Month: June 2017

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Clinton (5/30-6/1)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took two out of three games from the Clinton LumberKings, Seattle’s Midwest League affiliate, this week at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The series win moved the Snappers into third place in the Midwest League Western Division. The first half of the season ends on June 18, and the top two teams in both divisions at the end of the first half will clinch spots in the Midwest League playoffs.

A year after going to the Midwest League Championship, the LumberKings are near the bottom of the Western Division standings this season. Their top-rated prospect is third baseman Joe Rizzo, a 19-year-old taken in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft by the Mariners. Another one of Clinton’s top players is outfielder Anthony Jimenez, who’s been having a breakout year in the Midwest League. Jimenez has tallied 6 home runs and 19 stolen bases while maintaining a .307 batting average.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 8 – Clinton 7

Dalton Sawyer

Dalton Sawyer

*The first game of the series was pretty sloppy all around. The two teams combined for 6 errors, with the Snappers committing 4 of them.

*LHP Dalton Sawyer grinded through 5 innings of work, ending the day with a stat line of 5 IP/4 H/2 ER/4 BB/8 K. The A’s 9th-round pick in 2016 threw just 53 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

*RHP Heath Bowers had his worst outing of the season in relief of Sawyer. Entering the game with a sparkling 1.67 ERA, Bowers gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits and 2 walks in 2 ⅔ innings. He also uncorked 3 wild pitches.

*RHP Yordys Alejo kept Beloit in the game, shutting down the LumberKings with 3 strikeouts in 1 ⅓ innings of relief.

*The A’s 2016 13th-round draft pick, Nate Mondou, went 3 for 5 with a two-out RBI single in the 8th inning. The second baseman continues to do just about anything and everything the Snappers need to win ballgames, and it would come as no surprise if Mondou gets the chance to contribute for the Stockton Ports at some point this season.

*After an epic, 9-pitch at-bat that ended in a walk to pinch-hitter Miguel Mercedes, his fellow Dominican-born teammate, Eric Marinez, came up with the bases loaded, one out and his team down by one run. The Beloit third baseman then proceeded to rocket a single into left field that scored both the tying and winning runs, sending the good guys home happy.

 

Game #2:  Clinton 13 – Beloit 3

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

*RHP Mitchell Jordan was not fooling anybody in this one. The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016 was tagged for 9 earned runs in 3 innings of work. That included a very rare occurrence in which the same pitcher (Jordan) surrendered 2 grand slams in the same game.

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes went “oppo boppo” to lead off the bottom of the 6th inning for Beloit, but the right-handed batter just barely got it over the wall in straightaway right field. It was Mercedes’ 10th home run of the year, putting him in second place in the Midwest League home run race.

*While he’s shown plenty of home run power, Mercedes still has a lot of room to improve at the plate, as his .215/.270/.436 slash line can attest to. Mercedes might not ever hit for a high average, but he will have to learn to show better plate discipline, taking a few more walks and cutting down on the strikeouts. His power is real though, and he is just 21 years old, so there’s still some time for Mercedes to try to make some significant improvements at the plate.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 9 – Clinton 1

Colllin Theroux

Collin Theroux

*It was yet another great start from RHP Brendan Butler. He had a great changeup in this game that consistently bewildered the LumberKings hitters.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano shut the door with 3 scoreless innings in relief, earning his 1st save of the year for the Snappers. Altamirano became the eleventh different Snappers pitcher to record a save this season.

*Designated hitter Kyle Nowlin, the Athletics’ 21st-round pick last year, just missed his 6th home run of the season. The ball hit off the top of the left-center field wall and ended up as a 2-RBI double for Nowlin.

*The A’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, catcher Collin Theroux, had his second multi-homer game of the season. His first home run was measured at 414 feet with an exit velocity of 110 mph. That ball was CRUSHED!

*By the end of the series, Theroux had 8 home runs on the season, which is by far the most home runs hit by a catcher in the A’s system this year. The second-highest home run total is 4 by Stockton catcher Sean Murphy.

 

Series Notes:

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*At the end of this series, Nate Mondou‘s .339 batting average was good for third-best in the Midwest League. And Mondou absolutely loves to hit at Pohlman Field. He sports an incredible .380 batting average at the Snappers’ home park.

