Tag: Brandon Bailey

Thursday, September 7th: Big Games by Brown & Bolt Aren’t Enough to Help Ports Prevail while Rosa Homers Again as Hounds Fall and Even Series

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Seth Brown (2 for 4 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Seth Brown (2 for 4 / HR / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE NORTH DIVISION FINALS  (High-A)

GAME #2

Stockton Ports  5

Modesto Nuts    11

LP – B.Bailey

HR – S.Brown, S.Bolt

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Seth Brown

(2 for 4 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs)

Stockton went down to defeat for the second straight night in its best-of-five playoff series against Modesto on Thursday. Right fielder Seth Brown continued his hot hitting, collecting a home run, a double and a walk while driving in 3 runs. Center fielder Skye Bolt had 4 hits, including a solo home run, and designated hitter Sandber Pimentel had 3 hits for the Ports. Starter Brandon Bailey was charged with 5 runs, just 1 earned, over 2 innings of work to take the loss for Stockton. Meanwhile, LHP Evan Manarino is set to make the start when Stockton returns home for Game #3 on Friday. Stockton Ports Playoff Roster

Click here for more on Midland & Vermont…

Down on the Farm with Stockton Ports Pitcher Brandon Bailey

bb669064bBrandon Bailey grew up in Colorado and attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he struck out 125 batters in 100 1/3 innings while posting a 2.42 ERA in his final season for the Bulldogs.

After the right-hander was selected by the A’s in the 6th round of last year’s amateur draft, he spent most of the season playing for Vermont, the A’s Class-A affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he put up a solid 3.08 ERA in 10 appearances. But Bailey was even more impressive for Beloit this season, posting a 2.88 ERA while notching 61 strikeouts over 68 2/3 innings of work for the Snappers before being promoted to the Ports at the start of July.

Last summer, we shared a few of Bailey’s blog posts about some of his experiences in the A’s minor league system in the weeks and months after the draft. We heard from him again just last week about some recent changes in his life, which you can check out here, and now we’re happy to share his latest update from Stockton. You can check out his personal blog here and you can follow him on Twitter at @BBailey_19

 

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how quickly humans can get caught up in a routine or daily schedule. With iPhones, iPads and Surface Pro 3s receiving our undivided attention, it seems like more and more people are forgetting to soak in all the blessings God has put in front of us on a daily basis. Things that on the surface seem so small or insignificant that we set them off to the side. Memories that we often take for granted, thinking that it’s always going to be there for us to appreciate. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of being glued to my technology and taking things for granted during numerous points in my life.

Over the past week, I have set aside some time to self-reflect, asking myself a set of questions: “What is my current routine? What do I like about it and what do I want to change?” With the help of family members, friends and teammates, I have discovered over the past five years that my life has been revolving around discontentment – always looking forward to the next step, the next goal, the next phases of life. Whether that’s in baseball, school or daily events, I am always planning for something further on down the road. This can be looked at as a positive trait as well as a negative one.

For starters, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people who like to plan out their school and/or work week. This is definitely me, and if you are anything like me, you probably find creating a to-do list to be oddly satisfying. Whether it’s something as simple as turning in a homework assignment or something as complex as solving world hunger, if it’s on my list and I complete the task, you can bet your ass that I will cross it off with a solid ballpoint pen (organized nerd geek for the win!). This technique, along with utilizing a planner to construct a strategy for my typical 9-to-5 work day, ultimately directs me on a path towards maximizing productivity, erasing wasted effort, and most importantly, eliminating wasted time. By being efficient during the set hours of the week that are designed for work, I:

1) Put myself in a position to have more free time to do fun stuff like binge watch House of Cards or talk to my family and friends on the phone.

2) Have a clear conscience that everything I needed to do in terms of “adulting” has been completed.

3) Give myself the opportunity to be in the present moment.

Brandon Bailey  (photo by Meghan Camino)

Brandon Bailey
(photo by Meghan Camino)

What I discovered over the past week is that, even though I am extremely organized with my time, I am still not taking advantage of being in the present moment. Why? Because I’ve let my work mentality transfer over into my personal life. Simple fix, right? Not so much – at least for me.

