Friday, May 18th: Cats, Ports & Bees Fall as Straily K’s 15 in Hounds Win

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Midland RockHounds pitcher Daniel Straily (7 IP / 1 ER / 15 K)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Sacramento River Cats  8

Albuquerque Isotopes   9

(LP – Miller 0-2 / 2.92)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Chris Carter

(2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: First baseman Chris Carter continued his tear, blasting 2 home runs on Friday night after launching 2 homers on Thursday. Infielder Brandon Hicks also continued his hot-hitting, doubling and tripling on Friday, outfielders Grant Green and Brandon Moss collected 2 hits apiece, but left-hander Fabio Castro allowed 6 runs in the 6th inning and right-hander Jim Miller gave up 1 run in the 10th to take the loss. Look for Manny Ramirez to join the River Cats lineup on Saturday.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Corpus Christi Hooks  5

Midland RockHounds   6

(WP – Huttenlocker 1-2 / 4.38)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Straily

(7 IP / 1 ER / 15 K)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Daniel Straily had his most dominant outing of the year, allowing just 1 run while striking out 15 over 7 innings of work. Unfortunately, the RockHounds’ bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, and left-hander A.J. Huttenlocker earned the win after coming on to strike out 1 batter in the 9th inning.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports  4

Modesto Nuts   9

(LP – Cole 0-7 / 7.82)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Dusty Robinson

(Home Run / RBI / Walk / 2 Runs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Outfielder Dusty Robinson made a good first impression in Stockton on Friday night, homering in his first game with the Ports after his promotion from Burlington.Stockton’s reigning offensive star, infielder Miles Head, collected 3 hits, including a double and a triple, to raise his batting average on the season to a robust .376 – and he could be the next in line for a promotion. Starter A.J. Cole had another rocky outing, allowing 6 runs on 10 hits over 4 innings to run his record to 0-7.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees                  3

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers  5

(LP – Murphy 3-4 / 1.97)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Nick Rickles

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Shortstop Sean Jamieson hit a solo homer to put Burlingtonon the board in the 1st inning and catcher Nick Rickles hit a 2-run shot in the 6th but, unfortunately, that was it for the Bees’ offense on Friday. Starter Sean Murphy allowed 5 runs over 7 2/3 innings of work to take the loss.

 

Saturday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Albuquerque – 6:05pm PT

(Griffin vs. Savage)

Corpus Christi @ Midland – 7:00pm CT

(Seaton vs. Gray)

Stockton @ Modesto – 7:05pm PT

(Walz vs. Matzek)

Beloit @ Burlington – 6:30pm CT

(TBD vs. TBD)

 

 

Thursday, May 17th: Cats Plate 16 as Hounds & Bees Win and Ports Take 2nd Straight

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats first baseman Chris Carter (2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Sacramento River Cats  16

Albuquerque Isotopes    5

(WP – Peacock 5-1 / 4.17)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Chris Carter

(2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: The River Cats erupted for 16 runs against Albuquerque on Thursday night. The barrage was led by first baseman Chris Carter, serving as the designated hitter for the night, who had 3 hits, including 2 homers, and drove in 6 runs. Infielder Brandon Hicks had 4 hits, including a triple and a homer, and drove in 5 runs. Catcher Derek Norris had 3 hits and drove in 4, while outfielder Grant Green had 3 hits and crossed the plate 4 times. Starter Brad Peacock allowed 5 runs and struck out 6 over 6 innings to earn his 5th win. The River Cats lineup will be getting an interesting addition when Manny Ramirez joins the team this Saturday inAlbuquerque.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Frisco RoughRiders    3

Midland RockHounds  8

(WP – Daley 5-2 / 4.69)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Ryan Ortiz

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Catcher Ryan Ortiz homered and drove in 3 runs, shortstop Dusty Coleman drove in 2, and outfielder and leadoff hitter Conner Crumbliss contributed 3 hits and collected his 10th stolen base. Starter Gary Daley allowed 3 runs over 5 innings to earn his 5th win, while left-hander Sean Doolittle struck out 3 in 2 scoreless innings of relief.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports  13

Modesto Nuts    1

(WP – Treinen 3-4 / 4.14)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Blake Treinen

(6 IP / 1 ER / 5 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: After losing 16 straight, the Ports won their 2nd in a row on Thursday night. After a few shaky outings, right-hander Blake Treinen got back on track with one of his best starts of the season, allowing just 1 run and striking out 5 over 6 innings of work to earn his 3rd win. Catcher Beau Taylor, serving as the designated hitter for the night, had 2 hits, including a triple, and drove in 5 runs, infielder Miles Head collected 4 hits and drove in 2, and outfielder Myrio Richard had 4 hits as well, including 3 doubles, and scored 4 times.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees                  8

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers  3

(WP – Alcantara 3-4 / 4.42)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Infielder Wade Kirkland

(Home Run / Double / 5 RBIs)

 

Worth Noting: Infielder Wade Kirkland and outfielder Dusty Robinson both homered and doubled on Thursday, with Kirkland driving in 5 runs and Robinson driving in 2. Infielders B.A. Vollmuth and Ryan Pineda contributed 2 hits apiece, and starter Raul Alcantara allowed 3 runs and struck out 4 over 6 innings to earn his 3rd win.

