The Lake Monsters were shut out on just one hit to suffer a two-game sweep in the best-of-three New York-Penn League Championship Series on Thursday. This year’s 7th-round draft pick for the A’s, RHP Parker Dunshee, who failed to allow a run in 38 1/3 regular season innings for Vermont, surrendered 5 runs in the 2nd inning to suffer the loss for the Lake Monsters. This year’s 8th-round pick, RHP Brian Howard, took over for Dunshee and was outstanding in relief, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless frames while striking out 5. 21-year-old Venezuelan RHP Argenis Blanco allowed 1 unearned run in the 8th to complete the scoring. 2nd-round right fielder Greg Deichmann singled with one out in the 4th inning to account for Vermont’s only hit, while 36th-round center fielder Logan Farrar drew a pair of walks in the loss. The Lake Monsters finished the regular season with a record of 42-33.
Center fielder Logan Farrar’s big blast helped Vermont prevail in the first game of its best-of-three playoff series with Mahoning Valley on Saturday. With the bases loaded, one out and the Lake Monsters down by two runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, Farrar stepped to the plate and slugged a grand slam to provide the margin of victory for Vermont. Right fielder Greg Deichmann followed Farrar’s blast with a solo shot, and second baseman Javier Godard added a 2-run drive in the 8th. RHP Parker Dunshee made the start and surrendered his first runs since June, giving up 2 runs in 2 innings of work, while RHP Brian Howard allowed 1 run in 4 innings of relief, and RHP Heath Donica struck out 4 over 1 1/3 scoreless frames to earn the victory for Vermont. The series will resume on Monday when it moves to Mahoning Valley with LHP Jesus Luzardo set to make the start for the Lake Monsters. Vermont Lake Monsters Playoff Roster
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.
The Ports prevailed in an 11-inning walk-off to move back into a three-way tie for first place in the California League North Division on Thursday. RHP Logan Shore turned in one of his best starts of the season, allowing just 1 run while striking out 7 over 7 innings of work, and he now has an ERA of 1.96 over his last 3 starts for Stockton. Shore left with the game a 1-1 tie, and his team’s sole run to that point came when right fielder Seth Brown homered for the fifth straight game, tagging his team-leading 25th home run, a solo shot, in the 2nd inning. RHP Armando Ruiz pitched a pair of perfect frames in the 8th and 9th to hold Modesto in check and send the game to extra innings. Then, in the bottom of the 11th, right fielder Luis Barrera walked and third baseman Branden Cogswell brought him home with a double to right field as Stockton won in a walk-off and made a winner of RHP Joey Wagman, who tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief on Thursday.
With two men on and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, shortstop Jorge Mateo stepped to the plate and laced a single to right field to drive home the winning run as the RockHounds won in a walk-off to notch their fifth straight victory on Friday. Mateo also doubled in a run in the 2nd and hit a 2-run homer in the 4th for the Hounds. Designated hitter Tyler Marincov singled, doubled and drove in 2 runs, while second baseman Max Schrock and left fielder Tyler Ramirez had a pair of hits apiece for Midland. Starter Casey Meisner allowed 1 run in 4 innings of work, while RHP Tyler Sturdevant picked up the win despite giving up 3 runs, 2 earned, in 1 inning of relief for the RockHounds. Meanwhile, Midland RHP Dustin Hurlbutt landed on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain and RHP Kyle Finnegan was reassigned to the RockHounds from the Sounds on Friday.
The A’s were fortunate enough to be able to sign all of their 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of this year’s amateur draft.
It’s been almost two months since the first of those players signed by the A’s began playing with the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s. So, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.
You’ll find the A’s top 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of the 2017 draft along with their current statistics through August 11 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…
Beck got off to a bit of a slow start, going 1 for his first 21 with 12 strikeouts. And his 5/33 BB/K ratio on the season will still need to see quite a bit of improvement. But Beck’s bat’s been starting to warm up a bit of late, and the 18-year-old just hit the first home run of his pro career in Thursday’s game. He’s also gone 4 for 4 in steal attempts while starting 20 error-free games in center field for the AZL A’s.
Merrell’s basically been doing what was expected of him when he was drafted – making contact, getting on base and utilizing his speed to make things happen. While primarily hitting in the leadoff spot, Merrell’s .299 batting average is second-best for Vermont and his 9 stolen bases and 22 runs both lead the squad.
Thus far, Deichmann has been the best batter to come out of this year’s draft for the A’s. The slugger from LSU appears to be an advanced college hitter who’s demonstrated both power and plate discipline. He currently leads Vermont in extra-base hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while also showing a good arm in right field.
Allen got off to a slightly late start after taking a little longer to sign than most. But since the start of July, he’s been playing shortstop regularly while usually leading off. He’s been doing a decent job while still getting his feet wet as a pro, and the 18-year-old has 2 triples and stolen 3 bases so far for the AZL A’s.
