Monday, he proceeded to collect hits in every game the rest of the week. That is not really the story, the story is that on Thursday he would collect four hits, he followed that up with five more hits on Saturday night, and completed his week with four more hits on Sunday. For the week he collected sixteen hits which used to be a months work for him. Besides all the hits he also banged out home runs on Saturday and Sunday. By the end of the week he had raised his average to .367 and sports on OPS of .997. Over the last ten games Mr. Van Slyke has hit a robust .488. Still only 22 years old maybe Scott has figured something out or maybe this is just a blimp in a career headed nowhere. Time will tell but at least he's put himself in the conversation. It was only a year ago when little known prospect Carlos Santana started tearing into the Cal League and went from a little regarded prospect to the key prospect in the deal for Casey Blake.
Eric Milton threw 14 innings of shutout ball in his effort to get back to the major leagues. Those 14 shutout innings in the PCL are nothing to sneeze at. Xavier Paul continues to crush PCL pitching and is now 3rd in the PCL in wOBA at .477. The PCL is loaded with ex major leaguers and Paul is outhitting all of them. The only real prospect staying with him is Matt Gamel.
Josh Bell has taken over the team lead in OPS from Andrew Lambo thanks to his lofty .435 which ranks 7th in the league. Lambo is displaying more power then Bell but his walk rate could use some work. Jamie Hoffman has stopped hitting but he hasn't stopped getting on base. Even while his average has dropped below .300 his OBA of .486 still leads the league. Josh Lindblom was creamed last week for the first time ever in his professional career. James Adkins finally pitched a respectable game but he's got a long way to go to get back on the prospect pedestal. Brent Leach has not given up a run in seven straight appearances out of the bullpen and probably deserved the call instead of Elbert. As good as Leach has been the best WHIP on the team belongs to Matt Sartor at .80 thanks to his impeccable control resulting in only two walks in 15 innings of work. Along with that control he's showing some nice dominance with 13 k's in those 15 innings. His only real blemish has been the three home runs allowed. With 15 innings he's thrown more innings then most of the pitchers in the rotation.
Inland Empire 66ers
The only top 20 position prospect on this team when the season started was Pedro Baez, however the 66ers are getting some great offensive seasons from players trying to work there way onto the prospect map. Player like Eduardo Perez, Trayvon Robinson, and Scott Van Slyke in combination with Baez are igniting the 66er offense. We already covered Scott Van Slyke so lets talk about a few other guys. Eduardo Perez and Trayvon Robinson rank 6th and 7th in wOBA Robinson, the 22 year old center fielder has been a real revelation so far this year. Known only for his speed, he has added power to his game this year. His slug% sits at .658 and is good for 4th in the league. Considering his slug % high coming into the year was .387 this has kind of come out of the blue. His ISOP is .300 and 13 of his 26 hits have been XBH. 24 year old Eduardo Perez is having the same kind of success but at least you could have predicted some of that based on his numbers as a Loon in 2007/2008. The 66ers play in a very offensive league so how much stock should we put into these great starts? Next week I'll look at the pitchers for Inland with pitchers of interest being Chris Withrow, Steve Johnson, Alberto Bastardo, Greg Miller, Justin Orenduff, Tim Sexton, and sadly Josh Wall.
Great Lake Loons
This team is just loaded and everyone is playing well. Ethan Martin is the star attraction but everyone is contributing. I may cover them in detail next week but I just want to point out that Josh Walter a relief pitcher of little note is 2nd on the team with strikeouts and on Saturday struck out eight of the nine hitters he faced.