Category: Top Prospects

A’s Farm’s 2017 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

First baseman Matt Olson

First baseman Matt Olson

With the 2017 minor league season now complete, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field really were in the A’s system in 2017. We’re not selecting top prospects here, just looking at the top performers on the field this season. So, with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2017 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Nashville, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton, Class-A Beloit, Class-A Short-Season Vermont and the Rookie League Short-Season AZL A’s in 2017. Offensive players were selected from the primary starters at each position for each team over the course of the season, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers for each club were selected from among the top starters for each team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. Asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system, but players’ major league statistics and statistics acquired while with other organizations have not been included.

Although A.J. Puk is undoubtedly the A’s top pitching prospect, he doesn’t appear here since he split his season between Stockton and Midland, had an ERA over 4.00 for the year, and had teammates on both squads who performed better on the field over the course of the season. But that in no way diminishes his overall prospect status. The same applies to Yairo Munoz, who split time between Nashville and Midland and also split time between shortstop, third base and the outfield and thus was not the primary starter at any position for either team. Shortstop Jorge Mateo and third baseman Sheldon Neuse are not included either, since both arrived in trades in July and neither appeared in more than 40 regular season games in the A’s system.

Check out our list of All-Star candidates at each position. Then click on the link just below the list of contenders to find A’s Farm’s winning Organizational All-Stars at each position. The winners were determined based purely on performance, not potential. Remember, we’re not selecting the top prospects here, we’re choosing the top performers on the field this season. So take a look at the candidates for yourself and then cast your vote in our poll for the top A’s Organizational All-Star of 2017!

 

–THE CANDIDATES–

 

CATCHER

Nashville – Ryan Lavarnway (264 AB / 6 HR / .239 AVG / .327 OBP / .341 SLG / .668 OPS)

Midland – Sean Murphy (356 AB / 13 HR / .250 AVG / .313 OBP / .410 SLG / .723 OPS) *

Stockton – Jose Santiago Chavez (167 AB / 2 HR / .192 AVG / .240 OBP / .287 SLG / .528 OPS)

Beloit – Collin Theroux (273 AB / 13 HR / .147 AVG / .251 OBP / .330 SLG / .580 OPS)

Vermont – Iolana Akau (159 AB / 0 HR / .195 AVG / .251 OBP / .226 SLG / .478 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Santis Sanchez (99 AB / 0 HR / .253 AVG / .306 OBP / .313 SLG / .619 OPS)

 

FIRST BASE

Nashville – Matt Olson (294 AB / 23 HR / .272 AVG / .367 OBP / .568 SLG / .935 OPS)

Midland – Viosergy Rosa (517 AB / 18 HR / .255 AVG / .325 OBP / .418 SLG / .743 OPS)

Stockton – Sandber Pimentel (244 AB / 14 HR / .279 AVG / .374 OBP / .484 SLG / .857 OPS)

Beloit – Miguel Mercedes (452 AB / 16 HR / .230 AVG / .286 OBP / .394 SLG / .680 OPS)

Vermont – Aaron Arruda (157 AB / 4 HR / .191 AVG / .251 OBP / .318 SLG / .570 OPS)

AZL A’s – Alonzo Medina (127 AB / 2 HR / .197 AVG / .297 OBP / .315 SLG / .612 OPS)

 

SECOND BASE

Nashville – Joey Wendle (478 AB / 8 HR / .285 AVG / .327 OBP / .429 SLG / .756 OPS)

Midland – Max Schrock (417 AB / 7 HR / .321 AVG / .379 OBP / .422 SLG / .801 OPS)

Stockton – Nate Mondou (470 AB / 2 HR / .287 AVG / .366 OBP / .381 SLG / .747 OPS) *

Beloit – Trace Loehr (363 AB / 3 HR / .267 AVG / .302 OBP / .364 SLG / .666 OPS)

Vermont – Ryan Gridley (210 AB / 1 HR / .262 AVG / .357 OBP / .333 SLG / .690 OPS)

AZL A’s – Marcos Brito (171 AB / 1 HR / .234 AVG / .320 OBP / .298 SLG / .618 OPS)

 

SHORTSTOP

Nashville – Franklin Barreto (469 AB / 15 HR / .290 AVG / .339 OBP / .456 SLG / .796 OPS)

Midland – Richie Martin (380 AB / 4 HR / .234 AVG / .311 OBP / .332 SLG / .643 OPS) *

Stockton – Eli White (448 AB / 4 HR / .270 AVG / .342 OBP / .395 SLG / .737 OPS)

Beloit – Eric Marinez (410 AB / 3 HR / .278 AVG / .341 OBP / .359 SLG / .699 OPS)

Vermont – Kevin Merrell (125 AB / 2 HR / .320 AVG / .362 OBP / .424 SLG / .786 OPS)

AZL A’s – Nick Allen (138 AB / 1 HR / .254 AVG / .322 OBP / .326 SLG / .648 OPS)

 

THIRD BASE

Nashville – Matt Chapman (175 AB / 16 HR / .257 AVG / .348 OBP / .589 SLG / .937 OPS)

Midland – Jordan Tarsovich (341 AB / 3 HR / .240 AVG / .336 OBP / .328 SLG / .664 OPS)

Stockton – Mikey White (440 AB / 17 HR / .261 AVG / .331 OBP / .457 SLG / .787 OPS)

Beloit – Edwin Diaz (347 AB / 10 HR / .233 AVG / .326 OBP / .378 SLG / .703 OPS) *

Vermont – Will Toffey (209 AB / 1 HR / .263 AVG / .377 OBP / .349 SLG / .726 OPS)

AZL A’s – Jake Lumley (135 AB / 0 HR / .333 AVG / .388 OBP / .444 SLG / .832 OPS)

 

LEFT FIELD

Nashville – Renato Nunez (473 AB / 32 HR / .249 AVG / .319 OBP / .518 SLG / .837 OPS)

Midland – Tyler Ramirez (487 AB / 11 HR / .306 AVG / .399 OBP / .437 SLG / .835 OPS) *

Stockton – Brett Siddall (440 AB / 21 HR / .300 AVG / .365 OBP / .495 SLG / .861 OPS)

Beloit – Luke Persico (446 AB / 5 HR / .260 AVG / .327 OBP / .368 SLG / .695 OPS)

Vermont – Anthony Churlin (166 AB / 3 HR / .265 AVG / .320 OBP / .422 SLG / .742 OPS)

AZL A’s – Lazaro Armenteros (156 AB / 4 HR / .288 AVG / .376 OBP / .474 SLG / .850 OPS)

 

