Month: July 2014

Catching Up With: Oakland A’s Catcher Stephen Vogt

svstephenvogtoaklandathleticsvminnesota5tni_depo0cl2Stephen Vogt didn’t get his first taste of life in the majors until the age of 27, when he made it into 18 games for Tampa Bay. The A’s acquired him at the start of last season and called him up to the big club from Sacramento midway through the year. And with John Jaso sidelined through much of the second half, Vogt played a pivotal role in the A’s pennant run.

Many were disappointed when he started the 2014 season back at Sacramento, including Vogt himself. But after a couple of months, he found his way back to the big leagues and Vogt has once again found himself in the middle of the action in Oakland. We had the chance to catch up with him in the A’s clubhouse during the Bay Bridge series just before the A’s were about to win their sixth straight…

 

AF:  You seem to have a knack for coming through and getting a big hit when it counts. Do you look forward to hitting in those pressure situations?

SV:  I think that’s the dream of any hitter. You want to be hitting with the game on line, you want to be hitting with people in scoring position with two outs, you want to be in those pressure at-bats. That’s when you drive in runs, that’s when it’s fun. I wouldn’t say I’m any different than anybody else. But I love those situations. I tend to relax in those situations. Being a catcher, I know, as a catcher, you’re nervous, pitchers are nervous. So you’ve just got to be patient and wait for a mistake.

AF:  Do you feel that your defense as a catcher has improved or evolved over the past couple seasons since you’ve been with the A’s?

SV:  Absolutely. I think just getting traded over here last year and being a catcher for a full season, doing something every day is the best way to get better at something. So, for the first time in my career, I was given the opportunity to catch every day. And so my defense has definitely gotten better because of that…Up until that point, I had never been given the chance to catch every day. But getting that full year of experience catching has really helped me take my defense behind the plate to another level.

AF:  Well, you’ve been back playing a number of different positions again lately. How comfortable are you playing other positions at this point and how much time does it take you to acclimate to playing in other spots?

SV:  Yeah, it takes time. But I feel like I’m right back to where I was a couple years ago when I was playing outfield, first and catching every week. So I feel comfortable. Am I as good as some of these other outfielders up here? No. Am I as good as some of the other first basemen up here? No. But I feel like I’m adequate and serviceable in the outfield or at first. And I feel like I’m going to make the routines plays, but I’m not going to be climbing any walls or doing anything that these guys can do.

AF:  Now I wanted to ask you about a couple of pitchers. You started last year with Sonny Gray at Sacramento and ended the year catching him in the playoffs, and now you’re here with him again this year. How have you seen his evolution as a pitcher since you first saw him at Sacramento?

sv51ce58484676a.preview-620bSV:  Over the last year, Sonny’s learned how to pitch. And I think sometimes back in Sacramento, he could still just throw and get away with it. But ever since the playoffs and down the stretch last year and this year, he’s pitching. He’s commanding his fastball better, he’s throwing his breaking ball better, he’s throwing his changeup better. He’s just overall a lot better pitcher now as opposed to last year when I first caught him – he was still kind of a thrower.

AF:  You were also catching Jesse Chavez last year at Sacramento, and you’ve seen him go to being a bullpen guy last year and now to a starter this year. Can you tell me a little bit about the evolution you’ve seen with him?

SV:  I don’t think there’s been much of an evolution to be honest. Last year in Sacramento, as a starter, he was dominant. He was doing what he’s doing this year…so for him to do what he’s doing now, it’s not a surprise to me. I’ve seen him do that before…He does have starter stuff, and so he’s able to do it, and I saw that last year in Sacramento.

AF:  So now that you’ve been back up with the big club for a little while and have had the chance to see the team compete, just how good is this team?

