A’s Farm in Top 5 MLB Blogs for Second Straight Month in March!

Josh Reddick

Just like Josh Reddick’s beard, there’s no stopping A’s Farm!

A’s Farm finally cracked into the top 5 MLB blogs last month, and it looks like we managed to hang on to our top 5 spot again in March. Thanks to all you A’s fans out there who’ve made A’s Farm a regular stop to stay up to date on all the A’s top prospects!

In the past month, we’ve brought you our 2-part interview with A’s director of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, our spring training video updates, as well as our spring training tour diary, and our Prospect Watch featuring commentary from Farhan, Grady Fuson and A’s manager Bob Melvin.

Make sure you stay tuned for daily updates on all the A’s minor league affiliates now that the season’s underway. And if you haven’t already, be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up to date on all the latest down on the farm!

Minor League Game Thread: 4/4/13 (Opening Day)

We’re experimenting with having a live Minor League Game Thread here on opening day. So please feel free to post comments below as today’s minor league openers for all four of the A’s full-season affiliates unfold.

The Double-A Midland RockHounds are scheduled to kick off today’s action at 4:00pm Pacific/6:00pm Central, followed by the Class-A Beloit Snappers at 4:35pm Pacific/6:35pm Central, and then the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats and Class-A Stockton Ports at 7:05pm Pacific.

You can listen to broadcasts of all the games free of charge online via MiLB Gameday Audio at http://www.milb.com/milb/multimedia/audio.jsp. Broadcasts are also available on your iPad or iPhone via the MiLB.com app.

So be sure to check out all the minor league action and share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

Thursday’s Opening Games – April 4th, 2013:

Las Vegas @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

(Wheeler vs. Werner)

Midland @ NW Arkansas – 4:00pm PT / 6:00pm CT

(Smith vs. Arguelles)

Bakersfield @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT

(TBD vs. Granier)

Beloit @ Cedar Rapids – 4:35pm PT / 6:35pm CT

(Alcantara vs. Rogers)

 

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!

Down On The Farm with Stockton Ports Pitcher Seth Frankoff

sf947026bHey y’all, this is Seth Frankoff, right-handed pitcher for the Stockton Ports. When I was approached about writing this blog, I felt that it would be a good way for me to communicate to everyone what goes on day in and day out in the life of a minor leaguer in the Oakland Athletics organization. This is my first time writing a blog though, so bear with me!

Spring Training started early this year due to the fact that the World Baseball Classic was taking place. I reported a week before the mandatory reporting date of March 4th for minor league pitchers and catchers. Different guys like to report at different times; however, I felt that getting in before the majority of the other pitchers would help put me ahead of schedule and allow me ample time to prepare for the season. My wife, Bess, who is very supportive of my career, traveled with me last season and will do the same this year, along with our new addition to the family – Addie, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Everyone has their own opinion of spring training, but I really enjoy it. We get to spend a month in Phoenix during the most beautiful time of the year in Arizona. There are long days with lots of attention paid to each and every facet of the game. Between throwing, conditioning, PFPs (pitchers fielding practice), bunt defenses, BP shagging, and then games, there is quite a bit of time spent on your feet all day. But all the time and effort spent in spring training is meant to prepare us for the grind that is the minor league season.

Team assignments vary quite a bit during spring training and really don’t make much of a difference until the last couple of days. This is when the final rosters are posted and you have a pretty good idea of where you are going to get placed. This time is exciting and tough on a player because you are sometimes unsure of where you will get placed. When I got the news that I was going to Stockton, I was very excited. After beginning the past two seasons in the Midwest League, I am glad to experience California and all it has to offer. For a kid who was born and raised in the state of North Carolina, California always seemed like it was on the other side of the globe to me. So when spring training finally came to a close, we packed the car up and hit the road in a caravan with a couple of my teammates. I would like to say the drive up to Stockton from Phoenix was great; however, I very quickly became aware of the craziness of California traffic. It even started thunder-storming and hailing on the last leg of our trip, which I was informed hardly ever happens out here.

spRoFg4u4YNonetheless, we arrived safe and sound in Stockton and checked into our hotel. I got up early the next morning to get my things situated in the locker room at Banner Island Ballpark before we left for our exhibition game against our Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. My first impressions of Banner Island Ballpark were very positive. It is a beautiful park located right on the delta of the Stockton Deep Water Channel downtown. Our exhibitions with Sacramento were a home and home series taking place the first night in Sacramento and the second in Stockton. These games were great for both teams because they allowed us to get our work in to make sure we are ready to go on opening day. Sacramento beat us both nights, but I would like to say that we held our own against the Sacramento team. They really are a good ballclub and I anticipate they will have a strong season of their own.

