A’s Farm’s 2015 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team

Matt Chapman

Third baseman Matt Chapman leads all A’s minor leaguers with 11 home runs for Stockton

With the California League and the Midwest League All-Star breaks taking place this week and all the minor league affiliates right around the halfway points of their seasons, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field have been in the A’s system in the first half of 2015. And with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2015 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Nashville, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton and Class-A Beloit. Offensive starters were selected from the players who’ve had the most games played at each position for each team, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers for each club were selected from hurlers who’ve had at least ten starts for their team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. Statistics listed are through games of Monday, June 22.

The asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system. Center fielder Brett Vertigan spent about a month with Beloit before being promoted to Stockton, while third baseman Jose Brizuela appeared in ten games with Stockton before joining Beloit. Right fielder Robert Martinez spent most of the season with Beloit before being sent to Vermont just a few days ago, and Midland’s Nate Long made one emergency start for Nashville.

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

 

–THE CANDIDATES–

 

CATCHER

Nashville – Bryan Anderson (2 HR / .192 AVG / .267 OBP / .297 SLG / .564 OPS)

Midland – Bruce Maxwell (1 HR / .244 AVG / .328 OBP / .297 SLG / .625 OPS)

Stockton – Beau Taylor (3 HR / .213 AVG / .332 OBP / .338 SLG / .669 OPS)

Beloit – Jose Chavez (0 HR / .158 AVG / .229 OBP / .192 SLG / .421 OPS)

 

FIRST BASE

Nashville – Anthony Aliotti (0 HR / .287 AVG / .361 OBP / .337 SLG / .698 OPS)

Midland – Matt Olson (8 HR / .217 AVG / .383 OBP / .391 SLG / .775 OPS)

Stockton – John Nogowski (1 HR / .264 AVG / .355 OBP / .338 SLG / .693 OPS)

Beloit – Max Kuhn (3 HR / .199 AVG / .286 OBP / .290 SLG / .576 OPS)

 

SECOND BASE

Nashville – Joey Wendle (5 HR / .258 AVG / .306 OBP / .406 SLG / .712 OPS)

Midland – Colin Walsh (8 HR / .299 AVG / .425 OBP / .494 SLG / .919 OPS)

Stockton – Branden Cogswell (2 HR / .262 AVG / .358 OBP / .344 SLG / .702 OPS)

Beloit – Trent Gilbert (4 HR / .306 AVG / .342 OBP / .426 SLG / .768 OPS)

 

SHORTSTOP

Nashville – Andy Parrino (4 HR / .271 AVG / .366 OBP / .429 SLG / .795 OPS)

Midland – Chad Pinder (7 HR / .300 AVG / .364 OBP / .457 SLG / .822 OPS)

Stockton – Franklin Barreto (6 HR / .271 AVG / .310 OBP / .432 SLG / .743 OPS)

Beloit – Yairo Munoz (7 HR / .250 AVG / .280 OBP / .381 SLG / .660 OPS)

 

THIRD BASE

Nashville – Ryan Roberts (1 HR / .285 AVG / .344 OBP / .389 SLG / .733 OPS)

Midland – Ryon Healy (5 HR / .274 AVG / .324 OBP / .383 SLG / .708 OPS)

Stockton – Matt Chapman (11 HR / .244 AVG / .328 OBP / .544 SLG / .872 OPS)

Beloit – Jose Brizuela (4 HR / .196 AVG / .311 OBP / .321 SLG / .633 OPS) *

 

LEFT FIELD

Nashville – Jason Pridie (8 HR / .305 AVG / .358 OBP / .474 SLG / .832 OPS)

Midland – Jaycob Brugman (2 HR / .274 AVG / .331 OBP / .402 SLG / .733 OPS)

Stockton – B.J. Boyd (4 HR / .283 AVG / .347 OBP / .411 SLG / .758 OPS)

Beloit – Joe Bennie (3 HR / .252 AVG / .356 OBP / .374 SLG / .729 OPS)

 

CENTER FIELD

Nashville – Craig Gentry (2 HR / .240 AVG / .315 OBP / .326 SLG / .640 OPS)

