Category: Minor League Teams

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (6/16-18)

bsThe Beloit Snappers took just one of three games from the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this weekend.

If this matchup sounds familiar, that’s because these two teams just met for a 4-game series the previous weekend. It was definitely an odd scheduling quirk. But this series saw the Snappers looking to play spoiler to the River Bandits’ playoff hopes in what were the final three games of the Midwest League’s first-half divisional race for both teams.

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*RHP Mitchell Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, was not fooling any of the River Bandits batters in this game. The 22-year-old gave up 5 runs on 8 hits while walking 3, and he didn’t strike out a batter in 4 innings of work. Jordan also gave up 3 home runs, two of which traveled over 430 feet.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued his stellar season out of the Beloit bullpen with what was probably his best performance of the season, if not the best of his pro career. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 8 over 4 scoreless innings for the Snappers.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou has served as a model of consistency in the Snappers lineup this season, so it’s odd to see him in the midst of slump. And it didn’t help when Bandits right fielder Ronnie Dawson went all out to make a diving catch to rob Mondou of what would have been an RBI double. So the A’s 13th-round pick in 2016 decided to take a different approach in his second at-bat. Mondou hit a seeing-eye ground-ball single to Dawson in right. And with that, he snapped his 0-for-17 skid.

*Last year’s 1st-round pick for the Astros, RHP Forrest Whitley, dominated the Snappers for the second time in less than a week, striking out 8 while throwing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief for Quad Cities.

*With the end of the first half of the season drawing near, it seemed as though Beloit’s batters were running on empty. They combined to strike out 16 times in this 9-inning game.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 4 – Quad Cities 3 (10 innings)

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*23-year-old LHP Zack Erwin was effective at keeping the ball low in the zone, getting 8 ground-ball outs for the Snappers. His final line for the night was an impressive 6 IP/5 H/1 ER/0 BB/4 K.

*Slap-hitting third baseman Trace Loehr lined a key 2-run double in the bottom of the 6th inning to give Beloit the lead, but it was just his 5th extra-base hit this season (3 doubles and 2 triples).

*The A’s 5th-round pick last year, outfielder JaVon Shelby, possesses an above-average throwing arm in the outfield, and the converted third baseman showed both the good and the bad that can result from that in this game. Shelby threw out a runner at home plate from his position in center field at one point. But after a lineout to center, he tried to double-up the runner at first base. Unfortunately, the throw went high and wide of first baseman Miguel Mercedes, ricocheting off the dugout fence and allowing the runner to advance to second.

*As the game entered extra innings, Beloit’s fans were eagerly awaiting a home-team hero to end the game so that they could enjoy the scheduled post-game fireworks. That hero was shortstop Eric Marinez. In the bottom of the 10th, he lined an RBI single to left field to score first baseman Kyle Nowlin from second base as the Snappers celebrated a walk-off win in extra innings.

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*RHP Brandon Bailey, the 6th-round pick of the A’s in 2016, hurled another solid game (5 IP/3 H/2 ER/3 BB/5 K). There had been some question as to whether or not he could hold up as a starter, but he’s so far put those questions to rest with a terrific first half for Beloit. And Bailey is now sporting a 2.72 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 53 innings for the Snappers.

*It was a sloppy game defensively for the Snappers as the team committed 3 infield errors – one apiece by first baseman Miguel Mercedes, second baseman Nate Mondou and shortstop Trace Loehr.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou smashed a line-drive, 2-run single that deflected off the glove of diving River Bandits first baseman Taylor Jones. And it was more than welcome for Mondou, who’s hit for a .137 batting average this month.

 

Series Notes:

JaVon Shelby

JaVon Shelby

*Outfielder JaVon Shelby went 1 for 13 with 8 strikeouts in the series. Shelby finished the first half with a total of 98 strikeouts, the second-most by a player in the Midwest League, and he’s now struck out in a full 45% of his at-bats for the Snappers.

*With RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer promoted to Stockton, RHP Michael Murray and LHP Ty Damron on the shelf with injuries, and RHP Dakota Chalmers working on his mechanics in extended spring training, it has recently left the Snappers searching for pitchers who can give them effective innings. While it’s difficult for a pitching staff to withstand that many losses, it will certainly give some other young pitchers in the organization a chance to show just what they’ve got.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Xavier Altamirano

(4 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (6/9-12)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took just one of four games from the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Midwest league affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week.

The River Bandits are far and away the best power-hitting team in the Midwest League this season, with a league-best 64 home runs entering the series. One of the biggest sluggers for the Bandits has been 19-year-old first baseman/outfielder Yordan Alvarez, who’s hitting .397 with 5 home runs in just 22 games in the Midwest League.

The Bandits currently have two of the Astros’ top 10 prospects according to MLB Pipeline – outfielder Daz Cameron (son of former major league outfielder Mike Cameron) and RHP Forrest Whitley. Both players definitely impressed in this series, making life hard for the Snappers.

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 8 – Beloit 3

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*Beloit got off to a hot start in the game, with center fielder Luis Barrera smacking a 2-0 pitch off the center field wall for a leadoff triple.

*The next batter, first baseman Luke Persico, who last year’s 12th-round pick for the A’s, promptly singled home Barrera to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning. It was one of 3 hits on the night for Persico, who has been in a bit of a slump during the month of June.

*Persico got his sixth start of the season at first base in this game. Usually a corner outfielder, having the ability to also play first base should provide Persico with valuable versatility going forward.

*RHP Matt Milburn pitched 2 perfect innings to start, striking out 4. The A’s 29th-round pick in 2016 was displaying a superb cutter early on, but River Bandits batters were finally able to catch on and ended up tagging Milburn for 4 earned runs in 6 innings of work.

 

Game #2:  Quad Cities 13 – Beloit 5

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*Shortstop Edwin Diaz slugged his 7th home run of the season for the Snappers. It was a 3-run blast over the center field wall in the bottom of the 1st inning to give Beloit an early lead.

