Month: August 2017

Monday, August 21st: Ruiz Impresses in Vermont Victory while Bracewell Leads Sounds to Shutout Win & Armenteros Triples Twice for AZL A’s

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Jean Ruiz (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Jean Ruiz (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE  (Class-A Short-Season)

Connecticut Tigers             3

Vermont Lake Monsters  9

WP – Ruiz 1-0 / 1.29

HR – Deichmann (5), Arruda (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Jean Ruiz

(6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

20-year-old Colombian RHP Jean Ruiz turned in an outstanding start to help the Lake Monsters score their sixth win in their last seven games on Monday. Ruiz allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while throwing 6 shutout innings to earn the victory for Vermont, and he’s now allowed just 6 earned runs over 42 innings of work to post an impressive 1.29 ERA for the Lake Monsters this season. Right fielder Greg Deichmann drew a pair of walks and drilled a 3-run homer, while first baseman Aaron Arruda homered and doubled. Center fielder Logan Farrar singled twice, doubled and drove in 3 runs, and third baseman Will Toffey had 3 hits and scored 3 runs for the Lake Monsters.

Click here for more on Nashville, Beloit & AZL A’s…

Sunday, August 20th: Puk Pitches Hounds to Victory while Brown’s Big Bat Helps Ports Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        1

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Puk 2-3 / 4.91

HR – Sportman (11)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

(6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

Starter A.J. Puk turned in an impressive performance to help the RockHounds score their sixth win in their last seven games on Sunday. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 run while striking out 7 over 6 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Midland, and he’s now recorded 42 strikeouts over his last 27 innings for the RockHounds. RHPs Joel Seddon, Sam Bragg and Kyle Finnegan each tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief. Right fielder J.P. Sportman doubled and hit a 2-run homer, while center fielder B.J. Boyd (.327) and second baseman Max Schrock (.323) collected 3 hits apiece to move into first and third place, respectively, in the Texas League batting race.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Getting to Know Snappers Slugger Kyle Nowlin

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

kn665065Last year, the A’s made slugging outfielder Kyle Nowlin their 21st-round draft pick out of Eastern Kentucky University. Nowlin grew up in the small town of Harrison, Ohio, about twenty miles northwest of Cincinnati. And after graduating from William Henry Harrison High, he headed off to college at EKU, which was one of two Division 1 schools that offered him a chance to play baseball. It turned out to be a great situation for Nowlin, since he got to see plenty of playing time starting as a freshman. And in his senior season, he led his college team with 21 home runs, a total which ranked in the top ten nationally.

After getting into 44 games for the Arizona League A’s last year, the organization sent Nowlin to the Beloit Snappers this season, where they also asked him to begin playing a new position – first base. Ever since the All-Star break, Nowlin’s been on a tear, putting up a .300/.402/.482 slash line in the second half, and he currently leads the Snappers with 63 RBIs and 59 walks, while his 24 doubles tie him for the team lead. As the minor league season was entering its final weeks, we took the opportunity to talk with Nowlin about his full season of pro ball…

 

AF:  You’ve been red hot since the All-Star break and had a tremendous month of July in which you had a .610 slugging percentage and an OPS over 1.000. To what do you attribute your success in the second half?

KN:  So, I went home during the All-Star break – took three days off from baseball. I came back here and started seeing the ball better. The hits started falling, which was not the case for me at all the first half of the season. I honestly can’t pick out one certain thing, but I’m sure the rest when I went home helped. I was able to clear my brain and start over. I kind of started a new season over after the All-Star break.

AF:  It’s interesting that different things work for different ballplayers. Sometimes it’s a change mechanically or maybe it has something to do with the mental side of it.

Kyle Nowlin (photo by Dave Baker)

Kyle Nowlin
(photo by Dave Baker)

KN:  Yeah, I think I just needed to get away from it a little bit. I was starting to get really frustrated with everything.

AF:  What are some of the statistics, if any, that you look at?