CENTER FIELD

Nashville – Jaff Decker (351 AB / 6 HR / .274 AVG / .342 OBP / .368 SLG / .709 OPS)

Midland – B.J. Boyd (533 AB / 5 HR / .323 AVG / .366 OBP / .428 SLG / .793 OPS)

Stockton – Skye Bolt (432 AB / 15 HR / .243 AVG / .327 OBP / .435 SLG / .762 OPS)

Beloit – Mike Martin (281 AB / 1 HR / .296 AVG / .356 OBP / .377 SLG / .732 OPS) *

Vermont – Logan Farrar (214 AB / 4 HR / .341 AVG / .413 OBP / .495 SLG / .909 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Austin Beck (152 AB / 2 HR / .211 AVG / .293 OBP / .349 SLG / .642 OPS)

 

RIGHT FIELD

Nashville – Mark Canha (272 AB / 12 HR / .283 AVG / .373 OBP / .529 SLG / .903 OPS)

Midland – J.P. Sportman (513 AB / 12 HR / .275 AVG / .327 OBP / .417 SLG / .744 OPS)

Stockton – Seth Brown (518 AB / 30 HR / .270 AVG / .340 OBP / .506 SLG / .846 OPS)

Beloit – JaVon Shelby (374 AB / 8 HR / .198 AVG / .283 OBP / .299 SLG / .582 OPS)

Vermont – Greg Deichmann (164 AB / 8 HR / .274 AVG / .385 OBP / .530 SLG / .915 OPS)

AZL A’s – Enrry Pantoja (90 AB / 0 HR / .244 AVG / .355 OBP / .289 SLG / .644 OPS)

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Nashville – Matt McBride (251 AB / 10 HR / .231 AVG / .299 OBP / .434 SLG / .734 OPS)

Midland – Tyler Marincov (286 AB / 9 HR / .266 AVG / .339 OBP / .444 SLG / .784 OPS)

Stockton – Branden Cogswell (326 AB / 0 HR / .270 AVG / .352 OBP / .328 SLG / .681 OPS) *

Beloit – Kyle Nowlin (416 AB / 11 HR / .248 AVG / .357 OBP / .394 SLG / .751 OPS)

Vermont – Jordan Devencenzi (170 AB / 1 HR / .276 AVG / .367 OBP / .324 SLG / .691 OPS)

AZL A’s – Ben Spitznagel (92 AB / 0 HR / .337 AVG / .460 OBP / .457 SLG / .917 OPS)

 

STARTING PITCHER

Nashville – Paul Blackburn (79 2/3 IP / 69 H / 27 ER / 26 BB / 56 K / 3.05 ERA / 1.19 WHIP)

Midland – Heath Fillmyer (149 2/3 IP / 158 H / 58 ER / 51 BB / 115 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

Stockton – Dalton Sawyer (130 2/3 IP / 113 H / 52 ER / 47 BB / 140 K / 3.58 ERA / 1.22 WHIP) *

Beloit – Zack Erwin (95 1/3 IP / 74 H / 22 ER / 29 BB / 91 K / 2.08 ERA / 1.08 WHIP)

Vermont – Parker Dunshee (40 1/3 IP / 20 H / 3 ER / 8 BB / 48 K / 0.67 ERA / 0.69 WHIP) *

AZL A’s – Chris Kohler (42 2/3 IP / 44 H / 19 ER / 12 BB / 24 K / 4.01 ERA / 1.31 WHIP)

 

CLOSER

Nashville – Simon Castro (38 IP / 24 H / 14 ER / 21 BB / 63 K / 3.32 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 4 SV)

Midland – Kyle Finnegan (60 1/3 IP / 61 H / 26 ER / 25 BB / 57 K / 3.88 ERA / 1.43 WHIP / 12 SV) *

Stockton – Nolan Blackwood (57 IP / 42 H / 19 ER / 18 BB / 48 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.05 WHIP / 19 SV)

Beloit – Sam Sheehan (40 2/3 IP / 26 H / 10 ER / 27 BB / 54 K / 2.21 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 6 SV)

Vermont – Wandisson Charles (21 IP / 15 H / 8 ER / 18 BB / 29 K / 3.43 ERA / 1.57 WHIP / 5 SV)

AZL A’s – Slater Lee (21 IP / 21 H / 9 ER / 6 BB / 21 K / 3.86 ERA / 1.29 WHIP / 4 SV)

 

Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2017 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

A’s Final 2017 Minor League Hitting & Pitching Leaders

Includes Nashville Sounds (AAA), Midland RockHounds (AA), Stockton Ports (A), Beloit Snappers (A), Vermont Lake Monsters (A), AZL A’s (Rk)

 

–HITS–

bb622196172 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

148 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

141 J.P. Sportman OF (Mid)

140 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

136 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas) / Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

 

–DOUBLES–

ew64220132 Eli White SS (Sto)

29 Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

29 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

28 Kyle Nowlin 1B (Bel)

28 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–TRIPLES–

jw6215638 Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

8 Trace Loehr 3B-2B (Bel)

7 Jorge Mateo SS (Mid) / Luis Barrera OF (Bel-Sto)

7 Skye Bolt OF (Sto) / Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

7 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto) / Seth Brown OF (Sto)

 

–HOME RUNS–

rn60052432 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

30 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

23 Matt Olson 1B (Nas)

21 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

18 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–TOTAL BASES–

sb664913262 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

245 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

228 Skye Bolt OF (Sto)

218 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

216 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–RBIs–

vr594983110 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

109 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

78 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

74 J.P. Sportman OF (Mid)

73 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

 

–RUNS–

bb62219682 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

80 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

80 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

78 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

76 Skye Bolt OF (Sto)

 

–WALKS–

tr669262b73 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

69 Kyle Nowlin 1B (Bel)

59 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

56 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

56 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–STRIKEOUTS–

js642069164 JaVon Shelby OF (Bel)

146 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

143 Collin Theroux C (Bel)

141 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

141 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

 

–STOLEN BASES–

mm66503327 Mike Martin OF (Bel-Ver)

22 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

16 Luis Barrera OF (Bel-Sto)

16 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

16 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

 

–ERRORS–

em64271428 Eric Marinez SS (Bel)

25 Eli White SS (Sto)

21 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

21 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

20 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

 

–BATTING AVERAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

bb622196.323 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

.321 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

.304 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.300 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

.300 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

 

–ON-BASE PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

tr669262b.398 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.379 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

.366 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

.366 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

.365 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

 

–SLUGGING PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

rn600524.518 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

.506 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

.495 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

.464 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

.457 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

 