*Two pitchers made their U.S. baseball debuts for the Snappers. RHP Abdiel Mendoza, an 18-year-old from Panama, started the game and finished with a line of 2 ⅓ IP/3 H/4 ER/3 BB/2 K. LHP Jhenderson Hurtado replaced Mendoza, and the 21-year-old Venezuelan had a line of 2 ⅔ IP/4 H/2 ER/2 BB/2 K. Both pitchers struggled with their command, which is understandable considering they only arrived in Beloit about four hours before the first pitch.

*Speaking of time, this 9-inning game labored along at a turtle’s pace – or a Snapper’s pace, if you will! The game clocked in at 3 hours and 35 minutes.

*Believe it or not, both teams actually had a pitcher named “Abdiel” from Panama in this game. While a unique name in the United States, it must be a much more common handle in Panama!

*Snappers first baseman Kyle Nowlin made his third pitching appearance of the season in the game, getting two outs on just four pitches. With the scoreless outing, last year’s 21st-round pick for the A’s was the only Beloit pitcher among five not to give up a run in the game.

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 4 – Beloit 0

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*The Houston Astros’ #5 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Forrest Whitley, made things difficult for the Snappers in this game by tossing 4 ⅔ hitless innings. The 6’7” right-hander overpowered Snappers hitters all day long. The 19-year-old struck out 7, but did walk 4, which led to him being pulled just one out short of qualifying for the win.

*Beloit batters managed just 2 singles in the game. On the bright side, the Snappers weren’t lacking in base runners since they did draw 7 walks off Quad Cities pitchers.

*Catcher Collin Theroux, the A’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, was back starting again after getting three games off to recover from a nagging injury. It was a rough return for Theroux as he struck out in all four of his at-bats, thus earning himself the “Golden Sombrero.”

*The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, was able to get through 6 innings allowing just 3 runs, and that is good enough to be considered a “quality start.”

*First Baseman Miguel Mercedes was called out on a rare batter interference call. Nate Mondou, who was on first base, took off trying to steal second. Mercedes took a called ball but got in the way of Bandits catcher Gabriel Bracamonte, who trying to gun down Mondou at second. In the box score, it’s shown as Mercedes being out 3 unassisted (3U). Oh, the things you learn as an official scorer.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 1 – Quad Cities 0

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

*LHP Zack Erwin mowed down the mighty River Bandits lineup, throwing 5 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball and striking out 7 to earn the win. While Erwin has just 15 ⅔ innings under his belt this season, he has looked strong since returning from the disabled list. And if he can keep it up, hopefully he can make his way back up the minor league ladder after stumbling in Stockton last season.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just 1 hit, to earn his 2nd save for the Snappers. Flying a bit under the radar this season, Altamirano has been tremendous out of the Beloit bullpen. He owns a sparkling 1.88 ERA and currently has a 23 ⅓ scoreless-innings streak.

*Third baseman Trace Loehr walked 3 times in the game. He had taken a total of just 10 walks in his previous 48 games.

*The only run of the game scored on a double play. So, there were no RBIs recorded for either team, which is a fairly rare feat.

 

Former Snappers Notes:

I want to be sure to give a shout out to RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer for their well-deserved promotions to the High-A Stockton Ports. Butler compiled a 2.32 ERA in 54 1/3 innings for Beloit. Sawyer put up a 2.25 ERA in 56 innings for the Snappers, while also recently making an emergency spot start for Nashville. Both pitchers seem to have very bright futures ahead of them, and hopefully we’ll have the chance to see both of the former Snappers pitching for the A’s before long!

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

(5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 7 K)

 

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

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

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

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

 

Game #1:  Beloit 8 – Clinton 7

Dalton Sawyer

Dalton Sawyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Game #2:  Clinton 13 – Beloit 3

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

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

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

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

 

Game #3:  Beloit 9 – Clinton 1

Colllin Theroux

Collin Theroux

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

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

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

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

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

 

Series Notes:

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

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

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

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

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

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(7 for 12 / 3 RBIs / 1 SB)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Wisconsin (5/22-25)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took three out of four games from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Milwaukee’s Midwest League affiliate, in their series this week at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The matchup featured the only two minor league teams in the state of Wisconsin, and there’s always a lot of energy in the air anytime these two Dairy State rivals meet. Beloit came into the series just one game behind Wisconsin in the Midwest League Western Division standings and finished it one game ahead of their in-state rivals.

The Timber Rattlers currently possess the worst team batting average in the Midwest League, but one of the team’s top hitting prospects is catcher Mario Feliciano. The 18-year-old has put up an impressive .291/.365/.418 slash line, which is especially remarkable considering he is one of the youngest players in the Midwest League and he’s playing such a demanding position. Wisconsin’s top starter, RHP Trey Supak, started the second game of the series and threw 5 scoreless innings. The 20-year-old now carries a 1.76 ERA, placing him in the top ten in the Midwest League.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 12 – Wisconsin 2

Luis Barrera

Luis Barrera

*Speedy outfielder Luis Barrera smashed a 3-run homer to right field in the 5th inning that was estimated to travel 440 feet!

*Center fielder Mike Martin and second baseman Nate Mondou both legged out hustle doubles in back-to-back at bats in the 5th inning. These are the type of plays that don’t show up in the box score, but these two players showed tremendous effort that also put extra pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, continued to have unhittable stuff, in more ways than one. The 20-year-old struck out 8 and gave up just 1 hit, but he still walked 4 batters over 5 innings. And for the season, Chalmers has walked 29 batters in 29 innings. Learning to control his stuff will be the key for Chalmers’ development this season, and that will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 2 – Wisconsin 1 (7 innings)

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*RHP Brandon Bailey, the A’s 6th-round pick in last year’s draft, turned in a strong 4 IP/3 H/0 ER/1 BB/5 K line in his second appearance since returning from the disabled list.

*Bailey has now pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings and has a 2.32 ERA on the season. He joins LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler to form a formidable trio of starting pitchers for the Snappers.

*Two sacrifice flies were all the Snappers needed to win the game, the second of which, courtesy of third baseman Nate Mondou, drove in the game-winning run to help the Snappers win in a walk-off in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

 

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

Sam Sheehan

Sam Sheehan

*The A’s 12th-round draft pick last year, left fielder Luke Persico, did not record an official at-bat in the game. He drew a pair of walks and hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the Snappers’ first run in the 3rd inning.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou, normally a very cerebral player, uncharacteristically made two outs on the base paths; he was picked off and caught stealing in the loss.

