Tag: A.J. Puk

FanFest Sheds Light on A’s Stadium Plans & Team’s Youth Movement

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A's President Dave Kaval onstage at FanFest

A’s President Dave Kaval at FanFest

Each year, A’s FanFest not only offers an opportunity for fans to meet some of their favorite players, but it also offers a chance to get a look inside the organization’s plans for the year ahead.

Of course, the biggest question about the A’s future surrounds the team’s quest for a new stadium to call home. On that subject, team president Dave Kaval offered some very clear public remarks, and then we had the opportunity to explore the subject a little further with A’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Giles.

Regarding the team on the field and the young players the A’s are currently counting on, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane offered an array of interesting comments, and then we had the chance to chat with and get to know one of the team’s newest young arrivals, reliever Emilio Pagan. You’ll find more on both Beane and Pagan below. But first, let’s start with the all-important stadium issue…

 

Kaval’s & Giles’ Stadium Plans

In his introductory remarks to fans gathered for the morning’s player introductions, team president Dave Kaval took the stage and emphatically stated that the organization remained committed to opening a new, privately-financed stadium in Oakland by 2023, and he then went on to mention the three previously-discussed sites – Howard Terminal, the Coliseum and Laney College – as potential options.

In a small interview session just shortly after Kaval’s remarks, we had the opportunity to dig a little deeper and get some insight from A’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Giles. He discussed the team’s thinking after the Peralta Board of Trustees rejected the A’s overtures to open negotiations on the team’s preferred site adjacent to Laney College. And Giles echoed Kaval’s comments that the organization felt that all three sites still remain in play.

A's Chief Operating Officer Chris Giles

A’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Giles

“I think we feel like there’s still three viable sites [Laney College, Howard Terminal, the Coliseum]…and we continue to look at all three of those possibilities. We’re going to build here – it’s just a matter of where,” he said.

After having their initial advances spurned by the Peralta Board of Trustees, Giles indicated that the team was still eager to talk about the Laney College site but admitted that the ball is really in their court at this point.

“It’s really up to them. I mean, we’re giving them the time to kind of wrap their heads around that site and really figure out if that’s something they want to engage with us on. We’re willing to engage. But we view ourselves as a citizen of this community, and we want to find a place that’s not only good for the team but also great for the community as well.”

It’s clear that each of the three options currently under consideration has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. But regardless of the particular hurdles that any of the current options might present, Giles seems to feel that they each represent legitimate options.

“I would say none of them are impossible, but also none of them are without their challenges. If there was just one that checked all of the boxes on day one, we would just go that route. But there’s lots of different factors that we have to consider…We’ve got transportation, we’ve got weather, we’ve got the revenue potential – we’ve got all these different pieces.”

Last year, Kaval promised that the organization would name a stadium site by the end of 2017, which it did when it stated its intention to acquire the Laney College site. Giles indicated that the A’s would be a little more circumspect before making another public pronouncement on the stadium issue, though the team does still have a general timeline in mind for the next announcement.

“Our goal is to get a site deal for land and naming rights and all the different business components of getting it done sometime in the next 12 to 18 months. We’re very careful to make sure that we explore all of the different options but also that we’re very confident about the plan before we release it.”

Despite the recent setback with the Peralta Board of Trustees, Kaval still promised that the organization was committed to having a new stadium ready to go by 2023, and Giles concurred.

“As we think about the timing of what we’re trying to accomplish, our timing is still 2023. We laid out a time frame where this year was designed to be a consensus-building year, an exploratory year – there were lots of different bodies we had to work with when we were on the Peralta path. So, based on a lot of the conversations that we’ve had…we’re still very confident that that 2023 timeline makes sense.”

 

Beane’s Youth Movement

A's Executive VP of Baseball Operations Billy Beane

A’s Executive VP of Baseball Operations Billy Beane

During the first onstage question-and-answer session of the day, A’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane offered some interesting comments while fielding questions about the A’s constant roster turnover and the team’s current youth movement.

Beane made it clear that the organization was committed to sticking with the team’s core of young players going forward. He seemed to brush off the notion of signing veteran free agents, not wanting to take away playing time from the team’s talented young players.

Beane claimed that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would love to get back the three young players the A’s acquired from New York in the Sonny Gray deal. He was referring to center fielder Dustin Fowler, shortstop Jorge Mateo and pitcher James Kaprielian, and stated how difficult it was to acquire such top-tier prospects. Further comments made it clear just how much the front office values Mateo and how quickly he could find himself with the A’s, especially if he starts the year “just a phone call away,” as Beane put it, at Triple-A Nashville.

When it comes to the team’s top pitching prospect, former 1st-round draft pick A.J. Puk, Beane said he still needs a little more time in the minors, but he also added that “it wouldn’t surprise me” to see Puk as part of the big league staff at some point in 2018.

 

Meeting Mr. Pagan

Emilio Pagan

Emilio Pagan

Acquired this offseason from Seattle in the Ryon Healy deal, right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan may not be a familiar figure to most A’s fans, but he’s expected to be one the team’s key setup men this season. Pagan was a highly efficient member of the Mariners bullpen last year, walking just 8 batters over 50 1/3 frames while posting a 3.22 ERA and stingy 0.93 WHIP. According to the 26-year-old, his minimal walk total in his first major league season was due to a couple of key developments.

“I just got to a point where I was able to repeat my mechanics more. And when you can repeat your mechanics, it gives you a better opportunity to be in control of your body,” Pagan said. He then added, “I stopped going out of the full windup without runners on base, which I traditionally used to do, and just lived pretty much out of the stretch all year. And that seemed to work, and so I stuck with it and had a pretty good year.”

He said he was surprised when he got the call from Mariners general manager Jerry DiPoto to let him know that he’d been traded to the A’s for Ryon Healy.

“It was humbling for me to know that Oakland was willing to give up a guy like that to get me. So, obviously, I’m going to try to be the best version of me I can be each and every day going forward and help Oakland win a lot of games and hopefully get in the playoffs here soon.”

Pagan indicated that he was well aware of the youth movement currently underway with the A’s and that he already has some experience with some of the team’s top young stars, whom he now looks forward to competing alongside.

“I’m super excited. I know a lot about the young core. I’ve played against a lot of these guys coming up through the minors. [Matt] Chapman and [Matt] Olson obviously jump to the top…There’s a lot of talent…We were talking last night at dinner. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and we’re going to try and shock some people and try and make a run at it, because I know there’s a lot of talent and we’re all very eager to get started.”

*         *          *

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, 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.

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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.

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