Tag: Brandon Bailey

Monday, June 26th: Blackburn Pitches Sounds to Victory while Top Draft Picks Debut for Vermont & Norge Ruiz Makes 1st Start for AZL A’s

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (5 1/3 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds RHP Paul Blackburn (5 1/3 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Round Rock Express  3

Nashville Sounds      5

WP – Blackburn 5-6 / 3.05

HR – Nunez (20), McBride (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

(5 1/3 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

The Sounds notched their first win since last Tuesday on Monday night in Nashville. RHP Paul Blackburn turned in another solid start for the Sounds, allowing 2 runs over 5 1/3 frames to earn his 5th win, and the 23-year-old now has an ERA of 1.73 over 5 starts during the month of June. RHP Simon Castro tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Jake Sanchez got the final three outs in the 9th to notch his 3rd save for Nashville. Third baseman Renato Nunez hit his league-leading 20th home run, a 2-run shot in the 1st inning to give the Sounds an early lead, while catcher Matt McBride belted a 3-run blast in the bottom of the 4th, and right fielder Mark Canha and designated hitter Ryan Lavarnway had a pair of hits apiece in the win. Meanwhile, catcher Beau Taylor and RHP Kyle Finnegan were reassigned to Nashville from Midland on Monday, while RHP Ben Bracewell was returned to the RockHounds.

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

Sunday, June 18th: Taylor’s HR Helps Hounds Win while Ports & Snappers Come Up Short

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Catcher Beau Taylor (2 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Catcher Beau Taylor (2 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  2

Frisco RoughRiders       1

WP – Trivino 7-1 / 2.43

HR – Taylor (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Catcher Beau Taylor

(2 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

Catcher Beau Taylor drove in both RockHounds runs to help Midland win the first game of their road trip in Frisco on Father’s Day. The 27-year-old backstop singled in the 6th inning to bring home the RockHounds’ first run, then slugged his 2nd home run of the season with the game tied in the top of the 9th to provide the margin of victory for Midland. Designated hitter B.J. Boyd doubled and walked, while second baseman Max Schrock went 0 for 4 in his return from the disabled list on Sunday. Starter Heath Fillmyer allowed 1 run over 5 2/3 frames, while RHP Lou Trivino tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn his 7th win, and RHP Carlos Navas got the final three outs to register his 2nd save for the RockHounds. In other news, RHP Tyler Sturdevant was reassigned from the Sounds to the RockHounds on Sunday. And top pitching prospect A.J. Puk is set to make his first start for Midland on Monday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton & Beloit…

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (6/16-18)

bsThe Beloit Snappers took just one of three games from the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this weekend.

If this matchup sounds familiar, that’s because these two teams just met for a 4-game series the previous weekend. It was definitely an odd scheduling quirk. But this series saw the Snappers looking to play spoiler to the River Bandits’ playoff hopes in what were the final three games of the Midwest League’s first-half divisional race for both teams.

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*RHP Mitchell Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, was not fooling any of the River Bandits batters in this game. The 22-year-old gave up 5 runs on 8 hits while walking 3, and he didn’t strike out a batter in 4 innings of work. Jordan also gave up 3 home runs, two of which traveled over 430 feet.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued his stellar season out of the Beloit bullpen with what was probably his best performance of the season, if not the best of his pro career. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 8 over 4 scoreless innings for the Snappers.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou has served as a model of consistency in the Snappers lineup this season, so it’s odd to see him in the midst of slump. And it didn’t help when Bandits right fielder Ronnie Dawson went all out to make a diving catch to rob Mondou of what would have been an RBI double. So the A’s 13th-round pick in 2016 decided to take a different approach in his second at-bat. Mondou hit a seeing-eye ground-ball single to Dawson in right. And with that, he snapped his 0-for-17 skid.

*Last year’s 1st-round pick for the Astros, RHP Forrest Whitley, dominated the Snappers for the second time in less than a week, striking out 8 while throwing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief for Quad Cities.

