by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor
With the end of the minor league season almost upon us, it’s time to take a look at some of the young hitters in the A’s system who’ve been having true standout seasons on the field in 2017. So, let’s run down some of the top-performing position players in the A’s system this year. For the purposes of this piece, we’re only examining hitters who’ve compiled at least 300 at-bats this season and who are currently in the A’s minor league system. And remember, we’re not ranking top prospects here, just taking a look at some of the top performers on the field. All statistics are through games of Friday, September 1…
3B-OF Renato Nunez
Nashville Sounds (AAA)
(466 AB / 32 HR / 41 BB / 139 K / .253 AVG / .315 OBP / .526 SLG)
Considered a top power-hitting prospect for the A’s ever since the team signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela over six years ago, Nunez is back for his second season at Nashville. And his power seems to have reached new heights in his second stint at Triple-A. His 32 home runs are the most among A’s minor leaguers and tie him for second-most in the 16-team Pacific Coast League. The right-handed slugger’s 61 extra-base hits lead the A’s system, and his .526 slugging percentage is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats. The 23-year-old has also been much more consistent at the plate than he has been in past campaigns, though his lack of speed has led him to ground into 14 double plays so far this season. Nunez should get a look with the A’s this September, where he may have the chance to see some time in left field and in the designated hitter spot over the last month of the season. But with Matt Chapman entrenched at the hot corner, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be seeing much time at his old position. He really has the ability to hammer lefties, so his best role may be as a power-hitting platoon player, either as a DH or in left field. He’ll be out of options next season though, so the A’s will quickly need to determine exactly what they think they have in Mr. Nunez.
Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA)
(474 AB / 11 HR / 72 BB / 129 K / .310 AVG / .404 OBP / .441 SLG)
Ramirez has proven to be a fast mover in the A’s system. After being drafted in the 7th round last year and spending most of last season with short-season Vermont, the left-handed hitter started this year at High-A Stockton and then moved up to Double-A Midland this summer without missing a beat. The improved competition hasn’t seemed to hinder the 22-year-old, as he hit better at Stockton than he did for Vermont, and has hit even better for Midland than he did at Stockton. Ramirez has been remarkably consistent while hardly ever taking a day off and has a real knack for reaching base. His 72 walks are most among A’s minor leaguers, while his .404 on-base percentage is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats. He’s also compiled the second-most hits and runs in the system so far this season. While Ramirez can play all three outfield positions, he seems to look most comfortable in left, where he’s spent the bulk of his time this season.
Stockton Ports (A+)
(432 AB / 20 HR / 31 BB / 102 K / .301 AVG / .365 OBP / .493 SLG)
After turning in a somewhat unimpressive season last year at Beloit, Siddall may have shown as much improvement as any hitter in the A’s system this year. Taken by Oakland in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, the left-handed hitter got off to a slow start this season, compiling a rather tepid .657 OPS in April, but a healthy .929 OPS in the second half has helped to turn things around in a big way for the 22-year-old. His 20 home runs and .493 slugging percentage have helped to make him a potent force in the Ports lineup this season, while primarily playing in left and right field and also seeing frequent time in the DH spot for Stockton. He can tend to crowd the plate a bit and has been hit by pitches 14 times this season, which is the most among A’s minor leaguers.
OF Seth Brown
Stockton Ports (A+)
(509 AB / 28 HR / 55 BB / 143 K / .267 AVG / .337 OBP / .495 SLG)
Back for his second season in Stockton, Brown has really unleashed his power potential for the Ports this year. After getting off to a sluggish start with a .718 OPS in the first half, the left-handed hitter has put up an impressive .951 OPS since the California League All-Star break in late June to become Stockton’s best hitter in the second half. The 25-year-old leads all A’s minor leaguers in total bases, while his .495 slugging percentage is good for second-best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats, and his 28 home runs and 106 RBIs both currently lead the California League. Of course, along with power come strikeouts, and his 143 whiffs are tied for second-most in the A’s system. After being taken in the 19th round of the 2015 draft as a first baseman, Brown has spent the past couple of seasons primarily playing right field, but he’s begun seeing some more time at first base again lately.
OF B.J. Boyd
Midland RockHounds (AA)
(519 AB / 5 HR / 33 BB / 74 K / .329 AVG / .372 OBP / .437 SLG)
Taken by the A’s in the 4th round of the 2012 draft as a teenager out of Palo Alto High, Boyd has really come into his own in his sixth season in the A’s system. After turning in a somewhat uninspiring season at Stockton last year, the 24-year-old has compiled more hits and runs than any A’s minor leaguer this season and is tied for the second-most doubles with 29, while his .329 batting average is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats and also happens to lead the Texas League. The left-handed hitter has been incredibly productive hitting near the top of the order for the RockHounds and has swiped 15 bases while primarily splitting time between left and center field. Boyd has shown tremendous consistency this year and even leads his team in total bases this season.
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