Month: April 2017

Saturday, April 22nd: Beloit Wins behind Nowlin’s Big Bat while Sonny Gray Impresses in Rehab Start for Stockton

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Designated Hitter Kyle Nowlin (Home Run / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Designated Hitter Kyle Nowlin (Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Burlington Bees    3

Beloit Snappers  8

WP – Altamirano 1-1 / 1.54

HR – Mercedes (4), Nowlin (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Kyle Nowlin

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

With two men on and his team down by a run in the bottom of the 5th inning, designated hitter Kyle Nowlin stepped to the plate and slugged a 3-run homer to provide the margin of victory for the Snappers on Saturday. Center fielder JaVon Shelby doubled in a run in the previous at-bat to bring Beloit within a run, while left fielder Luke Persico doubled in 3 runs in the 8th, and first baseman Miguel Mercedes hit his team-leading 4th home run in the 2nd. After three rocky outings, starter Matt Milburn was outstanding for the Snappers on Saturday. The 23-year-old allowed just 2 hits over 4 scoreless innings, and he left the game with a 1-run lead. A string of errors by third baseman Eric Marinez, center fielder Shelby and shortstop Edwin Diaz allowed 3 unearned runs to score off of RHP Xavier Altamirano in the top of the 5th inning, but he still picked up the win after Beloit took back the lead in the bottom of the 5th, and RHP Brandon Bailey threw 3 scoreless innings in relief to hold Burlington in check as the Snappers snapped their 3-game skid on Saturday.

Click here for a complete report on Sonny Gray’s Rehab Start in Stockton…  

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Sonny Gray Back on Track in Impressive Rehab Start for Stockton

by Josh Moore / A’s Farm Stockton Correspondent

Saturday night with Sonny Gray in Stockton. Photo: Meghan Camino (https://meghanlaurelphotography.pixieset.com)

Saturday night with Sonny Gray in Stockton. Photo: Meghan Camino

It should come as no surprise that Sonny Gray’s first official minor league rehab start on Saturday attracted a lot of curious and concerned onlookers in Stockton. Among those in attendance at the nearly sold-out Banner Island Ballpark were A’s pitching coach Curt Young, bullpen coach Scott Emerson and hitting coach Darren Bush.

Five days before Saturday night’s appearance in Stockton, Gray made a decidedly more low-key return to the mound when he threw 3 innings in an extended spring training game in Arizona on Monday, which we detailed here. Prior to that, he’d been sidelined due to a lat strain suffered in a March 7th spring training appearance that saw him surrender 5 hits, 4 walks and 7 earned runs in just 2 innings of work.

On Saturday night in Stockton though, Gray looked incredibly sharp. He was originally scheduled for 4 innings or 65 pitches, whichever came first. Gray was so economical in his pitch count, however, that he was sent back out to complete a 5th inning of work. In all, he tallied 47 pitches – 34 of them strikes – while striking out 6 San Jose batters, walking none and allowing just 1 hit over 5 scoreless innings.

His form was fantastic and Gray looked extremely comfortable on the mound throughout the entire outing. Although Banner Island Ballpark’s speed gun can’t always be counted on, some scouts showed readings of 92-94 mph on his fastball, with it occasionally topping out as high as 95. Gray’s command was even more impressive though, as he found himself behind in counts just three times in the game – once with a 2-1 count and the other two times with 1-0 counts.

After striking out the side in the 2nd inning and tallying 4 strikeouts to San Jose’s first 6 batters, Gray faltered with location a bit in the 3rd frame. A fastball that caught too much of the plate was ripped to left field for a leadoff single by right fielder Christoph Bono. Although the first-base umpire later called Bono safe on a pickoff throw by Gray, his throw to first was on line and it appeared that he had picked off Bono. Later in the inning, another fastball caught too much of the plate and was lined to center field and would have landed for a single if not for an incredible catch by a diving Skye Bolt.

Gray went on to easily retire the side in order in both the 4th and 5th, barely breaking a sweat in either frame, and was eventually credited with the win after Stockton completed the 7-0 victory. A’s manager Bob Melvin announced on Sunday that Gray’s next appearance will be a 75-pitch outing for Nashville on Thursday. Following that, it’s yet to be decided whether he’ll need to make one more rehab start or if he’ll return to the Oakland rotation for his next outing. But if Saturday night’s performance was any indication, Sonny certainly appears confident and ready to go.