–ON-BASE + SLUGGING– (minimum 300 at-bats)

bs615702.861 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

.846 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

.837 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

.829 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.801 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

 

Click here for A’s minor league pitching leaders…

A’s Top-Performing Minor League Hitters of 2017

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

With the end of the minor league season almost upon us, it’s time to take a look at some of the young hitters in the A’s system who’ve been having true standout seasons on the field in 2017. So, let’s run down some of the top-performing position players in the A’s system this year. For the purposes of this piece, we’re only examining hitters who’ve compiled at least 300 at-bats this season and who are currently in the A’s minor league system. And remember, we’re not ranking top prospects here, just taking a look at some of the top performers on the field. All statistics are through games of Friday, September 1…

 

rn6005243B-OF Renato Nunez

Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(466 AB / 32 HR / 41 BB / 139 K / .253 AVG / .315 OBP / .526 SLG)

Considered a top power-hitting prospect for the A’s ever since the team signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela over six years ago, Nunez is back for his second season at Nashville. And his power seems to have reached new heights in his second stint at Triple-A. His 32 home runs are the most among A’s minor leaguers and tie him for second-most in the 16-team Pacific Coast League. The right-handed slugger’s 61 extra-base hits lead the A’s system, and his .526 slugging percentage is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats. The 23-year-old has also been much more consistent at the plate than he has been in past campaigns, though his lack of speed has led him to ground into 14 double plays so far this season. Nunez should get a look with the A’s this September, where he may have the chance to see some time in left field and in the designated hitter spot over the last month of the season. But with Matt Chapman entrenched at the hot corner, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be seeing much time at his old position. He really has the ability to hammer lefties, so his best role may be as a power-hitting platoon player, either as a DH or in left field. He’ll be out of options next season though, so the A’s will quickly need to determine exactly what they think they have in Mr. Nunez.

 

tr669262bOF Tyler Ramirez

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA)

(474 AB / 11 HR / 72 BB / 129 K / .310 AVG / .404 OBP / .441 SLG)

Ramirez has proven to be a fast mover in the A’s system. After being drafted in the 7th round last year and spending most of last season with short-season Vermont, the left-handed hitter started this year at High-A Stockton and then moved up to Double-A Midland this summer without missing a beat. The improved competition hasn’t seemed to hinder the 22-year-old, as he hit better at Stockton than he did for Vermont, and has hit even better for Midland than he did at Stockton. Ramirez has been remarkably consistent while hardly ever taking a day off and has a real knack for reaching base. His 72 walks are most among A’s minor leaguers, while his .404 on-base percentage is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats. He’s also compiled the second-most hits and runs in the system so far this season. While Ramirez can play all three outfield positions, he seems to look most comfortable in left, where he’s spent the bulk of his time this season.

 

bs615702OF Brett Siddall

Stockton Ports (A+)

(432 AB / 20 HR / 31 BB / 102 K / .301 AVG / .365 OBP / .493 SLG)

After turning in a somewhat unimpressive season last year at Beloit, Siddall may have shown as much improvement as any hitter in the A’s system this year. Taken by Oakland in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, the left-handed hitter got off to a slow start this season, compiling a rather tepid .657 OPS in April, but a healthy .929 OPS in the second half has helped to turn things around in a big way for the 22-year-old. His 20 home runs and .493 slugging percentage have helped to make him a potent force in the Ports lineup this season, while primarily playing in left and right field and also seeing frequent time in the DH spot for Stockton. He can tend to crowd the plate a bit and has been hit by pitches 14 times this season, which is the most among A’s minor leaguers.

 

sb664913OF Seth Brown

Stockton Ports (A+)

(509 AB / 28 HR / 55 BB / 143 K / .267 AVG / .337 OBP / .495 SLG)

Back for his second season in Stockton, Brown has really unleashed his power potential for the Ports this year. After getting off to a sluggish start with a .718 OPS in the first half, the left-handed hitter has put up an impressive .951 OPS since the California League All-Star break in late June to become Stockton’s best hitter in the second half. The 25-year-old leads all A’s minor leaguers in total bases, while his .495 slugging percentage is good for second-best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats, and his 28 home runs and 106 RBIs both currently lead the California League. Of course, along with power come strikeouts, and his 143 whiffs are tied for second-most in the A’s system. After being taken in the 19th round of the 2015 draft as a first baseman, Brown has spent the past couple of seasons primarily playing right field, but he’s begun seeing some more time at first base again lately.

 

bb622196OF B.J. Boyd

Midland RockHounds (AA)

(519 AB / 5 HR / 33 BB / 74 K / .329 AVG / .372 OBP / .437 SLG)

Taken by the A’s in the 4th round of the 2012 draft as a teenager out of Palo Alto High, Boyd has really come into his own in his sixth season in the A’s system. After turning in a somewhat uninspiring season at Stockton last year, the 24-year-old has compiled more hits and runs than any A’s minor leaguer this season and is tied for the second-most doubles with 29, while his .329 batting average is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats and also happens to lead the Texas League. The left-handed hitter has been incredibly productive hitting near the top of the order for the RockHounds and has swiped 15 bases while primarily splitting time between left and center field. Boyd has shown tremendous consistency this year and even leads his team in total bases this season.

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

A’s Top-Performing Minor League Pitchers of 2017

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

With the end of the minor league season about a week away, it seems like a good time to take a look at some of the young hurlers in the A’s system who’ve been having true standout seasons on the field this year. Many minor league players can dazzle with an amazing week, or even an amazing month, but being able to perform at a high level over the course of an often grueling minor league season, where travel can be torturous and days off are rare, is another thing altogether. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the top-performing pitchers in the A’s system this year. For the purposes of this piece, we’re only examining hurlers who’ve thrown over 100 innings this season. And remember, we’re not ranking top prospects here, just taking a look at some of the top performers on the field. All statistics are through games of August 25…

 

ds662121bDalton Sawyer

Beloit Snappers (A) / Stockton Ports (A+) / Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(120 IP / 99 H / 43 ER / 46 BB / 126 K / 3.23 ERA / 1.21 WHIP)

After being selected by Oakland in the 9th round of the draft last year, the left-hander may be having the best season of any hurler in the A’s system this year. Sawyer started out the season by putting up a 2.25 ERA and striking out 64 in 56 innings for Beloit before compiling a 2.93 ERA while striking out 60 in 55 1/3 frames for Stockton. The 23-year-old surrendered 11 runs in a pair of spot starts for Nashville earlier in the year or his overall numbers would look even more impressive. But thanks to his mid-90s fastball and a solid changeup, the southpaw’s always been able to put up strong strikeout numbers, and his 126 K’s are the fourth-most among A’s minor leaguers. And with his strong showing at Stockton in the second half, Sawyer should be in a position to compete for a spot in Double-A Midland’s starting rotation next season.