As a pitcher, I’ve been taught to constantly focus on the next pitch – a basic mindset that keeps me focused on the task at hand – letting go of anything that has happened during the previous pitch, at-bat, inning, game, or even the season, for that matter. This mentality, in my opinion, is the leading outlook on the art of pitching, simply because it forces the athlete to control what they can control, and that is – the NEXT pitch. Once the ball is released from the pitcher’s hand, he or she has zero say in what happens next. Gravity, the umpire’s opinion, and the hitter’s decision to swing or not are all up in the air. All the pitcher can do is hope that:

1) He made a quality pitch that is difficult for the batter to hit.

2) The hitter perceived the pitch as enticing and decided to swing, and hopefully miss.

3) The umpire felt that the pitch was within a certain area that gave the hitter a fair opportunity to put the ball in play (i.e. “the strike zone”).

If any one of these things doesn’t go the pitcher’s way, odds are there will be a negative outcome. It could be something as simple as the umpire calling the pitch a ball or something as catastrophic as a three-run walk-off Jimmy Jack to lose Game 7 of the World Series. Regardless, it’s out of the pitcher’s control. Like the great Clayton Kershaw said earlier this year, “They pay me to get the next guy out,” once again, emphasizing that pitchers, even the greatest in the world, are always looking ahead to the next pitch or the next at-bat.

On the positive side, I am aware of what I want to change. On the negative side, it’s unfortunate that it took me five years to come to this realization. All those times when God wanted me to just enjoy where I was currently at in life, I was looking ahead six months down the road. If I could do it all over again, I would praise him for the blessings of that day and let him handle all the worry, stress and uncertainty of my future.

Again, I think it’s okay to be excited for the future. It gives us hope. But if you let what’s to come blind you from the blessings of today, your life will be driven by discontentment and a restless aspiration for improvement. When in reality, the way to improve your future is by giving 100% to today.

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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…

Down on the Farm with Stockton Ports Pitcher Brandon Bailey

bb669064bBrandon Bailey grew up in Colorado and attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he struck out 125 batters in 100 1/3 innings while posting a 2.42 ERA in his final season for the Bulldogs. 

After the right-hander was selected by the A’s in the 6th round of last year’s amateur draft, he spent most of the season playing for Vermont, the A’s Class-A affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he put up a solid 3.08 ERA in 10 appearances. But Bailey was even more impressive for Beloit this season, posting a 2.88 ERA while notching 61 strikeouts over 68 2/3 innings of work for the Snappers before being promoted to the Ports at the start of July.

Last summer, we shared a few of Bailey’s blog posts about some of his experiences in the A’s minor league system in the weeks and months after the draft, which you can check out here. We last heard from him earlier this season about his first couple of months in Beloit, and now we’re happy to share his first update from Stockton. You can check out his personal blog here and you can follow him on Twitter @BBailey_19

 

Ever since I signed my letter of intent to participate in college athletics, my life has revolved around one thing…baseball. I speak for all my current/former professional teammates when I say that deciding to make this great sport your main source of income can be one of God’s greatest blessings but also one of life’s biggest challenges. Obstacles constantly present themselves day in and day out in professional baseball just like any other occupation. But what separates this career in difficulty from the vast majority of jobs after college is one thing…spending 6 months of the year away from loved ones, all in pursuit of making our childhood dream a reality. It’s a huge sacrifice for the player and anyone close to the player in any way.

You see, most people are going to graduate from college with a degree that they may or may not be able to use at their first “real job.” They will settle into a place that can be familiar or completely foreign but, regardless, they are settled at a permanent location. They will find an affordable apartment or small condo that they can officially call home or, for the majority of college students who are in over their heads in debt once they receive their diploma, they will move back in with their parents (hence familiar territory). Seems pretty straight forward, and that’s exactly my point. For most young adults ages 21 to 25 who cross this bridge into adulthood, there is a sense of normalcy or a routine in which they can submerge themselves. This consistent regularity of an permanent location, interactions with coworkers, and overall social lifestyle makes it easy to start building a foundation for the next stage in life…finding someone to walk this journey with you.

Unfortunately, for most ball players, we don’t receive that same luxury. In fact, the very lack of normalcy that is associated with our job makes our lifestyle difficult to relate to for anyone that is going down the path that I described in the previous paragraph. It takes a special person to support a ball player striving to achieve a dream that is so difficult to achieve. Distance apart from people that us ball players care about is something that we all juggle on a daily basis with our significant other, kids (if we have them), and immediate family members. Some players establish a serious relationship that has been in the works prior to signing a pro baseball contract while other players (like myself) try to make new found relationships work over long distance. Neither situation is easy or ideal, but for the players who are starting fresh with someone, the distance can take its toll.