SV:  I don’t know if I can say how good we are – but it’s fun. It’s a different feel every night. It’s 25 or 30 or however many guys we’ve had up here so far this year who all we care about is winning. It doesn’t matter who gets the big hit, who gets the last out, who gets the hold, who gets the save, who gets the win, as long as we’re shaking hands at the end of the game. There’s a lot of talent in this room, but there’s no superstars – and I think that’s what makes this team so special. Donaldson, Cespedes, Moss are having just monster years for us in the middle of the order and they’re carrying us offensively, but there are different guys stepping up every night. And I think that’s the testament of a true team. If I don’t get the job done, somebody right behind me is going to get it done. Everybody has that belief that the guy behind you is going to get it done if you don’t…and I think that’s just the mark of a good team. We all trust each other and believe in each other, and it’s a fun atmosphere to be a part of.

AF:  And finally, when you started the first couple months of the season at Sacramento, how much did you miss being around these guys here in Oakland?

SV:  A ton. I mean, I love Sacramento and I love the guys down there – the coaching staff is great. But going to the playoffs with this team last year and just feeling like you’re a part of the team…I just missed the guys, I missed the atmosphere, I missed the people. And to be back, it’s really good.

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our weekly A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Tuesday, July 15th: Max Muncy Slugs Second Grand Slam in Two Days To Help Hounds Win

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Max Muncy (Grand Slam)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Max Muncy (Grand Slam)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  6

Corpus Christi Hooks      3

WP – Murphy 4-0 / 2.97

HR – Muncy (5), Coleman (9)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Max Muncy

(Grand Slam)

First baseman Max Muncy slugged a grand slam for the second straight night to help the Hounds notch their 11th win in their last 12 games on Tuesday. Shortstop Dusty Coleman hit his 9th home run, while second baseman Hiro Nakajima had 2 hits, stole a base and drove in a run, and outfielders Billy Burns and Conner Crumbliss had a pair of hits apiece. Starter Sean Murphy had another solid outing for Midland, allowing 2 runs while striking out 5 over 6 innings to earn his 4th win, while RHP Ryan Dull tossed 2 scoreless innings and RHP Jose Flores gave up a run in 1 inning of relief for the RockHounds.

 

Wednesday’s Games:

Midland @ Corpus Christi – 5:10pm PT / 7:10pm CT

Stockton @ High Desert – 7:05pm PT

Dayton @ Beloit – 5:00pm PT / 7:00pm CT

State College @ Vermont – 4:05pm PT / 7:05pm ET

AZL A’s @ AZL Giants – 7:00pm PT

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our weekly A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Monday, July 14th: A’s Outfielder Josh Reddick Goes 4 for 4 and Homers in Ports Victory while Max Muncy’s Grand Slam Helps Hounds Win

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Josh Reddick (4 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Josh Reddick (4 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

San Jose Giants    1

Stockton Ports  11

WP – Sanchez 4-0 / 2.81

HR – Olson (26), Reddick (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Josh Reddick

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

A’s outfielder Josh Reddick looked mighty healthy in the first game of his rehab assignment with Stockton on Monday. Reddick collected 4 hits, homering in the 1st inning, doubling in the 2nd and posting a pair of singles, while driving in 3 runs for the Ports. First baseman Matt Olson smashed his league-leading 26th home run, while shortstop Daniel Robertson had 4 hits and drove in a run, and designated hitter Ryon Healy had 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a pair. Starter Jake Sanchez allowed just 1 run and struck out 8 over 6 innings to earn his 4th win, while LHP Omar Duran and RHPs Nolan Sanburn and Austin House each tossed a scoreless inning in relief. House was reassigned to Stockton from Sacramento earlier in the day, while infielder Chad Pinder was activated off the disabled list and outfielder Aaron Shipman was placed on the DL for the Ports.