Midland – Chad Oberacker (4 HR / .302 AVG / .363 OBP / .458 SLG / .820 OPS)

Stockton – Brett Vertigan (3 HR / .322 AVG / .408 OBP / .443 SLG / .851 OPS) *

Beloit – James Harris (4 HR / .250 AVG / .365 OBP / .408 SLG / .773 OPS)

 

RIGHT FIELD

Nashville – Kent Matthes (2 HR / .233 AVG / .294 OBP / .358 SLG / .652 OPS)

Midland – Josh Whitaker (7 HR / .280 AVG / .320 OBP / .518 SLG / .838 OPS)

Stockton – Tyler Marincov (7 HR / .258 AVG / .331 OBP / .405 SLG / .736 OPS)

Beloit – Robert Martinez (3 HR / .184 AVG / .262 OBP / .293 SLG / .555 OPS) *

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Nashville – Alden Carrithers (1 HR / .286 AVG / .379 OBP / .344 SLG / .723 OPS)

Midland – Renato Nunez (9 HR / .228 AVG / .304 OBP / .413 SLG / .717 OPS)

Stockton – Michael Soto (5 HR / .265 AVG / .328 OBP / .399 SLG / .727 OPS)

Beloit – Sandber Pimentel (10 HR / .258 AVG / .340 OBP / .447 SLG / .787 OPS)

 

STARTING PITCHER

Nashville – Brad Mills (73 1/3 IP / 68 H / 29 ER / 31 BB / 54 K / 3.56 ERA / 1.35 WHIP)

Midland – Nate Long (83 IP / 70 H / 25 ER / 29 BB / 68 K / 2.71 ERA / 1.19 WHIP) *

Stockton – Dylan Covey (79 2/3 IP / 69 H / 28 ER / 26 BB / 55 K / 3.16 ERA / 1.19 WHIP)

Beloit – Brett Graves (72 2/3 IP / 78 H / 37 ER / 27 BB / 39 K / 4.58 ERA / 1.45 WHIP)

 

CLOSER

Nashville – Ryan Cook (20 2/3 IP / 13 H / 6 ER / 9 BB / 16 K / 2.61 ERA / 1.07 WHIP / 5 SV)

Midland – Ryan Dull (34 IP / 21 H / 1 ER / 9 BB / 39 K / 0.26 ERA / 0.88 WHIP / 6 SV)

Stockton – Brendan McCurry (32 2/3 IP / 27 H / 10 ER / 9 BB / 38 K / 2.76 ERA / 1.10 WHIP / 12 SV)

Beloit – Jose Torres (38 2/3 IP / 28 H / 15 ER / 13 BB / 42 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.06 WHIP / 5 SV)

 

Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2015 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

Monday, June 22nd: Dustin Driver Looks Sharp in Vermont’s 1st Victory while Rangel Ravelo Debuts with AZL A’s & Bobby Wahl Lands on DL for Hounds

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Dustin Driver (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 0 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Dustin Driver (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 0 K)

 

NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE  (Class-A Short-Season)

Aberdeen IronBirds           1

Vermont Lake Monsters  9

WP – Beasley 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Akau (1), Bolt (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Dustin Driver

(5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 0 K)

After experiencing a few ups and downs in his first four starts at Beloit, RHP Dustin Driver came out strong in his first start for Vermont, allowing just 1 unearned run on 2 hits and 2 walks over 5 innings of work, and he left with the game a 1-1 tie on Monday. LHP Derek Beasley tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win for the Lake Monsters. Catcher Iolana Akau and 4th-round center fielder Skye Bolt hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the 6th, while right fielder Shawn Duinkerk and 12th-round first baseman Chris Iriart both doubled and drove in a pair. 10th-round left fielder Steven Pallares reached base 4 times, on 3 hits and a walk, and 2nd-round shortstop Mikey White went 1 for 4 to collect his first hit in pro ball on Monday.

