Friday, May 26th: Rosa Hits 2 HRs for Hounds while Mondou Helps Snappers Win in Extras

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Viosergy Rosa (2 for 4 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Viosergy Rosa (2 for 4 / 2 HRs / 5 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  10

NW Arkansas Naturals   11

LP – Navas 0-1 / 13.50

HR – Rosa 2 (9)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Viosergy Rosa

(2 for 4 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

Midland ended up suffering a heart-breaking walk-off loss in a slugfest on Friday, but first baseman Viosergy Rosa turned in an impressive performance for the RockHounds. After homering to put the Hounds on the board in the top of the 5th inning, Rosa came up with two outs, the bases loaded and the game tied in the 7th and slugged a grand slam over the left field wall to give his team a 4-run lead. Rosa was in an 0-for-14 slump headed into Friday’s game but he now has a team-leading 9 home runs for the Hounds. Starter Heath Fillmyer allowed 6 runs, 4 earned, over 5 1/3 frames, but LHP Brandon Mann gave up 2 runs in the 8th, and RHP Carlos Navas surrendered 3 runs without recording an out in the bottom of the 9th to suffer the loss as the Hounds lost in a walk-off. Designated hitter B.J. Boyd singled, doubled and drove in a pair, while left fielder Brett Vertigan had 2 hits and drove in a run for the RockHounds.

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Wisconsin (5/22-25)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took three out of four games from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Milwaukee’s Midwest League affiliate, in their series this week at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The matchup featured the only two minor league teams in the state of Wisconsin, and there’s always a lot of energy in the air anytime these two Dairy State rivals meet. Beloit came into the series just one game behind Wisconsin in the Midwest League Western Division standings and finished it one game ahead of their in-state rivals.

The Timber Rattlers currently possess the worst team batting average in the Midwest League, but one of the team’s top hitting prospects is catcher Mario Feliciano. The 18-year-old has put up an impressive .291/.365/.418 slash line, which is especially remarkable considering he is one of the youngest players in the Midwest League and he’s playing such a demanding position. Wisconsin’s top starter, RHP Trey Supak, started the second game of the series and threw 5 scoreless innings. The 20-year-old now carries a 1.76 ERA, placing him in the top ten in the Midwest League.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 12 – Wisconsin 2

Luis Barrera

Luis Barrera

*Speedy outfielder Luis Barrera smashed a 3-run homer to right field in the 5th inning that was estimated to travel 440 feet!

*Center fielder Mike Martin and second baseman Nate Mondou both legged out hustle doubles in back-to-back at bats in the 5th inning. These are the type of plays that don’t show up in the box score, but these two players showed tremendous effort that also put extra pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, continued to have unhittable stuff, in more ways than one. The 20-year-old struck out 8 and gave up just 1 hit, but he still walked 4 batters over 5 innings. And for the season, Chalmers has walked 29 batters in 29 innings. Learning to control his stuff will be the key for Chalmers’ development this season, and that will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 2 – Wisconsin 1 (7 innings)

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*RHP Brandon Bailey, the A’s 6th-round pick in last year’s draft, turned in a strong 4 IP/3 H/0 ER/1 BB/5 K line in his second appearance since returning from the disabled list.

*Bailey has now pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings and has a 2.32 ERA on the season. He joins LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler to form a formidable trio of starting pitchers for the Snappers.

*Two sacrifice flies were all the Snappers needed to win the game, the second of which, courtesy of third baseman Nate Mondou, drove in the game-winning run to help the Snappers win in a walk-off in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

 

Game #3:  Wisconsin 4 – Beloit 3 (7 innings)

Sam Sheehan

Sam Sheehan

*The A’s 12th-round draft pick last year, left fielder Luke Persico, did not record an official at-bat in the game. He drew a pair of walks and hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the Snappers’ first run in the 3rd inning.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou, normally a very cerebral player, uncharacteristically made two outs on the base paths; he was picked off and caught stealing in the loss.

*The 31st-round pick of the A’s in 2016, RHP Sam Sheehan, pitched 2 scoreless innings in relief. He has a unique 3/4-sidearm slot that would appear to be very tough on right-handed hitters.

*Beloit native Cameron Roegner made the start for Wisconsin, bringing a lot of family and friends out to the ballpark to see the hometown boy. He allowed just 1 run over 6 innings of work and left the game with a 3-run lead.