 

hf641571Heath Fillmyer

Midland RockHounds (AA)

(136 2/3 IP / 141 H / 53 ER / 51 BB / 104 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

A former infielder, the right-hander hadn’t spent a lot of time on the mound when the A’s took him in the 5th round of the 2014 draft, but the team clearly saw something it liked. The 23-year-old has turned out to be a smart pitcher who seems to have learned how to handle hitters and work his way out of jams while primarily pitching to contact. His fastball can range from the low to mid 90s and he shows a decent changeup and curve as well. Fillmyer doesn’t miss a lot of bats or put up gaudy strikeout numbers, but he knows how to get the job done and has shown an ability to stay healthy and take his turn on the mound every fifth day. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp last spring, so the organization obviously values him. Fillmyer should make it onto the 40-man roster by next spring and ought to be ready to show what he can do at Triple-A next season.

 

xa665098Xavier Altamirano

Beloit Snappers (A)

(109 IP / 94 H / 40 ER / 28 BB / 87 K / 3.30 ERA / 1.12 WHIP)

After being drafted in the 27th-round in 2015 and then splitting last season between Beloit and Vermont, the right-hander may be having one of the most overlooked seasons among A’s minor league hurlers this year. Altamirano started out the season in the Beloit bullpen, making 17 relief appearances before moving into the starting rotation, where he’s made 12 starts for the Snappers. The 23-year-old is very much a control pitcher and has issued just 28 walks over 109 innings this season, which is impressive, especially for a hurler in the low minors. He’s definitely a pitch-to-contact guy who isn’t going to overpower anyone, but he seems to have the ability to induce a lot of weak contact. He allows very few base runners and delivers a solid outing almost every time out. And after turning in a strong season for the Snappers, Altamirano should get a chance to challenge California League hitters for Stockton next season.

 

dh664955Dustin Hurlbutt

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA) / Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(118 1/3 IP / 92 H / 48 ER / 43 BB / 108 K / 3.65 ERA / 1.14 WHIP)

After turning in a solid season for Beloit last year, much like Altamirano, Hurlbutt has quietly put together a strong season in the A’s system this year. The right-hander possesses an effective changeup, and hitters seem to have a hard time figuring him out, so he ends up avoiding a lot of hard contact. Hurlbutt had Tommy John surgery during his college career before being taken by the A’s in the 16th round in the 2015 draft. The 24-year-old spent the first half of this season averaging more than a strikeout per inning at Stockton, made one spot start for Nashville, and then spent most of the second half with Double-A Midland before landing on the disabled list a little over a week ago with a right shoulder strain. But he should be more than ready to return to Midland next year to pick up where he left off this season.

 

ap640462dA.J. Puk

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA)

(112 1/3 IP / 94 H / 53 ER / 46 BB / 166 K / 4.25 ERA / 1.25 WHIP)

The A’s top pick in last year’s draft, the 6-7 southpaw has certainly opened some eyes and flashed some tantalizing glimpses of the potential that the A’s saw when they selected him in the 1st round last year. Puk has had some truly dominant starts, and then has had a few where he’s seemed completely out of whack. But on the whole, the 22-year-old has looked very good in his first full season as a pro. Of course, what really jumps out about Puk are his eye-popping strikeout numbers. The lefty leads all A’s minor leaguers with 166 strikeouts and has been whiffing an average of 13.3 batters per nine innings this year. Puk started out the season averaging 14.5 K/9 for Stockton before moving up to Midland. It’s also good to know that he’s been able to keep his walk rate down to 3.7 BB/9 this season. But even more impressively, he’s only allowed 3 home runs all year, which is quite an accomplishment considering he spent half his season in the homer-happy California League. It’ll be interesting to see if the A’s take things slow and have Puk return to the RockHounds to start next season or if they decide to have him start the year at Triple-A Nashville. Either way, depending on how things play out over the course of the season, it’s entirely possible that Puk could end up seeing time in Oakland before next year is through.

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

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

by Joseph Hartsock / A’s Farm Arizona Correspondent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*          *          *

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A’s Farm’s 2017 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third baseman Matt Chapman

Third baseman Matt Chapman

With the California League and the Midwest League All-Star breaks taking place this week and all the minor league affiliates right around the halfway points of their seasons, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field have been in the A’s system in the first half of 2017. And with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2017 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Nashville, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton and Class-A Beloit. Offensive players were selected from the primary starters at each position for each team, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers for each club were selected from among the top starters for each team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. Statistics listed are through games of Wednesday, June 21. And asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system, but players’ major league statistics have not been included.

Outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who was recently released from the Nashville roster after being designated for assignment, is not included here since he is no longer in the A’s system. But Matt Chapman and Jaycob Brugman, who were recently promoted to the big leagues, are included since they were primary starters for Nashville and are still in the organization. Bruce Maxwell doesn’t appear here since, due to stints on the disabled list and with the A’s this season, he’s only started 19 games at catcher for Nashville this year. LHP A.J. Puk was recently promoted to Midland but spent most of his season with Stockton, while LHP Dalton Sawyer was recently promoted to Stockton but spent most of his season with Beloit, and RHP Corey Walter is currently with Nashville but made most of his starts with Midland and, consequently, all three pitchers are listed with the teams that they’ve made most of their appearances with this year.

Check out our list of All-Star candidates at each position. Then click on the link just below the list of contenders to find A’s Farm’s winning Organizational All-Stars at each position. The winners were determined based purely on performance, not potential. Remember, we’re not selecting the top prospects here, we’re choosing the top performers on the field so far this season. So take a good look at the candidates for yourself and then cast your vote in our poll for the top A’s Organizational All-Star!