As for our team, let me first say this, we are going to score some runs. From top to bottom, we have guys who can hit the ball with authority and power to all parts of the field. Anytime you can have guys like B.A. Vollmuth, Bobby Crocker, Dusty Robinson, Josh Whitaker, Max Muncy, Tony Thompson and Wade Kirkland, you are going to feel like you have a pretty good chance to win. That is not even including our shortstop Addison Russell, who will be hitting in the leadoff spot for us and who always seems to find a way to get on base. Our pitching staff is anchored by a strong starting rotation of Drew Granier, Blake Hassebrock, Sean Murphy, Tanner Peters and Andres Avila. We know that all five of those guys are going to be able to pitch deep into games and give us quality starts. Our bullpen has some great experience with the likes of Jake Brown, Pedro Vidal, Jonathan Joseph and T.J. Walz. And with the group of quality players we have on our roster, I think we will have a great season here in Stockton.

sfpHXKLdSo2The team so far seems to have pretty good chemistry. If I recall, I have played on the same team at one point in my career with all but three individuals on the roster, and it’s always an added bonus to play with guys you’re familiar with. As for my role on the pitching staff, I believe I will be starting off in middle/long relief. It really makes no difference to me though what my role is. I really just want the ball. As a pitcher, we aren’t fortunate enough to have the ability to play everyday, but I want to have the opportunity to pitch as many times as possible. The biggest thing that I want to work on is consistency. I feel like in my career thus far I have had some pretty good stretches followed by some times where I struggled. I know, from an organizational standpoint, for guys to move, they want to see consistent results day in and day out; therefore, my goal for this season is to be more consistent. I am excited to get the season started. I have put a lot of work in during the offseason and spring training to get to this point. Now is the time to put all that time and effort to use and play the game I love. And as always, I am thankful to still have the opportunity to chase my dream!

*     *     *

Seth Frankoff was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Since being drafted by the A’s in the 27th round of the 2010 draft, he has seen time in the Arizona League, the Northwest League, the NY-Penn League and the Midwest League, and this season, he’ll be making his debut in the California League. We look forward to having Seth keep us posted throughout the season on how life is going down on the farm for him, his wife, his dog, and the Stockton Ports! You can follow him on Twitter @frankoff34

A’s Affiliates Set To Open Season on Thursday!

Raley Field in Sacramento - home of the Sacramento River Cats

Raley Field in Sacramento – home of the River Cats

All four of the A’s full-season affiliates are set to open their seasons on Thursday, April 4th. Sacramento and Stockton will be opening their seasons at home, while Midland and Beloit will have their season openers on the road.

In Sacramento’s game, left-hander Andrew Werner will be going for the River Cats against former 1st-round draft pick Zack Wheeler for Las Vegas. And familiar names like Jemile Weeks, Grant Green, Michael Choice, Michael Taylor and Shane Peterson are all likely to be in the lineup for the River Cats.

You can listen to broadcasts of all the games online free of charge via MiLB Gameday Audio at http://www.milb.com/milb/multimedia/audio.jsp. Broadcasts are also available on your iPad or iPhone via the MiLB.com app.

For those of you planning to tune into the games on Thursday, I’m going to experiment with having a Minor League Game Thread on the site where everyone is encouraged to comment on all the minor league game action throughout the evening – and I’ll be there commenting as well.

The starting times for all the games are listed below. I’ve included both the local time for each game as well as the Pacific time, since I know many of our followers are on the west coast.

Best of luck to all the A’s affiliates and minor league players on Thursday!

 

Thursday’s Opening Games – April 4th, 2013:

Las Vegas @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

Midland @ NW Arkansas – 4:00pm PT / 6:00pm CT

Bakersfield @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT

Beloit @ Cedar Rapids – 4:35pm PT / 6:35pm CT

 

awandrew wernerzwzack_wheeler--300x300cLas Vegas 51s at Sacramento River Cats

7:05pm PT at Raley Field

Andrew Werner vs. Zack Wheeler

 

 

 

 

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: 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

 

 

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: #1 Picks Green, Gray and Choice Good To Go for River Cats in 2013

Michael Choice is ready to show the River Cats what he can do!