*Infielder Edwin Diaz slashed .362/.464/.507 for the month of May. He also lowered his strikeout rate and improved his walk rate, all great signs that the 21-year-old may be starting to put it all together in his third season with Beloit.

*Outfielders Luis Barrera and Luke Persico hit .333 and .319, respectively, in the month of May.

*RHP Brandon Bailey did not pitch in this series, but it’s worth mentioning what a tremendous month he had. Bailey put up an impressive 0.50 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP while walking just 2 and striking out 22 over 18 innings of work in May.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(7 for 12 / 3 RBIs / 1 SB)

 

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Talking Top Prospects with A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A's Assistant GM Billy Owens

A’s Assistant GM Billy Owens

Now that we’re a couple of months into the minor league season, we wanted to step back and take a look at how some of the A’s top prospects have been shaping up so far this season. And there’s no one better to help us do that than A’s assistant general manager Billy Owens.

Owens originally joined the A’s organization back in 1999, working as an area scout and coaching short-season baseball over the next five years. He was then named the A’s director of player personnel in 2004. And about a year and a half ago, he was promoted to the position of assistant general manager, where the A’s have been able to put his extensive knowledge of the game and its players to use in a variety of different ways.

Owens took some time out to speak with us this week while he was busy scouting prospects for this year’s amateur draft. We asked him about ten of the most intriguing prospects in the A’s system – five hitters and five pitchers – and, as always, his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the A’s young players is apparent…

 

AF:  Let’s start out with the team’s top prospect, shortstop Franklin Barreto. He got off to slow starts the past couple of seasons, but this year, as a 21-year-old at Triple-A, he started out hot and has continued to hit well over the first two months of the season. What kind of progress have you seen out of him this year and what does he still have left to learn at the Triple-A level?

fb620439BO:  I think Franklin’s always been a gifted hitter. He’s a guy who we’ve scouted since he was 14 years old in Venezuela. He’s always been able to use the field, he’s got power that’s untapped, and he’s improving defensively. He’s very athletic, he’s got a short swing, but he still needs to tighten up his strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s always been something of a free swinger. But kids like that who are so talented, they can touch a lot of different pitches, so they’re not apt sometimes to go deep in the count and do a lot of things in terms of plate discipline, because he can barrel the baseball. He’s talented, and for a 21-year-old kid who’s in a tough environment to hit in Nashville, one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in that league, it’s pretty impressive. He had a strong spring training this year, and I think that probably was the impetus for him to start out so strong this year in Nashville. He popped a couple of homers this year in spring training, and he really acclimated himself well to the major league staff. Everybody was able to see, the staff, the fans and the players at the upper level, what kind of talent Franklin has. And, obviously, he’ll get an opportunity at some point because he’s very talented.

AF:  It seems like he’s been playing with a lot more energy this year. I know the plan originally was for him to split time between shortstop and second base this year at Nashville, but I think he’s only played about half a dozen games so far this year at second base.

BO:  I think he’s playing a solid shortstop, and he’s such a good athlete that he could play all over the diamond. Obviously, short is probably the toughest place to play defensively, and he’s shown, at 21 in Triple-A, that he can handle the position fairly well. He’s got all the tools and all the components to handle the position. And just the way the roster’s constructed, we have a lot of guys there who have versatility and we have 40-man-roster players who are playing various positions there. So, from a positional standpoint, it just makes the most sense for him to be doing what he’s doing at shortstop and really kind of assert himself. Everybody has a different opinion about what his final destination’s going to be, but at some point, he’ll be a very productive major league player, and it’s nice to see him getting the bulk of his games so far at Triple-A at shortstop.