KN:  I honestly don’t look at them too much, because once I start looking at them, I start thinking about them. Especially if you’re doing well in a certain category, you don’t want to look at it. It seems like every time I do, the next few games I do nothing to contribute to those stats. I just start thinking about them too much. So, I tend to stay away from looking at my stats.

AF:  Watching you this season, I have noticed that you do a great job of hitting the ball to all fields, especially with power. Is that a conscious approach that you take at the plate?

KN:  When I was in high school, my coach told me that the right-center field gap is where I had the most power. So, I never have been a stereotypical pull hitter. I mean, a lot of the ground balls I hit are pulled. When I hit a line drive or fly ball, it is usually gap to gap. I tell myself to hit a hard line drive from left center to right center. It just so happens I wear out the right-center field gap kind of a lot.

AF:  Are there any particular adjustments you’ve made this season that have helped you succeed?

KN:  Not really anything at the plate. I used to be an outfielder. But then in instructs last year, they moved me to first base. So, I mean, that was a huge difference. In the infield, you have to be more focused than in the outfield.

AF:  That actually brings me to my next question. I’ve noticed a significant improvement from you defensively at first base as the season has progressed. What specific work has gone into that?

KN:  I think just reps, honestly. I had never played infield in my life growing up. So, that was a drastic change for me. At instructs last year, I looked like a baby deer trying to walk for the first time. I didn’t know how to do much of anything at first base. But just getting work there every day, seeing ground balls and seeing throws across the diamond really just helped me to get a feel for the position.

AF:  Some people don’t realize how much goes into playing first base.

Kyle Nowlin (photo by Dave Baker)

Kyle Nowlin
(photo by Dave Baker)

KN:  Yeah, like getting used to being around the bag with your footwork. The bag is kind of awkward at first. You don’t really know how to get there and you’re dancing around it. But once you get used to it, the footwork becomes more natural.

AF:  Is there anything that you’re working on, or that the coaches, particularly hitting coach Juan Dilone, are working on with you right now?

KN:  In the second half, Dilo hasn’t worked much with me, just because I’ve been swinging so well. He wants to let me do my own thing and not mess with anything. So, yeah, I guess I’m not really working on anything in particular at the plate.

AF:  So, on the personal side, where have you been living this year? Are you staying with a host family or are you sharing a place with some of your teammates?

KN:  I’m staying with a host family. It’s me, JaVon ShelbyNate Mondou used to live with us before he got promoted – now Josh Vidales lives with us ever since he got sent here. We are living with a woman named Janna. She’s awesome. There at the house is a whole basement we have to ourselves. It’s a pretty nice little setup.

AF:  What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

KN:  A full season is a grind. You cannot take anything for granted. We have 140 games with just 12 off days, which include the three off-days during the All-Star break. So, if you have a bad day one day, you’ve just got to let it go. You’re going to probably get four to five at-bats the next day. You just can’t let something bother you so much that it sends you into a downward spiral.

AF:  With just a few weeks left in the season, what’s your main focus or goal you’re trying to accomplish?

KN:  I’m just trying to finish strong and play like I have been, aim for at least one to two hits a day, string together some good games. The body is wearing down a little bit from the grind of the season. We are currently on a 19-game stretch without an off-day. That’s a tough stretch, especially being in August. But I really want to enjoy the last few weeks we have here. You can’t play baseball forever, so you’ve got to enjoy it while you can!

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Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Saturday, August 19th: Martinez Impresses in Snappers’ Loss & Ramirez Has 4 Hits for Hounds as A’s Affiliates All Fall

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Seth Martinez (7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 6 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Seth Martinez (7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 6 K)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Beloit Snappers          0

Cedar Rapids Kernels  1

LP – Martinez 4-8 / 3.77

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Seth Martinez

(7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 6 K)

The Snappers were shut out on just 2 hits on Saturday, but last year’s 17th-round draft pick for the A’s, RHP Seth Martinez, turned in one of his best starts of the season. The 22-year-old allowed 1 run on just 3 hits while striking out 6 over 7 innings of work, but he still ended up being saddled with the loss. LHP Ty Damron tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief, and left fielder J.C. Rodriguez and designated hitter Kyle Nowlin both singled as the Snappers suffered their seventh loss in their last eight games on Saturday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Stockton, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Friday, August 18th: Mateo’s Big Hit Helps Hounds Win in a Walk-Off while Sounds & Ports Prevail in One-Run Victories