Michael Choice is ready to show the River Cats what he can do!

The opening day roster for the Sacramento River Cats, the A’s Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League, was announced on Monday. And the team will include a remarkable five 1st-round draft picks – Sonny Gray, Michael Choice, Grant Green, Jemile Weeks and James Simmons.

Along with Weeks and Green, the River Cats’ infield will also include Andy Parrino, Scott Moore and Josh Horton. Michael Choice, Michael Taylor, Conner Crumbliss and Shane Peterson will man the outfield, with Peterson possibly seeing some time at first base as well, while Luke Montz and David Freitas will be behind the plate.

The River Cats’ starting rotation will include Sonny Gray, Andrew Werner, Jesse Chavez, Bruce Billings and Justin Thomas. Left-handers Hideki Okajima, Jordan Norberto and Pedro Figueroa will join right-handers James Simmons, Mike Ekstrom, Dan Otero, Brian Gordon, Nate Long and Travis Banwart in the River Cats’ bullpen.

You’ll find the Sacramento River Cats’ complete roster, along with profiles of some of the team’s top players, below…

 

mcmichaelchoiceoaklandathleticsphotodaynwngr_fbjvxl3MICHAEL CHOICE

Right-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2010 – 1st Round

Big things were expected last year from the A’s 2010 1st-round draft pick after Choice hit 30 home runs at High-A Stockton in 2011. But the right-handed slugger got off to a slow start in the first half at Double-A Midland, showing very little of the power that had garnered him so much attention in the first place. Then just when it looked like he might have been starting to come around, Choice suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch, and that was the end of the outfielder’s season. He finished with 10 home runs and a .287/.356/.423 slash line in 359 at-bats. The A’s still have high hopes for Choice though. And he’ll be playing center field for Sacramento in 2013, so he should have the chance to show everyone just what he’s capable of doing at Triple-A.

 

sgsonnygray_large1SONNY GRAY

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2011 – 1st Round

Just like Michael Choice, Gray was a former A’s 1st-round draft pick whom the team was expecting big things from at Double-A Midland in 2012. And just like Choice, Gray got off to a bit of a shaky start. But the right-hander looked better as the season wore on and he seemed to gain greater command of his stuff. Gray finished up at Midland with a 4.14 ERA in 26 starts before getting one final start at Sacramento, where he’ll begin the season as one of the A’s top pitching prospects.

 

Oakland Athletics Photo DayGRANT GREEN

Right-Handed Hitting Infielder

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2009 – 1st Round

Another former 1st-round draft pick who’ll be at Sacramento this year, Green was originally selected by the A’s in 2009 as a shortstop but has since been tried at almost every other position on the diamond. Last year, Green started off playing center field before moving over to left. But he spent most of the second half bouncing around the infield, with 19 games at shortstop, 19 games at second base and 11 games at third base. The organization hadn’t felt totally comfortable with Green at any position in the field but now feels he may have finally found a home at second base. Unfortunately, Jemile Weeks will be manning that position for the River Cats, so Green could end up seeing a great deal of time at third base this season. The southern California native had a bounce-back year at the plate in 2013 after seeing his numbers drop off a bit at Double-A Midland in 2011. Green finished 2012 with 15 home runs and a slash line of .296/.338/.458 in 524 at-bats at Sacramento. And he’ll be starting the year with the River Cats again, waiting for an opening to finally find his way on to the big league roster.

 

sphi-res-7054450_display_imageSHANE PETERSON

Left-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2008 – 2nd Round

At 25, Peterson has yet to see time in the majors. But he was a 2nd-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 2008 before coming over to the A’s in the Matt Holliday deal. After posting an impressive .460 OBP last season between Sacramento and Midland, he definitely opened some eyes this spring by batting .408 in 49 at-bats while bashing 7 doubles. He should see plenty of time in the Sacramento outfield, along with Michael Choice and Michael Taylor. But Peterson can also play first base, and he’ll undoubtedly see some time there as well, which could help offer him another route to the big leagues.

 

apAndy+Parrino+San+Diego+Padres+Photo+Day+r2YPnsacmu2lANDY PARRINO

Switch-Hitting Infielder

Age On Opening Day: 27

Drafted 2007 – 26th Round

Parrino came to the A’s this off-season along with LHP Andrew Werner in the Tyson Ross trade. He’s likely to start the season at shortstop for Sacramento, though he’s also played both second and third base and the A’s gave him some time in the outfield this spring as well. Parrino put himself on the map with his consistent hitting this spring, going 14-for-38 and hitting .368 with 6 doubles and a home run. And if the shortstop spot proves troublesome for the A’s this season, Parrino could end up earning a shot.