Check out highlights from the game, including Akau’s and Bolt’s homers, courtesy of WCAX in Burlington…
WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Click here for more on Midland & AZL A’s…

Sunday, June 21st: Matt Chapman’s 11th HR Helps Ports Win 9th Straight while A.J. Griffin Lands on DL & Sean Nolin Struggles as Sounds Drop 5th Straight

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Matt Chapman (Home Run / GWRBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Matt Chapman (Home Run / GWRBI)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Bakersfield Blaze  2

Stockton Ports    3

WP – Bracewell 3-1 / 3.08

HR – Chapman (11)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

(Home Run / GWRBI)

With the game tied in the bottom of the 8th, third baseman Matt Chapman smacked his 11th home run of the season, his 3rd in the last 3 days, to enable the Ports to win their ninth straight on Sunday. And Chapman’s 11th round-tripper also made him the A’s minor league home run leader, passing Beloit’s Sandber Pimentel with 10. Second baseman Branden Cogswell singled in the tying run in the 5th and walked twice, while center fielder Brett Vertigan doubled and drove in a run, and shortstop Melvin Mercedes had a pair of hits for the Ports. RHP Joel Seddon turned in another strong start for Stockton, allowing 2 runs on just 4 hits while walking none and striking out 6 over 6 innings of work, but he left with the game tied. RHPs Corey Walter, Ben Bracewell and Brendan McCurry each tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief, with Bracewell picking up his 3rd win and McCurry posting his 12th save for the Ports.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Beloit & Vermont…

Saturday, June 20th: Michael Soto Has Big Hit & Matt Chapman Hits 10th HR as Ports Win 8th Straight in a Walk-Off while AZL A’s Drop Opener and 25 Draft Picks Join A’s Affiliates

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Michael Soto (2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Michael Soto (2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Bakersfield Blaze  3

Stockton Ports    4

WP – Roberts 2-1 / 3.45

HR – Chapman (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Michael Soto

(2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

With two outs, a man on and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, first baseman Michael Soto doubled to drive in the winning run as the Ports won in a walk-off on Saturday to post their eighth straight victory. Soto also singled but was left stranded in the 7th, while third baseman Matt Chapman homered for the second straight night, hitting his 10th to tie him with Beloit’s Sandber Pimentel for most among A’s minor leaguers, and designated hitter John Nogowski singled in a run in the 3rd for Stockton. Starter Kyle Finnegan allowed 3 runs over 5 innings of work and left with the game tied, while RHPs Trevor Bayless and Sam Roberts each tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, with Roberts picking up his 2nd win for the Ports.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Friday, June 19th: Matt Chapman’s 9th HR Helps Ports Win 7th Straight while Nate Long Pitches Hounds to Victory & Vermont Drops Season Opener

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Matt Chapman (Home Run / 3 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Matt Chapman (HR / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Bakersfield Blaze  5

Stockton Ports    7

WP – Duran 2-0 / 5.27

HR – Chapman (9), Marincov (7), Vertigan (3)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

With two on, two outs and the game tied in the bottom of the 7th, third baseman Matt Chapman crushed a 3-run homer over the left field fence to provide the Ports with all they would need to win their seventh straight on Friday. Chapman’s 9 home runs now tie him for second-most in the A’s minor league system, even though he’s appeared in just 39 games after getting off to a late start this season due to a knee injury. Center fielder Brett Vertigan belted his 3rd home run in the 1st, while right fielder Tyler Marincov homered for the 7th time this season in the 2nd. Second baseman Melvin Mercedes drew a pair of walks and doubled in 2 runs, including the tying run, in the 7th, while shortstop Franklin Barreto singled and doubled for Stockton. Starter Dylan Covey was solid, allowing just 1 run while striking out 6 over 6 innings of work and left the game with a 1-run lead. But Sam Bragg gave up 3 unearned runs in the top of the 7th with the help of 3 errors by first baseman John Nogowski, catcher Nick Rickles and shortstop Franklin Barreto. LHP Omar Duran picked up the win despite giving up 1 run in 1 1/3 innings of relief, and RHP Ben Bracewell got the final four outs to post his 3rd save for the Ports.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Beloit & Vermont…

Thursday, June 18th: Chris Jensen Delivers Strong Start in Hounds Win while A.J. Griffin & Raul Alcantara Make Strides in Return from TJ Surgery

