Results tagged ‘ Blake Treinen ’

Wednesday, May 15th: Peters & Murphy Pitch Ports & Hounds to Victory while Snappers Lose in Extras

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Stockton Ports’ Pitcher Tanner Peters (8 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 10 K / Win)

Stockton Ports’ Pitcher Tanner Peters   (8 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 10 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  8

Frisco RoughRiders  4

WP – Murphy 1-1 / 2.17

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Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Sean Murphy

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

 

Starter Sean Murphy had another solid outing for the RockHounds on Wednesday, allowing just 2 hits over 6 scoreless innings to earn the win. Outfielder D’Arby Myers, catcher Beau Taylor and first baseman Anthony Aliotti each drove in a pair of runs, while outfielder Chad Oberacker and designated hitter Jake Goebbert contributed 3 hits apiece for Midland.

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A’s Assistant GM David Forst On New Catcher John Jaso, New Shortstop Hiro Nakajima, And The Importance Of Team Chemistry

David Forst

David Forst: Hoping ‘Hiro’ translates into ‘Hero’

As part of A’s FanFest this past weekend, a few members of the A’s staff took some time out to attend a bloggers-only press conference in the bowels of the Oracle Arena. One of those who stopped in to chat with us was A’s assistant general manager David Forst. And A’s Farm was especially eager to find out what it was that got the A’s front office so excited about shortstop Hiro Nakajima…

 

On the team’s belief that Japanese shortstop Hiro Nakajima could succeed in the major leagues…

I did not actually see him myself. We have a number of guys who’ve seen him back through the WBC in 2009 – a lot of our pro scouts, our international guys. Part of it is based on the numbers. His offensive numbers do translate well based on what other Japanese players have done here. But the reports, not only scouting reports, but from other players who’ve played with him – I think we mentioned Bob Melvin had talked to Ichiro and to Hideki about him. The guys who’ve done well over here are guys who have some leadership over there, who have the personality, who aren’t as affected by the off-the-field things that they gave to adjust to, which are huge. We saw that with Yoenis too – there’s so much that foreign players have to deal with aside from just baseball. We felt like he’d be able to handle that stuff, so his talent would play. Defensively, that’s the hardest thing for us to predict, because we don’t have the same metrics we have on the offensive side. But our reports are good – the hands, the arm strength. All the things you look for from a scouting perspective, we feel pretty good about…we do think he can play the position.

 

On evaluating defensive metrics…

The key on defense is to have everything sort of match up. If you’re looking at Range Factor and UZR and all the stuff that takes into account the Field f/x stuff, the SportVision data, the key is to have everything match up. So if you have conflicting reports, that’s when you sort of look at your scouting reports. I think you only feel good about defensive stats when things are aligned across the board.

 

On the team’s strategy in this year’s amateur draft…

We got together with (scouting director) Eric Kubota and his guys a couple weeks ago just to sort of go over the list. It’s a lot deeper in college players this year – both pitching and position players. We certainly didn’t set out to take a bunch of high school guys last year. That’s just where we felt like the talent was. But it is deeper in the college level…We’ve obviously traded away a lot of pitching. We have pitching here, and then there’s a little bit of a gap after guys like Brad Peacock and Sonny Gray. There’s a gap down to A ball, and having traded A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen kind of opened that gap up a little bit…Obviously you always need to replenish your pitching every year.

 

John Jaso: Object of the A's affection

John Jaso: Object of the A’s affection

On the acquisition of catcher John Jaso

He’s been on the target list for a while. You look at what he did in the minor leagues, the type of offensive player he was – he’s certainly the kind of guy that historically we’ve coveted. And he had a year in Seattle where he really finally broke out offensively. So as we watched him a lot over the course of the season, seeing him in our division, he was certainly a guy we thought about towards the end of the season and all off-season and figured out a way to see if Seattle would part with him. And it obviously took a long time for (Mariners’ general manager) Jack Zduriencik to come around. And getting Mike Morse was the piece that he needed. In fact, one of our pro scouts, Craig Weissmann, was an amateur guy with Tampa when he signed Jaso originally in the draft. So we’ve kind of had our eye on John for a while.

 

On trading pitching prospect A.J. Cole back to the Nationals in the John Jaso deal…

(Nationals’ general manager) Mike Rizzo had said a couple times in the last twelve months how disappointed he was in having given up A.J., so Billy sort of knew in the back of his head that that was going to get us in the door. And when things sort of matched up, he knew Seattle wanted Morse. And obviously Rizzo knew we didn’t have interest in Morse, but we were able to say, “Hey Mike, if you’re still interested in A.J., we might be able to work something out here.”

 

On pitchers’ workloads…

We’re always aware of it. It’s something that we constantly talk about. (A’s pitching coach) Curt Young does a great job of keeping track of these guys start by start and then on a three-starts-by-three-starts basis. But it’s certainly not a situation where we’re going in saying we’re going to cut pitcher A off here or whatever. Our trainers do a lot of work in between starts, and they do a good job of keeping track of historical comps for each guy. So whether it’s Jarrod Parker, who increased his workload significantly last year, or Brett Anderson, who had a limited workload because of the injury, I think we have the best feel for them just because our trainers have their hands on these guys after each start. So I expect that we will continuously talk about and be aware of it, but I don’t imagine that anyone will have a limit set on them to start the season.

