Tag Archive for Bruce Maxwell

Monday, July 20th: Jason Pridie’s 2 HRs Lead Sounds to Victory while Matt Chapman’s 19th HR Helps Ports Prevail

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Jason Pridie (2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Jason Pridie (2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)



Nashville Sounds            10

Colorado Springs Sky Sox  5

WP – Mills 4-9 / 4.09

HR – Pridie 2 (14), Freiman (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Jason Pridie

(2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

Outfielder Jason Pridie slugged a pair of home runs for the Sounds on Monday to increase his team-leading total to 14. Designated hitter Nate Freiman hit his 1st round-tripper of the season and also doubled, while second baseman Joey Wendle collected 4 hits, including a pair of doubles, for Nashville. Starter Brad Mills allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, over 7 innings of work to earn his 4th win for the Sounds.

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

Friday, July 10th: Chris Iriart’s Big Bat Leads Vermont to Victory while Daniel Gossett Is Solid in Snappers Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters First Baseman Chris Iriart (3 for 5 / 2 Doubles / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters First Baseman Chris Iriart (3 for 5 / 2 Doubles / 4 RBI)


NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE  (Class-A Short-Season)

Mahoning Valley Scrappers  1

Vermont Lake Monsters     8

WP – Kohler 2-0 / 4.00

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Chris Iriart

(3 for 5 / 2 Doubles / 4 RBIs)

First baseman Chris Iriart collected 3 hits for the Lake Monsters for the second straight night. On Friday, two of them were doubles and he also ended up driving in 4 runs on the night. Outfielder Seth Brown had a pair of hits and drove in a run, while third baseman Mikey White singled, walked twice and drove in a pair. LHP Chris Kohler had a strong start, allowing just 1 run over 5 innings of work to earn his 2nd win, while RHP Bowdien Derby pitched 3 perfect innings in relief for the Lake Monsters.

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

Saturday, June 20th: Michael Soto Has Big Hit & Matt Chapman Hits 10th HR as Ports Win 8th Straight in a Walk-Off while AZL A’s Drop Opener and 25 Draft Picks Join A’s Affiliates

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Michael Soto (2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Michael Soto (2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)



Bakersfield Blaze  3

Stockton Ports    4

WP – Roberts 2-1 / 3.45

HR – Chapman (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Michael Soto

(2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

With two outs, a man on and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, first baseman Michael Soto doubled to drive in the winning run as the Ports won in a walk-off on Saturday to post their eighth straight victory. Soto also singled but was left stranded in the 7th, while third baseman Matt Chapman homered for the second straight night, hitting his 10th to tie him with Beloit’s Sandber Pimentel for most among A’s minor leaguers, and designated hitter John Nogowski singled in a run in the 3rd for Stockton. Starter Kyle Finnegan allowed 3 runs over 5 innings of work and left with the game tied, while RHPs Trevor Bayless and Sam Roberts each tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, with Roberts picking up his 2nd win for the Ports.

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

Taking a Look at A’s Recent Drafts

Addison Russell

Addison Russell

With the major league amateur draft set to take place today, it’s a good time to take a look back at some of the A’s recent drafts.

We’ll focus on the top five picks from the team’s last three drafts and examine how those players are currently performing and how they’re shaping up as major league prospects.

So take a look and see how you think the A’s have done in recent drafts – and let’s see how they do later today! This article was also posted on Athletics Nation earlier today…


–2014 DRAFT–

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman

#1 – 3B Matt Chapman

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

8 HR / 13 BB / 33 K / .236 AVG / .325 OBP / .538 SLG / .863 OPS

#2 – RHP Daniel Gossett

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

54 1/3 IP / 62 H / 34 ER / 30 BB / 47 K / 5.63 ERA / 1.69 WHIP

#3 – RHP Brett Graves

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

63 IP / 65 H / 29 ER / 25 BB / 38 K / 4.14 ERA / 1.43 WHIP

#4 – RHP Jordan Schwartz

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

36 2/3 IP / 56 H / 37 ER / 27 BB / 35 K / 9.08 ERA / 2.26 WHIP

#5 – RHP Heath Fillmyer

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

30 IP / 41 H / 24 ER / 15 BB / 25 K / 7.20 ERA / 1.87 WHIP

Despite all the A’s deal-making in the offseason, all the A’s top picks from last year’s draft are still in the system. Top pick Matt Chapman, who was touted as a defensively-gifted third baseman with raw power potential, got a late start to the season after injuring his knee right before the start of spring training. The 22-year-old finally got started at Stockton about a week into May and he’s really been heating up of late with 5 home runs over his last 7 games, and he now has 8 homers in just 106 at-bats so far this season. And if he can keep up that pace, Chapman’s prospects could be looking good. The A’s decided to insert their top four pitching picks from last year’s draft directly into the Class-A Beloit Snappers’ starting rotation this season, with mixed results. 3rd-rounder Brett Graves so far has emerged as the pick of the litter. His fastball gets up to 95 mph and he induces a lot of ground balls while showing good control but his off-speed pitches could still use some work. 2nd-rounder Daniel Gossett has a solid fastball and breaking ball and generates lots of swings-and-misses but his changeup is still a work in progress and he’s shown a tendency to surrender the long ball. But both Graves and Gossett have shown the potential to improve as the season goes on. On the other side of the coin though, 4th-rounder Jordan Schwartz struggled mightily at Beloit and was recently removed from the Snappers roster and is expected to start pitching for short-season Vermont as soon as its season begins in a couple of weeks. 5th-rounder Heath Fillmyer, who spent most of last month on the disabled list, has also struggled but still remains with the Snappers for the time being despite taking the loss in all 6 of his starts this season. Overall, Chapman has shown the potential to develop into a solid power-hitting corner infielder, while Gossett and Graves could develop into rotation candidates one day, but they’ve still got a ways to go. And as far as Schwartz and Fillmyer go, it remains to be seen.


