Tag: A.J. Puk

Tuesday, September 12th: Sportman’s Big Bat Isn’t Enough to Help Hounds Prevail in Game #1

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder J.P. Sportman (2 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder J.P. Sportman (2 for 4 / HR / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #1

Tulsa Drillers                  5

Midland RockHounds  3

LP – J.Naile

HR – J.Sportman

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder J.P. Sportman

(2 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

A big 4-run 2nd inning led Tulsa to victory over Midland in the first game of the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series on Tuesday. After getting through an efficient 1st inning on just 7 pitches, starter James Naile surrendered 4 runs in the 2nd to put the Hounds in an early hole. He gave up another run in the 6th and ended up allowing 5 runs on 10 hits over 6 innings of work to suffer the loss. RHP Sam Bragg tossed 2 scoreless frames in relief, and RHP Nolan Blackwood pitched a perfect 9th in his Midland debut. Center fielder J.P. Sportman had a big game at the plate, slugging a 2-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd to bring his team back within a run. He then doubled with one out in the 8th but was left stranded. Shortstop Jorge Mateo singled, walked twice, stole a base and scored a run, and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis had a pair of hits and drove in a run for the RockHounds. Blackwood and outfielder Skye Bolt both joined the RockHounds postseason roster from Stockton, while RHP Aaron Kurcz, who’s been dealing with a blister issue, and LHP A.J. Puk, who experienced some forearm discomfort in his last start, were reassigned to Stockton’s roster. Meanwhile, RHP Grant Holmes is set to take the mound for Midland in Game #2 on Wednesday. Midland RockHounds Postseason Roster

 

Wednesday’s Game:

Tulsa @ Midland (Championship Game #2) – 4:30pm PT / 6:30pm CT

Vermont @ Hudson Valley (Championship Game #1) – 3:35pm PT / 6:35pm ET

 

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.

A’s Final 2017 Minor League Hitting & Pitching Leaders

Includes Nashville Sounds (AAA), Midland RockHounds (AA), Stockton Ports (A), Beloit Snappers (A), Vermont Lake Monsters (A), AZL A’s (Rk)

 

–HITS–

bb622196172 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

148 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

141 J.P. Sportman OF (Mid)

140 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

136 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas) / Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

 

–DOUBLES–

ew64220132 Eli White SS (Sto)

29 Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

29 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

28 Kyle Nowlin 1B (Bel)

28 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–TRIPLES–

jw6215638 Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

8 Trace Loehr 3B-2B (Bel)

7 Jorge Mateo SS (Mid) / Luis Barrera OF (Bel-Sto)

7 Skye Bolt OF (Sto) / Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

7 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto) / Seth Brown OF (Sto)

 

–HOME RUNS–

rn60052432 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

30 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

23 Matt Olson 1B (Nas)

21 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

18 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–TOTAL BASES–

sb664913262 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

245 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

228 Skye Bolt OF (Sto)

218 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

216 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–RBIs–

vr594983110 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

109 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

78 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

74 J.P. Sportman OF (Mid)

73 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

 

–RUNS–

bb62219682 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

80 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

80 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

78 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

76 Skye Bolt OF (Sto)

 

–WALKS–

tr669262b73 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

69 Kyle Nowlin 1B (Bel)

59 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

56 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

56 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–STRIKEOUTS–

js642069164 JaVon Shelby OF (Bel)

146 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

143 Collin Theroux C (Bel)

141 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

141 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

 

–STOLEN BASES–

mm66503327 Mike Martin OF (Bel-Ver)

22 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

16 Luis Barrera OF (Bel-Sto)

16 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

16 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

 

–ERRORS–

em64271428 Eric Marinez SS (Bel)

25 Eli White SS (Sto)

21 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

21 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

20 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

 

–BATTING AVERAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

bb622196.323 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

.321 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

.304 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.300 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

.300 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

 

–ON-BASE PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

tr669262b.398 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.379 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

.366 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

.366 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

.365 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

 

–SLUGGING PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

rn600524.518 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

.506 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

.495 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

.464 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

.457 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

 

–ON-BASE + SLUGGING– (minimum 300 at-bats)

bs615702.861 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

.846 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

.837 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

.829 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.801 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

 

Click here for A’s minor league pitching leaders…

A’s Set Fall League Instructional Roster

00DSC04060xThe A’s released their Fall Instructional League roster on Tuesday. Camp is set to open at the A’s minor league facilities in Arizona in a little over a week and will run for four weeks.

