Monday, July 24th: Holmes Impresses in Hounds’ Victory while Rodriguez Helps Snappers Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Grant Holmes (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Grant Holmes (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Frisco RoughRiders        1

Midland RockHounds  13

WP – Holmes 7-10 / 4.54

HR – Sportman (7)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Grant Holmes

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

RHP Grant Holmes turned in one of his best starts of the season to help Midland win its fourth straight on Monday. The 21-year-old allowed just 3 hits over 7 scoreless innings to earn his 7th win, and Holmes has now surrendered a total of just 3 runs over his last 3 starts for the RockHounds. Right fielder J.P. Sportman singled in a run in the 7th inning and slugged a grand slam in the 8th, while center fielder B.J. Boyd had 3 hits, including a triple, and drove in 3, and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis singled twice, doubled, walked and drove in a run for the RockHounds.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Stockton Skipper Rick Magnante Talks about the Ports’ Newest Prospects

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

rmMGR_Magnante_dervlq1cStockton manager Rick Magnante originally began his professional baseball career as a 13th-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians out of the University of Santa Barbara back in 1969.

He first joined the A’s organization in 1995 as an area scout covering southern California, where he was the signing scout for players like Barry Zito. He also began managing short-season teams for the A’s in 2006 after his duties prepping for each year’s draft were through.

After spending five seasons in Vancouver and three seasons in Vermont, Magnante gave up his scouting duties and began managing full-time. He spent the 2014 season in Beloit and is now in his third season with Stockton. We took the opportunity to talk with the Stockton skipper late last week to get his first-hand take on some of the prospects who’ve recently joined the Ports…

 

AF:  You’ve had a lot of turnover on your roster here at Stockton this year. So, let’s talk about some of the new guys who’ve recently joined your squad here in the second half. Let’s start out with 22-year-old second baseman Nate Mondou, who arrived from Beloit at the end of June. He’s not a very big guy, but he seems to be doing a pretty good job of putting the bat on the ball.

RM:  He’s your typical grinder, blue-collar player who has to maximize his skill set to be that over-achieving, instinctual, anticipatory kind of player – and he is that. And his ability to swing the bat has been impressive. I think he’s a sleeper. I think you could see Nate in the big leagues. I’ll go out on a limb right now and say that may happen someday, because he can play the game. And the other thing you have to take into consideration is that this is his first full season. He had a real good first half there in Beloit. He came up here and he’s hot as a firecracker – he’s slowed down a little bit as of late, but that’s going to happen. And if he can just finish with some kind of consistency at the plate after his first full season, I think that’s quite an accomplishment for him.

AF:  He sounds like the kind of guy you could really see hustling his way to the big leagues.

RM:  Yeah. I asked him, “Were the Boston Red Sox ever interested in you?” I said, “To me, you’re Marty Barrett, you’re Jerry Remy, you’re Dustin Pedroia. You’re all those under-sized middle infielders who can really play the game and give 110% every time.” So, that’s what I liken him to.

Rick Magnante (photo by Meghan Camino)

Rick Magnante
(photo by Meghan Camino)

AF:  I was thinking about David Eckstein.

RM:  Absolutely, that’s a good comparison.

AF:  21-year-old outfielder Luis Barrera came up here from Beloit in the middle of July. He got off to a pretty good start here and has already hit a couple of home runs for you. He seems to have a lot of tools to work with.

RM:  He’s a combination of tools with an emerging skill set and a baseball IQ that still needs to advance some. But he’s wiry strong, fast, defends, throws, chance to hit, and has youth on his side. So, certainly he’s a chance prospect for me.

AF:  The other guy who came up from Beloit at the same time as Barrera is 21-year-old infielder Edwin Diaz. He’s still very young, but he’s also got some tools.

