A’s Farm Report for Week of April 18-24: Pitching Prospects in the Spotlight

Sean Manaea

Nashville Sounds LHP Sean Manaea

 

Last week, we took a look at the minor league system’s position players. So this week, we’re going to examine the system’s pitching prospects. We’ll be running down the starting rotations for all four affiliates as well as taking a look at who’s been on the bump in the bullpen. A version of this weekly minor league report by Athletics Farm originally appeared on Athletics Nation

 

Click here for this week’s update on Nashville, Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

 

SEASON’S TOP PERFORMERS:

(through games of 4/24/16)

RHP Xavier Altamirano (Beloit – A)

(12 2/3 IP / 9 H / 1 ER / 4 BB / 7 K / 0.71 ERA / 1.03 WHIP)

RHP Daniel Mengden (Midland – AA)

(18 IP / 9 H / 2 ER / 9 BB / 20 K / 1.00 ERA / 1.00 WHIP)

LHP Evan Manarino (Beloit – A)

(17 1/3 IP / 13 H / 2 ER / 2 BB / 15 K / 1.04 ERA / 0.87 WHIP)

LHP Zack Erwin (Stockton – A+)

(14 2/3 IP / 14 H / 2 ER / 6 BB / 13 K / 1.23 ERA / 1.36 WHIP)

LHP Sean Manaea (Nashville – AAA)

(18 IP / 16 H / 3 ER / 4 BB / 21 K / 1.50 ERA / 1.11 WHIP)

RHP Jesse Hahn (Nashville – AAA)

(17 2/3 IP / 16 H / 4 ER / 9 BB / 13 K / 2.04 ERA / 1.42 WHIP)

RHP Kyle Friedrichs (Beloit – A)

(21 2/3 IP / 22 H / 5 ER / 3 BB / 13 K / 2.08 ERA / 1.15 WHIP)

RHP Angel Duno (Beloit – A)

(17 1/3 IP / 16 H / 4 ER / 0 BB / 17 K / 2.08 ERA / 0.92 WHIP)

RHP Heath Fillmyer (Stockton – A+)

(17 IP / 16 H / 4 ER / 4 BB / 9 K / 2.12 ERA / 1.18 WHIP)

RHP Ryan Brasier (Nashville – AAA)

(7 1/3 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 8 K / 0.00 ERA / 1.09 WHIP)

RHP Ryan Doolittle (Midland – AA)

(6 1/3 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.47 WHIP)

LHP Daniel Coulombe (Nashville – AAA)

(9 1/3 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 9 K / 0.96 ERA / 0.43 WHIP)

 

NASHVILLE SOUNDS

Pacific Coast League – Triple-A

Starting Pitchers:

Sean Manaea, Dillon Overton, Jesse Hahn, Chris Smith, Zach Neal

Relief Pitchers:

Angel Castro, Ryan Brasier, J.B. Wendelken, Tucker Healy, Andrew Triggs, Eduard Santos, Daniel Coulombe, Patrick Schuster

Two of the A’s top pitching prospects, southpaws Sean Manaea and Dillon Overton, have headlined the Sounds starting rotation this season. They’ve been joined by former A’s starter Jesse Hahn, along with minor league veteran and free agent signee Chris Smith and RHP Zach Neal, who started 20 games for Nashville last season. Manaea and Overton have both been solid for the Sounds. Manaea has posted a nifty 1.50 ERA while striking out 21 in 18 innings over his first 3 starts, and Overton has put up a 2.81 ERA while notching 15 strikeouts in 16 innings over 3 starts. Hahn allowed no runs in his first 2 starts for Nashville but has been a little shaky in 2 abbreviated starts since. Smith has struggled with a 7.65 ERA and 3 losses after 4 starts. Neal was originally set to start the season in the Sounds bullpen. But Felix Doubront’s injury and Eric Surkamp’s subsequent promotion to the A’s pushed Neal back into the starting rotation, where he’s fared reasonably well, posting a 3.52 ERA in 3 starts. Only one member of the Sounds bullpen spent any significant time with the team last season, 33-year-old veteran Angel Castro (the oldest member of the relief corps), who’s struggled with a 10.57 ERA in 7 relief appearances. Another veteran, 28-year-old Ryan Brasier who’s returning from Tommy John surgery after seeing some time with the Angels during the 2013 season, hasn’t allowed a run in his first 6 appearances. 26-year-old lefty Daniel Coulombe has also been solid, allowing just 1 earned run and striking out 9 over 9 1/3 innings. The youngest member of the bullpen, 23-year-old J.B. Wendelken, has allowed 1 run and struck out 10 in 7 innings of work. They’ve been joined in the bullpen this season by RHP Tucker Healy, waiver claim and Nashville native Andrew Triggs, as well as free agent righty Eduard Santos and free agent lefty Patrick Schuster.