–2013 DRAFT–

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney

#1 – OF Billy McKinney

Tennessee/Myrtle Beach – AA/A+ (Cubs Organization)

4 HR / 23 BB / 26 K / .324 AVG / .399 OBP / .497 SLG / .896 OPS

#2 – LHP Dillon Overton

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

46 1/3 IP / 45 H / 19 ER / 11 BB / 44 K / 3.69 ERA / 1.21 WHIP

#3 – SS Chad Pinder

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

7 HR / 18 BB / 47 K / .294 AVG / .364 OBP / .457 SLG / .820 OPS

#4 – 1B-3B Ryon Healy

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

4 HR / 17 BB / 35 K / .273 AVG / .325 OBP / .380 SLG / .704 OPS

#5 – LHP Chris Kohler

Extended Spring Training (A’s organization)

The A’s started off the 2013 draft somewhat surprisingly, by picking a high school outfielder with a sweet swing – Billy McKinney. I’ve heard that A’s GM Billy Beane had to be sold on the pick by the scouting department, which might help explain the quickness with which McKinney ended up being dealt. But since going to the Cubs in the deal for hurlers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel last summer, the 20-year-old outfielder has shown that he can indeed hit, consistently batting over.300 with a solid number of extra-base hits, particularly doubles. He started the season at High-A but is currently one of the youngest players in the Double-A Southern League, and he hasn’t missed a beat at that level. The Cubs clearly don’t see McKinney’s future in center field though. Ever since he joined the Cubs organization last summer, he hasn’t started a single game in center, instead spending most of his time in right. 2nd-rounder Dillon Overton got off to an inauspicious start by undergoing Tommy John surgery before ever throwing a pitch in the A’s organization. But Overton’s been solid so far this season for Stockton. His command has been excellent and, despite the fact that he’s still recovering his velocity, he’s been posting solid strikeout numbers. And the 23-year-old could still shape up as an effective major league hurler somewhere down the line. 3rd-rounder Chad Pinder has been one of the fastest movers of the A’s 2013 draft class. After playing second base at Stockton last year, the 23-year-old’s been playing a solid shortstop for Midland this season while showing some pop with 7 home runs so far in a low-offense league, and Pinder could prove to be a middle infield option at some point in the future. 4th-rounder Ryon Healy has been on the same fast track as Pinder while spending time at both first and third base. He’s shown some pop at times as well, but his plate discipline could still stand some improvement. Meanwhile, 5th-rounder Chris Kohler has shown potential but has been slowed by injuries and has spent this season at extended spring training in Arizona with the expectation that he should be getting into action sometime after the draft. He missed all of last season. But in his only competitive play in the Arizona League in 2013, Kohler showed some real promise by striking out 32 batters in just 22 2/3 innings as an 18-year-old. Now 20, he’s still got some time to show what he can do.


–2012 DRAFT–

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson

#1 – SS-2B Addison Russell

Cubs – MLB

4 HR / 10 BB / 53 K / .241 AVG / .295 OBP / .407 SLG / .702 OPS

Iowa – AAA (Cubs organization)

1 HR / 1 BB / 7 K / .318 AVG / .326 OBP / .477 SLG / .803 OPS

#2 – SS Daniel Robertson

Montgomery – AA (Rays organization)

3 HR / 17 BB / 41 K / .272 AVG / .347 OBP / .436 SLG / .783 OPS

#3 – 1B Matt Olson

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

7 HR / 50 BB / 56 K / .222 AVG / .378 OBP / .407 SLG / .785 OPS

#4 – C Bruce Maxwell

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

1 HR / 19 BB / 22 K / .233 AVG / .319 OBP / .288 SLG / .607 OPS

#5 – RHP Nolan Sanburn

Birmingham – AA (White Sox organization)

22 IP / 20 H / 12 ER / 14 BB / 22 K / 4.91 ERA / 1.55 WHIP

Well, we all know about the A’s top pick in the 2012 draft – the golden child, Addison Russell. While most people didn’t know much about the young Floridian before the draft, it didn’t take long for A’s fans to fall in love with the humble but hot-hitting infielder. Russell shot through the A’s system before being dealt to the Cubs, along with Billy McKinney, in last summer’s deal for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. And Russell’s rise only hastened with his arrival in the Cubs camp. Russell became the first member of the A’s 2012 draft class to make his debut in the major leagues when he broke in with the Cubs in April at the age of 21 (though Max Muncy made his major league debut with the A’s just four days later). Russell has been the Cubs’ everyday second baseman since then, despite appearing in just 5 games at second base in his minor league career. Russell has had his ups and downs so far in the majors, as anyone that young will, but he’s already shown some pop by accumulating 12 doubles in his first 40 games and will undoubtedly settle in and likely become a fixture in the Cubs infield for many years to come. One of Russell’s best friends and former roommates, 2nd-rounder Daniel Robertson, went to the Rays in the Ben Zobrist deal. Also a shortstop, Robertson has shown some solid doubles power while playing at Double-A this year. He left last Tuesday’s game with an apparent wrist injury but is currently considered one of Tampa Bay’s top prospects and the team’s shortstop of the future. 3rd-rounder Matt Olson is the top pick from the A’s 2012 draft class still left in the system. Olson has always been known for his power and patience, leading the A’s system last year in home runs with 37 and in walks with 117. This season at Midland, which is a notorious death trap for power hitters, the 21-year-old so far has put up 7 home runs while walking an incredible 50 times in his first 55 games. Olson’s also been making a number of starts in right field to increase his versatility and perhaps help him find an opening in the majors a little faster. 4th-rounder Bruce Maxwell has struggled a bit at the Double-A level so far this season, and the backstop will have to show greater production at the plate if he hopes to move up the ladder in the near future. 5th-rounder Nolan Sanburn was dealt to the White Sox in the Adam Dunn deal last season. The 23-year-old has shown some promise by striking out a batter per inning throughout his minor league career, but he’s also been slowed by injuries and is currently on the disabled list at Double-A Birmingham. If he can stay healthy though, Sanburn could prove to be an effective bullpen piece for the Sox somewhere down the line.