 

–THE CANDIDATES–

 

CATCHER

Nashville – Ryan Lavarnway (158 AB / 4 HR / .266 AVG / .368 OBP / .392 SLG / .760 OPS)

Midland – Andy Paz (120 AB / 0 HR / .258 AVG / .323 OBP / .275 SLG / .598 OPS)

Stockton – Sean Murphy (145 AB / 8 HR / .297 AVG / .344 OBP / .524 SLG / .868 OPS)

Beloit – Collin Theroux (135 AB / 10 HR / .200 AVG / .294 OBP / .467 SLG / .761 OPS)

 

FIRST BASE

Nashville – Matt Olson (214 AB / 17 HR / .271 AVG / .365 OBP / .561 SLG / .926 OPS)

Midland – Viosergy Rosa (260 AB / 10 HR / .250 AVG / .327 OBP / .431 SLG / .757 OPS)

Stockton – Chris Iriart (189 AB / 8 HR / .206 AVG / .274 OBP / .370 SLG / .644 OPS)

Beloit – Miguel Mercedes (239 AB / 11 HR / .243 AVG / .300 OBP / .448 SLG / .748 OPS)

 

SECOND BASE

Nashville – Joey Wendle (212 AB / 6 HR / .274 AVG / .313 OBP / .453 SLG / .765 OPS)

Midland – Max Schrock (184 AB / 5 HR / .304 AVG / .340 OBP / .435 SLG / .775 OPS)

Stockton – Branden Cogswell (185 AB / 0 HR / .254 AVG / .325 OBP / .314 SLG / .639 OPS)

Beloit – Nate Mondou (228 AB / 0 HR / .289 AVG / .371 OBP / .377 SLG / .748 OPS)

 

SHORTSTOP

Nashville – Franklin Barreto (276 AB / 8 HR / .279 AVG / .321 OBP / .431 SLG / .752 OPS)

Midland – Richie Martin (163 AB / 3 HR / .233 AVG / .324 OBP / .344 SLG / .668 OPS)

Stockton – Eli White (245 AB / 1 HR / .265 AVG / .354 OBP / .363 SLG / .717 OPS)

Beloit – Eric Marinez (189 AB / 1 HR / .270 AVG / .347 OBP / .349 SLG / .697 OPS)

 

THIRD BASE

Nashville – Matt Chapman (175 AB / 16 HR / .257 AVG / .348 OBP / .589 SLG / .937 OPS)

Midland – Yairo Munoz (182 AB / 6 HR / .308 AVG / .338 OBP / .522 SLG / .860 OPS)

Stockton – Mikey White (200 AB / 7 HR / .235 AVG / .323 OBP / .420 SLG / .743 OPS)

Beloit – Trace Loehr (206 AB / 0 HR / .243 AVG / .286 OBP / .277 SLG / .563 OPS)

 

LEFT FIELD

Nashville – Renato Nunez (242 AB / 18 HR / .252 AVG / .315 OBP / .541 SLG / .856 OPS)

Midland – B.J. Boyd (256 AB / 1 HR / .316 AVG / .366 OBP / .430 SLG / .795 OPS)

Stockton – Tyler Ramirez (246 AB / 5 HR / .297 AVG / .394 OBP / .411 SLG / .805 OPS)

Beloit – Luke Persico (220 AB / 3 HR / .264 AVG / .329 OBP / .382 SLG / .711 OPS)

 

CENTER FIELD

Nashville – Jaycob Brugman (132 AB / 1 HR / .288 AVG / .373 OBP / .364 SLG / .737 OPS)

Midland – Brett Vertigan (239 AB / 1 HR / .280 AVG / .371 OBP / .381 SLG / .752 OPS)

Stockton – Skye Bolt (190 AB / 6 HR / .242 AVG / .344 OBP / .432 SLG / .775 OPS)

Beloit – JaVon Shelby (218 AB / 5 HR / .216 AVG / .304 OBP / .326 SLG / .629 OPS)

 

RIGHT FIELD

Nashville – Mark Canha (104 AB / 6 HR / .212 AVG / .339 OBP / .423 SLG / .762 OPS)

Midland – Tyler Marincov (247 AB / 9 HR / .275 AVG / .353 OBP / .470 SLG / .823 OPS)

Stockton – Seth Brown (260 AB / 11 HR / .238 AVG / .307 OBP / .412 SLG / .718 OPS)

Beloit – Luis Barrera (211 AB / 2 HR / .289 AVG / .332 OBP / .417 SLG / .749 OPS)

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Nashville – Matt McBride (119 AB / 4 HR / .202 AVG / .263 OBP / .387 SLG / .650 OPS)

Midland – J.P. Sportman (264 AB / 6 HR / .284 AVG / .338 OBP / .417 SLG / .755 OPS)

Stockton – Brett Siddall (178 AB / 7 HR / .264 AVG / .328 OBP / .427 SLG / .755 OPS)

Beloit – Edwin Diaz (174 AB / 7 HR / .282 AVG / .371 OBP / .466 SLG / .837 OPS)

 

STARTING PITCHER

Nashville – Paul Blackburn (74 1/3 IP / 64 H / 25 ER / 25 BB / 54 K / 3.03 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

Midland – Corey Walter (78 2/3 IP / 78 H / 24 ER / 21 BB / 52 K / 2.75 ERA / 1.26 WHIP) *

Stockton – A.J. Puk (68 IP / 48 H / 28 ER / 25 BB / 105 K / 3.71 ERA / 1.07 WHIP) *

Beloit – Dalton Sawyer (67 2/3 IP / 41 H / 17 ER / 26 BB / 72 K / 2.26 ERA / 0.99 WHIP) *

 

CLOSER

Nashville – Simon Castro (28 IP / 19 H / 14 ER / 20 BB / 48 K / 4.50 ERA / 1.39 WHIP / 3 SV)

Midland – Kyle Finnegan (29 IP / 29 H / 10 ER / 7 BB / 27 K / 3.10 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 8 SV)

Stockton – Nolan Blackwood (28 2/3 IP / 24 H / 11 ER / 11 BB / 24 K / 3.45 ERA / 1.22 WHIP / 8 SV)

Beloit – Sam Sheehan (16 1/3 IP / 10 H / 5 ER / 9 BB / 21 K / 2.76 ERA / 1.16 WHIP / 3 SV)

 

Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2017 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

A’s Minor League Team Leaders

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Franklin Barreto

Franklin Barreto

With the first two months of the minor league season almost in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at the A’s minor league team leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. And it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the names of top prospects like Franklin Barreto, Matt Chapman and A.J. Puk high atop our list of A’s minor league team leaders.

Leaders are included for all four of the A’s full-season affiliates – Nashville, Midland, Stockton and Beloit. A minimum of 100 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 40 innings is required for the ERA and WHIP categories for pitchers. An asterisk indicates not just a team leader but also an organizational leader in a particular category, and the stats are complete through games of Sunday, May 28. Some of these names you may expect to see atop the lists, while others might come as a bit of a surprise!

You can always stay up to date on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system right here on Athletics Farm. A version of this report originally appeared on Athletics Nation

Click here to see the A’s Minor League Team Leaders…

A’s April Minor League Leaders

Franklin Barreto

Franklin Barreto

With the first month of the minor league season now complete, it’s a good time to take a look at the A’s minor league leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. And it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the names of top prospects like Franklin Barreto, A.J. Puk and Logan Shore high atop our lists of A’s minor league leaders.