27 pitchers and 28 position players are currently scheduled to attend. And some high-profile prospects like 18-year-old Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros and top pitching prospects A.J. Puk and Logan Shore will be participating.

Also attending will be six of the A’s top seven picks from this year’s draft – outfielders Austin Beck and Greg Deichmann, infielders Nick Allen and Will Toffey, catcher Santis Sanchez and pitcher Logan Salow. You can see the full list of A’s prospects who are set to appear in camp below…

 

–PITCHERS–

A.J. Puk

A.J. Puk

Ismael Aquino

Dakota Chalmers

Wandisson Charles

Bryce Conley

Dustin Driver

Kevin Duchene

Angel Duno

Caleb Evans

Brett Graves

Angello Infante

Rafael Kelly

Pat Krall

Wyatt Marks

Jeferson Mejia

Jose Mora

Richard Morban

James Naile

Teodoro Ortega

A.J. Puk

Wilkin Ramos

Adam Reuss

Jean Ruiz

Logan Salow

Dalton Sawyer

Logan Shore

Oscar Tovar

Brandon Withers

 

Santis Sanchez

Santis Sanchez

–CATCHERS–

Iolana Akau

Jordan Devencenzi

Jose Rivas

Santis Sanchez

Collin Theroux

Skyler Weber

 

–INFIELDERS–

Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Aaron Arruda

Marcos Brito

Jordan Diaz

Ryan Gridley

Jesus Lage

Eric Marinez

Alonzo Medina

Miguel Mercedes

Will Toffey

Yerdel Vargas

 

–OUTFIELDERS–

Austin Beck

Austin Beck

Lazaro Armenteros

Austin Beck

Anthony Churlin

Greg Deichmann

Yhoelnys Gonzalez

Jeramiah McCray

Mickey McDonald

Kevin Richards

Rafael Rincones

JaVon Shelby

Eli White

 

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.

Wednesday, September 6th: Rosa’s 2 HRs Help Hounds Win Big while Ports Come Up Short

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Viosergy Rosa (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / Double / 8 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Viosergy Rosa (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / Double / 8 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE SOUTH DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #1

Midland RockHounds  9

San Antonio Missions    2

WP – J.Seddon

HR – V.Rosa 2, S.Murphy

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Viosergy Rosa

(3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / Double / 8 RBIs)

First baseman Viosergy Rosa led the RockHounds to a big win in the first game of their best-of-five playoff series on Wednesday. The Texas League RBI leader collected 3 hits, including a double and a pair of 3-run homers, while driving in 8 of the RockHounds 9 runs on the night. Catcher Sean Murphy singled twice and slugged a solo shot to account for Midland’s only other run, while left fielder Jordan Tarsovich and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis had a pair of hits apiece for the Hounds. Starter A.J. Puk struck out 8 over 4 scoreless frames but exited after throwing a total of 74 pitches. RHP Joel Seddon picked up the win despite allowing 2 runs in 2 innings of work. RHP Carlos Navas pitched 2 perfect innings in relief, and LHP Cody Stull got the final three outs in the 9th to close out the win for the RockHounds. In other news, Midland outfielder B.J. Boyd was placed on the temporarily inactive list for “family leave,” and RHP Joseph Camacho replaced him on the RockHounds playoff roster on Wednesday. Meanwhile, RHP James Naile is set to take the mound for Midland on Thursday. Midland RockHounds Playoff Roster

