by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
The Beloit Snappers split a four-game series this week with the Kane County Cougars, Arizona’s Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.
The teams were originally scheduled to play five games in three days in order to make up for two games that were rained out earlier in the year at Kane County. Unfortunately, rain was in the forecast yet again, forcing the teams to cancel one of the five games.
Kane County came into the series at the top of the Midwest League Western Division standings. The Cougars boast a well-balanced team with an especially strong bullpen. The Cougars also feature one of the premier hitters in the Midwest League, 20-year-old outfielder Marcus Wilson. And by the end of the series, Wilson was sporting an impressive .347/.446/.642 slash line to go along with 6 home runs on the season.
Game #1: Kane County 8 – Beloit 5
*The A’s 10th-round draft pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, struggled mightily to start the game. Jordan allowed a number of hard-hit balls, and a 7-run 1st inning put Beloit in a big hole early on.
*After giving up a total of 8 earned runs in the loss, Jordan’s ERA jumped from 1.08 to 4.58. His final line for the day read: 3 IP/10 H/8 ER/3 BB/4 K.
*First baseman Miguel Mercedes reached base in all three of his plate appearances and had the Snappers’ only extra-base hit of the game, a double to deep center field in the 4th inning.
Game #2: Kane County 11 – Beloit 3
*This game actually started on Monday night but was stopped after just seven minutes due to a heavy rainstorm and was resumed with just one out in the 1st inning on Tuesday.
*Last year’s 13th-round draft pick for the A’s, infielder Nate Mondou, hustled out of the box to stretch what would have been a single for most batters into an important two-out double in the bottom of the 1st inning. And Mondou’s hustle would open the door for three two-out runs to score for Beloit before the inning was through.
*Outfielder JaVon Shelby, the A’s 6th-round pick in 2016, reached base in all three of his plate appearances and drove in two of the Snappers’ three runs in the loss.
*It was a game to forget for the Snappers’ pitching staff. RHPs Jesus Zambrano, Seth Martinez (making his Beloit debut), Sam Sheehan and Yordys Alejo combined to give up 11 runs, 10 earned, on 11 hits and 7 walks.
Game #3: Beloit 8 – Kane County 2
*RHP Brendan Butler was asked to get the Snappers pitching back on track in Tuesday’s second game and, sure enough, he was up to the task. Butler’s breaking stuff was really working. He struck out 7 while allowing no earned runs in 4 ⅔ innings, and his ERA now sits at 1.60.
*Butler’s breakout is real. Not only does he pass the eye test, but his peripheral numbers also show how dominant he has been this season. Some notable stats include a 0.84 WHIP and a 10.5 K/9 rate, while hitters are batting just .176 against him. Butler already looks like a major draft-day steal for the A’s scouting department after being taken in the 30th round of the 2015 draft.
*RHP Heath Bowers tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win for the Snappers, and he now owns a sterling 1.74 ERA. Bowers has been manager Scott Steinmann’s go-to guy when he’s needed a long reliever this season.
*It was just another ho-hum, 3-for-4 day for infielder Nate Mondou. He barely missed a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd inning as the ball hit off the wall in deep right-center field, and he had to settle for an RBI double that gave Beloit the lead.
*The Snappers scored three runs on bases-loaded walks and one run on a hit-by-pitch as part of their six-run 3rd inning.
Game #4: Beloit 7 – Kane County 6
*RHP Dakota Chalmers is still struggling to maintain consistent control of his pitches. Blessed with a fastball that sits around 95 mph and a wicked curveball, the A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline has the stuff to eventually become a front-line starter. In this one, the 20-year-old threw a season-high 75 pitches (his previous high was 57) and finished the game with a stat line of 4 IP/1 H/0 ER/4 BB/5 K.
*Oakland’s 21st-round draft pick from last year, designated Hitter Kyle Nowlin, hit a big 3-run homer to straightaway center field to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning.
*Outfielder Luke Persico raised his batting average over .300 with a 3-for-4 day at the plate while also drawing a walk. The A’s 12th-round pick in 2016 has really settled into the third spot in the batting order for the Snappers, which is somewhat remarkable considering that he started the season at extended spring training in Arizona. But Persico’s shown he can handle Midwest League pitching and could possibly be looking at a promotion to Stockton in the second half if he can keep up the pace.
A’s Prospect of the Series:
RHP Brendan Butler
(4 ⅔ IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K)
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