*With the end of the first half of the season drawing near, it seemed as though Beloit’s batters were running on empty. They combined to strike out 16 times in this 9-inning game.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 4 – Quad Cities 3 (10 innings)

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*23-year-old LHP Zack Erwin was effective at keeping the ball low in the zone, getting 8 ground-ball outs for the Snappers. His final line for the night was an impressive 6 IP/5 H/1 ER/0 BB/4 K.

*Slap-hitting third baseman Trace Loehr lined a key 2-run double in the bottom of the 6th inning to give Beloit the lead, but it was just his 5th extra-base hit this season (3 doubles and 2 triples).

*The A’s 5th-round pick last year, outfielder JaVon Shelby, possesses an above-average throwing arm in the outfield, and the converted third baseman showed both the good and the bad that can result from that in this game. Shelby threw out a runner at home plate from his position in center field at one point. But after a lineout to center, he tried to double-up the runner at first base. Unfortunately, the throw went high and wide of first baseman Miguel Mercedes, ricocheting off the dugout fence and allowing the runner to advance to second.

*As the game entered extra innings, Beloit’s fans were eagerly awaiting a home-team hero to end the game so that they could enjoy the scheduled post-game fireworks. That hero was shortstop Eric Marinez. In the bottom of the 10th, he lined an RBI single to left field to score first baseman Kyle Nowlin from second base as the Snappers celebrated a walk-off win in extra innings.

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*RHP Brandon Bailey, the 6th-round pick of the A’s in 2016, hurled another solid game (5 IP/3 H/2 ER/3 BB/5 K). There had been some question as to whether or not he could hold up as a starter, but he’s so far put those questions to rest with a terrific first half for Beloit. And Bailey is now sporting a 2.72 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 53 innings for the Snappers.

*It was a sloppy game defensively for the Snappers as the team committed 3 infield errors – one apiece by first baseman Miguel Mercedes, second baseman Nate Mondou and shortstop Trace Loehr.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou smashed a line-drive, 2-run single that deflected off the glove of diving River Bandits first baseman Taylor Jones. And it was more than welcome for Mondou, who’s hit for a .137 batting average this month.

 

Series Notes:

JaVon Shelby

JaVon Shelby

*Outfielder JaVon Shelby went 1 for 13 with 8 strikeouts in the series. Shelby finished the first half with a total of 98 strikeouts, the second-most by a player in the Midwest League, and he’s now struck out in a full 45% of his at-bats for the Snappers.

*With RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer promoted to Stockton, RHP Michael Murray and LHP Ty Damron on the shelf with injuries, and RHP Dakota Chalmers working on his mechanics in extended spring training, it has recently left the Snappers searching for pitchers who can give them effective innings. While it’s difficult for a pitching staff to withstand that many losses, it will certainly give some other young pitchers in the organization a chance to show just what they’ve got.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Xavier Altamirano

(4 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K)

 

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Tuesday, June 13th: Fillmyer’s 6 Shutout Frames Lead Hounds to Victory while Ports Win in Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Heath Fillmyer (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 9 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Heath Fillmyer (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

GAME #1

Frisco RoughRiders       2

Midland RockHounds  6

WP – Fillmyer 3-2 / 3.79

HR – Wilson (1), Tarsovich (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Heath Fillmyer

(6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 9 K / Win)

RHP Heath Fillmyer turned in an outstanding start to help the RockHounds win the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader in Midland. The 23-year-old allowed just 3 hits while striking out 9 over 6 shutout innings to earn his 3rd win for the Hounds. Center fielder Kenny Wilson singled in a run and slugged a solo shot in the 6th, while third baseman Jordan Tarsovich belted a 2-run blast in the 6th, and second baseman J.P. Sportman had 3 hits and drove in a run for the RockHounds.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

A’s Farm Report: Pitching Prospects Update – Puk, Gossett, Blackburn, Holmes & More

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A.J. Puk

A.J. Puk

This week, we wanted to take a look at the pitchers currently appearing in all the A’s affiliates’ starting rotations. From A.J. Puk to Grant Holmes, from Daniel Gossett to Paul Blackburn, there are plenty of promising pitching prospects currently making their presence felt on the mound.