Brandon Bailey (photo: Meghan Camino)

Brandon Bailey
(photo by Meghan Camino)

In the past 72 hours my life went from potentially being one week away from having 6 months to grow in the relationship that I was currently involved in while also finishing my degree at Gonzaga to potentially 1 week away from going back to Spokane to finish my degree and focus on bettering myself as an individual because I don’t have another choice. I can use the clichés “What happened was way out of left field,” or “Life really threw me a curve,” or even “My life just did a 180,” but at the end of the day God has a plan and it’s not my job to question it.

Before I go any further, it’s important that I clarify my intentions behind this post. The last thing I want is to make this entry sound like a sob story or that I have ill will towards the person I was previously dating. If anything, it’s quite the opposite. This person changed my life in so many ways in such a short amount of time, and for that, I am forever grateful. She brought me closer to my faith, gave me more confidence in myself to do anything I set my mind to, and she made me believe that a relationship with trust and faithfulness does still exist. She’s one of the greatest human beings I have ever had the privilege of spending meaningful time with, and in the process, became my closest friend. She had such an impact on me that I decided I needed to pick up my laptop and write again in order to vent and process what is running through my mind, which is significant because writing is one of my favorite things to do, yet I’ve only jotted down one post this season. I truly wish her all the best, and to whoever wins her heart in the future…treat her right because she deserves nothing but the very best and then some.

Now that I reeled you in with all sorts of feels (or maybe you think I’m a pathetic try-hard blogger who makes a piss-poor effort at a meaningful post), I can attempt to end this post on a high note. As I mentioned earlier, technically there is only 1 week left in the 2017 regular season. Which is important information to know because the current team I play for, the Stockton Ports, is in a playoff push, tied with 3 teams in our division for second place and only 1 game back of the division leader, the Visalia Rawhide (the California League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks). Even though classes start at Gonzaga tomorrow, I wouldn’t mind being a week or two late to school if it means I get to take the mound one more time as “The Ports make a run at the California state title!” said hitting coach Tommy Everidge and pitching coach Steve Connelly.

Regardless of the outcome of our playoff run, I am thankful for all the blessings God has presented me even with my current 180. He has given me the opportunity to grow as a ball player and as a person this season, and for that, it was all worth it. He is also giving me the opportunity to go to the same school as my younger sister Bri for the first time since she was born. Words can not express how excited I am to share the “Zag” experience with her in the upcoming fall months! Finally, I’m thankful for all the new friendships I have made through my new teammates and coaches. When it’s all said and done, I can look back knowing that no one can take the memories of the clubhouse, dugout and bus away from me.

And with the final line, I thought it might be nice to leave an inspirational quote from a song I am currently using as motivation to keep moving forward no matter what the situation:

“So RISE. Break the dark, piercing the night, you’re made to shine. An army of hope, bringing the world a radiant light.”- Rise by Danny Gokey

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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.

Friday, August 25th: Barreto Stars in Sounds’ Walk-Off Win while Gridley Leads Vermont to Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Second Baseman Franklin Barreto (4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs / 2 Stolen Bases)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Second Baseman Franklin Barreto (4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs / 2 Stolen Bases)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Round Rock Express  5

Nashville Sounds      6

WP – Schuster 3-1 / 6.20

HR – Barreto (15), Decker (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman Franklin Barreto

(4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs / 2 Stolen Bases)

Nashville notched its third straight win, this one in an 11-inning walk-off, on Friday. Second baseman Franklin Barreto had a big night at the plate, collecting 4 hits, including a home run and a double, while also drawing a walk, swiping a pair of bases, driving in 3 runs and scoring 3 times, and the 21-year-old has now gone 12 for 19 over his last 4 games for the Sounds. Starter Zach Neal allowed 2 runs over 6 innings of work and left the game with a 1-run edge. RHP Josh Smith gave up 2 runs in the top of the 7th to surrender the lead, but Barreto singled in the tying run in the bottom of the 7th for the Sounds. A fielding error by shortstop Yairo Munoz led to an unearned run in the top of the 9th off RHP Lou Trivino, but center fielder Jaff Decker led off the bottom of the 9th with a solo shot to tie things up once again and send the game to extra innings. Barreto drew a walk to get on board in the bottom of the 11th and then came around to score on third baseman Joey Wendle‘s RBI single as Nashville won in a walk-off and made a winner of LHP Patrick Schuster, who’d pitched a perfect frame in the top of the 11th for the Sounds. And with center fielder Rajai Davis dealt to the Red Sox and RHP Paul Blackburn landing on the disabled list, the A’s recalled RHP Michael Brady and outfielder Mark Canha from Nashville on Friday.

