Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Bowling Green (5/5-7)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers ended a 6-game home stand this week with a 3-game series against Tampa Bay’s Midwest League affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The Hot Rods feature five young position-player prospects all ranked in the top 15 in the Rays’ farm system according to MLB Pipeline. They are 20-year-old outfielder Garrett Whitley, 19-year-old outfielders Joshua Lowe and Jesus Sanchez, 19-year-old infielder Lucius Fox and 18-year-old infielder Adrian Rondon.

While we all know that the A’s may prefer to draft more experienced college players, based on the young talent on this team, it seems that the Rays may have their sights more set on high school players.

 

Game #1:  Bowling Green 7 – Beloit 6

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*The Snappers’ stagnant offense finally came out of its shell in the 9th inning. After scoring just 1 run over the first 8 frames, Beloit put 5 runs on the board in the bottom of the 9th. Unfortunately, the Snappers’ rally fell short, with outfielder JaVon Shelby called out on strikes with the tying run on second and the winning run on first.

*The A’s 2016 12th-round draft pick, outfielder Luke Persico, went 4 for 5 with 4 singles and an RBI in the game.

*Last year’s 13th-round pick for the A’s, second baseman Nate Mondou, had his 10-game hitting streak and his 20-game on-base streak snapped with an 0-for-5 day.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 3 – Bowling Green 2 (12 innings)

Michael Murray

Michael Murray

*Starter Michael Murray pitched 5 strong innings for Beloit. He made just one real mistake all day, a solo home run to Hot Rods outfielder Jesus Sanchez.

*Murray had a big breaking curveball working in this one, and it helped him to strike out a season-high 7 batters while walking none. 47 of his 61 pitches went for strikes.

*Following in Murray’s footsteps, LHP Ty Damron and RHP Heath Bowers each had strong outings in relief, and they both did a marvelous job painting the corners of the strike zone.

*Beloit’s home run leader, first baseman Miguel Mercedes, came up with a clutch two-out single to tie the game in the 8th inning.

*Kyle Nowlin, pinch hitting for left-handed-hitting outfielder Cole Gruber against a left-handed pitcher, drew a bases-loaded, walk-off walk in the 12th inning to give the Snappers their third walk-off win of the season.

 

Game #3:  Bowling Green 6 – Beloit 2

Dakota Chalmers

Dakota Chalmers

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, had trouble finding the strike zone consistently yet again in this contest. Despite walking 4 and giving up 2 hits in only 2 innings of work, Chalmers escaped without giving up a run as he left the bases loaded to end both innings.

*Chalmers had a brilliant outing on April 17 against Kane County, during which he struck out 10 and walked none over 4 scoreless innings. Since then, he has walked 14 and hit 1 batter in just 8 ⅓ innings over 4 games. Despite his control issues, Chalmers still possesses filthy stuff. Opponents have hit a meager .175 against Chalmers, and he has punched out 30 batters in just 18 ⅓ innings.

*Outfielder Cole Gruber has struggled at the plate with a .182 batting average on the season. On the mound though, it’s been a different story. Gruber has proved to be an effective lefty reliever. The A’s 27th-round draft pick last year threw a scoreless 9th inning in this one and has now thrown 3 scoreless innings this season despite only topping out at around 85 mph.

*Snappers hitters combined for an ugly 14-strikeout/0-walk performance, which is the antithesis of the type of plate discipline that the A’s organization likes to preach.

 

Series Notes:

*The Snappers did not hit a home run in the 3-game series.

*Outfielder Luke Persico was Beloit’s hottest hitter in the series, going 8 for 15 for the Snappers.