You can always stay up to date on all the A’s top prospects and the daily action in the A’s minor league system right here on Athletics Farm. A version of this report originally appeared on Athletics Nation

 

NASHVILLE SOUNDS

Current Starting Rotation: RHP Paul Blackburn, RHP Chris Smith, RHP Corey Walter, RHP Michael Brady, RHP Daniel Gossett (recently replaced by LHP Dalton Sawyer)

Daniel Gossett

Daniel Gossett

As most A’s fans know, RHP Daniel Gossett was scratched from his scheduled start for the Sounds on Saturday so that he could be available to make his major league debut for the A’s this week, filling in for injured RHP Andrew Triggs. Gossett’s season got off to a bumpy start. The A’s 2nd-round pick in 2014 posted an unsightly 6.27 ERA in 4 April starts, but put up a much more impressive 1.54 ERA over 6 starts in May. Overall, the 24-year-old has struck out 54 while walking just 19 with a 3.41 ERA over 60 2/3 innings for the Sounds. As solid as Gossett has been, RHP Paul Blackburn has possibly been even more effective. His season has been almost the opposite of Gossett’s. The Cubs’ 1st-round supplemental pick in 2012 was almost unhittable in April, with a 1.64 ERA, but he took a bit of a dip in May, compiling an ERA of 5.12. In his 2 starts in June though, the 23-year-old has allowed just 1 run and 5 hits over 13 innings of work. He’s also on the A’s 40-man roster, so a call-up at some point this season would be easy. But 36-year-old veteran RHP Chris Smith has probably been the Sounds’ best starter on the whole. He’s posted a 2.96 ERA over 51 2/3 frames, threw 6 no-hit innings in his last start, and is currently riding a 12-inning scoreless streak. RHP Michael Brady was a free agent signee in the offseason. He started out the year in the bullpen, but he’s been working out of the rotation recently and has now made 6 starts for the Sounds. The 30-year-old has compiled a respectable 3.67 ERA, but what’s most notable about him is the fact that he’s walked just 6 while striking out 42 over 41 2/3 innings for Nashville. RHP Corey Walter is a fairly recent arrival in the Sounds starting rotation, arriving from the RockHounds at the end of May. The 24-year-old was, by far and away, Midland’s best starter, putting up a 2.44 ERA for the Hounds, and he’s posted a solid 3.38 ERA over 4 starts for Nashville. The newest addition to the Sounds rotation is LHP Dalton Sawyer, who was called up from Beloit to fill in for Gossett on Saturday. The 23-year-old was the Snappers’ best pitcher, striking out 64 over 56 innings while compiling an impressive 2.25 ERA for Beloit. And last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s turned in a quality start for the Sounds on Saturday, allowing 3 runs over 6 innings of work. But it’s unclear whether or not he’ll continue to stick around Nashville while Gossett is away. After his recent stint with the A’s, RHP Daniel Mengden was set to rejoin the Sounds starting rotation until he was sidelined by a lat strain, and he’s now doing time on the disabled list, as is RHP Raul Alcantara, and rehabbing RHP Chris Bassitt has been sidelined for the time being after experiencing some discomfort in his return from Tommy John surgery.

 

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

Current Starting Rotation: RHP Grant Holmes, RHP Heath Fillmyer, RHP Brett Graves, LHP Evan Manarino, RHP Joel Seddon