*          *          *

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Monday, May 25th: Ports Win behind Brett Vertigan’s Big Bat while Sean Nolin Leads Sounds’ Shutout of Sacramento & Hounds Fall Despite Bruce Maxwell’s Grand Slam

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Brett Vertigan (3 for 6 / Double / 3 RBIs / Stolen Base)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Brett Vertigan (3 for 6 / Double / 3 RBIs / Stolen Base)



Stockton Ports       12

Lake Elsinore Storm  6

WP – Seddon 2-3 / 4.15

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Brett Vertigan

(3 for 6 / Double / 3 RBIs / Stolen Base)

With the bases loaded, two outs and Stockton down by a run in the top of the 4th inning, outfielder Brett Vertigan stroked a bases-clearing double to bring home 3 runs and give the Ports a lead they would never surrender on Monday. Vertigan also had a pair of singles and stole his 6th base for Stockton and his 12th on the season. Outfielder Tyler Marincov walked twice and tripled in a pair in the 6th, while catcher Nick Rickles singled and doubled in 2 runs in the 9th, and shortstop Franklin Barreto collected 3 hits and drove in a pair for the Ports. Starter Joel Seddon allowed 3 runs over 5 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Stockton. RHP Sam Roberts gave up 1 run in 2/3 of an inning in relief, while LHP Matt Stalcup was charged with 2 runs over 1 1/3 innings, and RHP Ben Bracewell got the final six outs to post his 2nd save for the Ports.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

A’s Farm’s 2014 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team

First baseman Matt Olson led all A's minor leaguers with 37 home runs for Stockton

First baseman Matt Olson led all A’s minor leaguers with 37 home runs for Stockton.

With the 2014 minor league season now complete, it’s time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field really were in the A’s system in 2014. And with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2014 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Sacramento, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton, Class-A Beloit, Class-A Short-Season Vermont and the Rookie League Short-Season Arizona League A’s in 2014. Offensive starters were selected from the players who had the most games played at each position for each team, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers for each club were selected from hurlers who’ve had at least 10 starts for their team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader.

Players who left the A’s system during the season – Michael Taylor, Dusty Robinson, Billy McKinney, B.A. Vollmuth, etc. – have not been included. And the asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system, but players’ major league statistics and statistics acquired while with other organizations have not been included.

Check out our list of All-Star contenders at each position below. Then just click on the link below our list of contenders to find A’s Farm’s winning Organizational All-Stars at each position. The winners were determined based purely on performance, not potential. Remember, we’re not selecting the top prospects here, we’re choosing the top performers on the field this season. So take a good look at the candidates for yourself and feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and selections!


A’s Farm’s Organizational All-Star Team – The Contenders



Sacto – Ryan Ortiz (2 HR / .215 AVG / .291 OBP / .362 SLG / .653 OPS)

Midland – Blake Forsythe (5 HR / .224 AVG / .307 OBP / .349 SLG / .656 OPS)

Stockton – Bruce Maxwell (6 HR / .243 AVG / .334 OBP / .334 SLG / .668 OPS) *

Beloit – Philip Pohl (6 HR / .242 AVG / .313 OBP / .374 SLG / .687 OPS) *

Vermont – Kyle Wheeler (0 HR / .181 AVG / .227 OBP / .205 SLG / .432 OPS)

AZL A’s – Argenis Raga (0 HR / .338 AVG / .400 OBP / .479 SLG / .879 OPS)



Sacto – Anthony Aliotti (9 HR / .267 AVG / .365 OBP / .406 SLG / .771 OPS) *

Midland – Max Muncy (7 HR / .264 AVG / .385 OBP / .379 SLG / .764 OPS)

Stockton – Matt Olson (37 HR / .262 AVG / .404 OBP / .543 SLG / .947 OPS)

Beloit – Michael Soto (9 HR / .290 AVG / .353 OBP / .492 SLG / .845 OPS) *

Vermont – John Nogowski (1 HR / .264 AVG / .351 OBP / .347 SLG / .699 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Shawn Duinkerk (0 HR / .167 AVG / .222 OBP / .254 SLG / .476 OPS)



Sacto – Jose Martinez (8 HR / .276 AVG / .345 OBP / .372 SLG / .717 OPS)

Midland – Conner Crumbliss (10 HR / .251 AVG / .358 OBP / .394 SLG / .752 OPS)

Stockton – Chad Pinder (13 HR / .288 AVG / .336 OBP / .489 SLG / .824 OPS)

Beloit – Chih Fang Pan (1 HR / .254 AVG / .311 OBP / .331 SLG / .642 OPS)

Vermont – Trent Gilbert (0 HR / .242 AVG / .300 OBP / .317 SLG / .618 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Jesus Lopez (0 HR / .221 AVG / .316 OBP / .272 SLG / .588 OPS)



Sacto – Andy Parrino (7 HR / .286 AVG / .363 OBP / .404 SLG / .767 OPS)

Midland – Dusty Coleman (18 HR / .223 AVG / .300 OBP / .397 SLG / .697 OPS)

Stockton – Daniel Robertson (15 HR / .310 AVG / .402 OBP / .471 SLG / .873 OPS)

Beloit – Melvin Mercedes (2 HR / .222 AVG / .303 OBP / .316 SLG / .618 OPS)

Vermont – Yairo Munoz (5 HR / .298 AVG / .319 OBP / .448 SLG / .768 OPS)

AZL A’s – Trace Loehr (0 HR / .244 AVG / .313 OBP / .288 SLG / .600 OPS)