Click here for more on Stockton & Vermont…

Tuesday, September 5th: Vermont Rained Out as Midland & Stockton Prepare to Start Playoffs on Wednesday

Midland RockHounds' Game #1 starter A.J. Puk

Midland RockHounds’ Game #1 starter A.J. Puk

While Vermont’s third-to-last regular season game against Tri-City was rained out on Tuesday, two A’s affiliates, the Midland RockHounds and the Stockton Ports, are both set to begin postseason play on Wednesday. In the first games of their respective series, Midland LHP A.J. Puk is set to face San Antonio RHP Enyel De Los Santos, while Stockton RHP Logan Shore will be opposed by a hurler-to-be-named for Modesto.

Midland first baseman Viosergy Rosa led the Texas League with 110 RBIs, while outfielder B.J. Boyd led the league in hits and tied for the league lead in runs while his .323 batting average was third-best in the league, and second baseman Max Schrock‘s .321 average put him right behind Boyd in the batting race while his .379 on-base percentage was third-best in the league. RockHounds RHP Grant Holmes led the league in strikeouts with 150. Stockton outfielder Seth Brown‘s 30 home runs led the California League, as did his 109 RBIs, while Ports RHP Nolan Blackwood‘s 19 saves were the second-most in the league. You’ll find both teams’ playoff schedules as well as links to their complete playoff rosters below…

 

Texas League South Division Championship Series

Wednesday, Sept. 6 – Midland (A.J. Puk 2-5, 4.36) @ San Antonio (Enyel De Los Santos 10-6, 3.78)

Thursday, Sept. 7 – Midland (James Naile 2-3, 3.21) @ San Antonio (Brett Kennedy 13-7, 3.70)

Friday, Sept. 8 – San Antonio (Joey Lucchesi 5-3, 1.79) @ Midland (Casey Meisner 4-4, 4.12)

Saturday, Sept. 9 – San Antonio (TBD) @ Midland (TBD) [if necessary]

Sunday, Sept. 10 – Midland (TBD) @ San Antonio (TBD) [if necessary]

Midland RockHounds Playoff Roster

 

California League North Division Finals

Wednesday, Sept. 6 – Stockton (Logan Shore 2-5, 4.09) @ Modesto (TBD)

Thursday, Sept. 7 – Stockton (TBD) @ Modesto (TBD)

Friday, Sept. 8 – Modesto (TBD) @ Stockton (TBD)

Saturday, Sept. 9 – Modesto (TBD) @ Stockton (TBD) [if necessary]

Sunday, Sept. 10 – Stockton (TBD) @ Modesto (TBD) [if necessary]

Stockton Ports Playoff Roster

 

Wednesday’s Games:

Midland @ San Antonio (Playoff Game #1) – 5:05pm PT / 7:05pm CT

Stockton @ Modesto (Playoff Game #1) – 7:05pm PT

Vermont @ Lowell (Regular Season) – 3:35pm PT / 6:35pm ET

 

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.

Thursday, August 31st: Brown’s Slam Highlights Ports’ Big Win while Puk K’s 13 for Hounds

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Seth Brown (2 for 5 / Grand Slam / Double / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports 1B Seth Brown (2 for 5 / Grand Slam / Double / 5 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Visalia Rawhide    0

Stockton Ports  22

WP – Bailey 2-1 / 4.24

HR – Brown (27), M.White (16), Bolt (15)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Seth Brown

(2 for 5 / Grand Slam / Double / 5 RBIs)

The Ports exploded for 22 runs as they shut out Visalia on just 2 hits to move back into a three-way tie for first place in their division on Thursday. First baseman Seth Brown continued his red-hot second half, collecting his 18th double of the season and slugging his second grand slam in his last four games. The 25-year-old walked, scored twice and drove in 5 runs on the day to extend his league-leading RBI total to 104, and his 27th home run tied him for the league lead. Center fielder Skye Bolt had 5 hits, including a home run, and drove in 6 runs, while shortstop Mikey White homered, doubled, walked and drove in 4. Third baseman Branden Cogswell collected 4 hits, and second baseman Nate Mondou and right fielder Luis Barrera both had 3 hits and drove in a pair for the Ports. Starter Brandon Bailey was outstanding on Thursday, allowing just 1 hit while striking out 7 over 5 frames to earn his 2nd win for Stockton, while RHP Boomer Biegalski returned from the disabled to throw 1 scoreless inning in relief for the Ports. First baseman Chris Iriart also returned from the disabled list but was not in the lineup on Thursday, while shortstop Richie Martin and RHP Miguel Romero were both placed on the DL for Stockton.