 

Bartolo Colon: Added depth - and width

Bartolo Colon: Added depth – and width

On the possible need for the team to add more veteran pitching depth…

Obviously we’re aware that a lot of what we accomplished last year was based a lot on our starting pitching depth, and the fact that we ended up using 7-8-9 starters who were effective. The fact that Travis Blackley is still here obviously and can fill that role and you expect a full season out of Brett Anderson, we felt like adding Bartolo Colon was probably as much as we needed to do. At the same time, it’s just not easy to add those veteran guys when, on paper, you have a rotation like we do. It’s not necessarily an attractive place for a veteran guy to come and have to make the team or fight for it. So we feel like, with A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily in the 5-6 spot, with Brad Peacock and Sonny Gray at AAA, with Travis here being able to be a swing man, we feel like there is the depth there to get it done.

 

On clubhouse chemistry…

There’s no doubt that clubhouse culture is important, and it starts with Bob Melvin - that’s the most important thing. He set the tone for those guys, and they kind of followed his lead, which isn’t the case everywhere. I think there’s been a lot made of Jonny Gomes leaving and Brandon Inge, and you’re never going to keep all 25 guys together. But…we like the mix we have – personalities combined with guys who take it seriously on the field. But also you have a bunch of guys who should continue to get better, whether that’s about age or getting a chance to play everyday, this team should not have guys who regress – they should continue to trend upwards.

 

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A’s Deal Pitchers of the Future for Catcher of the Present

John Jaso: Along with the hirsute Derek Norris, the A's could boast the most bearded catching tandem in the major leagues in 2013

John Jaso: Along with the hirsute Derek Norris, the A’s could boast the most bearded catching tandem in the major leagues.

It was announced on Wednesday that the A’s had acquired catcher John Jaso from the Seattle Mariners as part of a three-team deal that sent A’s minor league pitchers A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen, along with a player to be named later, to the Washington Nationals, who sent first baseman-outfielder Michael Morse to the Mariners. As a result of the trade, catcher George Kottaras, who had just signed a $1 million deal with the A’s earlier in the week, was designated for assignment. Kottaras, and his contract, will presumably be traded by the A’s sometime within the next ten days.

The left-handed hitting Kottaras became expendable with the arrival of Jaso, who also bats left-handed. Kottaras and the right-handed hitting Derek Norris were expected to split the A’s catching duties fairly evenly in 2013. But with Jaso, who hits right-handers far better than he handles left-handers, now in the fold, the arrangement is likely to become much more of a strict platoon, with Jaso getting most of the starts against right-handed pitchers and Norris getting most of the starts against left-handers – who represent no more than a quarter of all major league starters. This will give the 23-year-old Norris the chance to develop at his own pace, without the pressure of having to carry too much of the load right away.

Many A’s fans had been clamoring for an upgrade behind the plate, and this deal gives them just that. But some hard-core A’s followers were upset that the team gave up so much promising young pitching talent in the trade. The loss of Cole, who came over just last year in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals (to whom he now returns), particularly rankled many fans. The 21-year-old right-hander was considered one of the A’s top three pitching prospects, along with Brad Peacock and Sonny Gray, while Blake Treinen was the A’s 7th-round draft pick in 2011.

A.J. Cole: Back from whence ye came

A.J. Cole: Back from whence ye came!

The 24-year-old Treinen was a little inconsistent at High-A Stockton last year. While he had a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he posted an ERA of 4.37 and gave up a little over 10 hits per 9 innings while barely managing 100 innings between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Meanwhile, Cole had a disastrous start to his season at Stockton, going winless in 8 starts while compiling an astronomical ERA of 7.82. But after being sent down to Class-A Burlington in the Midwest League, he bounced back to post an impressive 2.07 ERA while striking out 102 in 95 2/3 innings. And his late-season turnaround gave many A’s fans great hope for his future.

The bottom line though is that neither of these two pitchers has ever thrown a pitch above A ball. And while they may one day develop into quality pitchers, they both still have a long way to go. The 29-year-old Jaso may not be an All-Star, but he is a major leaguer, and at least the A’s feel they know what they’re getting with him. The team clearly preferred a major league catcher in the hand to two minor leaguers in the bush leagues!

As for Jaso’s past performance, since he’ll really only be expected to carry the load against right-handed pitchers, the fact that he’s never shown any ability to hit left-handers is irrelevant. All that really matters is what he can do against righties. And last year, Jaso carried an impressive .302/.419/.508 slash line against right-handers. That’s compared to Kottaras’s .207/.335/.434 slash line against righties last year. Though neither Jaso nor Kottaras is likely to win any Gold Gloves, it’s a clear upgrade at the plate from the catching position for the A’s.

Jaso has a particular knack for getting on base – last year he walked an average of once every 6 plate appearances against right-handers while batting over .300 against them. He also has a knack for hitting doubles – last year Jaso doubled once every 15 ½ at-bats while Kottaras doubled just once every 28 ½ at-bats. So if nothing else, the A’s should expect to see Jaso standing on first base and second base a lot more than they saw Kottaras at those two locations!

The main conclusion that can be drawn from this deal though is that A’s general manager Billy Beane wants to win now! If he can unload part of the A’s pitching future to make an upgrade to the major league roster, he’s not going to hesitate to do it. If the A’s had finished in last place last year, it might be another matter and this deal might not have happened. But the A’s were the A.L. West champions last year, and you better believe that Billy Beane wants to turn them into the two-time A.L. West champions.

Beane clearly stated as much in a post-trade conference call with reporters when he said, “We’re shifting all of our focus on the major league club and trying to take as much advantage as we can of the opportunity we have.” In other words, “Win now!” – which, after having endured some years of rebuilding, ought to be a welcome rallying cry for most A’s fans!