A minimum of 60 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 20 innings is required for the ERA and WHIP categories for pitchers. Players from all four of the A’s full-season affiliates – Nashville, Midland, Stockton and Beloit – are included, and the stats are complete through games of Sunday, April 30. Some of these names you may expect to see atop the lists, while others might come as a bit of a surprise!

You can always stay up to date on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system right here on Athletics Farm. A version of this report originally appeared on Athletics Nation

Click here to see the A’s April Minor League Leaders…

A’s Farm’s 2017 Top 10 Prospects List

Former top prospect Sean Manaea – who will be the next A’s prospect to make it big?

Former top prospect Sean Manaea – who will be the next A’s prospect to make it big?

Now that spring training is officially underway, it’s time to present A’s Farm’s 2017 Top 10 Prospects List.

It’s interesting to note that only four players from last year’s list have made a return to this year’s list, including familiar names like Franklin Barreto, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder. New to this year’s list are five pitchers – A.J. Puk, Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, Grant Holmes and Daniel Gossett – along with catcher Bruce Maxwell.

Dropping off last year’s list were pitcher Sean Manaea, who’s successfully joined the ranks of the majors, pitcher Dillon Overton and catcher Jacob Nottingham, both of whom left the organization via trades, and shortstop Richie Martin, infielder Yairo Munoz and third baseman Renato Nunez, who fell off due to some declines in performance last year. Though, having said that, Nunez easily could have found his way on to the bottom part of this year’s list, as could young right-handers Daulton Jefferies, Logan Shore and Dakota Chalmers, all of whom just barely missed out on making this year’s top 10.

Unlike last year, when eight of our top 10 picks were position players, things are evenly divided with five pitchers and five position players this year. And a sign of just how close most of the A’s top prospects really are at this point is the fact that a full seven of this year’s top 10 prospects are expected to start the season at Triple-A Nashville, just one step away from the majors.

Of all the various top 10 lists of A’s prospects that are currently out there, it’s our feeling that Baseball America and John Sickels, as well as the readers of Athletics Nation in their Community Prospect List, have come the closest to getting it right this year. But without any further ado, let’s take a look at A’s Farm’s 2017 Top 10 Prospects List

 

A’S FARM’S 2017 TOP 10 PROSPECTS LIST

#1 – Franklin Barreto (SS)

#2 – Matt Chapman (3B)

#3 – A.J. Puk (LHP)

#4 – Jharel Cotton (RHP)

#5 – Frankie Montas (RHP)

#6 – Grant Holmes (RHP)

#7 – Daniel Gossett (RHP)

#8 – Bruce Maxwell (C)

#9 – Matt Olson (1B-OF)

#10 – Chad Pinder (SS-2B)

Honorable Mention – Renato Nunez, Daulton Jefferies, Logan Shore, Dakota Chalmers

 

fb620439b#1 FRANKLIN BARRETO

Right-Handed-Hitting Shortstop

Age on Opening Day: 21

Signed as International Free Agent

Still just 21, Barreto is the youngest position player on this year’s top 10 list and is already universally recognized as the top prospect in the A’s minor league system. For the second consecutive season, the young Venezuelan got off to a bit of a slow start in the first half but then really caught fire during the second half. He posted a disappointing .236/.296/.350 slash line in the first half for Midland, but then came back to put up an impressive .337/.393/.490 line in the second half for the RockHounds. And while Barreto’s overall power numbers dipped a bit last year, which is not totally unsurprising for someone going from the homer-happy California League to the pitchers’ paradise of the Texas League, his plate discipline, his defense, and even his threat level on the base paths all improved last season. His walk total more than doubled, while his stolen base total went from 8 in 2015 to 30 in 2016 (most among A’s minor leaguers), and his error total dropped from 34 to 19 despite appearing in 244 more innings in the field last year. Barreto still needs to improve his discipline at the plate, and while relatively small at just 5-10, the hope is that he’ll continue to develop enough strength to be able to demonstrate power beyond his size. In the best of all possible worlds, one could envision him as a Venezuelan version of Miguel Tejada – which the A’s would be more than happy with! While Barreto’s played primarily at shortstop throughout his minor league career, he did appear in 33 games at second base last season. And he’ll probably continue to see at least a little more time there this year at Nashville, since most expect that Barreto’s immediate future in Oakland will most likely lie at second base.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Nashville Sounds (AAA)

 

mc656305c#2 MATT CHAPMAN

Right-Handed-Hitting Third Baseman

Age on Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2014 – 1st Round

The A’s top draft pick in 2014 out of Cal State Fullerton, Chapman arrived with a reputation as a rifle-armed third baseman with lots of power potential – and he’s certainly lived up to that advance billing. Most scouts currently consider the 23-year-old to be a top-tier defender at the hot corner with an elite throwing arm. Last season, he slugged 36 home runs, most of them while playing in the power-suppressing environment at Midland, and also added 27 doubles and 5 triples to his extra-base totals. And in 269 games since joining the A’s system, Chapman has clubbed a total of 64 round-trippers – nearly one every four games. There’s no question that when he makes contact, the ball is bound to go a long way – the question is how much contact he will make. In addition to his 36 home runs in 2016, Chapman also struck out 173 times last season while posting a batting average of just .237, though his walk rate did tick up just a bit last year. But the bottom line with Chapman is this – with his natural power and his prowess in the field, he should be able to bring enough to the table to make himself a valuable major league contributor, though his contact rate will determine just how valuable. He made an extremely positive impression on A’s manager Bob Melvin last spring. And along with Barreto, who will also be starting out the season in Nashville, the A’s hope that Chapman will help to form the heart of a talented and exciting young infield for Oakland beginning in 2018.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Nashville Sounds (AAA)

