Tag: Chris Iriart

Friday, May 19th: Blackburn Leads Sounds to Shutout Victory while Snappers Win in Extras

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (6 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (6 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds         6

Sacramento River Cats  0

WP – Blackburn 2-4 / 3.89

HR – Nunez (11), Lavarnway (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

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

After giving up 14 earned runs in 13 2/3 frames over his last 3 outings, RHP Paul Blackburn bounced back to deliver one of his best starts of the season for the Sounds. The 23-year-old allowed just 2 hits over 6 shutout innings to earn his 2nd win as Nashville won for the fourth time in its last five games on Friday. RHP Tucker Healy tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Tyler Sturdevant notched the final three outs in the 9th to complete the 3-hit shutout for the Sounds. Designated hitter Renato Nunez homered for the second straight day, hitting his team-leading 11th home run, a 2-run shot, with two outs in the top of the 1st inning to give Nashville an early edge. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway belted a 3-run blast to extend the lead in the 4th, and center fielder Jaycob Brugman singled in a run, walked and stole a base for the Sounds.

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Thursday, May 18th: Barreto’s Big Bat Helps Mengden Win Strong Rehab Start for Sounds while 3 HRs Help Ports Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto (3 for 6 / Home Run / Double / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Franklin Barreto (3 for 6 / HR / Double / 5 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  13

Fresno Grizzlies        3

WP – Mengden 1-1 / 3.38

HR – Nunez (10), Chapman (8), Barreto (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Franklin Barreto

(3 for 6 / Home Run / Double / 5 RBIs)

The Sounds scored a season-high 13 runs in their victory over Fresno on Thursday night. Shortstop Franklin Barreto led the attack, collecting 3 hits to raise his average to .320 and driving in 5 runs to increase his team RBI lead to 27. The 21-year-old slugged his 6th home run of the season, a 3-run shot in the 3rd, then lined a two-out double to left to drive in a pair of runs in the 4th, and singled to load the bases but was left stranded in the 7th. Third baseman Matt Chapman also had 3 hits, including his 8th home run, a solo shot to put the Sounds on the board in the 3rd, while designated hitter Renato Nunez notched his team-leading 10th double as well as his team-leading 10th home run on a deep drive that left the park and drove in 3 runs for Nashville. Meanwhile, starter Daniel Mengden was impressive in his third rehab start for the Sounds, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits while walking none and striking out 7 to earn his 1st win this season. Reliever John Axford also looked strong in his third rehab appearance, retiring the side on 5 pitches in the 7th, and he’s expected to rejoin the A’s roster shortly. RHP Chris Smith surrendered 2 runs in 2 innings of relief for the Sounds. And with rehabbing RHPs Mengden and Chris Bassitt currently working in the Sounds rotation alongside RHPs Jharel Cotton, Daniel Gossett and Paul Blackburn, RHPs Smith, Zach Neal and Raul Alcantara will all be working out of the Nashville bullpen for the foreseeable future.

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Monday, May 15th: Maxwell’s Big Bat Helps Bassitt Win Solid Rehab Start for Sounds while Ports Drop 8th Straight despite 4 HRs

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Catcher Bruce Maxwell (3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Catcher Bruce Maxwell (3 for 4 / HR / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  4

Fresno Grizzlies      1

WP – Bassitt 1-0 / 4.00

HR – Olson (8), Maxwell (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Catcher Bruce Maxwell

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

After being officially optioned by the A’s earlier in the day, catcher Bruce Maxwell had a big game in his first night back in action for Nashville. Maxwell homered to give the Sounds’ their second run in the 5th inning, then singled in another run with two outs in the 6th, and doubled but was left stranded in the 9th. First baseman Matt Olson hit his 8th home run of the season, and his third in the last three days, to put Nashville on the board in the 4th, and center fielder Jaycob Brugman singled twice and drew a pair of walks for the Sounds. Starter Chris Bassitt was solid in his second rehab appearance for the Sounds, allowing just 3 hits over 5 shutout frames to earn the win, while RHP Zach Neal threw 3 scoreless innings in relief. Meanwhile, outfielder Andrew Lambo and LHP Ross Detwiler were both officially released on Monday, and RHP Jharel Cotton is set to make his first start since being optioned back to the Sounds on Tuesday.