 

 

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Exclusive: A’s Super Scout Grady Fuson Talks Top Prospects with A’s Farm

Grady Fuson: on the clock in Stockton

One of the most popular pieces we’ve featured here on A’s Farm over the past few months was our profile of A’s super scout (and Moneyball bad guy) Grady Fuson. He was the A’s scouting director from 1995 until 2001, when he left the A’s to become the assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers. Fuson returned to the A’s about two and a half years ago and currently serves as the special assistant to the general manager.

Prior to the amateur draft in early-June, Fuson’s duties primarily consist of scouting amateur prospects in preparation for the draft. But once the draft is complete, he begins a tour around the A’s minor league system, checking in on teams from Sacramento to Midland and Stockton to Burlington.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Fuson in Stockton about a week before the All-Star break, after he’d just visited Sacramento and had spent the better part of a week with Stockton as well. We took the opportunity to pick the brain of one of baseball’s top talent evaluators and get the lowdown on some of the A’s top hitting and pitching prospects, as well as some of the fresh new talent that’s just entered the system via this year’s draft. But we started out by taking a look at some of the guys at the top of the system at Sacramento…

 

AF:  I know you’ve been out checking in on some of the minor league teams, and I guess your first stop was in Sacramento. I know Grant Green has been moving all over the field and playing a lot of different positions there lately – left, center, short, third, even second. So what’s the current situation with him?

GF:  Well, everybody’s asked me a little bit about why is he here, why is he there. We’re just trying to increase his versatility. A lot of kids, when they break in the big leagues, if you’re not a bona-fide position guy, it’s hard to break in and get at-bats if you don’t have that versatility. Obviously, we moved him out to center and we know what that looks like now – we know he can play it a little to some degree. We’ve got a little bit of a third base issue still with Sizemore going down early. So now we’re giving him some more time at third, and he’s still playing a little short. And when that time comes when he’s needed in the big leagues, when the powers that be want to give him a little look, at least Bob Melvin’s got a little versatility to where he can play him, and then we’ll see where the bat settles in in the big leagues.

AF:  And how do you feel about his bat at this point?

GF:  Well, I still feel strong that he’s hitter-ish. He’s going to be a hitter. How much power will really come out up there? I think he’s going to be one of those guys where ballparks could play a role. If he plays in a place like Texas, he could probably hit some. If he plays in a place like Petco Park, he’s probably not going to hit too many. But we’ve been working with him for a year and a half now about trying to make some adjustments on pitches middle to middle-in – just trying to change bat head positions so that he can pull more of those balls. He’s been shooting those balls up the middle. If he’s ever going to hit the ball out, those are the pitches he’s got to get the head out and get it over the shorter parts of the ballpark. And he’s made that adjustment.

AF:  So the greater his versatility, the more opportunity there’s going to be for him to get to the big leagues and then, once he’s there’s, the more opportunity there’ll be for him to stay there.

GF:  Exactly.

AF:  Anybody else stand out in Sacramento?

GF:  Everybody else there was about as expected. Michael Taylor is still very improved with his aggressiveness. He’s just not getting the ball out much on the pull side of the field, but he’s squaring it up and hitting it hard a lot. A.J. Griffin – you know he’s dealing again tonight (in Oakland). Griffin’s always good for me. I’m glad he got this opportunity. He’s making the most of it right now.

AF:  Give me your take on Griffin.

GF:  I’ve always been a Griffin guy. I saw him in college. I thought I helped us get him in the draft a little bit. But he’s big, he’s physical. It’s not an overpowering fastball, but I just always liked his ability to get down and away with his fastball, which to me is golden for a pitcher – a guy that can just locate his 4–seam fastball down and away. He’s got a good changeup. He’s got a good breaking ball. We’ve added a little cutter to his game that’s helped. He’s always been aggressive. He throws it down, and he’s a strike-thrower. He’s a competitor.

AF:  What about another pitcher who’s been looking great since he got to Sacramento, Dan Straily?

GF:  Straily’s awesome. He’s been great. I’m proud of that kid.

AF:  What’s been the key to his success this year?

GF:  I just think better command. But if you go back and look at his numbers, I think he was one or two in the California League last year in strikeouts. And he’s come a long way with his changeup. He’s always had a good breaking ball. He throws hard. He’s a 90-94 mph guy. He’s got a good arm. He’s been great.

AF:  One guy at Sacramento who’s been struggling a bit is Brad Peacock. What’s up with him?

GF:  Brad’s just having a hard time backing up quality pitches in the strike zone – executing. It has nothing to do with his stuff. He’s still throwing 90-94 mph. He’s got a good bite to his breaking ball when it’s right. But he’s just been scattered. (Minor league pitching coordinator) Gil Patterson was in there with him and we did some side work. We thought maybe he’s got a little bit of an uphill move that’s kind of wreaking havoc with him trying to get down the mound a little bit. He’s leaving a lot of fastballs up and elevated. And the biggest thing is just his pitch count is not getting him very deep in the game right now.

AF:  It seemed like he started out the season pretty well.

GF:  Yeah, his first few starts were pretty solid. He’s just in a rut right now, but he’s young and he’s got good enough stuff. He’ll come out of it.

AF:  Well, you’ve been here with the Stockton team for a while now. Can you tell me a little bit about the pitching staff here at Stockton?

GF:  The pitching’s been impressive. Blake Treinen, as good as his stuff is, I’m a little disappointed that his performance numbers aren’t a little better. Something’s missing – I’m not smart enough to tell you what it is, but something’s not right. Jake Brown, even though he’s a little bit of a soft-tossing left-hander, he knows how to pitch. He stays away from guys. He knows when to come in. He’s got a real good changeup.

AF:  What about Sean Murphy? He’s been looking really good both at Burlington and here at Stockton this year.