*The 31st-round pick of the A’s in 2016, RHP Sam Sheehan, pitched 2 scoreless innings in relief. He has a unique 3/4-sidearm slot that would appear to be very tough on right-handed hitters.

*Beloit native Cameron Roegner made the start for Wisconsin, bringing a lot of family and friends out to the ballpark to see the hometown boy. He allowed just 1 run over 6 innings of work and left the game with a 3-run lead.

*With Roegner out of the game though, Beloit was able to battle back within a run in the bottom of the 7th. The Snappers put 2 runs on the board with the help of 4 walks by Wisconsin’s Braden Webb as well as a force out. Unfortunately, the Snappers weren’t able to come through with the big hit, or any hit for that matter, in the final frame and suffered a 1-run loss in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 15 – Wisconsin 2

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*Left fielder Luke Persico had a big game at the plate, going 4 for 6 with 2 doubles and 5 RBIs.

*Persico continues to smack line drives all over the diamond, with a 24.4 % line-drive rate. In 148 at-bats, he’s slashing .311/.366/.480 for the Snappers. And he’s done all that during the coldest months of the season in the chilly Midwest League, where conditions can often be brutal.

*A pair of Dominican-born players, center fielder Luis Barrera and first baseman Miguel Mercedes, both homered in the game. Barrera cracked a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 1st, while Mercedes hit his 8th of the season to straightaway center in the 8th inning.

*As Oakland’s 9th-round draft pick last year, there were some expectations for LHP Dalton Sawyer, and he’s more than lived up to them. Sawyer pitched 6 innings, giving up 2 runs while striking out 7 to earn his 4th win on Thursday. And for the season, Sawyer has an ERA of 2.00 with a brilliant batting-average-against of just .165.

*RHP Seth Martinez came on in relief and pitched 3 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball for Beloit. Martinez, a 17th-round pick last year, actually picked up a save in the game even though it was a 15-2 final score.

 

Series Notes:

*Speedy outfielder Luis Barrera, known mainly for his ability to hit for average and his blazing speed, hit two home runs in the series. As previously mentioned, Barrera’s home run in the first game went an estimated 440 feet, which is the longest home run hit by a Snapper at Pohlman Field this season.

*Infielder Nate Mondou went 7 for 15 with a walk in the series, and his batting average is currently sitting at a team-leading .321.

*The Snappers outscored the Timber Rattlers 32-9 in the 4-game series, and it was one of the team’s most dominating series wins of the season.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Outfielder Luke Persico

(5 for 8 / 2 Doubles / 3 Walks / 6 RBIs)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Kane County (5/15-17)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers split a four-game series this week with the Kane County Cougars, Arizona’s Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The teams were originally scheduled to play five games in three days in order to make up for two games that were rained out earlier in the year at Kane County. Unfortunately, rain was in the forecast yet again, forcing the teams to cancel one of the five games.

Kane County came into the series at the top of the Midwest League Western Division standings. The Cougars boast a well-balanced team with an especially strong bullpen. The Cougars also feature one of the premier hitters in the Midwest League, 20-year-old outfielder Marcus Wilson. And by the end of the series, Wilson was sporting an impressive .347/.446/.642 slash line to go along with 6 home runs on the season.

 

Game #1:  Kane County 8 – Beloit 5

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*The A’s 10th-round draft pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, struggled mightily to start the game. Jordan allowed a number of hard-hit balls, and a 7-run 1st inning put Beloit in a big hole early on.

*After giving up a total of 8 earned runs in the loss, Jordan’s ERA jumped from 1.08 to 4.58. His final line for the day read: 3 IP/10 H/8 ER/3 BB/4 K.

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes reached base in all three of his plate appearances and had the Snappers’ only extra-base hit of the game, a double to deep center field in the 4th inning.

 

Game #2:  Kane County 11 – Beloit 3

Nate Mondou Photo: Dave Baker

Nate Mondou
(Photo: Dave Baker)

*This game actually started on Monday night but was stopped after just seven minutes due to a heavy rainstorm and was resumed with just one out in the 1st inning on Tuesday.

*Last year’s 13th-round draft pick for the A’s, infielder Nate Mondou, hustled out of the box to stretch what would have been a single for most batters into an important two-out double in the bottom of the 1st inning. And Mondou’s hustle would open the door for three two-out runs to score for Beloit before the inning was through.

*Outfielder JaVon Shelby, the A’s 6th-round pick in 2016, reached base in all three of his plate appearances and drove in two of the Snappers’ three runs in the loss.

*It was a game to forget for the Snappers’ pitching staff. RHPs Jesus Zambrano, Seth Martinez (making his Beloit debut), Sam Sheehan and Yordys Alejo combined to give up 11 runs, 10 earned, on 11 hits and 7 walks.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 8 – Kane County 2

Brendan Butler Photo: Dave Baker

Brendan Butler
(Photo: Dave Baker)

*RHP Brendan Butler was asked to get the Snappers pitching back on track in Tuesday’s second game and, sure enough, he was up to the task. Butler’s breaking stuff was really working. He struck out 7 while allowing no earned runs in 4 ⅔ innings, and his ERA now sits at 1.60.

*Butler’s breakout is real. Not only does he pass the eye test, but his peripheral numbers also show how dominant he has been this season. Some notable stats include a 0.84 WHIP and a 10.5 K/9 rate, while hitters are batting just .176 against him. Butler already looks like a major draft-day steal for the A’s scouting department after being taken in the 30th round of the 2015 draft.

*RHP Heath Bowers tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win for the Snappers, and he now owns a sterling 1.74 ERA. Bowers has been manager Scott Steinmann’s go-to guy when he’s needed a long reliever this season.

*It was just another ho-hum, 3-for-4 day for infielder Nate Mondou. He barely missed a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd inning as the ball hit off the wall in deep right-center field, and he had to settle for an RBI double that gave Beloit the lead.