Click here for more on Midland, Beloit & Vermont…

Sunday, July 13th: Zach Neal Solid in Cats Loss as A’s Option Drew Pomeranz to Sacramento and Billy Burns Snatches 44th Base for Midland

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Zach Neal (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Zach Neal (6 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Reno Aces                          2

Sacramento River Cats  1

LP – Neal 2-5 / 4.80

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Zach Neal

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

With the A’s top five affiliates all losing on Sunday, RHP Zach Neal turned in the top performance of the day for the River Cats. Neal had a solid outing for Sacramento, allowing 2 runs while striking out 4 over 6 innings of work, but he still ended up taking the loss. Designated hitter Daric Barton had 2 hits and drove in the River Cats’ only run of the game, while shortstop Jake Elmore had a pair of hits, walked and stole a base, and catcher Ryan Ortiz and second baseman Jose Martinez both singled and walked in the loss. With infielder Andy Parrino recalled by the A’s, infielder Colin Walsh was reassigned to the River Cats from Stockton. The A’s also optioned LHP Drew Pomeranz to Sacramento, where he’ll now join LHP Tommy Milone and RHPs Arnold Leon, Matt Buschmann and Zach Neal in the River Cats rotation.

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

Saturday, July 12th: Drew Pomeranz Impresses in Rehab Start for River Cats while Hiro Nakajima Homers in Hounds Win and Andy Parrino Rejoins A’s Roster

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Drew Pomeranz (4 IP / 1 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Drew Pomeranz (4 IP / 1 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Reno Aces                          3

Sacramento River Cats  4

WP – Buschmann 6-4 / 4.46

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Drew Pomeranz

(4 IP / 1 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

LHP Drew Pomeranz was impressive in his rehab start for the River Cats on Saturday, allowing just 1 hit, a home run in the 2nd inning, while walking none and striking out 7 over 4 innings of work. RHP Matt Buschmann gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, in 4 innings of relief to pick up the win, while RHP Jeremy McBryde tossed a scoreless 9th for his 8th save. Third baseman Alden Carrithers had 2 doubles and drove in a run, while left fielder Shane Peterson walked and doubled in a pair, and center fielder Kenny Wilson singled, walked, stole a base and scored a run for the River Cats. With Oakland infielder Alberto Callaspo landing on the disabled list, River Cats infielder Andy Parrino was recalled by the A’s on Saturday.

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

Friday, July 11th: Jefry Marte Helps Hounds Win in a Walk-Off while Jake Elmore’s Decisive Double Keys Cats Victory and Dillon Overton Impresses Again in Arizona

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Jefry Marte (2 for 5 / 2 RBIs / GWRBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Jefry Marte (2 for 5 / 2 RBIs / GWRBI)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions     2

Midland RockHounds  3

WP – Flores 1-1 / 3.60

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Jefry Marte

(2 for 5 / 2 RBIs / GWRBI)

After delivering the game-winning RBI to give the RockHounds the walk-off win on Thursday, third baseman Jefry Marte did again, singling in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th to give the Hounds their second straight walk-off win on Friday. Marte also singled in Midland’s first run of the game in the 1st inning. Starter Nate Long allowed just 1 run over 6 1/3 innings of work, while RHP Jose Flores tossed a scoreless 10th to pick up his 1st win for the RockHounds.

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

Thursday, July 10th: Renato Nunez’s Grand Slam and a Rare Triple Play Help Ports Win while Arnold Leon K’s 13 in Cats Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Designated Hitter Renato Nunez (Grand Slam)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Designated Hitter Renato Nunez (Grand Slam)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts       2

Stockton Ports  7

WP – Bowman 2-6 / 5.58

HR – Nunez (21), Healy (11)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Renato Nunez

(Grand Slam)

Designated hitter Renato Nunez had the big blast for Stockton on Thursday night, slugging his second grand slam this week in the bottom of the 1st to overcome a 2-0 deficit and give the Ports a lead that would not be lost for the rest of the evening. The home run was Nunez’s 21st, which puts him only behind teammate Matt Olson, who has 25, in the California League home run race. Third baseman Ryon Healy hit his 11th homer as well as his 21st double. And with two men on and no outs in the top of the 4th, Healy also started a rare triple play for the Ports, getting the first out at third before tossing on to Colin Walsh who got the out at second before relaying it on to Matt Olson for the final out at first. Starter Josh Bowman gave up a home run on the first pitch of the ballgame and allowed a second run in the top of the 1st as well. But after that, he tossed 5 shutout innings and ended up allowing 2 runs and striking out 5 over 6 innings to earn his 2nd win. RHP Andres Avila struck out 4 in 2 perfect innings of relief, while RHP Kris Hall pitched a perfect 9th for the Ports. Meanwhile, catcher Ryan Lipkin was activated off the disabled list for Sacramento and reassigned to Stockton while catcher Bruce Maxwell leaves the team for a couple of days to tend to a family emergency. And it looks likely that RHP Tim Atherton will land on the disabled list with a quadriceps issue, but no official announcement has yet been made.