 

Friday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Albuquerque – 6:05pm PT

(Godfrey vs. TBD)

Corpus Christi @ Midland – 7:00pm CT

(Cosart vs. Straily)

Stockton @ Modesto – 7:05pm PT

(Cole vs. Gomez)

Burlington @ Wisconsin – 6:35pm CT

(Murphy vs. Gagnon)

 

 

Exclusive: A’s Assistant GM David Forst Gives the Lowdown on Off-Season Acquisitions and A’s Top Prospects – Part 2

A’s Assistant General Manager David Forst

Yesterday, we brought you Part 1 of A’s Farm’s exclusive interview with A’s assistant general manager David Forst, where he gave us the lowdown on Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook, Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock and more. In Part 2, we’ll cover Josh Reddick, Miles Head, Michael Choice, Sonny Gray and more top A’s prospects. So let’s get back to the action – we rejoin our game, already in progress…

AF: Well, the final big off-season trade was the one with the Red Sox for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney. The main guy you got back in that deal was Josh Reddick. And I imagine you’ve got to be feeling pretty good about him at this point.

DF: Yeah, very good. I don’t think we knew ourselves that Josh would be capable of stepping right into the middle of the lineup and hitting the way he has and obviously hitting in the 3-hole for us pretty much all season. He’s really been our most consistent guy. We knew he was a good hitter, and we knew he was going to be an above average right fielder, but he has exceeded even our own expectations. So we’re very happy with Josh at this point, and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t continue to hit in the middle of the lineup here.

Josh Reddick

AF: It seems like he’s making a lot of fans in Oakland real quick.

DF: Yeah, he is a fan favorite as well. He’s got a little bit of personality to him, which never hurts.

AF: Well it’s my theory that A’s fans are always fond of long-haired outfielders (Eric Byrnes, Nick Swisher, even briefly, Travis Buck).

DF: Well, I’ll have to see how many of those we can corner.

AF: The other hitter in that deal was infielder Miles Head, who’s been putting up great numbers at Stockton this year. You’ve got to be pretty pleased with him as well.

Miles Head

DF: Yeah, he’s been outstanding. He just turned 21 a week ago. To come into his first exposure at High-A and put up those kind of numbers has been outstanding. And playing third base for the most part, a position that he hasn’t played in a while, and he’s been pretty good over there too. He’s been the best guy on that Stockton team to date and one of our most consistent hitters in all the minor leagues. Miles has done a great job.

AF: Do you see him spending a full season at Class-A, or might he get bumped up if he keeps hitting like he has?

DF: I think we’re open to having him move. We’re talking about just a 100 plus at bats right now. And you’d like to see a guy do it for probably at least twice that long. Our history in terms of moving guys up from the California League to Double-A has been to make them do it for at least a full half-season and then see where they are because it is a huge jump. People talk about the jump from Triple-A to the big leagues obviously being the toughest. But to go from A-Ball to Double-A is a significant jump and you’re really facing a different level of pitcher there, so you want to make sure guys are ready before you make that decision.

Raul Alcantara

AF: The final guy in that deal was pitcher Raul Alcantara, who’s just 19 years old. And he’s been a little inconsistent at Burlington so far.

DF: Yeah, Raul will pitch all year at 19, so age is very much on his side. But like you said, he’s been kind of inconsistent. He had a very good start two starts ago where he threw 6 shutout innings and then came out the other day and walked 7 guys in 4 1/3 innings. So it’s a pretty typical trend line for a young kid first time in full-season ball. We weren’t even going to send him out to a full-season team after spring training, but he had a good camp and our guys liked the progress he was making. He really is very much in the development stage, working on both his secondary pitches and fastball command – the basic fundamentals you need a young pitcher to work on. And while he’s there, he’s holding his own, which is what you sort of hope for out of a 19-year-old.

Michael Choice

AF: Okay, now getting beyond the off-season deals, there are some other guys in the system who people are always interested in finding out more about. And the guy who’s always at the top of that list is former first-round draft pick Michael Choice, who’s been playing at Midland and just hit his second homer of the year the other day. (He’s since hit his third).

DF: I don’t totally know what to make of the power numbers right now, other than to say that we’re not at all concerned about him. I think one thing you know for sure with Michael is that he’s going to hit for power. So I would imagine that we’re going to see a spurt here at some point where he puts together 5 or 6 home runs in a week and brings those numbers right back up. The nice thing is he’s maintained the average in Double-A that he put together in A-Ball last year. He’s walking, his on-base has been right around .350 all year, and he’s out there everyday and healthy. So I think there are a lot of good indicators when it comes to Michael, and we have no doubt the power numbers will catch up.

