Nick Van Stratten was once almost a hyped prospect. If he wasn't quite hyped in 2008-09, he was at least a mild fan favorite and something of a sleeper. He was even semi-local. For a time, Van Stratten was an alternative to the scores of high-tool, low-skill, low-stats OFs (and position players generally) populating the emerging Dayton Moore farm system. Now, he's decidedly dropped back off of the radar, lost in our scholastic dedication to divining the precise greatness of brighter luminaries. Quick, someone get a fanpost up about who has a better lower half, Wil Myers or Moose?
Van Stratten was taken in the 10th round of the 2006 Draft out of a Missouri Community College. From 2006 to 2009, Van Stratten essentially hit like David DeJesus at the minor league level: nothing spectacular, but with a well-rounded game and very good OBPs. In 2008, at one of the Burlingtons, he hit .345/.400/.489, which really got the attention... of guys like us on the internet at least.
After four years of steady advancement, 2010 was a different story for Van Stratten. Playing on the uber-beloved AA Naturals, Van Stratten hit just .262/.335/.341. 25? Hitting in a launching pad? Not good.
86 rough games at AA isn't a death sentence, but it can be a harbinger. In five seasons in the minors, Van Stratten has posted a .298/.378/.423 line despite some injury troubles. Schaum has labelled Van Stratten a "grinder." Neverthless, with Wil Myers now an OF, Van Stratten's path to the Royals has become even longer. 2011 is a huge year for Van Stratten, who might be playing less for a future slot in Kansas City, than as an appealing minor league FA for a weaker system.