Category: Minor League Teams

A’s 2018 Minor League Staff

 

Nashville Sounds manager Fran Riordan

Nashville Sounds manager
Fran Riordan

NASHVILLE SOUNDS (Triple-A)

Manager: Fran Riordan

Pitching Coach: Rick Rodriguez

Hitting Coach: Eric Martins

Fran Riordan, 42, will manage at the Triple-A level for the first time after leading the Double-A Midland RockHounds to a Texas League title in 2017. It was the fourth consecutive championship for Oakland’s Double-A affiliate. The 2018 season will be Riordan’s fourth in the Athletics organization. Prior to 2017 with Midland, he managed Single-A Beloit in 2015 and 2016 after a 14-year career managing in the independent Frontier and Northern Leagues. Riordan sports a career managerial mark of 869-857 (.503) over 17 seasons dating back to 2000. He takes over the manager role vacated by Ryan Christenson who was hired as the bench coach for Oakland. Rick Rodriguez, 57, returns to Nashville for a third season as pitching coach for the Sounds. He helped lead the Sounds to the 2016 American Southern Division Championship and has helped 14 Sounds pitchers make their Major League debut over the last two years. Prior to Nashville, Rodriguez spent one season serving in the same role with Advanced-A Stockton. He was Triple-A Sacramento’s pitching coach for 12 seasons, including his most recent stint in 2013-14. Rodriguez also served as the A’s bullpen coach from 2011-12 and as the manager of Advanced-A Modesto in 2003. Eric Martins, 46, returns to Nashville for a third season as the Sounds’ hitting coach. He has helped develop hitters such as Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chad Pinder and Franklin Barreto over the last two seasons. Martins served in the same role with Double-A Midland in 2015. Prior to his one season in Midland, he was a scout for the A’s since 2007. During his time as a scout, Martins was responsible for signing A.J. Griffin, Daniel Robertson and Chapman. Athletic trainer Brad LaRosa and strength and conditioning coach Henry Torres also return to Nashville after being with the Sounds in 2017.

 

Midland RockHounds manager Scott Steinmann

Midland RockHounds manager
Scott Steinmann

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (Double-A)

Manager: Scott Steinmann

Pitching Coach: Steve Connelly

Hitting Coach: Tommy Everidge

Scott Steinmann takes over at Midland after joining the Oakland organization as manager at Single-A Beloit in 2017. Prior to joining the A’s organization, he spent 17 seasons on various coaching staffs in the Seattle Mariners farm system, including nine seasons as a manager. Steve Connelly and Tommy Everidge move from Single-A Stockton to Midland in 2017 to take over as pitching and hitting coaches respectively. Justin Whitehouse returns as athletic trainer and Omar Aguilar joins the club from Beloit as strength and conditioning coach.

 

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

Stockton Ports manager
Rick Magnante

STOCKTON PORTS (High-A)

Manager: Rick Magnante

Pitching Coach: Bryan Corey

Hitting Coach: Brian McArn

Rick Magnante returns as manager at Single-A Stockton for the fourth consecutive season and is in his 22nd season in the A’s organization. Prior to Stockton, Magnante served as the manager of Class-A Beloit in 2014 after spending eight seasons with the A’s short-season teams in Vermont (2011-2013) and Vancouver (2006-2010). Pitching coach Bryan Corey moves up from Short-Season Vermont and hitting coach Brian McArn joins the club from Midland. Shane Zdebiak returns as athletic trainer and Matt Mosiman joins the A’s organization as the Ports strength and conditioning coach.

 

Beloit Snappers manager Webster Garrison

Beloit Snappers manager
Webster Garrison

BELOIT SNAPPERS (Class-A)

Manager: Webster Garrison

Pitching Coach: Don Schulze

Hitting Coach: Juan Dilone

Webster Garrison is the new manager at Beloit after helming the A’s Arizona Rookie League club in 2017. It will be his 20th season as a coach or manager in the A’s farm system. Don Schulze moves from Midland to take over as pitching coach, Juan Dilone returns for his third consecutive season as hitting coach and Brian Thorson returns for his 35th season in the A’s organization as an athletic trainer.

 

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

Vermont Lake Monsters manager
Aaron Nieckula

VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS (Class-A Short-Season)

Manager: Aaron Nieckula

Pitching Coach: Carlos Chavez

Hitting Coach: Lloyd Turner

Aaron Nieckula returns for his fourth season as manager at Vermont and his 12th season managing in the A’s farm system. He also serves as spring training and instructional league coordinator. Carlos Chavez takes over as pitching coach after spending 2017 at Beloit, while hitting coach Lloyd Turner and athletic trainer Toshiaki Nagahara also return to Vermont.

 

AZL A's pitching coach Gabriel Ozuna

AZL A’s pitching coach
Gabriel Ozuna

ARIZONA LEAGUE A’S (Rookie Short-Season)

Manager: Eddie Menchaca

Pitching Coach: Gabriel Ozuna

Hitting Coach: Ruben Escalera

Eddie Menchaca will manage the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League after spending nine seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization. He compiled a 441-460 record in seven seasons as a manager, most recently at Single-A Bakersfield in 2016. Pitching coach Gabriel Ozuna, hitting coach Ruben Escalera, coach Gabe Ortiz and athletic trainer Chris Lessner all return in 2018. Matt Rutledge takes over as strength and conditioning coach.

 

Traveling instructor  Steve Scarsone

Traveling instructor
Steve Scarsone

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Gil Patterson

Minor League Hitting Coordinator: Jim Eppard

Minor League Defensive Coordinator: Juan Navarette

Minor League Instruction Coordinator: Ed Sprague

Minor League Traveling Instructor: Steve Scarsone

Minor League Traveling Instructor: Hiram Bocachica

Minor League Field Coordinator: Aaron Nieckula

Minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, minor league hitting coordinator Jim Eppard, minor league defensive coordinator Juan Navarette, minor league instruction coordinator Ed Sprague, minor league field coordinator Aaron Nieckula and traveling instructor Steve Scarsone all return in their same player development roles. In addition, the A’s have hired Hiram Bocachica as a traveling instructor.

