Minor League Report: Lucas May
Catching prospect displays power with big home run
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- This is Lucas May's first Major League camp and second Spring Training as a catcher, but he's already starting to draw comparisons to Russell Martin.
Like Martin, May is a former infielder. Drafted as a shortstop, he was sent to the outfield before being moved behind the plate last year. He's quickly become one of the best catching prospects in the organization, in part because of the power he showed while slugging 25 homers for Class A Inland Empire.
May showed off some of that power for Dodgers manager Joe Torre with a game-tying, three-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning against the Red Sox on Thursday.
"It felt great," said May. "I was down in the bullpen and had about a minute and a half to get ready for the at-bat."
The 25-year-old May was a seventh-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. In 2004, he needed surgery to repair a fractured hamate bone in his wrist. In 2005, he underwent surgery to repair two sports hernias. He's been healthy ever since, as reflected by his stats. He hit a combined 14 home runs in his first three professional seasons, then 43 in the next two seasons.
"I had heard about May," Torre said after May's homer in Ft. Myers. "He certainly is living up to his potential. He seems to be an offensive force. He's still learning behind the plate, but he has ability."
Ivan DeJesus Jr. was plucked out of early Minor League camp to play in two Major League exhibition games, and he even started a split-squad game at shortstop when Rafael Furcal was nursing a strained hamstring. DeJesus went 2-for-3 with a double. He was a second-round Draft pick and is the son of former Dodger Ivan DeJesus.
Another Minor Leaguer who wound up with more action than expected was right-handed reliever Eduardo Sierra, a six-year free agent. He was sent across the state on the bus to back up the pitchers in the game with Boston at Ft. Myers, and he pitched the ninth inning of the 9-6 comeback win.
The first full-squad workout for Minor Leaguers is set for Saturday. On Friday, the squad was addressed by Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda and general manager Ned Colletti. The first Minor League Spring Training game will be played March 14, and the last will be on March 29.
They're No. 1: Blake DeWitt was taken with the 28th overall pick (compensation from the Yankees for signing Paul Quantrill) in the 2004 Draft. After a one-year experiment at second base, DeWitt has returned to third base and has risen to the fifth-best prospect in the organization, according to Baseball America. A left-handed hitter, he has yet to show the power clubs expect from a corner infielder, but the same was said of James Loney at a similar stage.
Class of '07: Justin Miller, a right-handed pitcher, was taken in the sixth round out of Johnson County (Kan.) Community College. The 6-3 Miller's first professional season will be remembered for the seven scoreless innings he pitched in last year's Gulf Coast League championship game.
What they're saying: "I got that out of the way early -- real early." -- Clayton Kershaw, talking about allowing a home run to Washington's Luis Jimenez, the first batter he faced in his first Major League exhibition game Tuesday night
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.