Toffey has pretty much been serving as Vermont’s everyday third baseman since play began in the New York-Penn League. He’s done a good job of getting on base, and his 26 walks and 8 doubles both lead the team, but he’s failed to record a home run in his first 36 pro games for Vermont.
The A’s have been bringing the 18-year-old backstop along slowly and he’s been playing sporadically for the Arizona League squad. Sanchez has mostly struggled at the plate early on, going 8 for 50 with just 1 extra-base hit for the A’s.
16 1/3 IP / 11 H / 3 ER / 11 BB / 22 K / 1.65 ERA / 1.35 WHIP
There was talk of the college closer getting a shot at serving in a starting role, but that may have to wait until next season. For now, the southpaw has been serving out of the Lake Monsters bullpen. He’s been victimized by bad defense at times, but Salow has managed to post 22 strikeouts over his first 16 1/3 innings as a pro.
29 1/3 IP / 16 H / 3 ER / 6 BB / 35 K / 0.92 ERA / 0.75 WHIP
Dunshee has been the most promising pitcher to come out of this year’s draft so far for the A’s. After allowing 3 runs in his first appearance for the AZL A’s, Dunshee moved to Vermont, where he’s now failed to allow a run in his first 27 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters. The former Wake Forest star is an experienced college hurler, and he’s been striking out nearly 11 batters per 9 innings while notching nearly 6 times more strikeouts than walks.
22 1/3 IP / 20 H / 4 ER / 1 BB / 22 K / 1.61 ERA / 0.94 WHIP
Howard has been almost as impressive as Dunshee in the early going. The 6-foot-9 righty has demonstrated great control, walking just 1 and striking out 22 while also failing to allow a home run over his first 22 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.
The 10th-round draft pick out of Washington started out strong. Meggs smashed 3 home runs in his first 17 games, a number no one on the Lake Monsters squad has yet to surpass, while also boasting a .370 on-base percentage and a .449 slugging percentage before landing on the disabled list in late July.
RHP Zach Neal turned in an outstanding start for the Sounds on Friday, allowing just 1 run over 7 innings of work to notch his 3rd win for Nashville. RHP Chris Bassitt threw a scoreless 8th, and RHP Lou Trivino pitched a perfect 9th to pick up his 1st save for the Sounds. Center fielder Yairo Munoz singled, homered and drove in a pair, while catcher Matt McBride doubled, walked and scored a run, and left fielder Kenny Wilson singled twice, stole a base and drove in a run for Nashville. Meanwhile, the A’s sent outfielders Mark Canha and Jaycob Brugman back to the Sounds and recalled outfielder Boog Powell and RHP Michael Brady on Friday.
RHP Casey Meisner turned in his third straight strong start to help Midland snap a three-game skid on Sunday. The 22-year-old allowed just 3 hits while striking out 6 over 7 shutout innings to earn his 4th win for the RockHounds, and he’s now failed to allow a run over his last 14 frames for the Hounds. LHP Brandon Mann and RHP Carlos Navas each contributed a scoreless inning in relief to complete the 3-hit shutout on Sunday. First baseman Viosergy Rosa singled, tripled and walked, while center fielder B.J. Boyd had 3 hits, stole a base and drove in a run for the RockHounds.
Left fielder Brett Siddall continued his torrid hitting in the second half to help the Ports prevail for the fourth time in their last five games on Tuesday. The 22-year-old collected 4 hits, including a home run and a pair of doubles, while driving in 4 runs, and he’s now slashing .388/.452/.687 for Stockton in the second half. Catcher Argenis Raga singled and slugged a 3-run homer, while center fielder Luis Barrera singled and belted a 2-run blast, and right fielder Seth Brown singled, doubled, stole a base and drove in a pair. Ports pitchers shut out the 66ers on just 5 hits on Tuesday. Starter Dalton Sawyer struck out 7 over 5 scoreless innings to earn his 2nd win for Stockton, while RHP Kyle Friedrichs allowed just 1 hit over 4 scoreless frames to complete the shutout and pick up his 1st save for the Ports. Meanwhile, Midland shortstop Richie Martin was reassigned to Stockton, while infielder Edwin Diaz was sent back to Beloit on Tuesday.
RHP Xavier Altamirano turned in his third straight quality start, allowing just 2 hits over 7 shutout innings to earn his 7th win as the Snappers won for the fifth time in their last six games on Thursday. RHPs Joseph Camacho and John Gorman each contributed 1 scoreless inning in relief to complete the 3-hit shutout. Shortstop Eric Marinez singled, doubled and drove in a run, while third baseman Trace Loehr tripled in 2 runs, and designated hitter Miguel Mercedes singled twice and drove in a pair for the Snappers.