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

Saturday, August 26th: Phegley Has Big Game for Sounds while Puk Suffers Loss for Hounds

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Catcher Josh Phegley (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Catcher Josh Phegley (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Round Rock Express  7

Nashville Sounds      6

LP – Bawcom 1-5 / 2.79

HR – Carter (6), Phegley (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Catcher Josh Phegley

(3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

Catcher Josh Phegley had the biggest game of his rehab assignment with the Sounds on Saturday, collecting 3 hits, including a home run and a double, while driving in 3 runs. He homered to put Nashville on the board in the bottom of the 3rd inning, doubled in the tying run and 7th, and then singled in another run in the 9th. But the Sounds still came up a run short to snap their three-game winning streak on Saturday. First baseman Chris Carter slugged his 6th home run, while center fielder Yairo Munoz had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, and second baseman Joey Wendle singled, walked and stole a base. Starter Chris Jensen allowed 5 runs over 5 frames, while RHP Logan Bawcom surrendered 2 runs in 2 innings of relief to suffer the loss for the Sounds.

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

A’s Top-Performing Minor League Pitchers of 2017

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

With the end of the minor league season about a week away, it seems like a good time to take a look at some of the young hurlers in the A’s system who’ve been having true standout seasons on the field this year. Many minor league players can dazzle with an amazing week, or even an amazing month, but being able to perform at a high level over the course of an often grueling minor league season, where travel can be torturous and days off are rare, is another thing altogether. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the top-performing pitchers in the A’s system this year. For the purposes of this piece, we’re only examining hurlers who’ve thrown over 100 innings this season. And remember, we’re not ranking top prospects here, just taking a look at some of the top performers on the field. All statistics are through games of August 25…

 

ds662121bDalton Sawyer

Beloit Snappers (A) / Stockton Ports (A+) / Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(120 IP / 99 H / 43 ER / 46 BB / 126 K / 3.23 ERA / 1.21 WHIP)

After being selected by Oakland in the 9th round of the draft last year, the left-hander may be having the best season of any hurler in the A’s system this year. Sawyer started out the season by putting up a 2.25 ERA and striking out 64 in 56 innings for Beloit before compiling a 2.93 ERA while striking out 60 in 55 1/3 frames for Stockton. The 23-year-old surrendered 11 runs in a pair of spot starts for Nashville earlier in the year or his overall numbers would look even more impressive. But thanks to his mid-90s fastball and a solid changeup, the southpaw’s always been able to put up strong strikeout numbers, and his 126 K’s are the fourth-most among A’s minor leaguers. And with his strong showing at Stockton in the second half, Sawyer should be in a position to compete for a spot in Double-A Midland’s starting rotation next season.

 

hf641571Heath Fillmyer

Midland RockHounds (AA)

(136 2/3 IP / 141 H / 53 ER / 51 BB / 104 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

A former infielder, the right-hander hadn’t spent a lot of time on the mound when the A’s took him in the 5th round of the 2014 draft, but the team clearly saw something it liked. The 23-year-old has turned out to be a smart pitcher who seems to have learned how to handle hitters and work his way out of jams while primarily pitching to contact. His fastball can range from the low to mid 90s and he shows a decent changeup and curve as well. Fillmyer doesn’t miss a lot of bats or put up gaudy strikeout numbers, but he knows how to get the job done and has shown an ability to stay healthy and take his turn on the mound every fifth day. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp last spring, so the organization obviously values him. Fillmyer should make it onto the 40-man roster by next spring and ought to be ready to show what he can do at Triple-A next season.