Sonny Gray

AF: I’ve noticed he has been getting on base at a pretty regular clip anyway, which is always good to see. Another guy at Midland who everyone’s had their eye on who’s also been a little spotty so far is last year’s first-round draft pick Sonny Gray.

DF: Yeah, I think we all had high expectations because of where Sonny was drafted and frankly how well he came out of the gate last year with his 20 innings in Double-A, which no one really expected him to do. So when you look and his ERA’s in the mid-fours and he’s not quite striking out a batter an inning, we obviously all had high expectations. But again, in Sonny’s first year out, he’s holding his own in Double-A and his stuff has been very good every time out. (Director of player development) Keith Lieppman was in there recently and was raving about his breaking ball as a major league out pitch. And I think it’s just a matter of time before Sonny figures it out and his command gets better and he starts putting up some dominating starts at that level.

Sean Doolittle

AF: Another guy at Midland who’s a really interesting story is Sean Doolittle, who started out great at Stockton and was bumped up to Midland and so far has looked really good there too.

DF: Yeah, Sean has the potential to be a great story. Obviously, everybody knows what a great prospect he was as a position player. Unfortunately, his body just didn’t allow him to do it. But he’s now put together, between Stockton and Midland, I think 14 innings where he’s struck out 28 guys or something, and he’s touching 95-97 mph just about every time out. Obviously with a guy like that, you know his fastball’s going to play and it’s just a matter of working on his changeup and breaking ball. And that’s something we’ve stressed with Sean – not to just throw fastballs by guys but make sure he’s working on that other stuff. But as long as he continues to have success like that, then he’s going to move up the chain.

Ian Krol

AF: Besides A.J. Cole, there are a few other highly-regarded pitchers who’ve also been struggling at Stockton so far this year – guys like Ian Krol and Blake Hassebrock. I think they’ve both had some injury issues too. I know Krol’s on his way back, but is Hassebrock likely to be out for a while?

DF: He’s got an oblique issue that’s been bothering him, so he’s not quite back to throwing yet. He’s been out almost two full weeks now I believe. But yeah, Blake struggled a little bit before he went on the DL. We’re not going to see him pitch I would guess for another few weeks. And Ian just got back from his own DL stint. He pulled a groin a couple of outings ago and missed about two weeks, but he threw three innings the other night and seems to be back on track. That whole Stockton rotation right now is struggling. And it’s a tough place for pitchers. There are a lot of ballparks there where the ball flies, and you’ve got some older hitters spread out throughout the league. So it’s going to take some time for these guys to adjust. But their stuff is good and, for the most part, their arms are healthy. But Blake Treinen and T.J. Walz are doing a nice job. You’ve got a good group. I think it’s just going to take a while for them to put it together.

Drew Granier

AF: Yeah, Walz has really been the best starter so far at Stockton. And then down at Burlington, Sean Murphy and Drew Granier have both looked really good. I don’t know if their performances have been a bit of a pleasant surprise for you.

DF: Yeah, they’ve definitely opened up some eyes with their performance there and are in the conversation to move up at some point. Both guys have done well. Burlington’s right around .500, with not a lot of offensive performance to date. So it’s clearly been the pitching staff’s that’s carried them, and those guys you mentioned have been as good as anyone.

AF: I think they were both 32nd and 33rd round draft picks.

DF: Yeah, exactly, and they went out and had decent summers last year. But you really can’t evaluate these guys until they get into full-season ball. And they’ve both been very good.

Dusty Robinson

AF: The one guy who’s really been driving the offense at Burlington so far this year is outfielder Dusty Robinson, who’s been looking like a real power prospect.

DF: Yeah, his slugging numbers have been good from day one. He’s a guy we really did like out of the draft last year. He didn’t go in a premium position, but J.T. Stotts, our area scout, was very vocal about wanting this guy and feeling like his swing was going to play at the next level. And Dusty’s put up excellent numbers in what is typically a tough hitting environment, between the cold weather there in April and May and some tough parks to hit in. But he has been their most consistent offensive performer.

AF: Is there anyone I didn’t bring up who’s prominent on your radar screen and particularly worth mentioning from your point of view?

DF: Nope, you were pretty thorough. I think you’ve covered just about everyone who’s doing all right so far.

AF: Well, hopefully everyone who’s on your radar screen is on A’s Farm’s radar screen!

 

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!

 

Wednesday, May 16th: Hounds Win as Bees Lose 5th Straight and Ports Snap 16-Game Skid

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Stockton Ports first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones (3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Frisco RoughRiders    1

Midland RockHounds  7

(WP – Barham 1-0 / 1.08)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Murphy Smith

(7 1/3 IP / 1 ER / 3 K)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Murphy Smith had another solid outing for the RockHounds, allowing just 1 run over 7 1/3 innings of work. Designated hitter and leadoff man Conner Crumbliss had a big night at the plate with 3 hits, including 2 doubles, and he also drove in 3 runs in the RockHounds win.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports      5

Bakersfield Blaze  4

(WP – Thornton 2-0 / 6.00)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones

(3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: The Ports finally snapped their 16-game losing streak on Wednesday night. Hot-hitting first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones hit his 8th home run to tie the game in the 8th inning and then singled in the game-winning run in the 9th. Catcher Max Stassi also homered to briefly give the Ports the lead in the 4th. Right-hander Zach Thornton earned the win with 2 scoreless innings of relief.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees                  4

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers  5

(LP – Frankoff 0-2 / 2.30)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Shortstop Sean Jamieson

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: The Bees lost their 5th straight on Wednesday. Shortstop Sean Jamieson homered and drove in 2 runs in the loss. Starter Brent Powers allowed 4 runs, 3 earned, over 5 innings or work. Right-hander Seth Frankoff came on to toss 4 1/3 innings in relief and only allowed 1 run but still took the loss.