 

dfhi-res-7054388_display_imageDAVID FREITAS

Right-Handed Hitting Catcher

Age On Opening Day: 24

Drafted 2010 – 15th Round

No one seemed to pay too much attention to Freitas when he came over from the Nationals last summer in the Kurt Suzuki deal. But they’re certainly noticing him now after he went 8-for-18 this spring, hitting .444 with a home run, a double and just 2 strikeouts. The northern California native has never played above Double-A. But at this point, with the departure of Max Stassi, Freitas appears to be the most promising young catcher in the A’s minor league system.

 

–SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS 2013 ROSTER–

–HITTERS–

Luke Montz C

David Freitas C

Jemile Weeks 2B

Andy Parrino SS

Grant Green 2B-3B

Josh Horton 3B-SS-2B

Scott Moore 1B-3B-DH

Shane Peterson OF-1B

Conner Crumbliss OF-2B

Michael Choice OF

Michael Taylor OF

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Sonny Gray RHP

Andrew Werner LHP

Jesse Chavez RHP

Bruce Billings RHP

Justin Thomas LHP

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

James Simmons RHP

Mike Ekstrom RHP

Dan Otero RHP

Brian Gordon RHP

Nate Long RHP

Travis Banwart RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Hideki Okajima LHP

Jordan Norberto LHP

Pedro Figueroa 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: Olson, Nunez, Bostick, Ynoa Big Names for Beloit in 2013

Michael Ynoa continues his road to recovery in Beloit

Michael Ynoa continues his road to recovery in Beloit

The opening day roster for the Beloit Snappers, the A’s new Class-A affiliate in the Midwest League, was announced on Saturday. And it looks like the team will be loaded with young talent.

The A’s have been fairly aggressive in pushing last year’s promising young draft class up the ladder. And 9 of the A’s top 20 picks from last year’s draft will open the season on the Snappers’ roster, including a pair of 19-year-old infielders – first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Renato Nunez.

Joining them in the Snappers’ infield will be another top prospect, second baseman Chris Bostick. The Snappers’ starting rotation will be led by once-promising pitching phenom Michael Ynoa, who finally appears to be healthy and is eager to reclaim his status as one of the team’s top prospects.

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

 

mo15095_4110106706138_1463379083_n4MATT OLSON

Left-Handed Hitting First Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 19

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

Olson was the A’s third overall draft pick last year, selected right behind infielders Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson. The Georgia native is a big 6’4” power-hitting first baseman who just celebrated his 19th birthday a few days ago. Olson posted a .282/.352/.521 slash line last year in his pro debut, clubbing 16 doubles and 9 home runs in just 188 at-bats, and he’ll now be bringing his big bat to Beloit.

 

rnnc3bac3b1ez-renato3RENATO NUNEZ

Right-Handed Hitting Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 19

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

The hot-hitting third baseman will be celebrating his 19th birthday on opening day for Beloit. The A’s invested heavily in Nunez when the team reportedly gave the young Venezuelan slugger $2.2 million to sign back in 2010. And there’s no question that Nunez seems to have a pretty special bat. Last year in rookie ball, he put up a .325/.403/.550 slash line with 18 doubles in 160 at-bats. In the field though, Nunez made 7 errors in just 30 games at third base, botching 1 in every 10 chances at the hot corner. But the A’s have shown that he’ll move up the chain as fast as his bat can carry him.

 

cbDSC02502xxbCHRIS BOSTICK

Right-Handed Hitting Second Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2011 – 44th Round

Bostick was hardly high on anyone’s radar when he was drafted in the 44th-round in 2011, but lots of folks seem to think he does a lot of things the right way – and baseball people like that. Bostick spent most of last season playing second base at Class-A Vermont but also spent a little time at shortstop. His .251/.325/.369 slash line wasn’t remarkable, but he was still just 19 last season. And if Bostick keeps playing the game the right way, he’ll continue to be given the chance to see just how far his talents will take him.