Grant Holmes

Grant Holmes

Former 1st-round draft pick for the Dodgers, RHP Grant Holmes, was having a mostly disappointing season for the RockHounds until fairly recently. He had a 6.27 ERA in April and 5.52 ERA in month of May, but since the calendar turned to June, it’s been an entirely different story. The 21-year-old has struck out 17 while walking just 1 over his last 14 frames, threw 8 shutout innings in his last start and didn’t allow a hit until the 7th inning in that game. Overall, Holmes has notched 69 strikeouts over 62 innings for the Hounds this season. 23-year-old RHP Heath Fillmyer, who impressed while splitting time between Stockton and Midland last year, has been mostly mediocre for Midland so far this season, compiling a 4.22 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP over 13 starts for the RockHounds. RHP Brett Graves and LHP Evan Manarino were two of Stockton’s best starters in the early going. Graves was the first to earn his promotion to Double-A by putting up a 2.55 ERA and striking out 29 in 24 2/3 innings for the Ports, while Manarino posted a 3.21 ERA and walked just 3 batters over 47 2/3 frames for Stockton. Things have been a little tougher in the Texas League for both of them though. Graves has compiled a 5.97 ERA over his first 7 appearances, while Manarino has a 6.75 ERA after his first 3 starts for Midland. RHP Joel Seddon has recently stepped into the RockHounds rotation. The 24-year-old made 26 starts for Midland last year but started out this season in the bullpen, and he’s now made a pair of starts for the Hounds. In his last appearance on Friday, Seddon allowed just 1 run over 7 innings of work for Midland. There was room for Seddon in the RockHounds rotation with RHP Corey Walter, who had been the Hounds’ best starter, being promoted to Nashville, RHP James Naile sidelined since mid-May with an abdominal/oblique strain, and RHP Ben Bracewell‘s recent banishment to the bullpen.

 

STOCKTON PORTS

Current Starting Rotation: LHP A.J. Puk, RHP Casey Meisner, RHP Dustin Hurlbutt, RHP Angel Duno, RHP Brendan Butler

Logan Shore

Logan Shore

Stockton’s starting rotation originally consisted of the A’s top three draft picks from last year’s draft – LHP A.J. Puk and RHPs Logan Shore and Daulton Jefferies – but currently, Puk’s the only one still pitching. Last year’s top pick for the A’s has looked dominant at times, though he has been a bit inconsistent, as might be expected at this stage of the game. The 22-year-old has twice allowed just 1 hit over 5 shutout innings and has had outings where he’s notched as many as 12 strikeouts. Overall, he’s compiled an ERA of 3.98 while striking out 87 and walking 22 over 54 1/3 frames for the Ports. Shore was looking good until he was sidelined with a lat strain in mid-May. When the 22-year-old landed on the disabled list, he’d compiled a 3.12 ERA while striking out 32 and walking just 6 over 34 2/3 innings for Stockton. Unfortunately, Jefferies only had the chance to throw 7 innings before undergoing Tommy John surgery. RHP Casey Meisner, who struggled mightily for Stockton last season, has been showing signs of turning things around a bit lately. Though he has an ERA of 4.68 for the season, he’s also struck out 67 while walking just 19 over 59 2/3 frames, and he just threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in his last start on Sunday. RHP Dustin Hurlbutt put up a 2.84 ERA in April, then posted a 5.32 ERA in May, and now has a 2.77 ERA in 2 starts in June. But his peripherals have consistently looked pretty good, and he’s struck out 58 and walked just 16 over 55 2/3 frames for the Ports. RHP Angel Duno has a 1:4 BB:K ratio but a 5.46 ERA for the season. The 23-year-old Venezuelan has been hurt by the long ball, surrendering 10 home runs over 61 innings of work. RHP Brendan Butler is the newest addition to Stockton’s starting rotation. The 24-year-old was one of Beloit’s best starters, compiling a 2.32 ERA for the Snappers, and he threw 5 scoreless innings in his first start for Stockton. He seems to have taken the place of RHP Boomer Biegalski in the Ports rotation, though it’s not clear if Biegalski may end up serving in something of a tandem situation with Butler. Biegalski has been a big victim of the long ball since his arrival from Beloit, surrendering 10 home runs in just 37 innings, leading to a bloated 5.84 ERA. LHP Evan Manarino and RHP Brett Graves had been two of Stockton’s best starters, but both have been promoted to Double-A Midland.