(Information provided by A’s Media Relations, Sounds Media Relations and Ports Media Relations)

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (8/22-24)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers lost two out of three games to the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week.

The River Bandits’ .427 team slugging percentage is the best in the league by far. A number of the team’s top hitters have been promoted this season, but the Astros’ deep farm system has been able to replenish the River Bandits’ lineup throughout the season.

The Snappers, on the other hand, were reeling after getting swept by Cedar Rapids in a recent four-game series. With Beloit’s playoff chances hanging by a thread, would the Snappers be able to find a way to beat the second-half Western Division leader?

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 4 – Beloit 1

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*RHP Matt Milburn, the A’s 29th-round pick in 2016, bounced back with a strong start after allowing 7 runs in 5 innings against Wisconsin his last time out. In this one, he induced 8 groundball outs and struck out 8 while allowing just 1 run in 6 innings of work for the Snappers.

*RHP John Gorman needed just 12 pitches to get through 1 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief, and he was promptly rewarded be being promoted to Stockton the next day. Gorman had been sensational out of the Beloit bullpen, putting up a 0.93 ERA and a 0.47 WHIP while striking out 24 and walking just 1 in 19 ⅓ innings for the Snappers.

*Right fielder Luke Persico, Oakland’s 12th-round pick in 2016, went 2 for 4 with his 4th triple to raise his batting average for Beloit to .267.

*Third baseman Jesus Lopez went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI single. It was nearly a 2-RBI single, but left fielder J.C Rodriguez was thrown out at the plate by River Bandits right fielder Luis Payano.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 3 – Quad Cities 0

Joseph Camacho

Joseph Camacho

*If you haven’t already heard, THE SNAPPERS NO-HIT THE RIVER BANDITS! Sorry for yelling, but it was kind of a big deal.

*LHP Zack Erwin tossed 6 innings of no-hit ball, walking just 1. He threw 79 pitches, which is close to what’s generally been his pitch limit for most of the season.

*RHP Joseph Camacho relieved Erwin to start the 7th inning, inheriting the task of preserving a no-hitter. The undrafted free agent who was signed by the A’s last summer did a wonderful job over the final 3 innings, giving up just 1 walk and, of course, no hits.

*Camacho got the final out of the no-hitter by retiring the Bandits #2 hitter, slugging catcher Chuckie Robinson, on a flyout to Snappers right fielder JaVon Shelby.

*Congratulations are in order for hurlers Zack Erwin and Joseph Camacho, as well as all the rest of the Beloit Snappers squad who contributed to the no-hitter!

 

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

Game #3:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 2

*RHP Seth Martinez, the A’s 17th-round pick in 2016, continued his solid season with another quality start for the Snappers. His final line was 6 IP/5 H/3 R/1 ER/1 BB/3 K.

*Left Fielder J.C. Rodriguez batted in the leadoff spot for the first time this season and responded by going 2 for 3 while driving in a run.

*The Snappers got 2 scoreless and hitless innings of relief from LHP Ty Damron. The A’s 15th-round pick in 2016 started the season as a starter before being sidelined by an injury for about two months.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

(6 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

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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.

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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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.

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Clinton (8/10-13)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers split a 4-game series with the Clinton LumberKings, the Mariners’ Midwest League affiliate, that concluded this Sunday at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

It’s been a rough year for the LumberKings, and nothing sums it up better than the fact that they’re currently on their third manager this season after their first two skippers resigned.

Beloit, meanwhile, continues to battle with the Peoria Chiefs for a Midwest League Western Division playoff spot.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 4 – Clinton 1

Jesus Lopez

Jesus Lopez

*LHP Kyle Twomey allowed no earned runs in 5 innings of work. And in 15 ⅔ frames over his last 3 starts, Twomey has given up just 1 earned run. During that stretch, he’s lowered his ERA almost a full run to 4.15 for the Snappers.

*Left fielder Josh Vidales, the A’s 28th-round pick in 2016, reached base in all 4 of his plate appearances. The 24-year-old had 3 singles and a walk and also drove in a run for the Snappers.

*Second baseman Jesus Lopez cracked a line-drive home run to left field with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning to put Beloit on the board. It was his 1st home run of the year for the Snappers.

*Lopez struggled last season, putting up a slash line of .193/.256/.262 between Beloit and Vermont. The native of Nicaragua came back this season with a couple of changes. He’s grown his hair out and, more notably, he’s abandoned switch hitting and is hitting strictly from the right side now. Lopez has looked good this season in his second stint with the Snappers. He’s currently slashing .313/.356/.422 for Beloit, and at just 20 years old, there’s still plenty of time for improvement.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 4 – Clinton 2

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*Matt “The Burn” Milburn had another solid outing for the Snappers, giving up just 1 run and striking out 6 in 5 innings of work. The A’s 29th-round pick in 2016 has shown some real swing-and-miss ability, as evidenced by his 8.8 K/9 rate.

*RHP John Gorman worked 1 ⅔ scoreless innings to close out the game and earn his 1st save for the Snappers. He’s proved to be a great addition to the Beloit bullpen. In 16 ⅓ innings for the Snappers, Gorman has compiled a 1.10 ERA and an excellent 20/1 K/BB ratio.

*Both designated hitter Kyle Nowlin and second baseman Jesus Lopez went 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base for the Snappers.

 

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

Game #3:  Clinton 5 – Beloit 4

*First Baseman Miguel Mercedes went 2 for 3 with a walk. He hit a double and a towering home run to center field, his team-leading 16th of the year.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano battled through 5 innings without his best stuff. His final line was 5 IP/9 H/4 ER/1 BB/2 K.

*The Snappers put a run on the board in both the 8th and 9th innings but still came up short, stranding the tying run on third base in the bottom of the 9th to end the game.

 

Game #4:  Clinton 4 – Beloit 2

Kyle Nowlin

Kyle Nowlin

*LHP Zack Erwin gave up 2 runs while striking out 6 in 5 innings of work. After three terrific pitchers (Dalton Sawyer, Brendan Butler and Brandon Bailey) were promoted from Beloit to Stockton this season, Erwin has become the ace of the Snappers pitching staff in the second half.