Sacto – Alden Carrithers (2 HR / .284 AVG / .381 OBP / .349 SLG / .729 OPS)

Midland – Jefry Marte (10 HR / .259 AVG / .333 OBP / .375 SLG / .709 OPS)

Stockton – Renato Nunez (29 HR / .279 AVG / .336 OBP / .517 SLG / .853 OPS)

Beloit – Luis Baez (7 HR / .237 AVG / .260 OBP / .344 SLG / .603 OPS)

Vermont – Jose Brizuela (6 HR / .254 AVG / .320 OBP / .413 SLG / .733 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Jean Carlo Rodriguez (0 HR / .184 AVG / .296 OBP / .224 SLG / .520 OPS)



Sacto – Nick Buss (4 HR / .307 AVG / .371 OBP / .380 SLG / .751 OPS)

Midland – Chad Oberacker (2 HR / .221 AVG / .280 OBP / .315 SLG / .595 OPS) *

Stockton – Aaron Shipman (1 HR / .292 AVG / .414 OBP / .410 SLG / .824 OPS)

Beloit – B.J. Boyd (6 HR / .226 AVG / .300 OBP / .319 SLG / .619 OPS)

Vermont – Ben McQuown (2 HR / .239 AVG / .313 OBP / .319 SLG / .632 OPS)

AZL A’s – Robert Martinez (5 HR / .219 AVG / .339 OBP / .411 SLG / .749 OPS)



Sacto – Shane Peterson (11 HR / .308 AVG / .381 OBP / .460 SLG / .841 OPS)

Midland – Billy Burns (1 HR / .237 AVG / .315 OBP / .302 SLG / .618 OPS) *

Stockton – Bobby Crocker (11 HR / .271 AVG / .336 OBP / .421 SLG / .757 OPS)

Beloit – Boog Powell (3 HR / .343 AVG / .451 OBP / .435 SLG / .886 OPS) *

Vermont – Brett Vertigan (1 HR / .265 AVG / .309 OBP / .364 SLG / .673 OPS)

AZL A’s – Jonesy Zarraga (0 HR / .228 AVG / .283 OBP / .307 SLG / .590 OPS)



Sacto – Josh Whitaker (12 HR / .295 AVG / .342 OBP / .488 SLG / .830 OPS) *

Midland – Kent Matthes (16 HR / .232 AVG / .291 OBP / .424 SLG / .715 OPS) *

Stockton – Jaycob Brugman (21 HR / .280 AVG / .354 OBP / .506 SLG / .860 OPS) *

Beloit – Tyler Marincov (18 HR / .268 AVG / .347 OBP / .486 SLG / .833 OPS) *

Vermont – Scott Masik (1 HR / .218 AVG / .321 OBP / .276 SLG / .598 OPS)

AZL A’s – Vicmal De La Cruz (0 HR / .210 AVG / .306 OBP / .299 SLG / .605 OPS)



Sacto – Daric Barton (9 HR / .261 AVG / .371 OBP / .411 SLG / .781 OPS)

Midland – Hiroyuki Nakajima (6 HR / .247 AVG / .321 OBP / .342 SLG / .664 OPS) *

Stockton – Ryon Healy (16 HR / .285 AVG / .318 OBP / .428 SLG / .746 OPS)

Beloit – Ryan Mathews (12 HR / .269 AVG / .317 OBP / .454 SLG / .771 OPS)

Vermont – Max Kuhn (5 HR / .275 AVG / .345 OBP / .426 SLG / .772 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Edwin Diaz (1 HR / .241 AVG / .343 OBP / .359 SLG / .702 OPS)



Sacto – Zach Neal (166 IP / 170 H / 57 ER / 20 BB / 124 K / 3.09 ERA / 1.14 WHIP) *

Midland – Chris Jensen (160 1/3 IP / 147 H / 56 ER / 62 BB / 94 K / 3.14 ERA / 1.30 WHIP)

Stockton – Seth Streich (114 IP / 110 H / 40 ER / 22 BB / 116 K / 3.16 ERA / 1.16 WHIP)

Beloit – Kyle Finnegan (125 IP / 109 H / 56 ER / 53 BB / 61 K / 4.03 ERA / 1.30 WHIP) *

Vermont – A.J. Burke (71 2/3 IP / 76 H / 31 ER / 13 BB / 57 K / 3.89 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

AZL A’s – Carlos Navas (71 IP / 75 H / 26 ER / 20 BB / 61 K / 3.30 ERA / 1.34 WHIP)



Sacto – Jeremy McBryde (65 IP / 40 H / 16 ER / 26 BB / 66 K / 2.22 ERA / 1.02 WHIP / 17 SV)

Midland – Seth Frankoff (64 1/3 IP / 59 H / 24 ER / 21 BB / 69 K / 3.36 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 16 SV) *

Stockton – Austin House (61 2/3 IP / 50 H / 21 ER / 23 BB / 82 K / 3.06 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 19 SV) *

Beloit – Andres Avila (69 2/3 IP / 66 H / 22 ER / 17 BB / 64 K / 2.84 ERA / 1.19 WHIP / 8 SV) *

Vermont – Koby Gauna (24 2/3 IP / 19 H / 9 ER / 4 BB / 19 K / 3.28 ERA / 0.93 WHIP / 12 SV) *

AZL A’s – Jesus Rivas (21 IP / 28 H / 5 ER / 4 BB / 10 K / 2.14 ERA / 1.52 WHIP / 7 SV)


Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2014 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

Thursday, August 21st: Chad Pinder Helps Ports Win Big while Drew Pomeranz Takes 1st Loss for Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Shortstop Chad Pinder (3 for 6 / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Shortstop Chad Pinder (3 for 6 / Double / 2 RBIs)



Stockton Ports       11

Lake Elsinore Storm  3

WP – Alderson 4-0 / 4.39

Farmhand Of The Game:

Shortstop Chad Pinder

(3 for 6 / Double / 2 RBIs)

Shortstop Chad Pinder helped lead Stockton to an 11-3 victory on Thursday night. Pinder collected 3 hits, including a double, and drove in 2 runs, while outfielder Tyler Marincov doubled, had a pair of singles and drove in a run, and third baseman Renato Nunez had 3 hits and drove in a pair for the Ports. Starter Tim Alderson allowed 3 runs over 7 innings of work to earn his 4th win for Stockton.