GF:  He’s by far one of the most improved young pitchers we’ve got in the system. I patted him on the ass after the game and told him, “Do you know how much better you are than you were a year ago?” He’s really cleaned his whole mental game up. He’s just taking things more seriously. He’s gotten focused. He’s pounding his down-and-away fastball. He’s always had a good changeup. He’s getting his breaking ball over in the strike zone.

AF:  Well, he’s had a big change from last year. Batters were hitting over .300 against him last season, and this season they’ve been hitting around .200 against him – that’s a big difference!

GF:  You know, he’s growing up. He’s turning into a pro. I mean, this kid a year ago was from a dinky little school. I remember talking to him last year in Burlington, and he goes “I’ve never been coached.” And he was like a little kid, an amateur. And this year, this guy’s turning into a man. I could see it coming in spring training too. He started to get super serious about his sides. He got his body in great shape. He’s doing good.

AF:  When I talked to him earlier about what accounted for his success this year, he seemed to say it was primarily just about focus and commitment.

GF:  It’s nice to see, because that’s what you’re looking for. Hey, this guy wants it, and this guy doesn’t. Some of them don’t know how to want it. But that’s our job to just keep pounding it into them.

AF:  Have you had a chance to see much of left-hander Ian Krol yet?

GF:  I’m actually going to miss him – they set him back a day. But I’ve been with him on two of his sides. You know, it’s all about his finish – just staying on line and being directed. He wants to cut his finish off and spin out, and he loses his line of command. And when you do those things, there’s usually not a lot of good things that are going to happen. The two sides I’ve been here, we’ve been working with him a lot on that.

AF:  What about Blake Hassebrock who was great at Burlington last year but has been struggling a bit since coming back off the disabled list here?

GF:  I don’t think he’s going any more than three innings tonight. He’s definitely a prospect. He’s big, he’s physical. He throws it downhill and he throws it hard. It’s all the secondary things. We’re trying to get him to use the cutter a little bit more than the slider, because his slider’s never been a great slider.

AF:  T.J. Walz got off to a good start here, but then he was moved out of the rotation and into the bullpen. What was behind that?

GF:  It’s not that we’re walking away from him as a starter forever. He’s just had this history that he told us about – when he starts a lot, his arm starts barking. And for some reason, his arm never barks when he throws out of the pen. He’s a guy who we had to watch his innings this year anyway because of his college pitch count and things like that. But he’s still throwing good.

AF:  Another guy who started the year here at Stockton was A.J. Cole. He really struggled here, but he’s been pitching great since he was sent down to Burlington. I guess you really haven’t had a chance to see him since the spring though, right?

GF:  No, I’ve seen a lot of him on video though. When he was going through these issues when he was here, I happened to be in Arizona one day, where me and (director of player development) Keith Lieppman got all the video we could get and we got on the phone with Gil Patterson. Gil had video and we were breaking things apart a little bit. He was dong some things that were different than when he was with Washington. And so Gil got on those and came in here and tried to settle some things down and get things back to where they needed to be. I don’t know if it’s the change to a different league, but it shouldn’t be that big a discrepancy. It was more location and sequences – it wasn’t stuff. The guys who saw him pitch here said it was 93-95 mph. The one thing that we were looking at was to see if his arm was on time with his foot stride. We looked at the timing and his arm was late and just missing.

AF:  Well, sending him to Burlington certainly seemed to be the answer.

GF:  Sometimes that in itself is the answer – a little wake-up call.

AF:  I know you probably haven’t seen him since the spring, but what’s your take on Sonny Gray?

GF:  I think he’s just struggling with his overall command. He’s working on it. I think he’s starting to understand what few concerns we had about him – those are the things that come and go.

AF:  The last I heard, the big thing he was working on was the changeup.

GF:  The changeup, and his direction and the way he lands – helping him stay on line to help him with his command. Those are the two big things.

AF:  Is there anyone on the offensive side of things who’s been opening your eyes since you’ve been here in Stockton?

GF:  Yeah, number one, it’s really good to see Max Stassi on the field everyday. And when he’s on the field everyday, you can see what he’s got a chance to do. He’s a really polished receiver. His arm’s working and feeling great right now. He’s throwing well. He’s hitting balls to all fields. He’s working on his pitch selection. He’s a nice-looking player. This is B.A. Vollmuth’s first time here. He’s still getting used to it a little bit, but doing about what’s expected from him – squaring a lot of balls up, playing solid at third. Yordy Cabrera’s a young kid – you know, things come and go with Yordy. Last night, he swings at a first pitch slider that’s five feet out of the strike zone, and you’re kind of going, “Oh my God!” And then two at-bats in a row were solid – he squared one up to the biggest part of the ballpark and thought he got his first homer. In San Jose (earlier in the week), his footwork was better. Last night, he sat back on groundballs and groundballs ate him up. That comes and goes with young kids. But the reality is that night after night, even though his numbers don’t look like it, I think he’s holding his own.

AF:  Speaking of some of these very young prospects, what’s up with Aaron Shipman at Burlington?

GF:  I’m heading there. I haven’t seen Shipman since I left spring training. Obviously he’s having a rough go just with contact. He’s down in the low .200s again. At one time, he got it up in the .250s. He’s back to doing some swinging and missing. But we’ll see.

AF:  What about another guy here at Stockton who came up from Burlington earlier in the year and has been playing well, and that’s outfielder Dusty Robinson?

GF:  Dusty’s a guy who plays the game with his hair on fire. He’s got some good skills. Dusty can throw, Dusty can run, and Dusty can flat square up a ball at times that makes your jaw drop at how hard he can hit it. It’s a non-stop work in progress about how he handles pitches on the outer half. Sometimes he looks good, and sometimes he looks like he’s never seen one. But he’s doing good. He’s second in our whole organization in homers.