 

ap640462b#3 A.J. PUK

Left-Handed Pitcher

Age on Opening Day: 21

Drafted 2016 – 1st Round

The A’s took Puk with the 6th overall selection in last year’s draft after he’d previously been considered a possible #1 pick. He came to the A’s system as a flame-throwing lefty out of Florida with top-of-the-rotation potential whose fastball had been clocked as high as 99 mph in college. There have been some questions about the 6-7 southpaw’s mechanics and athleticism, as well as whether or not his slider really has the potential to play in a big way at the major league level. But the Iowa native struck out an average of 11 batters per 9 innings while allowing an average of just 6 hits and putting up an ERA of 3.03 during his inaugural season with Vermont in the New York-Penn League. He did turn in just 32 2/3 innings during his pro debut last year though, so our sample size of his work since joining the A’s system has been rather limited. Puk struck out the side in order in his first major league spring training game against Cleveland, but then allowed a home run and a pair of walks in his next appearance before being reassigned to the A’s minor league camp. The question is where the A’s, who’ve been fairly aggressive in the assignment of their high draft picks lately, will choose to have Puk start the 2017 season. It’s anybody’s guess, but the informed speculation thus far has seemed to center on Stockton. His ability to show consistency and maintain his mechanics throughout spring training, and how much work the A’s staff still feels needs to be done in that regard, may have a lot to do with where Puk ultimately winds up to start 2017.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Stockton Ports (A+)

 

jc605194c#4 JHAREL COTTON

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age on Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2012 – 20th Round

Of all the players on our top 10 list this year, Cotton is the only one to have been drafted lower than the 2nd round in the amateur draft; he wasn’t selected until the 20th round by the Dodgers in 2012. The 25-year-old over-achiever is also the most likely member of our top 10 list to open the season on the A’s roster in 2017. Cotton arrived last summer, along with fellow right-handers Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes, from the Dodgers in the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill deal. And in just his second start in the A’s system, he came within one out of pitching a perfect game for Nashville. Cotton ended up earning the Pacific Coast League strikeout crown with 155 K’s in 135 2/3 innings of work. And his strong showing at Nashville earned Cotton 5 late-season starts with the A’s, where he impressed by striking out 23 in 29 1/3 innings while posting a stingy 2.15 ERA. Cotton’s currently expected to open the 2017 season as Oakland’s #4 starter. And the A’s hope that the mid-90s fastball and solid changeup that have enabled Cotton to fool hitters at the minor league level will allow him to experience continued success at the major league level as well.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Oakland A’s (MLB)

 

fm593423c#5 FRANKIE MONTAS

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age on Opening Day: 24

Signed as International Free Agent

The only member of the trio of arms the A’s acquired from Dodgers in the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill deal last summer to have actual major league experience at the time, Montas made 7 appearances for the White Sox in 2015 before being dealt to the Dodgers prior to the 2016 season. Injuries sidelined Montas for all but 7 games last season, but he appeared plenty healthy just a few months ago when he returned to action in the Arizona Fall League and allowed just 1 earned run over 17 innings of work for the Mesa Solar Sox. The Dominican flame-thrower boasts a 100+ mph fastball and has struck out an average of 9.3 batters per 9 innings over his minor league career, though his command can occasionally be an issue. In the past, he’s appeared as both a starter and a reliever, but the A’s are planning on utilizing Montas in a starting role this season. The thinking is that if he can harness his talent, his stuff could make him an intimidating starter. He’ll get the chance to show what he can do every fifth day at Nashville and, if Montas can just learn to master his potentially overpowering stuff, it might not be long before he gets a long look in Oakland.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Nashville Sounds (AAA)

 

gh656550#6 GRANT HOLMES

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age on Opening Day: 21

Drafted 2014 – 1st Round

The Dodgers 1st-round pick in the 2014 draft, Holmes was the youngest arm the A’s received from the Dodgers last summer in the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill deal and, at just a month younger than Barreto, is also the youngest player on our prospect list this year. Holmes was a highly-coveted high school hurler out of South Carolina who reportedly received a $2.5 million signing bonus in 2014. He got off to a good start in the Dodgers system, putting up a 3.32 ERA while striking out 10.4 batters per 9 innings over his first two seasons in the minors. He was a little less impressive while pitching in the hitter-friendly confines of the California League last year, posting a 4.63 ERA while his strikeout rate fell to 8.3 per 9. But it’s important to keep in mind that, at the age of 20, Holmes was one of the youngest hurlers in the Cal League last season. There’s no question that Holmes is a big, strong kid with tremendous upside whom many evaluators consider to be the top pitching prospect in the A’s system behind Puk. And Baseball Prospectus currently considers him the A’s top pitching prospect and second-best overall prospect behind Barreto. Holmes will likely start his age-21 season pitching in Midland, which is a much more friendly environment for pitchers to perform in than the homer-happy California League. And if, while there, he can manage to improve his command and make some progress when it comes to developing his secondary pitches, then it could be a quick ascent up the ladder for the talented young righty.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)

 

dg605254c#7 DANIEL GOSSETT

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age on Opening Day: 24

Drafted 2014 – 2nd Round

The A’s 2nd-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett made as much progress as any pitcher in the A’s system in 2016. His first full season at Beloit wasn’t particularly impressive, but after putting up a 4.73 ERA for the Snappers back in 2015, Gossett started off 2016 strong at High-A Stockton, then performed even better at Double-A Midland, before finally finishing up the season in impressive fashion at Triple-A Nashville. In 27 starts across three stops, Gossett put up a 2.69 ERA, while his 151 strikeouts led all A’s minor leaguers last season. The South Carolina native had always shown solid command as well as a reluctance to surrender the long ball, but a slight uptick in velocity as well as the addition of a cutter really boosted the young right-hander’s performance to another level in 2016. Last year, Gossett really started showing the A’s what they hoped they had when they made him their second overall pick in 2014, and he should have the chance to keep showing the organization just what he’s got to offer while pitching every fifth day at Nashville this season.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Nashville Sounds (AAA)

 

bm622194b#8 BRUCE MAXWELL

Left-Handed-Hitting Catcher

Age on Opening Day: 26

Drafted 2012 – 2nd Round

While Maxwell has continued to make steady progress behind the plate ever since he was drafted by the A’s, the burly backstop took a massive leap forward at the plate last year. After putting up a meager .243/.321/.308 slash line at Double-A Midland in 2015, Maxwell turned out to be one of Triple-A Nashville’s hottest hitters last year, posting an impressive .321/.393/.539 line before his elevation to Oakland last July. And he managed to hold his own in the big leagues too, putting together a solid .283/.337/.402 line in 92 late-season at-bats with the A’s. Maxwell didn’t spend a tremendous amount of time catching in college, so he had a lot to learn behind the dish and, fortunately, he proved to be a prized pupil and impressed A’s manager, and former catcher, Bob Melvin with his work behind the plate last spring. Now that his bat seems to be coming around as well, the left-handed hitter could prove to be a valuable asset with both his offense and his defense. He’s currently third on the A’s catching depth chart, so if anything should happen with either Stephen Vogt or Josh Phegley at any point, Maxwell would be the first man up to step in. And as we all know, nothing remains the same in Oakland for too long. So whenever the A’s decide that the time has come to make a change in their catching corps, then Maxwell could find himself getting the bulk of the at-bats behind the plate for the green and gold.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Nashville Sounds (AAA)