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

Exclusive: Talking Top Prospects with A’s Special Assistant Grady Fuson

gfDSC01787-1[2c]Long-time baseball man Grady Fuson served as the A’s scouting director from 1995 until 2001, when the team drafted such talented players as Eric ChavezTim HudsonMark MulderBarry Zito and Rich Harden. He left the A’s at the end of 2001 to become the assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers and, after moving on to head up the Padres scouting department, Fuson eventually returned to the A’s a little over four years ago to serve as a special assistant to general manager Billy Beane.

Of course, many know Fuson as the scout in the cinematic version of Moneyball who has a dramatic confrontation with the A’s general manager – though that’s not quite how it happened (which we chronicled here), and he and Beane are both back on the same team and rowing in the same direction.

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 and Stockton to Midland and Beloit.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Fuson in Stockton just before the major league All-Star break, and prior to Ports catcher Bruce Maxwell’s promotion to Midland. 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 prospects at Stockton, as well as a few other promising players from throughout the system…


AF:  So let me just start off by asking you, as a guy with a long background in both scouting and development, how does it feel to lose a couple of top-quality prospects like Addison Russell and Billy McKinney?

GF:  Well, it hurts, but I’m in this business for the same reason as the people I work for, and I know everything we do is about that big league club. As good as our club has been the last two years, to me, this is what you’ve got to do. And I think Billy [Beane] worked through this thing magically – the timing, the quality of the players we got. We didn’t just add pitching, we added aces, and this could end up being the difference in us possibly putting a ring on our finger or not. And when it’s all said and done, that’s a big part of development – drafting and developing these prospects to be at that level of interest so that they could be a part of a deal like that.

AF:  Well, this year, most of the A’s top prospects are right here in Stockton. Of course, shortstop Daniel Robertson was probably more affected by the Addison Russell trade than anyone. So what do you see for Daniel Robertson’s baseball future at this point?

drrobertson480_szmaxxpi_ibplc2rl2GF:  He’s on time with his progression. He has many talents. Maybe he’s not as “sexy,” if that’s the word, as Addison, but probably more consistent in some areas. But he’s taken another step in his maturity as a baseball player. You can’t out-work him – he’s here every day. He wants to get better, and he’s shown he’s better this year than he was a year ago. He’s becoming more consistent. The biggest thing – the thing we were all counting on when he signed – was coming into some power, and it’s starting to come. You can see it in his numbers, you can see it in BP – it’s starting to come. Everything else is in his hands, and he’s playing great baseball.

AF:  Did his development this year make it any easier for the organization to make the deal and trade away someone like Addison Russell?

GF:  Maybe to some hidden degree. But Billy’s come out on the record and said that we’re going to worry about 2015 and 2016 when we get to them. And it’s really no different down here in the system. You know, we’re not as deep as we were a couple years ago. We’ve made a lot of trades, we’ve made a lot of moves. But one good move is we do have a Daniel Robertson at a key position. Maybe he’s not on as a quick a path as Addison could be on, but Danny’s not far behind Addison in any category, trust me.

AF:  Another guy who looked to be really affected by the trade, particularly by Billy McKinney’s departure, was center fielder Herschel Powell. He had a great first half at Beloit before getting called up to Stockton and then was hit with the 50-game suspension after just a couple of weeks here. So what’s your take on his performance this year and the recent developments with him as well?

GF:  Well, he’s gone crazy a little bit this year. He really had a great first half at Beloit. He’s learning the little things a little better. He’s always been a runner, and he’s always had the tools to play center. He’s always been an aggressive hitter, and now he’s learning the strike zone. He’s getting on base more. His instincts stealing bases still need some work but are starting to come. He came here and had a quick two weeks, and it didn’t look like the Cal League was prepared to stop him. And now we got the “oopsie,” so we got to wait 50 [games].

AF:  With Powell out for a while, another outfielder who was hitting well at Beloit and is now getting a chance here in Stockton is Jaycob Brugman. I remember you telling me to keep an eye on him in spring training, and he’s gotten off to a pretty good start here in the California League so far.

GF:  Brugman’s a good player. He’s one of our better defenders on the corner. He reads balls well, and he’s a good thrower. He’s got the best release. There are not a lot of things he does that are way off the charts, but there’s nothing that he does below average. He does a lot of good things on all sides of the game.

AF:  Now first baseman Matt OIson’s been having a good year here – he’s been leading the California League in home runs and it looks like his plate discipline has improved as well.

GF:  As far as his strikeout percentage, he’s cutting that back a little bit. But the good thing is he’s walking. So there are times when he’s going to swing through pitches, but he’s also swinging at strikes, and that’s a big key for him going forward.

AF:  What kind of improvements have you seen Renato Nunez make this year at the plate but also in the field at third base?

rnrenato-nunez-2013cGF:  It’s a work in progress. It’s repetition, repetition, repetition. He’s not perfect, but he’s working on it. He’s getting there. There’s no reason not to think he’ll be fine there when it’s all said and done. The more offensive he becomes, the better at third he becomes! He’s gotten stronger. He’s a lot more physical this year. Last year, he tapered his body and thinned out at 19. This year at 20, he’s starting to add some good weight. His hands are quicker. He’s got another 10 yards to the ball when he hits it. He’s got a chance to be a beast when he’s done.