 

Michael YnoaMICHAEL YNOA

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 21

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

The A’s originally made a big splash in the international free agent market by signing the 16-year-old Dominican bonus baby to a contract worth over $4 million. But injuries and Tommy John surgery have limited the 6’7” right-hander to just under 40 innings over the past 3 seasons. He finally appears to be healthy though and was throwing well, lighting up radar guns and bringing smiles to the faces of A’s scouts in minor league camp this year. And now Ynoa is poised to continue his road to recovery in Beloit this season.

 

–BELOIT SNAPPERS 2013 ROSTER–

–HITTERS–

Bruce Maxwell C

Phil Pohl C

Matt Olson 1B

Renato Nunez 3B

Chris Bostick 2B

Wilfredo Solano SS

Sam Roberts 2B-SS

Jacob Tanis 1B-3B

John Wooten OF

Brett Vertigan OF

Ryan Mathews OF

Aaron Shipman OF

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Michael Ynoa RHP

Raul Alcantara RHP

Tyler Vail RHP

Chris Lamb LHP

Vince Voiro RHP

–RELIEF PITCHERS–

Seth Streich RHP

Kris Hall RHP

Dakota Bacus RHP

Stuart Pudenz RHP

Austin House RHP

Derek DeYoung RHP

Tucker Healy RHP

Ryan Dull RHP

 

 

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Prospect Watch with Grady, Farhan & Melvin

While soaking up plenty of Arizona sun during our spring training tour, we also wanted to make sure we got a little light shed on some of the A’s top prospects by folks in the know. So we took the opportunity to talk to three guys who really ought to know the score – Grady Fuson, Farhan Zaidi and Bob Melvin.

gfDSC01787-1[2c]Grady Fuson is a long-time baseball man who was formerly the A’s director of scouting. One of baseball’s most respected talent evaluators, he was also depicted as one of Moneyball‘s biggest bad guys, but he’s back with the A’s again as a special assistant to general manager Billy Beane.

fz0511cnzaidi_x582dIn his fifth season as the A’s director of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi is one of the game’s most forward-thinking front office executives. With a doctorate in economics from UC Berkeley, he is often known as the A’s “numbers guy” and readily admits to feeling somewhat naked without his computer.

bmDSC02384cBob Melvin is the popular and affable manager of the A’s who, in 2012, led the team to its first division title since 2006. The former catcher spent 10 years playing in the major leagues and was named AL Manager of Year for his efforts with the A’s in 2012.

We asked this trio of talent evaluators to weigh in on some of the A’s top prospects, and what we heard left us feeling pretty good about the future!

 

On shortstop Addison Russell

arfPCk2bFI2Bob Melvin:  He left us with impressions when he came out and just took batting practice with us during the season. During spring, he certainly didn’t look like a 19-year-old kid. He has a great approach at the plate, a very good work ethic – great athlete. He’s got a chance to be a quick mover.

Grady Fuson:  Big league camp didn’t phase him. He went in there and stood around like a veteran. He wasn’t nervous. He was aggressive. He played the same style of game that he’s played since the day we signed him. And I think everybody top to bottom’s been pleased…I think we all see all the tools. It’s not hard to know this guy’s really got some quickness and speed. He’s aggressive on ground balls. He’s got a knack for reading ground balls. He controlled the strike zone in big league camp, so it wasn’t like he was swinging at air or anything. He’s just got a very good awareness about the game for a young kid to go with all the tools he’s got…He’s a great kid. He comes to work every day – he’s quiet but he’s deadly…As he goes along, we’re going to keep an eye on his throwing. It has nothing to do with his arm strength. It’s more about building accuracy and pace and footwork into his game. Other than that, there’s really no holes to poke at offensively. The more he plays, the more he’s going to get comfortable with the strike zone a little bit – what he can hit, what he can’t hit – and that’ll come. But this kid really has no major flaws to really speak of. It’s nice every once in a while to have a player where you can go, “Hey, let’s just go play!”

 

On outfielder Michael Choice

mcmichaelchoiceoaklandathleticsphotodaynwngr_fbjvxl3Grady Fuson:  He’s ahead of the curve as far as when he left Midland last year. What little time we got with him in instructs (instructional league), something’s clicked. His whole approach is so much more balanced and connected. The first 5-6 at-bats I saw him, I kept waiting for him to kind of get out of sorts, but he hasn’t one time. I’m proud of him. He looked great in big league camp. He’s got another burst of energy to his game. He played center field in big league camp very well – 5 of those innings a day over there that sun’s right in your face. And the great thing is, since he’s come over to minor league camp, he’s had the same work ethic, same aggressiveness, same energy. He’s been great…It looks like he’s really figured some things out.