RM:  Originally drafted as a shortstop, he’s gotten bigger, filled out and slowed down a little bit, so he’s moved over to the corner. He’s gifted with the glove and has a gifted arm. He’s made some sensational plays in the short time that he’s been here to allow us to stay in ballgames and eliminate rallies and not give extra outs away. He needs to work on the bat. The hitting is his Achilles heel right now. There’s strength there, there’s leverage, there’s raw power. But the ability to make consistent contact, to take advantage of pitches in the zone that he should hit, those areas are the areas that he needs to improve on.

AF:  22-year-old infielder Sheldon Neuse just recently came here from the Nationals’ system. Have you been able to form much of an impression of him yet?

RM:  We had a nice talk in the office yesterday, just a little orientation. I gave him a little history about the A’s, our direction, our philosophy. I got some information from him, a little bio, where he comes from, his family, etc. Anytime anybody comes over to a new organization, you’ve just got to give them a pass for six to ten games and let them just get their feet on the ground. But his numbers speak for themselves. He was a 2nd-round draft pick by the Nationals, and we know they scout well. And it looks like we’re going to give him an opportunity to play some shortstop and some third base and see how that goes. But we had him out here for some early work in batting practice today, and there is raw power to all fields. But early on, you can see it’s a good body – there’s strength, there’s power. He closed all three years at Oklahoma as well as playing short and third. I don’t know if it’s Chapman-like, but there’s arm strength there.

AF:  23-year-old Cuban pitcher Norge Ruiz is an intriguing pitching prospect that people are very interested in. He’s made four starts here in Stockton now, so what have you been able to see out of him so far?

Rick Magnante (photo by Meghan Camino)

Rick Magnante
(photo by Meghan Camino)

RM:  Well, he’s extremely competitive – extremely competitive. He raises the bar very high in terms of his expectations, which is good, but it sometimes can be unrealistic and unattainable. So, I tried to bring that down a little bit and create some kind of measured reality for what we expect here. But you’re dealing with a different culture…with those guys, you really have to give them the opportunity to just settle in and get comfortable. They want to impress early. He’s got a large mix of pitches – from the fastball to the curveball to the slider to the splitter to the change. So, we’re going to let him throw his stuff and see how he does. And I’m sure we’ll start to abridge his arsenal and try to get him something that works more like a traditional three-pitch/four-pitch mix and see how it all works out. But he’s had his moments where he’s been impressive. He mixes it up, he changes speeds and he attacks hitters. And he’s going to have to learn also that this is professional baseball in America. It’s not international baseball. This is a little bit more challenging over here. And he’s going to have to do what he needs to do to make the necessary adjustments. So far, he’s competed out here, and he’s mixed in well with his teammates – so good for Norge!

AF:  As we all know, the minor league season can be a bit of a grind. And with a month or so left in the minor league season, we’re probably starting to hit that grind point right about now. So, at this point, what are you thinking about, and what messages are you conveying to the young players here on your squad?

RM:  Well, you know, we had a successful first half. I was very pleased with the fact that, with four games left to play in the first half, we were one out, and had a chance to get ourselves an early first-half spot in the playoffs. It did not come to fruition. But as far as the work ethic, the energy, the commitment, the fellowship, the camaraderie that we’ve seen here early on, I’m very pleased with the makeup of the ballclub. At the halfway point, when I sat down and spoke with the players, I simply said that now is the second half, this is when adjustments need to be made, not only in terms of what you need to do to get better, but also what the other teams are going to do to offset the success you’ve had against them. And also, I just said that I thought there was tremendous parity in the California League, and there was no one or two teams that I felt this year were clearly, talent-wise, better than the rest. So, our future, our destiny here this second half is going to be a function of how well we play the game and how few mistakes we make…with a new crew, with a whole different group of guys – outside of maybe Eli White and maybe Pimentel and Bolt and Brown and Siddall and Mikey White; the pitching has completely changed; we have two new catchers [Argenis Raga and Santiago Chavez]; we have a new third baseman [Edwin Diaz]; we have a newly-acquired infielder with Sheldon Neuse. So, it’s a different crew, but you expect that. That comes with the territory in the minor leagues – we, as a staff, understand that. So, we just continue to come out and work hard every day, send out a positive message and make sure that the guys give us their best effort. And to date, they have.