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

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

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

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

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        1

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Puk 2-3 / 4.91

HR – Sportman (11)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 16th: Holmes Wins 10th for Hounds while Martin & Pimentel Homer to Help Ports Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Grant Holmes (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Grant Holmes (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

NW Arkansas Naturals   3

Midland RockHounds   4

WP – Holmes 10-11 / 4.73

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Grant Holmes

(6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / Win)

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.

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

Saturday, July 29th: Pimentel Helps Ports Win Big while Martinez Leads Snappers to Another Shutout Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Sandber Pimentel (4 for 6 / Home Run / 2 Doubles / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Sandber Pimentel (4 for 6 / Home Run / 2 Doubles / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  15

Modesto Nuts       5

WP – Lyons 2-2 / 4.67

HR – Pimentel (8)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Sandber Pimentel

(4 for 6 / Home Run / 2 Doubles / 3 RBIs)

After scoring 11 runs in Friday’s win, the Ports exploded for 15 runs on Saturday to take their second straight from Modesto. 22-year-old first baseman Sandber Pimentel had a huge night at the plate, collecting 4 hits, including a home run and a pair of doubles, while driving in 3 runs for Stockton. Shortstop Sheldon Neuse had 4 singles and a walk and drove in a run, while designated hitter Eli White tripled, singled twice and drove in 3, and right fielder Seth Brown tripled, doubled and drove in a pair for the Ports. RHP James Naile was activated from the disabled list and made his first start for Stockton this season, allowing 2 runs over 3 innings of work, while LHP Jared Lyons tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win. In other news, Ports pitcher Brandon Bailey was placed on the disabled list with a groin injury.

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

Mondou & Bailey on Making the Big Move from Beloit to Stockton

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

spRoFg4u4YThere’s been a mighty big turnover on Stockton’s roster since the start of the season.

And just since June, infielders Nate Mondou and Edwin Diaz, outfielder Luis Barrera and pitchers Brandon Bailey, Brendan Butler, Dalton Sawyer, Norge Ruiz and Miguel Romero have all joined Stockton from Beloit for the second half.

Late last week in Stockton, we took the opportunity to talk to a pair of those players, second baseman Nate Mondou and right-hander Brandon Bailey, who also happen to be roommates, to see how the duo was adjusting to life in the California League…

 

NATE MONDOU

nm670148bThe lefty-swinging second baseman was the A’s 13th-round draft pick last year out of Wake Forest. Mondou spent the first few months of the 2017 season hitting near the top of the order for the Snappers, and his .296 batting average and .371 on-base percentage both led Beloit batters when he was promoted to the Ports. Since joining Stockton late last month, the 22-year-old has posted a .279/.352/.441 slash line over his first 28 games for the Ports. In a recent interview with Stockton manager Rick Magnante, the skipper said about Mondou: “His ability to swing the bat has been impressive. I think he’s a sleeper. I think you could see Nate in the big leagues.”

AF:  You started out the season in Beloit. And I know sometimes those first couple of rainy, chilly months in the Midwest League can be rough for hitters, so how did you handle hitting in the conditions there?

NM:  Definitely, it was freezing cold when we got there. It rained quite a bit. But in those type of situations, you’ve just got to stick with the process and try to simplify everything, because the outside conditions kind of made it tough. But overall, it was a good experience and I was able to learn a lot. It’s always good to learn how to play in those conditions before coming up to higher levels. So, overall it was good, but it was kind of tough at first like you said. Not being able to feel your hands at the plate is kind of rough.

AF:  Yeah, when your hands are on the verge of frostbite, it’s probably a little hard to hit.

NM:  Exactly!