Bob Melvin:  This is the first time we’ve been able to see him get a lot of bats and do the things that the organization expects of him. He’s a highly-touted prospect with power and speed. I think he came to this camp really wanting to show the big league staff what he’s all about – and he did that. I mean, it was a very impressive camp. He fell off a little bit – I think he took a couple of 0-fors at the end. But he and Shane Peterson have been terrific throughout the whole camp. And this is a guy who’s going to knock the door down and fight his way in at some point in time, whether it’s next year, whether it’s this year – a September call-up or an injury or something like that. He’s really close to being a big leaguer.

 

On outfielder Shane Peterson

Bob Melvin:  He’s the one guy here who’s played every single game (this spring). You usually ease your way into it, but he’s done anything but that. He continues to hit. He plays different positions. I haven’t even used him at first, which is probably his most comfortable position, but he’s looked like a true outfielder. You look at the numbers, and he’s had a spectacular camp.

 

On infielder Grant Green

Oakland Athletics Photo DayGrady Fuson:  To some degree, offensively, he could be big-league ready – he’s close. He’s got great at-bats going. He’s doing what Grant Green does. He’s been through a year and a half to two year period where we’ve been working on getting him to be more aggressive on the inner half and feeling what it’s like to turn on some balls. It’s helped his power production. Once again, he’s kind of getting his feet wet at a new position, but it’s the one position that you’re really seeing him grow at defensively. He is getting better every day. So obviously he’ll go back to Sacramento and we’ll see how things go in the big leagues to start – but Grant is very, very close.

Farhan Zaidi:  I think there’s a growing level of confidence that second base is his best position. And because it’s his best position, probably now and also in the long run, giving him time to develop there is a priority. But we have other guys who need to play that position, so he may not get as many reps there as we would like in a perfect world just because we have to work other guys in there. But from an organizational perspective, more and more people are feeling good about the progress he’s made over there. And he could actually be an asset over there in the long term once he gets more reps and gets more comfortable playing there.

 

On infielder Miles Head

Grady Fuson:  He didn’t get that much time in big league camp, so he’s kind of getting a late start playing every day here (in minor league camp). But he should be ready to go. Obviously, he can’t do what he did in Stockton – that was the most unreal half you’re ever going to see. But he’s been getting his knocks, he’s swinging aggressive, getting time at third and first – and that’s what we’ll expect when he goes out.

 

On pitcher Dan Straily

dsstraily-dan3Farhan Zaidi:  I think he’s gotten a lot more comfortable in this camp, being in the big leagues, being around the big league team and staff. He’s had some things to work on this spring, just like most pitchers have. But you know, we sort of have this notion of building the starting pitching depth out 8 or 9 guys. And if you’re the 6th guy, it means we have a pretty high level of confidence – we know we’re going to need you at some point…He’s going to be a big factor in our season…He might not be in there for every turn of the 162 game season, but he’s going to play a big role for sure.

Bob Melvin:  He just needs to be more consistent at times – and he knows it. He had a tough first inning the other day where he gave up 3 runs and then he pitched really well after that. It’s getting rid of that one inning, or getting through games a little bit more in the fashion that we think he can do it – and he’s probably not quite there yet. But he’s still a young guy, and we’ve had a lot of young guys perform well here. He was instrumental down the stretch with a few games for us last year. He has some experience pitching in a pennant race. But I know he probably looks at his performance this spring and thinks there’s a little bit more in the tank for him and wants to finish up strong.

Grady Fuson:  He just seemed a hair out of sync (this spring). He wasn’t locating his fastball as well. And when he doesn’t locate his fastball well, then his sequences don’t come together. As far as his stuff, his stuff was still solid – 90-93mph, good breaker, slider got a little flat at times, good changeup – but he just wasn’t getting ahead of hitters enough as he’d done a year ago…You know, it’s his first big league camp – he knows he’s pressing to make a spot in that rotation.

 

On pitcher Sonny Gray

sgsonnygray_large1Grady Fuson:  His stuff is good. It’s all going to get down to location. If Sonny can improve on pounding the strike zone, he’s going to be a competitive kid. But he’s got to find a way to get ahead earlier in counts and work on the efficient side of being a starter versus the overpowering side of being a starter. He knows it. He’s trying to work through it. And right now, it comes and goes. So it’s a work in progress.

