RHP Grant Holmes turned in a strong start to help the RockHounds win their third straight on Wednesday. The 21-year-old allowed 2 runs and struck out 6 over 6 innings of work to become just the second 10-game winner in the Texas League so far this season. And after compiling a 5.45 ERA in the first half, Holmes has now put up a much-improved 3.98 ERA in the second half. RHP Sam Bragg pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings in relief to pick up his 6th save for Midland. Shortstop Jorge Mateo had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, while right fielder Tyler Ramirez singled, doubled and walked, and catcher Sean Murphy and third baseman Sheldon Neuse each singled twice and drove in a run for the RockHounds.
Designated hitter Chris Carter had a huge night at the plate to lead Nashville to victory on Tuesday. The 30-year-old slugger singled, tripled, homered, walked and drove in 5 runs, including the tying and winning runs in the top of the 8th for the Sounds. Third baseman Renato Nunez singled twice and scored 3 times, while catcher Beau Taylor walked and singled in a run. Starter Ben Bracewell picked up the win despite surrendering 5 runs in 7 innings of work, while RHP Raul Alcantara tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to secure his 3rd save for the Sounds.
The Ports mounted a late-game comeback to tie things up in the 9th inning and then wound up winning in extra innings to notch their fifth straight victory on Monday. RHP Brendan Butler had a rough start, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits in just 3 2/3 frames, while LHP Evan Manarino allowed 1 run in 3 1/3 innings of relief for Stockton. Catcher Jose Chavez doubled in a pair, while second baseman Nate Mondou singled twice, walked and drove in a run. Third baseman Mikey White singled in a run with two outs in the top of the 9th to tie things up and send the game to extra innings. Then in the top of the 10th, designated hitter Eli White collected his third single of the game and ultimately came around to score the winning run on catcher Argenis Raga‘s RBI single. RHP Armando Ruiz earned the win after tossing scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Nolan Blackwood got the final three outs in the bottom of the 9th to notch his 15th save for Stockton. In other news, Ports infielder Sheldon Neuse was promoted to the RockHounds while Midland infielder Branden Cogswell was reassigned to Stockton on Monday.
Stockton scored 10 runs to win its fourth straight on Sunday. Designated hitter Jake Smolinski had a big night at the plate in his second rehab appearance for the Ports, collecting 5 hits, including a home run and a double, while driving in 5 of Stockton’s 10 runs in the game. Third baseman Mikey White homered for the second time in the last three nights, while shortstop Richie Martin singled, tripled and scored twice, and catcher Argenis Raga singled, doubled and drove in a pair for the Ports. RHP Logan Shore turned in a strong start on Sunday, striking out 7 over 5 scoreless frames to earn his 2nd win for Stockton, while LHP Brandon Marsonek pitched 3 perfect innings in relief to pick up his 1st save for the Ports. In other news, Ports play-by-play man Zack Bayrouty announced on Sunday that Stockton infielder Sheldon Neuse has been promoted to Double-A Midland. Neuse has put up an impressive .386/.457/.675 slash line since joining Stockton after being acquired from the Nationals organization in the Ryan Madson/Sean Doolittle deal. Though Neuse had been splitting time between shortstop and third base for the Ports, he’s likely to spend the bulk of his time at the hot corner for Midland with A’s shortstop-of-the-future Jorge Mateo also on the RockHounds roster.
The A’s were fortunate enough to be able to sign all of their 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of this year’s amateur draft.
It’s been almost two months since the first of those players signed by the A’s began playing with the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s. So, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.
You’ll find the A’s top 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of the 2017 draft along with their current statistics through August 11 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…
Beck got off to a bit of a slow start, going 1 for his first 21 with 12 strikeouts. And his 5/33 BB/K ratio on the season will still need to see quite a bit of improvement. But Beck’s bat’s been starting to warm up a bit of late, and the 18-year-old just hit the first home run of his pro career in Thursday’s game. He’s also gone 4 for 4 in steal attempts while starting 20 error-free games in center field for the AZL A’s.
Merrell’s basically been doing what was expected of him when he was drafted – making contact, getting on base and utilizing his speed to make things happen. While primarily hitting in the leadoff spot, Merrell’s .299 batting average is second-best for Vermont and his 9 stolen bases and 22 runs both lead the squad.
Thus far, Deichmann has been the best batter to come out of this year’s draft for the A’s. The slugger from LSU appears to be an advanced college hitter who’s demonstrated both power and plate discipline. He currently leads Vermont in extra-base hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while also showing a good arm in right field.
Allen got off to a slightly late start after taking a little longer to sign than most. But since the start of July, he’s been playing shortstop regularly while usually leading off. He’s been doing a decent job while still getting his feet wet as a pro, and the 18-year-old has 2 triples and stolen 3 bases so far for the AZL A’s.
Toffey has pretty much been serving as Vermont’s everyday third baseman since play began in the New York-Penn League. He’s done a good job of getting on base, and his 26 walks and 8 doubles both lead the team, but he’s failed to record a home run in his first 36 pro games for Vermont.