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Friday, May 12th: Gossett Pitches Sounds to Victory while Boyd’s Bat Helps Hounds Win Again

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Gossett (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 7 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Gossett (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 7 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Albuquerque Isotopes  1

Nashville Sounds       3

WP – Gossett 1-2 / 4.15

HR – Barreto (5), Parmelee (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Gossett

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

RHP Daniel Gossett turned in his best start of the season for the Sounds, allowing just 1 run while striking out 7 over 6 innings of work to earn his 1st win on Friday. And the 24-year-old has now given up just 3 earned runs and struck out 16 in 16 innings over his last 3 starts. RHP Zach Neal, who’s now working out of the bullpen with Jharel Cotton‘s addition to the rotation, LHP Ross Detwiler and RHP Simon Castro each tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief, with Castro getting the final three outs in the 9th to notch his 3rd save for Nashville. Shortstop Franklin Barreto hit his 5th home run, a 2-run shot, in the 1st to give the Sounds an early lead, and right fielder Chris Parmelee followed with a solo shot in the 2nd. Left fielder Jaycob Brugman collected 3 hits, while center fielder Ryan LaMarre had a pair of singles as the Sounds snapped their four-game losing streak on Friday. In other news, A’s RHP John Axford was sent to Nashville on a rehab assignment and is scheduled to make his first relief appearance on Saturday, while RHP Daniel Mengden is set to make his second rehab start on Saturday for the Sounds.

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Saturday, May 6th: Puk Pitches Ports to Victory while Midland & Beloit Both Win in Walk-Offs

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher A.J. Puk (5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher A.J. Puk (5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

San Jose Giants    2

Stockton Ports   13

WP – Puk 1-3 / 4.26

HR – Iriart (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

(5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

Last year’s top draft pick for the A’s, LHP A.J. Puk, turned in his most impressive performance of the season for Stockton on Saturday. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 hit while walking none and notching a pro-career-best 9 strikeouts over a season-high 5 shutout innings to post his 1st win for the Ports. Puk threw a total of 67 pitches, 49 for strikes, in his first post-tandem start for Stockton. LHP Will Gilbert replaced Puk on the mound and gave up 2 runs in 3 innings of relief, while LHP Andrew Tomasovich pitched a perfect 9th to close things out for the Ports. Meanwhile, Stockton’s lineup put a season-high 13 runs on the board on Saturday. Left fielder Tyler Ramirez led the attack by lining 3 hits and driving in 3 runs, while first baseman Chris Iriart hit his 5th home run. Shortstop Eli White singled twice, walked, drove in a run and scored 3 times, and designated hitter Mikey White doubled, drew a walk and drove in 3 for the Ports. Saturday’s game marked the first time that Puk was not pitching as part of a two-man tandem for Stockton. The tandem of RHPs Casey Meisner and Angel Duno is set to pitch on Sunday, while RHP Logan Shore will be the starter on Tuesday, with LHP Evan Manarino making the start on Wednesday, and the tandem of RHPs Dustin Hurlbutt and Boomer Biegalski scheduled to pitch for Stockton on Thursday.

A.J. Puk on the mound in the 1st inning at Stockton on Saturday  (photo: Josh Moore)

A.J. Puk on the mound in the 1st inning at Stockton on Saturday
(photo:Josh Moore)

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Thursday, May 4th: Olson’s Early HR Leads Sounds to Victory while Bassitt Looks Strong in 2nd Rehab Start for Stockton

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (Home Run / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds      5

Round Rock Express  4

WP – C.Smith 2-1 / 2.39

HR – Olson (4), Parmelee (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(Home Run / 3 RBIs)

First baseman Matt Olson slugged a 3-run homer in the top of the 1st inning to give the Sounds a lead they would never surrender on Thursday. Olson has been hot since returning from his brief stint with the A’s, hitting .320 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs over his last 6 games. Designated hitter Chris Parmelee followed up with a solo shot in the 2nd, while left fielder Jaycob Brugman collected 3 hits, including a double, and third baseman Matt Chapman singled and tripled for the Sounds. Starter Chris Smith was solid, allowing 2 runs over 5 2/3 frames to earn his 2nd win, while RHP Chris Jensen gave up 2 runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief, and LHP Ross Detwiler threw a scoreless 9th to notch his 1st save for Nashville. And with Oakland catcher Josh Phegley landing on the 7-day concussion list, Sounds catcher Bruce Maxwell rejoined the A’s roster on Thursday.