AF:  Another top prospect who’s started the season in Nashville is third baseman Matt Chapman. He missed some time in the first month with a wrist injury, but he’s certainly been making up for it since he’s been back, and he hit 11 home runs in the month of May. So what have you been seeing out of him and what’s he still got to work on at Triple-A?

mc656305BO:  I think, with Matt, his defensive talent is off the charts. He’s probably one of the most talented third basemen at any level. You hear the names of Machado and Arenado when you’re discussing his defense – that’s not hyperbole, that’s just the fact. This guy’s defense is superlative and, offensively, his power is undeniable. He had 36 homers last year. Our fans have been able to see it first-hand the last two spring trainings. He had a 3-homer game last year in his brief time in Triple-A. And for him, it’s just all about really defining that strike zone, you know, learning it. With the injury, he started out fairly slow in April. But in May, with the 11 homers, his strikeout rate is actually a little bit lower this month than it was for his whole Texas League season last year when he was the Texas League MVP, so that’s encouraging. I think Matt’s capable of making adjustments, he’s smart, and he’s not afraid at all, as we’ve seen so far in his two big league camps. With him, it’s just all about tightening that strike zone and eliminating some swings-and-misses. But the bottom line is that he’s a really gifted defender, and every time he steps up to the plate, he’s dangerous. And coming at a premium position, that’s a pretty solid package.

AF:  One guy at Nashville who really seemed to turn it up a notch in May is first baseman Matt Olson. I know there was some talk this spring about him altering his swing a bit. Has that played much into this recent uptick and where do you feel things are at with him at this point?

mo621566BO:  Matt Olson, he’s definitely a student of the game. And I always go back to Stockton with him. You know, out of the draft, he was more of an all-fields hitter, and then he had a pretty solid season there in Beloit his first year out as a teenager. But Stockton is a fairly hitter-friendly environment and it’s very inviting to right field, so Matt was able to pop 37 home runs that year. But I think with that, he also became a lot more pull-oriented by hitting those home runs that year at Stockton. And it carried over to Midland, where it became a pull-heavy approach, and the park wasn’t quite as friendly and the defensive shift was more in vogue. So, as he climbed the ladder and they started doing the defensive shifts and he still was pull-happy, he realized that he had to make adjustments to go back to that hitter who uses the whole field. And I think, for some guys, it’s always good just to get a taste of the big leagues to realize it is a little bit different, the pitchers can make adjustments and they can exploit your weaknesses. And Matt’s a smart kid, so he went to the big leagues, saw what it had to offer and realized he had to make some swing adjustments. So now his swing’s shorter, he’s using the field a lot more, and he’s more conscious of trying to barrel the ball to all fields. It’s definitely carried over so far in this Triple-A season and, quite frankly, I think at some point it’ll translate to the upper levels. He’s another one who’s a gifted defender, at first base. I’ve said it, all our instructors have said it – his defense has been spectacular at first base throughout his minor league career. And once he added some versatility by playing right field – I believe he actually led the Texas League in assists a couple of years ago in his first full-time duty in the outfield – he’s proven that he can play above-average major league first base defensively and also actually play an average right field. So, with the natural power that he possesses and an improved contact rate, he’ll have a chance to make his presence known at some point in the next year or two.

AF:  Another guy who had a pretty good month of May at Nashville is Renato Nunez. He’s been doing his usual thing and hitting lots of home runs. He’s got as many homers as anyone in your system right now. We know the power is real for Renato, but how far away do you feel he is from being where he really needs to be?

rn600524BO:  Renato is 23 years old…and he’s always been a kid who’s capable of barreling the ball to all fields. He got a majestic, pretty stroke. I believe, in Double-A, he hit around .280. Last year, he started out hot but then, for some reason in the second half, he got a lot more pull-conscious. And though he still had a high homer total, his average plummeted. This year, he had a strong spring training, and he’s got 13 or 14 homers to start the year. But I still believe that he’s got another click left in him, where at 23 years old, he’s got time to mature as a hitter and start bringing that average up. He’s got a swing that’s capable of touching the baseball at multiple spots in the strike zone, so he shouldn’t have to sell out for power to hit the homers. He should be able to use the whole field. He’s in that .240ish range right now in Triple-A. But I believe, within the next two or three years, that he’ll still have the opportunity to go ahead and become more of a line-to-line hitter and become more of a complete hitter. And with Chapman and Barreto manning the left side of the infield, Renato’s been able to go out to left field and do a solid job out there and sprinkle some games in at third base and improve his defense. But make no mistake, Renato’s a hitter and, at some point within the next two or three years, hopefully he’ll start using the field more and become the hitter he’s capable of becoming.

AF:  As you mentioned, he’s been playing a lot of field so far this season. Do you think that’s the most likely defensive landing spot for him at this point?

