Category: Roster/Transactions

Meet Your 2015 Oakland A’s!

A's GM Billy Beane: Rebuilding or retooling for another run?

A’s GM Billy Beane: Rebuilding or retooling for another run?

 

With the A’s heart-breaking 2014 campaign now over, the A’s faithful are left wondering, “What’s next?” But before we examine the possible answers to that question, let’s first take a look at who’s set to stay and who’s set to go…

 

A’s Eligible Free Agents:

Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Luke Gregerson, Jed Lowrie, Alberto Callaspo, Geovany Soto, Jonny Gomes, Adam Dunn

 

A’s Arbitration Eligible Players:

Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, John Jaso, Eric Sogard, Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry, Kyle Blanks, Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Chavez, Ryan Cook, Fernando Abad, Fernando Rodriguez, Jarrod Parker

 

A’s Pitchers under Team Control in 2015:

Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, Jesse Chavez, Drew Pomeranz, Sean Doolittle, Fernando Abad, Eric O’Flaherty, Ryan Cook, Dan Otero, Evan Scribner, Fernando Rodriguez, A.J. Griffin, Jarrod Parker, Josh Lindblom

 

A’s Hitters under Team Control in 2015:

John Jaso, Stephen Vogt, Derek Norris, Eric Sogard, Nick Punto, Andy Parrino, Josh Donaldson, Nate Freiman, Kyle Blanks, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry

 

bbbilly-beane1c

Will Billy be wheelin’ and dealin’ this winter?

Assuming the A’s aren’t likely to re-sign any of the team’s potential free agents, the A’s available roster of players for the 2015 season doesn’t really look all that different from the roster of players the team started 2014 with. But with this season’s disappointment fresh in A’s fans’ hearts and minds, many have been calling for general manager Billy Beane and his staff to dismantle the current roster and begin the rebuild. If recent comments are any indication though, it looks like Beane and company aren’t ready for a rebuild quite yet and would rather retool for at least one more go-‘round with this current crop of A’s players. Beane was quoted in Bay Area media reports this week as saying that the A’s would be looking for a right-handed bat and that the shortstop position was also an area of concern for him. Those don’t exactly sound like the sentiments of a man looking to tear things down but rather of a man looking to build things back up.

When it comes to pitching, the A’s could actually be in a position to start off the 2015 season with a slightly stronger rotation than the team had in place at the start of 2014. Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray, Jesse Chavez and Drew Pomeranz are all under team control and all performed well when given a shot in the rotation last year. The team began 2014 with Kazmir, Gray and Chavez in the rotation, along with Dan Straily and Tommy Milone. So Samardzija and Pomeranz would seem to represent something of an upgrade over Straily and Milone. Josh Lindblom should remain available at Triple-A, while A.J. Griffin could be ready to rejoin the rotation at some point during the season as he returns from Tommy John surgery. Jarrod Parker shouldn’t necessarily be counted on to rejoin the rotation though, since this is his second Tommy John surgery – only one player, Chris Capuano, has returned to a starting role after a second Tommy John surgery – but it’s possible that Parker could ultimately end up figuring into the A’s bullpen mix.

What will Doo do in 2015?

What will Doo do in 2015?

Sean Doolittle should return to the closer role, with Ryan Cook, Dan Otero, Fernando Abad and Eric O’Flaherty all coming back in supporting roles. With Luke Gregerson likely to depart via free agency and Jesse Chavez looking to return to the rotation, Evan Scribner and Fernando Rodriguez should have a good shot at stepping into their roles, and it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see the A’s pick up a couple of affordable arms with high upside (a la Fernando Abad) to add to the competition for the final bullpen spots. But other than that, there really isn’t that much work for the A’s front office to have to do on the pitching side of things this offseason.

When it comes to the team’s position players, while many names remain the same, there could be a couple of notable holes to try to fill. Catchers Derek Norris, Stephen Vogt and John Jaso are all under team control. While Vogt should be ready to get back behind the plate again after offseason foot surgery, Jaso’s catching days could be coming to an end and his days as a designated hitter may be about to begin. With Jed Lowrie set to test the free agent waters, the A’s middle infielder corps currently consists of Eric Sogard, Nick Punto and Andy Parrino, which clearly will not suffice. Brandon Moss should return to platoon at first base with Kyle Blanks if he’s healthy, or Nate Freiman if he’s not. And in the outfield, Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry all remain under the A’s control for 2015.

So if the A’s front office is looking to retool for 2015, Beane’s comments this week about a right-handed bat and a shortstop being among the team’s areas of need make perfect sense. A productive right-handed hitting outfielder who could fill the role of the departed Yoenis Cespedes would be a big step towards getting the A’s offense back on track. Any number of players due to hit the free agent market or available on the trade market could fill that role. Finding a credible shortstop to take Lowrie’s place could be a little more challenging – especially since former shortstop-of-the-future Addison Russell was dealt away to the Cubs and new shortstop-of-the-future Daniel Robertson is just 20 and still likely a couple of years away – but it might not be quite as challenging as some might think.

Would Stew do a deal with the A's?

Would Stew do a deal with the A’s?

Though some of them will surely be beyond the A’s budget, shortstops such as Hanley Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, Stephen Drew, Clint Barmes, Mike Aviles and Rafael Furcal are all expected to hit the free agent market this offseason. But there could also be some interesting opportunities to be found with one the A’s most frequent trade partners. The Arizona Diamondbacks, now run by former A’s and long-time Beane acquaintances Dave Stewart and Tony LaRussa, currently control four credible shortstops, three of whom – Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius and, yes, Cliff Pennington – all had better WARs this season than Jed Lowrie according to Baseball-Reference, while the fourth, Nick Ahmed, is a former 2nd-round draft pick who turned in a solid .312/.373/.425 slash line at Triple-A in 2014.

So while many disappointed A’s fans might be calling for a rebuild, the A’s front office looks like it may be planning on retooling for another run in 2015. With staff ace Jeff Samardzija now firmly atop the A’s starting rotation – and last year’s goat Jim Johnson nowhere to be found around the bullpen – if Beane and company can manage to come up with a credible shortstop to replace Lowrie and a solid right-handed bat to fill Cespedes’ role in the lineup, then the A’s could very well end up heading into the 2015 season with a slightly stronger roster than they had when they kicked off the 2014 campaign. The ball is now in Billy’s court – let the offseason wheeling and dealing begin!

 

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

River Cats, RockHounds, Ports & Snappers Opening Day Rosters

Raley Field in Sacramento

Raley Field in Sacramento

Here they are – the official opening day rosters for the A’s four full-season affiliates who will all be starting their seasons on Thursday. Beloit will kick off the day’s action at 4:30pm PDT, followed by Midland at 5:00pm PDT, then Sacramento at 5:35pm PDT, and finally Stockton at 7:00pm PDT. We know that RHP Drew Granier will be the opening day starter for Midland and RHP Bobby Wahl will get the call for Beloit, while Sacramento’s and Stockton’s opening day starters have yet to be officially announced. Be sure to follow @AthleticsFarm on Twitter all day Thursday for updates on all the opening day action.