*RHP Joseph Camacho, signed as an undrafted free agent after last year’s draft, struck out 4 in 3 scoreless innings of relief. He’s compiled a 3.07 ERA with a 23/5 K/BB ratio in 29 ⅓ innings for the Snappers this season. Thus far, Camacho has looked like a real find by the A’s scouting staff.

*RHP Sam Sheehan, a 31st-round pick by Oakland in 2016, had a rare bad day on the mound. He surrendered 2 runs in the top of the 9th to suffer his 1st loss for the Snappers.

*First Baseman Kyle Nowlin cracked a two-out double to right-center field, scoring a hustling Edwin Diaz from first base to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning.

*Nowlin has made some immense strides in his hitting as well as his play at first base this season for the Snappers. While he doesn’t possess great range, Nowlin has learned how to better scoop out throws in the dirt. And he’s come on strong at the plate of late, putting up a slash line of .307/.409/.473 for the Snappers in the second half.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Left Fielder/Second Baseman Josh Vidales

(7 for 16 / Triple / Walk / 4 RBIs / Stolen Base)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 7-Game Home Stand vs. Burlington & Peoria (7/29-8/4)

bsby Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

Beloit took three out of four games from the Burlington Bees, the Angels’ Midwest League affiliate, in a series that wrapped up on Tuesday at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The Snappers then went on to win two out of three games from the Peoria Chiefs, the Cardinals’ Class-A affiliate, in a series that ended on Friday. And Beloit’s Midwest League playoff dreams are alive and well as the Snappers have played good baseball in the second half of the season.

 

BURLINGTON SERIES (7/29-8/1)

The general consensus is that the Angels have one of the weakest farm systems in baseball. And the 2017 Burlington Bees do nothing to dispel that notion. The only truly noteworthy prospect on the squad is RHP Joe Gatto, who is the Angels’ #26 ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 4 – Burlington 0

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

*The right-handed pitching trio of Seth Martinez, Heath Bowers and Sam Sheehan, while not exactly dominant – they combined to walk 5 while scattering 8 hits – still managed to shut out Burlington on Tuesday. Sheehan loaded the bases in the 9th inning with one out before striking out the next two Bees batters to preserve the shutout.

*Snappers shortstop Eric Marinez went 3 for 4 at the plate with a triple and an RBI for Beloit.

*3 of the 4 stolen bases by Beloit in this game came courtesy of leadoff hitter Mike Martin. The Snappers center fielder twice stole third base.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 5 – Burlington 0

Kyle Twomey

Kyle Twomey

*LHP Kyle Twomey threw his best game as a member of the A’s organization. The former Cubs farmhand turned in a solid stat line of 5 IP/2 H/0 ER/2 BB/7 K.

*The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, has primarily been pitching in long relief since returning from the disabled list on July 5. For the most part, he’s been hit pretty hard this season, with an ERA of 5.70 and opposing batters hitting .318 against him. But in this game, he threw 3 shutout innings, with RHP John Gorman contributing 1 scoreless frame to complete the 4-hit shutout for the Snappers.

*Every Beloit batter had at least 1 hit in the game.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 4 – Burlington 3 (12 innings)

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*RHP Matt Milburn, the A’s 29th-round pick in 2016, made yet another strong start, giving up just 2 runs in 7 innings of work. After posting a 5.58 ERA in 59 ⅔ innings in the first half, Milburn has been sensational in the second half. He has a 1.85 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and a 47:7 K/BB ratio in 48 ⅔ innings for the Snappers in the second half.

*After having a tough time through the first 5 innings against Bees starter Joe Gatto, Beloit mounted a successful comeback against the Burlington bullpen.

*Utility man Josh Vidales, recently demoted from High Class-A Stockton, came through with a big 2-RBI single to tie the game in the 6th inning. The A’s 28th-round draft pick in 2016 was playing left field in this game. He’s also played second base and third base for the Snappers.

*Oakland’s 21st-round pick in 2016, first baseman Kyle Nowlin, came through with a clutch home run to tie the game again in the 8th inning. It was his 10th home run of the season.

*With the bases-loaded and one out in the 12th inning, right fielder Mike Martin hit a chopper to Burlington second baseman Juan Moreno, who tried to turn a 4-6-3 double play. But Martin, with his blazing speed, managed to beat out the throw to first as the Snappers won on a walk-off fielder’s choice.

 

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

Game #4:  Burlington 7 – Beloit 2

*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued to look good as a starter, but the 23-year-old was the tough-luck loser in this one despite putting up a solid stat line of 6 IP/5 H/2 R/1 ER/1 BB/7 K.

*The Snappers had just 6 hits in the loss. And catcher Jason Goldstein, acquired from the Mariners for LHP Dillon Overton in the offseason, went 2 for 3 with a walk.

 

PEORIA SERIES (8/2-4)

The Peoria Chiefs are one of the Snappers’ main competitors for a Western Division playoff spot in the second half. Peoria’s outfield features a pair of 1st-round picks, 2015 1st-rounder Nick Plummer and 2016 1st-rounder Dylan Carlson.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 7 – Peoria 1

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*Infielder Edwin Diaz returned to Beloit after a rough 13-game stretch in Stockton. When the A’s acquired shortstop Jorge Mateo from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal and assigned him to Double-A Midland, that sent RockHounds shortstop Richie Martin down to Stockton and bumped Diaz back to Beloit.

*LHP Zack Erwin, fresh off being named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Month after he compiled a 0.69 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and a 32:4 K/BB ratio in 26 innings in July, spun yet another great start for the Snappers. Utilizing his extremely effective splitter, Erwin went 6 shutout innings while giving up just 2 hits and striking out 9.

*Beloit had 14 hits in the game. First baseman Kyle Nowlin and left fielder Josh Vidales each collected 2 singles and a walk, while designated hitter Miguel Mercedes and third baseman Trace Loehr both had a pair of hits, but Loehr had to leave the game after suffering a lower body injury while legging out a triple. Outfielder Mike Martin went 3 for 5 and added a stolen base.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 7 – Peoria 6 (10 innings)

Mike Martin

Mike Martin

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes fell a triple short of the cycle, finishing 3 for 5 with a booming 2-run homer to left-center field in the 6th inning.

