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…
SEASON’S TOP PERFORMERS:
(through games of 4/16/17)
OF Brett Vertigan (Midland – AA)
(27 AB / 0 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .407 AVG / .484 OBP / .593 SLG)
3B-SS Edwin Diaz (Beloit – A)
(31 AB / 3 HR / 3 BB / 10 K / .290 AVG / .353 OBP / .677 SLG)
OF B.J. Boyd (Midland – AA)
(27 AB / 0 HR / 2 BB / 3 K / .407 AVG / .448 OBP / .519 SLG)
2B Nate Mondou (Beloit – A)
(28 AB / 0 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .357 AVG / .424 OBP / .500 SLG)
SS-2B Franklin Barreto (Nashville – AAA)
(42 AB / 2 HR / 3 BB / 15 K / .310 AVG / .375 OBP / .524 SLG)
OF J.P. Sportman (Midland – AA)
(37 AB / 1 HR / 2 BB / 6 K / .351 AVG / .400 OBP / .459 SLG)
RHP Brett Graves (Stockton – A+)
(11 1/3 IP / 8 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 11 K / 0.79 ERA / 0.79 WHIP)
RHP Corey Walter (Midland – AA)
(11 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / 0.82 ERA / 0.64 WHIP)
LHP A.J. Puk (Stockton – A+)
(8 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 13 K / 1.13 ERA / 0.50 WHIP)
RHP Logan Shore (Stockton – A+)
(8 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 11 K / 1.13 ERA / 0.88 WHIP)
RHP Ben Bracewell (Midland – AA)
(7 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 4 BB / 5 K / 1.29 ERA / 1.29 WHIP)
RHP James Naile (Midland – AA)
(12 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 5 BB / 10 K / 1.50 ERA / 0.92 WHIP)
Pacific Coast League – Triple-A
After playing at a .500 clip over their first 6 games, the Sounds then lost 5 in a row to drop their record to 3-8. And over those 5 losses, the team managed to score a total of just 5 runs. Unfortunately, the pitching and defense hasn’t been particularly good for the Sounds so far this season either. Early in the season, three of the team’s top hitters were outfielder Jaff Decker (.472 OBP) and infielders Franklin Barreto (.524 SLG) and Chad Pinder (.324 AVG). Decker and Pinder have since been promoted by the A’s, and Barreto has cooled off a bit after a blazing start. After going 8 for 14 with 2 home runs and a triple in his first 3 games of the season, the 21-year-old has now gone 2 for 17 over his last 4 games. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway (.407 OBP) and outfielder Kenny Wilson (.346 AVG) have been two of the team’s other top hitters in the early going. And with catcher Bruce Maxwell joining the A’s on Monday, Lavarnway should soon be seeing a lot more time behind the plate. At the other end of the offensive spectrum, first baseman Matt Olson (.179 AVG) and third baseman Renato Nunez (.208 OBP) have yet to get on track so far this season. With Matt Chapman on the disabled list and Pinder on his way to Oakland, Olson got a rare start at third base on Saturday, and Nunez got an even rarer start at second base. Nunez was charged with an error in his first career start at second, and he’s already registered 4 miscues in his first 9 games at third. With Chapman sidelined, Nunez has yet to make an appearance in the outfield as planned; nor has Olson, who’s played exclusively at first base so far this season. And as far as Chapman goes, the A’s top draft pick in 2014 struck out in 6 of his 7 at-bats before landing on the disabled list with a sprained wrist. Replacing Decker on the Sounds roster, Mark Canha made his Nashville debut on Sunday and went 1 for 4 with a double while batting second and playing right field. And with Pinder joining the A’s, infielder Melvin Mercedes was reassigned from the RockHounds and drew a pair of walks while starting at second base in his first game for the Sounds on Sunday. Meanwhile on the mound, RHP Paul Blackburn has made 2 solid starts for the Sounds, putting up a 2.25 ERA while striking out 9 in 12 innings of work, but he’s still suffered 2 losses. RHP Cesar Valdez has posted a 2.70 ERA while walking none and striking out 12 in 10 innings over his first 2 starts. RHP Daniel Gossett had mixed results over his first 2 starts, allowing 4 earned runs while walking 6 and striking out 11 over his first 9 innings of work. RHP Simon Castro has been the Sounds most impressive reliever so far this season, allowing just 1 hit while striking out 9 in 5 1/3 innings of relief. RHP Bobby Wahl, who has the Sounds only save this season, has yet to allow a run in his first 4 appearances, though he has issued 3 walks in 4 innings of work.