AF:  What about Chad Pinder? It was a big leap for him to skip the Midwest League and come right up to the California League this year, but he got off to a great start here.

GF:  First of all, we’ve got to go back to spring training when he showed up 25 pounds stronger, and it was good weight. He had a whole different look in his eye. He looked a little bit more confident. I thought last year he was kind of frozen a little bit in the pro game. It looked like he was out of sorts and uncomfortable, plus he got hurt and lost a lot of time. But after Instructional League, he got his feet on the ground and worked his tail off in the winter in our strength program. And in spring training, he was one of the more impressive young guys in the whole camp. So we pushed him a little bit and sent him here. He’s playing a new position – 80% of the time at second base. Back in his amateur days, it was more short and third. So he’s still learning a lot of the nuances at second. But offensively, he’s been aggressive. He needs to learn how to control the strike zone a little bit more as he continues to grow, but he’s really putting a charge into the baseball when he squares it.

AF:  The other guy you guys bumped up here to Stockton with Pinder, Ryon Healy, started off the season slow, but he’s really been turning it on here of late.

GF:  For me personally, that would be my most improved guy. From last summer to Instructional League and even into spring training, things were a little rough. He himself is learning a new spot at third base. But I can tell things are more comfortable. He’s moving his feet better, he’s got better angles and lines. But offensively, he’s got much more timing and rhythm, and his true hand-speed strength is starting to show up.

AF:  How do you feel Bruce Maxwell’s been doing both at the plate and behind the plate, and how has he been in terms of learning to work with the pitching staff and that whole aspect of the game?

GF:  That bat’s fine. There are still some things we’re working on as far as the pull side, but his discipline’s been good. His receiving’s better and he’s been throwing real well…One thing that’s been impressive in talking to the staff here is that he’s really taken a big leap in leadership. He runs our meetings before every series. We have a meeting with all the pitchers and go over the opposing club. And he’s basically taken charge of that meeting, so that’s a step in the right direction. He’s in there, pitchers are digging him, everything’s good.

AF:  Speaking of pitchers, Seth Streich has been having one of the best seasons of any guy in the system. What’s he been doing right, what’s been working for him and what’s allowed him to have the success he’s been having?

ssStreich2bGF:  The changeup. That’s been our plan of attack with him for a year now. He’s had one, but it wasn’t a pitch that he really used. It wasn’t a pitch that he thought he had to use. He’s been predominantly a fastball/curveball guy. His changeup’s been hard, it’s been flat. So all the guys have been working to soften up his change and get some bottom to it. And I think it’s really been an added weapon for him. I’ve always loved the way he throws his fastball. He’s one of our best as far as locating it down and away.

AF:  How is his overall fastball command at this point and how hard does he throw it?

GF:  He’s really good with his fastball – he’s always been able to nail his fastball. He’s 90-93 mph, in that area…but I’ll say the same thing now that I said two years ago, he’s a changeup away from being a really good pitcher.

AF:  Nolan Sanburn has finally been healthy all year and has been out there pitching on a regular basis. So how do you see him coming along at this point?

GF:  Good. I think he’s prepared to pitch at the next level if needed. The biggest thing is getting back on the field for a full year, staying healthy and getting the innings he needs instead of being hampered by low innings. You don’t get better not being on the mound, and now he’s getting on the mound consistently and he’s been solid.

AF:  Do you see him sticking in the bullpen in the foreseeable future?

GF:  Yeah, I see that. It’s probably up for future discussion though.

AF:  What about the guy everyone’s always interested in, Michael Ynoa? He’s had some good outings and some not-so-good outings here in Stockton this year. So where do you see things are at with him right now?

Michael YnoaGF:  He’s healthy. He’s throwing hard. Like you said, it’s been 50/50 success. The boys have been giving him a little bit more of a slider look instead of a curveball. Last night was the first time I’ve gotten to see this new little slider. And even though I saw his breaking ball a year ago in spring training as good as I’ve ever seen it, the bottom line is he just doesn’t repeat it enough to be effective with it. The slider that I saw last night on numerous occasions might be a very, very helpful pitch for him. When he threw it right, it had the perfect depth and angle for a slider to get some swings-and-misses. And that’s what Michael needs right now – he needs a pitch that he can get some more swings-and-misses with.

AF:  Now you were just in Sacramento, so is there anyone in particular there you could see helping the big club in the near future if needed?

GF:  Yes. Andy Parrino could go up there and play defense all day long. He’s swinging it a lot better than he did a year ago. He had a unique down year offensively last year, but Andy could be on anybody’s big league team in the right role. Shane Peterson continues to do everything you want to see out of a guy. He could be a fourth or fifth outfielder for anybody – thankfully, we haven’t needed that because of the job that Craig Gentry’s done. But he’s talented – he can play all three outfield spots, he gives you quality at-bats. There’s a flash of thunder in there, there’s a flash of speed in there. So there are a lot of things that could be attractive.

AF:  Have you had the chance to see much of Max Muncy or Billy Burns at Midland this year and, if so, where do you feel they’re at?

GF:  I think they’re both in good spots. Muncy has some hot streaks and has some cold streaks, but I think overall he’s been pretty consistent this year…I think he’s right on track – his patience, his ability to defend. We’ve toyed with him at third and that looks like a very playable option. Billy can steal a base on call and he’s played well in center field. You’ve got to remember, he’s a singles guy – and the higher up you play, the more they shorten the field, so he’s having to figure that out a little bit. You know, in spring training, everything’s opened up and nobody really cares. But once the season starts and guys start putting hitting charts against you and know where you hit it, they defend you a little bit different. So he’s kind of in the middle of that part of the learning curve.

AF:  And have you had a chance to see last year’s 2nd-round draft pick Dillon Overton, who’s been working his way back from Tommy John surgery down in Arizona?

dospringstate10weatherford4-3cGF:  Yeah, I saw his first rehab. He was at 90 mph. The curveball was there – it just wasn’t consistent. But he threw easy. He attacked the strike zone at 90 mph. He’s been throwing 3 innings.