*Catcher Jason Goldstein reached base 4 times with 2 hits and 2 walks.

*After being down by 6 runs at one point, Beloit then went on to score 7 unanswered runs to win 7-6 in 10 innings. It all started and ended with center fielder Mike Martin. He led off the 6th inning with a triple, which helped ignite a 4-run frame for the Snappers. And in the 10th inning, Martin once again came up with the bases loaded and one out in extra innings – the exact same situation that he’d faced three days earlier. This time, he hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring home the winning run as the Snappers won in a walk-off.

 

Game #3:  Peoria 13 – Beloit 10

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*The Snappers and the Chiefs combined for a Midwest League record 20 extra-base hits in the game.

*There were a combined 15 runs scored in the 8th inning alone, 10 by Peoria and 5 by Beloit.

*Four Snappers homered in the game: Miguel Mercedes (15), Collin Theroux (12), Edwin Diaz (9), and J.C Rodriguez (4).

*Shortstop Edwin Diaz went 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs while first baseman Miguel Mercedes went 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs.

*Peoria first baseman Stefan Trosclair hit for the cycle.

*After giving up 6 earned runs in 1 ⅓ innings of relief, RHP Joseph Camacho‘s 1.50 ERA rocketed to 3.55.

 

Series Notes:

*Outfielder Mike Martin is a dynamic threat on the base paths. He swiped 6 bases during this home stand, and the speedster is now 20 for 22 in stolen base attempts between Beloit and Vermont this season.

*Beloit finished the home stand 1 1/2 games ahead of Peoria for the second playoff spot in the Midwest League Western Division second half.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Home Stand:

First Baseman Miguel Mercedes

(10 for 29 / 2 Home Runs / 9 RBIs)

 

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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.

Taking a Look at AZL A’s Top Teens: Armenteros, Beck, Allen & Vargas

by Joseph Hartsock / A’s Farm Arizona Correspondent

00DSC04060xThe great thing about the Arizona League is that it allows us to look at the future, perhaps the distant future, and dream about the possibilities.

The Arizona League A’s have put up a 12-15 record so far this season. But the AZL isn’t as concerned with win-at-all-costs competition as much as it’s focused on developing young prospects and offering an introduction to professional baseball for many players. A number of the players here just left high school a couple of months ago and others just recently left the A’s Dominican facilities and are now being introduced to life in the U.S. for the first time.

I’ve had the chance to catch a few AZL A’s games this season, and there are definitely some intriguing prospects on the squad who make one hopeful for the future. So, let’s take a look at a few of the AZL A’s players who come with some high expectations: Lazaro Armeteros, Austin Beck, Nick Allen and Yerdel Vargas.

la2bLazaro Armenteros is the A’s $3 million bonus baby out of Cuba. The team signed him in the summer of 2016 as a 17-year-old. The young outfielder has put up a decent slash line of .264/.333/.425 in 23 Arizona League games so far this year. Lazarito has a real presence on the field. He doesn’t look like he just turned 18 two months ago. His physique looks more like that of a 21-year-old, with powerful legs and arms. At the plate, you can more easily see his lack of maturity. The teenage slugger occasionally lunges for balls outside of the zone and can be fooled by breaking balls. But when he does connect, even his outs are loud. It’s hard not to like what you see. And as Armenteros develops, he should still add more muscle and power to what’s already there. Lazarito clearly possesses superstar potential, but only time will tell how his development will play out.

0abAustin_Beck_t1u2zolz_rloc5a7fAustin Beck was the A’s 2017 1st-round draft pick (the 6th pick overall) out of North Carolina. The 18-year-old outfielder is a potential five-tool player who’s getting his first look at professional ball after graduating from high school just a couple of months ago. His early experience in the Arizona League has been a little rough, and he’s currently slashing just .145/.203/.203. His bat speed, base speed, arm and defense are all there. He just needs to be able to reach base consistently. His pitch recognition needs to be refined, and his load has extra bat movement, making it difficult to get to the pitch. When Beck does connect, his quick bat speed provides him with a lot of pop, and you can see the reason he was picked early in the first round of the draft. His fielding looks good, and his arm is above average, so I would imagine he’ll stay in center, though he could possibly end up moving to a corner outfield position as he develops.

na2Nick Allen was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft, but his reported $2 million signing bonus shows that he was regarded as more of a top-tier talent, and other teams must have passed on him due to their inability to sign him. Like Beck, Allen just graduated from high school a couple of months ago and is now getting his first look at professional baseball. The young shortstop has been faring a bit better at the plate in the early going though, with a .258/.292/.339 slash line. Allen is undersized at a listed 5-foot-9 and 155lbs. He has been the smallest player on the field almost every night I’ve seen him, but he’s shown some great skill in the field and good speed on the bases. The 18-year-old has a compact swing that encourages contact, and he has used his speed to help him get on base. Allen has batted leadoff every night I’ve seen him, and with his speed, I could see him sticking there. Of course, he could always end up moving down towards the bottom of the lineup if his bat doesn’t develop as hoped. But with his solid glove, I don’t see him profiling anywhere other than the middle infield.

yvVargas_Yerdelluis_yqiptmwr_v4i4p2djYerdel Vargas is another A’s prospect in the AZL who stood out to me. Vargas was a 2016 international free agent out of the Dominican Republic whom the A’s signed for a reported $1.5 million. Vargas is only 17, so if he was a U.S.-born player, he would be busy preparing for his senior year in high school right now. He’s listed as a shortstop, but I’ve only seen him play second base, where his arm may profile a bit better. He looked very natural with great instincts in the field. Vargas’s bat is very quick to the plate. He has a compact swing with a contact approach at the plate, but he’s shown some surprising pop at times. So far this season, he’s put up a .239/.271/.328 slash line. I’ll admit that Vargas wasn’t high on my radar to start with, but seeing his instincts in the field, his speed on the bases and in the field, and his approach at the plate, I’m excited about his future.