 

xa665098Xavier Altamirano

Beloit Snappers (A)

(109 IP / 94 H / 40 ER / 28 BB / 87 K / 3.30 ERA / 1.12 WHIP)

After being drafted in the 27th-round in 2015 and then splitting last season between Beloit and Vermont, the right-hander may be having one of the most overlooked seasons among A’s minor league hurlers this year. Altamirano started out the season in the Beloit bullpen, making 17 relief appearances before moving into the starting rotation, where he’s made 12 starts for the Snappers. The 23-year-old is very much a control pitcher and has issued just 28 walks over 109 innings this season, which is impressive, especially for a hurler in the low minors. He’s definitely a pitch-to-contact guy who isn’t going to overpower anyone, but he seems to have the ability to induce a lot of weak contact. He allows very few base runners and delivers a solid outing almost every time out. And after turning in a strong season for the Snappers, Altamirano should get a chance to challenge California League hitters for Stockton next season.

 

dh664955Dustin Hurlbutt

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA) / Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(118 1/3 IP / 92 H / 48 ER / 43 BB / 108 K / 3.65 ERA / 1.14 WHIP)

After turning in a solid season for Beloit last year, much like Altamirano, Hurlbutt has quietly put together a strong season in the A’s system this year. The right-hander possesses an effective changeup, and hitters seem to have a hard time figuring him out, so he ends up avoiding a lot of hard contact. Hurlbutt had Tommy John surgery during his college career before being taken by the A’s in the 16th round in the 2015 draft. The 24-year-old spent the first half of this season averaging more than a strikeout per inning at Stockton, made one spot start for Nashville, and then spent most of the second half with Double-A Midland before landing on the disabled list a little over a week ago with a right shoulder strain. But he should be more than ready to return to Midland next year to pick up where he left off this season.

 

ap640462dA.J. Puk

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA)

(112 1/3 IP / 94 H / 53 ER / 46 BB / 166 K / 4.25 ERA / 1.25 WHIP)

The A’s top pick in last year’s draft, the 6-7 southpaw has certainly opened some eyes and flashed some tantalizing glimpses of the potential that the A’s saw when they selected him in the 1st round last year. Puk has had some truly dominant starts, and then has had a few where he’s seemed completely out of whack. But on the whole, the 22-year-old has looked very good in his first full season as a pro. Of course, what really jumps out about Puk are his eye-popping strikeout numbers. The lefty leads all A’s minor leaguers with 166 strikeouts and has been whiffing an average of 13.3 batters per nine innings this year. Puk started out the season averaging 14.5 K/9 for Stockton before moving up to Midland. It’s also good to know that he’s been able to keep his walk rate down to 3.7 BB/9 this season. But even more impressively, he’s only allowed 3 home runs all year, which is quite an accomplishment considering he spent half his season in the homer-happy California League. It’ll be interesting to see if the A’s take things slow and have Puk return to the RockHounds to start next season or if they decide to have him start the year at Triple-A Nashville. Either way, depending on how things play out over the course of the season, it’s entirely possible that Puk could end up seeing time in Oakland before next year is through.

*          *          *

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.

Sunday, August 20th: Puk Pitches Hounds to Victory while Brown’s Big Bat Helps Ports Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        1

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Puk 2-3 / 4.91

HR – Sportman (11)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

(6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

Starter A.J. Puk turned in an impressive performance to help the RockHounds score their sixth win in their last seven games on Sunday. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 run while striking out 7 over 6 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Midland, and he’s now recorded 42 strikeouts over his last 27 innings for the RockHounds. RHPs Joel Seddon, Sam Bragg and Kyle Finnegan each tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief. Right fielder J.P. Sportman doubled and hit a 2-run homer, while center fielder B.J. Boyd (.327) and second baseman Max Schrock (.323) collected 3 hits apiece to move into first and third place, respectively, in the Texas League batting race.