 

Thursday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Albuquerque – 5:35pm PT

(TBD vs. TBD)

Frisco @ Midland – 7:00pm CT

(Murphy vs. Daley)

Stockton @ Modesto – 7:05pm PT

(TBD vs. TBD)

Burlington @ Wisconsin – 6:35pm CT

(Alcantara vs. Miller)

 

 

Exclusive: A’s Assistant GM David Forst Gives the Lowdown on Off-Season Acquisitions and A’s Top Prospects – Part 1

David Forst: The future’s so bright he’s gotta wear shades

Now that we’re almost a month and a half into the season, it seems like a good time to reflect on the A’s big off-season moves and try to get a read on how all those new acquisitions have panned out. Of the ten players the A’s acquired in their three big deals with Arizona (for right-hander Trevor Cahill), with Washington (for left-hander Gio Gonzalez), and with Boston (for reliever Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney), five of those players are currently on the major league roster, two are playing at Triple-A, and three are in Class-A. And we decided to get the lowdown on all these players from someone who’s got his finger on the pulse of not only the A’s major league roster but of all the minor teams as well – A’s assistant general manager David Forst.

Forst grew up in southern California, captained the Harvard University baseball team, and played independent ball in the Frontier League before landing an entry level position in the A’s baseball operations department in January of 2000. He’s currently in his ninth season as the A’s assistant general manager and general manager Billy Beane has entrusted him with a broad range of responsibilities that cover just about every aspect of the organization. So he’s the perfect man to give us the inside scoop not only on last off-season’s key acquisitions but also on all the top prospects down on the farm. So without any further ado, let’s go to the tape…

AF: Well, I know the amateur draft is coming up next month. So are you spending a lot of your time prepping for the draft at this point?

DF: I’m actually on the road probably two or three days a week now, but I’m discussing it a lot more than that with (scouting director) Eric Kubota and the guys in the office. The draft is sort of the top of our list right now.

AF: Well you’ve got a lot of high picks this year.

DF: Yeah, we have two comp picks and then an extra second round pick as well.

Jarrod Parker

AF: I wanted to start out getting your take on the players the A’s acquired in all the big off-season deals now that you’ve had a chance to see them up close. So let’s start with the guys you got from Arizona in the Trevor Cahill trade. And obviously the key guy for you in that deal was former first-round draft pick Jarrod Parker, who’s already in the major league rotation for you.

DF: Jarrod’s come a long way just from the beginning of spring training. We knew when we traded for him that the further he got away from that surgery, the more he was going to resemble the prospect that everybody had in the top ten in the game. The second half in Double-A last year, he was getting better – he obviously was good enough for the Diamondbacks to call him up – and we’ve sort of seen that progress continue before our eyes. He had a nice spring training, but he certainly didn’t dominate. In fact, he made one start at the end where he was very disappointing. But he quickly made some adjustments in Triple-A. I think he made four starts down there at Triple-A. His command was better and his stuff was consistently good. We knew we were going to need a fifth starter, and it was the right time to give him an opportunity here. And he’s been outstanding up here. He’s shown no fear here in his first sort of regular stint in the big leagues, and he’s thrown strikes – which are really the two things that you worry about with a young kid coming into this environment, and he’s been outstanding.

AF: And I think he’s got a lower ERA than Trevor Cahill at this point too.

DF: Well, you try not to make that direct comparison. These trades are made for the long haul. But we’re happy with what Jarrod’s given us at the big league level.

Ryan Cook

AF: The other pitcher involved in that deal was reliever Ryan Cook, who’s turned out to be a big part of the A’s bullpen.

DF: Well, I can’t say I expected him to start out with 16 scoreless innings to begin the year, but Ryan’s been phenomenal. We saw a lot of him last year in the minor leagues. We discussed him at the deadline when we made the Brad Ziegler deal, so we had pretty good information on Ryan. In fact, when we made the deal, (Arizona GM) Kevin Towers was very reluctant to part with him. That was sort of the last piece that fell into place for us. We thought we had a good young pitcher on our hands, and he has answered every challenge so far. I think when you look at his stuff and what he’s been able to do in the eighth inning, he’s a guy you can project to be at the back of the bullpen for a long time.

AF: When you look at what he’s done so far, I assume you’ve got to see a potential future closer out there.