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        5

Midland RockHounds  6

WP – Sturdevant 2-3 / 3.58

HR – Mateo (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Jorge Mateo

(3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

With two men on and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, shortstop Jorge Mateo stepped to the plate and laced a single to right field to drive home the winning run as the RockHounds won in a walk-off to notch their fifth straight victory on Friday. Mateo also doubled in a run in the 2nd and hit a 2-run homer in the 4th for the Hounds. Designated hitter Tyler Marincov singled, doubled and drove in 2 runs, while second baseman Max Schrock and left fielder Tyler Ramirez had a pair of hits apiece for Midland. Starter Casey Meisner allowed 1 run in 4 innings of work, while RHP Tyler Sturdevant picked up the win despite giving up 3 runs, 2 earned, in 1 inning of relief for the RockHounds. Meanwhile, Midland RHP Dustin Hurlbutt landed on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain and RHP Kyle Finnegan was reassigned to the RockHounds from the Sounds on Friday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Back in May, we took a look at what a young, rebuilding A’s team might look like. But now that we’ve passed the July 31st trade deadline and the A’s have made a number of deadline deals, and even some post-deadline deals, to add players like Blake Treinen, Dustin Fowler, Boog Powell, Jorge Mateo, Sheldon Neuse, James Kaprielian and Jesus Luzardo to the system, it’s a good time to take another look at what the near future might look like for the A’s.

Of course, one never knows what the A’s might do in the offseason, but the fact that they don’t really have many veteran trade chips left to deal will definitely limit their ability to barter. And, as usual, it seems unlikely that they will splurge too much on the free agent market at this stage of the game. The team could dip its toe in the water to fill a few holes on a short-term basis, particularly on the pitching staff, but there aren’t likely to be any terribly significant commitments in the near term, at least not until a new stadium is within view.

Two players who’ve played significant roles this year seem likely to depart after the season – center fielder Rajai Davis, who’s set to become a free agent, and second baseman Jed Lowrie, whom the A’s hold a $6 million option on for next year. With the A’s now fully committed to a youth movement and with both Franklin Barreto and Chad Pinder capable of playing second base, it seems unlikely that the A’s will opt to bring back Lowrie. But is there still any chance that they might be able to get something for either of them before the season’s through the way they did with Yonder Alonso? It’s possible, but it seems like any deal that would have been possible probably would have happened by now. And looking ahead, there are only two significant players on the current roster who are due to become free agents after the 2018 season – outfielder Matt Joyce and reliever Santiago Casilla. Could the A’s possibly get anything for either player in the offseason? Anything’s possible but, if they can, it’s not likely to amount to much.

When looking at next season on the position player front, eleven guys seem to be pretty solid bets for the major league roster, leaving a number of others left to battle for one or two remaining spots, depending on whether the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players in 2018. The eleven most likely to lay claim to a roster spot include catchers Bruce Maxwell and Josh Phegley, infielders Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien, Franklin Barreto, Matt Olson and Ryon Healy, outfielders Khris Davis, Matt Joyce and Dustin Fowler, and super utility infielder/outfielder Chad Pinder. That leaves guys like Boog Powell, Jaycob Brugman, Mark Canha, Jake Smolinski and Renato Nunez fighting for the one or two remaining roster spots. When it comes to the pitching staff, things could be a little more up in the air, and one would have to suspect that’s where any offseason additions might be most likely to occur.

So, setting aside any possible offseason deals or free-agent signings, and adding in a fresh batch of summer arrivals, let’s take a position-by-position look at how things might stack up for the 2018 Oakland A’s…

 

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

CATCHERS

With Stephen Vogt’s departure and Bruce Maxwell making the move to the major league roster in June, the catching corps could prove to be one of the more predictable parts of next season’s roster. Maxwell and Josh Phegley seem set to split time behind the plate for the 2018 A’s, though the team could always give recently-acquired catcher Dustin Garneau the opportunity to compete with Phegley for the chance to serve as Maxwell’s platoon partner. The team’s top minor league catching prospect, former 3rd-round pick Sean Murphy, has played in just 39 games at the Double-A level and is probably another year away from factoring into the catching conversation.