 

Stephen Vogt

Stephen Vogt

SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

(Pacific Coast League – Triple-A)

-CATCHERS-

Stephen Vogt*, Ryan Ortiz

-INFIELDERS-

Nate Freiman*, Anthony Aliotti, Jose Martinez, Alden Carrithers, Hiro Nakajima, Tyler Ladendorf, (DL- Jake Elmore*)

-OUTFIELDERS-

Shane Peterson*, Kent Matthes*, Jake Goebbert, Michael Taylor

-STARTING PITCHERS-

Joe Blanton, Arnold Leon*, Matt Buschmann, Sean Murphy, Josh Lindblom*

-RELIEF PITCHERS-

Philip Humber, Deryk Hooker, Jeremy McBryde, Jose Flores, Fernando Nieve, Paul Smyth, Joe Savery*, Eric Berger, Fernando Rodriguez* (Rehab Assignment)

*40-Man Roster

NOTE: The A’s removed IF Hiro Nakajima from the 40-man roster on Wednesday and officially outrighted him to Sacramento. OF Michael Taylor cleared waivers on Thursday and was outrighted to Sacramento. IF Jake Elmore was placed on the DL on Thursday, and IF Tyler Ladendorf was promoted from Midland.

 

Addison Russell

Addison Russell

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Texas League – Double-A)

-CATCHERS-

Ryan Lipkin, Beau Taylor

-INFIELDERS-

Max Muncy, Dusty Coleman, Addison Russell, Jefry Marte, Miles Head, Antonio Lamas

-OUTFIELDERS-

Billy Burns, D’Arby Myers, Chad Oberacker, Josh Whitaker, Conner Crumbliss

-STARTING PITCHERS-

Zach Neal, Drew Granier, Raul Alcantara*, Tanner Peters, Chris Jensen

-RELIEF PITCHERS-

Murphy Smith, Nate Long, Ryan Dull, Blake Hassebrock, Seth Frankoff, Jesus Castillo, Andrew Werner, Jeff Urlaub, (DL-Frank Gailey)

*40-Man Roster

 

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney

STOCKTON PORTS

(California League – High-A)

-CATCHERS-

Bruce Maxwell, Ryan Gorton

-INFIELDERS-

Matt Olson, Chad Pinder, Wade Kirkland, Daniel Robertson, Renato Nunez, Ryon Healy

-OUTFIELDERS

Bobby Crocker, Dusty Robinson, Aaron Shipman, Billy McKinney

-STARTING PITCHERS-

Josh Bowman, Manny Correa, Seth Streich, Shawn Haviland, Tim Atherton

-RELIEF PITCHERS-

Nolan Sanburn, Michael Ynoa*, Jonathan Joseph, Ryan Doolittle, Tucker Healy, Kris Hall, Austin House, Jeremy Barfield, (DL-Omar Duran)

*40-Man Roster

 

B.J. Boyd

B.J. Boyd

BELOIT SNAPPERS

(Midwest League – Class-A)

-CATCHERS-

Phil Pohl, Andy Paz

-INFIELDERS-

Ryan Huck, Melvin Mercedes, Chih-Fang Pan, Sam Roberts, B.A. Vollmuth, Michael Soto

-OUTFIELDERS-

Ryan Mathews, B.J. Boyd, Boog Powell, Tyler Marincov, (DL-Jaycob Brugman)

-STARTING PITCHERS-

Dylan Covey, Kyle Finnegan, Lou Trivino, Ronald Herrera, Bobby Wahl

-RELIEF PITCHERS-

Andres Avila, Stuart Pudenz, Trevor Bayless, Sam Bragg, Lee Sosa, Chris Lamb, Brent Powers, Matt Stalcup

 

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 updates e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Projected A’s, River Cats, RockHounds, Ports & Snappers Opening Day Rosters

**4/1 UPDATE: Official opening day rosters for all the A’s minor league affiliates are here…

SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

Catchers – Vogt, Ortiz

Infielders – Freiman, Aliotti, Martinez, Carrithers, Elmore, Nakajima

Outfielders – Peterson, Matthes, Goebbert, Crumbliss

Starting Pitchers – Blanton, Leon, Lindblom, Buschmann, Murphy

Relief Pitchers – Humber, Hooker, McBryde, Flores, Smyth, Nieve, Savery, Berger

(+Rodriguez – Rehab Assignment)

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

Catchers – Lipkin, Taylor

Infielders – Muncy, Coleman, Ladendorf, Russell, Marte, Head

Outfielders – Burns, Myers, Oberacker, Whitaker

Starting Pitchers – Neal, Granier, Alcantara, Peters, Jensen

Relief Pitchers – Werner, Urlaub, Gailey, Dull, Hassebrock, Frankoff, Long, Castillo, Smith

STOCKTON PORTS

Catchers – Maxwell, Gorton

Infielders – Olson, Pinder, Kirkland, Robertson, Nunez, Healy

Outfielders – Crocker, Robinson, Shipman, McKinney

Starting Pitchers – Correa, Bowman, Streich, Haviland, Sanburn

Relief Pitchers – Atherton, Ynoa, Joseph, Doolittle, Healy, Hall, House, Duran, Barfield

BELOIT SNAPPERS

Catchers – Pohl, Paz

Infielders – Huck, Mercedes, Pan, Roberts, Vollmuth, Soto

Outfielders – Boyd, Brugman, Marincov, Mathews. Powell

Starting Pitchers – Covey, Finnegan, Herrera, Trivino, Wahl

Relief Pitchers – Avila, Bragg, Bayless, Sosa, Pudenz, Lamb, Powers, Stalcup

*          *          *

*3/31 UPDATE: By now, everyone’s certainly heard about the makeup of the A’s opening day roster, but it looks like the River Cats and RockHounds rosters are now pretty much set as well. Here’s how they break down…

SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

Catchers – Vogt, Montz, Ortiz

Infielders – Freiman, Aliotti, Nakajima, Elmore, Carrithers, Perez

Outfielders – Peterson, Matthes, Goebbert, Crumbliss

Starting Pitchers – Leon, Lindblom, Buschmann, Murphy

(+Pomeranz once Cook returns from the DL)

Relief Pitchers – Humber, Hooker, McBryde, Flores, Smyth, Nieve, Savery, Berger

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

Catchers – Lipkin, Taylor

Infielders – Muncy, Coleman, Ladendorf, Russell, Marte, Head

Outfielder – Burns, Myers, Oberacker, Whitaker

Starting Pitchers – Neal, Granier, Alcantara, Peters, Jensen

Relief Pitchers – Werner, Urlaub, Gailey, Dull, Hassebrock, Frankoff, Long, Castillo, Smith

*          *          *

arDSC02964exMajor and minor league rosters for the A’s and their affiliates have not yet been officially announced. Keeping in mind that the organization typically carries 13 pitchers and 12 position players on most minor league rosters, here’s our best educated guess as to how each team’s opening day roster is likely to look. The assumption is still that outfielder Michael Taylor and catcher Chris Gimenez will both either be traded or claimed off waivers. If either ends up remaining in the organization, then those behind them will end up getting knocked down a notch. But there still appears to be an overload of position players at Double-A Midland. And if a couple of players at Midland or Sacramento don’t end up being added to the disabled list before the season starts, then a couple of cuts will have to be made. It’s also expected that outfielder Craig Gentry and reliever Ryan Cook will be activated from the disabled list after the first five games of the regular season, which should result in Sam Fuld and Joe Savery (assuming he makes the roster over Drew Pomeranz) being sent to Sacramento.