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

Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Back in May, we took a look at what a young, rebuilding A’s team might look like. But now that we’ve passed the July 31st trade deadline and the A’s have made a number of deadline deals, and even some post-deadline deals, to add players like Blake Treinen, Dustin Fowler, Boog Powell, Jorge Mateo, Sheldon Neuse, James Kaprielian and Jesus Luzardo to the system, it’s a good time to take another look at what the near future might look like for the A’s.

Of course, one never knows what the A’s might do in the offseason, but the fact that they don’t really have many veteran trade chips left to deal will definitely limit their ability to barter. And, as usual, it seems unlikely that they will splurge too much on the free agent market at this stage of the game. The team could dip its toe in the water to fill a few holes on a short-term basis, particularly on the pitching staff, but there aren’t likely to be any terribly significant commitments in the near term, at least not until a new stadium is within view.

Two players who’ve played significant roles this year seem likely to depart after the season – center fielder Rajai Davis, who’s set to become a free agent, and second baseman Jed Lowrie, whom the A’s hold a $6 million option on for next year. With the A’s now fully committed to a youth movement and with both Franklin Barreto and Chad Pinder capable of playing second base, it seems unlikely that the A’s will opt to bring back Lowrie. But is there still any chance that they might be able to get something for either of them before the season’s through the way they did with Yonder Alonso? It’s possible, but it seems like any deal that would have been possible probably would have happened by now. And looking ahead, there are only two significant players on the current roster who are due to become free agents after the 2018 season – outfielder Matt Joyce and reliever Santiago Casilla. Could the A’s possibly get anything for either player in the offseason? Anything’s possible but, if they can, it’s not likely to amount to much.

When looking at next season on the position player front, eleven guys seem to be pretty solid bets for the major league roster, leaving a number of others left to battle for one or two remaining spots, depending on whether the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players in 2018. The eleven most likely to lay claim to a roster spot include catchers Bruce Maxwell and Josh Phegley, infielders Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien, Franklin Barreto, Matt Olson and Ryon Healy, outfielders Khris Davis, Matt Joyce and Dustin Fowler, and super utility infielder/outfielder Chad Pinder. That leaves guys like Boog Powell, Jaycob Brugman, Mark Canha, Jake Smolinski and Renato Nunez fighting for the one or two remaining roster spots. When it comes to the pitching staff, things could be a little more up in the air, and one would have to suspect that’s where any offseason additions might be most likely to occur.

So, setting aside any possible offseason deals or free-agent signings, and adding in a fresh batch of summer arrivals, let’s take a position-by-position look at how things might stack up for the 2018 Oakland A’s…

 

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

CATCHERS

With Stephen Vogt’s departure and Bruce Maxwell making the move to the major league roster in June, the catching corps could prove to be one of the more predictable parts of next season’s roster. Maxwell and Josh Phegley seem set to split time behind the plate for the 2018 A’s, though the team could always give recently-acquired catcher Dustin Garneau the opportunity to compete with Phegley for the chance to serve as Maxwell’s platoon partner. The team’s top minor league catching prospect, former 3rd-round pick Sean Murphy, has played in just 39 games at the Double-A level and is probably another year away from factoring into the catching conversation.