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Chris Jensen (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Chris Jensen (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

GAME #1

Midland RockHounds  4

San Antonio Missions    1

WP – Jensen 5-5 / 4.89

HR – Nunez (9), Blair (5)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Chris Jensen

(7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

RHP Chris Jensen turned in his second straight strong start for the RockHounds, allowing just 1 unearned run on 2 hits and striking out 7 over 7 innings of work to earn his 5th win, while RHP Tucker Healy tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief to post his 2nd save in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader at San Antonio. After enduring a rough patch where he gave up 23 earned runs over 4 starts, Jensen returned to form by allowing just 1 run in his previous outing last Friday and turned in an even more impressive performance on Thursday. But Midland still trailed 1-0 heading into the top of the 7th, when catcher Carson Blair blasted his 5th home run to tie the game. Designated hitter Renato Nunez then hit a 3-run homer in the 8th to provide the margin of victory for Midland. And Nunez is now second in home runs in the A’s minor league system, trailing only Beloit first baseman Sandber Pimentel, who has 10.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Wednesday, June 17th: Dillon Overton Is Solid as Stockton Wins 5th Straight and Craig Gentry Homers as Barry Zito Takes 6th Loss for Sounds

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dillon Overton (5 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 4 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports LHP Dillon Overton (5 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 4 K)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports         9

Lake Elsinore Storm  3

WP – Bragg 3-2 / 4.68

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Dillon Overton

(5 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 4 K)

After a couple of rare rough outings, LHP Dillon Overton returned to form on Wednesday for Stockton, allowing just 1 run while striking out 4 over 5 innings of work, but he left with the game a 1-1 tie. RHP Sam Bragg gave up 2 unearned runs, with the help of errors by shortstop Franklin Barreto and outfielder Tyler Marincov, in 2 innings of relief but still ended up picking up the win on Wednesday as the Ports won their fifth straight. Outfielder B.J. Boyd tripled and scored in the 3rd and doubled in a pair in the 8th, while shortstop Franklin Barreto doubled in the go-ahead run in the 7th and singled in another run in the 9th. Catcher Beau Taylor reached base 4 times, on 2 hits and 2 walks, and outfielder Brett Vertigan doubled in a pair in the 7th for the Ports.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

Get the Inside Scoop on Oakland’s Top 10 Draft Picks of 2015 from A’s Scouting Director Eric Kubota

A's scouting director Eric Kubota

A’s scouting director Eric Kubota

After selecting a good number of high school players over the past few years, the A’s returned to their old, familiar ways in this year’s draft, taking college players with nine of their top ten picks. The A’s took a pair of college shortstops with their top two selections. Top pick Richie Martin is a multi-talented, speedy, young shortstop out of Florida who’s still just 20 years old, while 21-year-old Mikey White is a solid-hitting shortstop out of Alabama.

The man responsible for overseeing the A’s efforts in the amateur draft is scouting director Eric Kubota. Kubota started out his career in the baseball world by interning for the A’s in the mid-‘80s and eventually served as the assistant director of scouting and the supervisor of international scouting before succeeding Grady Fuson as scouting director following his departure after the 2001 season.

In past years, we’ve talked with Kubota about top picks like Addison Russell in 2012, Billy McKinney in 2013 and Matt Chapman in 2014. And this year, we were eager to get his insights on #1 pick Richie Martin, as well as the rest of the A’s top ten picks of 2015.

When we spoke with Kubota, exactly one week after the start of this year’s draft, the A’s had signed eight of their top ten picks, with Richie Martin and Skye Bolt the only members of the top ten still remaining unsigned. Since then, although the A’s haven’t officially announced it, Jim Callis has reported that the A’s have come to terms with Bolt. Meanwhile, Martin’s signing will have to wait until he’s completed play in the College World Series.

 

AF:  Well, first of all, you guys took an awful lot of college players in this year’s draft – you only took five high school guys out of your forty picks. Was that just a function of the talent that was available or was there any other thinking involved there?