*With Roegner out of the game though, Beloit was able to battle back within a run in the bottom of the 7th. The Snappers put 2 runs on the board with the help of 4 walks by Wisconsin’s Braden Webb as well as a force out. Unfortunately, the Snappers weren’t able to come through with the big hit, or any hit for that matter, in the final frame and suffered a 1-run loss in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 15 – Wisconsin 2

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*Left fielder Luke Persico had a big game at the plate, going 4 for 6 with 2 doubles and 5 RBIs.

*Persico continues to smack line drives all over the diamond, with a 24.4 % line-drive rate. In 148 at-bats, he’s slashing .311/.366/.480 for the Snappers. And he’s done all that during the coldest months of the season in the chilly Midwest League, where conditions can often be brutal.

*A pair of Dominican-born players, center fielder Luis Barrera and first baseman Miguel Mercedes, both homered in the game. Barrera cracked a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 1st, while Mercedes hit his 8th of the season to straightaway center in the 8th inning.

*As Oakland’s 9th-round draft pick last year, there were some expectations for LHP Dalton Sawyer, and he’s more than lived up to them. Sawyer pitched 6 innings, giving up 2 runs while striking out 7 to earn his 4th win on Thursday. And for the season, Sawyer has an ERA of 2.00 with a brilliant batting-average-against of just .165.

*RHP Seth Martinez came on in relief and pitched 3 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball for Beloit. Martinez, a 17th-round pick last year, actually picked up a save in the game even though it was a 15-2 final score.

 

Series Notes:

*Speedy outfielder Luis Barrera, known mainly for his ability to hit for average and his blazing speed, hit two home runs in the series. As previously mentioned, Barrera’s home run in the first game went an estimated 440 feet, which is the longest home run hit by a Snapper at Pohlman Field this season.

*Infielder Nate Mondou went 7 for 15 with a walk in the series, and his batting average is currently sitting at a team-leading .321.

*The Snappers outscored the Timber Rattlers 32-9 in the 4-game series, and it was one of the team’s most dominating series wins of the season.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Outfielder Luke Persico

(5 for 8 / 2 Doubles / 3 Walks / 6 RBIs)

 

*          *          *

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Thursday, May 25th: Manarino Leads Ports to Shutout Win with Help of Ramirez’s 2 HRs while Marincov & Persico Both Drive in 5 in Hounds’ & Snappers’ Wins

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (7 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (7 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports   2

Visalia Rawhide   0

WP – Manarino 4-2 / 3.21

HR – Ramirez 2 (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Evan Manarino

(7 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

LHP Evan Manarino turned in his second straight impressive start for Stockton on Thursday, putting up 6 strikeouts over 7 shutout innings to post his 4th win for the Ports. The 24-year-old southern California native has now failed to allow a run or a walk in 13 innings over his last 2 starts for Stockton. And in his first appearance since returning to the Ports from the RockHounds, LHP Cody Stull pitched 2 perfect innings in relief to complete the 6-hit shutout as Stockton prevailed for the fifth time in its last six games on Thursday. Left fielder Tyler Ramirez had a big night at the plate for the Ports. Last year’s 7th-round draft pick provided all the offense his team would need with a pair of solo shots, one in the 4th inning and one in the 9th, to give him a total of 5 round-trippers on the season, and catcher Sean Murphy collected 3 hits, including a double, for Stockton. Meanwhile, after making a pair of relief appearances for the Ports, RHP Chris Jensen was reassigned to the RockHounds on Thursday.

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Wednesday, May 24th: Blackburn Leads Sounds to 2nd Straight Shutout Win while Meisner Pitches Ports to Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (7 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (7 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Omaha Storm Chasers  0

Nashville Sounds         4

WP – Blackburn 3-4 / 3.33

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

(7 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

Another day, another great performance by a Sounds starter – and on Wednesday, it was RHP Paul Blackburn’s turn. The 23-year-old struck out 6 over 7 scoreless innings to earn the win and help Nashville notch its second consecutive shutout and its fourth straight win. Blackburn has now failed to allow a run over his last 13 frames, while Tuesday’s starter, RHP Daniel Mengden, is currently riding a 10-inning scoreless streak, and RHPs Daniel Gossett and Jharel Cotton failed to allow any runs in their last starts as well. RHPs Tucker Healy and Simon Castro each contributed 1 scoreless inning in relief to close out Wednesday’s 6-hit shutout for the Sounds. First baseman Matt Olson singled, doubled, walked and drove in a run, while second baseman Franklin Barreto doubled and scored a run, and center fielder Jaycob Brugman drew 3 walks, included a bases-loaded walk to bring home a run for the Sounds in the bottom of the 2nd. And with A’s RHP Bobby Wahl landing on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, Nashville RHP Zach Neal rejoined Oakland’s roster on Wednesday.