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Olson

Matt Olson

With the departures of Trevor Plouffe and Yonder Alonso, and the likely departure of Jed Lowrie in the offseason, the A’s infield looks to be right at the heart of the youth movement in 2018. Young slugger Matt Chapman is set to anchor the infield at the hot corner, while Marcus Semien is expected to be back at shortstop. It seems likely that top prospect Franklin Barreto will get every opportunity to take over at second base, where he’s probably best-suited defensively and where he’s most likely to remain since the A’s acquired promising shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal. The team seems ready to make Matt Olson its primary first baseman, though his consistent platoon splits make it likely that, like Yonder Alonso, he’ll frequently sit against lefties while Ryon Healy moves from the designated hitter spot to take over at first. Meanwhile, with Olson at first and Chapman at third, Healy looks likely to get the bulk of his at-bats in the DH slot once again, serving in that role against righties while seeing some time in the field against lefties. And with Olson likely to sit out against most lefties, that could give super-utility man Chad Pinder, who’s sure to make the squad, a good chance to get some regular at-bats against lefties while stepping into the field in any number of positions and giving various A’s regulars a bit of a breather by sliding into the DH spot for the day. And, of course, Pinder also has the ability to spell Semien and Barreto in the middle infield any time either of them is slumping or could just use a day off. The A’s could also decide to give a player who’s probably best-suited for the designated hitter role a shot to see what he can do as the regular DH against lefties. Right-handed slugger Renato Nunez may be limited defensively, but he’s currently leading the Pacific Coast League with 31 home runs while slashing an impressive .309/.387/.630 against Triple-A lefties this season. So, Nunez clearly could have the ability to do some damage from the DH spot when Healy makes the move to first against lefties. Behind Chapman, Semien, Barreto, Olson, Healy, Pinder and Nunez, other infield options down on the farm could include second basemen Joey Wendle and Max Schrock, shortstop Jorge Mateo, third baseman Sheldon Neuse and Yairo Munoz, who’s been increasing his versatility by playing third base, shortstop and center field for Triple-A Nashville this season.

 

OUTFIELDERS

Dustin Fowler

Dustin Fowler

With a couple of the team’s most veteran position players still in the outfield picture, the youth movement may have a slightly less dramatic effect on the A’s outfield alignment in 2018. The team still has control of its top home run hitter, Khris Davis, for two more seasons. So, assuming he sticks around for at least one more campaign, he’s likely to see most of his time in left field once again. And assuming Matt Joyce is back for the final year of his contract, then he’s likely to wind up back in right field against right-hander hurlers anyway. As for center field, the A’s clearly acquired Dustin Fowler from the Yankees to be their center fielder of the future, and that future is likely to start in 2018. Super-utility man Chad Pinder is capable of putting in time in the outfield. And since Joyce and Fowler are both left-handed hitters, he could well serve as an outfield platoon partner, particularly for Joyce in right. And if things line up as expected, then that would leave one or two more roster spots available for outfielders depending on if the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players and whether or not they decide to make room for Renato Nunez on the roster in 2018. Lefty-swinging outfielders Boog Powell and Jaycob Brugman, who’ve been the main men in center field over these past couple of months, will clearly move behind Fowler on the depth chart as soon as he returns from the disabled list. Though Powell and Brugman are both capable of playing all three outfield positions, the fact that they both hit from the left side severely limits their ability to serve in any sort of platoon role in the A’s outfield as it’s currently configured. And we all know how much the A’s value those platoon matchups. That could help the cause of a couple of other outfield options who happen to be right-handed hitters – Mark Canha, who still possesses some intriguing power potential, and Jake Smolinski, who’s always put up strong numbers against lefties, is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and is currently on a minor league rehab assignment after sitting out most of the season due to shoulder surgery. One thing that seems certain is that the one of the most interesting roster battles next season should be for the A’s last one or two remaining outfield spots.