EK:  I think it was just more the way the draft pool was set. I think it was pretty well known that it was more of a college-heavy draft. So it certainly was not a conscious decision to necessarily take more college guys than high school guys.

AF:  Now your top pick Richie Martin, the shortstop out of Florida, was a college junior, but he’s young for a junior at just 20 years old. What was it about him that impressed you so much that you wanted to make him your 1st-round pick, and did his relatively young age help influence your thinking about him?

rmbrn_richie050513_10715444_8col2EK:  Yeah, his age definitely was a factor. He’s really less than two years older than some of the high school prospects we’re talking about and has three years of playing in the SEC, so it was certainly a factor. Richie’s a super athletic kid. He’s got outstanding defensive ability. He’s got the arm for the position, and we think the bat is ever improving. He performed very well with the bat in the Cape Cod League and in the SEC this year. We think he’s a very strong defensive shortstop, he can really run, and we think the bat is going to play in the major leagues.

AF:  What would you say his single best tool is?

EK:  His single best tool is probably his speed – he can really run – and just a little behind that would be his defensive ability.

AF:  So is there anyone you might compare him to?

EK:  Yeah, I thought about this because I know you always like to ask about it. For Richie, the guy he idolizes and the guy he does have some similarities to – I don’t want to say he is this person – but his idol is Derek Jeter, and there are a lot of parallels that you can make. I’m not saying he’s going to be Derek Jeter, but he has that kind of profile.

AF:  So let’s just say he’s Derek Jeter-ish!

EK:  I also thought a little bit about Barry Larkin, but I think Larkin probably has more power.

AF:  I remember Barry Larkin was always the comp for Addison Russell.

EK:  Yeah, that might end up being a pretty good comp.

AF:  With your 2nd-round pick, you went back to another college shortstop with Mikey White out of Alabama. He seems to have a pretty advanced bat at this stage of the game. There’s been some talk that maybe he profiles a little better as a second baseman. So tell me what you think about him with the bat and also what you think about him in the field.

MBAEK:  Yeah, he’s a very advanced hitter. He performed well in the SEC. Both he and Richie Martin, we’ve seen them since they were in high school. So he’s a guy we’ve seen a lot of over the years. Mikey’s always been able to hit. He’s got some strength. We think there’s power there that’s in play now and more power to develop. And from a defensive standpoint, we think, with his hands, he’ll be able to play shortstop in the major leagues.

AF:  So as far as you’re aware, the plan is to keep him at shortstop for the foreseeable future?

EK:  Yep, you’re going to see both those guys at shortstop.

AF:  And who would you compare him to?

EK:  For Mikey White, I thought he’s kind of like a Rich Aurilia type at shortstop – a very steady defender at shortstop with some power.

AF:  Now with your 3rd-round pick, you took your only high school player in the top ten rounds, Dakota Chalmers, the tall right-hander out of Georgia. So tell me what it was that made you want to make him your first high school pick of the draft?

EK:  When we evaluated Dakota, it was as a near 1st-round pick – that was our evaluation of him. He’s another guy we’ve seen a lot of over the summer and through the spring. We’ve seen him up to 95-96 mph, and we think he’s got a plus curveball – a strikeout, out-pitch type of curveball – and really an advanced feel for the changeup for a high school kid. So his stuff is top notch, and we think there’s physical projection left for him. Like I said, he was a guy going into the draft that we kind of saw as a near 1st-round type of guy.

dc_MG_8530_resize2AF:  I’d heard that a lot of people looked at him that way. Is there any particular reason you think he ended up falling to you in the 3rd round?

EK:  It’s hard to say. There are lots of different factors that go into making decisions for thirty different teams. It may have been signability at one point or another.

AF:  Well, it sounds like you made him an offer he couldn’t refuse [reportedly a signing bonus of $1.2 million].

EK:  [Laughter]

AF:  He does seem rather advanced for a high schooler though. Do you look at him as a guy who could move fairly quickly for a young kid?

EK:  I think we’re expecting him to be in Arizona for this year, and then we’ll just let things play out.

AF:  Any comparisons for him?

EK:  Chalmers I kind of likened to Clay Buchholz. Physically they’re similar, and they have the same kind of stuff.