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Sunday, July 23rd: Schrock’s Big Bat Helps Hounds Sweep Twinbill while Ports Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman Max Schrock (5 for 7 / Home Run / Double / 2 Walks / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman Max Schrock (5 for 7 / HR / Double / 2 Walks / 5 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

GAME #1

Corpus Christi Hooks       2

Midland RockHounds  12

WP – Hurlbutt 3-1 / 2.20

HR – Schrock (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman Max Schrock

(4 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

Second baseman Max Schrock had a big game in the first of Midland’s two matches on Sunday. The 22-year-old had 4 hits, including a home run and a double, and drove in 3 runs, and he went 5 for 7 with a pair of walks and 5 RBIs overall in the doubleheader. Catcher Andy Paz had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a pair, while shortstop Richie Martin singled, doubled and drove in a run for the RockHounds. RHP Dustin Hurlbutt delivered his second straight quality start, allowing 2 runs on just 3 hits over 6 innings of work to earn his 3rd win for Midland.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Stockton, Beloit & Vermont…

Saturday, July 22nd: Altamirano Pitches Snappers to Victory while Ports Can’t Prevail in Extras

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Xavier Altamirano (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Xavier Altamirano (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

South Bend Cubs  3

Beloit Snappers   6

WP – Altamirano 6-2 / 3.06

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Xavier Altamirano

(6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / Win)

RHP Xavier Altamirano turned in his second straight quality start for the Snappers on Saturday. The 23-year-old allowed 3 runs, just 2 earned, while striking out 6 over 6 innings of work to earn his 6th win for the Snappers. RHP John Gorman tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Yordys Alejo got the final three outs in the 9th to notch his 3rd save. Center fielder Mike Martin collected 3 hits, including a double, stole a base and scored twice, while first baseman Kyle Nowlin had 2 hits and a walk and drove in a pair, and left fielder Luke Persico singled twice and drove in a run for the Snappers.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Stockton, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Chapman, Maxwell & Brugman: A Trio of Young A’s Players Talks about Life in the Majors

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

The A’s youth movement finally appears to be in full effect – and third baseman Matt Chapman, catcher Bruce Maxwell and outfielder Jaycob Brugman are clear evidence of that. While Maxwell has been back and forth between Oakland and Nashville multiple times over the last couple of seasons, Chapman and Brugman both were called up in June to make their major league debuts for the A’s.

We’d spoken with all three players before during stops at Stockton, Nashville, the Arizona Fall League and in spring training, but we wanted to check in and see how the trio has been adjusting to life in the majors. So, earlier this week, we took the opportunity to talk to all three of them again, but this time while wearing major league uniforms in the A’s clubhouse…

 

MATT CHAPMAN

mc656305cThe A’s top draft pick in 2014, the third baseman has been considered one of the team’s top power-hitting prospects. He hit 16 home runs in just 49 games for Nashville this season and tagged a pair of home runs in one game for Oakland. Chapman is also known as a talented defender at the hot corner and has already made a number of impressive plays in the field for the A’s. The 24-year-old went on the disabled list in late June with a knee infection, but he returned to action during the first week of July, and he’s now fully focused on making his mark in the majors.

AF:  Now that you’re here in Oakland, what’s the biggest difference you find yourself encountering in the big leagues compared to what you’d experienced in the minor leagues?

MC:  I don’t know if I can put my finger on one thing. But you see good stuff every single night. Guys are consistent in what they do. They try to figure out what your weaknesses are and they try to exploit them. So, you’ve just got to keep working extra hard to stay with your approach. And every little thing counts. At this level, it’s attention to detail, and it’s a lot of work. You know, the talent’s at every level, but up here, it’s just fine-tuned, and everybody knows their role and knows what they’re doing. It’s a clean game and it’s at a fast pace. There’s always an adjustment at every level.

AF:  Are there any specific adjustments that you’ve had to make at this level so far?