AF:  I know you haven’t seen Michael Choice at Midland yet, but is there anything you can offer on his situation this year?

GF:  I think he’s still fighting his day-to-day approach – it comes and goes. There’s no regression in his tools and his ability. He’s got a very unique set up and approach, and when he’s not on time, there’s issues depending on how a guy can pitch him. You know, that’s the biggest jump you make in this game, besides the big leagues. Getting out of all the A-ball stuff – whether it’s rookie ball, High-A, Low-A – Double-A is where the true pro game really starts. The athletes who can’t hit, they’re still in A-ball. The pitchers who throw hard but can’t throw it over or don’t have some type of off-speed, they’re still in A-ball. So what you’ve got at Double-A is you’ve got the first collection of some ability with understanding performance. And so there’s more pitchers up there who know how to change speeds, really locate more.

AF:  Guys who know how to fool you and know how to exploit your weaknesses…

GF:  Exactly. And the pitching in Triple-A – there’s so many veteran AAAA-type guys. They’re usually older, they’re not as crisp as they used to be, so they pitch ass backwards at AAA – cutter, cutter, cutter, backdoor breaking ball. There’s not a lot of velocity, a lot of hard fastballs, coming at you night after night, unless you’ve got some young kid on their way up. Everybody else is some 30-year-old guy – they trick you. So that becomes a lesson on hitting off-speed. Then when kids first go to the big leagues, they forget how to hit a fastball.

AF:  Speaking of guys who are trying to make that transition to Double-A, have you had a chance to see Miles Head at any point?

GF:  Yeah, in spring training. But you know, what a half! I don’t know that I’ve seen a guy have that kind of half. And if you talk to these guys here (in Stockton), they’ve never been around a guy that hot. They just said nobody could get him out. There were never more than two or three at-bats that went by without him crushing one. You know, another guy I’ve always liked since the day we signed him is Chad Oberacker. He’s got the simplest approach of anybody here. And he just squares it up every at bat. He’s playing a very good center field. He’s a plus runner. He’s a nice-looking kid.

AF:  He’s even hit a few homers this year. I don’t think he’d shown much power before.

GF:  He’s got 6 this year, but one of them was an inside-the-parker.

AF:  What about Josh Whitaker who hit three home runs in a game here one night?

GF:  He’s been playing great. His body’s in great shape. You can see more life out of his body every year. He’s getting tighter and stronger. This kid’s putting himself on the map. He runs, he throws, he’s a better defender, and he’s a threat to hit it out.

AF:  Well, he had a good year at Burlington last year, but I guess the thing with him is there’s always a lot of strikeouts.

GF:  That’s the one thing we tried to set our eye on in the draft. We put more of an emphasis on making that hitting skill a little purer than we’ve had in the past – making that the number one thing, because as an organization the last couple of years, we have had a lot of swing-and-missers. We had 7 guys in Stockton who struck out 100 times last year – Aliotti, Gilmartin, Coleman, Gil, Dixon, Choice and LeVier.

AF:  Well I know when I talked to scouting director Eric Kubota after the draft, it seemed like he kept saying about everyone you drafted, “We really like the way this guy handles the bat.”

GF:  Well, that was a little bit of the change in direction you could see in the draft. Getting high school versus college wasn’t by design, but getting hitters, hitters first, was.

AF:  Was there anyone in this year’s draft you scouted who you were particularly high on?

GF:  Yeah, all of them! The only guy I didn’t see up high was Matt Olson, but Addison Russell, Daniel Robertson, all those guys.

AF:  Was there anybody you were maybe a little higher on than other people?

GF:  Yeah, maybe Robertson. I don’t know if I was higher, but higher than a couple. We took him where I’d like to take him. I love B.J. Boyd, the Bay Area kid. This guy’s crude – he may run to the wrong dugout – but let me tell you, he’s got some kind of life in his hands, some kind of life in his legs. He’s electric.

AF:  So, I guess it’s just going to be a matter of refining him then.

GF:  Oh yeah, it’s going to be fun – but what a project! This is what young Carl Crawfords look like when they’re 18!

AF:  Well, that’s always a good thing to hear! Thanks a lot for taking the time to clue us in!

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Thursday, June 21st: Straily Wins Big in Debut for Cats

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats pitcher Daniel Straily (7 IP / 0 ER / 8 K)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Fresno Grizzlies             0

Sacramento River Cats  6

(WP – Straily 1-0 / 0.00)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Straily

(7 IP / 0 ER / 8 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: In his first start since being promoted from Midland, right-hander Daniel Straily kept up the good work, striking out 8 in 7 scoreless innings to earn his first win for Sacramento. Infielder Brandon Hicks continued his hot hitting, blasting a grand slam in the 1st inning, his 6th home run in the last 7 games, to give the River Cats the lead. Third baseman Stephen Parker contributed a 2-run homer as well.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Frisco RoughRiders    4

Midland RockHounds  5

(WP – Hernandez 1-3 / 8.79)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Carlos Hernandez

(5 IP / 1 ER / 2 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: In his first start of the season, left-hander Carlos Hernandez allowed just 1 run in 5 innings to earn the win. Outfielder Conner Crumbliss drove in 2 runs and, in his first game with the RockHounds, third baseman Miles Head went 1 for 4 and doubled in a run.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports  5

Modesto Nuts   6

(LP – Walz 4-5 / 3.43)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Blake Treinen

(5 IP / 2 ER / 4 K)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Blake Treinen allowed 2 runs in 5 innings of work. Outfielder Josh Whitaker hit his 8th homer of the season, and shortstop Yordy Cabrera, third baseman Tony Thompson and designated hitter Beau Taylor all doubled in the loss.