Texas League – Double-A
After Sunday’s victory, the RockHounds’ winning percentage stood at an even .500. In the early going, Midland’s four rotating outfielders have been responsible for most of the damage being done at the plate. Center fielder Brett Vertigan (.407/.484/.593) and outfielder B.J. Boyd (.407/.448/.519) have been two of the team’s hottest hitters, but left fielder J.P. Sportman (.400 OBP) and right fielder Tyler Marincov (.486 SLG) have been very productive as well. James Harris, who was also expected to be a part of Midland’s outfield mix, passed out a couple of times during spring training, was set to undergo some testing and has yet to see any action outside of Arizona. As opposed to the outfield, the RockHounds’ infield has been decidedly less productive so far this season. After the first 10 games, 2015’s #1 draft pick for the A’s, shortstop Richie Martin, had put up a .176/.282/.324 slash line, while second baseman Max Schrock’s line stood at .220/.289/.220. Infielder Melvin Mercedes, who had been hitting .313, was reassigned to the Sounds on Sunday, and 21-year-old infielder Jean Carlo Rodriguez was added to the RockHounds’ roster. Yairo Munoz, who was expected to be spending a lot of time at third base for Midland this season, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury but is expected to be back before long. By and large, the RockHounds pitching staff has been a plus for the team so far this season. RHPs Corey Walter (0.82 ERA), Ben Bracewell (1.29 ERA) and James Naile (1.50 ERA) have been three of the team’s most effective hurlers in the early going. RHP Grant Holmes has surrendered 6 runs over his first 11 1/3 innings but has also registered 15 strikeouts for the RockHounds. RHP Jake Sanchez has been almost unhittable as the Hounds closer, allowing just 1 hit while walking none and striking out 8 in 4 1/3 innings of relief. RHP Kris Hall, who appeared in 27 games for the RockHounds last season, has been sidelined with arm issues, while RHP Trey Cochran-Gill, who was one of Midland’s top relief arms in 2016, had a tired arm and has been shut down for a bit but is expected to be back before long.
California League – High-A
After the team’s first 10 games, Stockton was sporting a record of 6-4 – currently the best among all A’s affiliates. And the main cause for the team’s success in the early going has been the Ports’ pitching staff. Returning to Stockton for his second season, RHP Brett Graves (11 1/3 IP/1 BB/11 K/0.79 ERA) has been outstanding. Meanwhile, the team’s trio of top draft picks have been impressive: A.J. Puk (8 IP/1 BB/13 K/1.13 ERA), Logan Shore (8 IP/1 BB/11 K/1.13 ERA), Daulton Jefferies (7 IP/1 BB/6 K/2.57 ERA). [UPDATE: Jefferies is reportedly headed to the disabled list with an arm injury.] LHP Evan Manarino (8 IP/1 BB/7 K/2.25 ERA) and RHP Angel Duno (8 IP/2 BB/7 K/2.25 ERA) have also been solid for Stockton. But RHP Casey Meisner has struggled on the mound, giving up 18 hits and 12 runs over his first 8 2/3 innings this season. RHP Nolan Blackwood has been solid out of the bullpen, failing to allow a run while posting a pair of saves over his first 3 appearances for the Ports. Oddly enough for Stockton, the Ports’ offensive production has been a little sluggish so far this season. Center fielder Skye Bolt (.304/.407/.435) had been the team’s top hitter, but he landed on the disabled list this weekend. Left fielder Tyler Ramirez (.410 OBP) and shortstop Eli White (.405 OBP) have both been doing a good job of getting on base, but third baseman Mikey White (.185/.267/.185) has continued his struggles at the plate, while first baseman Sandber Pimentel was activated off the disabled list on Saturday and went 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts in his first game back in action for Stockton.
Midwest League – Class-A
As of Sunday, the Snappers record stood at 4-6, but some of Beloit’s batters have been doing a solid job in the early going. Third baseman/shortstop Edwin Diaz (3 HR/.677 SLG) and first baseman Miguel Mercedes (3 HR/.561 SLG) have been the Snappers’ top sluggers, while second baseman Nate Mondou (.424 OBP) and right fielder Luis Barrera (.368 OBP) have been the team’s top on-base threats, and catcher Collin Theroux turned in an impressive 2-homer game for the Snappers on Friday. With center fielder Mike Martin on the disabled list with a quad injury, JaVon Shelby’s been getting most of the starts in center over the past week, and outfielder Luke Persico took Martin’s place on the roster. RHP Brendan Butler (12 IP/1 BB/16 K/2.25 ERA) has been Beloit’s best pitcher so far this season, but LHPs Ty Damron (11 2/3 IP/2 BB/12 K/2.31 ERA) and Dalton Sawyer (7 2/3 IP/4 BB/11 K/2.35 ERA) have looked strong as well. Back for his second season with the Snappers, RHP Boomer Biegalski (8 IP/2 BB/6 K/3.38 ERA) has been solid for Beloit, but he was just promoted to the Ports on Monday, and RHP Mitchell Jordan has since taken his spot on the Snappers’ roster.
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