AF:  Do you think there’s any chance of seeing him outside of Arizona this year?

GF:  Yeah, I think the plan is once we get him up to around a 5-inning-type pitch count, we’ll probably send him somewhere, but we’re not going to pitch him a ton.

AF:  Now what about a couple of young pitchers from the 2013 draft who’ve been on the sidelines, Chris Kohler and Dustin Driver? What’s the latest with the two of them?

GF:  Driver’s got a back issue, so he’s been out. I don’t think it’s too bad. Before that, he had an infectious disease for a while – it wasn’t anything major – but he was basically quarantined from the complex. Then when he came back from that, he threw a couple times and then that’s when the back thing popped up, right around the time of the draft.

AF:  And what’s the latest with Kohler?

GF:  Kohler’s elbow is just a slow go. It’s still biting him. They’ve gone back in and taken another look. I think he was going back in to have another MRI. But he’s not currently in any legitimate throwing program as we speak. I don’t see him see pitching a whole lot the rest of this season.

AF:  And finally, how much of this year’s 1st-round draft pick, Matt Chapman, did you get a chance to see prior to the draft and what’s your take on him?

mcimg_6735bGF:  I’ve seen parts of him for two years…He’s a very talented defensive kid. I can’t believe he didn’t play shortstop in college. He’s got a gifted arm. He’s got gifted hands. He reacts well. He’s very polished defensively. He’s got some raw power in there and very impressive strength. There are some things we’ve got to clean up a little bit in his approach and his moves. But he’s got a chance to be a complete guy – you know, hit, hit with some power. This guy’s got a chance to be a Gold Glover.

AF:  Well, let’s hope so! That’s great, thanks a lot.


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Friday, July 25th: Chad Pinder & Matt Olson Homer to Help Ports Win while A’s Acquire Former 1st-Rounder Deck McGuire for Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Second Baseman Chad Pinder (3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Second Baseman Chad Pinder (3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)



Lancaster JetHawks  5

Stockton Ports         7

WP – Sanchez 5-1 / 3.64

HR- Olson (29), Pinder (12)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Second Baseman Chad Pinder

(3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

Stockton jumped out to an early lead on Friday when second baseman Chad Pinder hit his 12th home run in the 1st inning for the Ports. Pinder finished the night with 3 hits, a walk, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored, while first baseman Matt Olson hit his league-leading 29th home run, and outfielder Bobby Crocker collected 3 hits and drove in a run for the Ports. Stockton starter Jake Sanchez allowed 3 runs over 6 innings of work to earn his 5th win, while RHP Nolan Sanburn gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, in 2 innings of relief, and RHP Austin House pitched a perfect 9th to post his 13th save.

Click here for more on Sacramento, Midland, Beloit & Vermont…

Exclusive: Skipper Ryan Christenson Gives the Lowdown on the A’s Top Prospects at Stockton

rcchristenson_4j13f5yu2Many A’s fans might remember Ryan Christenson from his days patrolling the Oakland outfield from 1998 through 2001. But he may have an even more important job now, as he’s been entrusted with overseeing some of the A’s top prospects currently playing for the Ports in Stockton. Four of the A’s top five picks from the 2012 draft and three of the team’s top four picks from 2013 all started the season with Stockton.

Christenson spent last season with many of the same players in Beloit, where he was considered to have done such a masterful job of managing the team’s top prospects that they made him the manager in Stockton this year. And with players like Daniel Robertson, Matt Olson, Renato Nunez, Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder and – until his recent promotion – Bruce Maxwell, the team is currently tied for first-place in the California League North second-half standings. A’s Farm recently took the opportunity to talk with the Stockton skipper to get his take on his talented cast of characters…


AF:  First off, let me ask you about Daniel Robertson. With the trade of Addison Russell, he’s now the guy in the spotlight as the A’s new shortstop of the future. So what have you seen from him at the shortstop position in the field this year, and have you seen any sort of evolution from last year to this year?

drrobertson480_szmaxxpi_ibplc2rl2RC:  As good as he was with us last year in Beloit, he is noticeably better this year. The guy makes all the routine plays. He comes out here to play every day…and he’s been solid for us at shortstop. The fact that I believe we’re leading the league in defense this year just kind of goes to show how strong we’ve been up the middle – and he’s been the captain of that.

AF:  Now what about at the plate? It looks like he’s been showing a little more discipline and taking more walks and getting on base a lot. So what have you seen in his approach at the plate this year?

RC:  I think his approach at the plate has been solid. He’s hit #1 and #2 primarily for us this year. I don’t think leadoff is a comfortable position for him, but he’s done it for us because that’s what we’ve needed – and he’s been getting on base a lot. For a 20-year-old, I think the power is starting to show its potential. He’s hit a couple balls this year that I’ve just been saying “Wow!” They’ve really come off the bat well with a lot of noise and have true carry. And he’s hit a couple home runs to right field, so I think the power that he has in that frame is coming around. The guy works his butt off in the weight room, so he’s just going to continue to get stronger. And as he comes into his twenties and gets some of that man strength, I think he’s really going to be a special player.

mo15095_4110106706138_1463379083_n4AF:  Well, speaking of power, what about your first baseman Matt Olson? He’s always had power, but he’s really been taking it to another level lately. What have you seen from him, and is there anything in particular that he’s been improving on or doing any differently this year?

RC:  His plate discipline has really impressed me this year. The fact that I believe he’s still leading all of minor league baseball in walks right now just goes to show what he’s able to do up at the plate. His eye is impeccable. He’s cut down on the swings-and-misses. He’s always had a pretty stroke. But I think the difference between last year and this year is that when he does get the mistake in the at-bat, he’s not fouling it off or missing it, he’s connecting with it. And he’s just so strong that if he does get it going in the right direction with any kind of trajectory, it’s going to go out.

