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National Pastime Archive: August 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Mike Montgomery, Royals

    Royals prospect Mike Montgomery became the advanced Class A Carolina League's second-youngest pitcher upon his promotion last month, and the 20-year-old southpaw has wasted little time in establishing himself as one of its best. Montgomery has allowed just eight earned runs total in his first five starts for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, averaging nearly a strikeout per inning and limiting opposing hitters to a .208 batting average in the process. The Royals knew Montgomery was advanced for high school hurler when they made him the 36th overall pick in 2008, but he has exceeded even their wildest expectations by posting a 2.11 ERA in his first 128 pro innings. Published August 17 2009

  • The benefits of signing early

    With the midnight Monday signing deadline rapidly approaching, Stephen Strasburg - the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft - has yet to agree to terms with the Nationals. The much-hyped San Diego State right-hander has spent his summer crunching numbers with superagent Scott Boras while the Nats' second first-rounder, Stanford closer Drew Storen, has breezed through the lower levels of the minors. Storen entered the draft with much less fanfare than Strasburg but has a great shot of becoming the first member of his draft class to reach the bigs, possibly as soon as September. Published August 16 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Mike Minor, Braves

    Mike Minor posted an absurd 0.08 ERA as a senior at Forrest High School in Chapel Hill, Tenn., and made the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team in 2007 after spurning the Rays - who had selected him in the 13th round of the 2006 draft - to honor his commitment to Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound southpaw followed that up by leading the Commodores in wins and strikeouts as a sophomore in 2008 and established himself as a truly elite prospect that summer by going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA and defeating vaunted Cuba twice as the ace of the undefeated 24-0 USA National Team that included eventual 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg. Published August 11 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Eric Hosmer, Royals

    Most organizations take a cautious approach with their prized prospects and move them slowly up the minor league ladder while putting them in positions in which they're likely to succeed as they develop. The Royals, on the other hand, recently made 19-year-old first baseman Eric Hosmer the youngest player in the advanced Class A Carolina League in spite of the fact that he hadn't exactly been tearing it up in Class A. Hosmer - the third pick in the '08 draft - is off to a slow start for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, but team officials are confident he'll rise to the challenge and benefit from it in the long run. Published August 9 2009

  • Welcome to the show, Brian Matusz

    Baltimore Orioles fans waited months for the much-hyped arrival of catcher Matt Wieters, and the back end of the rotation's struggles made the wait for right-hander Chris Tillman's debut seem a lot longer than it actually was. Brian Matusz's impending promotion, on the other hand, is an unexpected and much appreciated surprise. O's fans were well aware of the highly touted southpaw's dominance of Double-A hitters, but Andy MacPhail & Co. had stated all along that he would finish up his first full professional season in the minors and then be sent home. Instead, all indications are that Matusz will start in place of the injured Brad Bergesen on Tuesday night in Detroit. Published August 3 2009

  • August 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

    The Baltimore Orioles' youth movement continued in July as 21-year-old right-hander Chris Tillman joined rookies Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez and Jason Berken on the big league roster. Down on the farm, lefty Brian Matusz continued to overwhelm Eastern League hitters and Brandon Erbe returned to the Bowie rotation after completing his rehabilitation from shoulder fatigue. The trade of closer George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers brought two more promising young players into the fold in third baseman Josh Bell and righty Steven Johnson, son of broadcaster and former O's pitcher Dave Johnson. Published August 1 2009