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Tuesday, May 23rd: Mengden Throws 7 Scoreless, Chapman Homers & Wendle Has 4 Hits to Help Sounds Post Shutout Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Mengden (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Mengden (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Omaha Storm Chasers  0

Nashville Sounds       10

WP – Mengden 2-1 / 2.21

HR – Chapman (10)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Mengden

(7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHP Daniel Mengden delivered his second straight strong start for the Sounds, allowing just 3 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 7 scoreless innings to earn his 2nd win on Tuesday. And Mengden has now allowed just 1 run and struck out 12 without issuing a walk in 13 innings over his last 2 outings for Nashville. RHP Chris Smith pitched 2 perfect innings in relief to complete the 3-hit shutout as the Sounds won their third straight on Tuesday. Third baseman Matt Chapman tripled and also homered for the second straight night, notching his 10th round-tripper for Nashville. Second baseman Joey Wendle collected 4 hits, including a triple and a double, and drove in 2 runs, while first baseman Chris Parmelee singled twice, doubled and drove in a run. Catcher Matt McBride singled, doubled and drove in a pair, and center fielder Ryan LaMarre tripled with the bases loaded to drive in 3 for Nashville. Meanwhile, LHP Felix Doubront, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, was added to the Sounds’ active roster on Tuesday.

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Monday, May 22nd: Gossett’s 8 Shutout Innings Lead Sounds to Victory while Puk Pitches 5 1/3 No-Hit Frames in Ports’ Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Gossett (8 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Gossett (8 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds         9

Sacramento River Cats  3

WP – Gossett 2-2 / 3.59

HR – Olson (11), Chapman (9), Wendle (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Gossett

(8 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

RHP Daniel Gossett delivered his best start of the season on Monday, allowing just 4 hits while walking none and striking out 6 over a career-high 8 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for the Sounds. And the A’s 2nd-round draft pick in 2014 has now allowed just 4 earned runs in 19 innings over his last 3 starts. RHP Aaron Kurcz gave up a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th for Nashville. First baseman Matt Olson homered for the second straight night, belting a 3-run blast in the 3rd inning and singling in another run in the 5th, while third baseman Matt Chapman slugged a solo shot in the 4th, and second baseman Joey Wendle drilled a 2-run drive in the 7th to help the Sounds win their second straight over Sacramento. In other news, Nashville manager Ryan Christenson told Sounds play-by-play man Jeff Hem on Monday’s pre-game show that he didn’t expect catcher Bruce Maxwell, who’s currently on the disabled list with an oblique injury, to be back before mid-June at the earliest.

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Sunday, May 21st: Cotton Leads Sounds to Shutout Win while Fillmyer Pitches Hounds to Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Jharel Cotton (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 9 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Jharel Cotton (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds         4

Sacramento River Cats  0

WP – Cotton 2-0 / 2.25

HR – Olson (10)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Jharel Cotton

(7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 9 K / Win)

The Sounds shut out Sacramento for the second time in their last three games on Sunday. Starter Jharel Cotton delivered an impressive outing for Nashville, allowing just 3 hits while striking out 9 over 7 shutout innings to earn the win in his second appearance since being sent to the Sounds. RHP Michael Brady tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to close out the 3-hit shutout on Sunday. First baseman Matt Olson had a big day at the plate, collecting 4 hits, including a home run and a double, while driving in 3 runs for Nashville. Third baseman Matt Chapman singled and doubled, while left fielder Kenny Wilson had a pair of hits and drove in a run, and center fielder Jaycob Brugman singled, walked and scored a run as the Sounds won for the third time in their last four games on Sunday.

