Thursday is opening night for the Sacramento Rivercats, along with the rest of the A’s minor league affiliates. And A’s Farm will be providing updates on all the games as well as the top prospects throughout the season. So be sure to check back daily to follow the progress of all the future A’s down on the farm!
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The opening day roster for the A’s Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League, the Sacramento Rivercats, hadn’t been officially announced as of Wednesday night. But with a few exceptions, it’s pretty clear how the Rivercats’ roster will shape up.
The Rivercats are likely to start the season with 13 pitchers, including top prospects Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock, as well as right-hander Tyson Ross until he’s needed as the A’s fifth starter in mid-April. The offense will include five outfielders led by promising sluggers Jermaine Mitchell and Grant Green, five infielders anchored by first baseman Chris Carter and third baseman Stephen Parker, and a catching corps led by top catching prospect Derek Norris.
The Rivercats’ regular lineup is likely to include Norris behind the plate – backed up by veteran minor leaguer Joel Galarraga – Carter, Wes Timmons, Adam Rosales and Parker around the horn in the infield – with minor league pickup Brandon Hicks backing them up – and Green, Mitchell, Michael Taylor and minor league veterans Brandon Moss and Jeff Fiorentino rotating in the outfield and in the designated hitter spot.
The Rivercats’ rotation will be made up of Ross, Parker and Peacock along with returning Rivercats Travis Banwart and Carlos Hernandez. Meanwhile, the bullpen will primarily be comprised of minor league veterans, all of whom will be at least 26 years old at the start of the season, and most of whom were signed as minor league free agents in the off-season.
You’ll find the Sacramento Rivercats’ likely roster, along with profiles of some of the team’s top players, below. And be sure to check back with A’s Farm throughout the season for daily updates on all the A’s minor league games and top prospects!
Probably the most talented of all the A’s young pitching acquisitions this off-season, Parker was a first-round draft pick in 2007 who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and ended up missing all of the 2010 season. He returned to Double-A Mobile in 2011 and turned in a 3.79 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 112 in 130 2/3 innings. After earning a late-season call-up with the Diamondbacks, he gave up no runs in his only major league start. Parker should eventually end up as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for the A’s, but he could benefit from a little more seasoning at Sacramento this year.
Of all the young hurlers the A’s acquired this off-season who pitched above Single-A last year, Peacock had the lowest ERA and the best strikeout rate of them all, turning in a stellar 2.39 ERA and striking out 177 in 146 2/3 innings between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg last year. He earned a late-season call-up with the Nationals and gave up only 1 run in 12 innings of major league action. The Florida native seems to be a smart pitcher who’s figured out what it takes to win, and it’d be surprising if he didn’t get a chance to be pitching in the majors before the season’s through.
The only hitter the A’s acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals, Norris certainly fits the A’s mold in that he’s a power hitter who has a propensity for drawing walks. His career minor league OBP of .403 no doubt got the A’s attention. But while he slugged 20 home runs at Double-A Harrisburg last season, he managed to hit only .210. If he can just keep his average above the Mendoza line, Norris could serve to bridge the gap between Kurt Suzuki and young catching prospect Max Stassi.
Acquired in the Dan Haren deal with the Diamondbacks, it was originally hoped that the slugging first baseman would be anchoring the heart of the A’s lineup by now. He’s put up big power numbers in the minors, clubbing 31 home runs at Triple-A Sacramento in 2010 and posting a career minor league slugging percentage of .540. But Carter will have to take the opportunity to open some eyes and really show the A’s what he can do at Sacramento in 2012.
Along with Carter, Taylor had lots of expectations thrust upon him as soon as the A’s managed to pry him away from Philadelphia. And while the 6’5” outfielder put up stellar numbers in the Phillies system, his progress has stagnated a bit since coming to the A’s. But Taylor does still have a .296/.371/.476 career minor league slash line along with some good tools. At 26 though, 2012 may be his last real opportunity to show the A’s just what’s he’s capable of.
Green was originally selected by the A’s in the first round of the 2009 draft as a shortstop but has since been moved to the outfield. Midway through the 2011 season, Green took over in center field for Double-A Midland, where he turned in a .291/.343/.408 slash line. But his home run numbers dipped from 20 at Class-A Stockton in the 2010 season down to just 9 last year. His plate discipline has been an issue too, as he’s struck out three times as often as he’s walked in his minor league career. Still, he hits the ball hard and Green could earn a shot in the A’s outfield before long.
A six-year minor league veteran, Mitchell finally put it all together in 2011. The outfielder hit .332 with 29 doubles, 16 triples, 15 homers, and 27 stolen bases in 536 at bats between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento last season. He also posted an impressive .430 on-base percentage to go along with a .530 slugging percentage. The A’s brass thinks this talented player may have finally figured it all out and will be looking to his performance this year at Sacramento to determine whether or not he’s truly got what it takes.