 

BELOIT SNAPPERS

Current Starting Rotation: RHP Brandon Bailey, RHP Matt Milburn, LHP Zack Erwin, RHP Mitchell Jordan & RHP Jesus Zambrano (tandem), RHP Abdiel Mendoza (recently replaced LHP Dalton Sawyer)

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

The Snappers starting rotation had been surprisingly effective this season, but the recent promotions of two of Beloit’s best starters – LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler – could change things a bit. The top remaining starter in the Snappers rotation is RHP Brandon Bailey. Last year’s 6th-round draft pick for the A’s has put up a 2.51 ERA while striking out 52 and walking just 13 over 43 innings of work. Meanwhile, RHP Matt Milburn has mostly struggled, posting a 5.60 ERA over 13 appearances for the Snappers. LHP Zack Erwin, whom the A’s acquired from the White Sox in the Brett Lawrie deal, recently returned to the rotation after starting the season on the disabled list, and the 23-year-old has pitched well, compiling a 1.69 ERA over his first 3 appearances. Last year’s 10th-round draft pick for the A’s, RHP Mitchell Jordan, and 20-year-old Venezuelan RHP Jesus Zambrano represent the sole remaining starting-pitching tandem in the A’s system, and both are sporting ERAs over 5.00 at this point in the season. With Sawyer’s promotion to Nashville, 18-year-old Panamanian RHP Abdiel Mendoza was called upon to take his spot in the rotation. The youngster surrendered 4 runs in 2 1/3 innings in his first appearance, but it’s unclear whether or not he’ll continue to occupy the fifth spot in the Snappers starting rotation. RHP Dakota Chalmers, the A’s 3rd-round draft pick in 2015, was reassigned to the Vermont roster after struggling with his control. The 20-year-old walked 29 in 29 innings while also striking out 47. He’s set to get a restart when the Lake Monsters start their season next week. RHP Michael Murray had been pitching well for Beloit before landing on the disabled list in mid-May, putting up a 2.54 ERA over his first 8 appearances. LHP Ty Damron had also been playing a part in the Snappers tandem rotation but, although he hasn’t been placed on the disabled list, he hasn’t appeared in a game in the last two weeks.

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Thursday, June 8th: Butler & Biegalski Pitch Ports to Shutout Victory while Rosa Helps Hounds Mount Comeback Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brendan Butler (5 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brendan Butler (5 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  5

Modesto Nuts     0

WP – Butler 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Bolt (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Brendan Butler

(5 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHPs Brendan Butler and Boomer Biegalski, both of whom started the season with Beloit, teamed up to shut out Modesto on 5 hits on Thursday as the Ports prevailed for the eighth time in their last ten games. Butler, who was promoted to the Ports on Tuesday, struck out 5 over 5 shutout innings to earn the win in his first appearance for Stockton this season. Biegalski then came on to strike out 4 in 4 scoreless frames to complete the shutout and pick up his first save for the Ports. Center fielder Skye Bolt slugged his 6th home run, a solo shot in the 3rd, and then singled in a pair of runs in the 7th, while left fielder James Harris singled, doubled and drove in a run, and shortstop Eli White had a pair of hits for the Ports. In other news, Stockton infielder Trent Gilbert and LHP Will Gilbert were sent to extended spring training in Arizona to rehab from recent injuries.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

Down on the Farm with Beloit Snappers Pitcher Brandon Bailey

bb669064Brandon 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 has been even more impressive for Beloit this season, posting a 2.37 ERA while notching 46 strikeouts over 38 innings of work for the Snappers.

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. And now we’re happy to hear from Brandon again this year about his first couple of months in Beloit. You can check out his personal blog here and you can follow him on Twitter @BBailey_19

 

Well, it’s been exactly 278 days, 23 hours and 50 minutes since I last decided to type random thoughts into a text box, but for some reason, I decided tonight would be a good time to give writing another shot.

Before I commence, I want to apologize for all of the typos, bad grammar, and misspelled words on this post as well as my posts from a year ago. I have no editor and a person can only read their own words so many times…

Quite a bit has happened over the past 278 days and I am debating where a solid starting point would be for this blog post. There have been some life-changing experiences, a few exciting events, and a fair share of occurrences which were monotonous. Nevertheless, my mind has steered me in the direction towards typing out and documenting some of these happenings. So, for those of you who actually decided that this blog post was worth a skim, hopefully I don’t completely bore you.

I’ll start with the here and now.

The town: Beloit, Wisconsin (No, that is not a typo).

The time: (12:01a.m. Central)

The team: The Beloit Snappers, Single-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s in the Midwest League.