*As mentioned in our last series recap, LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler will no longer be pitching as part of the Snappers’ two-man pitching tandems. Both will be stand-alone starters from here on out. Starting this week, the Snappers’ starting rotation will look like this:

Monday: Dalton Sawyer

Tuesday: Brandon Bailey/Mitchell Jordan

Wednesday: Brendan Butler

Thursday: Ty Damron/Michael Murray

Friday: Matt Milburn/Dakota Chalmers

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Michael Murray

(5 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

 

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Saturday, May 6th: Puk Pitches Ports to Victory while Midland & Beloit Both Win in Walk-Offs

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher A.J. Puk (5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher A.J. Puk (5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

San Jose Giants    2

Stockton Ports   13

WP – Puk 1-3 / 4.26

HR – Iriart (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

(5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

Last year’s top draft pick for the A’s, LHP A.J. Puk, turned in his most impressive performance of the season for Stockton on Saturday. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 hit while walking none and notching a pro-career-best 9 strikeouts over a season-high 5 shutout innings to post his 1st win for the Ports. Puk threw a total of 67 pitches, 49 for strikes, in his first post-tandem start for Stockton. LHP Will Gilbert replaced Puk on the mound and gave up 2 runs in 3 innings of relief, while LHP Andrew Tomasovich pitched a perfect 9th to close things out for the Ports. Meanwhile, Stockton’s lineup put a season-high 13 runs on the board on Saturday. Left fielder Tyler Ramirez led the attack by lining 3 hits and driving in 3 runs, while first baseman Chris Iriart hit his 5th home run. Shortstop Eli White singled twice, walked, drove in a run and scored 3 times, and designated hitter Mikey White doubled, drew a walk and drove in 3 for the Ports. Saturday’s game marked the first time that Puk was not pitching as part of a two-man tandem for Stockton. The tandem of RHPs Casey Meisner and Angel Duno is set to pitch on Sunday, while RHP Logan Shore will be the starter on Tuesday, with LHP Evan Manarino making the start on Wednesday, and the tandem of RHPs Dustin Hurlbutt and Boomer Biegalski scheduled to pitch for Stockton on Thursday.

A.J. Puk on the mound in the 1st inning at Stockton on Saturday  (photo: Josh Moore)

A.J. Puk on the mound in the 1st inning at Stockton on Saturday
(photo:Josh Moore)

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

Friday, May 5th: Martin Helps Hounds Come Back to Win 4th Straight but HRs by Chapman & Canha Aren’t Enough to Help Sounds Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Richie Martin (2 for 2 / Double / Sac Fly / Stolen Base / 2 Runs / GWRBI)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Richie Martin (2 for 2 / Double / Sac Fly / Stolen Base / 2 Runs / GWRBI)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks      4

Midland RockHounds  10

WP – Friedrichs 1-3 / 5.16

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Richie Martin

(2 for 2 / Double / Sac Fly / Stolen Base / 2 Runs / GWRBI)

A big 4-run 6th inning allowed the RockHounds to come back and win their fourth straight to complete the sweep of their series with Corpus Christi on Friday. Shorstop Richie Martin drove in the winning run in the 6th with a sacrifice fly and also singled, doubled, stole a base and scored twice in the win. Center fielder J.P. Sportman singled, doubled and drove in 2 runs, while catcher Andy Paz had 2 hits and drove in a pair, and second baseman Max Schrock singled twice and drove in the tying run in the 6th. Starter Ben Bracewell had another rocky outing for the Hounds, allowing 3 runs over 3 1/3 innings and exiting with his team down by a run. His tandem-starting mate, RHP Kyle Friedrichs, allowed just 1 run in 3 2/3 innings of relief to pick up the win as the RockHounds moved into a tie for first place in their division on Friday.

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Dayton (5/2-4)

By Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers started a 6-game home stand this week with a 3-game series against Cincinnati’s Midwest League affiliate, the Dayton Dragons, at Pohlman Field in Beloit. It was the Snappers’ first series of the season against a Midwest League Eastern Division opponent.

The Dragons have built a reputation this season for being very aggressive on the base paths and entered the series leading the Midwest League with 42 stolen bases in just 24 games. The Snappers, on the other hand, are currently last in the league with just 11 stolen bases in their first 22 games.