*The Snappers scored three runs on bases-loaded walks and one run on a hit-by-pitch as part of their six-run 3rd inning.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 7 – Kane County 6

Luke Persico Photo: Dave Baker

Luke Persico
(Photo: Dave Baker)

*RHP Dakota Chalmers is still struggling to maintain consistent control of his pitches. Blessed with a fastball that sits around 95 mph and a wicked curveball, the A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline has the stuff to eventually become a front-line starter. In this one, the 20-year-old threw a season-high 75 pitches (his previous high was 57) and finished the game with a stat line of 4 IP/1 H/0 ER/4 BB/5 K.

*Oakland’s 21st-round draft pick from last year, designated Hitter Kyle Nowlin, hit a big 3-run homer to straightaway center field to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning.

*Outfielder Luke Persico raised his batting average over .300 with a 3-for-4 day at the plate while also drawing a walk. The A’s 12th-round pick in 2016 has really settled into the third spot in the batting order for the Snappers, which is somewhat remarkable considering that he started the season at extended spring training in Arizona. But Persico’s shown he can handle Midwest League pitching and could possibly be looking at a promotion to Stockton in the second half if he can keep up the pace.

 

Brendan Butler

Brendan Butler

 

A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Brendan Butler

(4 ⅔ IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K)

 

 

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Talking Ports Prospects with Stockton Skipper Rick Magnante

by Josh Moore / A’s Farm Stockton Correspondent

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. 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.

Just before left-hander A.J. Puk’s impressive performance on Saturday, in which he allowed just one infield single and struck out 9 over 5 scoreless innings, we had the chance to chat with the Stockton skipper about the recent changes to team’s tandem-pitching rotation and well as many of the Ports’ most promising prospects…

 

AF:  First things first, you’re switching up the starting rotation a bit. You’re getting away from the eight-man tandem rotation and are stretching out a few of the guys now. Is that right?

RM:  Well, it’s a little bit of a hybrid now. There will be a couple of guys that piggyback. There will be three guys that get their own start: [A.J.] Puk, [Logan] Shore, and [Evan] Manarino. Those will be the three that will be on their own, and they’ll match up with what’s in the bullpen on that given day.

AF:  Do you have a pitch count for Puk, Shore and Manarino as they get stretched out? What could we expect from an innings standpoint?

RM:  I think we’re going to gradually increase them to where they can get back to 75-85 [pitches], and toward the halfway mark of the season, toward 100 and back on a starter’s number as it relates to what’s expected in the big leagues.

A.J. Puk

A.J. Puk

AF:  Puk’s previous three starts [prior to Saturday] were a little different than his first three. His BABIP was .522, everyone was making good contact against him, and he had three consecutive losses in those appearances. Was he trying something new?

RM:  I don’t necessarily think that he’s trying anything new. I think he’s just understanding that he’s in a professional environment now facing professional hitters. And when he’s making the pitches he’s capable of making, he’s pretty untouchable. But when he doesn’t make those pitches and falls behind or gets deep into counts, these guys – you have to give them credit – they can hit a little bit and it’s what they’ve been doing.

AF:  Back to the tandem-pitching experiment. How do you feel about it?

RM:  I think as far as getting guys more appearances, I get that, but I think we should mirror the model of what’s going on in the big leagues. If the big leagues are going to go to this same format, then I fully understand it. If they’re not, then I’m not sure if the Petri dish experiment is truly working. So, we’ve already amended it.

AF:  Let’s talk about some of the bullpen arms. Between Nolan Blackwood, Carlos Navas, Jared Lyons and Matt Sergey, they’ve managed to allow just 4 runs in their 41 innings of work. Everyone knows some of those names in the rotation, but for those who might not know much about the arms in the pen, tell me about a few of them.

Nolan Blackwood

Nolan Blackwood

RM:  Blackwood can pitch. They [the A’s] like him. He’s a down-under guy and it sinks at 91-92. He’s got the frisbee slider going the other way. He’s hard to pick up with a lot of deception.

AF:  Do you think Brad Ziegler with a slightly better fastball would be a good comparison for Blackwood?

RM:  Probably. This is really my first look at Nolan. I didn’t have him last year. He’s had a few appearances here and, like anybody, he’s probably a little nervous or anxious and maybe sometimes tries to do a little too much. On certain days, there’s one pitch that works. He’s got a sinking fastball at 90-92 – you don’t need to go to the frisbee slider if they’re not swinging at that. And if you don’t have the slider, then you’ve got to go with whatever your best pitch is. So he’s learning.

AF:  I wanted to ask you about Carlos Navas. He pitched very briefly in Triple-A last season, he’s 24 and he pitched extremely well in the Venezuelan Winter League to guys who are bit older than him, and he hasn’t given up a run yet this year here in Stockton. What’s his ceiling?

RM:  There’s no telling. He may move quickly through this organization as the need arises and he’s seasoned. He’s been able to combine a 2-seamer and a 4-seamer, and if he can keep himself on line – that would be his biggest Achilles heal – he doesn’t always work down the slope. He can get left-to-right and that’s when he starts to yank the stuff. This year, his mechanics have been better, he’s been more on line, he’s got two-plane action and he’s got a very good slider. He’s durable, he’s strong, he competes, and he’s got great character, so we all pull for him.

AF:  Casey Meisner has looked much better recently. He hasn’t allowed a run in a couple of his recent appearances. How do you view his development?

RM:  He’s just kind of working through it. You know, he’s a big, tall, rangy guy and sometimes those guys have a more difficult time repeating [their delivery]. It’s confidence as well. In his mind and in the mind of the organization, he probably had a very disappointing season [last year]. He’s a high school draft guy without a lot of experience, but he had a real solid season in the South Atlantic League and in the Florida State League when we traded for him. He came here and stepped right into a role and competed. And then last year was a hiccup for him.

AF:  Although Brett Graves has moved on to Midland, both he and Evan Manarino have done such a great job this year in Stockton. Both pitchers have had their finest strikeout-to-walk ratios of their careers. What are you doing with two guys like that to help them develop?