AF:  He’s pretty much a real tall, skinny guy, right?

EK:  Right, exactly.

sbbolttt2AF:  Your 4th-round pick was one of the best names in the draft, Skye Bolt out of North Carolina. He’s a switch-hitter and a center fielder and he seems to profile like a lot of the hitters you targeted – some power and some plate discipline. So, besides his name, tell me what it was that you liked about Skye Bolt?

EK:  He’s full of ability, first and foremost. I mean, talent-wise, he’s a 1st-round talent if you just look at the tools. It was to our advantage that he didn’t have the kind of year offensively, at least average-wise, that he’d hoped to have, and I think that kind of pushed him down in the draft. But from a physical talent standpoint, he has 1st-round ability.

AF:  And who would you compare him to?

EK:  The guy I thought of, it’s not a really great physical comp, but I think the kind of player he could be is kind of a Jim Edmonds type – very good defense in center field with power.

AF:  Moving out of the southeast, your 5th-round pick was your first lefty. And everyone loves a lefty, so tell me what it was that you guys loved about Kevin Duchene out of Illinois?

kdILLOSUKevinDuchene2EK:  He’s got solid stuff – we’ve seen him up to 92 mph with a good breaking ball and changeup. He’s got an advanced feel for how to use his stuff. If you just look at the success he had at Illinois, he obviously knows how to pitch. We think we know the kid well. We think that he can really pitch, he’s got good stuff, and the kid’s solid.

AF:  It seems like a lot of these pitchers you guys took have really impressive walk-to-strikeout ratios and have really good command, and he seems to fit right into that profile as well.

EK:  Right, right. As an organization, we’ve discussed that a little bit. It doesn’t get any easier to throw strikes as the strike zone gets smaller as you move up.

AF:  Do you have a comp for him?

EK:  Potentially Jimmy Key for Duchene – kind of an average-sized left-hander who can really pitch.

AF:  Now your 6th-rounder was your first west coast pick, RHP Bowdien Derby out of San Diego State.

bdDerby1.0.0bEK:  I think he goes by “Bubba” actually. So he also makes the “all-name” team.

AF:  Yeah, I found him on Twitter as “Bubba Derby.” He was one of two guys out of San Diego State you took in the first ten rounds. I think he led the conference in strikeouts, so I guess it’s easy to tell what you like about him, but tell me a little bit more about Bubba Derby.

EK:  He’s kind of an average-height guy, and I think that probably pushed him down a little bit. There generally can be a bias against that in scouting. But just based on his ability and his stuff, and what he did with his stuff, we were certainly happy that we could get him in the 6th round when we got him. Obviously, he can throw strikes and he can miss bats, which are two things we value highly. We’ve seen him up to 93 mph. I’ve heard from other people that he was up in the high-90s as a closer, but we saw him up to 93 as a starter.

AF:  So is his fastball the main thing that guys are missing?

EK:  Yeah, it’s the fastball, but he also has a really good changeup.

Kyle FriedrichsAF:  Well, that always helps! Now you went with another west coast guy in the 7th round, RHP Kyle Friedrichs out of Long Beach State. He seems to have really exceptional command. I think he had 12 walks and 109 strikeouts. So obviously he must have a clue what he’s doing on the mound, but tell me what you saw in him.

EK:  Exactly, it’s kind of a common thing among these guys. We think that their stuff is solid, and these guys are all high performers with things we value. He had very low walk rates and very high strikeout rates, so he fits right in with that. We really think he has exceptional fastball command. And if there’s one characeteristic you need to be able to pitch in the major leagues it’s being able to command the fastball.

AF:  So in the 8th round, you took your first catcher, another middle-of-the-diamond player – like all these guys in your top ten picks. So tell me what you like about Nick Collins as a hitter and also how he profiles behind the plate.

ncSHallGtown-NickCollinsXYZ2EK:  Well, first and foremost, we think he can hit. He’s a big, physical kid. He’s a left-handed hitter. He’s got a very strong arm. I think his receiving skills are a little bit behind those two skills right now. But we’re very confident that he has the ability to evolve into a solid catcher.

