by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor
A number of top-performing A’s prospects have received promotions over the past month. Among those on the move have been RHP Casey Meisner, catcher Sean Murphy, infielder Yairo Munoz, LHP A.J. Puk and 23-year-old Cuban defector Norge Ruiz, along with many others. Of course, some have been demoted too. But let’s run down some of these recent moves and take a look at how these promoted and demoted players have been performing so far this season…
Due to some nagging injuries, Munoz’s season didn’t get started until the first week of May, and then it took a couple more weeks before his bat began heating up. But after compiling a .532 slugging percentage over his first 47 games for Midland, the 22-year-old was promoted to Nashville towards the end of June, where he’s put up a .212/.250/.242 slash line in his first 8 games for the Sounds. Munoz has mainly split time between shortstop and third base this season, but he’s recently started 3 games in center field. Taylor was suspended for the first 50 games of the season after testing positive for amphetamines and didn’t get his season started until the final day of May. The 27-year-old got off to a hot start though and put up a .309/.385/.485 slash line over his first 21 games for the RockHounds. So, after spending parts of six seasons with Midland, Taylor finally got the chance to make his Triple-A debut at the end of June, and he’s gone 6 for 18 with 3 walks and a pair of doubles over his first 5 games for Nashville. Trivino and Finnegan were two of Midland’s top relievers this season. Trivino posted a 2.43 ERA while failing to give up a home run and striking out 34 in 33 1/3 frames. Finnegan struck out 27 and walked just 7 over 30 innings while recording 8 saves for the RockHounds. But since arriving in Nashville late last month, Trivino has allowed 4 runs over his first 3 games, and Finnegan has put up a 7.71 ERA in his first 2 appearances for the Sounds.
After making his major league debut for Tampa Bay last season, it’s been a rough year for Sturdevant, who signed with the A’s as a minor league free agent in the offseason. He started the year on the disabled list, then was inconsistent, putting up a 4.39 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP for the Sounds before being reassigned to the RockHounds in mid-June, where he’s allowed 3 runs in his first 5 frames at Double-A. Kurcz got off to an even rougher start this season, posting a 7.24 ERA in 22 relief appearances for Nashville before being moved down to Midland last week, where he’s looked much better, allowing just 1 hit over 3 2/3 scoreless frames for the Hounds.
Much of Stockton’s starting rotation has been reassigned to the RockHounds. Brett Graves was the first to make the move to Midland in early May, followed by Evan Manarino in late May, and Puk, Meisner and Hurlbutt all made the move in June. Puk struck out 98 in 61 innings for Stockton, while Meisner struck out 80 in 74 2/3 frames, and Hurlbutt posted a solid 3.23 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP for the Ports. Puk’s been a little inconsistent since arriving in Midland, allowing 3 runs over 7 innings in his first start, giving up 2 runs over 6 frames in his last start, and surrendering 4 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks in just 1/3 of an inning of work in his other start. Overall, the 22-year-old has walked 9 and struck out 12 in his first 13 1/3 frames for Midland. Meisner and Hurlbutt both gave up 4 runs in 4 1/3 innings of work in their Double-A debuts last week. Catcher Sean Murphy, infielder Branden Cogswell and outfielder Tyler Ramirez all made the move the Midland last week as well. Ramirez was boasting Stockton’s best on-base percentage (.399), and Murphy was sporting the team’s top slugging percentage (.527), while Cogswell seemed to earn his promotion primarily based on service time. He was drafted by the A’s in the 7th round back in 2014 and started his stint with Stockton in 2015. Since arriving in Midland, Murphy has gone 7 for 17 with a double, while Cogswell has gone 2 for 15, and Ramirez went 1 for 2 with a walk in his Double-A debut on Sunday.
After impressing at Stockton last year, Friedrichs was given a shot at starting the season at Double-A this year. But the 25-year-old put up an ERA of 6.00 at Midland before being sent back to Stockton last week, where he gave up 5 runs over 5 frames in his first appearance for the Ports. Manarino started the season in Stockton and was solid, striking out 46 while walking just 5 over 51 2/3 innings for the Ports, but he struggled badly after moving up to Midland. The 24-year-old allowed 24 earned runs in 26 2/3 innings over his first 5 starts for the RockHounds before being reassigned to Stockton last week, where he surrendered 6 runs in his first return appearance for the Ports. And with Sean Murphy’s promotion to Midland, Argenis Raga was sent back to Stockton. After serving as the Ports’ primary starting catcher last season, Raga was given the chance to start the year with the RockHounds. But after the 22-year-old put up a feeble .200/.257/.316 slash line for Midland, he was sent back to Stockton last week to make way for Murphy.
Butler and Sawyer were Beloit’s two best starting pitchers over the first couple of months of the season, with Butler compiling a 2.32 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP and Sawyer putting up a 2.25 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP before being promoted to the Ports prior to the California League and Midwest League All-Star breaks last month. And both have continued to perform well for the Ports, with Butler striking out 32 over his first 24 1/3 frames and posting a 3.33 ERA, while Sawyer has struck out 22 in 16 2/3 innings and put up a 2.16 ERA for Stockton. After the departures of Sawyer and Butler, Bailey was the best bet in Beloit’s starting rotation. Last year’s 6th-round draft pick for the A’s struck out 73 in 57 frames while compiling a 2.68 ERA before being promoted to the Ports this weekend, where he allowed 4 runs in 4 1/3 innings in his first appearance for Stockton on Sunday. Meanwhile, Mondou was one of Beloit’s best hitters this season, boasting a .371 on-base percentage before being promoted to the Ports last week, where he’s gone 8 for 24 with 3 extra-base hits over his first 6 games for Stockton.
RHP Norge Ruiz to Stockton from the Dominican League
After allowing just 1 run in 19 innings of work over 4 starts in the Dominican League, Ruiz was promoted to the Ports last week, where the 23-year-old Cuban defector gave up 4 runs over 4 innings in his first start for Stockton on Saturday.
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