 

OAKLAND A’S

–HITTERS–

John Jaso C

Derek Norris C

Josh Donaldson 3B

Jed Lowrie SS

Eric Sogard 2B

Nick Punto 2B-SS

Daric Barton 1B

Alberto Callaspo 1B-3B

Brandon Moss 1B-DH

Yoenis Cespedes OF

Coco Crisp OF

Josh Reddick OF

Sam Fuld OF

(Craig Gentry OF – DL)

–STARTERS–

Sonny Gray RHP

Scott Kazmir RHP

Dan Straily RHP

Jesse Chavez RHP

Tommy Milone LHP

(A.J. Griffin RHP – DL)

(Jarrod Parker RHP – DL)

–RELIEVERS–

Jim Johnson RHP

Luke Gregerson RHP

Dan Otero RHP

Evan Scribner RHP

Sean Doolittle LHP

Fernando Abad LHP

Joe Savery LHP

(Ryan Cook RHP – DL)

(Fernando Rodriguez RHP – DL)

(Eric O’Flaherty LHP – DL)

 

SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

–HITTERS–

Stephen Vogt C

Ryan Ortiz C

Luke Montz C-DH

Nate Freiman 1B-DH

Anthony Aliotti 1B-DH

Hiro Nakajima 3B-SS-2B

Jake Elmore SS-2B-3B

Jose Martinez 2B-SS-3B

Alden Carrithers OF-2B

Kent Matthes OF

Shane Peterson OF

Jake Goebbert OF

(Dusty Brown C – DL)

[Chris Gimenez C – Out Of Options / Traded or Claimed Off Waivers]

[Michael Taylor OF – Out Of Options / Traded or Claimed Off Waivers]

–STARTERS–

Drew Pomeranz LHP

Josh Lindblom RHP

Arnold Leon RHP

Matt Buschmann RHP

Zach Neal RHP

–RELIEVERS–

Fernando Nieve RHP

Philip Humber RHP

Deryk Hooker RHP

Jeremy McBryde RHP

Jose Flores RHP

Paul Smyth RHP

Andrew Werner LHP

Jeff Urlaub LHP

 

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(With an abundance of position players at Midland, 2 would have to be cut from this roster unless there are other players who are added to the DL at Midland or Sacramento)

–HITTERS–

Ryan Lipkin C

Beau Taylor C

Addison Russell SS

Darwin Perez 2B-SS

Dusty Coleman 2B-SS

Max Muncy 1B

Jefry Marte 3B

Miles Head 3B-1B

Tyler Ladendorf IF-OF

Billy Burns OF

Conner Crumbliss OF

D’Arby Myers OF

Chad Oberacker OF

Josh Whitaker OF

–STARTERS–

Murphy Smith RHP

Sean Murphy RHP

Drew Granier RHP

Raul Alcantara RHP

Tanner Peters RHP

–RELIEVERS–

Jesus Castillo RHP

Nate Long RHP

Ryan Dull RHP

Blake Hassebrock RHP

Seth Frankoff RHP

Jonathan Joseph RHP

Frank Gailey LHP

Trey Barham LHP

 

STOCKTON PORTS

–HITTERS–

Bruce Maxwell C

Phil Pohl C

Matt Olson 1B

Antonio Lamas 2B

Daniel Robertson SS

Renato Nunez 3B

Wade Kirkland 2B-SS

B.A. Vollmuth 3B-1B

Bobby Crocker OF

Myrio Richard OF

Dusty Robinson OF

Rashun Dixon OF

–STARTERS–

Chris Jensen RHP

Manny Correa RHP

Josh Bowman RHP

Seth Streich RHP

Nolan Sanburn / Shawn Haviland RHP

–RELIEVERS–

Nolan Sanburn / Shawn Haviland RHP

Tim Atherton RHP

Michael Ynoa RHP

Tucker Healy RHP

Austin House RHP

Ryan Doolittle RHP

Jeremy Barfield LHP

Omar Duran LHP

 

BELOIT SNAPPERS

–HITTERS–

Nick Rickles C

Ryan Gorton C

Ryan Huck 1B

Melvin Mercedes 2B

Chad Pinder SS

Ryon Healy 3B

Sam Roberts IF

Billy McKinney OF

Aaron Shipman OF

Ryan Mathews OF

Brett Vertigan OF

B.J. Boyd OF

–STARTERS–

Brent Powers LHP

Andres Avila RHP

Dylan Covey RHP

Kyle Finnegan RHP

Ronald Herrera RHP

–RELIEVERS–

Lou Trivino RHP

Kris Hall RHP

Bobby Wahl RHP

Chris Kohler LHP

Chris Lamb LHP

Sam Bragg RHP

Dominique Vattuone RHP

Trevor Bayless RHP

 

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 updates e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

A’s Minor League Spring Training Camp Rosters

ppd_039478bA’s major leaguers may have a couple of weeks’ worth of spring games under their belts. But A’s minor leaguers just began their official spring schedule of competitive games on Monday. And with the beginning of that schedule, the players in the minor league camp have all been assigned to teams that will spend the spring playing their counterparts from other organizations.

Keep in mind that these assignments don’t reflect where players will actually be assigned once the season starts. There are currently 47 players in the A’s major league camp so, obviously, a large number of those players will end up filling out the roster for Sacramento or one of the other affiliates. And once all those other players get their assignments, a great many of the players listed below will end up being bumped down a notch or two. But at least this helps give some perspective on where players fall within the overall organizational structure. And if you come to spring training in Arizona, you should definitely take the opportunity to visit the A’s minor league complex at Papago Park and see some of these talented young players in action!

 

SACRAMENTO

–PITCHERS–

Andrew Werner

 Andrew Werner

Jesus Castillo

Jose Flores

Frank Gailey

Drew Granier

Brett Hunter

Nate Long

Jeremy McBryde

Sean Murphy

Zach Neal

Tanner Peters

Murphy Smith

Paul Smyth

Jeff Urlaub

Andrew Werner

–CATCHERS–

Ryan Lipkin

Ryan Ortiz

Beau Taylor

Anthony Aliotti

 Anthony Aliotti

–INFIELDERS–

Anthony Aliotti

Alden Carrithers

Dusty Coleman

Tyler Ladendorf

Jefry Marte

Max Muncy

Hiro Nakajima

Daniel Robertson

–OUTFIELDERS–

Conner Crumbliss

Jake Goebbert

D’Arny Myers

Chad Oberacker

Shane Peterson

Josh Whitaker

 

