Prospect Profile: Van Pope
Name: Van Pope
Van Pope was drafted in the 4th round of the 2004 draft by the Braves out of Meridian College. He was originally drafted by the White Sox in 2003 but he didn't sign. Pope started his career in Danville and had a decent season for a first year player. He hit .270/.333/.429 with 5 homers and 39 RBI's. In 2005 he was promoted to Rome where he improved his plate discipline but his power was still lacking. He hit .277 and got on base at a .347 clip but hit just 6 home runs. He played about a month in Myrtle Beach in 2005 but he did not fare well as he hit just .167.
2005 was a different story for Pope in Myrtle Beach. Pope was a steady force on offense throughout the entire year for the Pelicans. He hit .263 after a slow start and improved his power with 15 homers and 74 RBI's. His 15 homers are even more impressive considering he played half of his games in the pitcher's haven at Myrtle Beach. He also walked 58 times to go against 92 strikeouts.
Pope is a pretty big guy with some decent power potential which makes 3rd base a good position for him. He took a big step forward this year at Myrtle Beach this year and can hopefully step his game up again next year to be a top prospect. Braves scouts have always liked Van Pope and it is obvious he has a lot of talent. How he projects depends on how he develops over the next year or two, but it looks like he can be a good hitter with some decent pop. He is one stop ahead of Eric Campbell so it will be interesting how they sort that out when the time comes for both of them to play in Atlanta.