AF:  What about your third baseman, Renato Nunez? Like Olson, his power seems to be hitting another level here lately. Has he been doing anything differently in his approach?

rnrenato-nunez-2013cRC:  I don’t think he’s been doing anything differently. I just think it’s a matter that they’re not missing that mistake when they get it. That’s kind of the nuts and bolts of what we try to preach as an offensive approach is to wait out that great pitch. It might be the first pitch of the at-bat, it might be the seventh pitch of the at-bat – and the walks and working the count are kind of a by-product of that mindset of getting that good pitch in the at-bat and not missing it. And that’s all he’s done here of late in this power purge is that he just has not missed his pitch. And he’s hitting it out of the ballpark, he’s been hitting it off the wall, he’s hitting doubles – the power shots are coming with regularity with him.

AF:  What about in the field? You had him last year and know he had an awful lot of errors there in Beloit. So where’s he at defensively this year?

RC:  I think he’s definitely showing some improvement in making the routine play. I think he might have had 40 errors over at third base last year. I think he doesn’t even have 10 to this point in the season. So it’s just a testament to the work that these guys do. Juan Navarrete, our infield coordinator, has a simple program that we go through every day as far as getting their ground balls and staying in that routine of consistently working on the fundamentals. He’s made some good plays for us, and he’s played a solid third base. He and Healy both have come a long way. [Ryon] Healy as well has shown tremendous improvement over there at third base, and I have no problem throwing either one of them over there and feeling very comfortable throughout the game.

AF:  That was actually the next guy I was going to ask you about, Ryon Healy. Obviously, he got off to a slow start and has really climbed a long way back and has really been playing great lately.

rh1223780bRC:  His start really wasn’t as slow as the numbers might indicate. The guy’s hit the ball the same the entire season. I really started feeling bad. We were joking around with him to start the season about how many line drives and hard fly balls he was hitting at people or guys were making diving plays on. So I wasn’t tremendously worried about him. He wasn’t overmatched by any means. And that was what I kept feeding the brass – he’s not overmatched here and I think this is where he belongs. And I’m glad they kept him here to continue to work through it. And hats off to him and the fact that he’s climbed up to where he is at this point. The way he started, if he gets off to any kind of halfway decent start, he’d have monster numbers right now. I like what he does – he’s able to put the ball in play pretty regularly, he’s not a big strikeout guy. And he’s just going to continue to get bigger and stronger and really continue to come into his own as far as his power stroke.

AF:  And you like what you’ve seen out of him so far in the field at third base?

RC:  I really have. He’s a guy who it was a new position for. He was a first baseman in college. In Instructional League last year, they moved him to third and he struggled mightily. But he’s put the work in. That’s my main credit to this whole team and why I enjoy being around these guys all the time. It’s easy for me to get them out on the field and get that extra work in. And to see it pay off with the numbers that they’ve put up as a club defensively really is just a testament to what they’ve done.

cpDSC03243dAF:  Like Healy, another guy you didn’t have last year in Beloit but who’s had a big role here this year is Chad Pinder, who’s changed positions and has been playing second base here for you. Where do you see he’s at at this point?

RC:  I got my first look at Chad in the Instructional League last offseason, and I was very impressed with his power, not just bombing balls to left but he’s got tremendous strength to drive the ball to the opposite-field gap. And he’s hit a few home runs here with us this year to the right-field side, so that’s very impressive. He’s got quick hands, and he’s really put the work in at second base. Bret Boone was in with us to start the season and got him comfortable and kind of changed his mindset. It was the first time he’d ever played on the right side of the infield after being a third baseman and shortstop in college. So, with him, I think just getting that comfort with the throw – that sidearm flip from second base as he’s going to his left – and getting used to the pivot there at second base and turning the double play. He’s definitely gotten comfortable. And we all know he’s got the arm to go to short or third if we need it. So he’s a special player – I think we’ve got something in him.

AF:  What about catcher Bruce Maxwell [who was recently promoted to Midland]? Tell me a little bit about where he’s at both at the plate and also behind the plate. His throwing has obviously improved tremendously.

bmDSC02921bxRC:  I think everybody believes that Bruce is going to hit. That’s what he is – he’s a hitter. So I don’t think that there’s any worry there. There’s some fine tinkering here and there. I think offensively his biggest challenge is just separating his offense from his defense. He would have a tendency to take an at-bat, be frustrated and go back behind the plate and make some silly mental mistakes as far as having some balls get by him, but he’s really cleaned that up…and he’s tightened his game up back there. He still has some work as far as just controlling the blocks consistently and not having the drops show up here and there. But as far as the way he’s thrown the ball, it’s been night and day from last year.

AF:  You’ve been with a lot of these guys for the past two seasons now. They seem like a pretty special crop of prospects to a lot of people. But you see more of them than anybody, so what’s your overall view of this group of players you’ve got here in Stockton?

RC:  I think everybody sees the talent on the field. It’s been a joy just to watch them play the game every single evening. But for me personally, just to be around them and see the way they interact in the clubhouse, to see the way they get their work done, to see the way that they influence not only the other position players but also the pitching staff and this group of 25 guys as a whole is really what makes them special. They really get it, they have leadership qualities, they’re just ballplayers and I just have to pinch myself when I think that the majority of them are still just 20 years old. But I’m excited for them. They’re great pieces for this organization. I don’t know what the long-term plan is for them. I know we’re in win-now mode in Oakland. So they’re valuable pieces. If they feel like they want to push them through and see them in Oakland one day, I would love that. But I know that they’re also valuable to help get a huge piece like what we’ve done with Addison Russell to get us [Jeff] Samardzija and [Jason] Hammel up there in the big leagues. So I’ve been blessed to be with them for two years and just enjoy being around them.


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