(Photo courtesy of Meghan Camino)

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Friday, April 21st: Shore Is Solid Again in Stockton Loss while Chalmers’ Wild Start Sinks Snappers, Hounds Fall in Slugfest & Power Outage Suspends Sounds

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Logan Shore (4 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Logan Shore (4 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

San Jose Giants   4

Stockton Ports    2

LP – Shore 0-1 / 2.81

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Logan Shore

(4 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

Stockton starter Angel Duno surrendered 2 runs on 5 hits over 3 innings of work and left the game with the Ports down by a run on Friday. RHP Joey Wagman pitched a perfect 4th before Duno’s tandem-pitching partner, RHP Logan Shore, took over in the top of the 5th, and last year’s 2nd-round draft pick for the A’s was solid once again. Shore threw 3 scoreless frames before allowing a run in the 8th. Unfortunately, since Stockton had tied the game, that proved to be the winning run and, while Shore ended up suffering his 1st loss, he allowed just 1 run and struck out 5 in 4 innings of relief on Friday. And the 22-year-old has now notched 17 strikeouts in 16 innings for Stockton so far this season. Third baseman Mikey White had 2 singles and drove in Stockton’s first run in the 2nd, while designated hitter Branden Cogswell had a pair of hits and brought home the tying run in the bottom of the 5th for the Ports. In other news, A’s starter Sonny Gray is set to make a rehab start for Stockton on Saturday night and, as an added bonus, it’ll also be Asparagus Night at the ballpark for the Ports!

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Thursday, April 20th: Barreto Notches 4 Hits for Nashville as All 4 A’s Affiliates Fall

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto (4 for 4 / Triple / RBI)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto (4 for 4 / Triple / RBI)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds          3

Oklahoma City Dodgers  4

LP – Brady 0-1 / 5.91

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Franklin Barreto

(4 for 4 / Triple / RBI)

On a day when all four A’s affiliates fell, Franklin Barreto put together an impressive night at the plate for Nashville, notching 4 hits, including an RBI triple that drove in the tying run for the Sounds. After starting off the season blazing hot, Barreto had fallen into a bit of a slump lately, going 1 for 16 with 9 strikeouts over his previous 4 games. But Barreto’s bat was back in business on Thursday, and the 21-year-old now leads the team in most major offensive categories, including hits, runs, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage. Mark Canha, getting the start in center field, singled in Barreto for the Sounds’ second run of the game, while second baseman Melvin Mercedes had a pair of singles and a walk and scored twice in the loss. RHP Corey Walter, making his first start for the Sounds, allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, while striking out 6 over 2 2/3 innings of work on Thursday. Barreto’s triple tied the game in the top of the 5th, but RHP Michael Brady surrendered the winning run in the bottom of the 5th to suffer his 1st loss for the Sounds. And with Nashville RHP Cesar Valdez joining Oakland to make the start for the A’s on Thursday night, catcher Bruce Maxwell was optioned back to the Sounds.

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Wednesday, April 19th: Puk & Biegalski Pitch Ports to Victory while Olson’s Big Bat Helps Sounds Win Again

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Boomer Biegalski (4 IP / 0 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Boomer Biegalski (4 IP / 0 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  5

Modesto Nuts     2

WP – Biegalski 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Brown (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Boomer Biegalski

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

The Ports won on Wednesday with the help of another outstanding performance by its pitching staff. Starter A.J. Puk, last year’s top draft pick for the A’s, was charged with 2 unearned runs on 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 7 over 4 innings of work. In the 3rd inning, Puk walked a pair of batters and uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. Then, with two outs, third baseman Mikey White had a ground ball kick off his glove that allowed both runners to score. It was White’s 5th error of the season. Outside the 3rd inning, the only other base runner that Puk allowed was the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 1st. And after the 3rd, the southpaw bounced back to strike out the side in order in the 4th. After Puk exited with the game a 2-2 tie, his new tandem-pitching partner, RHP Boomer Biegalski, took to the mound to make his first appearance for the Ports since being promoted from Beloit. And Biegalski couldn’t have been better in his debut. The 22-year-old was perfect over 4 no-hit innings, facing the minimum 12 batters without allowing a base runner to earn the win in his first stint for Stockton. Biegalski only allowed two balls to leave the infield, both fly outs to right fielder Seth Brown, while he induced seven infield ground outs and two infield pop outs to go along with his one strikeout to complete his impressive performance. RHP Carlos Navas got the final three outs of the game to pick up his 1st save of the season for Stockton. Seth Brown singled in a pair of runs to put the Ports on the board in the 3rd inning then followed up by slugging a solo shot in the 8th, while shortstop Eli White drove a 2-run double to center in the 7th to break the tie and provide the winning run for the Ports.