-SACRAMENTO RIVERCATS LIKELY 2012 ROSTER-
Evan Scribner or Travis Schlichting
Be sure to check back with A’s Farm throughout the season for daily updates on all the A’s minor league games and top prospects
The opening day roster for the A’s Double-A affiliate in the Texas League, the Midland Rockhounds, was announced on Tuesday. And two of the A’s most recent first-round draft picks, right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray and slugging outfielder Michael Choice, will be the main attractions at Midland this season. Choice was the A’s first-round pick in 2010, and Gray was the team’s first-round pick last year.
The dynamic duo will be joined by the A’s 2007 first-round pick, right-handed pitcher James Simmons, who is attempting to fight his way back from injuries that caused him to miss all of the 2010 season and part of 2011. 2007’s second-round pick, infielder Josh Horton, will also be attempting to bounce back from injuries that limited him to just 27 games last year.
Other notable players on the Rockhounds roster this season include the Cardinals’ second-round pick from 2008, first baseman/outfielder Shane Peterson, and the A’s organization’s most frequent tweeter, outfielder Jeremy Barfield (@baseclogger), who drove in 72 runs for the Rockhounds last season.
But most Midland fans will be hoping that top prospects Choice and Gray can take the Rockhounds far this season before they get the chance to make their mark in Oakland. You’ll find the Midland Rockhounds’ complete roster, along with profiles of first-round draft picks Choice and Gray, below.
The A’s first-round draft pick in 2010, Choice has done little to disappoint since his signing. The 22-year-old hit 30 homers and posted a .285/.376/.542 slash line while playing center field for Class-A Stockton last year. His 134 strikeouts provide the only potential cause for concern. But he’s worked to shorten his swing and, as the best pure power hitter in the organization, the slugging outfielder should be able to quickly move up through an A’s system that’s not currently clogged with power-hitting outfielders.
The A’s first-round draft pick in 2011, Gray has already managed to log 5 starts at Double-A Midland, giving up just 1 run in 20 innings while striking out 18. The 5’11” right-hander has been compared to Tim Hudson in that while he’s not all that physically impressive, his confident, gritty and fearless attitude sets him apart from the competition. With a good fastball and curve, it shouldn’t take long for the tough 22-year-old to fight his way into the A’s starting rotation.
The opening day roster for the A’s Class-A affiliate in the California League, the Stockton Ports, was announced on Monday. The most intriguing prospects playing for the Ports this season will include left-handed pitching prospect Ian Krol, right-handed flame-thrower A.J. Cole, acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez deal, catching prospect Max Stassi, and slugging third baseman Miles Head, acquired from the Red Sox in the Andrew Bailey trade.
Other notable players on the Ports’ roster this season include right-handed pitching prospect Blake Hassebrock, who posted an impressive 2.64 ERA at Class-A Burlington last year, and former first-round draft pick Sean Doolittle, who’s attempting to convert to pitching after suffering a string of injuries while serving as a first baseman and outfielder.
You’ll find the Stockton Ports’ complete roster, along with profiles of some of the teams’ top players, below.
A top high school draft pick in 2010, the lanky, 6’4” Cole appears to be all arms and legs. But his right arm seems to have the power mesmerize mortal men, striking out batters at a rate of 10.9 per 9 innings over his short minor league career. Acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade, the Florida native could turn out to be the gem of the deal. Just 20 years old, Cole has plenty of upside and will be working to make the most of it at Stockton in 2012.
A coveted high school pitching prospect, Krol really opened some eyes in 2010 when he posted a 2.80 ERA while walking only 28 batters between Class-A Kane County and Stockton. Between injuries and a suspension due to inappropriate tweeting, 2011 ended up being a complete washout for Krol. But he’s now set to rebound at Stockton, where he finished off his impressive 2010 campaign.
An eighth-round draft pick out the University of North Carolina in 2010, Hassebrock was named a Midwest League All-Star in his first full year of pro ball. He posted an impressive 2.64 ERA while striking out 110 batters in 139 2/3 innings for Class-A Burlington, and the organization has high hopes of Hassebrock replicating his 2011 performance at Stockton in 2012.
Originally drafted by the A’s as a first baseman in the first round of the 2007 draft, injuries have limited his mobility and kept him completely off the field for the past two seasons, but he’s now looking to make his mark on the mound as a hard-throwing lefty. Doolittle was a successful college pitcher, so the pitcher’s mound isn’t completely new to him. And after throwing well in spring training, he’s looking to take the next step this season at Stockton.
Head is a talented young hitter whom the A’s targeted in the Bailey trade with Boston. Last year while playing in Class-A, he opened eyes by hitting .299 with 37 doubles and 22 HRs to go along with an .887 OPS. Originally drafted as a third baseman, he’s spent most of his time in the Red Sox system playing first base, but the A’s are planning to return him to third. And if he continues to hit at Stockton, there’s no reason Head shouldn’t be able to move up through the A’s system pretty quickly.
A top high school catching prospect, Stassi was viewed as an eventual replacement for Kurt Suzuki as soon as he was drafted by the A’s. Injuries have slowed his progress though and, since being drafted in June of 2009, Stassi’s accumulated fewer than 600 at bats in the A’s system. But the native northern Californian will have every chance to show what he can do both at the plate and behind the plate for Stockton in 2012.