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Saturday, May 20th: Manarino Pitches Ports to Victory while Hounds & Snappers Get Blanked & Maxwell Lands on DL

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Lake Elsinore Storm  1

Stockton Ports         3

WP – Manarino 3-2 / 3.76

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Evan Manarino

(6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / Win)

After enduring his roughest outing of the season in his last appearance for Stockton, LHP Evan Manarino turned in one of his best starts of the year on Saturday. The 24-year-old was almost perfect over 6 innings, allowing just 1 base runner on a double and striking out 3 to earn his 3rd win for the Ports. RHP Chris Jensen, who was reassigned to Stockton from the Sounds on Saturday, permitted 1 run in 3 innings of relief to pick up the save for the Ports. First baseman Seth Brown continued his hot hitting of late, reaching base in all 4 of his plate appearances, on a triple, a walk and a pair of singles. He drove in Stockton’s first run and also stole a base in the game, and Brown is now 11 for 27 with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs over his last 7 games. Right fielder Brett Siddall doubled and scored a run, while second baseman Branden Cogswell singled in a pair for the Ports. Meanwhile, RHP Carlos Navas was reassigned to the RockHounds and Midland LHP Cody Stull was sent to Stockton on Saturday.

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Friday, May 19th: Blackburn Leads Sounds to Shutout Victory while Snappers Win in Extras

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (6 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (6 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds         6

Sacramento River Cats  0

WP – Blackburn 2-4 / 3.89

HR – Nunez (11), Lavarnway (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

(6 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

After giving up 14 earned runs in 13 2/3 frames over his last 3 outings, RHP Paul Blackburn bounced back to deliver one of his best starts of the season for the Sounds. The 23-year-old allowed just 2 hits over 6 shutout innings to earn his 2nd win as Nashville won for the fourth time in its last five games on Friday. RHP Tucker Healy tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Tyler Sturdevant notched the final three outs in the 9th to complete the 3-hit shutout for the Sounds. Designated hitter Renato Nunez homered for the second straight day, hitting his team-leading 11th home run, a 2-run shot, with two outs in the top of the 1st inning to give Nashville an early edge. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway belted a 3-run blast to extend the lead in the 4th, and center fielder Jaycob Brugman singled in a run, walked and stole a base for the Sounds.

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Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A's top prospect Franklin Barreto

Top prospect Franklin Barreto

Whatever happens with the A’s before the start of next season, one thing is certain – with many of the team’s current everyday players set to become free agents in the offseason, there’s bound to be plenty of turnover on the 25-man roster.

Center fielder Rajai Davis, first baseman Yonder Alonso, third baseman Trevor Plouffe, current shortstop Adam Rosales, as well as reliever John Axford, are all set to hit the free agent market in the offseason, and second baseman Jed Lowrie has a team option for 2018 and seems unlikely to return. Of course, most of these potential free agents are likely to be traded before the season is through but, one way or another, they’re all likely to be long-gone by the time 2018 rolls around.

The only regular position players in the starting lineup who are currently under team control for 2018 are outfielders Khris Davis and Matt Joyce, catcher Stephen Vogt, first baseman/designated hitter Ryon Healy and shortstop Marcus Semien, who will reclaim his starting shortstop role once he returns from the disabled list. Backup catcher Josh Phegley, utility infielder Chad Pinder and reserve outfielders Mark Canha and Jake Smolinski will also remain under team control for 2018. And the entire pitching staff, with the exception of Axford, will still be under control next year as well.

Of course, no one is ever certain what the A’s will do in the offseason, but it does seem as though the front office has structured this team to be ready for a big youth infusion next season – which could work well with the team’s stated intention of announcing plans for a new stadium before the end of the year.

So, disregarding any potential trades or free agent signings, let’s just assume that the A’s do decide to move forward with a full-on youth movement next season, stocking the roster with as many prospects as possible who are currently in the team’s minor league system. No one is saying that they will, or that they should, but just for the fun of it, let’s take a look at what a young, prospect-laden A’s team could potentially look like in 2018.

As previously mentioned, the pitching staff is already full of fairly young arms under team control, so any big changes would primarily involve position players, which is what we’ll mainly focus on here, though we will briefly touch on 2018’s potential pitching staff as well. It’s worth noting that every single position player proposed below for a potential prospect-laden A’s roster is currently age 29 or under, with Khris Davis the only potential everyday.player currently over the age of 26.