The Arizona League is nothing but dreams, full of prospects in their teens, with the big leagues a number of years away for most of the players here. Young players often possess many of the raw tools, which will need to be refined, and we can only imagine the possibilities. But some of the A’s top prospects in the Arizona League definitely represent some intriguing possibilities, and it should be really interesting to watch them develop the rest of this year and beyond.

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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.

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 5-Game Home Stand vs. West Michigan & South Bend (7/19-24)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers split a rain-shortened two-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit’s Midwest League affiliate, last week at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The Snappers then went on to sweep the South Bend Cubs, Chicago’s Class-A affiliate, in a three-game set that concluded on Monday.

The Whitecaps entered the series with the best record in all of minor league baseball. A sparkling 2.64 ERA and 19 shutouts are far and away the best from any team this season in the Midwest League. In terms of top prospects, the standout is outfielder Derek Hill, who ranks as the #8 prospect in the Tigers organization according to MLB Pipeline. A 1st-round pick in 2014, Hill spent most of the season on the disabled list before returning to action late last month.

South Bend has been a solid team, staying above .500 during most of the season. The Cubs recently lost their top prospect, RHP Dylan Cease, to the White Sox organization in the Jose Quintana trade. But they do have an athletic, high-upside outfielder in D.J. Wilson, who ranks as the #6 prospect in the Cubs organization according to MiLB Pipeline.

 

Game #1:  West Michigan 6 – Beloit 3

Heath Bowers

Heath Bowers

*After three rather uneventful innings on Wednesday, things started to get a little crazy in Beloit. As the skies grew darker, a tornado siren suddenly went off while the Snappers were warming up, which halted the game. The contest would not resume until the next day as a major thunderstorm with tornado potential rolled through south-central Wisconsin. A lightning bolt actually struck one of the left field light poles, which knocked out a number of lights as well as the scoreboard, and Pohlman Field had to go without a scoreboard the next day.

*When the game resumed in the top of the 4th inning on Thursday, RHP Mitchell Jordan took the hill for the Snappers. It was clearly not his day, as he gave up 6 earned runs while getting just two outs in the top of the 4th inning. Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, has struggled to miss bats this season, giving up a lot of hard contact.

*RHP Heath Bowers righted the ship for Beloit, throwing 3 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief. What was most encouraging to see from Bowers is how he attacked the strike zone, throwing 33 of his 47 pitches for strikes. As good as his 1.96 ERA in 55 innings might look, the 30 walks he has given up show that he has constantly been walking a tightrope. If Bowers is going to succeed going forward, he’ll need to start issuing fewer free passes.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 2 – West Michigan 0

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*In this 7-inning game, a safety squeeze bunt from shortstop Jesus Lopez and an RBI double from first baseman Miguel Mercedes accounted for all the Snappers’ scoring.

*RHP Matt Milburn, a 29th-round pick by the A’s in 2016, pitched 5 ⅔ scoreless innings to earn his 6th win for the Snappers. While Milburn is sporting a respectable 3.92 ERA, his peripherals suggest that he has been much better than that. His FIP sits at 2.90 and his xFIP at 3.12. Meanwhile, his K/9 is a solid 9.34 and he has a very good swinging strike rate of 13.1%.

*RHP Sam Sheehan, the A’s 31st-round pick last year, shut the door on the Whitecaps. He allowed just 1 hit and struck out 2 in 1 ⅓ scoreless innings to earn his 4th save. Sheehan now has superb 1.57 ERA in 28 ⅔ innings this season for the Snappers.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 6 – South Bend 3

Collin Theroux

Collin Theroux

*RHP Xavier Altamirano had a quality start in his second straight outing, putting up a pitching line of 6 IP/4 H/2 ER/1 BB/6 K.

*Center fielder and leadoff hitter Mike Martin went 3 for 4 while scoring a pair of runs for the Snappers.

*First baseman Kyle Nowlin, Oakland’s 21st-round pick in 2016, went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBIs for Beloit.

*Catcher Collin Theroux, the 32nd-round pick by the A’s last year, threw out both runners who tried to steal. For the season, he has thrown out nearly 48% of attempted steals, which is an impressive number for any catcher. The 23-year-old possesses a cannon of a throwing arm and is not afraid to show it off. It’s definitely something that opposing teams need to be wary of coming into a series.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 6 – South Bend 0

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

*Beloit batters hit 3 home runs off of Cubs starter LHP Manuel Rondon. Third baseman Trace Loehr hit his 3rd home run in the 1st inning, designated hitter Kyle Nowlin clubbed his 8th, also in the 1st, and second baseman J.C Rodriguez slugged his 2nd home run on the season in the 4th.

*Loehr went 2 for 4 to continue his hot hitting in the second half. By the end of the series with South Bend, Loehr was batting .340 with a .553 slugging percentage in 26 games in the second half.

*Nowlin reached base in all 4 plate appearances, continuing his own second-half hot streak. By the end of the South Bend series, Nowlin was slashing .326/.426/.500 in the second half.

*Despite having to warm up multiple times due to rainy conditions, LHP Zack Erwin threw 4 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball.

*RHP Seth Martinez was spectacular in relief of Erwin. Working at a brisk pace, the A’s 17th-round pick in 2016 did not allow a baserunner over 5 perfect innings while striking out 3. Martinez’s successful outing can be attributed to his solid fastball command and a sweeping slider, which helped him induce a lot of weak contact.

 

Game #5:  Beloit 7 – South Bend 6

J.C. Rodriguez

J.C. Rodriguez

*The Snappers pitchers with the three worst ERAs on the current staff combined to help Beloit win the final game of the set on Monday and sweep the series from South Bend. LHP Kyle Twomey (5.93 ERA), RHP Mitchell Jordan (6.04 ERA) and RHP Jesus Zambrano (5.36 ERA) weren’t particularly sharp, allowing a lot of hard contact and scattering 16 hits while allowing 6 runs, 5 earned. But they buckled down to get out of some sticky situations, and some impressive defensive plays behind them helped to bail them out as well.

