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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.