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Saturday, April 29th: Smith’s 6 Shutout Frames Lead Sounds to Victory while Bassitt Makes First Rehab Start for Stockton

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Chris Smith (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Chris Smith (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

New Orleans Baby Cakes  2

Nashville Sounds            10

WP – C.Smith 1-1 / 2.18

HR – Nunez (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Chris Smith

(6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

A night after Nashville starter Paul Blackburn threw 5 scoreless frames, Saturday’s starting pitcher, RHP Chris Smith, followed up by tossing 6 shutout innings to earn the victory as the Sounds won their third straight. And the 36-year-old Smith has now allowed a total of just 5 earned runs over his first 4 starts of the season. Nashville’s offense notched a total of 10 runs for the first time this season. First baseman Matt Olson collected 4 hits, including a double, and drove in a pair of runs, while center fielder Mark Canha doubled twice and drove in 3. Left fielder Renato Nunez notched his 4th home run, a solo shot, and drew a pair of walks, and second baseman Franklin Barreto singled twice, doubled and drove in a run while raising his team-best batting average to a healthy .349. In other news, RHP Raul Alcantara cleared waivers and was sent to the Sounds, and second baseman Joey Wendle’s rehab assignment came to an end as he was activated from the disabled list and officially added to Nashville’s roster.

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Monday, April 17th: Murphy & Iriart Homer to Help Stockton Stage Comeback Win while Chalmers K’s 10 in Snappers’ 11-Inning Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Sean Murphy (3 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Sean Murphy (3 for 4 / HR / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  12

Modesto Nuts       4

WP – Duno 2-0 / 2.25

HR – Murphy (3), Iriart (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Catcher Sean Murphy

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

After being down 4-0 heading into the 6th inning, Stockton came back to post a 12-4 win in Modesto on Monday as the Ports claimed the California League’s best record. Catcher Sean Murphy singled in the winning run in the 7th, hit a 2-run homer in the 8th, and also walked and scored a run in the 6th and doubled but was left stranded in the 4th. First baseman Chris Iriart belted a 3-run homer to tie the game in the 6th and doubled in a run in the 7th, while second baseman Josh Vidales collected 3 hits, including a double, and shortstop Eli White singled, doubled, walked twice and scored 3 times in the game. Center fielder Tyler Ramirez drove in 3 runs, and left fielder Brett Siddall singled twice and drove in a pair for the Ports. With a steady rain coming down in the 1st inning, starter Logan Shore surrendered 3 runs, but Shore settled in after that and ended up allowing 3 on 6 hits over 4 innings of work. His tandem-pitching partner, RHP Angel Duno, was solid in relief, giving the Ports a chance to come back and ultimately prevail. Duno allowed just 1 run over 4 innings and finished off his stint by retiring 11 straight batters to pick up the win as the Ports ran their record to 7-4. Meanwhile, Beloit RHP Boomer Biegalski was added to Stockton’s pitching staff on Monday, with RHP Daulton Jefferies landing on the disabled list.

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Monday, April 10th: Walter Helps Pitch Hounds to Victory while Puk Impresses in Ports Debut

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Corey Walter (4 IP/ 0 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Corey Walter (4 IP/ 0 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Springfield Cardinals     1

Midland RockHounds  5

WP – Walter 1-0 / 1.29

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Corey Walter

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

A number of solid 4-inning performances have been delivered during the first week of the A’s minor league tandem-pitching experiment. And RockHounds RHP Corey Walter delivered one of the best on Monday, tossing 4 near-perfect, no-hit innings to earn the win for Midland. Walter faced the minimum 12 batters over 4 frames. The only base runner reached after being hit by a pitch and was then thrown out trying to steal second in the 4th inning. Starter Brandon Mann threw 3 scoreless innings to start things off and has now failed to allow a run over 7 innings of work so far this season. Designated hitter Melvin Mercedes doubled in 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd to give the RockHounds an early lead, while catcher Andy Paz had a pair of hits and drove in a run, and first baseman Viosergy Rosa doubled, walked and scored twice to help Midland win on Monday.