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

Wednesday, July 9th: Matt Olson’s 25th HR & 4 RBIs Help Ports Win while Cats Come Out Victorious in Tommy Milone’s First Start

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (HR / Double / 4 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts      3

Stockton Ports  5

WP – Sanchez 3-0 / 3.12

HR – Olson (25), Walsh (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

Slugger Matt Olson carried the day for Stockton on Wednesday night. The big first baseman drove a bases-clearing double off the wall to break a 1-1 tie in the 4th. Then, after Modesto had crept back within a run, he laced his league-leading 25th home run over the right-field wall in the 7th. Second baseman Colin Walsh, who just returned to Stockton from Sacramento, hit his 1st home run for the Ports in the 1st, while shortstop Daniel Robertson singled, walked and scored a run, and catcher Bruce Maxwell had a pair of hits for the Ports. Starter Jake Sanchez allowed 3 runs and struck out 5 over 6 innings to earn his 3rd win on Wednesday. RHP Rodolfo Fernandez, who was recently acquired from the Brewers, tossed 2 scoreless innings in his Ports debut, while RHP Nolan Sanburn got the final three outs for his 5th save. And in other news, outfielder Chad Oberacker was reassigned to Stockton from Midland.

Click here for more on Sacramento, Midland, Beloit & Vermont…

Tuesday, July 8th: Jaycob Brugman’s Big Bat Helps Ports Win in a Walk-Off while Ryan Mathews’ Grand Slam Assures Snappers’ Victory

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts      4

Stockton Ports  5

WP – Ynoa 4-2 / 6.61

HR – Brugman (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman

(3 fo 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman had a big night in his second game since being promoted to the Ports. Brugman doubled in Stockton’s first run in the 3rd, homered in the 8th to bring the Ports within a run, then singled in the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the 9th to give his new team the walk-off win on Tuesday. Shortstop Daniel Robertson had a pair of doubles, while Matt Olson went 1 for 3 with a walk in his first start in right field. Seth Streich had a rare shaky start for Stockton, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits over 5 innings of work, while RHP Jonathan Joseph struck out 4 in 2 perfect innings of relief, and RHP Michael Ynoa tossed a scoreless 8th and 9th to pick up his 4th win for the Ports. Meanwhile, infielder Colin Walsh was once again sent from Sacramento to Stockton on Tuesday.

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

Monday, July 7th: Renato Nunez Hits Pair of HRs to Help Stockton Win while Ports’ Powell Gets Suspension

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Renato Nunez (2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Renato Nunez (2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports   7

San Jose Giants   0

WP – Castillo 1-2 / 9.00

HR – Nunez 2 (20)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Renato Nunez

(2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

Third Baseman Renato Nunez pretty much took care of things single-handedly for Stockton on Monday night. The 20-year-old hit a 2-run homer to put the Ports on the board in the top of the 1st and then followed that up by slugging a grand slam in the 7th. Outfielder Aaron Shipman doubled, while designated hitter Matt Olson walked 3 times and scored twice, and outfielder Jaycob Brugman went 1 for 4 and scored a run in his Stockton debut. Starter Yeiper Castillo turned in his first solid outing for the Ports, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win. Brugman joined the Stockton outfield from Beloit after Billy McKinney was traded and Herschel “Boog” Powell was suspended. Powell was banned for 50 games after testing positive for a banned amphetamine. RHP Tim Atherton returned to the Ports after making an emergency start for Sacramento this weekend, and RHP Rodolfo Fernandez was assigned to Stockton after being acquired from the Brewers on Monday.

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

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