DF: Yeah, it’s something we’ve discussed. You never know how guys react until they’re actually there and have to get the last three outs. But just from a pure stuff standpoint, we certainly think Ryan has the potential to do it down the road.

AF: The other guy in that deal was outfielder Collin Cowgill, who is back up with the A’s now. He obviously had great numbers in Triple-A last year. But what do you think of what you’ve seen of him so far?

Collin Cowgill

DF: Collin’s been exactly what we expected. He had a great spring training and made our club out of the gate. Unfortunately, there just weren’t enough at bats for him with the glut of outfielders we had. But he’s come as advertised – he plays the game hard, he’s aggressive, he’s smart in the outfield. I think this guy has a chance, when things sort of shake out, to start in the outfield for us here in the big leagues.

AF: How do you feel about his ability to play center field?

DF: He’s been one of our better guys in center field. Obviously, when Yoenis Cespedes went down, after Coco Crisp having already gone on the disabled list, and we were looking for someone, we called Collin up because we knew he had that skill.

AF: I remember Billy Beane telling me in the spring that you can never have too many guys who are capable of playing center field, and it looks like that’s played out very quickly for you this year.

DF: For sure, not everybody can do it for whatever reason. And we’ve hammered through our depth in that spot pretty quickly.

AF: The next big off-season trade was the one with Washington for Gio Gonzalez. One of those four guys you got in that deal is in the major leagues right now, and that’s Tommy Milone.

Tommy Milone

DF: Well, we knew Tommy was advanced as far as prospects go. And we knew it wouldn’t be long till he was in the big leagues just because when you look at the line he put up last year – you can’t walk 16 guys in a full Triple-A season without really knowing what you’re doing as a pitcher. When we made that deal, he was sort of painted as the fourth guy, and even as the potential throw-in by some outlets. But we knew he had the best chance to impact our major league team right away just because he really had nothing left to prove at Triple-A. And he’s been excellent. It’s no secret he doesn’t have overwhelming stuff or a plus fastball or whatever, but he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. And he’s basically had seven quality starts, a couple of rough ones in the middle, but even in those, he still made some progress and has sort of fit nicely in the middle of our rotation.

AF: I was talking to Anthony Recker in spring training about Milone. And he said that his command was so good that he’s always able to put his pitches where he wants and at least execute the game plan.

DF: For sure, yeah, he’s fun to watch for that reason. You know when he does miss, he meant to miss and it’s for a reason. And I can understand why Recker said that. From a catcher’s standpoint, he’s exactly the kind of guy you want to work with.

AF: And I think he actually has one more win that Gio does at this point.

DF: Well, Gio’s having himself a pretty good year. I’m sure Washington’s very happy with him.

Brad Peacock

AF: Another pitcher who came over in that deal was Brad Peacock. He had a bit of a rough spring and isn’t currently on the major league roster, but he’s been pitching very well at Sacramento so far this year.

DF: Yeah, like you said, much like Jarrod, he didn’t exactly dominate in the spring. But he has gone down to Triple-A and pitched well. He just hasn’t quite gotten that consistency together. He’ll put together two good starts in a row then hit a little bit of a speed bump. But overall, his numbers are good. His ERA’s in the mid-threes and he’s striking out almost one an inning. So for us, watching Brad every time out, you want to see a guy put together four, five, six good starts in a row before you feel pretty good about having him here. And I imagine that time is probably not that far off.

AF: Another guy in that deal who’s currently at Sacramento is catcher Derek Norris. He’s been hitting close to .300 for most of the year. I’m not sure how he’s been looking behind the plate, but his numbers sure have been looking good.

Derek Norris

DF: Derek has sort of turned his offensive numbers on their head a bit. The knock on him was that he couldn’t hit for average, all he did was walk.  I think he got all the way through three or four weeks of the season before getting his third walk of the year, but he was hitting like .360 at the time. And he got raves from the coaching staff from day one on how he handled pitchers and his receiving skills. His throwing numbers have never been in question. He’s always been one of the best guys in the minor leagues as far as throwing out baserunners. He’s in a little bit of a funk right now. I think his average has dropped below .300 for the first time this year. But we couldn’t be happier with his progress on both sides of the ball. He just turned 23 years old and he’s just getting his first taste of Triple-A and he’s hitting close to .300 most of the season and catching every day. We feel very good about Derek.

AF: Do you view him as being major league ready at this stage of the game?

DF: Yeah, I mean you always like a guy to get as much experience in Triple-A as possible, particularly for a catcher, who has to handle a game plan at the highest level and still bring his offense along with him. So if we were in an emergency situation, I think we could feel comfortable with Derek catching everyday up here, which is a good feeling. But it’s also nice to have the luxury of having two guys up here with experience and knowing that you can have him spend time in Triple-A and not lose anything.

A.J. Cole

AF: The final piece of that deal was A.J. Cole, who a lot of folks really considered the top prospect of the bunch and were very excited about. But he’s really been struggling at Stockton so far this year.