For those of you who (like me) have never heard of Beloit, Wisconsin, it is right on the Illinois/Wisconsin border and is fittingly titled “The Gateway to Wisconsin”. An average-sized town most known for being the home of Hormel chili, Beloit is where I currently reside (I refuse to call it home…cough West Coast, Best Coast cough). I moved here in early April after being assigned to the Snappers roster following the conclusion of Spring Training 2017. While Pohlman Field isn’t the most elegant ball park in the minor leagues and the Snapper fan base is equal to one of a talented little league squad, my teammates have made the professional baseball setting extremely memorable and fun!

Like all minor league baseball organizations, the Snappers let new players decide on their housing arrangements. While some of my teammates live in apartments in Janesville, I decided to live with a host family, along with a few of my fellow teammates. During the host family settlements, I was lucky enough to be paired with a great host named Dennis Conerton, who happens to be the team president and has been involved with the Snappers front office operations for quite some time now. Dalton Sawyer, Heath Bowers and Sam Sheehan are my housemates. All three are talented pitchers within the A’s farm system and have become some of my closer friends on the squad. It should also be noted that Andrew “Tomo” Tomasovich was one of my housemates as well before he got promoted to the High-A affiliate of the A’s in Stockton, California (Go Ports).

(Photo: Dave Baker)

(Photo: Dave Baker)

Now for the interesting stuff… BASEBALL standings/results. Yesterday, the Snappers split a doubleheader with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, keeping our team in 3rd place of the Midwest League Western Division standings. We are only 3.5 games back of first with exactly 13 games left to play before the All-Star break. For those of you who are unfamiliar with minor league baseball, playoff berths can be granted in a few different ways, but since I don’t feel like going into detail, I’ll keep it simple…if you finish in first OR second place during the first half of the season OR the second half of the season, you are awarded a playoff berth. So, hypothetically, a team could finish in first place of their division during the first half of the season, lose every game in the second half of the season, and still participate in playoff action come early September. All I have to say is…Don’t let the Snappers get hot…Vamos Tortugas!

Now that you are up to date on sports, I will tap into other things in my life that don’t have a direct correlation to baseball (everything in my life has some relation one way or another).

It gives me great pleasure to announce that my younger sister Bri has not only:

  1. Graduated from Broomfield High School
  2. Spoke at her graduation
  3. Received numerous academic scholarships
  4. Was senior class president
  5. Senior homecoming royalty
  6. And was selected to speak at a Native American conference in Seattle in mid-April

But she will be attending Gonzaga University starting in the fall of 2017! I am one proud older brother and I can not wait to get back to Spokane this fall and go to the same school with my little sister for the first time ever! (It should be noted that I left out many of Bri’s amazing and outstanding accomplishments. If I were to name all of them it would take me at least 20 minutes of typing which equals at least one hand cramp.)

Another awesome thing that has happened over the past 10 months is that I moved on from a negative/toxic relationship and have been blessed with the most amazing, fun, beautiful (I could go on for a while, but again, hand cramp) girl any guy could ever ask for. She has brought out the best in me athletically, academically and spiritually, but I think the most amazing thing she has done is love me for me regardless of my past flaws, and for that, I am forever grateful, Heather.

In other news, I have taken an interest in reading, Amazon Prime, and MLB: The Show 2017. In the past 2 weeks, I have read 3 books which makes me feel accomplished considering I do not stimulate my brain very often now that I’ve been out of school for 6 months. However, reading has filled this void and I enjoy learning new things about topics I actually care about (No offense Philosophy 301: Ethics). The books I have completed are:

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by The Creator of NIKE, Phil Knight
  2. Off The Field: Carving Your Own Path to Find Your Best Self, by China McCarney
  3. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness & Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero.

I had a different motive when reading each of these books. With Shoe Dog, I wanted to learn more about the history of NIKE in order to better understand company culture. It’s my dream to one day work for this athletic-based company after I call it a career from baseball, but until then, I will settle for individualized research. The second book, Off The Field, was brought to my attention through Instagram and Kyle Boddy, founder and CEO of Driveline Baseball. This book’s target audience is anyone struggling to find their true passion. McCarney suggests breaking down each day and focusing on winning all of the individual battles that humans are confronted with on a regular basis, lifting one’s self-efficacy which, in turn, clears our perspective, allowing us to discover what we truly want to accomplish in life. Finally, You Are a Badass speaks for itself. By incorporating a consistent, positive mindset, I hope to discover that I am indeed a “badass.”