 

STARTING PITCHERS

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn

What once looked like a strong suit for the A’s, thanks to trades, injuries and poor performance, now appears to be a little more up in the air. Twelve different pitchers have made starts for the A’s this season. LHP Sean Manaea is the only A’s hurler to make it to the mound for more than 20 starts so far this season, and he also leads the teams in wins and strikeouts. RHP Kendall Graveman was looked at as the team’s ace-in-waiting behind Sonny Gray and was the A’s opening day starter this year, but injuries have limited him to 11 starts this season. Manaea and Graveman look to be locks to top the A’s rotation again in 2018. But don’t forget about a guy who put up better numbers than either of those pitchers have this season before undergoing hip surgery this summer – RHP Andrew Triggs. If he returns healthy and regains his form, then Triggs would also be in line to claim a rotation spot next season. A pair of rookies would appear to be the best bets to round out the rotation – RHP Paul Blackburn, who’s been solid in 9 starts for the A’s, and RHP Daniel Gossett, a former 2nd-round pick who’s shown plenty of promising potential. Behind those five (none of whom is currently over the age of 28), there are a number of arms who could be in waiting at Nashville but who also come with a number of questions marks. RHPs Jharel Cotton and Jesse Hahn have combined to make 31 starts for the A’s this season, and while both have shown great promise at times, they can both be wildly inconsistent as well. RHP Daniel Mengden, who showed such potential at times last season, is still in the picture and has recently returned to action for Nashville after missing much of the season due to injuries. Veteran RHP Chris Smith also remains in the mix and could serve as valuable rotation depth at Triple-A. Other potential starting options in the system include RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been working out of the bullpen at Nashville while making his way back from Tommy John surgery), RHP Frankie Montas (who had been serving in a starting role at Triple-A before landing on the disabled list), RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season on the A’s roster), RHP Corey Walter (who’s made 11 starts for the Sounds this season), and LHP A.J. Puk (the A’s top draft pick last year who’s put up an ERA of 5.36 and struck out 61 in 45 1/3 frames since joining Double-A Midland in June). Puk may not be ready to be a real rotation option for the A’s to start the season but, depending on how things play out, he could prove to be a legitimate option for the team before next season is through.

 

RELIEF PITCHERS

Blake Treinen

Blake Treinen

The bullpen could be the biggest question mark for the A’s heading into 2018. There aren’t too many locks here, nor too many talented young hurlers who look to be ready to bloom into superstar status. This could be an area the A’s seek to fill in with a few shrewd free-agent pickups, or the organization might just decide to make the best with what they’ve got and wait until the team looks like it might be ready to contend before investing in outside help for the bullpen. But looking at what’s in-house at the moment, RHP Blake Treinen seems to be the best option for the closer’s role. Of course, RHP Santiago Casilla is still under contract for next season, while the A’s will also maintain control of a couple of other familiar faces from the bullpen – RHPs Liam Hendriks and Ryan Dull. Two hard-throwing RHPs will remain in the mix as well – Frankie Montas, who’s still working to harness his potential, and Simon Castro, who has shown some promise in 13 appearances for the A’s this season. RHP Bobby Wahl will be returning from thoracic outlet surgery, while RHP J.B. Wendelken will be coming back from Tommy John surgery. And there are a number of possible long-relief options to consider as well, including RHP Chris Hatcher (who was recently acquired from the Dodgers), RHP Chris Smith (who could be well-suited for such a role), RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen at Nashville), RHPs Michael Brady and Josh Smith (both of whom have served in that role at times this season), and RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season in that role for the A’s). On the left side of the bullpen, the A’s current options look to be fairly limited. Of course, LHP Daniel Coulombe, who’s made 53 relief appearances for the A’s this season, clearly stands atop the pack. LHP Felix Doubront has been serving in a relief role for Nashville since returning from Tommy John surgery, and the A’s recently acquired LHP Sam Moll, who’s made 139 relief appearances in the Rockies system over the last five years. But beyond that, there aren’t many more southpaws to be seen in the bullpen picture at this point anyway, so stay tuned.