DF: Well, yeah, he obviously hasn’t performed how anyone would hope. I know A.J. himself is frustrated. And I’ve spent some time talking with (minor league pitching coordinator) Gil Patterson and (director of player development) Keith Lieppman over the last couple weeks about A.J. to make sure we get a good read on what’s going on. His stuff continues to be outstanding. His fastball tops out at 95 mph almost every time out. Gil saw him pitch just the other day and said his secondary pitches were good. Just for whatever reason right now, he’s getting hit, and it’s pretty consistently every time out. We have actually spent some time talking about the best thing for A.J. – whether that’s heading back to the Midwest League or getting some time off from the rotation, something just to make sure he gets some success under his belt. But the good thing is he’s healthy and his stuff is good. We just need to make some adjustments and get him back on track as far as results are concerned.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of A’s Farm’s exclusive interview with A’s assistant general manager David Forst, in which he gives us the lowdown on Josh Reddick, Miles Head, Michael Choice, Sonny Gray and more top A’s prospects.

Tuesday, May 15th: Cats Win, Hounds & Bees Fall as Ports Drop 2 to Run Skid to 16

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats pitcher Bruce Billings (6 IP / 2 ER / 6 K / Win)

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Iowa Cubs                     4

Sacramento River Cats  9

(WP – Billings 3-1 / 2.36)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Bruce Billings

(6 IP / 2 ER / 6 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Bruce Billings had another solid outing for the River Cats on Tuesday, allowing 2 runs over 6 innings to earn his 3rd win. Outfielder Grant Green had 2 hits and drove in 3 runs, and shortstop Adam Rosales drove in 3 as well.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Frisco RoughRiders    5

Midland RockHounds  4

(LP – Hernandez 0-1 / 9.00)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Anthony Aliotti

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: First baseman Anthony Aliotti hit a 2-run homer, outfielder Michael Choice hit a solo shot, his 3rd home run of the season, and outfielder Jeremy Barfield continued his hot-hitting, going 3 for 3 to raise his average to .320. Starter Shawn Haviland tossed 3 scoreless innings before giving way to left-hander Carlos Hernandez, who gave up 5 runs in 2 innings to take the loss.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports     1

Bakersfield Blaze  2

(LP – Guzman 2-2 / 2.66)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Jacob Brown

(5 IP / 1 ER / 8 K)

 

 

Worth Noting: The Ports dropped the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader to run their losing streak to 15 games. Starter Jacob Brown had a solid outing, allowing just 1 run and striking out 8 over 5 innings of work. Infielder Miles Head and outfielder Myrio Richard collected 2 hits apiece in the loss.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports     1

Bakersfield Blaze  6

(LP – Krol 0-3 / 5.91)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones

(Home Run / RBI)

 

 

Worth Noting: The Ports only managed 2 hits in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader and ran their epic losing streak to 16 games. First baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones homered for Stockton’s only run, and starter Ian Krol allowed 5 runs, only 1 of which was earned, over 4 innings to run his record to 0-3.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees  0

Peoria Chiefs      2

(LP – Granier 5-2 / 2.00)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Drew Granier

(7 IP / 1 ER / 6 K)

 

 

Worth Noting: The Bees were shut out by Peoriaon Tuesday, managing only 5 hits in the loss. Starter Drew Granier turned in another solid effort, allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, over 7 innings, but still took his 2nd loss against 5 wins.

 

Wednesday’s Games:

Frisco @ Midland – 6:30pm CT

(Brigham vs. Smith)

Stockton @ Bakersfield – 7:30pm PT

(TBD vs. TBD)

Burlington @ Wisconsin – 6:35pm CT

(Powers vs. Moye)

 

 

Monday, May 14th: Hounds Win, Cats and Bees Fall as Ports Lose 14th Straight

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Midland RockHounds outfielder Jeremy Barfield (2 for 4 / Home Run / 1 RBI / 3 Runs)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Iowa Cubs                     3

Sacramento River Cats  1

(LP – Banwart 3-2 / 5.48)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Infielder Luke Hughes

(Double / RBI)

 

 

Worth Noting: The River Cats managed only 4 hits against the Iowa Cubs on Monday. Infielder Luke Hughes doubled in Sacramento’s only run, Derek Norris, Brandon Moss and Brandon Hicks collected the Cats other hits, and starter Travis Banwart allowed 3 runs over 6 innings to run his record to 3-2.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Frisco RoughRiders    5

Midland RockHounds  6

(WP – Ortiz 2-1 / 1.32)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Jeremy Barfield

(2 for 4 / Home Run / 1 RBI / 3 Runs)

 

 

Worth Noting: The RockHounds came back in the 9th inning against Frisco on Monday to snap their 6-game losing streak. Outfielder Shane Peterson, who had been 0 for 4 in the game, singled in the game-winning run. Outfielder Jeremy Barfield, who’s been the team’s hottest hitter of late, had 2 hits, including a home run, and crossed the plate 3 times. Starter Sonny Gray allowed 2 runs over 4 2/3 innings of work, and right-hander Jonathan Ortiz picked up the win with 1 inning of scoreless relief.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports       6