BO:  Well, I just think with Chapman being such a special defender at third base, you have Barreto playing short, and when Semien comes back, he can play short, so with all the different players we have the same age playing similar positions, it’s been nice to give Renato a chance to improve his versatility by getting comfortable in left field.

AF:  A guy at Nashville who isn’t always included in the top prospect talk but who’s an interesting player is outfielder Jaycob Brugman. He’s always seemed to out-perform expectations at every level. He was sidelined with a leg injury to start the season, but since he’s been back, he’s done nothing but hit over the past month. So what do you think his ceiling is?

jb595144bBO:  You know, he wasn’t a high-round draft pick, but since he’s been in our system, he’s always hit, whether it’s been in Beloit, or when he went to the California League and he wrecked it and hit 10 home runs in a month during his brief time in the Cal League. He went to Double-A and he was the igniter at the top of the lineup and played good defense in center field. And in Triple-A last year, they had one of the best records with one of the youngest teams in Triple-A – and at the top of the lineup, Jaycob makes things happen. He’s off to a great start. He missed some time with the injury in April, but since he’s been playing, he’s above .300. He uses the whole diamond, he’s got some power in there – he’s had double-digit home run seasons in the minor leagues. He’s got a very good throwing arm defensively, and he’s always been one the higher guys in assists. He takes really good routes in the outfield. So, I think he’ll eventually be a major league player. And it’s safe to say that he’ll be a fourth outfielder, but I think that if he’s assertive, he has a chance to surprise some people and do what he’s always done at the top level at some point when he gets the opportunity.

AF:  For the majority of his minor league career, he’s played center field, but most people seem to talk about him ending up as a corner outfielder. How do you feel about his ability to play center field at the major league level?

BO:  Well, I think he’s definitely capable of playing all three outfield positions and being a fourth outfielder. There’s no question in my mind that he can do that. And I think that Jaycob’s going to assert himself. He’s not a flyer, he’s not going to go up there and give you a blazing time down the line and do cartwheels and what not, but he’s efficient – he takes great routes and gets good angles. So, he can fill in at all three and be a fourth outfielder. But if he keeps on asserting himself, I think he’s going to surprise people at the top level, even defensively. He’s a technician and he’s efficient in center field with enough speed.

AF:  Okay, let’s talk about a few pitching prospects at Triple-A. Daniel Gossett was a 2nd-round pick of yours a few years ago. He took a big step forward last year, then he seemed to really impress people during his brief time in the big league camp this spring. He had a few bumpy starts early on this year, but he’s been on a nice little run at Nashville lately. So what have you been seeing out of Daniel Gossett this year and how close is he to being major-league ready?

dg605254BO:  Yeah, last year was a breakout year for Daniel. He was good at three levels last year. And being dominant in 2016 gave him a chance to go to big league camp in 2017 and get a taste of it. And honestly, I don’t think he was totally sharp. He showed some good stuff, but he wasn’t totally sharp at the end of minor league camp, and I believe it carried over to his first three or four outings at Triple-A, but he’s been able to right the ship. In May, he had an outstanding month. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is getting even better. I think in about 54 innings, he’s got 50 strikeouts and the walks are like 19, and he’s really pounding that strike zone. He’s up to 96 mph. He’s got a nice four-pitch mix. He’s being aggressive within the strike zone. So, if you wash away those first three or four outings of the year, he’s really on that good trajectory now to show what he’s capable of doing. He’s got a cutter that he throws 90 mph, he’s got a good slider, a solid curveball and an outstanding changeup. So, he’s got the pitches – he really proved that last year. And with that strikeout rate being so strong at Triple-A, the next step is just to continue to get more consistency and then, when an opportunity strikes, he’ll be ready.

AF:  Another slightly younger guy in that Nashville rotation who’s been performing well this year is 23-year-old Paul Blackburn. He’s a former 1st-round supplemental pick for the Cubs whom you guys got from Seattle in the Danny Valencia deal. So what do think about him now that you’ve had a chance to get a good look at him in your system here this year?

pb621112BO:  Paul, he’s a control arm. He’s in that low-90s range. His fastball’s between 89-92 mph. It’s got pretty good sink to it. He’s got a solid breaking ball. He’s a northern California kid. He was in our range in the draft a couple of years back and the Cubs took him, so we made a good trade with the Mariners, and he’s been solid. He was okay in big league camp. I think he was excited to play for the hometown team here. And then he impressed all our minor league instructors. And at Nashville, he’s been tough. He’s thrown strikes as advertised. He’s able to manipulate the ball within the strike zone. He changes speeds. He’s definitely poised at a young age to be doing as well as he’s done at Triple-A. He’s not a stuff guy, but he’s a strike thrower, and he commands the baseball within the zone with an assortment of pitches, and he changes speeds well, so we’re excited to have Paul.