 

CATCHERS

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

The team’s current catching corps is set to be under team control for next year. 32-year-old Stephen Vogt is earning $2.965 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for the second time in the offseason, while 29-year-old Josh Phegley is earning just $545,000 this year and will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. With Vogt struggling so far this season and set to receive a raise through the arbitration system next year, this looks like an obvious spot to make a move to get younger. 26-year-old catcher Bruce Maxwell seems to have mastered Triple-A at this point, with a career slash line of .318/.386/.527 in the Pacific Coast League. And he’s looked fairly solid both at the plate and behind the plate during his 42 major league games for the A’s last year and this year. If the team does decide to put the left-handed-hitting Maxwell behind the dish next season, then it would make plenty of sense to keep Phegley around as his right-handed-hitting counterpart, and to try to make a deal to trade the popular Vogt either this summer or in the offseason to a club that’s looking for a little veteran catching help.

 

OUTFIELDERS

Jaycob Brugman

Jaycob Brugman

When we look at the A’s outfield picture for 2018, two things seem fairly certain: one Davis will stay and one Davis will go. 29-year-old left fielder Khris Davis, who’s hit 54 home runs since joining the A’s last season, is clearly the best-hitting outfielder on the A’s roster and seems likely to stick around. Davis is under team control for two more seasons, and he could serve as the most veteran presence on a young A’s squad next year while manning left field and holding down the cleanup spot. But 36-year-old center fielder Rajai Davis was always intended to serve as a one-year rental and is expected to depart via free agency in the offseason. One of last year’s other free agent signings, 32-year-old right fielder Matt Joyce, was signed to a two-year deal but has severely under-performed so far for the A’s. With one year left on his contract after this season, the team could try to foist him off on a contending club looking for a veteran left-handed bat, even if it means having to eat part of his deal. If the A’s do decide to go with a youth movement next year, there really won’t be much room on the roster for an under-achieving veteran outfielder with sub-par defensive skills. The A’s could replace Joyce in right field with 23-year-old slugger Matt Olson, who currently has 9 home runs, a .349 on-base percentage and a .508 slugging percentage for the Sounds while also leading the team with 19 walks. Olson has long been looked at as one of the top power-hitting prospects in the system and, though he’s mainly been playing first base for Nashville this season, he primarily played right field last year at Triple-A, has appeared at the position in half of his major league games, and has looked solid as a corner outfielder, where his strong arm can come in handy. Olson would immediately represent a defensive upgrade in the outfield and, potentially, an offensive one as well. When it comes to replacing Rajai in center, finding a successor in the A’s system could be tough since the A’s organization is sorely lacking in true center fielders, but there is one possible replacement who might be worth taking a chance on, and that’s Jaycob Brugman. Many in the A’s front office seem to feel that the 25-year-old is better-suited to serve as a part-time center fielder and really view him as more of a corner outfielder. And while he may not have the quickness and the range that one would ideally like to see in a true center fielder, it’s been a while since the A’s have had the luxury of having a true center fielder, and Brugman has shown a propensity for out-performing expectations at every level. He’s also experienced, having played more games in center field than at any other position in his minor league career. And while appearing in 154 games in center, Brugman has made just 2 errors at the position. Then there’s the fact that, while serving as the Sounds’ primary leadoff hitter, he’s boasting a .377/.441/.472 slash line this season since returning from the disabled list earlier this month. The former 17th-round draft pick has over-achieved at every minor league level, and he could do the same at the major league level as the A’s center fielder in 2018. It’s worth noting that Brugman and Olson are both left-handed hitters, but 28-year-old right-handed-hitting outfielders Mark Canha and Jake Smolinski both remain under team control for another few years and could be available to serve as platoon partners if needed.