Now that I’ve spent that past hour trying to spill out my thoughts onto this computer screen, I will return to my fourth book that I hope to complete, Chase The Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small, by Mark Batterson. 

Again, self-explanatory.

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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.

Sunday, June 4th: Blackburn Leads Sounds to Shutout Victory while Murphy’s 2 HRs Help Stockton Win & Armenteros Makes Pro Debut

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  6

Iowa Cubs               0

WP – Blackburn 4-5 / 3.26

HR – Chapman (13), McBride (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

(7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

RHP Paul Blackburn turned in an impressive start for the Sounds on Sunday, allowing just 2 hits over 7 shutout innings to notch his 4th win for Nashville. And the former 1st-round supplemental pick for the Cubs now has an ERA of 1.44 over his last 4 starts for the Sounds. RHPs Tyler Sturdevant and Tucker Healy each contributed a scoreless inning in relief to complete the 4-hit shutout on Sunday. Third baseman Matt Chapman homered for the second straight day and doubled in the Sounds’ first run, while designated hitter Matt McBride also homered, doubled and drove in a pair, and catcher Ryan Lavarnway singled, doubled, walked and drove in a run to help the Sounds win for the fifth time in their last six games. Meanwhile, first baseman Matt Olson was recalled by the A’s, and RHP Daniel Mengden was optioned back to Nashville on Sunday.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton, Beloit & the Dominican Summer League A’s…

Saturday, June 3rd: Puk Pitches Ports to Victory while Chapman Homers in Sounds Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 2/3 IP / 4 H / 3 ER / 2 BB / 12 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 2/3 IP / 4 H / 3 ER / 2 BB / 12 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Lancaster JetHawks  3

Stockton Ports         9

WP – Puk 4-4 / 3.51

HR – Murphy (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

(6 2/3 IP / 4 H / 3 ER / 2 BB / 12 K / Win)

LHP A.J. Puk turned in another dominating performance in Stockton on Saturday night. Through the first 6 frames, last year’s top draft pick for the A’s struck out 10, while failing to issue a walk, and allowed 1 run on just 3 hits. He issued his first 2 walks of the game in the top of the 7th and also surrendered an RBI double before exiting with two outs and two men on, one of whom would ultimately come around to score. Puk ended up striking out a career-high 12 and walking 2 while allowing 3 runs on 4 hits over 6 2/3 innings to post his 4th win for the Ports. And the 22-year-old has now struck out 27 while allowing just 5 hits over his last 17 innings for Stockton. (You can see what A’s assistant general manager Billy Owens just had to tell us about Puk, as well as a number of other A’s prospects, here.) After Puk departed, RHP Armando Ruiz took over and tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in his Stockton debut to close out the victory. Catcher Sean Murphy had another big night at the plate, collecting 3 hits, including his 5th home run, while second baseman Branden Cogswell singled twice, doubled and drove in 2 runs, and center fielder Skye Bolt singled, doubled, walked and drove in a pair for the Ports. And along with Ruiz joining the squad from extended spring training, RHP Matt Sergey was released, and it was announced on Saturday that A’s LHP Sean Doolittle would continue his rehab assignment with Stockton and would make another appearance for the Ports on Monday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Clinton (5/30-6/1)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took two out of three games from the Clinton LumberKings, Seattle’s Midwest League affiliate, this week at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The series win moved the Snappers into third place in the Midwest League Western Division. The first half of the season ends on June 18, and the top two teams in both divisions at the end of the first half will clinch spots in the Midwest League playoffs.

A year after going to the Midwest League Championship, the LumberKings are near the bottom of the Western Division standings this season. Their top-rated prospect is third baseman Joe Rizzo, a 19-year-old taken in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft by the Mariners. Another one of Clinton’s top players is outfielder Anthony Jimenez, who’s been having a breakout year in the Midwest League. Jimenez has tallied 6 home runs and 19 stolen bases while maintaining a .307 batting average.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 8 – Clinton 7

Dalton Sawyer

Dalton Sawyer

*The first game of the series was pretty sloppy all around. The two teams combined for 6 errors, with the Snappers committing 4 of them.