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Tuesday, April 18th: Neal’s Solid Start Helps Sounds Snap Skid while Ports Come up Short in Extras

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Zach Neal (5 2/3 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Zach Neal (5 2/3 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds          5

Oklahoma City Dodgers  3

WP – Neal 1-1 / 3.77

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Zach Neal

(5 2/3 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHP Zach Neal turned in a strong start for Nashville on Tuesday, allowing 2 runs while walking none and striking out 5 over 5 2/3 frames to earn his 1st win and help the Sounds snap their five-game skid. Despite surrendering a home run in the 9th, RHP Bobby Wahl got the final three outs to pick up his 2nd save. After scoring a total of just five runs over the last five games, Nashville managed to push five runs across the plate in Tuesday’s win. And it was the first time that Sounds’ batters had put more than four runs on the board since the third game of the season back on April 8. Right fielder Mark Canha had 2 hits and drove in 2 runs, while third baseman Renato Nunez notched a pair of singles for Nashville. First baseman Matt Olson walked and singled in his team’s first run in the 2nd inning, and shortstop Franklin Barreto drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and also stole a base for the Sounds. Meanwhile, with A’s starter Kendall Graveman on the disabled list, Nashville RHP Cesar Valdez is scheduled to join Oakland and make the start for the A’s on Thursday. RockHounds RHP Corey Walter is expected to be added to the Sounds roster to replace Valdez, and second baseman Joey Wendle is set to begin a rehab assignment with the Sounds on Wednesday as he returns from a right shoulder injury.

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Monday, April 17th: Murphy & Iriart Homer to Help Stockton Stage Comeback Win while Chalmers K’s 10 in Snappers’ 11-Inning Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Sean Murphy (3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Sean Murphy (3 for 4 / HR / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  12

Modesto Nuts       4

WP – Duno 2-0 / 2.25

HR – Murphy (3), Iriart (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Catcher Sean Murphy

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

After being down 4-0 heading into the 6th inning, Stockton came back to post a 12-4 win in Modesto on Monday as the Ports claimed the California League’s best record. Catcher Sean Murphy singled in the winning run in the 7th, hit a 2-run homer in the 8th, and also walked and scored a run in the 6th and doubled but was left stranded in the 4th. First baseman Chris Iriart belted a 3-run homer to tie the game in the 6th and doubled in a run in the 7th, while second baseman Josh Vidales collected 3 hits, including a double, and shortstop Eli White singled, doubled, walked twice and scored 3 times in the game. Center fielder Tyler Ramirez drove in 3 runs, and left fielder Brett Siddall singled twice and drove in a pair for the Ports. With a steady rain coming down in the 1st inning, starter Logan Shore surrendered 3 runs, but Shore settled in after that and ended up allowing 3 on 6 hits over 4 innings of work. His tandem-pitching partner, RHP Angel Duno, was solid in relief, giving the Ports a chance to come back and ultimately prevail. Duno allowed just 1 run over 4 innings and finished off his stint by retiring 11 straight batters to pick up the win as the Ports ran their record to 7-4. Meanwhile, Beloit RHP Boomer Biegalski was added to Stockton’s pitching staff on Monday, with RHP Daulton Jefferies landing on the disabled list.

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A’s Farm Report for Week of April 10-16: Barreto’s Up & Down, Chapman’s Out and Puk, Shore & Jefferies Are Tops

A’s top prospect Franklin Barreto

 

Well, it’s the start of a brand new minor league season, and there are already plenty of interesting storylines for A’s fans to follow. Franklin Barreto started off blazing hot but has cooled off considerably, as has his team, while Matt Chapman has been sidelined with a wrist injury, and Stockton’s top young pitching prospects have so far been living up to the hype.