 

CLASS-A SHORT-SEASON NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE

Vermont Lake Monsters  3

Tri-City ValleyCats           5

(LP – Menna 0-1 / 5.06)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Jacob Tanis

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

 

 

Friday’s Games:

Fresno @ Sacramento – 7:05pm PT

(Petit vs. Billings)

San Antonio @ Midland – 7:00pm CT

(TBD vs. Smith)

Stockton @ Modesto – 7:05pm PT

(Murphy vs. Gonzalez)

Wisconsin @ Burlington – 6:30pm CT

(TBD vs. TBD)

Vermont @ Lowell – 7:05pm ET

(Wunderlich vs. Cuevas)

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Tuesday, June 12th: Cole Pitches Bees to Victory as Cats & Hounds Lose in Extras and Ports Split

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Burlington Bees pitcher A.J. Cole   (6 IP / 1 ER / 6 K / Win)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Sacramento River Cats  7

Fresno Grizzlies             8

(LP – Castro 3-7 / 7.01)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Manny Ramirez

(3 for 5 / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Manny Ramirez had another big game, collecting 3 hits and driving in 2 runs, including the go-ahead run for the River Cats in the 7th inning. But left-hander Pedro Figueroa gave up the game-tying run to the Grizzlies in the 8th, and left-hander Fabio Castro allowed the game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th to take his 7th loss.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Midland RockHounds  4

Frisco RoughRiders    5

(LP – Hernandez 0-3 / 10.88)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Michael Choice

(2 for 6 / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Outfielder Michael Choice doubled and drove in 2 runs, including the game-tying run in the 7th inning for the RockHounds, but left-hander Carlos Hernandez surrendered the game-winning run in the bottom of the 14th to take his 3rd loss.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

GAME #1

Bakersfield Blaze  5

Stockton Ports     9

(WP – Treinen 6-5 / 4.42)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Blake Treinen

(7 IP / 2 ER / 10 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Blake Treinen allowed 2 earned runs and struck out 10 in 7 innings to earn his 6th win on Tuesday. Outfielder Dusty Robinson, catcher Max Stassi and infielders Miles Head and Tony Thompson all homered in the win.

 

GAME #2

Bakersfield Blaze  4

Stockton Ports     1

(LP – Jimenez 0-1 / 3.00)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Dusty Robinson

(Home Run)

 

 

Worth Noting: Stockton could only manage 1 run in the 2nd game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, and it came thanks to outfielder Dusty Robinson’s 2nd home run of the day, his 6th for the Ports, in the 7th inning.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees           2

Cedar Rapids Kernels  1

(WP – Cole 2-0 / 3.22)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Cole

(6 IP / 1 ER / 6 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter A.J. Cole had his 3rd straight solid outing for Burlington on Tuesday, allowing 1 run on just 3 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6 over 6 innings to earn his 2nd win. Right-hander Jose Macias tossed 3 scoreless innings in relief to notch his 2nd save, and outfielders Rashun Dixon and Bobby Crocker both homered to account for Burlington’s only 2 runs in the game.

 

Wednesday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Fresno – 7:05pm PT

(Griffin vs. Burress)

Midland @ Frisco – 11:00am CT

(Gray vs. Brigham)

Bakersfield @ Stockton – 7:05pm PT

(Brackman vs. Murphy)

Burlington @ Cedar Rapids – 6:35pm CT

(Alcantara vs. Diaz)

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Tuesday, May 22nd: Ports Score 15 to Win, Peacock Gets Rocked as Cats Fall

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats first baseman Chris Carter (Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Sacramento River Cats  5

Round Rock Express     11

(LP – Peacock 5-2 / 5.14)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Chris Carter

(Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Brad Peacock got rocked in Round Rock on Tuesday night, giving up 7 runs on 9 hits in just 3 2/3 innings to raise his ERA to 5.14 and run his record to 5-2. First baseman Chris Carter blasted his 5th home run of the past week to run his season total to 9, and infielders Brandon Hicks and Wes Timmons also homered in the loss.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

San Jose Giants  3

Stockton Ports   15

(WP – Treinen 4-4 / 4.18)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Blake Treinen

(6 IP / 3 ER / 6 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: Starter Blake Treinen, who allowed 3 runs and struck out 6 over 6 innings, kept Stockton in the game long enough for the Ports to mount a massive comeback and win the game. After scoring just 1 run over the first 5 innings, the Ports scored 14 runs in the last 3 frames. Outfielder Chad Oberacker hit a grand slam in a 7-run 6th inning, shortstop Michael Gilmartin doubled and drove in 6 runs, and catcher Max Stassi, serving as the designated hitter for the day, doubled and drove in 3.

 

Wednesday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Round Rock – 5:05pm PT

(TBD vs. Jackson)

Midland @ NW Arkansas – 7:00pm CT

(Daley vs. Arguelles)

Burlington @ Kane County – 6:00pm CT

(Alcantara vs. TBD)

 

 

Thursday, May 17th: Cats Plate 16 as Hounds & Bees Win and Ports Take 2nd Straight

A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Sacramento River Cats first baseman Chris Carter (2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

 

TRIPLE-A PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

Sacramento River Cats  16

Albuquerque Isotopes    5

(WP – Peacock 5-1 / 4.17)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Chris Carter

(2 Home Runs / 6 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: The River Cats erupted for 16 runs against Albuquerque on Thursday night. The barrage was led by first baseman Chris Carter, serving as the designated hitter for the night, who had 3 hits, including 2 homers, and drove in 6 runs. Infielder Brandon Hicks had 4 hits, including a triple and a homer, and drove in 5 runs. Catcher Derek Norris had 3 hits and drove in 4, while outfielder Grant Green had 3 hits and crossed the plate 4 times. Starter Brad Peacock allowed 5 runs and struck out 6 over 6 innings to earn his 5th win. The River Cats lineup will be getting an interesting addition when Manny Ramirez joins the team this Saturday inAlbuquerque.