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Stockton Ports 2017 Opening Day Roster Preview

by Josh Moore / A’s Farm Stockton Correspondent

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Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark

This year, Stockton has the pleasure of welcoming Oakland’s first four selections from last year’s draft onto its 25-man opening day roster, as the Ports add a total of 13 new players to the 2017 squad.

The main cause for excitement in Stockton this year revolves around the team’s retooled pitching staff, which will feature last year’s top three draft picks for the A’s: LHP A.J. Puk (#6 overall, Florida), RHP Daulton Jefferies (#37, Cal) and RHP Logan Shore (#47, Florida).

Of the 13 pitchers currently on the Ports pitching staff, eight of them are expected to work as part of four two-man starting pitching tandems, at least to start the season. In addition to top picks Puk, Jefferies and Shore, a couple of 2016 Snappers starters, RHPs Angel Duno (7-7, 2.68) and Dustin Hurlbutt (3-6, 2.57), will be joining a pair of Ports hold-overs, RHPs Casey Meisner (1-14, 4.85) and Brett Graves (7-10, 4.60), along with LHP Evan Manarino (10-6, 2.58), who split time between Beloit and Stockton last year. And this octet of promising young pitchers certainly has the potential to shape up as the California League’s most talented starting staff in 2017.

Last season, Stockton’s hitters struck out a total of 1,226 times (second worst in the California League), and the Ports were league-average or below in nearly all offensive categories. With a pair of last year’s more productive hitters, Joe Bennie (.302/.376/.449) and B.J. Boyd (.288/.346/.395), joining Midland this season, the Ports hope that some of the newcomers will step up to help replace their production.

Among the new arrivals are a number of 2016 draft picks who just got a chance to get their feet wet last year, including catcher Sean Murphy (3rd round, Wright State), outfielder Tyler Ramirez (7th round, North Carolina), shortstop Eli White (11th round, Clemson) and second baseman Josh Vidales (28th round, Houston). Joining them will be some more experienced prospects who spent all of last season with Beloit, including outfielders Skye Bolt (.231/.318/.345) and Brett Siddall (.241/.321/.356) as well as second baseman Trent Gilbert (.269/.327/.380).

The key to success for Stockton this season, however, will be the performance of its talented young pitching staff. It will surely need to improve on a 2016 staff that underwhelmed last year, even after adding highly-touted RHP Grant Holmes, who joined the Ports in August after arriving from the Dodgers in the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill deal. Among the five teams in the California League North Division last season, Stockton had the highest ERA (4.56) and WHIP (1.44) as well as the fewest saves (20), so there’s definitely plenty of room for improvement in 2017.

 