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman

The A’s could be due for the biggest turnover in the infield next year. 30-year-old first baseman Yonder Alonso, 30-year-old third baseman Trevor Plouffe, and soon-to-be-34-year-old utility infielder Adam Rosales are all expected to depart via free agency after the season, if they’re not dealt before then, while 33-year-old second baseman Jed Lowrie’s contract has a club option for 2018, which essentially puts him in the same boat as the rest. The only starting infielder expected to return is 26-year-old shortstop Marcus Semien, who remains under team control through 2020. Fortunately, the A’s do have some talented young players to put around him in the infield, including top prospects Matt Chapman and Franklin Barreto as well as a number of other promising young players. The 24-year-old Chapman has been the A’s top third base prospect since the day the team made him its top draft pick in June of 2014. He hit 23 home runs in just 304 at-bats for Stockton in 2015, mashed 36 between Midland and Nashville last year, and has hit 8 in just 88 at-bats while boasting a .557 slugging percentage so far this season for the Sounds. And to top it off, Chapman is also considered a top defender at the hot corner with an elite throwing arm. Widely considered to be the A’s top hitting prospect, Barreto just turned 21 a few months ago, but he’s already been tearing it up at Triple-A this year, putting up an impressive .320/.369/.510 slash line for the Sounds so far this season. Though Barreto has spent most of his time at the shortstop position, he’s also seen some time at second base, and many in the A’s front office have openly talked about the likelihood of him having to make the move to the other side of the bag, where the A’s are likely to soon have an opening. 25-year-old infielder Ryon Healy debuted with a bang for Oakland last season, posting a .305/.337/.524 slash line for the A’s. He’s been hitting at a more average pace so far this season while primarily serving in the designated hitter role, but Healy still holds plenty of promise. And given the chance to move out of the DH spot and play every day in the field at first base for the A’s in 2018 could be just what he needs to get back on track and really show what he can do. And speaking of designated hitters, 23-year-old slugger Renato Nunez has spent most of his minor league career playing third base, but since Matt Chapman has returned to health at Nashville, Nunez has been spending most of his time alternating between left field and the designated hitter spot for the Sounds. Nunez’s power has always been real, and he currently leads his team in home runs and doubles with 10 of each while sporting a .536 slugging percentage, and he even managed to hit a ball clear out of First Tennessee Park in Thursday night’s game. With his power bat and his defensive deficiencies, Nunez seems perfectly-suited to serve in the designated hitter role. And in a limited sample so far this season, 25-year-old infielder Chad Pinder has looked like one of the A’s best hitters. He’s gotten starts at shortstop, at second base, in the outfield and as the designated hitter so far for the A’s, and he’s also spent time at third base in college and in the minors. Pinder’s versatility could make him well-suited for a super-utility role, spelling Barreto at second, Semien at short and Chapman at third, while also filling in in the outfield and as well as in the designated hitter spot. We all know how much the A’s value versatility, and Pinder’s positional flexibility could make him a valuable piece for a young A’s team in 2018.

 

PITCHERS

Kendall Graveman

Kendall Graveman

As mentioned earlier, the major turnover for the A’s next year is likely to be on the position-player front, and that’s primarily because Oakland’s pitching staff is already full of fairly young arms who will be under team control for years to come. The organization currently has a dozen starting pitchers at the major league or Triple-A level who will all still be in their 20’s next year and will remain under team control for multiple years, with Sonny Gray the first to be eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. These pitchers (with their current ages in parentheses) include: Sonny Gray (27), Kendall Graveman (26), Sean Manaea (25), Andrew Triggs (28), Jesse Hahn (27), Jharel Cotton (25), Chris Bassitt (28), Daniel Mengden (24), Raul Alcantara (24), Daniel Gossett (24), Paul Blackburn (23) and Zach Neal (28). That represents a fair number of fairly decent young arms who still have the potential to get much better and will remain under control for years to come. That’s not even mentioning all the talented young arms the A’s currently have below the Triple-A level, including 24-year-old RHP Corey Walter and 21-year-old RHP Grant Holmes at Midland, and 22-year-old LHP A.J. Puk and 22-year-old RHP Logan Shore at Stockton. That should give the A’s plenty of pitching options to choose from in 2018 and beyond. As for the bullpen, it looks like that’s where most of the veterans may be found for the 2018 A’s. 34-year-old RHP John Axford is the only reliever eligible for free agency in the offseason, which means that most members of the A’s bullpen could be returning, including RHPs Ryan Madson, Santiago Casilla, Liam Hendriks, Ryan Dull and Frankie Montas, along with LHPs Sean Doolittle and Daniel Coulombe, all of whom remain under team control for 2018. Of course, 25-year-old RHP Bobby Wahl and 29-year-old RHP Josh Smith, who are both currently auditioning for the A’s, could also be options, as could 26-year-old RHP Tucker Healy, who’s currently sporting a 1.29 ERA for Nashville.

 

As mentioned earlier, this isn’t necessarily a prescription, but just a look at what could happen if they A’s do decide to move forward with a full-on youth movement next season. Of course, if the team does decide to deal potential free agents like Alonso, Plouffe, Lowrie, Rosales, Rajai Davis and Axford, or possibly even veterans like Vogt and Joyce, before the season’s through, that could net a number of new prospects in return who could potentially fill even more holes on a talented young A’s team next year. But, whatever happens, it’s certain that there will be a lot of new faces on the 2018 A’s, and most likely, many of them will be much younger faces.

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