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Olson

Matt Olson

With the departures of Trevor Plouffe and Yonder Alonso, and the likely departure of Jed Lowrie in the offseason, the A’s infield looks to be right at the heart of the youth movement in 2018. Young slugger Matt Chapman is set to anchor the infield at the hot corner, while Marcus Semien is expected to be back at shortstop. It seems likely that top prospect Franklin Barreto will get every opportunity to take over at second base, where he’s probably best-suited defensively and where he’s most likely to remain since the A’s acquired promising shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal. The team seems ready to make Matt Olson its primary first baseman, though his consistent platoon splits make it likely that, like Yonder Alonso, he’ll frequently sit against lefties while Ryon Healy moves from the designated hitter spot to take over at first. Meanwhile, with Olson at first and Chapman at third, Healy looks likely to get the bulk of his at-bats in the DH slot once again, serving in that role against righties while seeing some time in the field against lefties. And with Olson likely to sit out against most lefties, that could give super-utility man Chad Pinder, who’s sure to make the squad, a good chance to get some regular at-bats against lefties while stepping into the field in any number of positions and giving various A’s regulars a bit of a breather by sliding into the DH spot for the day. And, of course, Pinder also has the ability to spell Semien and Barreto in the middle infield any time either of them is slumping or could just use a day off. The A’s could also decide to give a player who’s probably best-suited for the designated hitter role a shot to see what he can do as the regular DH against lefties. Right-handed slugger Renato Nunez may be limited defensively, but he’s currently leading the Pacific Coast League with 31 home runs while slashing an impressive .309/.387/.630 against Triple-A lefties this season. So, Nunez clearly could have the ability to do some damage from the DH spot when Healy makes the move to first against lefties. Behind Chapman, Semien, Barreto, Olson, Healy, Pinder and Nunez, other infield options down on the farm could include second basemen Joey Wendle and Max Schrock, shortstop Jorge Mateo, third baseman Sheldon Neuse and Yairo Munoz, who’s been increasing his versatility by playing third base, shortstop and center field for Triple-A Nashville this season.

 

OUTFIELDERS

Dustin Fowler

Dustin Fowler

With a couple of the team’s most veteran position players still in the outfield picture, the youth movement may have a slightly less dramatic effect on the A’s outfield alignment in 2018. The team still has control of its top home run hitter, Khris Davis, for two more seasons. So, assuming he sticks around for at least one more campaign, he’s likely to see most of his time in left field once again. And assuming Matt Joyce is back for the final year of his contract, then he’s likely to wind up back in right field against right-hander hurlers anyway. As for center field, the A’s clearly acquired Dustin Fowler from the Yankees to be their center fielder of the future, and that future is likely to start in 2018. Super-utility man Chad Pinder is capable of putting in time in the outfield. And since Joyce and Fowler are both left-handed hitters, he could well serve as an outfield platoon partner, particularly for Joyce in right. And if things line up as expected, then that would leave one or two more roster spots available for outfielders depending on if the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players and whether or not they decide to make room for Renato Nunez on the roster in 2018. Lefty-swinging outfielders Boog Powell and Jaycob Brugman, who’ve been the main men in center field over these past couple of months, will clearly move behind Fowler on the depth chart as soon as he returns from the disabled list. Though Powell and Brugman are both capable of playing all three outfield positions, the fact that they both hit from the left side severely limits their ability to serve in any sort of platoon role in the A’s outfield as it’s currently configured. And we all know how much the A’s value those platoon matchups. That could help the cause of a couple of other outfield options who happen to be right-handed hitters – Mark Canha, who still possesses some intriguing power potential, and Jake Smolinski, who’s always put up strong numbers against lefties, is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and is currently on a minor league rehab assignment after sitting out most of the season due to shoulder surgery. One thing that seems certain is that the one of the most interesting roster battles next season should be for the A’s last one or two remaining outfield spots.

 