10 Ports Players to Watch in 2017

1. LHP A.J. Puk

ap640462bIf there was any doubt who to note first on this list, witnessing Puk’s performance in Stockton’s exhibition game versus Cal State East Bay on Tuesday evening erased all doubt. The big lefty will undoubtedly be the big attraction at Banner Island Ballpark this season. And he possesses a unique set of skills that will be dearly missed whenever he is inevitably sent to Midland, whether it be midseason or next season, so that he can terrorize Texas League hitters. Sporting a 6’7″ frame and long, reddish-blonde hair, Puk is a dominant figure on the mound. His unique ability to hurl a 98-mph fastball on a downward plane results in a distinct POP audible a quarter mile down Fremont Street. Though he was facing collegiate competition on Tuesday, Puk was absolutely a man amongst boys. Brought into the game in relief of starter Dustin Hurlbutt, Puk struck out 8 batters in 4 innings while allowing just two base runners. Puk made his spring training debut in major league camp for the A’s, striking out the side in the first of his two appearances in big league camp. In 10 starts at Vermont in 2016, Puk pitched to a 3.03 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP while striking out 40 in 32 2/3 innings, and he was most proficient against right-handed hitters, allowing a stingy .157/.232/.202 line against righties. At his best in 2016, Puk combined to allow just 3 hits and 2 walks over 8 2/3 innings while striking out 13 and allowing no runs in back-to-back August starts. Like many larger-framed pitchers, however, Puk is also prone to a wild, difficult-to-repeat delivery and occasionally lacks control because of it. In both his freshman and sophomore seasons at Florida, Puk averaged more than 4 walks per 9 innings and allowed 3.3 free passes per 9 frames at Vermont. For Ports fans, the news of Puk’s arrival could be bittersweet. As one of the most potentially electrifying pitchers in the California League, he might not end up staying in the league for long.

2. RHP Logan Shore

ls624519Dating back to their days together at Florida when Shore and A.J. Puk dominated SEC lineups together, and despite what’s been written above, the better pitcher statistically has actually been Shore. Logan didn’t feature a mid-to-high 90s fastball or double-digit K/9 numbers at Florida, but he walked only a fraction of the batters that Puk did (1.90 to 4.04 BB/9), showed off an ERA in the mid-2s compared to Puk’s in the mid-3s, and won 30 games over three seasons as opposed to Puk’s 16 victories. Shore’s best asset is probably his ability to control the strike zone, which he typically pounds with a plus changeup, slider and a fastball that sits in the low 90s with excellent command. In his brief stint in Vermont last season, lefties struggled to the tune of a .306 OPS while Shore pitched to an overall 2.57 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, striking out 21 in as many innings for the Lake Monsters. He really impressed in a surprise spring training start in major league camp against the Angels, where he struck out 5 (including Mike Trout) over 5 solid innings and allowed just a single run thanks to some unusual spring training base-running shenanigans.

3. RHP Daulton Jefferies

djPFKSDMUFQUWSOHH.20151029180443Oakland’s second pitching selection in 2016 out of UC Berkeley, Jefferies was nearly as dominant as Shore against lefties in his first taste of pro action, holding them to a .167/.250/.222 slash line in the Arizona League in what was admittedly a very small sample size. Overall, in 11 1/3 innings, he pitched to a 2.38 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP while notching 17 strikeouts for the AZL A’s. Like Shore, Jefferies’ consistency and control are a large part of what makes him so good. He walked only 8 in 50 innings while putting up a 1.08 ERA in his final season at Cal. And in limited action in the Arizona League last year, he issued just 2 walks in his 11 1/3 innings of work. A rocky spring training outing in his only action in major league camp saw him yield 8 hits and 6 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings of work for the A’s, but Jefferies is certainly a prospect who has the potential to move through the A’s system quickly.

4. C Sean Murphy

sm669221Although Murphy is a defensive-oriented backstop with a laser for an arm, he hit .298 at Vermont before an 0-for-23 stretch cut his batting average to .237 last year. He finished last season on a high note, however, going 3-for-3 with a home run, 3 RBIs and a walk in his final game. He also caught both A.J. Puk and Logan Shore in each of their final starts last season. Murphy showed off his plus arm with a 1st inning laser beam to second base to nail the runner on a stolen base attempt in Stockton’s exhibition game on Tuesday, but the backstop appeared to be a little over-matched at the plate at times.

5. IF Mikey White

mw608383bWith the release of last year’s starting third baseman for Stockton, Jose Brizuela, White looks to take over the bulk of the third base duties for the Ports in 2017. The former Alabama standout was drafted by the A’s in the second round in 2015, just one round after the team selected fellow SEC infielder Richie Martin. And last year, he ended up hitting .247/.315/.352 in his first season with the Ports. Hitting in the seventh spot in the order behind Sean Murphy in Stockton’s exhibition game on Tuesday, White showed signs of improving his performance this year, drilling a 2-run homer to left, singling to left, and walking in his first 3 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.