Farhan Zaidi:  As much as we have invested in him, he’s a guy who we would want to only bring up when we really feel he’s ready, not sort of out of a sense of urgency for a guy. I think he just has to work on pitching more efficiently. If you’re in Triple-A and you’re throwing 100 pitches in a 6-inning stint, that’s not going to work at the big league level. The guys who have success moving from Double-A and Triple-A to the big leagues are the guys who pitch really efficiently at the minor league level and have short innings, don’t walk guys, all that kind of stuff. I think that’s going to be the biggest issue for him.

 

On pitcher Andrew Werner

Grady Fuson:  He’s kind of an under-the-radar lefty. He doesn’t throw overly hard. But he’s a locate guy. He’s got a real good changeup. He’s got a solid breaker. So he’s a lot like most lefties who throw 87-88mph who can pitch a little bit.

 

On pitcher Jesse Chavez

Grady Fuson:  Jesse Chavez has tremendous stuff. It’s just about him harnessing it, and he’s dominated in Triple-A. So it’s just about him getting used to playing in front of a second deck and the lights not blinding him a little bit. But we feel good about having him down there (at Sacramento).

 

On pitcher Michael Ynoa

mymichael-ynoa.p1Grady Fuson:  The progress continues to be nothing but ‘hang a star on it!’ He’s healthy. His velocity continues to climb. He’s been up to 95-96mph here. His breaking ball’s sharper because the velocity’s back. He’s been around the strike zone. You know, we’re still going to proceed with a little caution, but he’s been good.

Farhan Zaidi:  His stuff has been really good. His fastball has been up to the mid-90s. He shows his other pitches. He’s a big presence on the mound. He just needs reps and he needs to get more consistent. If you haven’t pitched at that level, and things start unraveling – just getting out of jams, not letting innings totally get away from you. But the stuff has been fine…The stuff is where you were hoping it would progress to when we signed him – I mean, we thought he might be in the big leagues by now. So all the ingredients are there. It’s just about him getting out and pitching…I think he has the ability to make up for a lot of that lost time, so we’re looking forward to him pitching.

 

On infielder Daniel Robertson

Grady Fuson:  We’re still just being cautious with the knee. Little by little, he’s done more on the field, so he has not played in games. He feels great. We’re just taking it slow…In instructional league, his spike caught up on the mat hitting in BP and kind of tore a little meniscus in there. So the odds are he probably won’t break (camp). We’ll keep him down here a little bit and make sure it’s tested. But hopefully by the middle of the month, he’s good to go.

 

On first baseman Matt Olson

mo15095_4110106706138_1463379083_n3Grady Fuson:  Olson’s been great. He just picked up where he left off. He’s gotten a little bigger and stronger. He’s having a nice minor league camp. He’s ready to go.

Farhan Zaidi:  The guys over there have been very excited about him. I think he’s hit a handful of homers in minor league games already. He has that kind of power…and that’s got people pretty excited.

 *     *     *

Knowing he’s always got an eye on the future, we took the opportunity to ask Farhan about the possible value of applying analytics to the subject of health and injuries in order to better anticipate the physical resilience of individual players, and here’s what he had to say…

Farhan Zaidi:  There’s more and more of this stuff – either analyzing historic DL data or injury data, or also mechanics. I don’t know that there are a lot of great, or certain, answers at this point. But I think it’s a major next frontier for analysis. It started off with offense, then it moved to defense, measuring fielding, now I think this is the next frontier for analytics. We do a fair amount of that – it’s sort of an ongoing process…Even getting a little bit better at predicting players’ health going forward is really valuable. So that’s something that we’re working on and trying to get better at every year…Even if you improve your predictive power a little bit, that can be worth a lot in the long run.

 *     *     *

–GRADY’S GUYS TO WATCH– 

We asked Grady to tip us off to three guys in the A’s system we ought to keep an eye on, and here’s what we got…

 

mmph_571970Max Muncy

Left-Handed Hitting First Baseman

Age: 22 / Drafted 2012 – 5th Round

He was good last year after we signed him. He went to Burlington (Class-A) right out of the draft and held his own. This guy gets it. He knows how to play the game. He’s got a good swing. He’s very hitter-ish. He’s always had a little bit more power in the bat than his numbers show. And we’re working with him to take advantage of the shorter parts of the park – and it’s coming. He’s been a jewel in camp. He’s firmed his body up a little bit more. He’s a solid defender. Keep your eye on him!