Bakersfield Blaze  11

(LP – Walz 2-3 / 3.43)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: The Ports ran their epic losing streak to 14 games on Monday. They actually managed to tie the game in the top of the 6th inning, but then proceeded to give up a run in the bottom of the 6th, and another 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th. First baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones’ 3-run homer was the big blow for the Ports in the 6th. Infielder Miles Head collected 2 hits in his return to the lineup after a personal absence. Starter T.J. Walz allowed 5 runs over 5 2/3 innings to take the loss.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees  1

Peoria Chiefs      2

(LP – Kilcrease 1-1 / 2.00)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Jonathan Joseph

(5 IP / 1 ER / 5 K)

 

 

Worth Noting: Burlington got a solid outing from starter Jonathan Joseph, who allowed just 1 run over 5 innings of work. Unfortunately, the Bees couldn’t muster much offense themselves. Outfielder Eliezer Mesa collected 2 hits, and third baseman B.A. Vollmuth singled in the Bees’ only run.

 

Tuesday’s Games:

Iowa @ Sacramento – 12:05pm PT

(Wells vs. Billings)

Frisco @ Midland – 11:00am CT

(Loux vs. Haviland)

Game #1 – Stockton @ Bakersfield  – 3:00pm PT

(TBD vs. TBD)

Game #2 – Stockton @ Bakersfield

(TBD vs. TBD)

Burlington @ Peoria – 11:00am CT

(Granier vs. Concepcion)

 

 

Sunday, May 13th: Cats and Bees Fall as Hounds Lose 6th Straight

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats outfielder Michael Taylor (2 for 2 / Double / 2 Walks / Stolen Base)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Iowa Cubs                     4

Sacramento River Cats  3

(LP – Griffin 0-1 / 4.50)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Michael Taylor

(2 for 2 / Double / 2 Walks / Stolen Base)

 

 

Worth Noting: Outfielder Michael Taylor has picked up where he left off when the River Cats’ hottest hitter was promoted by the A’s a little over a week ago. He collected 2 hits on Sunday, raising his average to .360, infielders Luke Hughes, Stephen Parker and Adam Rosales each drove in a run in the loss, and right-hander A.J. Griffin, making his first start since his promotion from Midland, allowed 3 runs in 6 innings of work to take the loss.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Midland RockHounds   4

San Antonio Missions  7

(LP – Straily 1-4 / 4.37)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Jeremy Barfield

(Double / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: The RockHounds lost their 6th straight on Sunday. Outfielder Jeremy Barfield drove in 2 runs for the RockHounds, and first baseman Michael Spina and second baseman Tyler Ladendorf drove in a run apiece. Starter Daniel Straily had his shakiest outing of the season, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits over 5 innings to take his 4th loss.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees  3

Peoria Chiefs      5

(LP – Murphy 3-3 / 1.27)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Sean Murphy

(6 IP / 1 ER / 5 K)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Sean Murphy had another solid outing, allowing just 1 run and striking out 5 over 6 innings of work, but the Bees were unable to push a run across the plate before his exit. They did eventually score 3 runs over the final 2 innings, the biggest blow being a 2-run single off the bat of third baseman B.A. Vollmuth in the 9th that still left the Bees 2 runs short.

 

Monday’s Games:

Iowa @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

(Lopez vs. Banwart)

Frisco @ Midland – 6:30pm CT

(Pimentel vs. TBD)

Stockton @ Bakersfield – 7:30pm PT

(TBD vs. French)

Burlington @ Peoria – 6:30pm CT

(Joseph vs. Burke)

 

Today’s Links: 

A’s Farm’s Weekly Minor League Update on A’s Nation

Sacramento River Cats Complete Season Stats

Midland RockHounds Complete Season Stats

Stockton Ports Complete Season Stats

Burlington Bees Complete Season Stats

 

 

Saturday, May 12th: Cats Win, Hounds and Bees Fall as Ports Lose 13th Straight

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats outfielder Grant Green (3 for 5 / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Iowa Cubs                     3

Sacramento River Cats  4

(WP – Scribner 1-0 / 3.32)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Grant Green

(3 for 5 / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Outfielder Grant Green drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning for the River Cats on Saturday night. Designated hitter Chris Carter and shortstop Adam Rosales both doubled, and catcher Derek Norris drove in 2 runs in the win. Starter Graham Godfrey allowed 3 runs over 6 innings to raise his ERA to 1.38, and right-hander Evan Scribner struck out 3 in 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Midland RockHounds   5

San Antonio Missions  8

(LP – Daley 4-2 / 4.58)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Jeremy Barfield

(3 for 5 / 2 Doubles / 1 RBI)

 

 

Worth Noting: The RockHounds lost their 5th in a row on Saturday. Outfielders Jeremy Barfield and Michael Choice contributed 3 hits apiece, and outfielder Conner Crumbliss and shortstop Dusty Coleman both homered in the loss. Starter Gary Daley had his roughest outing of the season, allowing 6 runs, 5 earned, over just 3 innings of work to take his 2nd loss against 4 wins.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Modesto Nuts  13