6. RHP Nolan Blackwood 

nb670154A 14th-round selection out of Memphis, Blackwood projects to be Stockton’s primary closer in 2017. He’s a submarine-style pitcher similar to former A’s Chad Bradford and Brad Ziegler, but with a better fastball that reaches the low 90s. Blackwood began last season with Vermont, appearing 5 times in relief, allowing 2 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings (2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) before being promoted to Beloit. Blackwood got off to a rocky start for the Snappers, where he allowed 9 earned runs in his first 8 2/3 innings while opposing batters crushed his pitches to the tune of a .415 batting average and an OPS of 1.020. In his final 6 appearances, however, the 6’5” righty managed to right the ship, holding opposing batters to a .114/.162/.114 slash line while allowing just 6 base runners in 11 1/3 innings. Blackwood continued his scoreless streak during two brief appearances in major league spring training camp for the A’s, throwing 1 1/3 shutout innings versus Milwaukee and Chicago, which will hopefully help provide him with an added boost of confidence heading into his debut season in Stockton.

7. 1B Chris Iriart 

ci664872bDefensive limitations aside, Iriart can swing it with power, as he combined to hit 22 home runs last season between Beloit and Stockton. His impressive .689 slugging percentage in 61 at-bats at Stockton last season more closely resembled most other Ports hitters’ OPS. Besides Iriart, only fellow first baseman Sandber Pimentel (.779) and outfielder Seth Brown (.702) return to the club with an OPS that was better than .700 last season, and the young slugger promises to provide the Ports will plenty of power in 2017.

8. OF Skye Bolt

sb621450A quick, switch-hitting center fielder, Bolt will instantly become Stockton’s best defensive outfielder. After electing not to sign with the Nationals after being drafted out of high school, he showed promise as a freshman at North Carolina, hitting .321/.418/.491, but he never saw his production match those numbers again over his next two collegiate seasons. Oakland selected the speedy center fielder in the 4th round in 2015, but he’s yet to come on strong at the plate in Vermont or Beloit during first two professional seasons, hitting a combined .233/.321/.358 while grounding into more double plays (14) than he has stolen bases (12). Bolt went 0-3 in Tuesday’s exhibition, striking out once, though his first two at-bats were loud outs, resulting in his counterpart in center field having to make two spectacular plays to keep him off the basepaths.

9. 1B Sandber Pimentel

sp622698Though Pimentel will open the season on the 7-day disabled list, he returns to Stockton for a second season after leading the Ports in home runs (21) and notching the second-most RBIs (66) and walks (60) on the team. 18 of the left-handed slugger’s 21 home runs came in 317 at-bats versus right-handed pitchers in 2016. Pimentel cooled off in the latter half of the season, doing most of his damage between May and July, when he slashed .257/.349/.530 and belted 17 home runs. Pimentel hit fifth in the order in Tuesday’s exhibition game and once again went yard to right-center.

10. RHP Matt Sergey

ms519270Finally, if you’re a fan of the classic underdog, I’ll try to sell you on Matt Sergey, even if just for this season. Once a 45th-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers way back in 2007, the 27-year old Sergey has spent much of his time bouncing around the independent leagues. Despite an obvious lack of tools, and with a fastball that tops out in the low-90s and barely fringe-to-average secondary pitches, Sergey seems to pick his spots well and has a knack for missing bats. Matt spent parts of 2016 with Laredo in the independent American Association, where he pitched to a 4-0 record in 7 starts over 44 innings, allowing only 4 runs with a WHIP of just 0.93. His first attempt at A-level ball was last year at Stockton, where he made 12 appearances with mixed results. Despite Sergey’s success as a starter in Laredo, he’s probably not cut out to be starting pitcher, but his 13.7K/9 ratio in his 27 innings with Stockton last year indicate that he can indeed produce outs in limited stints. He made an appearance in Tuesday’s exhibition game, retiring the only four batters he faced. In 2016, 6 of Sergey’s 9 relief appearances for Stockton were in similar three-to-four-out situations; and in them, he didn’t allow a single run and struck out 12 in just 6 1/3 innings of work.

 

You can find the complete Stockton Ports opening day roster here.

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