*LHP Dalton Sawyer grinded through 5 innings of work, ending the day with a stat line of 5 IP/4 H/2 ER/4 BB/8 K. The A’s 9th-round pick in 2016 threw just 53 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

*RHP Heath Bowers had his worst outing of the season in relief of Sawyer. Entering the game with a sparkling 1.67 ERA, Bowers gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits and 2 walks in 2 ⅔ innings. He also uncorked 3 wild pitches.

*RHP Yordys Alejo kept Beloit in the game, shutting down the LumberKings with 3 strikeouts in 1 ⅓ innings of relief.

*The A’s 2016 13th-round draft pick, Nate Mondou, went 3 for 5 with a two-out RBI single in the 8th inning. The second baseman continues to do just about anything and everything the Snappers need to win ballgames, and it would come as no surprise if Mondou gets the chance to contribute for the Stockton Ports at some point this season.

*After an epic, 9-pitch at-bat that ended in a walk to pinch-hitter Miguel Mercedes, his fellow Dominican-born teammate, Eric Marinez, came up with the bases loaded, one out and his team down by one run. The Beloit third baseman then proceeded to rocket a single into left field that scored both the tying and winning runs, sending the good guys home happy.

 

Game #2:  Clinton 13 – Beloit 3

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

*RHP Mitchell Jordan was not fooling anybody in this one. The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016 was tagged for 9 earned runs in 3 innings of work. That included a very rare occurrence in which the same pitcher (Jordan) surrendered 2 grand slams in the same game.

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes went “oppo boppo” to lead off the bottom of the 6th inning for Beloit, but the right-handed batter just barely got it over the wall in straightaway right field. It was Mercedes’ 10th home run of the year, putting him in second place in the Midwest League home run race.

*While he’s shown plenty of home run power, Mercedes still has a lot of room to improve at the plate, as his .215/.270/.436 slash line can attest to. Mercedes might not ever hit for a high average, but he will have to learn to show better plate discipline, taking a few more walks and cutting down on the strikeouts. His power is real though, and he is just 21 years old, so there’s still some time for Mercedes to try to make some significant improvements at the plate.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 9 – Clinton 1

Colllin Theroux

Collin Theroux

*It was yet another great start from RHP Brendan Butler. He had a great changeup in this game that consistently bewildered the LumberKings hitters.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano shut the door with 3 scoreless innings in relief, earning his 1st save of the year for the Snappers. Altamirano became the eleventh different Snappers pitcher to record a save this season.

*Designated hitter Kyle Nowlin, the Athletics’ 21st-round pick last year, just missed his 6th home run of the season. The ball hit off the top of the left-center field wall and ended up as a 2-RBI double for Nowlin.

*The A’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, catcher Collin Theroux, had his second multi-homer game of the season. His first home run was measured at 414 feet with an exit velocity of 110 mph. That ball was CRUSHED!

*By the end of the series, Theroux had 8 home runs on the season, which is by far the most home runs hit by a catcher in the A’s system this year. The second-highest home run total is 4 by Stockton catcher Sean Murphy.

 

Series Notes:

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*At the end of this series, Nate Mondou‘s .339 batting average was good for third-best in the Midwest League. And Mondou absolutely loves to hit at Pohlman Field. He sports an incredible .380 batting average at the Snappers’ home park.

*Infielder Edwin Diaz slashed .362/.464/.507 for the month of May. He also lowered his strikeout rate and improved his walk rate, all great signs that the 21-year-old may be starting to put it all together in his third season with Beloit.

*Outfielders Luis Barrera and Luke Persico hit .333 and .319, respectively, in the month of May.

*RHP Brandon Bailey did not pitch in this series, but it’s worth mentioning what a tremendous month he had. Bailey put up an impressive 0.50 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP while walking just 2 and striking out 22 over 18 innings of work in May.

 

nm670148

 

A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(7 for 12 / 3 RBIs / 1 SB)

 

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