 

DOUBLE-A TEXAS LEAGUE

Frisco RoughRiders    3

Midland RockHounds  8

(WP – Daley 5-2 / 4.69)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Ryan Ortiz

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

 

Worth Noting: Catcher Ryan Ortiz homered and drove in 3 runs, shortstop Dusty Coleman drove in 2, and outfielder and leadoff hitter Conner Crumbliss contributed 3 hits and collected his 10th stolen base. Starter Gary Daley allowed 3 runs over 5 innings to earn his 5th win, while left-hander Sean Doolittle struck out 3 in 2 scoreless innings of relief.

 

ADVANCED-A CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Stockton Ports  13

Modesto Nuts    1

(WP – Treinen 3-4 / 4.14)

 

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Blake Treinen

(6 IP / 1 ER / 5 K / Win)

 

 

Worth Noting: After losing 16 straight, the Ports won their 2nd in a row on Thursday night. After a few shaky outings, right-hander Blake Treinen got back on track with one of his best starts of the season, allowing just 1 run and striking out 5 over 6 innings of work to earn his 3rd win. Catcher Beau Taylor, serving as the designated hitter for the night, had 2 hits, including a triple, and drove in 5 runs, infielder Miles Head collected 4 hits and drove in 2, and outfielder Myrio Richard had 4 hits as well, including 3 doubles, and scored 4 times.

 

CLASS-A MIDWEST LEAGUE

Burlington Bees                  8

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers  3

(WP – Alcantara 3-4 / 4.42)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Infielder Wade Kirkland

(Home Run / Double / 5 RBIs)

 

Worth Noting: Infielder Wade Kirkland and outfielder Dusty Robinson both homered and doubled on Thursday, with Kirkland driving in 5 runs and Robinson driving in 2. Infielders B.A. Vollmuth and Ryan Pineda contributed 2 hits apiece, and starter Raul Alcantara allowed 3 runs and struck out 4 over 6 innings to earn his 3rd win.

 

Friday’s Games:

Sacramento @ Albuquerque – 6:05pm PT

(Godfrey vs. TBD)

Corpus Christi @ Midland – 7:00pm CT

(Cosart vs. Straily)

Stockton @ Modesto – 7:05pm PT

(Cole vs. Gomez)

Burlington @ Wisconsin – 6:35pm CT

(Murphy vs. Gagnon)

 

 

Exclusive: A’s Assistant GM David Forst Gives the Lowdown on Off-Season Acquisitions and A’s Top Prospects – Part 2

A’s Assistant General Manager David Forst

Yesterday, we brought you Part 1 of A’s Farm’s exclusive interview with A’s assistant general manager David Forst, where he gave us the lowdown on Jarrod Parker, Ryan Cook, Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock and more. In Part 2, we’ll cover Josh Reddick, Miles Head, Michael Choice, Sonny Gray and more top A’s prospects. So let’s get back to the action – we rejoin our game, already in progress…

AF: Well, the final big off-season trade was the one with the Red Sox for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney. The main guy you got back in that deal was Josh Reddick. And I imagine you’ve got to be feeling pretty good about him at this point.

DF: Yeah, very good. I don’t think we knew ourselves that Josh would be capable of stepping right into the middle of the lineup and hitting the way he has and obviously hitting in the 3-hole for us pretty much all season. He’s really been our most consistent guy. We knew he was a good hitter, and we knew he was going to be an above average right fielder, but he has exceeded even our own expectations. So we’re very happy with Josh at this point, and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t continue to hit in the middle of the lineup here.

Josh Reddick

AF: It seems like he’s making a lot of fans in Oakland real quick.

DF: Yeah, he is a fan favorite as well. He’s got a little bit of personality to him, which never hurts.

AF: Well it’s my theory that A’s fans are always fond of long-haired outfielders (Eric Byrnes, Nick Swisher, even briefly, Travis Buck).

DF: Well, I’ll have to see how many of those we can corner.

AF: The other hitter in that deal was infielder Miles Head, who’s been putting up great numbers at Stockton this year. You’ve got to be pretty pleased with him as well.

Miles Head

DF: Yeah, he’s been outstanding. He just turned 21 a week ago. To come into his first exposure at High-A and put up those kind of numbers has been outstanding. And playing third base for the most part, a position that he hasn’t played in a while, and he’s been pretty good over there too. He’s been the best guy on that Stockton team to date and one of our most consistent hitters in all the minor leagues. Miles has done a great job.

AF: Do you see him spending a full season at Class-A, or might he get bumped up if he keeps hitting like he has?

DF: I think we’re open to having him move. We’re talking about just a 100 plus at bats right now. And you’d like to see a guy do it for probably at least twice that long. Our history in terms of moving guys up from the California League to Double-A has been to make them do it for at least a full half-season and then see where they are because it is a huge jump. People talk about the jump from Triple-A to the big leagues obviously being the toughest. But to go from A-Ball to Double-A is a significant jump and you’re really facing a different level of pitcher there, so you want to make sure guys are ready before you make that decision.

Raul Alcantara

AF: The final guy in that deal was pitcher Raul Alcantara, who’s just 19 years old. And he’s been a little inconsistent at Burlington so far.