Evan Manarino

Evan Manarino

RM:  You have two guys who really have a feel to pitch. And they really treat this as an opportunity. They’re students of the game. They assess their performances and they write things down to remind them of what they did right or wrong in their previous outings in terms of how they attacked the hitters. For me, Manarino is Tommy Milone. That’s who he is. He’s unflappable out there. His fastball wouldn’t bust your lip, but he never throws it in the same place twice. It’s the same with the changeup. He mixes his pitches and keeps hitters off balance. He has to be very control-and-command oriented because, the fastball, if it’s not located, is hittable. He’s a pitcher. Graves, on the other hand, he’s got 92-94 in the tank, so he’s got a litmus-test fastball. So with him, it’s commanding the breaking ball and attacking hitters and knowing how to get people out.

AF:  Logan Shore, I believe, at Florida topped out at about 92 mph. Is he getting a little more on his fastball, and how is the development coming along on his slider?

RM:  Yeah, I think his velocity has been somewhere between 91-94 – he’s probably sitting somewhere around 92. I think that’s probably his comfort level. Right now, it’s basically fastball, change and a developing slider. I actually talked to him before we came out today and he’s really working hard to figure out a grip and get comfortable, and he really believes he’s got a slider when he throws it right. It’s a good pitch, but just doesn’t have the consistency yet.

AF:  Offensively, we’ve seen a few guys really hitting well of late – outfielders Skye Bolt and Tyler Ramirez, shortstop Eli White and, despite his slow start, infielder Mikey White has shown some power of late. Is there anyone you’ve been particularly impressed with?

RM:  I think the guy that really had a terrific April and was pushed a little bit in terms of his matriculation through the system has been Eli White. I think he got off to a great start, and I think he’s a guy who has the tools and the skill set and, with some development – maybe a season under his belt – could be a guy that will really surprise.

AF:  Skye Bolt is a guy we’ve all been focused on because of his tools, and he’s currently in the top ten in the California League in on-base percentage. What is he doing differently this season?

RM:  I think he has just made some strides in his basic approach to hitting. He just seems to be more on time, his pitch recognition is better, his path is more consistent. He’s got a lean, sinewy kind of body that doesn’t really say “power,” but when the ball comes off the bat, it can be electric at times. I would kind of liken him a little bit to [Josh] Reddick in terms of that kind of profile or prototype.

AF:  About the injuries to first baseman Sandber Pimentel and catcher Sean Murphy, how long should we expect that they’ll be out?

Sandber Pimentel

Sandber Pimentel

RM:  Pimie…I don’t know. We got him here kind of hoping we could rehab him to begin the year. And we got him back on the field, but then he swung a couple of times and he had to shut it down. It’s a back issue. I’m not an orthopod, so I can’t tell you, but we all thought it’d be better to send him back to Arizona and give him more hands-on treatment to see what happens. Certainly we’d love to have him here because he’s an impact guy for us. If we have him and we have [Chris] Iriart—a lefty/righty combo at first-base and DH—we’ve got some thump and some dangerous guys in the lineup. So, we certainly hope he’ll be fine. With Murph, it’s just a little wrist problem and those are quirky. Those are things that can be hard to work through.

AF:  Catcher Jose Chavez joined the team with Murphy’s absence and hit two home runs in his first six games. Is he someone we can expect to get more and more time while Murphy is out?

RM:  I think so. I think Chavy will get the lion’s share of the catching when Murph’s not capable of playing. And everybody’s always been very complimentary of Chavy’s ability to catch and throw – that’s his forte. It’s the bat that’s always been a little suspect as he has developed through the minor league system. Now he’s getting a little better feel on how to hit. He’s a little stronger. He’s a little more mature. He’s had more experience. So, hopefully we’re starting to see that if this guy has the ability to get to the big leagues, he’ll have a serviceable bat that’ll allow him to play some.

AF:  How much of a defensive drop-off do you see between Murphy and Chavez?

RM:  I would say in the receiving end, probably not too much. I think Murphy is a prodigy. I think he’s advanced and has a baseball IQ that shows that not only can he catch, and he can really throw, but he also has an idea on how to help his pitchers attack hitters and exploit their weaknesses and take advantage of that – and that’s a thinking man’s catcher, and that’s something you can’t really grade out unless you see it every day on the field.

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Bowling Green (5/5-7)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers ended a 6-game home stand this week with a 3-game series against Tampa Bay’s Midwest League affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The Hot Rods feature five young position-player prospects all ranked in the top 15 in the Rays’ farm system according to MLB Pipeline. They are 20-year-old outfielder Garrett Whitley, 19-year-old outfielders Joshua Lowe and Jesus Sanchez, 19-year-old infielder Lucius Fox and 18-year-old infielder Adrian Rondon.

While we all know that the A’s may prefer to draft more experienced college players, based on the young talent on this team, it seems that the Rays may have their sights more set on high school players.

 

Game #1:  Bowling Green 7 – Beloit 6

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*The Snappers’ stagnant offense finally came out of its shell in the 9th inning. After scoring just 1 run over the first 8 frames, Beloit put 5 runs on the board in the bottom of the 9th. Unfortunately, the Snappers’ rally fell short, with outfielder JaVon Shelby called out on strikes with the tying run on second and the winning run on first.

*The A’s 2016 12th-round draft pick, outfielder Luke Persico, went 4 for 5 with 4 singles and an RBI in the game.

*Last year’s 13th-round pick for the A’s, second baseman Nate Mondou, had his 10-game hitting streak and his 20-game on-base streak snapped with an 0-for-5 day.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 3 – Bowling Green 2 (12 innings)

Michael Murray

Michael Murray

*Starter Michael Murray pitched 5 strong innings for Beloit. He made just one real mistake all day, a solo home run to Hot Rods outfielder Jesus Sanchez.

*Murray had a big breaking curveball working in this one, and it helped him to strike out a season-high 7 batters while walking none. 47 of his 61 pitches went for strikes.

*Following in Murray’s footsteps, LHP Ty Damron and RHP Heath Bowers each had strong outings in relief, and they both did a marvelous job painting the corners of the strike zone.

*Beloit’s home run leader, first baseman Miguel Mercedes, came up with a clutch two-out single to tie the game in the 8th inning.

*Kyle Nowlin, pinch hitting for left-handed-hitting outfielder Cole Gruber against a left-handed pitcher, drew a bases-loaded, walk-off walk in the 12th inning to give the Snappers their third walk-off win of the season.