Stockton Ports  2

(LP – Cole 0-6 / 7.15)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Myrio Richard

(2 for 4 / 1 RBI)

 

 

Worth Noting: Stockton’s losing streak reached an unlucky 13 on Saturday. Outfielder Myrio Richard had 2 hits and drove in 1 of the Ports’ 2 runs but was also picked off 1st base. Starter A.J. Cole had the worst of many shaky outings this year, allowing 7 runs on 10 hits over just 4 innings of work to run his record to 0-6.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees  1

Peoria Chiefs      2

(LP – Alcantara 2-4 / 4.41)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Seth Frankoff

(3 2/3 / 0 ER / 1 K)

 

Worth Noting: The Bees were held to just 3 hits on Saturday. Starter Raul Alcantara walked 7 and allowed 2 unearned runs over 4 1/3 innings to take the loss. With the Bees down just 2 runs, right-hander Seth Frankoff came on in the 5th inning and tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings to keep his team in the game, but the Bees could only push 1 run across the plate in the game.

 

Sunday’s Games:

Iowa @ Sacramento – 1:05pm PT

(Rusin vs. Banwart)

Midland @ San Antonio – 4:05pm CT

(TBD vs. Erlin)

Burlington @ Peoria – 2:00pm CT

(Murphy vs. Rosario)

 

 

Friday, May 11th: Bees Win, Cats Lose and Hounds Drop 2 as Ports’ Skid Hits 12

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Burlington Bees catcher Nick Rickles (Grand Slam)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Omaha Storm Chasers  7

Sacramento River Cats  1

(LP – Castro 1-4 / 6.19)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Infielder Stephen Parker

(2 for 4 / Double / RBI)

 

 

Worth Noting: Omaha snapped the River Cats’ 4-game winning streak on Friday, holding Sacramento to just 7 hits. Third baseman Stephen Parker, serving as the designated hitter for the day, had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in the River Cats’ only run. Infielder Luke Hughes and outfielder Jermaine Mitchell each doubled as well. Starter Fabio Castro has another rough outing, allowing 4 runs over 6 innings to run his record to 1-4. The River Cats rotation will be receiving some help with the promotion of starter A.J. Griffin from Midland. Right-hander Jim Miller will be returning to the River Cats bullpen, with Andrew Carignan being recalled by the A’s. And one of Sacramento’s hottest hitters this season, Michael Taylor will be returning to the River Cats lineup, with Collin Cowgill being recalled by the big club.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

GAME #1

Midland RockHounds   2

San Antonio Missions  3

(LP – Haviland 1-3 / 6.29)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Michael Choice

(Home Run / RBI)

 

 

Worth Noting: Outfielder Michael Choice notched his 2nd home run of the season, but it wasn’t enough for Midland in the 1st game of Friday’s doubleheader. Starter Shawn Haviland allowed 3 runs over 4 innings to take his 3rd loss.

 

GAME #2

Midland RockHounds   5

San Antonio Missions  6

(LP – Ortiz 1-1 / 1.42)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Conner Crumbliss

(3 Walks / 4 Stolen Bases / 2 Runs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Outfielder Conner Crumbliss ran San Antonio ragged in the 2nd game of Friday’s doubleheader. The speedy outfielder reached base 3 out of 4 times, stole 4 bases, and crossed the plate twice. Outfielder Michael Choice drove in 2 runs, and catcher Ryan Lipkin doubled and drove in a run for the Rock Hounds. Starter Murphy Smith allowed 4 runs over 4 2/3 innings, and left-hander Sean Doolittle struck out all 3 batters he faced in 1 inning of work.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Modesto Nuts   5

Stockton Ports  1

(LP – Treinen 2-4 / 4.50)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones

(2 for 3 / Home Run / RBI)

 

 

Worth Noting: Stockton’s losing streak hit 12 on Friday, and the team has now lost 17 of its last 18 games. First baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones homered in the 2nd inning for the Ports’ only run, and starter Blake Treinen allowed 3 runs over 6 innings to earn his 4th loss.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Cedar Rapids Kernels  8

Burlington Bees          12

(WP – Powers 3-2 / 4.84)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Nick Rickles

(Grand Slam)

 

 

Worth Noting: Catcher Nick Rickles clubbed a grand slam in the 5th inning to give the Bees the lead, third baseman B.A. Vollmuth and first baseman Doug Landaeta both homered and drove in 3 runs, and outfielder Royce Consigli homered and drove in 2. Starter Jose Macias, allowed 6 runs, 5 earned, over 4 innings of work, but left-hander Brent Powers came on to toss 4 innings in relief to earn his 3rd win.

 

Saturday’s Games:

Iowa @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

(Coleman vs. Godfrey)

Midland @ San Antonio – 7:05pm CT

(TBD vs. TBD)

Modesto @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT

(TBD vs. TBD)

Burlington @ Peoria – 6:30pm CT

(Alcantara vs. Francescon)

 

 

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