MC:  Really just slowing the game down and trying to get back to what I do best. You’ve got to trust what’s gotten you to this level.

AF:  You mentioned the game being faster at this level. It seems like everyone says that. Was that one of the first things that you noticed here?

MC:  Yeah, the speed of the game just keeps getting faster and faster at each level.

AF:  What about the defensive end of things? You’ve always been known as a solid defender at third base, and you’ve already made some nice plays for the A’s in the field. Has your preparation or anything else you do in the field changed for you up here?

MC:  The preparation stays the same. I feel like I have a pretty good preparation routine defensively. I guess just kind of getting to know my pitchers and getting to know the hitters on the opposing teams, and just figuring out who bunts, who doesn’t, kind of where to position myself and what pitches the pitchers on our team throw and all those little detail-oriented things.

AF:  So, how did they break the news to you in Nashville that you were going to the big leagues?

MC:  My coach came into the cage and told me I wasn’t in the lineup, so I was kind of mad. And then he told me that I was going to the big leagues, so it was a nice surprise.

AF:  How nervous were you in your first big league game? Did it seem like you were in a dream?

MC:  Yeah, definitely. There are so many emotions going on at that time, it’s hard to really even describe it, but it was a great day. It was like I was having an out-of-body experience…you’re kind of in your own world.

AF:  Well, I know you’re from southern California, so has your family had the chance to come see you here much?

MC:  Yeah, they’ve had the chance to come up once. They came for my debut.

AF:  So, how tough was it for you having to sit out while you were on the disabled list? Were you kind of going crazy?

MC:  Yeah, definitely. I wanted to come back, and I wanted to come back as fast as possible. And when I first came back, I was fresh out of the hospital. So, there’s definitely an adjustment period with getting some strength back, but I feel totally good now. It took some time for the antibiotics to finish off and for me to feel right again, but I feel good and confident going into the rest of the year.

AF:  Is it true that you were texting Bob Melvin from the hospital quite a bit and telling him you were ready to come back?

MC:  Yeah, yeah.

AF:  So, on the personal side of things, what are your living arrangements like and where are you living at here in the Bay Area now?

MC:  I’m in Walnut Creek…I’m staying with a couple guys on the team.

AF:  Had you ever spent much time in the Bay Area before?

MC:  Not too much. I’ve just been kind of checking it out. I’ve got to make my way into San Francisco on one of our off days.

AF:  How does it feel to have a bunch of guys you’ve played with in the minors up here playing with you as well?

MC:  Yeah, it’s definitely good to know you’ve got some guys like that to lean on. And you get to go to war with those guys you feel comfortable with, and we can all help each other learn together and grow.

AF:  Have any of the guys who’ve been here a while helped you out or offered you any helpful advice?

MC:  Yeah, everybody’s kind of helped me out and tried to help me feel comfortable and make that adjustment. Yonder Alonso’s helped me out a lot and just tried to get me thinking the right way and pointing things out to me that maybe I wouldn’t notice, so it’s good.

AF:  We’ve got a couple of months left in the season at this point. So, is there anything in particular that you’re focused on trying to accomplish?

MC:  Well, from a team aspect, we want to win, and I think we feel like we can do something really special in the second half. We’ve got a good group of guys…and we feel like we can compete on a daily basis. And if you look at the records around the league, everything’s pretty tight with the wild card, so nothing’s out of the question. I think we just want to keep getting better and keep growing as a team. And then, personally for me, I just want to keep getting better and keep making that transition to the big leagues and figure out how to bring my best self every single day and how to compete at this level and take that into finishing strong this year and preparing for the next.

 

BRUCE MAXWELL

bm622194bA 2nd-round selection in Oakland’s 2012 draft class, the 26-year-old backstop has climbed his way up through the A’s system step by step and he’s now taken over as the A’s primary receiver. He’s done solid work behind the plate, and is currently boasting a .386 on-base percentage in 28 games for the A’s this season. Always known for his work ethic, Maxwell is determined to make the most of the opportunity to lay claim to the A’s catching job.