MIDLAND

–PITCHERS–

Raul Alcantara

 Raul Alcantara

Raul Alcantara

Jeremy Barfield

Trey Barham

Josh Bowman

Manny Correa

Ryan Doolittle

Ryan Dull

Omar Duran

Seth Frankoff

Blake Hassebrock

Shawn Haviland

Austin House

Chris Jensen

Jonathan Joseph

Nolan Sanburn

Seth Streich

Michael Ynoa

–CATCHERS–

Bruce Maxwell

Phil Pohl

Nick Rickles

Miles Head

 Miles Head

–INFIELDERS–

Miles Head

Wade Kirkland

Antonio Lamas

Matt Olson

Renato Nunez

Sam Roberts

B.A. Vollmuth

–OUTFIELDERS–

Bobby Crocker

Rashun Dixon

Billy McKinney

Myrio Richard

Dusty Robinson

 

STOCKTON

–PITCHERS–

Dylan Covey

 Dylan Covey

Tim Atherton

Andres Avila

Sam Bragg

Dylan Covey

Derek DeYoung

Kyle Finnegan

Kris Hall

Tucker Healy

Ronald Herrera

Chris Kohler

Chris Lamb

Brent Powers

Lou Trivino

Tyler Vail

Dominique Vattuone

Bobby Wahl

–CATCHERS–

Ryan Gorton

Josh Miller

Andy Paz

Chad Pinder

 Chad Pinder

–INFIELDERS

Ryon Healy

Ryan Huck

Melvin Mercedes

Yairo Munoz

Chad Pinder

–OUTFIELDERS–

Dayton Alexander

Jaycob Brugmann

Ryan Mathews

Aaron Shipman

Brett Vertigan

 

BELOIT

–PITCHERS–

Matt Stalcup

 Matt Stalcup

Hunter Adkins

Kayvon Bahramzadeh

Trevor Bayless

Dustin Driver

Jerad Grundy

Tyler Hollstegge

Tyler Johnson

Junior Mendez

Carlos Navas

Dillon Overton

Travis Pitcher

Stuart Pudenz

Lee Sosa

Matt Stalcup

Jesus Zambrano

–CATCHERS–

Lana Akau

Santiago Chavez

Seongmin Kim

Kyle Wheeler

B.J. Boyd

 B.J. Boyd

–INFIELDERS–

Luis Baez

Edwin Diaz

Jesus Lopez

Chih-Fang Pan

Michael Soto

Chris Wolfe

–OUTFIELDERS–

B.J. Boyd

Justin Higley

Tyler Marincov

Boog Powell

 

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 updates e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Unexpected Injuries & Surprising Spring Performances Could Change the Face of the A’s Opening Day Roster

Bob Melvin

A’s manager Bob Melvin might end up with a few tricky decisions to have to make.

This was originally expected to be a rare spring where most of the A’s roster was pretty much set, with very few roster questions left to be answered. Possibly the biggest question when camp opened was – who would be the 13th position player to make the squad?

For much of the offseason, there was some uncertainty surrounding John Jaso’s physical status and manager Bob Melvin frequently mentioned his name as a likely candidate to get lots of at-bats as the team’s designated hitter. So it was expected the A’s would probably need to carry three catchers, meaning that lefty-swinging backstop Stephen Vogt, who ably filled in for Jaso when he went down last season, would likely make the team.

Once games got going though, it started to look like Jaso was ready to reclaim his spot behind the plate and it seemed that first baseman Daric Barton, who is out of options, was emerging as the favorite to claim the final roster spot. That wasn’t the only new development to shake up the A’s roster picture though.

Reliever Ryan Cook reported to camp with a sore shoulder that kept him off the mound, newly-acquired outfielder Craig Gentry arrived in Arizona with a strained back that kept him out of the lineup and, just this weekend, first baseman Barton had to be pulled from Saturday’s contest against Colorado after straining his left hamstring – and as we all know, hamstring issues can be notoriously tricky.

Prior to tweaking his hamstring though, Barton had been garnering attention as one of the A’s hottest hitters in the early spring, posting a .444/.643/.667 slash line in his first 7 games. But a number of other players had also been busy putting themselves on the map by coming out of the box with strong spring performances, including Barton’s chief competitor for the final roster spot, catcher Stephen Vogt, along with a trio of outfielders – veteran Sam Fuld, former top prospect Michael Taylor and young speed-burner Billy Burns – while right-handed reliever Evan Scribner was also doing his best to impress out of the bullpen.

Clearly, between some unexpected injuries and some surprising early spring performances, there could be a few changes to the face of the A’s opening day roster. So let’s take at how things are shaping up with a little over three weeks to go until opening day…

THE INJURED

Ryan Cook

rc77-19452-JCounted on as one of the A’s key setup men, Cook arrived in camp with a sore shoulder and, more than three weeks after pitchers first reported, he still hasn’t faced live batters. Even if the right-hander is able to get into a game in the next week, and doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he’s clearly behind schedule. And it’s entirely possible that Cook could end up needing a little extra time in extended spring training before the team feels he’s totally game-ready.

Craig Gentry

cg849bb723307cc864df6eb3f99430e6f4bOne of the A’s key offseason acquisitions, the team is expecting Gentry  to be a force in the lineup against left-handed starters and to do a better job filling in for the A’s starting outfielders than Chris Young did in that role last year. But the player who was known as “Kitten Face” in Texas reported to camp with a lower back strain and, after a week and a half’s worth of games, he still hasn’t been cleared to make an appearance in the field. The A’s are counting on Gentry to lend a dynamic presence to the lineup but, if his back is still bugging him in a couple of weeks, then he might just end up starting the season on the sidelines.

Daric Barton

dbimagesA long-serving presence in the A’s picture, the team’s on-again/off-again first baseman appeared to be on-again after a strong early spring performance and Jaso’s seeming return to normal behind the plate, minimizing the need for the team to carry three catchers and enabling the A’s to avoid having to expose Barton to waivers. But after this weekend’s hamstring strain, he could very well be off-again. There’s no report yet on the severity of the strain, but hamstrings are always a tricky issue, and it’s rarely wise to expect a quick or smooth road to recovery.

THE OPPORTUNISTS

Evan Scribner

es1275311bScribner started the spring as essentially the 8th man in a 7-man bullpen. Manager Bob Melvin has all but said that Jim Johnson, Luke Gregerson, Dan Otero, Jesse Chavez, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook are set. But with only one left-hander in that group and one of the team’s most promising left-handers, Fernando Abad, out of options, it’s been expected that Scribner, who is also out of options, would be the odd man out. But probably the only pitchers who’ve been more effective than Scribner so far this spring would be Chavez, Doolittle and possibly right-hander Arnold Leon. With Doolittle and Chavez already locks and Leon slated to start the season in the River Cats rotation, if Cook is unable to be in the A’s bullpen on opening day, then Scribner is obviously the A’s go-to guy. His strong performance so far this spring and the fact that he’s out of options should make the choice an easy one.