 

One never really knows what the A’s might decide to do in any given offseason, and this one’s certainly no different. But one thing’s clear – the team is committed to rebuilding with this current crop of young players. There aren’t many veterans left to deal away at this point, so any significant additions would most likely have to come from the free agent market, though it seems unlikely that the A’s would be ready to make too much of a splash in the free agent pool at this stage of the game. Once plans for the A’s new ballpark are announced, we should start to get a much better sense of what the team’s long-term and short-term player personnel plans are. But for now, this is how the current crop of young players who are likely to make the squad next season is shaping up. And hopefully, A’s fans can look forward to watching this promising pack of prospects develop into a winning team that will be able to carry its winnings ways into a new ballpark somewhere in Oakland in the not-too-distant future.

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Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Thursday, August 17th: Sounds Win Behind Barreto’s Big Bat while Fillmyer Leads Hounds to Shutout Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto (4 for 5 / Home Run / Triple / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto (4 for 5 / Home Run / Triple / 4 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  11

Memphis Redbirds   8

WP – Gossett 4-4 / 3.66

HR – Barreto (14)

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Franklin Barreto

(4 for 5 / Home Run / Triple / 4 RBIs)

Shortstop Franklin Barreto had a big night at the plate to help Nashville win a slugfest in Memphis on Thursday. The 21-year-old collected 4 hits, including a home run and a triple, while driving in 4 runs and scoring 3 times for the Sounds. Left fielder Mark Canha singled twice, doubled twice and drove in 3, while center fielder Jaff Decker singled, doubled, walked twice, stole a base and drove in a run. Catcher Beau Taylor had 3 hits and scored 3 runs, and designated hitter Josh Phegley went 1 for 4 with a walk and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in his second rehab game with the Sounds. RHP Daniel Gossett turned in his second straight quality start, allowing 2 runs and striking out 6 over 6 innings of work to earn the win, while RHP Lou Trivino got the final three outs to secure his 2nd save for the Sounds.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton, Beloit & Vermont…

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Wisconsin (8/14-17)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers lost three out of four games to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Milwaukee’s Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week. Due to a postponement on Wednesday, the last two games of the series were 7-inning contests played as a doubleheader on Thursday.

Second baseman Keston Hiura, the Brewers’ 1st-round pick this year, is a star attraction for the Timber Rattlers. He came into the series hitting .356 in 22 games and has been drawing rave reviews for his performance at the plate. Meanwhile, the Snappers continue to fight for a playoff spot in the Midwest League’s Western Division.

 

Game #1:  Wisconsin 8 – Beloit 7

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*Oakland’s 28th-round pick in 2016, second baseman Josh Vidales, hit his second home run as a Snapper, a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 1st inning to give Beloit an early lead.

*Center fielder Mike Martin, generally known as a speedy singles hitter, hit his first home run of the season along with a double. He had 3 hits in the game and scored 3 runs.

*With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, the A’s 12th-round pick in 2016, right fielder Luke Persico, hit a 3-run double to right-center field to bring Beloit within one run of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, first baseman Kyle Nowlin could not come up with the clutch hit, grounding out to the shortstop to end the game.

 

Game #2:  Wisconsin 10 – Beloit 0

Jason Goldstein

Jason Goldstein

*Not much went right for Beloit as the Snappers were shut out on 7 hits in this 10-0 loss.

*Catcher Jason Goldstein had 3 of the Snappers’ 7 hits in the game to raise his average on the season to .208.

*LHP Kyle Twomey made the start and, despite battling through some control issues in the 3rd inning, finished with a respectable line of 5 IP/3 H/4 R/1ER/3 BB/7 K.

*RHP Heath Bowers had one of his worst outings of the season, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits in 3 ⅔ innings of relief.

 

Game #3:  Wisconsin 7 – Beloit 3 (7 innings)

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*RHP Matt Milburn, known by many of his teammates as “Dad,” was knocked around by the Rattlers for 7 runs in 5 innings of work. Milburn was just one strike away from getting out of the 2nd inning unscathed, but instead gave up 3 runs on a bases-clearing double by Wisconsin left fielder Joantgel Segovia.