DF: Yeah, Raul will pitch all year at 19, so age is very much on his side. But like you said, he’s been kind of inconsistent. He had a very good start two starts ago where he threw 6 shutout innings and then came out the other day and walked 7 guys in 4 1/3 innings. So it’s a pretty typical trend line for a young kid first time in full-season ball. We weren’t even going to send him out to a full-season team after spring training, but he had a good camp and our guys liked the progress he was making. He really is very much in the development stage, working on both his secondary pitches and fastball command – the basic fundamentals you need a young pitcher to work on. And while he’s there, he’s holding his own, which is what you sort of hope for out of a 19-year-old.

Michael Choice

AF: Okay, now getting beyond the off-season deals, there are some other guys in the system who people are always interested in finding out more about. And the guy who’s always at the top of that list is former first-round draft pick Michael Choice, who’s been playing at Midland and just hit his second homer of the year the other day. (He’s since hit his third).

DF: I don’t totally know what to make of the power numbers right now, other than to say that we’re not at all concerned about him. I think one thing you know for sure with Michael is that he’s going to hit for power. So I would imagine that we’re going to see a spurt here at some point where he puts together 5 or 6 home runs in a week and brings those numbers right back up. The nice thing is he’s maintained the average in Double-A that he put together in A-Ball last year. He’s walking, his on-base has been right around .350 all year, and he’s out there everyday and healthy. So I think there are a lot of good indicators when it comes to Michael, and we have no doubt the power numbers will catch up.

Sonny Gray

AF: I’ve noticed he has been getting on base at a pretty regular clip anyway, which is always good to see. Another guy at Midland who everyone’s had their eye on who’s also been a little spotty so far is last year’s first-round draft pick Sonny Gray.

DF: Yeah, I think we all had high expectations because of where Sonny was drafted and frankly how well he came out of the gate last year with his 20 innings in Double-A, which no one really expected him to do. So when you look and his ERA’s in the mid-fours and he’s not quite striking out a batter an inning, we obviously all had high expectations. But again, in Sonny’s first year out, he’s holding his own in Double-A and his stuff has been very good every time out. (Director of player development) Keith Lieppman was in there recently and was raving about his breaking ball as a major league out pitch. And I think it’s just a matter of time before Sonny figures it out and his command gets better and he starts putting up some dominating starts at that level.

Sean Doolittle

AF: Another guy at Midland who’s a really interesting story is Sean Doolittle, who started out great at Stockton and was bumped up to Midland and so far has looked really good there too.

DF: Yeah, Sean has the potential to be a great story. Obviously, everybody knows what a great prospect he was as a position player. Unfortunately, his body just didn’t allow him to do it. But he’s now put together, between Stockton and Midland, I think 14 innings where he’s struck out 28 guys or something, and he’s touching 95-97 mph just about every time out. Obviously with a guy like that, you know his fastball’s going to play and it’s just a matter of working on his changeup and breaking ball. And that’s something we’ve stressed with Sean – not to just throw fastballs by guys but make sure he’s working on that other stuff. But as long as he continues to have success like that, then he’s going to move up the chain.

Ian Krol

AF: Besides A.J. Cole, there are a few other highly-regarded pitchers who’ve also been struggling at Stockton so far this year – guys like Ian Krol and Blake Hassebrock. I think they’ve both had some injury issues too. I know Krol’s on his way back, but is Hassebrock likely to be out for a while?

DF: He’s got an oblique issue that’s been bothering him, so he’s not quite back to throwing yet. He’s been out almost two full weeks now I believe. But yeah, Blake struggled a little bit before he went on the DL. We’re not going to see him pitch I would guess for another few weeks. And Ian just got back from his own DL stint. He pulled a groin a couple of outings ago and missed about two weeks, but he threw three innings the other night and seems to be back on track. That whole Stockton rotation right now is struggling. And it’s a tough place for pitchers. There are a lot of ballparks there where the ball flies, and you’ve got some older hitters spread out throughout the league. So it’s going to take some time for these guys to adjust. But their stuff is good and, for the most part, their arms are healthy. But Blake Treinen and T.J. Walz are doing a nice job. You’ve got a good group. I think it’s just going to take a while for them to put it together.

Drew Granier

AF: Yeah, Walz has really been the best starter so far at Stockton. And then down at Burlington, Sean Murphy and Drew Granier have both looked really good. I don’t know if their performances have been a bit of a pleasant surprise for you.

DF: Yeah, they’ve definitely opened up some eyes with their performance there and are in the conversation to move up at some point. Both guys have done well. Burlington’s right around .500, with not a lot of offensive performance to date. So it’s clearly been the pitching staff’s that’s carried them, and those guys you mentioned have been as good as anyone.

AF: I think they were both 32nd and 33rd round draft picks.

DF: Yeah, exactly, and they went out and had decent summers last year. But you really can’t evaluate these guys until they get into full-season ball. And they’ve both been very good.

Dusty Robinson

AF: The one guy who’s really been driving the offense at Burlington so far this year is outfielder Dusty Robinson, who’s been looking like a real power prospect.

DF: Yeah, his slugging numbers have been good from day one. He’s a guy we really did like out of the draft last year. He didn’t go in a premium position, but J.T. Stotts, our area scout, was very vocal about wanting this guy and feeling like his swing was going to play at the next level. And Dusty’s put up excellent numbers in what is typically a tough hitting environment, between the cold weather there in April and May and some tough parks to hit in. But he has been their most consistent offensive performer.

AF: Is there anyone I didn’t bring up who’s prominent on your radar screen and particularly worth mentioning from your point of view?

DF: Nope, you were pretty thorough. I think you’ve covered just about everyone who’s doing all right so far.

AF: Well, hopefully everyone who’s on your radar screen is on A’s Farm’s radar screen!

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

 

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