STARTING PITCHERS

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn

What once looked like a strong suit for the A’s, thanks to trades, injuries and poor performance, now appears to be a little more up in the air. Twelve different pitchers have made starts for the A’s this season. LHP Sean Manaea is the only A’s hurler to make it to the mound for more than 20 starts so far this season, and he also leads the teams in wins and strikeouts. RHP Kendall Graveman was looked at as the team’s ace-in-waiting behind Sonny Gray and was the A’s opening day starter this year, but injuries have limited him to 11 starts this season. Manaea and Graveman look to be locks to top the A’s rotation again in 2018. But don’t forget about a guy who put up better numbers than either of those pitchers have this season before undergoing hip surgery this summer – RHP Andrew Triggs. If he returns healthy and regains his form, then Triggs would also be in line to claim a rotation spot next season. A pair of rookies would appear to be the best bets to round out the rotation – RHP Paul Blackburn, who’s been solid in 9 starts for the A’s, and RHP Daniel Gossett, a former 2nd-round pick who’s shown plenty of promising potential. Behind those five (none of whom is currently over the age of 28), there are a number of arms who could be in waiting at Nashville but who also come with a number of questions marks. RHPs Jharel Cotton and Jesse Hahn have combined to make 31 starts for the A’s this season, and while both have shown great promise at times, they can both be wildly inconsistent as well. RHP Daniel Mengden, who showed such potential at times last season, is still in the picture and has recently returned to action for Nashville after missing much of the season due to injuries. Veteran RHP Chris Smith also remains in the mix and could serve as valuable rotation depth at Triple-A. Other potential starting options in the system include RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been working out of the bullpen at Nashville while making his way back from Tommy John surgery), RHP Frankie Montas (who had been serving in a starting role at Triple-A before landing on the disabled list), RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season on the A’s roster), RHP Corey Walter (who’s made 11 starts for the Sounds this season), and LHP A.J. Puk (the A’s top draft pick last year who’s put up an ERA of 5.36 and struck out 61 in 45 1/3 frames since joining Double-A Midland in June). Puk may not be ready to be a real rotation option for the A’s to start the season but, depending on how things play out, he could prove to be a legitimate option for the team before next season is through.

 

RELIEF PITCHERS

Blake Treinen

Blake Treinen

The bullpen could be the biggest question mark for the A’s heading into 2018. There aren’t too many locks here, nor too many talented young hurlers who look to be ready to bloom into superstar status. This could be an area the A’s seek to fill in with a few shrewd free-agent pickups, or the organization might just decide to make the best with what they’ve got and wait until the team looks like it might be ready to contend before investing in outside help for the bullpen. But looking at what’s in-house at the moment, RHP Blake Treinen seems to be the best option for the closer’s role. Of course, RHP Santiago Casilla is still under contract for next season, while the A’s will also maintain control of a couple of other familiar faces from the bullpen – RHPs Liam Hendriks and Ryan Dull. Two hard-throwing RHPs will remain in the mix as well – Frankie Montas, who’s still working to harness his potential, and Simon Castro, who has shown some promise in 13 appearances for the A’s this season. RHP Bobby Wahl will be returning from thoracic outlet surgery, while RHP J.B. Wendelken will be coming back from Tommy John surgery. And there are a number of possible long-relief options to consider as well, including RHP Chris Hatcher (who was recently acquired from the Dodgers), RHP Chris Smith (who could be well-suited for such a role), RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen at Nashville), RHPs Michael Brady and Josh Smith (both of whom have served in that role at times this season), and RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season in that role for the A’s). On the left side of the bullpen, the A’s current options look to be fairly limited. Of course, LHP Daniel Coulombe, who’s made 53 relief appearances for the A’s this season, clearly stands atop the pack. LHP Felix Doubront has been serving in a relief role for Nashville since returning from Tommy John surgery, and the A’s recently acquired LHP Sam Moll, who’s made 139 relief appearances in the Rockies system over the last five years. But beyond that, there aren’t many more southpaws to be seen in the bullpen picture at this point anyway, so stay tuned.

 

One never really knows what the A’s might decide to do in any given offseason, and this one’s certainly no different. But one thing’s clear – the team is committed to rebuilding with this current crop of young players. There aren’t many veterans left to deal away at this point, so any significant additions would most likely have to come from the free agent market, though it seems unlikely that the A’s would be ready to make too much of a splash in the free agent pool at this stage of the game. Once plans for the A’s new ballpark are announced, we should start to get a much better sense of what the team’s long-term and short-term player personnel plans are. But for now, this is how the current crop of young players who are likely to make the squad next season is shaping up. And hopefully, A’s fans can look forward to watching this promising pack of prospects develop into a winning team that will be able to carry its winnings ways into a new ballpark somewhere in Oakland in the not-too-distant future.

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