 

Game #3:  Bowling Green 6 – Beloit 2

Dakota Chalmers

Dakota Chalmers

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, had trouble finding the strike zone consistently yet again in this contest. Despite walking 4 and giving up 2 hits in only 2 innings of work, Chalmers escaped without giving up a run as he left the bases loaded to end both innings.

*Chalmers had a brilliant outing on April 17 against Kane County, during which he struck out 10 and walked none over 4 scoreless innings. Since then, he has walked 14 and hit 1 batter in just 8 ⅓ innings over 4 games. Despite his control issues, Chalmers still possesses filthy stuff. Opponents have hit a meager .175 against Chalmers, and he has punched out 30 batters in just 18 ⅓ innings.

*Outfielder Cole Gruber has struggled at the plate with a .182 batting average on the season. On the mound though, it’s been a different story. Gruber has proved to be an effective lefty reliever. The A’s 27th-round draft pick last year threw a scoreless 9th inning in this one and has now thrown 3 scoreless innings this season despite only topping out at around 85 mph.

*Snappers hitters combined for an ugly 14-strikeout/0-walk performance, which is the antithesis of the type of plate discipline that the A’s organization likes to preach.

 

Series Notes:

*The Snappers did not hit a home run in the 3-game series.

*Outfielder Luke Persico was Beloit’s hottest hitter in the series, going 8 for 15 for the Snappers.

*As mentioned in our last series recap, LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler will no longer be pitching as part of the Snappers’ two-man pitching tandems. Both will be stand-alone starters from here on out. Starting this week, the Snappers’ starting rotation will look like this:

Monday: Dalton Sawyer

Tuesday: Brandon Bailey/Mitchell Jordan

Wednesday: Brendan Butler

Thursday: Ty Damron/Michael Murray

Friday: Matt Milburn/Dakota Chalmers

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Michael Murray

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

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Dayton (5/2-4)

By Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers started a 6-game home stand this week with a 3-game series against Cincinnati’s Midwest League affiliate, the Dayton Dragons, at Pohlman Field in Beloit. It was the Snappers’ first series of the season against a Midwest League Eastern Division opponent.

The Dragons have built a reputation this season for being very aggressive on the base paths and entered the series leading the Midwest League with 42 stolen bases in just 24 games. The Snappers, on the other hand, are currently last in the league with just 11 stolen bases in their first 22 games.

The Dragons also have the Reds’ # 5 prospect, outfielder Taylor Trammell, along with the Reds’ #8 prospect, catcher Tyler Stephenson (according to MLB Pipeline). The Snappers lost two of the three games in the series. Beloit won Game #2 by a score of 9-2, while Dayton won Game #1 and Game #3 by scores of 4-1 and 7-2, respectively.

 

Game #1:  Dayton 4 – Beloit 1

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes entered the game with 0 walks in 91 plate appearances. So, of course, Mercedes took 3 walks in his first 3 plate appearances of the game! Let this be yet another reminder that you can’t predict baseball.

*Snappers’ hitters struck out an unsightly 13 times in the loss.

*Catcher Jason Goldstein, acquired in the offseason trade that sent A’s pitcher Dillon Overton to the Mariners, threw out 2 of the 3 runners who tried to steal against him.

*Last year’s 5th-round pick for the A’s, right fielder JaVon Shelby, was credited with 2 outfield assists in the game.

*With a game-time temperature of 48 degrees, Snappers pitchers knew coming in it was going to be a battle to control their pitches. And between four Beloit pitchers, they combined to walk 8 batters.

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, allowed just 1 hit but walked 4 batters in 3 innings of work. He threw just 26 strikes in 54 pitches.

*RHP Michael Murray, the A’s 32nd-round pick in 2015, battled through a strenuous 3 innings of work. He threw 33 of his 60 pitches for strikes, with a line of 3 IP/5 H/3 R/2 ER/2 BB/3 K

*Both Chalmers and Murray were bouncing many of their breaking pitches in the dirt, a clear sign that they were having trouble with their grip in the less-than-ideal Wisconsin weather.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 9 – Dayton 2

Kyle Nowlin

Kyle Nowlin

*Last year’s 21st-round pick for the A’s, Kyle Nowlin, had a big game at the plate to help the Snappers win. The designated hitter went 3 for 5 with his 3rd home run of the year and 3 RBIs.

*Catcher Collin Theroux also homered in the game and currently leads all catchers in the A’s system with 4 home runs. And while the 32nd-round pick in 2016 has shown some good pop, he still needs to work on making more contact at the plate.

*After striking out 13 times in their previous game, the Snappers did a better job of battling through their at-bats in this one, resulting in 10 hits while striking out just 6 times and drawing 5 walks.

*The Snappers recorded 3 outfield assists in the game, one by last year’s 12th-round pick, right fielder Luke Persico, and a pair by last year’s 27th-round pick, left fielder Cole Gruber.

*Listed at 5’10” and 175 lbs., Oakland’s 2016 6th-round pick, RHP Brandon Bailey, doesn’t possess the kind of size that scouts usually look for in a starting pitcher. But what Bailey does have is a great fastball-changeup combination that resulted in 8 of his 12 recorded outs in this game coming on either a strikeout or a groundout.

 

Game #3:  Dayton 7 – Beloit 2

Nate Mondou

Nate Mondou

*I have to admit that I have so far failed to properly spotlight the contributions of Nate Mondou this season. Simply put, this guy has been playing great baseball, and I’ve hardly even mentioned him. Well, that’s about to change. After turning in a 3-for-3 night with a pair of walks in Thursday’s loss, the left-handed-hitting second baseman, who was taken by the A’s in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, made it into the top five in the Midwest League batting race with a .354 average. He also has excellent numbers across the board, boasting a .432 OBP, a .443 SLG and an .875 OPS.

*And after his impressive performance on Thursday, Mondou had managed to reach base in 20 straight games for the Snappers.

*Last but not least is his defense. Mondou has impressed with the leather quite a bit this season, notably making two jump-throw outs as well as a leaping catch that turned into a double play in this series.

*Center fielder Mike Martin, fresh off the DL last week, recorded 2 outfield assists in the game.