Stephen Vogt

sv9147When camp opened, the assumption was that Vogt was likely to claim the A’s final roster spot. With manager Bob Melvin repeatedly mentioning that John Jaso might be getting a lot of at-bats as the team’s designated hitter this year, the need for the team to carry a third catcher seemed obvious. And Vogt did a great job of endearing himself to A’s fans and staff alike when he filled in for Jaso late last season and in the playoffs, where he started every game and came up with the key hit for the A’s in their Game #2 victory. But as spring games got going and Jaso seemed ready to re-establish himself behind the plate and Daric Barton was busy getting on base about two-thirds of the time, carrying a third catcher seem to decrease in importance and protecting Barton from waivers seemed to increase in importance, leaving Vogt destined for a spot behind the plate in Sacramento. But if Barton’s strained hamstring keeps him out of action for a few weeks, then Vogt, who’s been one of the team’s best hitters early this spring, posting a .467/.529/.667 slash line, could have a shot at reclaiming his roster spot with the A’s.

Sam Fuld

sfSamSigned fairly late in the game to a minor-league contract, there originally didn’t appear to be much opportunity for Fuld to make the team. The outfield was set with Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and John Reddick, with Craig Gentry as the fourth outfielder and first baseman Brandon Moss also available to fill in in the outfield. But Fuld has been one of the team’s hottest hitters so far this spring, with a .304/.360/.565 slash line, and has impressed manager Bob Melvin and his staff with his play in the field. And if either Gentry or Barton isn’t ready to go by opening day, Fuld is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunity. Like Barton, he’s a left-handed hitter and, like Gentry, he can also play center field if needed. So if the A’s end up needing a replacement for either of those two players, Fuld is well-suited to fill the bill. His hot spring and the fact that he has an opt-out clause that he can exercise if he doesn’t make the opening day roster, don’t hurt his chances either.

Michael Taylor

mtMichael+Taylor+Oakland+Athletics+Photo+Day+dBTGnNudkqnlThe A’s former top prospect and the River Cats’ all-time hit leader, Taylor appeared to be nearing a dead end with the A’s this spring as he was out of options and seemingly without a major league roster spot available to shoot for. But after a heart-to-heart talk with manager Bob Melvin early this spring, he suddenly started looking like a new man in the batter’s box. And Taylor has been one of the A’s most productive hitters thus far, posting a .333/.379/.556 slash line while playing every day this spring. With Fuld’s ability to play center field though, it might take both Barton and Gentry being unavailable on opening day for Taylor to have a shot at making the roster. But if both of them are out and Fuld claims one of the available spots, then Taylor might make the most logical replacement for Gentry’s right-handed bat against left-handers, while the A’s put off exposing the former top prospect to waivers and give him one last shot to show what he can do.

Nate Freiman

nfNate+Freiman+Oakland+Athletics+Photo+Day+CFUGtYuCl4Ll2The right-handed half of the A’s first-base platoon in 2013, it’s been assumed that Freiman was ticketed for Sacramento in 2014. But could he have the chance to hang on to his roster spot if fellow first baseman Barton starts the season on the shelf? It’s possible, but the problem with Freiman is that he’s essentially a one-trick pony. He can only play first base and he can only hit left-handed pitching, so he’s basically cut out to be the right-handed half of a first base platoon. But with the team seemingly intent on installing Alberto Callaspo in that position at this point, there’s really not much room for Freiman on the roster. Besides, his .167/.286/.333 slash line so far this spring hasn’t been particularly impressive. And even if both Barton and Gentry aren’t ready to go on opening day, and the team wants to fill one of those spots with a right-handed bat to replace Gentry’s, why wouldn’t they go with Taylor, who’s out of options, while they can stash Freiman at Sacramento? Freiman’s best shot at making the roster would most likely come not as a result of injury but rather as the result of a trade, namely of the man who’s most likely to take his job – Mr. Callaspo.

Billy Burns

bbu1275322bThe player who baseball columnist Ken Rosenthal called “the most intriguing player in the A’s camp” could be the wild card in all this. Acquired from the Nationals in the Jerry Blevins deal, Burns has excited A’s fans and staff alike this spring with his ability to get on base and his blazing speed. After a week and a half’s worth of spring games, he sports a .406 OBP. And at one point, his 7 stolen bases not only led all players but led all teams in the Cactus League. Burns has clearly generated a lot of excitement and impressed a lot of the right people this spring, but it’s important to remember that the young switch-hitter is still relatively inexperienced, having played just 30 games above Class-A in his career. So while he undoubtedly has the skills to impress and excite, the stars might really have to be aligned perfectly for Burns to get his shot at this point.

Stay tuned for our on-the-scene reports from spring training next week!

*          *          *

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 updates e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

A’s & River Cats Roster Outlook

Scott Kazmir - the A's $22 million dollar man

Scott Kazmir – the $22 million dollar man

It appears that most of the A’s off-season work is done. The team has found capable replacements for departing free agents Bartolo Colon, Grant Balfour and Chris Young and filled a few other holes as well. It’s possible that someone like Alberto Callaspo, who’s set to earn close to $5 million and doesn’t have a full-time position, could still end up being traded before spring training is through. It’s possible that a few younger players with major league experience who are out of options like outfielder Michael Taylor or reliever Evan Scribner could be dealt as well. But for the most part, barring any unforeseen injury issues, it looks like the A’s are now holding most of the cards they’ll be playing to start the 2014 season. And it’s becoming increasingly clear who most of the players are that Sacramento River Cats fans can expect to be seeing at Raley Field in 2014 as well.

 

2014 OAKLAND A’S

One area that seems to be most clearly set for the team is the outfield, with Josh Reddick in right, Coco Crisp in center, Yoenis Cespedes in left and newcomer Craig Gentry serving as the fourth outfielder. The left side of the infield will also remain in place for the A’s, with the team’s most valuable player in 2014, Josh Donaldson, manning the hot corner and the team’s best-hitting shortstop in recent memory, Jed Lowrie, returning to shortstop.

The other four positions in the lineup – second base, first base, catcher and designated hitter – are the areas where the A’s will deploy their patented platoons. Free agent infielder Nick Punto is likely to take over for Adam Rosales and Callaspo as Eric Sogard’s platoon partner at second base. And based on manager Bob Melvin’s comments, it seems like that might push Callaspo into the role of Brandon Moss’s platoon partner at first base, which would then push Nate Freiman to Sacramento along with fellow first baseman Daric Barton.

Craig "Kitten Face" Gentry

Craig “Kitten Face” Gentry

Melvin’s recent comments also make it sound like John Jaso is likely to get most of the DH at-bats, replacing the departed Seth Smith in that position, while against left-handers, Craig Gentry would join the lineup in left field with Yoenis Cespedes moving into the DH spot. With Jaso getting most of the DH at-bats, that requires the A’s to carry a third catcher, and that’s most likely to be Stephen Vogt, who got plenty of valuable experience last year down the stretch and in the postseason for the A’s. And his left-handed bat is the perfect complement to righty-swinging backstop Derek Norris, who hit just .149 against right-handed pitching last year.

Basically, Vogt would be replacing Jaso in the catching platoon, just as he did late last year, with Jaso moving out from behind the plate to replace Seth Smith in the DH platoon, while Punto replaces Callaspo in the second base platoon, Callaspo replaces Freiman in the first place platoon and Craig Gentry takes Chris Young’s place in the lineup against left-handers.