 

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

Texas League – Double-A

Starting Pitchers:

Chris Jensen, Daniel Mengden, Dylan Covey, Raul Alcantara, Joel Seddon

Relief Pitchers:

Sam Bragg, Jake Sanchez, Ryan Doolittle, Andres Avila, Kris Hall, Aaron Kurcz, Corey Walter, Trey Cochran-Gill, Bobby Wahl

RHP Chris Jensen is spending his third season in the RockHounds starting rotation this year. He’s been joined by four fellow righties who spent most of last season at Stockton. Daniel Mengden, who was acquired from the Astros last summer in the Scott Kazmir trade, has been the Hounds top starter, allowing just 2 runs while striking out 20 in 18 innings over 3 starts. Former 1st-round draft pick for the Brewers in 2010, Dylan Covey, has put up a 2.45 ERA after 3 starts, while 23-year-old Raul Alcantara, two years removed from Tommy John surgery, has a 5.14 ERA but has struck out 16 in 14 innings over 3 starts. Joel Seddon has struggled with a 17.69 ERA after 3 games. Seddon and Sam Bragg were originally set to be tandem starters to start the season, but Bragg fared so badly in his first 2 games, surrendering 14 earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings, that he’s been shifted back to the bullpen. He’s been joined there by former starter Jake Sanchez, along with a veteran minor leaguer with a familiar name, 28-year-old Ryan Doolittle. And Doolittle’s been getting the job done for the Hounds – he’s yet to allow a walk or a run in his first 5 appearances. Along with Doolittle, RHPs Andres Avila and Kris Hall have also returned from last year’s RockHounds squad. RHP Aaron Kurcz joined the team after spending time last season with Nashville, while RHP Corey Walter made the move up from Stockton after putting in a solid year in the Ports pen last season. RHP Trey Cochran-Gill joined the RockHounds after coming over from Seattle in the Evan Scribner deal, and RHP Bobby Wahl started the season in Stockton but was moved up to Midland just a week and a half into the season.

 

STOCKTON PORTS

California League – High-A

Starting Pitchers:

Daniel Gossett, Brett Graves, Heath Fillmyer, Zack Erwin, Casey Meisner, Henderson Alvarez (rehab)

Relief Pitchers:

Kyle Finnegan, Lou Trivino, Joey Wagman, Matt Stalcup, Carlos Navas, Rob Huber, Koby Gauna, Ben Bracewell

