Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again

Brian Matusz, LHP, Orioles (Double-A Bowie)
Monday’s stats: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K
Same old story here. Matusz moved to 7-0 in seven Double-A starts – six of them great, and one in which he got hit hard but got good run support. Nothing has really changed here. He still has a solid fastball, two good breaking balls, a very good changeup and exquisite command and control. Righties don’t hit him hard, lefties can’t touch him (3-for-37 with one walk and 14 strikeouts), and he’s pretty much big league ready.

No wonder teams want this guy in trade

Dominic Brown, OF, Phillies (High-A Clearwater)
Monday’s stats: 2-for-4, HR (10), 2 R, RBI; 2-for-2, HR (11), 2 R, RBI, BB

Brown has been attached to every major Phillies trade rumor this summer and, as a 6-foot-5 lefty with a massive ceiling, it’s understandable why. He has plus speed and plenty of projectable power, but the latter hadn’t been on display much since he returned from a broken finger – until last night, when home runs in both ends of a double-header raised his season averages to .305/.386/.531.

Rules are rules . . .

Carlos Santana, C, Indians (Double-A Akron)
Monday’s stats: 1-for-4, HR (19), R, RBI, 2 K

. . . And when a prospect goes deep four games in a row, he makes the Minor League Update. Now 6-for-12 with four bombs in his last four games, Santana is batting .272/.396/.534 while becoming king of the secondary skills when it comes to catching prospects, with 19 home runs and 63 walks in 298 at-bats.

Exceeding expectations

Robert Stock, C, Cardinals (Rookie-level Johnson City)
Monday’s stats: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB
Many were surprised when the Cardinals took Stock with their second-round pick last June. His numbers weren’t especially good, but he had some scouting buzz for his tools. He was a highly-acclaimed high school player who entered college a year early and ended up draft-eligible as a 19-year-old. To get a guy with three years of experience at a major school who is only a year older than most high school picks should be seen as a coup of sorts, and after 19 pro games, he’s batting .333/.438/.530.

Opening night sensation

Hunter Strickland, RHP, Pirates (Low-A West Virginia)
Monday’s stats: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
One of two prospects sent from Boston in the Adam Laroche deal, Strickland is a 6-foot-5, projectable righty. Now in his third pro season, all you can really say about him is that he’s still projectable. He’ll deliver 88-92 mph fastballs and flash some solid secondary offerings on occasion, but everything was working on Monday night is his Pirate system debut, as only a hit batsman and an error marred an otherwise perfect night.

Sleeper Alert!

Steven Johnson, RHP, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga)

Monday’s stats: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K

A 13th-round pick in 2005 and the son of former big leaguer and Orioles broadcaster Dave Johnson, Steven has taken a slow-but-steady rise through the Dodgers system. He has taken a big step forward this year, striking out 102 in 96.2 innings for High-A Inland Empire and now 15 in 10 2/3 frames over his first two Double-A starts. He’s not a monster by any stretch, but his fastball and breaking ball both rate a tick above average and there’s some deception to his delivery. Scouts think he could fit in the back of the rotation when all is said and done.

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Great work on this column. Day in and day out it's a great read.
What he said! I peruse BP every day, but I read this feature religiously. Keep up the great work, Kevin.
What they said! Carlos Santana is raking in AA, so is he destined for AAA our could he make the jump to bigs at the roster expansion date? I would think more seasoning would be helpful but then Shoppach is having a lousy time of it.