AF:  You got off to a good start there though, and you had a nice hitting streak going there for a while, so you obviously managed to deal with it. But coming here to the California League in the second half has got to be a great development for you.

NM:  Definitely, very glad to be here. It’s definitely more of a hitters’ league. It’s a little bit of an adjustment just being able to hit the ball in the air a little bit more. In Beloit, it didn’t quite fly as well as it does here. So, I’m just kind of making little adjustments here and there to fit the ballpark and fit the league and everything. But I’m very glad to be here. It’s nice to have nice, dry, warm weather every day.

AF:  Where’d you grow up?

NM:  I grew up just about an hour south of Seattle, Washington…so it’s nice to be back on the west coast too.

AF:  Do you find any differences with the pitchers you’re facing here in the California League compared to what you were used to seeing in the Midwest League?

NM:  Yeah, it’s definitely another level up. There’s a little more consistency in the quality of pitching, and that carries over for both the starters and the bullpen guys. We definitely saw some very good arms up there in the Midwest League, but down here, it’s day in and day out, and every guy coming out of the ‘pen too.

AF:  What kind of adjustments have you had to make since you’ve been here in Stockton?

Nate Mondou (photo by Meghan Camino)

Nate Mondou
(photo by Meghan Camino)

NM:  Yeah, I think earlier in the year I didn’t really use the pull side of the field as much. I was kind of really, really focused on driving the ball the other way. And I think coming here, I’ve seen a lot more fastballs in, a lot more pitches inside, so I’ve kind of tried to open up the field, kind of going left-center/right-center rather than just kind of left of center field. So, that’s been the biggest thing for me, being able to open up that right side of the field.

AF:  What do you feel are the biggest strengths of your game? What are you really confident that you’re bringing to the table for a team?

NM:  I think the biggest thing is a quality at-bat. I’m going to try to grind out an at-bat no matter how tough the situation is and try not to take any at-bat for granted. Definitely working deep in counts, and once I get to two strikes, hopefully grinding a long at-bat out. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things for me, not taking anything for granted, not letting one at-bat slip through my fingers. So, quality at-bats – that’s probably one of the biggest things for me.

AF:  Now you’re a smaller guy, so people probably weren’t looking at you as being a big, powerful prospect coming out of school. So, have you had to play the game with that sort of underdog mentality, feeling like you had to prove to people what you were really capable of doing on the field?

NM:  Yeah, definitely. There’s always that height thing that’s always been mentioned at every level I’ve played at. So, it’s kind of nice to show people that doesn’t really matter and that you can work past it no matter what. I came out of college hitting a bunch of home runs and kind of had to change my approach once I got here to more of a table-setter type. So, I’m trying to hit more line drives, and I think that’s helped me succeed so far, especially with the average. The power numbers aren’t where they were in college, but I think I’m slowly working to kind of find the best of both worlds between the contact and the power.

AF:  Well, if you spend enough time in the California League, you might just become a power hitter again!

NM:  Exactly!

AF:  On the personal side, since you had to move here in the middle of the season, where are you staying at, who are you living with, and what’s life like off the field here in Stockton?

NM:  Yeah, it was kind of a whirlwind couple of days coming from Wisconsin out here and trying to figure out who I’m living with. But I’m living with Eli White and Brandon Bailey right now in an apartment. It’s a little bit more expensive than out there in Wisconsin, but it’s a nice setup and we’ve got a nice little spot and they’re a couple of good guys to live with, so I’m happy.

AF:  And you’ve got sunshine every day!

NM:  Exactly, no thunderstorms!

AF:  Well, you’ve got a little over a month of the minor league season left here now in Stockton. So, what are you really focused on this final month or so of the season here?

NM:  I think consistency is the biggest thing for me, just trying not to have a roller-coaster type of season. Of course, there’s always going to be ups and downs, but trying to keep it as close to the main line as possible. So, I think just finishing strong. I’ve had multiple coaches tell me so far this year, “It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.” And that’s what people really care about. So, I had a good strong start, but I’m definitely focused on continuing that consistency throughout the year and finishing strong.