The Dragons also have the Reds’ # 5 prospect, outfielder Taylor Trammell, along with the Reds’ #8 prospect, catcher Tyler Stephenson (according to MLB Pipeline). The Snappers lost two of the three games in the series. Beloit won Game #2 by a score of 9-2, while Dayton won Game #1 and Game #3 by scores of 4-1 and 7-2, respectively.

 

Game #1:  Dayton 4 – Beloit 1

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes entered the game with 0 walks in 91 plate appearances. So, of course, Mercedes took 3 walks in his first 3 plate appearances of the game! Let this be yet another reminder that you can’t predict baseball.

*Snappers’ hitters struck out an unsightly 13 times in the loss.

*Catcher Jason Goldstein, acquired in the offseason trade that sent A’s pitcher Dillon Overton to the Mariners, threw out 2 of the 3 runners who tried to steal against him.

*Last year’s 5th-round pick for the A’s, right fielder JaVon Shelby, was credited with 2 outfield assists in the game.

*With a game-time temperature of 48 degrees, Snappers pitchers knew coming in it was going to be a battle to control their pitches. And between four Beloit pitchers, they combined to walk 8 batters.

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, allowed just 1 hit but walked 4 batters in 3 innings of work. He threw just 26 strikes in 54 pitches.

*RHP Michael Murray, the A’s 32nd-round pick in 2015, battled through a strenuous 3 innings of work. He threw 33 of his 60 pitches for strikes, with a line of 3 IP/5 H/3 R/2 ER/2 BB/3 K

*Both Chalmers and Murray were bouncing many of their breaking pitches in the dirt, a clear sign that they were having trouble with their grip in the less-than-ideal Wisconsin weather.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 9 – Dayton 2

Kyle Nowlin

Kyle Nowlin

*Last year’s 21st-round pick for the A’s, Kyle Nowlin, had a big game at the plate to help the Snappers win. The designated hitter went 3 for 5 with his 3rd home run of the year and 3 RBIs.

*Catcher Collin Theroux also homered in the game and currently leads all catchers in the A’s system with 4 home runs. And while the 32nd-round pick in 2016 has shown some good pop, he still needs to work on making more contact at the plate.

*After striking out 13 times in their previous game, the Snappers did a better job of battling through their at-bats in this one, resulting in 10 hits while striking out just 6 times and drawing 5 walks.

*The Snappers recorded 3 outfield assists in the game, one by last year’s 12th-round pick, right fielder Luke Persico, and a pair by last year’s 27th-round pick, left fielder Cole Gruber.

*Listed at 5’10” and 175 lbs., Oakland’s 2016 6th-round pick, RHP Brandon Bailey, doesn’t possess the kind of size that scouts usually look for in a starting pitcher. But what Bailey does have is a great fastball-changeup combination that resulted in 8 of his 12 recorded outs in this game coming on either a strikeout or a groundout.

 

Game #3:  Dayton 7 – Beloit 2

Nate Mondou

Nate Mondou

*I have to admit that I have so far failed to properly spotlight the contributions of Nate Mondou this season. Simply put, this guy has been playing great baseball, and I’ve hardly even mentioned him. Well, that’s about to change. After turning in a 3-for-3 night with a pair of walks in Thursday’s loss, the left-handed-hitting second baseman, who was taken by the A’s in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, made it into the top five in the Midwest League batting race with a .354 average. He also has excellent numbers across the board, boasting a .432 OBP, a .443 SLG and an .875 OPS.

*And after his impressive performance on Thursday, Mondou had managed to reach base in 20 straight games for the Snappers.

*Last but not least is his defense. Mondou has impressed with the leather quite a bit this season, notably making two jump-throw outs as well as a leaping catch that turned into a double play in this series.

*Center fielder Mike Martin, fresh off the DL last week, recorded 2 outfield assists in the game.

*It was an excellent pitching matchup, with two 6’5” lefties with great stuff on the mound for this one. For Dayton, it was one of the Midwest League’s best strikeout artists in Scott Moss. For Beloit, it was one of the Midwest League’s ERA leaders in Dalton Sawyer.