As far as the pitching staff goes, the plan seems pretty clear. Free agent lefty Scott Kazmir will take over for Bartolo Colon as the veteran presence in the team’s starting rotation, while young righty Sonny Gray appears set to take lefty Tommy Milone’s spot in the rotation, just as he did late last season, with Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily rounding out the starting five.

Meanwhile, in the bullpen, Jim Johnson will take over for Grant Balfour as the team’s closer, while top-notch setup man Luke Gregerson will take the roster spot that Pat Neshek occupied most of last season and lefty Fernando Abad is likely to take Jerry Blevins’ spot on the left side of the bullpen, with fellow lefty Sean Doolittle and righties Ryan Cook, Jesse Chavez and Dan Otero rounding out the rest of the A’s bullpen – though it’s possible that, since he’s out of options, the team could also decide to have Evan Scribner take Otero’s spot to start the season. The A’s will also likely start the season with two relievers who are both recovering from Tommy John surgery on the disabled list – recently-signed free agent lefty Eric O’Flaherty and righty Fernando Rodriguez, who was acquired from the Astros in the Jed Lowrie deal.

 

2014 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

If we make the preceding assumptions about the major league roster, then the River Cats roster starts to fall pretty clearly into place. Of course, there are a few players who are out of options, and it’s quite possible that at least one of them won’t end up clearing waivers.

Daric Barton: Back in River City?

Daric Barton: Back in River City?

The A’s have two veteran minor league catchers to handle the River Cats pitching staff, returning backstop Luke Montz along with Chris Gimenez, who was recently claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, the team looks to be overloaded with first basemen, with Daric Barton, Nate Freiman and Anthony Aliotti all looking for playing time – unless the A’s end up trading Callaspo and opening up a roster spot for Freiman as Brandon Moss’s platoon partner. If not, there could still be plenty of playing time to be found for all three between the first base and the designated hitter spot.

Returning River Cat Andy Parrino appears to be set at shortstop. Hiro Nakajima is likely to get the majority of starts at third base while also picking up at-bats at other positions around the infield, while free agent signees Jose Martinez and Alden Carrithers should get most of the playing time at second base. Shane Peterson is set to return to Sacramento’s outfield, along with Jake Goebbert and, if they clear waivers, veteran minor leaguers Michael Taylor and Corey Brown (who was recently designated for assignment).

The River Cats should have plenty of worthy contenders for their starting rotation. If the A’s other five starters are all healthy to start the season, then Tommy Milone is likely to anchor Sacramento’s starting five, along with recently-acquired righty Josh Lindblom and lefty Drew Pomeranz. Returning River Cats Andrew Werner and Arnold Leon will also be competing for a spot as well as free agent signees Phil Humber and Matt Buschmann, with those don’t make the rotation starting the season in the River Cats bullpen. If he clears waivers, they’re likely to be joined there by Evan Scribner, along with returning River Cats Paul Smyth and Fernando Nieve and free agent signees Deryk Hooker and Jose Flores as well as Triple-A Rule 5 draftee Tim Atherton.

So that’s how things seem to be shaping up for both the A’s and the River Cats, assuming everyone clears waivers and Billy Beane doesn’t have any last-minute surprises up his sleeve!

Click here to see the projected 2014 A’s and River Cats rosters…

A’s Eager to Deal Prospects to Win Now!

bbbilly-beane1b

Billy Beane’s been a busy boy!

A’s general manager Billy Beane has had a busy week – and it ain’t over yet! On Monday, the team signed free agent left-handed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir to a two-year $22 million deal. And later that same day, the A’s acquired right-handed closer Jim Johnson from Baltimore in return for second baseman Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later.

Then on Tuesday, the team traded two of its top minor league prospects, outfielder Michael Choice and second baseman Chris Bostick, to Texas for outfielder Craig Gentry and right-handed starter Josh Lindblom. The A’s then followed that up just hours later by sending outfielder Seth Smith to San Diego for right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson.

Just the previous week, the team dealt minor league outfielder John Wooten to Washington for left-handed reliever Fernando Abad. And two weeks prior to that, the A’s signed utility infielder Nick Punto as a free agent.

cg849bb723307cc864df6eb3f99430e6f4b

Craig “Kitten Face” Gentry

The A’s new outfielder, Craig Gentry – who was nicknamed “Kitten Face” in Texas – is a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play all three outfield positions. He brings excellent defense and speed and hits lefties well, so he figures to take Chris Young’s place as a right-handed platoon player and fourth outfielder who could take over full time in center field for the A’s when Coco Crisp becomes a free agent after next season.

In order to acquire Gentry, the A’s gave up their top outfield prospect, who also happened to be the team’s top major-league-ready hitting prospect, former 1st-round draft pick Michael Choice. After hitting .302 at Triple-A Sacramento in 2013, many had hoped that Choice would be given the chance to fill Young’s role on the A’s roster in 2014. But instead, he’ll get the chance to battle for a starting spot in the Rangers’ outfield this season.

Top talent evaluators are divided on Choice’s chances for success as a major league slugger. But the A’s have a history of undervaluing and trading away talented young outfielders who’ve gone on to become successful major league hitters elsewhere. And A’s fans have to hope that Choice doesn’t turn out to be the next Andre Ethier, Nelson Cruz or Carlos Gonzalez in Texas.

With Choice now gone, Shane Peterson and Michael Taylor are now the most major-league-ready outfielders at the upper levels of the A’s minor league system, while 20-year-old B.J. Boyd and 19-year-old Billy McKinney are the team’s top outfield prospects at the lower levels of the system.

The A’s also traded away their top second base prospect, Chris Bostick, in the deal. And it looks increasingly likely that shortstop Daniel Robertson might have to try to make the move to second base to provide a future double play partner for top shortstop prospect Addison Russell. With fellow second baseman Jemile Weeks now gone as well, Sacramento’s 2014 infield could be comprised of Daric Barton or Anthony Aliotti at first base, minor league free agent signee Jose Martinez at second base, Andy Parrino at shortstop, Hiro Nakajima at third base and Dusty Coleman as the utility infielder filling in at second, short and third.

Meanwhile, RHP Josh Lindblom is likely to start the season in Sacramento’s starting rotation, along with River Cats returnees Arnold Leon and Andrew Werner as well as recent minor league free agent signees Phil Humber and Matt Buschmann.

Scott Kazmir - the $22 million dollar man

Scott Kazmir – the $22 million dollar man

At the major league level, new acquisitions Scott Kazmir and Jim Johnson are clearly intended to take the place of free agents Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour on the A’s pitching staff. With Kazmir guaranteed $11 million this season, Johnson expected to net $10-11 million in arbitration and seven starting pitchers currently on the staff, the A’s second-highest-paid starter, Brett Anderson at $8 million, is expected to be the A’s most appetizing bit of a trade bait to be dangled at next week’s Winter Meetings. And rumors already have the Blue Jays, Twins, Royals, Yankees, Indians and Mariners licking their lips over the left-hander.