AF:  I think this is your third time back up here in Oakland this year. Do you feel like there’s something new you learn each time you come up or do you come back with a little more confidence each time?

BM:  You’re always learning stuff up here. But I feel like this time around, it’s a different feel, different mindset, different role I’m playing seeing how the departure of Stephen Vogt puts me in a more solidified position up here. So, I’m able to kind of relax a little more than I have in the past and be able to kind of trust in my game and take on a leadership role on this team, even as a rookie. But it’s a little different – everything is a little more important now, everything is more consistent now. And I’ve reached a comfort level of mine that I’ve been looking for. So, now it’s just time to play.

AF:  So, it’s made things a lot easier for you now knowing that you’ve got a defined role.

BM:  It’s made everything I do on a daily basis a lot easier and a lot more consistent for the most part – just getting the consistent at-bats now and getting the consistent looks behind the plate.

AF:  Now that you’ve been in there more regularly, has your relationship with the pitchers on the staff changed at all?

BM:  Not really. I’ve known a lot of these guys for the past couple years. So, they treat me just like they did when I was up here for a week or when I was up here for three days. Now it’s just they get to work with me a little more consistently, so they get a little more comfortable.

AF:  And how much time do you spend studying the scouting reports and working with the pitching staff prior to a game, prior to a series?

BM:  It’s our job, we do it all the time. It’s just about the feel, the relationship between you and the pitcher and making sure you guys are on the same page…I’ve gotten more comfortable with the meetings, with the knowledge and the information. Now I’m seeing these teams consistently, so the knowledge is more polished. And we just continue to learn about these hitters and try to dominate them the best we can.

AF:  What about at the plate? Are the opposing pitchers at this level approaching you any differently than the pitchers in Triple-A did?

BM:  Yeah, up here, their execution’s a lot better than it is at Triple-A, so it’s a little different. But up here, guys who’ve been around the game for a while already know their own scouting report. So, it’s our job to make the adjustment before the other team does. They know my scouting report, and I know my own scouting report. So, it’s just about minimizing their execution and then taking advantage of it when they don’t execute.

AF:  I know when you were first drafted, you didn’t have a lot of catching experience under your belt, and that was a big focus for you early on. So, where do you feel you’re at defensively at this point, and are there any little things you’re working on right now?

BM:  Yeah, behind the plate, everything is so small. So, it’s about staying on your work and being able to perfect everything that you do. I’m constantly adjusting my stances and my receiving skills and all that kind of stuff, because there’s always room for improvement back there. I’m pretty quiet as a catcher in general, and I get compliments from umpires and coaches and stuff but, at the same time, I could be that much better. So, never a day goes by that we don’t work on what I do behind the plate.

AF:  You mentioned Stephen Vogt earlier, so what did you pick up from him while you were both here?

BM:  I’ve been with Stephen the last four years. I’ve been in big league camp every year, and you learn little things from guys in your position every year. He’s taught me so much – the mental side of it, the physical side of it, the catching side of it. I continue to apply all that in my everyday work and my everyday game play. So, I couldn’t be more grateful for a teammate like him, and I wish him all the success over in Milwaukee.

AF: Whether it’s on the field or off the field, what are the key differences between playing here at this level and playing in Triple-A?

BM:  Everybody wants to win up here. Triple-A is still a developmental process. You know, we won everywhere we’ve been for the most part, this core group of young guys. But up here, it’s more of a team-based evaluation. It’s all about wins up here, however you’ve got to do it. It’s about getting those “W”s in the column. Up here, it’s easier to kind of put yourself on the back burner and just kind of do what you need to do for the team.

AF:  You don’t need to worry about getting to the next level because there is no next level! But you’ve been up and down between here and Nashville a few times this year. So, on the personal side of things, where are you staying at now, and who are you living with up here?

BM:  Well, me and a couple of the other young guys are about to bunk up out in Walnut Creek on the next home stand. We’ve found a place for a couple months. We’ve just been kind of trying to figure it out. So, moves to be made soon.