*Beloit threw out three South Bend runners at home plate in the game. A great throw by left fielder J.C. Rodriguez to the plate got the first runner, while a tremendous relay from center fielder JaVon Shelby to shortstop Trace Loehr to catcher Collin Theroux nailed the second, and second baseman Josh Vidales made a magnificent bare-handed pick up and then fired home a bullet to nab the third runner.

*With the score tied at 6-6 and one out in the bottom of the 9th inning, up stepped left fielder J.C. Rodriguez. Full name: Jean Carlo Rodriguez. Extra innings were looming over what was already a long and wacky game. But on a 1-1 pitch, Rodriguez smacked his third home run of the year, a line drive over the left field wall, to cap off a wild win and complete the sweep.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Home Stand:

First Baseman Kyle Nowlin

(7 for 13 / Home Run / 3 Walks / 3 RBIs)

 

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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.

Stockton Skipper Rick Magnante Talks about the Ports’ Newest Prospects

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

rmMGR_Magnante_dervlq1cStockton manager Rick Magnante originally began his professional baseball career as a 13th-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians out of the University of Santa Barbara back in 1969.

He first joined the A’s organization in 1995 as an area scout covering southern California, where he was the signing scout for players like Barry Zito. He also began managing short-season teams for the A’s in 2006 after his duties prepping for each year’s draft were through.

After spending five seasons in Vancouver and three seasons in Vermont, Magnante gave up his scouting duties and began managing full-time. He spent the 2014 season in Beloit and is now in his third season with Stockton. We took the opportunity to talk with the Stockton skipper late last week to get his first-hand take on some of the prospects who’ve recently joined the Ports…

 

AF:  You’ve had a lot of turnover on your roster here at Stockton this year. So, let’s talk about some of the new guys who’ve recently joined your squad here in the second half. Let’s start out with 22-year-old second baseman Nate Mondou, who arrived from Beloit at the end of June. He’s not a very big guy, but he seems to be doing a pretty good job of putting the bat on the ball.

RM:  He’s your typical grinder, blue-collar player who has to maximize his skill set to be that over-achieving, instinctual, anticipatory kind of player – and he is that. And his ability to swing the bat has been impressive. I think he’s a sleeper. I think you could see Nate in the big leagues. I’ll go out on a limb right now and say that may happen someday, because he can play the game. And the other thing you have to take into consideration is that this is his first full season. He had a real good first half there in Beloit. He came up here and he’s hot as a firecracker – he’s slowed down a little bit as of late, but that’s going to happen. And if he can just finish with some kind of consistency at the plate after his first full season, I think that’s quite an accomplishment for him.

AF:  He sounds like the kind of guy you could really see hustling his way to the big leagues.

RM:  Yeah. I asked him, “Were the Boston Red Sox ever interested in you?” I said, “To me, you’re Marty Barrett, you’re Jerry Remy, you’re Dustin Pedroia. You’re all those under-sized middle infielders who can really play the game and give 110% every time.” So, that’s what I liken him to.

Rick Magnante (photo by Meghan Camino)

Rick Magnante
(photo by Meghan Camino)

AF:  I was thinking about David Eckstein.

RM:  Absolutely, that’s a good comparison.

AF:  21-year-old outfielder Luis Barrera came up here from Beloit in the middle of July. He got off to a pretty good start here and has already hit a couple of home runs for you. He seems to have a lot of tools to work with.

RM:  He’s a combination of tools with an emerging skill set and a baseball IQ that still needs to advance some. But he’s wiry strong, fast, defends, throws, chance to hit, and has youth on his side. So, certainly he’s a chance prospect for me.

AF:  The other guy who came up from Beloit at the same time as Barrera is 21-year-old infielder Edwin Diaz. He’s still very young, but he’s also got some tools.

RM:  Originally drafted as a shortstop, he’s gotten bigger, filled out and slowed down a little bit, so he’s moved over to the corner. He’s gifted with the glove and has a gifted arm. He’s made some sensational plays in the short time that he’s been here to allow us to stay in ballgames and eliminate rallies and not give extra outs away. He needs to work on the bat. The hitting is his Achilles heel right now. There’s strength there, there’s leverage, there’s raw power. But the ability to make consistent contact, to take advantage of pitches in the zone that he should hit, those areas are the areas that he needs to improve on.

AF:  22-year-old infielder Sheldon Neuse just recently came here from the Nationals’ system. Have you been able to form much of an impression of him yet?

RM:  We had a nice talk in the office yesterday, just a little orientation. I gave him a little history about the A’s, our direction, our philosophy. I got some information from him, a little bio, where he comes from, his family, etc. Anytime anybody comes over to a new organization, you’ve just got to give them a pass for six to ten games and let them just get their feet on the ground. But his numbers speak for themselves. He was a 2nd-round draft pick by the Nationals, and we know they scout well. And it looks like we’re going to give him an opportunity to play some shortstop and some third base and see how that goes. But we had him out here for some early work in batting practice today, and there is raw power to all fields. But early on, you can see it’s a good body – there’s strength, there’s power. He closed all three years at Oklahoma as well as playing short and third. I don’t know if it’s Chapman-like, but there’s arm strength there.

AF:  23-year-old Cuban pitcher Norge Ruiz is an intriguing pitching prospect that people are very interested in. He’s made four starts here in Stockton now, so what have you been able to see out of him so far?

Rick Magnante (photo by Meghan Camino)

Rick Magnante
(photo by Meghan Camino)

RM:  Well, he’s extremely competitive – extremely competitive. He raises the bar very high in terms of his expectations, which is good, but it sometimes can be unrealistic and unattainable. So, I tried to bring that down a little bit and create some kind of measured reality for what we expect here. But you’re dealing with a different culture…with those guys, you really have to give them the opportunity to just settle in and get comfortable. They want to impress early. He’s got a large mix of pitches – from the fastball to the curveball to the slider to the splitter to the change. So, we’re going to let him throw his stuff and see how he does. And I’m sure we’ll start to abridge his arsenal and try to get him something that works more like a traditional three-pitch/four-pitch mix and see how it all works out. But he’s had his moments where he’s been impressive. He mixes it up, he changes speeds and he attacks hitters. And he’s going to have to learn also that this is professional baseball in America. It’s not international baseball. This is a little bit more challenging over here. And he’s going to have to do what he needs to do to make the necessary adjustments. So far, he’s competed out here, and he’s mixed in well with his teammates – so good for Norge!