Assuming the A’s are able to complete a deal for Anderson, the team’s 2014 rotation would then be comprised of five of the following six starters: Scott Kazmir, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily and Sonny Gray. Given the general health of starting pitchers, it wouldn’t be surprising if one out of any group of six starters wasn’t 100% healthy to start the season, so I wouldn’t bother spending too much time worrying about which five of the six will end up making the opening day cut – it’ll surely sort itself out by the end of spring.

As far as the A’s bullpen goes, new closer Jim Johnson, who has saved at least 50 games in each of the last two seasons, and new RHP Luke Gregerson, who has been one of the best setup men in the National League over the past couple of years, are set to join LHPs Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins and RHPs Ryan Cook and Jesse Chavez, who is out options and whom the A’s value as a long man and spot starter.

Since the team typically likes to carry seven relievers, there’s room for one more arm in the A’s pen, and RHP Dan Otero is clearly the most deserving candidate for the final spot. But since Fernando Abad, Evan Scribner, Pedro Figueroa and Fernando Rodriguez are all out of options, it’s possible that Otero could start the season being stashed at Sacramento, waiting for someone to hit the DL while one of the others is given a shot.

Over the past week and a half, the A’s farm system has suffered the loss of outfielder Michael Choice, second baseman Jemile Weeks, second baseman Chris Bostick and outfielder John Wooten. And in the last six months, the team lost its 2007 #1 draft pick James Simmons as a minor league free agent and traded away 2008’s #1 pick Jemile Weeks, 2009’s #1 pick Grant Green and 2010’s #1 pick Michael Choice. 2011’s #1 pick Sonny Gray has already made it to the majors, while 2012’s #1 pick Addison Russell should be starting the season at Double-A Midland and 2013’s #1 pick Billy McKinney is expected to start the year at Class-A Beloit.

baanderson_brett2

Brett Anderson – next up on the trading block?

As previously mentioned, LHP Brett Anderson is the most likely member of the A’s roster to be the next one to find himself on Billy Beane’s trading block, with infielder Alberto Callaspo not far behind. With six other starters on the staff, a long injury history and an $8 million salary attached to his name, Anderson is clearly expendable. And with a salary close to $5 million and no definite spot in the A’s lineup, Callaspo seems to just be taking up roster and salary space at this point.

Outfielders Seth Smith, Chris Young and Michael Choice have all recently departed, with Craig Gentry being the only outfielder the A’s have acquired to take their place. So it certainly seems like there could be room for one more big OF/DH bat to be added to the A’s lineup to help boost the team’s offensive output, possibly as the result of an Anderson deal.

It’s also been reported that the A’s have been inquiring about middle infielders and catchers in trade talks for Anderson. So the team could be looking for a second baseman to take the place of Eric Sogard, or a shortstop who would then enable Jed Lowrie to make the move to second, or possibly a catcher who would allow John Jaso to take over for Seth Smith in the designated hitter role.

The A’s major league roster currently shapes up with Jaso and Norris as the catching platoon, Donaldson, Lowrie, Sogard, Punto, Moss and Freiman serving around the infield, and Cespedes, Crisp, Reddick and Gentry making up the outfield. Since the team typically likes to carry thirteen position players, that leaves one last roster spot open. At this point, it would most likely be filled by Callaspo. But if he ends up being traded, then it would be Barton, unless, of course, the A’s acquire another big bat who would end up pushing Barton back to Sacramento.

With all the current question marks, one thing seems certain – Beane and company aren’t done dealing just yet, and the A’s roster is far from set. There are surely more changes to come. But for the time being, here’s how things are shaping up for the 2014 A’s and River Cats, assuming everyone who’s out of options can clear waivers.

Click here to see the possible 2014 A’s and River Cats rosters…

A’s Instructional League Roster

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney

A total of 44 players reported to the A’s fall Instructional League camp in Phoenix this week. Many of the A’s top prospects will spend the next month training, conditioning, participating in drills and playing other teams’ Instructional League clubs in Arizona.

The A’s top pick from this year’s draft – outfielder Bill McKinney – along with two of the A’s top three picks from the 2012 draft – shortstop Daniel Robertson and first baseman Matt Olson – will all be participating. Meanwhile, the A’s top pick from 2012 – shortstop Addison Russell – will begin his off-season work in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League later next month.

Below you’ll find the A’s complete fall Instructional League roster along with the team each player finished the 2013 season with listed next to their name…

 

A’s Instructional League Roster

–PITCHERS—

Dylan Covey

Dylan Covey

Jeremy Barfield  (Sac)

Sam Bragg  (Bel)

Dylan Covey  (Bel)

Dustin Driver  (AZL)

Kyle Finnegan  (Bel)

Kris Hall  (Bel)

Ronald Herrera  (Ver)

Austin House  (Bel)

Chris Kohler  (AZL)

Joe Michaud  (Ver)

Junior Mendez  (Ver)

Michael Ynoa

Michael Ynoa

Carlos Navas  (AZL)

Nolan Sanburn  (Bel)

Lee Sosa  (Ver)

Lou Trivino  (Ver)

Dominique Vattuone  (Ver)

Tyler Vail  (Bel)

Victor Veliz  (DSL)

Bobby Wahl  (Ver)

Michael Ynoa  (Sto)

Jesus Zambrano  (DSL)

 

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

–CATCHERS—

Iolana Akau  (AZL)

Bruce Maxwell  (Sto)

Josh Miller  (Ver)

Andy Paz  (AZL)

Kyle Wheeler  (AZL)

 

–INFIELDERS—

Chris Bostick  (Bel)

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson

Edwin Diaz  (AZL)

Ryon Healy  (Ver)

Ryan Huck  (Ver)

Jesus Lopez  (DNP)

Yairo Munoz  (AZL)

Renato Nunez  (Bel)

Matt Olson  (Bel)

Chad Pinder  (Ver)

Daniel Robertson  (Bel)

 

B.J. Boyd

B.J. Boyd

–OUTFIELDERS—

B.J. Boyd  (Ver)

Jaycob Brugman  (Ver)

Shawn Duinkerk  (AZL)

Justin Higley  (AZL)

Tyler Marincov  (Ver)

Billy McKinney  (Ver)

D’Arby Myers  (Mid)

Aaron Shipman  (Bel)

 

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 updates e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Preview: Rising Star Addison Russell Ready to Shine for Stockton in 2013

Top draft pick Addison Russell is set to star for Stockton!

Top draft pick Addison Russell is set to star for Stockton!

The opening day roster for the Stockton Ports, the A’s Class-A affiliate in the California League, was announced this week. And the Ports’ lineup will be led by the A’s top draft pick from last year, rising star Addison Russell.

The A’s top shortstop prospect will be joined in the Ports’ infield by first baseman Max Muncy, second baseman Antonio Lamas and third baseman B.A. Vollmuth, along with backups Tony Thompson and Wade Kirkland. Returning outfielders Myrio Richard, Josh Whitaker and Dusty Robinson will be joined by newcomer Bobby Crocker, and Ryan Ortiz and Ryan Delgado will be behind the plate.