 

BRANDON BAILEY

bb669064bThe A’s made Bailey their 6th-round pick in last year’s draft after he struck out 125 batters in 100 1/3 innings while posting a 2.42 ERA in his junior year at Gonzaga. He spent most of last season playing for Vermont, the A’s Class-A affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he put up a solid 3.08 ERA in 10 appearances for the Lake Monsters. But Bailey was even more impressive for Beloit in the first half of this season, posting a 2.68 ERA while notching 73 strikeouts over 57 innings of work for the Snappers. Since being promoted to the Ports earlier this month, the 22-year-old has struck out 27 in 19 1/3 innings while compiling a 6.05 ERA for Stockton. We’ve periodically featured blog posts by Bailey about his experiences in the A’s minor league system, which you can find here.

AF:  You got called up here to Stockton from Beloit about a month ago. So, how has it been for you adjusting to a whole new league here this past month?

BB:  It’s been exciting, just for the mere fact that I’m back on the west coast. Being a West Coast Conference guy in college, this is where we had our conference tournament, and I’m real familiar with the park. So, it wasn’t like a complete shock. I was really familiar with the park and how it plays. I was just really excited to move up a level. It’s a long season, and you’re just trying to climb the ladder. And at the end of the day, I just couldn’t be happier to be back on the west coast.

AF:  So, remind me where you were born and where you went to school.

BB:  I was born in Westminster, Colorado and lived in the Denver metro area my whole life. My parents still live there today. I reside in Broomfield, Colorado. That’s kind of my hometown – about 20 minutes north of Denver and 15 minutes east of Boulder. And when college came, I moved to Spokane, Washington, where Gonzaga University is. And that’s kind of where I’m living currently in the offseason, just because I’m trying to finish up my degree. I hope and plan to go back this fall to knock out that last semester that I have and be done, and then from there, just go back to spring training and do it all over again.

AF:  What are you majoring in?

BB:  Sports management with a minor in public relations.

AF:  Well, that might come in handy!

BB:  Yeah, definitely useful. I love being around sports, and it’s something that I would like to pursue after the playing career is over, whether that be working in professional baseball or I’ve always had a really big passion for Nike and all the products that they release, especially the N7 brand that they have going. My dream would be to work for Nike when it’s all said and done.

AF:  You got off to a really good start to the season in Beloit. So, is there anything you’ve found that’s particularly different here in the California League?

BB:  I think the biggest adjustment is that you can’t kind of give in in those hitter advantage counts. Sometimes in the Midwest League, the parks play big and you know if you get behind that you can challenge a little bit up. They might know your 2-0 fastball is coming, but the park plays big enough that you’re not going to get hurt. And so far, in the majority of these parks, if they’re bigger, the wind blows out really hard, and if they’re smaller, it blows out even more! So, you’ve just got to be really particular with all your pitches. And I think the emphasis for me, the biggest adjustment, is really emphasizing getting ahead in the count, putting the hitter in a position where they’re unfamiliar with what’s coming, where they’re kind of on their heels and they can’t be as aggressive as they might be in the 1-0 or 2-0 counts.

AF:  Yeah, with these parks in the Cal League, if you get behind, you can’t afford to groove one in there!

BB:  Yep, but I like that challenge a little bit too, because it makes me focus just that much more on trying to be that much more conscious and particular with my pitches, and I feel like that’s actually helping me get better. And I’ve heard that at Midland, the strike zone gets a little bit smaller. So, I’m just focusing on really hitting spots. And I think that’s good for me, because in college, I knew that I could just challenge you up with a fastball and the exact location didn’t really matter – I knew that I was probably going to win that battle. But here in pro ball, it’s not exactly the same.

AF:  Well, the strike zone might be smaller in the Texas League, but the good news is the parks are bigger – and the wind isn’t usually blowing out!

Brandon Bailey (photo by Meghan Camino)

Brandon Bailey
(photo by Meghan Camino)

BB:  There you go!

AF:  Tell me a little bit about your repertoire and what you’re working with.