AF:  I guess anytime you can find a left-handed hitting catcher with a strong arm it probably piques your interest.

EK:  Yeah, I mean, he can catch the baseball. But catching in professional baseball is just so different than at a high school or college level. There’s so much more asked of catchers, so there’s so much more development that goes into catchers, probably more so than almost any other position because it’s so different. But we like his hands, and we think he’s going to develop into a very good defensive catcher.

jlbaseball-action-jaredlyons9-new2AF:  In the 9th round, you went with another left-hander, Jared Lyons out of Liberty. Has he primarily been a starter or a reliever over his college career?

EK:  Prior to this year, he pitched mostly out of the bullpen for them. I think his role had kind of shifted around in previous years. He’d pitched primarily out of the pen and made some spot starts, but his stuff jumped up this year and he really established himself as a Friday night guy for Liberty. Also, it’s a common theme, but he threw strikes, he missed bats and he performed really well with solid stuff. I sound like a broken record!

AF:  Well, I guess we know what you’re looking for anyway! Now in the 10th round, you went with another up-the-middle guy, center fielder Steven Pallares, who was the second player you took out of San Diego State. He seems to be another guy with some pop and some plate discipline, so tell me a little bit more about him.

spCGcLRYsWcAAKzAN2EK:  Yeah, he’s unique for a college senior in that we think that there’s an upside left to him. We think we may be just seeing the tip of the iceberg with this kid. It’s unusual to talk about a senior draft pick that way, but that’s kind of how we see him.

AF:  And how do you feel about him defensively in center field?

EK:  We think he’s got the ability to stay in center. But he also has the ability to play all three of the outfield positions. He’s played some infield and has some versatility. I think we’re just going to see how things shake out with his development and see where he best fits as time goes on.

AF: So it’s my understanding that all your top ten picks have signed except for Skye Bolt and Richie Martin. Of course, Richie Martin has been in the College World Series, but are you anticipating having all of your top ten picks in the fold before long?

EK:  Yes, I think we’re very close to finishing things up with Skye hopefully this week. And then with Richie, we obviously have to wait until after the World Series is over.

AF:  And I think you’ve signed 27 of the 40 guys so far. So it seems like you’ve moved pretty quickly and taken care of business pretty fast this year.

EK:  We did a lot of leg work before the draft. So it made things easier once the draft ended.

AF:  And I imagine we’re probably going to see most of these college pitchers from the first ten rounds going to Vermont this year.

EK:  Yeah, they will all go to Arizona to begin with, because we do our medical stuff and we do our orientation. And then we have to evaluate where they are in their throwing programs. Some of these guys haven’t thrown for three weeks, so we’ve got to get them back into shape before sending them out. But ultimately, yeah, most of them will be in Vermont for the bulk of the summer.

AF:  That’s what I expected. By the way, does part of the orientation these days include “what not to say on Twitter?”

EK:  [Laughter] I think that starts long before they get to us! But we certainly do talk to them about things like that, and we talk to them about it repeatedly!

AF:  Obviously, the draft is the centerpiece of your year. But now that we’re about a week removed from the draft, besides talking to people like me, what’s your time primarily taken up with now?

EK:  We’re putting 2015 in the books, and we’re getting ready for 2016. Next week, I’m going to an event that’s going to feature players for 2016. But there’s a big event going on this week that we have scouts at. It really doesn’t stop. We start up almost immediately.

AF:  So nobody’s taking off and going on vacation the week after the draft?

EK:  Not really. We’re taking a little time to catch our breath and then we’re back at it!

AF:  Well, thanks for taking some of that time to talk with us!