AF:  I know you moved around a bit as an Army brat. So how do you find living in the Bay Area?

BM:  It’s all right. We don’t really have time to do much out here. I’m here for work, and then when work’s over, I go back home. The fans out here are great. There’s a lot of history out here in the Bay Area, but we don’t get much time to go and explore those things in general. I get to the field pretty early to take care of my job, because this is the reason why I’m here.

AF:  Well, I guess the part of the Bay Area you know the best is the Coliseum!

BM:  Pretty much!

 

JAYCOB BRUGMAN

jb595144bThe lefty-swinging outfielder was the A’s 17th-round draft pick in 2013. A bit of an underdog who wasn’t always prominently placed on prospect lists, Brugman has consistently out-performed expectations and over-achieved at every level. The 25-year-old has often hit near the top of the order during his minor league career and has always done a good job of getting on base. He was sporting a .373 on-base percentage in 33 games for Nashville this season, and has hit a pair of home runs in his first 33 games for the A’s. Always known as a hard worker, his enthusiasm for succeeding at the major league level is apparent.

AF:  Well, we’ve talked to you when you were at Stockton and Nashville, and now you’re here in Oakland. So, what are the biggest differences you find in the game at this level?

JB:  Everyone’s good! The pitchers are really good every day. And they’re going to adjust to you, so it’s a constant battle between you and the pitcher – and you’ve got to make those adjustments quicker.

AF:  Have you found yourself having to make many adjustments already?

JB:  Yeah, just working with the hitting coach [Darren Bush]. They know how it is up here and have got some good insights. I’ve just been making some small adjustments with my swing here and there that’s allowing me to see the ball a little better and drive the balls a little better and get into my legs a little more.

AF:  Have many of the guys who’ve been around a while also been helping you out or offering you any advice since you’ve been here?

JB:  Yeah, definitely, all the older guys – I talk to them every day. Mainly the outfielders because I’m out there with them a lot – so Khris Davis and Matt Joyce and Rajai Davis. They’ve seen everyone, so it’s nice to be able to say, “Hey, what kind of approach do you have on this guy?” Especially Joyce, because he’s left-handed like I am, so we talk a lot about that stuff. Every little bit helps.

AF:  Is there anything different about playing center field in the majors, or playing it here at the Coliseum?

JB:  Yeah, guys hit a little harder and a little farther! It’s just small adjustments. There’s certain stadiums where you’ve got to really make sure you can see the ball well. It just takes a little getting used to. But you work every day and things come.

AF:  Do you find it’s really even more important here in the majors to get that first step right in center field?

JB:  Yeah, you know, I’ve been working on that a lot. That whole first-step thing, I’ve been trying to get that right. And not necessarily getting the first step quickly, but going in the right direction. It’s not a matter of how quick you can move, but how efficient the routes are that you can make.

AF:  Do you enjoy playing out there in center field as opposed to playing in the corners?

JB:  Oh yeah, I love it. It is fun! I like to be out there and have the whole field in front of me – it’s kind of cool.

AF:  You’ve got the best seat in the house out there! So, how did they break the news to you that you were going up to Oakland when you were at Nashville?

JB:  They kind of just faked a hitters’ meeting. My hitting coach [Eric Martins] said before the game, “Hey, we’re going to go over some stuff and look at some video.” So, after the game, I went in there and thought we were going to have a normal meeting. And then the other coaches and the manager [Ryan Christenson] came in and told me, and I was like, “What? No way!”

AF:  What did your first game in the majors feel like? Were you nervous or excited? Was it all just a blur?

JB:  It could have easily been like that. But I really had to focus and make sure I wasn’t too riled up. I knew I had a job to do, and I knew I had to control my emotions. So, I really worked hard on just trying to focus in and narrow my scope and not be overwhelmed.

AF:  Now I know you’re married and have a couple of kids. So, were they able to be out here for your first game?

JB:  They were! They were at the first debut week, and they live here now with me.

