Angels see upside to 7-foot-1 Van Mil

Angels see upside to 7-foot-1 Van Mil

OAKLAND -- Loek Van Mil, the 7-foot-1 Dutch right-hander acquired from the Twins in the Brian Fuentes deal, is with Double-A Arkansas, getting acquainted with his new organization. He spent five years in the Minnesota system and is going through the process of harnessing a mid-90s fastball with a delivery complicated by his exceptional height.

"He has improved his velocity each season," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said. "He's a guy with potential, and we're looking forward to working with him, seeing what he can do."

Van Mil, who turns 26 this month, is the tallest player in professional baseball. Clearly, he'll stand out when he shows up for Spring Training in Tempe, Ariz., in February. The Angels hope his stuff also sets him apart. He struggled this season at Double-A New Britain (1-2, 6.37 ERA) after experiencing elbow pain in the spring. He had a 2.79 ERA in 2009 at two Minor League affiliates.

"He's still a work in progress," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But he's got tremendous upside and growth -- which I guess seems a little ironic, to talk about a seven-footer with upside and growth."