 

mo621566b#9 MATT OLSON

Left-Handed-Hitting First Baseman/Outfielder

Age on Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

Along with Maxwell, Olson’s been in the A’s organization as long as any player on this year’s list, and he’s made an appearance on our annual top 10 prospects list ever since his first full season in the system. With the trades of Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson, Olson is the lone remaining member of the highly-touted trio of top high school prospects the A’s selected with their first three picks in the 2012 draft. The big, left-handed slugger had a monster year with High-A Stockton in 2014, putting up an impressive .262/.404/.543 slash line, but his numbers have declined in each of the past two seasons and he posted a more pedestrian .235/.335/.422 line at Triple-A Nashville last year, though he did have a very solid .263/.345/.475 line over his last 47 games for the Sounds. Olson’s profile as a hitter has always been the same ever since he joined the system – lots of walks, lots of strikeouts and lots of power. Since slugging 37 home runs at Stockton in 2014 though, his home run numbers have decreased, while his doubles have increased. The Georgia native totaled 17 homers at Midland in 2015 and at Nashville last season, while he put up 37 and 34 doubles, respectively. Olson’s power potential and plate discipline are clearly the qualities that will help grease his path to the big leagues. And while still just 22, he did get a quick look with the A’s during the final month of the season last year, getting into 11 games while seeing time at first base, where he’s a defensive standout, and in right field, where he’s more than capable. And with his increasing platoon splits in recent years, Olson could find himself getting a shot as the left-handed half of either a first base or right field platoon in Oakland sometime in the fairly near future.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Nashville Sounds (AAA)

 

cp640461b#10 CHAD PINDER

Right-Handed-Hitting Shortstop/Second Baseman

Age on Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2013 – 2nd Round

The A’s third overall pick in the 2013 draft, Pinder was named the Texas League MVP after putting up an impressive .317/.361/.486 slash line for Double-A Midland in the pitcher-friendly Texas League in 2015, but slipped a bit to a more ordinary .258/.310/.425 line last year for Triple-A Nashville. Pinder has some pop for a middle infielder, collecting 42 home runs and 87 doubles over his last three minor league seasons, and his potent bat has helped him push his way through the system fairly expeditiously. Pinder could still stand to improve his plate discipline though, as he’s struck out over 100 times in each of his last two campaigns and has yet to total more than 28 walks in any single season. While also playing some second base, Pinder has spent most of his time the past couple seasons at shortstop, but he led all A’s minor leaguers with 29 errors – most of them throwing errors – while serving as Nashville’s starting shortstop last season. He spent the last month and a half of the 2016 season in Oakland, playing primarily at second base, which is probably the most likely spot for him to find major league at-bats. But Pinder’s ability to play shortstop and second base, as well as third base, may make him well-suited to fill a utility role for the A’s, possibly starting in 2018.

Likely To Start 2017 With: Nashville Sounds (AAA)

 

Honorable Mention: Renato Nunez, Daulton Jefferies, Logan Shore, Dakota Chalmers

It would have been easy to swap Renato Nunez with Maxwell, Olson or Pinder in any of the final three spots on this year’s top 10 list. But the main thing that kept Nunez just a notch behind the rest was his lack of a discernible defensive position to call home. Maxwell has continued to show great improvement behind the plate, while Olson is a talented defensive first baseman as well as a capable corner outfielder, and Pinder’s versatility makes it possible for him to appear at shortstop, second base and third base. But while Nunez’s power potential is very real, it’s hard to imagine him getting many major league at-bats from anywhere other than the designated hitter spot at this point. Young right-handers Daulton Jefferies, Logan Shore and Dakota Chalmers, all drafted in the top three rounds within the last two years, also came very close to making our top 10 list this year. All three are clearly talented young hurlers who could rapidly move up the ranks. None has yet to throw 100 innings in the system though, so we’ve still got a lot more to see of them, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see some of their names popping up on next year’s list.

 

Last Year’s Top 10 Prospects List

 

 

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A’s Prospects Final Winter League Stats

Dom = Dominican Winter League

Mex = Mexican Pacific Winter League

PR = Puerto Rican Winter League

VZ = Venezuelan Winter League

–Final Regular Season Statistics–

BATTING (min. 20 ABs)

Renato Nunez

Renato Nunez

Beau Taylor (C)

(Dom) 30 AB / 0 HR / 3 BB / 11 K / .400 AVG / .455 OBP / .500 SLG / .955 OPS

Renato Nunez (3B)

(VZ) 168 AB / 11 HR / 21 BB / 38 K / .304 AVG / .389 OBP / .542 SLG / .930 OPS

Rangel Ravelo (1B)

(VZ) 180 AB / 6 HR / 32 BB / 20 K / .300 AVG / .414 OBP / .444 SLG / .859 OPS

Joey Wendle (2B)

(Mex) 137 AB / 3 HR / 8 BB / 16 K / .307 AVG / .345 OBP / .511 SLG / .856 OPS

Melvin Mercedes (IF-OF)

(Dom) 73 AB / 0 HR / 17 BB / 19 K / .260 AVG / .402 OBP / .288 SLG / .690 OPS

Tyler Marincov (OF)

(Dom) 54 AB / 0 HR / 6 BB / 20 K / .167 AVG / .258 OBP / .167 SLG / .425 OPS

Edwin Diaz (3B-SS)

(PR) 26 AB / 0 HR / 4 BB / 6 K / .115 AVG / .233 OBP / .115 SLG / .349 OPS

 

PITCHING (min. 10 IPs)

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Jake Sanchez

Jake Sanchez (RHP)

(Mex) 31 2/3 IP / 27 H / 1 ER / 5 BB / 27 K / 0.28 ERA / 1.01 WHIP

Giovanni Soto (LHP)

(PR) 48 1/3 IP / 42 H / 11 ER / 9 BB / 31 K / 2.05 ERA / 1.06 WHIP

Carlos Navas (RHP)

(VZ) 27 2/3 IP / 19 H / 7 ER / 8 BB / 30 K / 2.28 ERA / 0.98 WHIP

Cesar Valdez (RHP)

(Dom) 41 2/3 IP / 43 H / 17 ER / 7 BB / 27 K / 3.67 ERA / 1.20 WHIP

Aaron Kurcz (RHP)

(Mex) 20 1/3 IP / 22 H / 10 ER / 8 BB / 14 K / 4.43 ERA / 1.48 WHIP

*          *          *

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

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