The A’s have been bringing the 18-year-old backstop along slowly and he’s been playing sporadically for the Arizona League squad. Sanchez has mostly struggled at the plate early on, going 8 for 50 with just 1 extra-base hit for the A’s.
16 1/3 IP / 11 H / 3 ER / 11 BB / 22 K / 1.65 ERA / 1.35 WHIP
There was talk of the college closer getting a shot at serving in a starting role, but that may have to wait until next season. For now, the southpaw has been serving out of the Lake Monsters bullpen. He’s been victimized by bad defense at times, but Salow has managed to post 22 strikeouts over his first 16 1/3 innings as a pro.
29 1/3 IP / 16 H / 3 ER / 6 BB / 35 K / 0.92 ERA / 0.75 WHIP
Dunshee has been the most promising pitcher to come out of this year’s draft so far for the A’s. After allowing 3 runs in his first appearance for the AZL A’s, Dunshee moved to Vermont, where he’s now failed to allow a run in his first 27 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters. The former Wake Forest star is an experienced college hurler, and he’s been striking out nearly 11 batters per 9 innings while notching nearly 6 times more strikeouts than walks.
22 1/3 IP / 20 H / 4 ER / 1 BB / 22 K / 1.61 ERA / 0.94 WHIP
Howard has been almost as impressive as Dunshee in the early going. The 6-foot-9 righty has demonstrated great control, walking just 1 and striking out 22 while also failing to allow a home run over his first 22 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.
The 10th-round draft pick out of Washington started out strong. Meggs smashed 3 home runs in his first 17 games, a number no one on the Lake Monsters squad has yet to surpass, while also boasting a .370 on-base percentage and a .449 slugging percentage before landing on the disabled list in late July.
RHP Zach Neal turned in an outstanding start for the Sounds on Friday, allowing just 1 run over 7 innings of work to notch his 3rd win for Nashville. RHP Chris Bassitt threw a scoreless 8th, and RHP Lou Trivino pitched a perfect 9th to pick up his 1st save for the Sounds. Center fielder Yairo Munoz singled, homered and drove in a pair, while catcher Matt McBride doubled, walked and scored a run, and left fielder Kenny Wilson singled twice, stole a base and drove in a run for Nashville. Meanwhile, the A’s sent outfielders Mark Canha and Jaycob Brugman back to the Sounds and recalled outfielder Boog Powell and RHP Michael Brady on Friday.
Right fielder Seth Brown had a big night at the plate as the Ports won the rubber game of their three-game series with San Jose on Thursday. Brown tripled and scored a run in the 4th inning and then slugged a solo shot in the 6th. The blast was Brown’s team-leading 20th home run of the season. Shortstop Sheldon Neuse singled, homered and drove in a pair of runs for the Ports, and Brown and Neuse have both belted 3 home runs over their last 3 games for Stockton. Starter Norge Ruiz allowed 3 runs over 6 innings of work to earn his 3rd win, while RHP Nolan Blackwood tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to secure his 13th save for Stockton.
This year’s 33rd-round draft pick for the A’s, first baseman Jake Lumley, had another big night at the plate to help make the AZL A’s the only A’s affiliate to record a win on Wednesday. The 22-year-old out of Canisius College singled and tripled with the bases loaded to drive in 3 runs, and he’s now sporting a .359/.419/.500 slash line over his first 21 pro games for the AZL A’s. Left fielder Ben Spitznagel and designated hitter Lazaro Armenteros each had a pair of hits and drove in a run, and center fielder Austin Beck doubled in a run. Rehabbing RHP Daniel Mengden made the start and struck out 6 while throwing 3 scoreless and hitless innings, and 20-year-old Dominican RHP Rafael Kelly allowed just 1 unearned run in 4 innings of relief to earn his 1st win for the A’s. Meanwhile, LHP Jhenderson Hurtado and outfielder Jeramiah McCray were both reassigned from Vermont to the AZL A’s on Wednesday.
Five home runs helped Stockton snap its four-game losing streak on Tuesday. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse wielded the biggest bat of the night, collecting 3 hits, including 2 home runs, while scoring 3 times and driving in 4 runs for the Ports. Right fielder Seth Brown belted a pair of home runs to give him a team-leading total of 19 while driving in 3 runs, and catcher Argenis Raga added a solo shot for Stockton. Starter Logan Shore allowed 3 runs over 4 innings of work, while RHP Miguel Romero tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to pick up his 1st win for the Ports, and RHP Armando Ruiz got the final four outs for Stockton to secure his 2nd save.
RHP Casey Meisner turned in his third straight strong start to help Midland snap a three-game skid on Sunday. The 22-year-old allowed just 3 hits while striking out 6 over 7 shutout innings to earn his 4th win for the RockHounds, and he’s now failed to allow a run over his last 14 frames for the Hounds. LHP Brandon Mann and RHP Carlos Navas each contributed a scoreless inning in relief to complete the 3-hit shutout on Sunday. First baseman Viosergy Rosa singled, tripled and walked, while center fielder B.J. Boyd had 3 hits, stole a base and drove in a run for the RockHounds.