*It was an excellent pitching matchup, with two 6’5” lefties with great stuff on the mound for this one. For Dayton, it was one of the Midwest League’s best strikeout artists in Scott Moss. For Beloit, it was one of the Midwest League’s ERA leaders in Dalton Sawyer.

*Sawyer had his scoreless-inning streak snapped at 21 frames. The 23-year-old, 9th-round pick from last season finished with a respectable line of 4 ⅓ IP/4 H/2 ER/1 BB/6 K but still ended up suffering the loss.

 

Series Notes:

Dalton Sawyer

Dalton Sawyer

*Dayton runners made an astonishing 14 outs on the base paths in the 3-game series. The outs were recorded on 7 outfield assists, 4 failed base-stealing attempts, 1 pickoff by the pitcher, 1 pickoff by the catcher, and 1 runner who was doubled off first after a leaping catch by second baseman Nate Mondou.

*In the second game of the series, Nate Mondou played third base for the first time in his professional career. It’s unclear whether that was just a one-time thing or possibly something we’ll be seeing more of in order to help increase Mondou’s versatility.

*Word around Pohlman Field is that both LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler are going to be stretched out and allowed to be stand-alone starters. The Snappers have been using an 8-man tandem rotation this season, as have a pair of other A’s affiliates, the Stockton Ports and the Midland Rockhounds. But with Sawyer and Butler performing so well this season, it seems to make sense to stretch them out and allow them to pitch deeper into games as starting pitchers would normally do.

*Fun fact: Dayton Dragons pitching coach Derrin Ebert played the role of former Oakland A’s relief pitcher Mike Magnante in the movie “Moneyball.”

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(5 for 11 / 3 Walks / 2 RBIs + 3 great defensive plays)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Burlington (4/20-23)

By Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers recently hosted a 4-game series with the Angels’ Midwest League affiliate, the Burlington Bees, at Pohlman Field in Beloit that wrapped up on Sunday afternoon.

The Bees are managed by former A’s catcher Adam Melhuse, and the top prospect on the Bees roster is toolsy outfielder Jahmai Jones, who is the #1-ranked Angels prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

The Snappers and the Bees split the 4-game series, with Burlington winning the first 2 games 3-1 and 8-4, while the Snappers took the final 2 games 8-3 and 8-0.

 

Game #1:  Burlington 3 – Beloit 1

Ty Damron

Ty Damron

*LHP Ty Damron turned in another strong outing (4 IP/4 H/1 ER/1 BB/5 K) for the Snappers. Damron is a lefty who won’t blow you away with a big fastball, but he’s got great command. He also does an excellent job of keeping the ball low and getting ground balls, as evidenced by the five ground-ball outs he got in this game.

*RHP Brendan Butler, a 30th round pick in 2015, has had a magnificent start to his 2017 season. Butler looks to be a late-round gem that has a legitimate chance to move up the ranks fast. Butler pitched 4 scoreless innings of no-hit ball in the game. For the season, he has a 1.69 ERA with a 0.63 WHIP and a .137 batting-average-against while striking out 21 in over 16 innings.

*The Snappers struck out 12 times in the loss and didn’t draw a walk. The slider low and away was the main culprit on many of the strikeouts in this game.

 

Game #2:  Burlington 8 – Beloit 4

Dakota Chalmers

Dakota Chalmers

*RHP Dakota Chalmers (#14 A’s prospect on MLB Pipeline) started the game, but he didn’t last very long. Chalmers walked 4, hit a batter, and threw 4 wild pitches and got pulled after just a ⅓ of an inning. Chalmers was all over the place with his pitches. Our guess from the press box was that he was having trouble with his landing spot and that he didn’t have a good grip on the ball on a chilly April night. After such a strong start his last time out on the road (4 IP/ 1 H/ 0 ER/ 0 BB/ 10 K), hopefully we can just chalk this outing up to a bad day.

*Outfielder JaVon Shelby, the A’s 5th-round pick in 2016, went 3 for 4 with a stolen base.

*A’s 27th-round pick in 2016, speedy outfielder Cole Gruber had a rough day at the plate. He finished 0 for 5 with 4 strikeouts.

*Snappers infielder Eric Marinez was brought in to pitch to one batter in the 9th inning, and he struck out the Angels #1 prospect, outfielder Jahmai Jones, with a 94-mph fastball!

 

Game #3:  Beloit 8 – Burlington 3

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*RHP Matt Milburn had his strongest outing of the year, going 4 scoreless innings, and the A’s 29th-round pick last year really had his cutter working effectively in this one.

*The A’s 6th-round pick from last year, RHP Brandon Bailey, also had a strong outing. Possessing more swing-and-miss stuff than his tandem-pitching partner Milburn, Bailey threw 3 scoreless innings while striking out 5 batters.

*LHP Andrew Tomasovich has been almost unhittable out of the Snappers bullpen. And he struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in this outing. Tomasovich will come at you from a couple of different arm angles. His fastball ranges from 92-94 mph, and he has a hard, breaking slider. The 23-year-old lefty spent all last season in Beloit, where he struggled with his control. But this season, he has really found his mojo, and he currently boasts a stat line of 8 IP/3 H/0 ER/0 BB/12 K.

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes and designated hitter Kyle Nowlin both went deep for the Snappers. Nowlin’s blast was hit just to the right of the batter’s eye in deep center field.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 8 – Burlington 0

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*LHP Dalton Sawyer, the A’s 9th round pick last year, was dominant on the mound. He pitched 5 perfect innings for the Snappers, striking out 8. He threw 57 pitches, 42 of them for strikes.

*Drafted a round later than Sawyer, 10th-round pick RHP Mitchell Jordan followed Sawyer’s impressive effort with a solid 4 IP/3 H/0 ER/1 BB/2 K line on Sunday.

*Together, Sawyer and Jordan combined for a 3-hit shutout of the Burlington Bees, while walking just 1 and striking out 10. The two also threw a combined 100 total pitches, 75 of which were for strikes.

*Outfielders Luke Persico and JaVon Shelby and infielders Edwin Diaz and Eric Marinez all homered for Beloit.

*Edwin Diaz’s home run was impressive, going “oppo boppo” (opposite field) for an estimated distance of nearly 400 feet to right-center field.