*Sawyer had his scoreless-inning streak snapped at 21 frames. The 23-year-old, 9th-round pick from last season finished with a respectable line of 4 ⅓ IP/4 H/2 ER/1 BB/6 K but still ended up suffering the loss.

 

Series Notes:

Dalton Sawyer

Dalton Sawyer

*Dayton runners made an astonishing 14 outs on the base paths in the 3-game series. The outs were recorded on 7 outfield assists, 4 failed base-stealing attempts, 1 pickoff by the pitcher, 1 pickoff by the catcher, and 1 runner who was doubled off first after a leaping catch by second baseman Nate Mondou.

*In the second game of the series, Nate Mondou played third base for the first time in his professional career. It’s unclear whether that was just a one-time thing or possibly something we’ll be seeing more of in order to help increase Mondou’s versatility.

*Word around Pohlman Field is that both LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler are going to be stretched out and allowed to be stand-alone starters. The Snappers have been using an 8-man tandem rotation this season, as have a pair of other A’s affiliates, the Stockton Ports and the Midland Rockhounds. But with Sawyer and Butler performing so well this season, it seems to make sense to stretch them out and allow them to pitch deeper into games as starting pitchers would normally do.

*Fun fact: Dayton Dragons pitching coach Derrin Ebert played the role of former Oakland A’s relief pitcher Mike Magnante in the movie “Moneyball.”

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(5 for 11 / 3 Walks / 2 RBIs + 3 great defensive plays)

 

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Thursday, May 4th: Olson’s Early HR Leads Sounds to Victory while Bassitt Looks Strong in 2nd Rehab Start for Stockton

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (Home Run / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds      5

Round Rock Express  4

WP – C.Smith 2-1 / 2.39

HR – Olson (4), Parmelee (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

First baseman Matt Olson slugged a 3-run homer in the top of the 1st inning to give the Sounds a lead they would never surrender on Thursday. Olson has been hot since returning from his brief stint with the A’s, hitting .320 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs over his last 6 games. Designated hitter Chris Parmelee followed up with a solo shot in the 2nd, while left fielder Jaycob Brugman collected 3 hits, including a double, and third baseman Matt Chapman singled and tripled for the Sounds. Starter Chris Smith was solid, allowing 2 runs over 5 2/3 frames to earn his 2nd win, while RHP Chris Jensen gave up 2 runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief, and LHP Ross Detwiler threw a scoreless 9th to notch his 1st save for Nashville. And with Oakland catcher Josh Phegley landing on the 7-day concussion list, Sounds catcher Bruce Maxwell rejoined the A’s roster on Thursday.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Wednesday, May 3rd: Marincov’s 3 HRs Help Hounds Win while Nunez Homers Again in Sounds’ Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Tyler Marincov (3 for 5 / 3 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Tyler Marincov (3 for 5 / 3 HRs / 5 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks      3

Midland RockHounds  12

WP – Holmes 2-1 / 5.16

HR – Marincov 3 (6), Rosa (5), Raga (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Tyler Marincov

(3 for 5 / 3 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

Five home runs helped the RockHounds put 12 runs on the board in Wednesday’s win. Right fielder Tyler Marincov led the attack, hitting a 3-run homer in the 4th, then following up with solo shots in his next two at-bats in the 6th and the 8th. First baseman Viosergy Rosa singled, drew 3 walks, and hit a 2-run homer in the 1st, while catcher Argenis Raga slugged a 2-run shot in the 2nd, and second baseman Max Schrock doubled, singled twice, walked and drove in a run for the RockHounds. Third baseman Yairo Munoz went 1 for 5 and scored a run in his season debut after returning from the disabled list and, after a stint with the Sounds, shortstop Melvin Mercedes singled and walked in his return to the RockHounds. Starter James Naile gave up 3 runs in 2 2/3 innings of work, while his tandem-starting mate, RHP Grant Holmes, allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 6 over 4 scoreless frames to earn his 2nd win for Midland. And with Munoz and Mercedes returning to the RockHounds roster, RHP Jesus Zambrano was reassigned to the Snappers and infielder Jean Carlo Rodriguez was sent back to extended spring training in Arizona.