 

ah4d931175d1234c733cd80af2892b53d5bAustin House

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age: 22 / Drafted 2012 – 14th Round

He closed in Vermont last year. He threw from 25 different slots. In instructional league, we tried to calm him down, gave him one slot, and he went home all winter and worked on it. And he’s gotten so much cleaner now that we’re thinking about maybe starting him and pushing him with some innings. He’s got a good arm. He’s got a nasty changeup…He wiped guys out as a closer, but the more you can get on the mound, the more you’re going to learn.

 

ddOakton---Derek-DeYoung2Derek DeYoung

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age: 21 / Drafted 2012 – 18th Round

Junior college kid – he only pitched 1/3 of an inning for us last year, so I didn’t even know who this guy was. The other day, he comes out here, he’s throwing 94mph with a nasty breaker – good body, good delivery. Today he goes 3 shutout innings, touching 95mph – I’m in!

*     *     *

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!

A’s, River Cats’ & RockHounds’ Roster Projections

Will Hiro have to be a hero in Sacramento?

Will Hiro still be smiling in Sacramento?

We’re now less than a week away from opening day, and Jemile Weeks has been optioned to Sacramento, Adam Rosales has been placed on the disabled list, and Hiro Nakajima has been struggling and is now dealing with a strained hamstring. And thanks to these recent developments, it looks like the A’s opening day roster may now be rounding into shape – and along with it, the Sacramento River Cats’ and Midland RockHounds’ rosters too. Of course, plenty can still change and nothing is etched in stone. There haven’t been any official announcements from the team yet and there probably won’t be until about 24 hours before opening day, but below are our projected opening day rosters for the A’s and their Triple-A and Double-A affiliates based on what we think we know at this point…

 

PROJECTED 2013 OAKLAND A’S ROSTER

Derek Norris

Derek Norris

–CATCHERS–

John Jaso C

Derek Norris C

–INFIELDERS–

Brandon Moss 1B

Nate Freiman 1B

Eric Sogard 2B

Scott Sizemore 2B

Jed Lowrie SS

Josh Donaldson 3B

–OUTFIELDERS–

Yoenis Cespedes OF

Coco Crisp OF

Josh Reddick OF

Chris Young OF

Seth Smith OF

Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Brett Anderson LHP

Jarrod Parker RHP

Tommy Milone LHP

A.J. Griffin RHP

Dan Straily RHP

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Grant Balfour RHP

Ryan Cook RHP

Pat Neshek RHP

Chris Resop RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Sean Doolittle LHP

Jerry Blevins LHP

Travis Blackley LHP

 

(Bartolo Colon – SUSPENDED)

(Fernando Rodriguez – DL)

(Adam Rosales – DL)

 

PROJECTED 2013 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS ROSTER

Michael Choice

Michael Choice

–HITTERS–

Luke Montz C

David Freitas C

Hiro Nakajima SS

Jemile Weeks 2B

Andy Parrino SS-3B-OF

Grant Green 2B-3B-OF

Josh Horton 3B-SS-2B

Scott Moore 1B-3B-DH

Shane Peterson OF-1B

Conner Crumbliss OF-2B

Michael Choice OF

Michael Taylor OF

Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Sonny Gray RHP

Andrew Werner LHP

Jesse Chavez RHP

Bruce Billings RHP

Travis Banwart RHP

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Evan Scribner RHP

Mike Ekstrom RHP

James Simmons RHP

Arnold Leon RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Hideki Okajima LHP

Jordan Norberto LHP

Pedro Figueroa LHP

Justin Thomas LHP

 

PROJECTED 2013 MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS ROSTER

Miles Head

Miles Head

–HITTERS–

Beau Taylor C

Ryan Ortiz 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

Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Carlos Hernandez LHP

Murphy Smith RHP

Josh Bowman RHP

Sean Murphy RHP

Jacob Brown LHP

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Brian Gordon RHP

Carlos Fisher RHP

Kyler Newby RHP

Darren Byrd RHP

Paul Smyth RHP

Nate Long RHP

Sergio Perez RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Frank Gailey LHP

 

***UPDATE: In something of a surprise, the A’s have designated LHP Travis Blackley for assignment. This opens a spot in the A’s bullpen for either Evan Scribner, Pedro Figueroa, Mike Ekstrom or Hideki Okajima. Their spot in the River Cats bullpen will be filled by RHP Danny Otero, who was claimed off waivers.

 

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!

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