Of the 62 players in Dodgers big league camp, seven are sons of former major league players. One of the seven, Scott Van Slyke, son of Andy, capped a rally on the first day of Cactus League play with a home run that completed a cycle in the inning all by sons of major leaguers.
"I don't want to make a big deal out of it," Van Slyke said last Monday after his home run, when asked if there was an advantage to bloodlines. "Maybe there is a little more comfort because we're used to being around a big league locker room."
Comfortable is good way to describe Van Slyke, both in the locker room and at the plate. The 25-year old has struggled at times as a prospect, but the gregarious outfielder and first baseman has matured over the years. His personality exudes confidence but he also has a sense of humility that comes with six years of minor league experience.
"My first three or four years, my Dad tried to help me, but I was a little stubborn and didn't listen to him," Van Slyke told Ken Gurnick back in February. "I had always been a success in high school and thought I knew what I was doing. I listen to him more lately."
In his second go around at Double A Chattanooga in 2011, Van Slyke blossomed at the plate, hitting .346/.425/.593, winning the batting title in the Southern League and capturing Dodgers minor league player of the year honors.
"It's a chance for Scotty to show us he can play," manager Don Mattingly said of Van Slyke, in his first big league spring training camp. "He's a gap to gap guy with some pop. He can hit. I've always liked his swing."
Van Slyke was voted by True Blue LA readers as the Dodgers' 14th-best prospect this winter, and was rated by Brandon Lennox as 25th-best in the system.
Van Slyke was named the Missouri Player of the Year in 2005 by the National High School Baseball Coaches Association.
In 2009, Van Slyke became the first player in San Bernardino professional baseball history to have 40 doubles, 20 home runs, and 100 RBI in the same season.
Van Slyke was added to the 40-man roster last November. He has three option years remaining, one of which will be used this season.
|2009 (High A)
|2010 (Hi A / AA)
|2012 Projections - Age 25 Season|
Van Slyke also played a total of 15 games in Triple A at the end of the season in 2009 and 2010. Those numbers are reflected in the season totals above.
The 6'5", 220-pound Van Slyke is in his first big league camp, and while he won't make the opening day roster he is someone who could conceivably be called up if a right-handed bat is needed at some point in the season. I will guess that he gets called up in September, and hits .273/.385/.545 in 13 plate appearances.
What is your guess for Van Slyke in 2012? Be sure to guess BA/OBP/SLG, and anything else you wish to guess.