AF:  As we all know, the minor league season can be a bit of a grind. And with a month or so left in the minor league season, we’re probably starting to hit that grind point right about now. So, at this point, what are you thinking about, and what messages are you conveying to the young players here on your squad?

RM:  Well, you know, we had a successful first half. I was very pleased with the fact that, with four games left to play in the first half, we were one out, and had a chance to get ourselves an early first-half spot in the playoffs. It did not come to fruition. But as far as the work ethic, the energy, the commitment, the fellowship, the camaraderie that we’ve seen here early on, I’m very pleased with the makeup of the ballclub. At the halfway point, when I sat down and spoke with the players, I simply said that now is the second half, this is when adjustments need to be made, not only in terms of what you need to do to get better, but also what the other teams are going to do to offset the success you’ve had against them. And also, I just said that I thought there was tremendous parity in the California League, and there was no one or two teams that I felt this year were clearly, talent-wise, better than the rest. So, our future, our destiny here this second half is going to be a function of how well we play the game and how few mistakes we make…with a new crew, with a whole different group of guys – outside of maybe Eli White and maybe Pimentel and Bolt and Brown and Siddall and Mikey White; the pitching has completely changed; we have two new catchers [Argenis Raga and Santiago Chavez]; we have a new third baseman [Edwin Diaz]; we have a newly-acquired infielder with Sheldon Neuse. So, it’s a different crew, but you expect that. That comes with the territory in the minor leagues – we, as a staff, understand that. So, we just continue to come out and work hard every day, send out a positive message and make sure that the guys give us their best effort. And to date, they have.

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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.

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Kane County (7/7-10)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers managed just one win in their recent four-game series against the Kane County Cougars, Arizona’s Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The Cougars entered the series with a total of just 33 home runs, the least of any team in the league. For comparison, the Lake County Captains lead the league with 95 home runs. Outfielder Marcus Wilson has hit a team-leading 8 home runs while slashing .293/.393/.481 for the Cougars.

 

Game #1:  Kane County 5 – Beloit 1

Jesus Zambrano

Jesus Zambrano

*The Snappers snapped a 29-inning scoring drought when they scored an unearned run in the 9th inning thanks to a fielding error by Kane County shortstop Raymel Flores.

*RHP Jesus Zambrano had his second straight scoreless outing in long relief. After pitching 4 scoreless innings in his last outing, he threw 3 scoreless frames in Friday’s appearance.

*Beloit batters struck out 9 times while managing just 3 singles over 7 innings against Kane County starting pitcher Sam McWilliams. While not known for putting up big strikeout numbers, McWilliams is nonetheless a strike-throwing machine. He attacked Snappers hitters all day, with 70 of his 94 pitches going for strikes.

 

Game #2:  Kane County 2 – Beloit 1

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*The A’s 29th-round pick in 2016, RHP Matt Milburn, had a solid pitching line of 5 IP/4 H/2 ER/0 BB/6 K. Milburn has a rather pedestrian 4.36 ERA on the season, but his peripheral numbers suggest he has been much better than that. He sports a FIP of 2.74 and an xFIP of 3.09.

*RHP Heath Bowers, who possesses a wicked slider with a lot of movement, threw 3 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball in relief while striking out 5. The Midwest League All-Star has an impressive 2.17 ERA, but he still needs to cut down on the free passes as he’s walked 27 batters in 49 ⅔ innings of work.

*21-year-old shortstop Edwin Diaz had a big game for Beloit, going 3 for 5 with a triple and an RBI.

*2015’s 33rd-round draft pick for the A’s, outfielder Mike Martin, reached base 3 times, on a pair of hits and a walk.

 

Game #3:  Kane County 10 – Beloit 9

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

*It was a wild Sunday afternoon, with the Snappers committing 5 errors. The game saw Beloit score the first two runs of the match. Kane County then scored 10 unanswered runs, followed by Beloit scoring 7 unanswered runs.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano has joined the Snappers’ starting rotation after spending the first half of the season as a long reliever. The 22-year-old had his worst outing of the season on Sunday, and it really all fell apart in the 5th and 6th innings, when he surrendered a total of 7 earned runs.

*It appeared that right fielder JaVon Shelby may have been benched for a lack of hustle when he didn’t return to the field in the 7th inning after misplaying a ball in the 6th inning. The A’s 5th-round pick in 2016 looked to take his time to get to a drive down the right field line by Cougars outfielder Anfernee Greer and then chucked the ball towards third base, where it bounced away and allowed Grier to come all the way around to score on what looked like a Little League home run.

*Third baseman Edwin Diaz hit what looked like a line-drive RBI single to left field in the 6th inning. But the ball took a crazy bounce past Kane County left fielder Anfernee Grier and rolled all the way to the wall. Diaz raced around the bases and scored an inside-the-park home run. That’s one way to raise the slugging percentage!

*Oakland’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, catcher Collin Theroux, smashed a double to left-center field in the 8th inning that registered 105 MPH off the bat. Theroux can really hit the ball as hard as anyone in the Midwest League.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 3 – Kane County 1

John Gorman

John Gorman

*LHP Zack Erwin was excellent, striking out 8 in 6 scoreless innings to earn the win. Great fastball location combined with a solid splitter seem to be the keys to his success. And Erwin appears to have taken a big step forward this season. After posting a 6.53 ERA in 80 innings for Stockton in 2016, he’s currently sporting a 2.28 ERA for the Snappers in 2017. So, the demotion to Beloit seems to have really helped Erwin right the ship.

*RHP John Gorman gave up his first earned run as a Snapper on Monday, but he has been impressive out of the bullpen. A 31st-round pick in 2015, Gorman has struck out 16 batters in 10 ⅔ innings between short-season Vermont and Beloit this season. His pitching arsenal includes a fastball that ranges between 88-90 MPH, a changeup and a slider.

