Hey y’all, this is Seth Frankoff, right-handed pitcher for the Stockton Ports. When I was approached about writing this blog, I felt that it would be a good way for me to communicate to everyone what goes on day in and day out in the life of a minor leaguer in the Oakland Athletics organization. This is my first time writing a blog though, so bear with me!
Spring Training started early this year due to the fact that the World Baseball Classic was taking place. I reported a week before the mandatory reporting date of March 4th for minor league pitchers and catchers. Different guys like to report at different times; however, I felt that getting in before the majority of the other pitchers would help put me ahead of schedule and allow me ample time to prepare for the season. My wife, Bess, who is very supportive of my career, traveled with me last season and will do the same this year, along with our new addition to the family – Addie, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Everyone has their own opinion of spring training, but I really enjoy it. We get to spend a month in Phoenix during the most beautiful time of the year in Arizona. There are long days with lots of attention paid to each and every facet of the game. Between throwing, conditioning, PFPs (pitchers fielding practice), bunt defenses, BP shagging, and then games, there is quite a bit of time spent on your feet all day. But all the time and effort spent in spring training is meant to prepare us for the grind that is the minor league season.
Team assignments vary quite a bit during spring training and really don’t make much of a difference until the last couple of days. This is when the final rosters are posted and you have a pretty good idea of where you are going to get placed. This time is exciting and tough on a player because you are sometimes unsure of where you will get placed. When I got the news that I was going to Stockton, I was very excited. After beginning the past two seasons in the Midwest League, I am glad to experience California and all it has to offer. For a kid who was born and raised in the state of North Carolina, California always seemed like it was on the other side of the globe to me. So when spring training finally came to a close, we packed the car up and hit the road in a caravan with a couple of my teammates. I would like to say the drive up to Stockton from Phoenix was great; however, I very quickly became aware of the craziness of California traffic. It even started thunder-storming and hailing on the last leg of our trip, which I was informed hardly ever happens out here.
Nonetheless, we arrived safe and sound in Stockton and checked into our hotel. I got up early the next morning to get my things situated in the locker room at Banner Island Ballpark before we left for our exhibition game against our Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. My first impressions of Banner Island Ballpark were very positive. It is a beautiful park located right on the delta of the Stockton Deep Water Channel downtown. Our exhibitions with Sacramento were a home and home series taking place the first night in Sacramento and the second in Stockton. These games were great for both teams because they allowed us to get our work in to make sure we are ready to go on opening day. Sacramento beat us both nights, but I would like to say that we held our own against the Sacramento team. They really are a good ballclub and I anticipate they will have a strong season of their own.
As for our team, let me first say this, we are going to score some runs. From top to bottom, we have guys who can hit the ball with authority and power to all parts of the field. Anytime you can have guys like B.A. Vollmuth, Bobby Crocker, Dusty Robinson, Josh Whitaker, Max Muncy, Tony Thompson and Wade Kirkland, you are going to feel like you have a pretty good chance to win. That is not even including our shortstop Addison Russell, who will be hitting in the leadoff spot for us and who always seems to find a way to get on base. Our pitching staff is anchored by a strong starting rotation of Drew Granier, Blake Hassebrock, Sean Murphy, Tanner Peters and Andres Avila. We know that all five of those guys are going to be able to pitch deep into games and give us quality starts. Our bullpen has some great experience with the likes of Jake Brown, Pedro Vidal, Jonathan Joseph and T.J. Walz. And with the group of quality players we have on our roster, I think we will have a great season here in Stockton.
The team so far seems to have pretty good chemistry. If I recall, I have played on the same team at one point in my career with all but three individuals on the roster, and it’s always an added bonus to play with guys you’re familiar with. As for my role on the pitching staff, I believe I will be starting off in middle/long relief. It really makes no difference to me though what my role is. I really just want the ball. As a pitcher, we aren’t fortunate enough to have the ability to play everyday, but I want to have the opportunity to pitch as many times as possible. The biggest thing that I want to work on is consistency. I feel like in my career thus far I have had some pretty good stretches followed by some times where I struggled. I know, from an organizational standpoint, for guys to move, they want to see consistent results day in and day out; therefore, my goal for this season is to be more consistent. I am excited to get the season started. I have put a lot of work in during the offseason and spring training to get to this point. Now is the time to put all that time and effort to use and play the game I love. And as always, I am thankful to still have the opportunity to chase my dream!
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Seth Frankoff was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Since being drafted by the A’s in the 27th round of the 2010 draft, he has seen time in the Arizona League, the Northwest League, the NY-Penn League and the Midwest League, and this season, he’ll be making his debut in the California League. We look forward to having Seth keep us posted throughout the season on how life is going down on the farm for him, his wife, his dog, and the Stockton Ports! You can follow him on Twitter @frankoff34