AF:  A guy who’s recently joined the staff at Nashville from Double-A Midland is Corey Walter. He’s another guy who wasn’t a high draft pick – he was a 28th-rounder – but since he’s been in the system, it seems like he’s done nothing but get outs, and he just had a nice outing in his last start for Nashville. So what are your impressions of Corey Walter and what’s his ceiling look like to you?

cw657794BO:  Yeah, Corey Walter, he’s kind of been the pitching version of Jaycob Brugman. He came into the system unheralded, and he’s done nothing but pitch really well. He’s been versatile. He’s at a point where his fastball is 90-92 mph, and it’s got a lot of sink to it. He’s a pitch-to-contact guy where he forces the action on the mound. He’s got a nice slider to complement the heater and the sinker, and he also sprinkles in a changeup. But he’s been efficient, he’s been a strong strike thrower. He really came into his own in Stockton, and it carried over last year in multiple roles at Double-A. With the logjam of quality starters in Triple-A and the young guys in the big leagues, we sent him back to Double-A to start the year and he did his thing in the Texas League again, which he’s done for the last year and a half. And I think his versatility and the sinker is going to really treat him well going forward. He’s proven that he can start and get a chance to be an effective starter, but that sinker will play very well out of the ‘pen as well, and he’s a strike thrower, so he’s got a chance to be versatile from a pitching standpoint. And he’s always performed well.

AF:  Yeah, it’s nice to see him getting a chance in Triple-A. Let’s wrap up with a couple of your younger pitching prospects. Grant Holmes, who was a 1st-round draft pick for the Dodgers, has had some struggles at Midland this year but, at 21, he’s also one of the youngest pitchers in the Texas League. So what’s he got to do to get over the hump at Double-A?

gh656550BO:  With Grant, the velocity’s always been there. He’s got a high strikeout rate at Double-A, especially for a kid who’s 21 years old. For him, it’s just a matter of tightening his breaking ball and getting a little bit more separation as far as the miles per hour between the changeup and the heater. I think they kind of blend together at times, and he’s got to get that separation to give hitters something else to really gauge and think about. And from a pitching standpoint, being assertive and being aggressive within the strike zone, but also learning the zones where your strengths are and understanding the scouting reports of the opposition. You know, being 21 years old in an advanced league, in Double-A, coming over here in a trade, getting acclimated and used to a new environment – getting traded at such a young age is not easy – so coming over here, being young, and getting an aggressive promotion to Double-A at 21…hopefully he’ll have an opportunity here the next three months to really hit the ground running, make some adjustments, use that high velocity that he’s shown the whole time, improve that separation between the heater and the changeup and keep on tightening that breaking ball, and he’ll have a chance to have a strong second half.

AF:  Okay, let’s wrap things up with your top draft pick last year, A.J. Puk. He’s been throwing well at Stockton, racking up lots of strikeouts and looking dominant at times. What have you seen out of A.J. this year, where he’s at in terms of his development and what he’s got to do to get to the next level?

ap640462cBO:  When you look at Andrew Miller, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, those lefties who are so tall and throw hard – A.J.’s been up to 99 mph from the left side – if they can really simplify their delivery, because their stuff’s so good, that’s just the best thing going forward. So A.J.’s going to keep on refining and simplifying his delivery. But his stuff is unquestionable. His fastball has ranged anywhere from 94-99 mph, and it’s got this component to it at the end where it has a little bit of giddy-up and it misses bats. His breaking ball, especially his slider, misses bats, and his changeup misses bats – and that’s how you get the 69 strikeouts in 44 innings. And honestly, I think he’s got another click to him. He doesn’t need to try to miss bats so much, but he has an element of deception, the stuff is quality, and you don’t see 99 mph from the left side every day. So, what’s Michael Jordan say? “The ceiling’s the roof!”