You can always stay up to date on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system right here on Athletics Farm. A version of this weekly minor league report originally appeared on Athletics Nation

 

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

Sonny Gray Returns to the Mound in Arizona

by Joseph Hartsock / A’s Farm Arizona Correspondent

sghi-res-162663960_display_image2Today, I had the opportunity to watch Sonny Gray pitch in an extended spring training game against the Angels at the A’s minor league complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, Arizona. The 27-year-old Gray suffered a lat stain during spring training and, after being shut down, is now making progress in trying to get back to Oakland. Today, Gray was limited to three innings and about 15 pitches per inning, giving the A’s the ability to closely control and monitor his rehab. Gray had a rough first inning but seemed to calm down in the following two innings, and I believe it ended up being a great outing for a rehab start.

In the first inning, Gray was rocked for a home run by the Angels’ leadoff batter. The left-handed hitter seemed to be seeing the ball well out of Gray’s hand and was able to take the count full with a loud foul ball down the right-field line before hitting his solo shot to right-center field. The second batter saw seven pitches in his at-bat, mostly fastballs. This batter was overmatched by Gray and fouled off a few before ultimately striking out. Gray looked a little rough in the first inning. Sonny didn’t locate his fastball well, missing both high and low on some of his pitches. And because the A’s coaching staff was controlling his outing, they called the inning after facing only two batters.

The second inning went much more smoothly for Gray. He placed the ball well and mixed his pitches better, utilizing his fastball, changeup, slider and curve. In the inning, he didn’t allow a baserunner, struck out the first batter on three pitches and had the other two ground out to the infield. Even without a runner on base, Gray pitched from the stretch while facing the final batter of the inning and continued to maintain his smooth inning.

In Sonny’s third and final inning, he showed some of his athleticism when he came off the mound during a close play at first, calming some of my worries about his injury. The first batter Gray faced chopped a ball toward the second baseman. It wasn’t hit very hard and, with the second baseman playing back, Gray had to come off the mound make the play to his left. And with the first baseman rushing in, Gray had to race to first for the out. The next batter pushed a good breaking pitch to shallow right field to get on base. With a speedy runner now on first, Gray attempted to pick off the runner three times and nearly had the runner twice. I believe one was a bad call and the runner should have been called out. Gray walked his final batter of the day, and this was the same leadoff hitter who took him deep to start the game.

After the first inning, Gray looked great, mixing his pitches and over-matching most of the hitters. Besides the leadoff batter in the first inning, there were no solid hits off Gray, and he seemed to be calm and confident on the mound. Although the competition was nothing compared to big league hitters, it was a great step forward in his rehab.

After his outing, I was able to speak to Gray before he returned to the clubhouse. I asked him how he felt, and he said, “I feel great. It’s been eight months since I pitched in a game, so it felt great to be back out there.” He went on to talk about calming down in the second inning and continued to say how great it felt to be pitching in a game, while flashing a big smile on his face. Gray also told me that he would be heading to Stockton to pitch this Saturday and, if all goes well, he could be back with the big-league club in 11 days.

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Sunday, April 16th: Sportman’s 3-Hit Day Helps Hounds Win while Sounds Drop 5th Straight

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter J.P. Sportman (3 for 5 / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter J.P. Sportman (3 for 5 / 3 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  9

Springfield Cardinals     4

WP – Holmes 1-1 / 4.76

HR – Marincov (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter J.P. Sportman

(3 for 5 / 3 RBIs)

After dropping their final two games at Tulsa, the RockHounds were able to put a win on the board in their first game at Springfield on Sunday. Designated hitter J.P. Sportman led the attack with 3 hits and 3 RBIs in the game and currently leads the team in both those categories. Sportman singled in Midland’s first run in the 3rd inning and later singled in 2 more runs for the RockHounds in the 8th. Center fielder B.J. Boyd doubled twice and drove in a pair in his return to action after missing three games due to food poisoning, while right fielder Tyler Marincov singled and homered for the Hounds. Starter James Naile allowed 2 runs over 4 innings of work, while his tandem-pitching partner, RHP Grant Holmes, gave up 2 runs and struck out 6 in 3 2/3 innings of relief to pick up the win. RHP Sam Bragg got the final four outs to earn the save on Sunday. And with Chad Pinder’s promotion to Oakland from Nashville, Midland infielder Melvin Mercedes was reassigned to the Sounds, and infielder Jean Carlo Rodriguez was added to the Rockhounds roster.

Click here for more on Nashville…

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