 

A’s 2015 Draft Class

#1 Richie Martin SS (Florida), #2 Mikey White SS (Alabama), #3 Dakota Chalmers RHP (HS-GA), #4 Skye Bolt CF (North Carolina), #5 Kevin Duchene LHP (Illinois), #6 Bowdien Derby RHP (San Diego State), #7 Kyle Friedrichs RHP (Long Beach State), #8 Nick Collins C (Georgetown), #9 Jared Lyons LHP (Liberty), #10 Steven Pallares OF (San Diego State)

#11 James Terrell OF (HS-CA), #12 Chris Iriart 1B (Houston), #13 Brett Siddall OF (Canisius), #14 Boomer Biegalski RHP (Florida State), #15 Ryan Howell 2B (Nevada-Reno), #16 Dustin Hurlbutt RHP (Tabor), #17 Brent Wheatley RHP (USC), #18 Brett Sunde C (Western Michigan), #19 Seth Brown 1B (Lewis-Clark St), #20 James Naile RHP (Alabama-Birmingham)

#21 Andrew Tomasovich LHP (Charleston Southern), #22 Brady Bramlett RHP (Mississippi), #23 Eric Senior OF (HS-ON), #24 Heath Bowers RHP (Campbell), #25 Evan Manarino LHP (Irvine), #26 Jordan Devencenzi C (Nevada-Reno), #27 Xavier Altamirano RHP (Oral Roberts), #28 Marc Berube RHP (Pittsburgh), #29 Armando Ruiz RHP (Alabama State), #30 Brendan Butler RHP (Dowling)

#31 John Gorman RHP (Boston College), #32 Michael Murray RHP (Florida Gulf Coast), #33 Mike Martin CF (Harvard), #34 Shane Conlon 1B (Kansas State), #35 Tim Proudfoot SS (Texas Tech), #36 Troy Rallings RHP (Washington), #37 Andy Cox LHP (Tennessee), #38 Chris Cullen C (HS-GA), #39 Gregory Fettes C (Kentucky), #40 Nick Maton SS (HS-IL)

*          *          *

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

Tuesday, June 16th: Ryon Healy Drives in Winning Run to Give Hounds Walk-Off Win in 10th while Sean Nolin Earns 1st Win for Sounds

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter Ryon Healy (3 for 5 / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds DH Ryon Healy (3 for 5 / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Frisco RoughRiders       4

Midland RockHounds  5

WP – Dull 3-0 / 0.28

Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Ryon Healy

(3 for 5 / Double / 2 RBIs)

Designated hitter Ryon Healy had a big night for the RockHounds, highlighted by an RBI single to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th and give Midland the walk-off win on Tuesday. Healy also singled and scored the RockHounds’ first run of the game in the 4th and doubled and scored the Hounds’ first run in their 3-run 9th. Outfielder Jaycob Brugman had a pair of singles and doubled in 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game, while catcher Bruce Maxwell doubled in the first run in the 9th, and second baseman Colin Walsh doubled and walked twice as the RockHounds won their third straight. Starter Jake Sanchez allowed 4 runs over 6 innings of work, while relievers Chris Lamb and Seth Frankoff combined to throw 3 scoreless innings to keep the game tight until the 9th. RHP Ryan Dull then pitched a perfect 10th to post his 3rd win.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton & Beloit…

Monday, June 15th: Kyle Finnegan & Tim Atherton Pitch Ports & Hounds to Victory while Eight RockHounds Are Named TX League All-Stars

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Kyle Finnegan (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Kyle Finnegan (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports         7

Lake Elsinore Storm  1

WP – Finnegan 4-4 / 5.29

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Kyle Finnegan

(6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

RHP Kyle Finnegan turned in a strong start for Stockton on Monday, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 4th win. The 23-year-old had given up 12 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings over his last 3 starts for the Ports. A’s RHP Edward Mujica made his first rehab appearance for Stockton and struck out 2 in a spotless 7th. RHP Corey Walter also struck out a pair in the 8th, and RHP Trevor Bayless pitched a perfect 9th in his return from the disabled list. Outfielder Tyler Marincov singled, doubled and drove in 3, while third baseman Matt Chapman doubled in a pair in the 2nd. After collecting 4 hits on Sunday, shortstop Franklin Barreto had 3 hits, including a double, on Monday, and first baseman John Nogowski and second baseman Branden Cogswell had a pair of hits apiece for the Ports. While Trevor Bayless was activated from the disabled list on Monday, outfielder J.P. Sportman returned to the disabled list for Stockton.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…