AF:  I was going to ask you what your living situation here in the Bay Area was like now.

JB:  We’re in Walnut Creek.

AF:  So, you’re all back together here now in a nice, normal situation.

JB:  As normal as baseball can be!

AF:  Were you with your family in Nashville or were you rooming with other guys there?

JB:  No, I didn’t see them for a while. I roomed with Daniel Gossett, and I didn’t know when I would see my family next. So, it’s nice to be with them.

AF:  So, how does it feel to have a bunch of guys you’ve played with for a while in the minors up here with you?

JB:  It’s fun – it’s awesome! You know them, you play with them throughout the system, so it’s just a good, comfortable situation, and it’s nice to see them all have that success too.

AF:  Well, I guess it’s probably something you guys have all sat around talking about before, and now it’s actually happening.

JB:  Yeah, that’s right!

AF:  We’ve got a couple of months left in the season at this point. So, what are you focused on trying to accomplish the rest of the way?

JB:  Just to put together some wins as a team. My goal is just to help the team win as much as I can. I want to be able to end the season with an impact and have people talking about how this team is going to be next year and kind of have that sense about us that we’re going to be trouble next year. I think that’s all we can do right now is just finish hard.

AF:  Put a little fear into people!

JB:  Yeah, that’s right!

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Friday, July 21st: Jensen’s Strong Start & 4 HRs Help Sounds Win while Hounds Snap Skid behind Rosa’s Big Bat

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Chris Jensen (6 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Chris Jensen (6 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds             7

New Orleans Baby Cakes  5

WP – Jensen 5-1 / 3.97

HR – Barreto (11), Lavarnway (6), Munoz (4), Pinder (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Chris Jensen

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

RHP Chris Jensen turned in a strong start to help the Sounds win their third straight on Friday. The 26-year-old allowed just 1 unearned run over 6 innings of work to notch his 5th win for Nashville. Rehabbing RHP Ryan Dull pitched a perfect frame in the 7th, while RHP Tucker Healy gave up 4 runs in just 2/3 of an inning of relief, and LHP Patrick Schuster got the final out to secure his 1st save of the season. Sounds hitters slugged four home runs, all solo shots. Shortstop Franklin Barreto blasted his 11th in the 1st, while catcher Ryan Lavarnway clubbed his 6th in the 3rd. Rehabbing second baseman Chad Pinder belted his 1st in the 6th, and left fielder Yairo Munoz smacked his 4th in the 7th. Munoz also singled and stole a base for the Sounds. Meanwhile, RHP Frankie Montas and first baseman Matt Olson were both recalled by the A’s, while first baseman Chris Carter was signed to a minor league deal and sent to Nashville, and infielder Melvin Mercedes was reassigned to the Sounds roster on Friday.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Thursday, July 20th: Nunez’s Big Blow Leads Sounds to Victory while Ports Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Third Baseman Renato Nunez (2 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs / Stolen Base)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Third Baseman Renato Nunez (2 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs / Stolen Base)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  7

Iowa Cubs               5

WP – J.Smith 4-1 / 3.62

HR – Nunez (25), Barreto (10)

Prospect Of The Game:

Third Baseman Renato Nunez

(2 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs / Stolen Base)

With the game tied in the top of the 9th, third baseman Renato Nunez hit his league-leading 25th home run to provide the margin of victory for the Sounds on Thursday. Nunez also singled in a run in the 5th, while center fielder Yairo Munoz collected 4 hits, including a double, and drove in the tying run in the top of the 8th. Second baseman Joey Wendle had 3 hits, including a triple, and shortstop Franklin Barreto walked, stole a base and belted his 10th home run for the Sounds. Starter Jesse Hahn allowed 5 runs over 5 innings of work, while RHP Josh Smith was solid in relief, throwing 4 scoreless frames to notch his 4th win for Nashville. And in other news, Sounds RHP Frankie Montas is set to rejoin the A’s on Friday.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Wednesday, July 19th: Olson’s Slam Highlights Sounds’ Comeback Win while Pinder, Graveman, Cotton, Bassitt, Dull & Alcantara All Make Rehab Appearances