AF:  Well, that’s a good place to have your ceiling! Thanks for taking the time to chat. I know it’s a busy time a year for you with the draft right around the corner.

BO:  All right! Go A’s! I’m looking forward to the next three months of the year and we’ll see where it goes.

AF:  And best of luck with the draft coming up!

BO:  Yeah, it’ll be fun. We’ll be in Oakland shortly. And it’ll be fun to have [A’s scouting director] Eric Kubota lead us and to see where all those draft magnets take us!

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Friday, June 2nd: Olson Hits 2 HRs in Sounds’ 4th Straight Victory while Hounds Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  12

Iowa Cubs                 3

WP – Smith 3-2 / 3.35

HR – Olson 2 (14), Nunez (14)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A big 7-run 1st inning made it easy for Nashville to notch its fourth straight victory on Friday. First baseman Matt Olson led the attack, launching a pair of home runs – a 3-run blast in the 1st and a solo shot in the 7th. Olson also singled and scored in the 9th, while left fielder Renato Nunez homered, doubled and drove in a pair. Olson and Nunez now have 14 home runs apiece, tying them for the team lead. Third baseman Matt Chapman collected 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, and right fielder Ryan LaMarre singled twice, walked, drove in 2 runs and swiped a pair of bases for the Sounds. RHP Chris Smith turned in an outstanding start, striking out 8 over 6 shutout innings to earn his 3rd win for Nashville.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Thursday, June 1st: Sounds Win Behind Barreto’s Big Blast while Ports Prevail in Extras

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto (Grand Slam)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto
(Grand Slam)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  5

Iowa Cubs               2

WP – Jensen 2-0 / 2.57

HR – Barreto (7)

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Franklin Barreto

(Grand Slam)

With the bases loaded, two outs and his team down by a run in the top of the 9th, shortstop Franklin Barreto stepped to the plate and slugged a grand slam to help the Sounds win their third straight on Thursday. Before Barreto’s blast, Sounds hitters had mustered just 5 hits in the game. Outfielders Jaycob Brugman and Ryan LaMarre had a pair of hits apiece, and first baseman Matt Olson singled and drew a pair of walks. RHP Michael Brady turned in a strong start for the Sounds, allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits while walking none and striking out 6 over 6 innings of work, but he left the game with his team down by a run. RHP Chris Jensen tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win, and RHP Jake Sanchez got the final three outs in the bottom of the 9th to notch his 2nd save for Nashville.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Wednesday, May 31st: Sportman’s Big Bat Helps Hounds Win while Hahn Makes Rehab Start for Stockton

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman J.P. Sportman (3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman J.P. Sportman (3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        5

Midland RockHounds  7

WP – Manarino 1-0 / 3.00

HR – Sportman (6), Munoz (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman J.P. Sportman

(3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

The RockHounds scored 7 runs on 16 hits to snap their four-game losing streak on Wednesday. J.P. Sportman, playing second base with Max Schrock on the disabled list, led the attack, collecting 3 hits, including his 6th home run, and driving in a pair of runs for Midland. Shortstop Yairo Munoz smacked his 3rd home run, and a number of players making their season debuts for the Hounds made key contributions as well. Catcher Beau Taylor, returning from a 50-game suspension, had 3 hits, including a triple, and drove in a run, while center fielder Kenny Wilson, who spent most of the season with the Sounds, singled, tripled and scored, and third baseman Jermaine Curtis, a minor league free agent signee who was sidelined with a hamstring injury in the spring, had a pair of doubles and drove in a run for Midland. The trio replaced three RockHounds who landed on the disabled list on Wednesday. Shortstop Richie Martin, who was hit in the head with a fastball in Tuesday’s game, is headed to Arizona for treatment after suffering a broken nose in the incident according to Hounds’ play-by-play man Bob Hards, while second baseman Max Schrock has been dealing with leg and foot injuries that caused him to miss four games last week, and RHP James Naile hasn’t pitched in over two weeks due to an abdominal strain. Meanwhile, back on the field, LHP Evan Manarino made his Double-A debut for Midland on Wednesday and allowed 2 runs on 9 hits over 6 innings of work to earn the win, while RHP Kyle Finnegan tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief to post his 7th save for the RockHounds.

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