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National Pastime Archive: June 2009

  • National Pastime's 2009 All-Stars

    Fan voting, the requirement that every team gets a representative and the fact that some positions are stacked and some are weak always ensures that the 32 best players in each league aren't the same ones that end up on their respective All-Star rosters. If it were up to me, the following players would be representing the Junior and Senior circuits at this year's Midsummer Classic, to be held July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Published June 30 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Kyle Drabek, Phillies

    It appears that the Tommy John surgery that limited Philadelphia Phillies prospect Kyle Drabek to just 18 total starts in 2007 and 2008 will prove to be nothing more than minor speedbump on his road to the big leagues. Drabek - the son of 1990 National League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek - quickly rediscovered his pre-surgery stuff after returning to action last summer and has been nothing short of dominant so far in 2009. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander forced his way to Double-A by going 4-1 with 2.48 ERA and 74 K's in 61 2/3 advanced Class A innings and is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts since his promotion. Published June 24 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Brandon Snyder, Orioles

    It's supposed to get harder to put up numbers as you move up the minor league ladder, but somebody apparently forgot to tell Baltimore Orioles prospect Brandon Snyder. After struggling with injuries in his first full pro season in 2006, Snyder hit .283 with 11 homers and 58 RBI in Class A in 2007. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound first baseman followed that up by finishing second in the advanced Class A Carolina League in average (.315) last season. It took only 58 games for the Orioles to realize that Double-A Eastern League pitchers were no match for Snyder. The 22-year-old was promoted to the Norfolk Tides on Thursday after hitting .343 with 10 homers and 45 RBI for the Bowie Baysox, and he'll make his Triple-A debut Friday night. Published June 19 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Michael Taylor, Phillies

    The defending World Champion Phillies lead the National League in runs, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and total bases, so it almost seems unfair that Michael Taylor appears nearly ready to join their already stacked lineup. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound outfielder hit .346 with 19 home runs while splitting time between Class A and advanced Class A in 2008 and has continued mashing this season for Double-A Reading. The 23-year-old ranks in the Eastern League's top seven in all three Triple Crown categories with a .333 average (fifth), 10 home runs (fifth) and 42 RBI (seventh). The linebacker-sized slugger also ranks eighth in the circuit with 10 stolen bases in 14 attempts. Published June 18 2009

  • Moustakas set for another summertime surge?

    Kansas City Royals top prospect Mike Moustakas is off to a so-so start this season for the advanced Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks, but if recent history is any indication, he's primed for big things in the second half. The 2007 No. 2 overall pick hit just .228 with nine home runs in the first half last year for the Class A Burlington Bees, then heated up along with the weather. By season's end the 6-foot, 195-pound third baseman had raised his average to .272 to go along with a Midwest League-best 22 homers. Published June 12 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Casey Kelly, Red Sox

    Casey Kelly gave his classmates plenty of reasons to consider him for the "Most Likely to Succeed" superlative during his high school days in Sarasota, Fla. As a senior, the 6-foot-3, 194-pound shortstop hit .473 with five home runs and also showed tremendous potential on the mound by going 8-1 with a 1.16 ERA. Kelly's versatility extended beyond the diamond as well. He threw for 4,212 yards and 37 TDs as a high school quarterback and was offered a scholarship to Peyton Manning's alma mater, the University of Tennessee. Published June 11 2009

  • Checking in on the 2008 first-rounders

    The 2009 First-Year Player Draft is set to kick off Tuesday, and officials of all 30 big league teams are busy scouring scouting reports and making last-minute adjustments to their player rankings. Countless amateur players are holding their breath and hoping they won't have to wait long to hear their names called. And the darlings of last year's draft, the 30 first-rounders? A handful are already in the majors, one's in college, another has re-entered this year's draft and the rest are busy working their way up the minor league ladder. Let's check in on their progress. Published June 7 2009

  • Prospect Q&A - Brandon Waring, Orioles

    The offseason trade that sent catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Cincinnati Reds for since-departed utility man Ryan Freel and minor leaguers Justin Turner and Brandon Waring was noteworthy at first glance primarily because it cleared Matt Wieters' path to the majors. But while Freel's tenure with the Baltimore Orioles was brief and forgettable, the 24-year-old Turner is playing well enough in Triple-A to warrant consideration for a future in the Orioles' infield and Waring, 23, has emerged as the power-hitting corner infield prospect the organization so sorely lacked. Published June 4 2009

  • June 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

    For the first time in a long time, it's exciting to be a Baltimore Orioles fan. Homegrown talents Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, David Hernandez, Jason Berken and Brad Bergesen are giving long-suffering O's supporters hope for a bright future, and reinforcements are on the way from what has quickly become one of baseball's better farm systems. These rankings take several factors into consideration, including but not limited to minor league success, long-term potential and age. To keep the definition of "prospect" as simple as possible, any player with Major League experience is ineligible for inclusion - sorry, Troy Patton, Kam Mickolio and Bob McCrory. Published June 1 2009