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Designated Hitter Matt Olson (Grand Slam / 4 Walks)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds DH Matt Olson (Grand Slam / 4 Walks)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  11

Iowa Cubs                8

WP – Trivino 1-0 / 6.19

HR – Olson (19), Lavarnway (5), Wilson (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Matt Olson

(Grand Slam / 4 Walks)

With the bases loaded, two outs and the Sounds down by four runs in the top of the 8th inning, designated hitter Matt Olson stepped to the plate and slugged a grand slam to tie the game on Wednesday. Then in the 11th, catcher Ryan Lavarnway belted a 3-run blast to provide the margin of victory for Nashville. Olson also drew 4 walks in the game, while Lavarnway drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the 6th. Right fielder Kenny Wilson homered in the 5th, and shortstop Chad Pinder went 0 for 2 with a walk in his second rehab appearance. RHP Kendall Graveman allowed 4 runs over just 2 1/3 innings in his first rehab start for the Sounds, while rehabbing RHP Jharel Cotton surrendered 4 runs in 3 1/3 innings of work. RHP Chris Bassitt tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Lou Trivino threw 3 scoreless frames to notch his 1st win for Nashville. Meanwhile, the A’s sent RHPs Zach Neal and Michael Brady to the Sounds, while Nashville infielder Melvin Mercedes was reassigned to the RockHounds on Wednesday. And Jon Heyman reported that the A’s and free agent first baseman Chris Carter had agreed to terms and that the slugger was expected to join the Sounds soon.

Click here for more on Midland, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Tuesday, July 18th: Munoz Continues Hot-Hitting in Sounds’ Loss while White & Barrera Have Big Games for Ports

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Center Fielder Yairo Munoz (3 for 5 / Home Run)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Center Fielder Yairo Munoz (3 for 5 / Home Run)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  7

Iowa Cubs             16

LP – Bracewell 1-2 / 4.76

HR – Munoz (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

Center Fielder Yairo Munoz

(3 for 5 / Home Run)

Yairo Munoz had a big game while making his eighth career start in center field for the Sounds on Tuesday. The 22-year-old collected 3 hits, including a home run, and is now 8 for 16 with a pair of home runs over his last 4 games for Nashville. Third baseman Renato Nunez doubled twice and singled, while right fielder Mark Canha had 2 hits, including a double, stole a base and drove in a pair, and designated hitter Chad Pinder went 1 for 5 with 3 strikeouts in his first rehab appearance for the Sounds. After turning in a pair of quality starts in his last two appearances for Nashville, RHP Ben Bracewell had a rough outing on Tuesday, allowing 10 runs, 8 earned, in just 2 2/3 innings of work to suffer the loss as the Sounds lost their third straight. In addition to Pinder, RHPs Kendall Graveman and Jharel Cotton have also joined Nashville on rehab assignments and both are expected to make appearances for the Sounds on Wednesday.

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Monday, July 17th: Hurlbutt Helps Hounds Win Again while Bailey & Walter Are Solid for Ports & Sounds

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt (7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Dustin Hurlbutt (7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  5

San Antonio Missions    1

WP – Hurlbutt 2-1 / 1.99

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt

(7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 3 K / Win)

RHP Dustin Hurlbutt delivered another outstanding start to help the RockHounds take their second straight from San Antonio on Monday. The 24-year-old allowed 1 run on just 2 hits over 7 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Midland, and Hurlbutt has now given up just 1 run and 7 hits in 18 1/3 frames over his last 3 starts for the Hounds. RHP Tyler Sturdevant tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to secure his 1st save for Midland on Monday. Right fielder J.P. Sportman singled, tripled and drove in a run, while center fielder B.J. Boyd had 3 hits, including a pair of doubles, stole a base and scored twice, and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis doubled, walked and drove in a pair of runs for the RockHounds.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

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