BB:  I throw five pitches. It was four, but four days ago I learned a new pitch, so now it’s five. I throw a four-seam fastball which has a really high spin rate, so it’s got good ride and carry through the zone. I guess to the hitter, they perceive it as the ball kind of rising almost. Oakland’s really been encouraging me to throw the ball up in the zone, which, going into professional baseball, you’re taught your whole life to keep the ball down. But here, they want me to throw up with my fastball, so that’s really kind of a bit of a change for me, but it’s kind of nice at the same time, because I do like throwing up in the zone with that fastball. So, I throw a four-seam fastball, a four-seam changeup which spins the same way as the fastball – it just has an arm-side drop and run to it. And then, I throw a slider, which is now a true slider. In college, it was kind of more of a slurve, but I’ve tightened it up and I’ve been throwing it a lot harder lately, which is nice. And then this offseason, I added a spiked curve, just because I wanted to have a get-me-over breaking ball that looked a little bit different to the hitter, so that way they wouldn’t be able to sit on something hard early in the count, whether that be the fastball or the slider. And then, I just added a cutter four days ago, which is really exciting because, like I said before, my four-seam fastball’s pretty straight and true – it has good carry, but not a lot of movement to either side. And this cutter has been moving glove side with late action to it, so it’s just a nice extra tool that I can have in my repertoire just to keep the hitters honest.

AF:  Well, that’s a couple more pitches than most guys have at this level!

BB:  Yeah, so the biggest thing for me is the fastball/change has always been my bread and butter, so now it’s just trying to get those breaking pitches, along with the cutter, up to speed and hopefully get them to be big league average or a tick better than that.

AF:  So, have you used the cutter in a game yet?

BB:  Yeah, I did in a game versus the Quakes. I threw three – one was really good, one was straight as an arrow and one went in the dirt. So, I went one for three, but I’ll take it for only having thrown it for like two days in advance.

AF:  On the personal side of things, you had to make a move here in the middle of the season from Wisconsin to California. So, where are you staying at and who are you living with now?

BB:  I think the person who was most excited for me to move out here was my girlfriend, because she’s actually from Sacramento. So, when I told her, she was pumped. But I currently reside in an apartment complex about fifteen minutes north of the stadium. I’m living with Nate Mondou and Eli White in a two-bedroom apartment. It’s the typical minor league apartment. We’ve got the cardboard box as the TV stand. We’re all living on air mattresses. But at the end of the day, it’s still a lot of fun. They’re great guys to live with. I was able to room with Eli White in Vermont to start everything off last summer, so me and him are really good buds. And then with Mondou being in Beloit, we obviously knew each other. So, it’s been a good fit. It’s been a little bit of an adjustment going from a host family in Beloit to apartment living, but I kind of enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.

AF:  Well, probably most of your time is spent out here at the park anyway.

BB:  Exactly! All you’ve got to do is wake up, make breakfast and then go to the park and you’re here basically the majority of your day anyway.

AF:  Well, we’re heading into the final month or so of the minor league season now. So, what are you thinking about and what are you trying to accomplish in the last month or so here?

BB:  I think it’s just to finish strong. At the start of the year, there can be some bumps in the road – everyone has their ups and downs. But I remember in spring training, [minor league pitching coordinator] Gil Patterson and [farm director] Keith Lieppman and [special assistant] Grady Fuson and all these guys saying, “It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.” And they re-emphasize that when the first teams come out, because some guys aren’t exactly thrilled with where they’re starting. So, my goal is just to try to continue to work on my craft and really get a feel for these new pitches – the curveball and the cutter that I’m adding. And just try to finish strong here in Stockton and hopefully end on a high note and go into the offseason with some good goals to try and achieve, and then come back and hopefully fight like hell to make the Midland roster. I think, at the end of the day, it’s just trying to see progress with each day that you come to the field and when you leave the park, you can say, “I got better today.” So, the goal each day is to try to get a little bit better than you were the day before.

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Saturday, July 22nd: Altamirano Pitches Snappers to Victory while Ports Can’t Prevail in Extras

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Xavier Altamirano (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Xavier Altamirano (6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

South Bend Cubs  3

Beloit Snappers   6

WP – Altamirano 6-2 / 3.06

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Xavier Altamirano

(6 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / Win)

RHP Xavier Altamirano turned in his second straight quality start for the Snappers on Saturday. The 23-year-old allowed 3 runs, just 2 earned, while striking out 6 over 6 innings of work to earn his 6th win for the Snappers. RHP John Gorman tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Yordys Alejo got the final three outs in the 9th to notch his 3rd save. Center fielder Mike Martin collected 3 hits, including a double, stole a base and scored twice, while first baseman Kyle Nowlin had 2 hits and a walk and drove in a pair, and left fielder Luke Persico singled twice and drove in a run for the Snappers.

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