*2016’s 21st-round pick, designated hitter Kyle Nowlin, slugged a solo shot, his 11th home run of the season, to right-center field to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning. And we’ll have an exclusive interview with Kyle Nowlin coming soon!

*Catcher Jason Goldstein hit his 3rd home run of the season, a 2-run shot, over the left-field fence in the bottom of the 7th inning for the Snappers.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 3 – Wisconsin 1 (7 innings)

John Gorman

John Gorman

*RHP Xavier Altamirano made the start and threw 4 shutout innings, surrendering just 2 hits for the Snappers.

*Designated hitter Kyle Nowlin cracked an RBI double in the 4th inning to give the Snappers a 1-0 lead.

*RHP John Gorman was superb out of the bullpen once again. He stranded two inherited baserunners in the 6th inning and then pitched a perfect frame in the 7th to notch the five-out save. Four of the five outs he recorded were strikeouts.

*Beloit scored two runs to take the lead in the bottom of the 5th inning without recording a hit. A pair of walks followed by a wild pitch on a swinging strikeout that allowed left fielder Luke Persico to reach base and a throwing error led to the decisive runs for the Snappers.

 

Eric Marinez

Eric Marinez

Series Notes:

*Infielder Eric Marinez is a switch hitter. But looking at his numbers hitting right-handed, one might start to wonder if maybe he should consider hitting left-handed on full-time basis. In 87 at-bats as a right-handed hitter, Marinez has put up a rather paltry slash line of .195/.286/.218. But hitting left-handed, Marinez has compiled a solid .311/.370/.413 slash line in 283 at-bats.

*Despite putting together a rather underwhelming 3-5 record on the 8-game home stand, the Snappers currently sit just a half-game behind the Peoria Chiefs in the race for a Western Division playoff spot.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

First Baseman Kyle Nowlin

(4 for 12 / Home Run / 3 Doubles / 3 Walks / 2 RBIs)

 

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Wednesday, August 16th: Holmes Wins 10th for Hounds while Martin & Pimentel Homer to Help Ports Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Grant Holmes (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Grant Holmes (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

NW Arkansas Naturals   3

Midland RockHounds   4

WP – Holmes 10-11 / 4.73

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Grant Holmes

(6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / Win)

RHP Grant Holmes turned in a strong start to help the RockHounds win their third straight on Wednesday. The 21-year-old allowed 2 runs and struck out 6 over 6 innings of work to become just the second 10-game winner in the Texas League so far this season. And after compiling a 5.45 ERA in the first half, Holmes has now put up a much-improved 3.98 ERA in the second half. RHP Sam Bragg pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings in relief to pick up his 6th save for Midland. Shortstop Jorge Mateo had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, while right fielder Tyler Ramirez singled, doubled and walked, and catcher Sean Murphy and third baseman Sheldon Neuse each singled twice and drove in a run for the RockHounds.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Tuesday, August 15th: Carter’s Big Bat Leads Sounds to Victory while Mateo Helps Hounds Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Designated Hitter Chris Carter (3 for 3 / Home Run / Triple / Walk / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds DH Chris Carter (3 for 3 / Home Run / Triple / Walk / 5 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds   6

Memphis Redbirds   5

WP – Bracewell 3-2 / 6.25

HR – Carter (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Chris Carter

(3 for 3 / Home Run / Triple / Walk / 5 RBIs)

Designated hitter Chris Carter had a huge night at the plate to lead Nashville to victory on Tuesday. The 30-year-old slugger singled, tripled, homered, walked and drove in 5 runs, including the tying and winning runs in the top of the 8th for the Sounds. Third baseman Renato Nunez singled twice and scored 3 times, while catcher Beau Taylor walked and singled in a run. Starter Ben Bracewell picked up the win despite surrendering 5 runs in 7 innings of work, while RHP Raul Alcantara tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to secure his 3rd save for the Sounds.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton, Beloit & AZL A’s…

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