The Ports’ pitching staff will be comprised of Sean Murphy, Jacob Brown, Drew Granier, Blake Hassebrock, Seth Frankoff, Andres Avila, Tanner Peters, Jose Macias, Jonathan Joseph, T.J. Walz, Pedro Vidal, David Mota and Omar Duran.

You’ll find the Stockton Ports’ complete roster, along with profiles of some of the team’s top players, below…

 

arhi-res-162044917_display_imageADDISON RUSSELL

Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop

Age On Opening Day: 19

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

The A’s top pick in last year’s draft was not only the star of the A’s 2012 draft class but was also the star of the team’s entire minor league system. And it didn’t take long for Russell to quickly become a favorite amongst A’s fans who have their eyes on the future. The Florida native earned the attention by tearing through three levels of minor league ball at the age of 18, and he’ll be starting the year in the California League at the age of 19. In 217 at-bats in the Arizona League, the NY-Penn League and the Midwest League in 2012, Russell had 10 doubles, 9 triples, 7 home runs and 16 stolen bases with an impressive .369/.432/.594 slash line. He didn’t disappoint in the field either, showing nice range and a good arm. The bottom line is that Russell is very young, very talented and very hard-working, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t continue to rise as quickly as his performance demands.

 

mm628x471bMAX MUNCY

Left-Handed Hitting First Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 22

Drafted 2012 – 5th Round

Another promising catch from last year’s draft, Muncy skipped two levels of the A’s minor league system and started the year higher than any other member of the A’s draft class at Class-A Burlington in the Midwest League. And he held his own there, posting a .275/.383/.432 slash line in 64 games. The left-handed hitter also seemed to be developing a little more power this spring in Arizona. And Muncy will be joining Russell, as the two fastest-rising members of last year’s draft class, in Stockton’s infield this season.

 

–STOCKTON PORTS 2013 ROSTER–

–HITTERS–

Ryan Ortiz C

Ryan Delgado C

Max Muncy 1B

Antonio Lamas 2B

Addison Russell SS

B.A. Vollmuth 3B

Tony Thompson 3B-1B

Wade Kirkland 2B-SS

Myrio Richard OF

Josh Whitaker OF

Dusty Robinson OF

Bobby Crocker OF

–PITCHERS–

Sean Murphy RHP

Jacob Brown LHP

Drew Granier RHP

Blake Hassebrock RHP

Seth Frankoff RHP

Andres Avila RHP

Tanner Peters RHP

Jose Macias RHP

Jonathan Joseph RHP

T.J. Walz RHP

Pedro Vidal RHP

David Mota RHP

Omar Duran LHP

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Preview: Top Prospect Miles Head Set To Be Main Attraction at Midland in 2013

Miles Head is ready to make his mark at Midland!

Miles Head is ready to make his mark at Midland!

The opening day roster for the Midland RockHounds, the A’s Double-A affiliate in the Texas League, was announced this week. The RockHounds’ lineup will be led by one of the A’s top hitting prospects, third baseman Miles Head, who led all A’s minor leaguers in hits, RBIs, batting average and slugging percentage last season.

Along with Head, the RockHounds’ infield will also include Jefry Marte, Tommy Mendonca, Anthony Aliotti, Dusty Coleman, Darwin Perez and Tyler Ladendorf. Jeremy Barfield, Chad Oberacker and D’Arby Myers will man the outfield, while Ryan Lipkin and Nick Rickles will be behind the plate.

The RockHounds’ starting rotation will likely include Murphy Smith, Josh Bowman, Josh Stinson, Zach Neal, Carlos Hernandez and Arnold Leon as soon as he’s been stretched out enough to start. Left-handers Jeff Urlaub and Frank Gailey will join right-handers Carlos Fisher, Sergio Perez, Kyler Newby, Darren Byrd and Paul Smyth in the RockHounds’ bullpen.

You’ll find the Midland RockHounds’ complete roster, along with profiles of some of the team’s top players, below…

 

mh6_9_miles_head_FKR4MILES HEAD

Right-Handed Hitting Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 21

Drafted 2009 – 26th Round

Head was acquired, along with Josh Reddick and minor league pitcher Raul Alcantara, from Boston last year in the deal that sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox. The big third baseman had an unbelievable first half at High-A Stockton, bashing 23 doubles and 18 home runs in just 267 at-bats while posting a truly impressive slash line of .382/.433/.715. The Georgia native spent the second half at Double-A Midland, where he put up a much more mortal .272/.338/.404 slash line in 234 at-bats. Head will get the chance to master the Texas League again in 2013. He played all but a handful of games at third base last year, and the team hopes that Head will stick at third, but he’ll probably spend just as much time at first base this season.

 

jmJefry-Marte-51cJEFRY MARTE

Right-Handed Hitting Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 21

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

The A’s acquired Marte this off-season from the Mets in the Collin Cowgill trade. The third baseman had a .251/.322/.366 slash line last season at Binghamton in the Double-A Eastern League. Those numbers might not seem overly impressive, but it’s important to remember that he started the year as just a 20-year-old playing full-time at Double-A. And Marte looked good this spring, hitting .400 with a pair of doubles in a brief look with the A’s. Along with Miles Head, he’ll be splitting time between third base and first base at Midland this year and hoping to make his mark in his second year at Double-A.

 

cooberacker4CHAD OBERACKER

Left-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 24

Drafted 2011 – 25th Round

Oberacker was a bit of a sleeper in the A’s system who’s now on the rise. He was drafted in the 25th round in 2011, but he’s quickly moved up the ladder and was the only one of Stockton’s regular outfielders from last season to earn a promotion to Midland to start the year. There might not be any one aspect of Oberacker’s game that really stands out, but he seems to do everything just well enough to succeed. He hits for a decent average, has a little pop in his bat, has good speed and can play center field. He’ll start the season flanked by Jeremy Barfield and D’Arby Myers in the RockHounds’ outfield and will rise as far as his talent will take him.

 

al628x471bARNOLD LEON

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 24

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

Leon is probably best known for his role in helping to precipitate the brawl between the Mexican national and Canadian national teams at this year’s WBC tournament. Besides that dubious distinction, Leon is a talented Mexican hurler whom the A’s signed as an international free agent back in 2008. Unfortunately, serious arm injuries caused him to miss most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. But he came back strong, pitching out of the bullpen, in 2012. The A’s plan to stretch him out and see if he can get back on track as a starter this year at Midland.

 

–MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS 2013 ROSTER–

–HITTERS–

Ryan Lipkin C

Nick Rickles C

Anthony Aliotti 1B-DH

Tommy Mendonca 3B-DH

Miles Head 3B-1B

Jefry Marte 3B-1B

Dusty Coleman SS

Darwin Perez 2B-SS

Tyler Ladendorf 2B-SS-OF

Jeremy Barfield OF

Chad Oberacker OF

D’Arby Myers OF

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Murphy Smith RHP

Josh Bowman RHP

Zach Neal RHP

Carlos Hernandez LHP

Arnold Leon RHP

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Carlos Fisher RHP

Sergio Perez RHP

Kyler Newby RHP

Darren Byrd RHP

Paul Smyth RHP

Josh Stinson RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS—

Jeff Urlaub LHP

Frank Gailey LHP

 

 

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