The son of Andy Van Slyke has shown monster power in the minor leagues. He hit 23 home runs in 2009 at A+ ball, 20 in 2011 with AA and 18 in 95 AAA games last season before getting the call to the Dodgers. Unfortunately, his power didn’t translate in the majors as Van Slyke hit .167 with a microscopic .511 OPS in 27 games for the Dodgers.
His first appearance in the majors was obviously a big disappointment, but after revamping his swing this off-season, Van Slyke raked once again in the minors to start 2013. He hit nine home runs and drove in 30 in just 34 games with a ridiculous 1.236 OPS for the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes before the Dodgers purchased his contract on May 10.
Since being brought up, Van Slyke has impressed with the few at-bats he’s had. He hit a home run in his first start on May 12 and then went 2-for-4 with two solo home runs Friday night. He seems to have adjusted to big league pitching out of the gate this year; the only problem is going to be finding him at-bats. The Dodgers have a crowded outfield with Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and while he can also play first base, Adrian Gonzalez mans that position.
Crawford has been dealing with a bum hamstring so Van Slyke will likely see some work here and there; and he’ll also when they play some games in American League ballparks. Unfortunately, an injury to one of the aforementioned veterans will have to occur for Van Slyke to become an everyday player.
For now, fantasy owners in deep NL-only leagues should grab the young slugger while those in standard leagues should, at the very least, put him on their watch list.