 

Series Notes:

*Miguel Mercedes and Kyle Nowlin have been alternating between first base and designated hitter. And, so far, Mercedes appears to be the superior defender.

*Speaking of Kyle Nowlin, the A’s 21st-round pick from last year has really started hitting the ball with much more authority lately. He tallied two doubles and a home run in the series.

*Outfielder Luke Persico, the A’s 12th-round pick from last year, came into the Burlington series just 1 for 22 as a Snapper. But he really heated up in this series, going 5 for 10 with a home run and 5 RBIs.

*Beloit Snappers Media Relations Manager, Garrett Mansfield, commented during Game #4, “I really like Dalton Sawyer’s delivery. It’s just so smooth.” And I would have to agree with that observation. The 6’5”, 210-pound southpaw really does have a great-looking delivery that is just so silky smooth.

 

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A’s Prospects of the Series:

LHP Dalton Sawyer                    RHP Brendan Butler

(5 IP/ 0 H/ 0 ER/ 0 BB/ 8 K)           (4 IP/ 0 H/ 0 ER/ 2 BB/ 5 K)

 

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Peoria (4/13-4/15)

bsby Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

The Beloit Snappers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals’ Midwest League affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, for a 3-game home series at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week.

The Chiefs had a couple of the Cardinals’ 1st-round picks playing in the series, including 18-year-old outfielder Dylan Carlson (#16 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline).

Peoria took Game #1 from Beloit by a score of 7-3 on Thursday, while the Snappers mounted a great comeback in Game #2 (in what shall now be known as “the Collin Theroux game”) to win by a score of 5-4 on Friday, and Game #3, which turned out to be a 12-0 shutout win, was completely dominated by the Snappers on Saturday.

 

Game #1:  Peoria 7 – Beloit 3

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*Snappers tandem starters Matt Milburn and Brandon Bailey were not at their most effective on Thursday. Between the two, they walked 5 and gave up all 7 Chiefs runs in 5 ⅓ innings of work.

*The Snappers were very aggressive at the plate against Chiefs starter Ronnie Williams (#25 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline), resulting in a lot of quick outs through the first 6 innings. In fact, Williams threw just 61 pitches through 6 innings of work.

*Half the Snappers 10 hits in the game came during their 3-run 7th inning.

*Snappers infielder Edwin Diaz led off the 7th inning with a booming home run to left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season and Beloit’s only extra-base hit of the game.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 5 – Peoria 4

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Miguel Mercedes

*Coming into Friday’s game, Beloit catcher Collin Theroux was 5 for 65 in his professional baseball career, including an 0-for-33 mark as a Snapper. Theroux proceeded to go 3 for 3 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs and also made a terrific sliding catch in foul territory.

*Theroux’s first home run of the game, and of his pro career, was hit over the Pohlman Field scoreboard in left-center field and the estimated distance was over 430 feet!

*Theroux’s second home run was a game-tying 2-run shot that came in the 7th inning.

*Snappers pitcher Brendan Butler noted that Theroux had a good spring in Arizona and was starting to make better and more consistent contact. Maybe this career game will be a turning point in his young career.

*Outfielder Luis Barrera showed off his blazing speed by legging out a triple to lead off the bottom of the 7th inning and later scored.

*Designated hitter Miguel Mercedes hit the go-ahead home run in the 8th inning just over the wall in left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season for the Snappers.

*Starting Pitcher Boomer Biegalski allowed a lot of hard contact in the 1st inning, but he bounced back and pitched much better over his next 3 innings of work. Biegalski’s final line: 4 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 3 K.

*Last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s, LHP Dalton Sawyer, pitched 4 very strong innings. Sawyer dominated the Chiefs with a mix of fastballs, sliders and changeups. Sawyer’s final line: 4 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 BB / 7 K.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 12 – Peoria 0

Ty Damron

Ty Damron

*Beloit hitters recorded 16 hits and scored 12 runs in the game. Not to be outdone, Beloit pitchers combined to throw a 5-hit shutout with 0 walks and 12 strikeouts.

*Beloit pitchers Brendan Butler, Will Gilbert, and Ty Damron were very efficient, needing just 112 pitches to get through the game.

*Snappers pitcher Ty Damron is technically considered a starting pitcher. But with the 8-man tandem rotation that the Snappers (and other A’s affiliates) are using, Damron came in as reliever in this one and actually got credited with a save in a 12-run game.

*Beloit’s Pohlman Field offered ideal hitting conditions on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a temperature near 80 degrees and a 23 MPH wind blowing out to right-center field. And Snappers hitters took advantage, with all but one Snapper getting at least one hit.

*The Snappers’ 3 home runs came from outfielder JaVon Shelby, who hit his 1st of the season, and infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes, both of whom hit their 3rd.

*Diaz had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBIs.

*Shortstop Eric Marinez showed off his range with a Jeter-esque jump throw to cut down Chiefs first baseman Stefan Trosclair.

*Shelby’s home run was impressive as it capped a 6-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off three straight good pitches from Chiefs pitcher Dailyn Martinez. Shelby was also wearing special cleats in honor of Jackie Robinson day across baseball. You can see what Shelby had to say about Jackie Robinson here...

 

Series Notes:

*The start of Game #2 was delayed by an hour and thirty-one minutes because of inclement weather. Miguel Mercedes’ go-ahead home run actually came with the rain coming down pretty hard. And the game had an announced attendance of 94. Yep, you read that right.

*Game #3 of the series saw Snappers pitchers retire 16 Chiefs batters in a row.

*Snappers pitchers combined for 35 strikeouts in the 3-game series.

*Infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes are tied for the team lead in home runs with 3 apiece.

*Edwin Diaz looks like a player who is just starting to tap into his power potential. With his powerful right-handed swing and his sturdy 6’2”, 195-pound frame, this 21-year-old infielder is a player to keep an eye on.

*It is hard to properly describe the amazing game that Collin Theroux had on Friday. It is just another great example of how baseball is such an unpredictable game. Anyone can be the hero on any given night!

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Catcher Collin Theroux

(4 for 6 / 1 BB / 2 HR / 4 RBIs / 3 Runs)

 

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