*The A’s 21st-round pick in 2016, designated hitter Kyle Nowlin, reached base 3 times. He had an RBI single, an RBI double and a walk, and he also scored a run.

*Catcher Collin Theroux struck out 4 times, earning the “Golden Sombrero,” and he now has an unsightly 43.4 K% on the season. The good news for Theroux is that he threw out both runners who tried to steal on him.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

(6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K)

 

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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.

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Wisconsin (6/30-7/3)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took the final game of their four-game set with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Brewers’ Midwest League affiliate, at Beloit’s Pohlman Field on Monday to split their series.

Wisconsin’s pitching staff has struggled this season, ranking near last in the Midwest League in almost every pitching category. The team also ranks last in the league in batting average (.220), slugging percentage (.346) and OPS (.642). So, it’s no surprise that the Timber Rattlers finished last in the Midwest League’s Western Division for the first half.

 

Game #1:  Wisconsin 7 – Beloit 4

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*LHP Zack Erwin struggled with his command in this one, walking 3 batters and giving up 3 runs in just 4 ⅔ innings.

*RHP Yordys Alejo was taken deep twice by Timber Rattlers’ second baseman Tucker Neuhaus, slugging a solo shot in the 6th inning, then belting a 3-run blast in the 7th.

*The Snappers scored 4 runs on 10 hits in the game, but missed many prime opportunities to score more runs, including stranding the bases loaded in both the 6th and 7th innings.

 

Game #2:  Wisconsin 4 – Beloit 2

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

*Switch-hitting shortstop Eric Marinez hit his third home run of the season in the bottom of the 1st inning for Beloit, but it turned out to be the Snappers’ only extra-base hit of the game.

*The Timber Rattlers scored more runs (4) than they had hits (3).

*Cuban RHP Miguel Romero made his first appearance for Beloit, throwing 32 pitches in just 2 innings of work, presumably because he was on a pitch count. The 23-year-old gave up 2 earned runs, both in his second inning of work.

*RHP Seth Martinez, the A’s 17th-round pick in 2016, was strong in long relief. One mistake in the 4th inning to Timber Rattlers first baseman Ronnie Gideon led to a two-run homer (clocked at 106 mph off the bat) that ended up being the difference in the game. Despite being tagged with the loss, that was the only hit Martinez allowed, and he was charged with just one run earned run while striking out 7 in 6 innings of stellar work.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 4 – Wisconsin 2

Kyle Twomey

Kyle Twomey

*LHP Kyle Twomey made his first home start at Pohlman Field in this one. Last year, he posted a solid season in the Midwest League for the South Bend Cubs. Despite compiling a 3.44 ERA in 73 ⅓ innings in 2016, Twomey was released by the Cubs this spring and was promptly signed by the A’s as a minor league free agent. Though he’s currently sporting an ugly 6.89 ERA for the Snappers this season, Twomey put up a solid line in this game: 5 IP/4 H/2 ER/2 BB/3 K.

*RHP Jesus Zambrano was impressive in relief. The 20-year-old struck out 5 batters over 4 scoreless frames. And 4 of his 5 strikeouts saw Wisconsin hitters flailing at his changeup, which was diving down into the dirt.

*Third baseman Trace Loehr went 3 for 4 at the plate, but his most impressive feat may have come in his first at-bat. With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Loehr worked an 11-pitch at-bat, eventually lining a single to right. This brought up the A’s 21st-round pick in 2016, first baseman Kyle Nowlin, who proceeded to crack a line-drive home run oppo boppo over the fence in right-center field to tie the game at two apiece. And it was all set up by Loehr’s outstanding at-bat to keep the inning alive.

*RBI doubles by outfielders Luis Barrera and Mike Martin brought home the other two runs for Beloit in the victory.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 2 – Wisconsin 1

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*Second baseman Trace Loehr turned in his second 3-hit game in as many days for the Snappers.

*RHP Matt Milburn struggled out of the gate, surrendering 4 hits to the first 5 batters he faced. But the Athletics 29th-round pick in 2016 managed to make it out of the 1st inning allowing just 1 run. Milburn went on to pitch 6 scoreless innings after that, inducing 9 ground ball outs, most of which were handled by the marvelous up-the-middle duo of shortstop Edwin Diaz and second baseman Trace Loehr. Milburn’s final line was a superb 7 IP/7 H/1 ER/1 BB/6 K.

*The biggest play of the game came in the top of the 4th inning. With Wisconsin left fielder Joantel Segovia on first base and two outs, Timber Rattlers third baseman Gilbert Lara smacked a double to center field. Segovia was determined to score on the play, but Snappers center fielder Luis Barrera and shortstop Edwin Diaz had other plans. Barrera got to the ball quickly and fired an accurate throw to the cutoff man, Diaz, who then rocketed a long relay throw home to nab Segovia at home plate. That kept it a 2-1 ballgame, and the Snappers would never surrender the lead.

 

Former Snappers Notes:

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*Congratulations to RHP Brandon Bailey and second baseman Nate Mondou, who were both promoted to the High-A Stockton Ports last week.

*Bailey, the A’s 6th-round pick in 2016, compiled a 2.68 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP while holding hitters to a .199 batting average over 57 innings of work. He also averaged an impressive 11.5 strikeouts per 9 innings for the Snappers. While listed at just 5’10” and 175 lbs., Bailey possesses excellent stuff and is an interesting arm to watch as he climbs the ladder.

*Mondou, the A’s 13th-round pick in 2016, was the most consistent batter for Beloit through the first half of the season. The left-handed contact hitter had a strong slash line of .296/.371/.385 with a 114 wRC+ for the Snappers. Mondou will always be very dependent on his ability to hit for average and take walks, as he has little to no power, and he’ll probably be limited to playing second base. But it wouldn’t be wise to bet against this very cerebral ballplayer.

 

tl656656

 

A’s Prospect of the Series:

2B-3B Trace Loehr

(7 for 12 / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

 

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