A trio of top picks from the 2014 draft who spent last year at Beloit were bumped up to anchor Stockton’s starting rotation this season – 2nd-rounder Daniel Gossett, 3rd-rounder Brett Graves and 5th-rounder Heath Fillmyer. They’ve been joined by 2015 4th-rounder Zack Erwin, acquired from the White Sox in the Brett Lawrie deal, and 2013 3rd-rounder Casey Meisner, who was acquired last summer in the Tyler Clippard trade with the Mets. The only returning Port and the youngest member of Stockton’s rotation, the 21-year-old Meisner has struggled a bit with his command, walking 10 in just 15 innings of work while posting a 4.80 ERA over his first 3 starts, while Graves has gotten off to a rough start with an ERA of 7.11 after his first 4 games. Meanwhile, the lefty Erwin has allowed just 2 earned runs over his first 3 starts, and Fillmyer has posted a 2.12 ERA after 3 appearances. Gossett has notched 26 strikeouts in 19 innings while putting up a 3.32 ERA in 4 starts. But he exited his Saturday start early after experiencing some shoulder discomfort. The issue appears to be with Gossett’s trapezius muscle, not his arm. He was still sore but feeling better on Sunday and the team is currently considering treatment options. Gossett hasn’t been placed on the disabled list at this point and his status is currently considered to be day-to-day. And speaking of injured starters, RHP Henderson Alvarez made his first rehab start for Stockton on Wednesday, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits while walking none and striking out 1 over 3 innings of work. Alvarez threw a total of 30 pitches, 21 of them for strikes. A number of former starting pitchers have been shifted to Stockton’s bullpen this season, including Kyle Finnegan, Lou Trivino, Joey Wagman and Matt Stalcup. The 24-year-old Finnegan has fared the best, striking out 12 in 8 2/3 innings while putting up a 2.08 ERA over 5 appearances. 23-year-old Venezuelan RHP Carlos Navas has been Stockton’s most solid reliever, posting a 1.69 ERA and striking out 13 over 10 2/3 innings. Meanwhile, two transplants from Beloit’s bullpen have struggled so far this season. RHP Rob Huber has put up a 4.66 ERA in 5 appearances, while RHP Koby Gauna has posted a 5.63 ERA while walking 9 in just 8 innings of work. And despite pitching well for the Ports last season, RHP Ben Bracewell has also struggled, surrendering 7 earned runs in just 5 innings for Stockton.

 

BELOIT SNAPPERS

Midwest League – Class-A

Starting Pitchers:

Kyle Friedrichs/Dustin Driver, Boomer Biegalski/Xavier Altamirano, James Naile/Evan Manarino, Angel Duno/Jesus Zambrano

Relief Pitchers:

Corey Miller, Cody Kurz, Armando Ruiz, Jared Lyons, Andrew Tomasovich

The most interesting thing about the Snappers pitching situation is that the A’s decided to institute a tandem pitching plan for the team’s starters this season. Beloit basically has 8 starting pitchers, who work in teams of 2, with each duo appearing in every fourth game. The first time through, one of the pitchers will make the start with the other relieving, and the second time through, the other pitcher will make the start with the other relieving. The Snappers starting pitching tandems are comprised of Kyle Friedrichs/Dustin Driver, Boomer Biegalski/Xavier Altamirano, James Naile/Evan Manarino and Angel Duno/Jesus Zambrano. And many of the starters have fared well under this system. Altamirano has allowed just 1 earned run over his first 4 appearances, while Manarino has put up a 1.04 ERA and struck out 15 in 17 1/3 innings of work. Friedrichs has posted a 2.08 ERA over 5 appearances, and Duno has struck out 17 while walking none over 17 1/3 innings. Driver has struggled with his command, walking 15 in just 11 1/3 innings, and he exited Sunday’s game early with elbow pain after grabbing his arm following a wild pitch with one out in the bottom of the 5th. And the 21-year-old is set to be evaluated by the A’s medical staff to determine the extent of his injury. Beloit’s bullpen consists of righties Corey Miller, Cody Kurz and Armando Ruiz and lefties Jared Lyons and Andrew Tomasovich. Lyons has failed to allow a run in his first 5 innings, while Miller has posted a 1.59 ERA in 4 appearances, and Kurz has allowed just 1 hit and struck out 6 over 5 innings of work for the Snappers.

 

SIDELINED PITCHERS:

Jarrod Parker, R.J. Alvarez, Tanner Peters, Rodolfo Fernandez, Ryan Gorton, Kevin Johnson, Chris Kohler, Kevin Duchene, Brandon Mann (suspended), Sean Murphy (suspended).

 

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1 comment for “A’s Farm Report for Week of April 18-24: Pitching Prospects in the Spotlight

  1. April 26, 2016 at 9:05 am

    I’ve been complaining about the fact that he needs to make his debut. We’ve been treading water and now is the time to see what the youngsters are made of.

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