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Tuesday, May 2nd: Chapman’s 2 HRs Help Sounds Win 5th Straight while Graves & Meisner Lead Ports to Shutout Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Third Baseman Matt Chapman (2 Home Runs / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Third Baseman Matt Chapman (2 Home Runs / 3 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds    11

Round Rock Express  0

WP – Brady 1-1 / 4.30

HR – Nunez (6), Canha (4), Chapman 2 (2), Wendle (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

(2 Home Runs / 3 RBIs)

The Sounds put 11 runs on the board as they shut out the Express on just 2 hits to win their fifth straight on Tuesday. Not only did Matt Chapman hit his first home run of the season in the 2nd inning to give the Sounds the lead, but he also added his second home run of the season in the 9th to cap off the victory. Left fielder Renato Nunez homered in his third straight game – slugging his team-leading 6th of the season – while right fielder Mark Canha singled, walked and belted his 4th big fly since joining Nashville. Second baseman Joey Wendle singled twice and ripped his 1st round-tripper of the year, and first baseman Matt Olson singled, doubled and drove in a pair for the Sounds. RHP Raul Alcantara was solid in his return to the Sounds, allowing just 1 hit over 3 shutout innings, while RHP Michael Brady threw 3 scoreless frames in relief of Alcantara to earn the win. Relievers Ross Detwiler, Tucker Healy and Aaron Kurcz each tossed a scoreless inning to complete the 2-hit shutout for the Sounds. Meanwhile, infielder Melvin Mercedes was reassigned to the RockHounds and outfielder Jaycob Brugman was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday.

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Monday, May 1st: McBride’s Big Blow Gives Sounds Walk-Off Win while Hounds Suffer 3-Hit Shutout

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Matt McBride (Home Run / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Matt McBride (HR / 2 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

New Orleans Baby Cakes  4

Nashville Sounds             6

WP – J.Smith 2-0 / 3.29

HR – Nunez (5), McBride (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Matt McBride

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

With two outs, a man on and the game tied in the 12th, left fielder Matt McBride smacked a 2-run homer to give the Sounds a walk-off win as Nashville notched its fourth straight victory on Monday. Designated hitter Renato Nunez slugged a solo shot in the 8th, while center fielder Kenny Wilson doubled in a run in the 9th, then in the next at-bat, shortstop Melvin Mercedes singled in the tying run for the Nashville. Franklin Barreto tripled and scored the winning run in the 12th, while catcher Ryan Lavarnway singled, doubled and scored a run for the Sounds. Starter Daniel Gossett was charged with 2 unearned runs over 5 innings of work, while RHP Chris Jensen gave up 2 runs in 2 innings of relief, and RHP Josh Smith picked up the win after throwing scoreless frames in the 11th and 12th for the Sounds. And with Sonny Gray returning to action for the A’s, outfielder Ryan LaMarre was optioned back to Nashville on Monday.

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A’s April Minor League Leaders

Franklin Barreto

Franklin Barreto

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 30th: Manarino & Hurlbutt Pitch Ports to Shutout Win while Marincov’s Grand Slam Isn’t Enough as Hounds Lose Late Lead

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports    3

San Jose Giants   0

WP – Manarino 1-1 / 1.57

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Evan Manarino

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

It was another impressive performance by the Ports pitching staff as RHP Dustin Hurlbutt and LHP Evan Manarino combined to shut out San Jose on just 4 hits on Sunday. Hurlbutt gave up 2 hits and struck out 3 over 4 scoreless frames before being replaced by Manarino, who was even better, allowing 2 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 5 shutout innings to earn the win for Stockton. And Manarino has now allowed just 1 earned run without issuing a walk over his last 11 innings of work for the Ports. Second baseman Josh Vidales singled twice, walked twice and scored his team’s first run, while left fielder Tyler Ramirez had 2 hits, walked and drove in a run, and center fielder Skye Bolt singled, drew a pair of walks, stole a base and scored the final run for Stockton.

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