Tag: Collin Theroux

Friday, August 4th: 4 HRs Help Sounds Snap Skid while 4 HRs Aren’t Enough to Help Snappers Prevail and Mengden & Ruiz Return to the Mound

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

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

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  8

Reno Aces              5

WP – Bassitt 2-2 / 8.75

HR – Nunez (28), Olson (22), Barreto (12), Carter (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman Franklin Barreto

(3 for 5 / Home Run / Double)

Four home runs helped the Sounds snap their four-game losing streak on Friday. Second baseman Franklin Barreto continued his hot hitting of late, collecting 3 hits, including a home run and a double, and the 21-year-old has now gone 12 for 20 over his last 5 games for the Sounds. First baseman Matt Olson doubled, hit his 22nd home run and drove in 3, while left fielder Renato Nunez walked, doubled, drilled his minor-league-leading 28th homer and drove in a pair, and designated hitter Chris Carter walked and slugged a 2-run shot for the Sounds. Starter Corey Walter gave up 2 runs in 3 1/3 innings of work, and RHP Chris Bassitt picked up the win despite allowing 2 runs in 2 innings of relief for Nashville.

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

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 5-Game Home Stand vs. West Michigan & South Bend (7/19-24)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers split a rain-shortened two-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit’s Midwest League affiliate, last week at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The Snappers then went on to sweep the South Bend Cubs, Chicago’s Class-A affiliate, in a three-game set that concluded on Monday.

The Whitecaps entered the series with the best record in all of minor league baseball. A sparkling 2.64 ERA and 19 shutouts are far and away the best from any team this season in the Midwest League. In terms of top prospects, the standout is outfielder Derek Hill, who ranks as the #8 prospect in the Tigers organization according to MLB Pipeline. A 1st-round pick in 2014, Hill spent most of the season on the disabled list before returning to action late last month.

South Bend has been a solid team, staying above .500 during most of the season. The Cubs recently lost their top prospect, RHP Dylan Cease, to the White Sox organization in the Jose Quintana trade. But they do have an athletic, high-upside outfielder in D.J. Wilson, who ranks as the #6 prospect in the Cubs organization according to MiLB Pipeline.

 

Game #1:  West Michigan 6 – Beloit 3

Heath Bowers

Heath Bowers

*After three rather uneventful innings on Wednesday, things started to get a little crazy in Beloit. As the skies grew darker, a tornado siren suddenly went off while the Snappers were warming up, which halted the game. The contest would not resume until the next day as a major thunderstorm with tornado potential rolled through south-central Wisconsin. A lightning bolt actually struck one of the left field light poles, which knocked out a number of lights as well as the scoreboard, and Pohlman Field had to go without a scoreboard the next day.

*When the game resumed in the top of the 4th inning on Thursday, RHP Mitchell Jordan took the hill for the Snappers. It was clearly not his day, as he gave up 6 earned runs while getting just two outs in the top of the 4th inning. Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, has struggled to miss bats this season, giving up a lot of hard contact.

*RHP Heath Bowers righted the ship for Beloit, throwing 3 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief. What was most encouraging to see from Bowers is how he attacked the strike zone, throwing 33 of his 47 pitches for strikes. As good as his 1.96 ERA in 55 innings might look, the 30 walks he has given up show that he has constantly been walking a tightrope. If Bowers is going to succeed going forward, he’ll need to start issuing fewer free passes.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 2 – West Michigan 0

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*In this 7-inning game, a safety squeeze bunt from shortstop Jesus Lopez and an RBI double from first baseman Miguel Mercedes accounted for all the Snappers’ scoring.

*RHP Matt Milburn, a 29th-round pick by the A’s in 2016, pitched 5 ⅔ scoreless innings to earn his 6th win for the Snappers. While Milburn is sporting a respectable 3.92 ERA, his peripherals suggest that he has been much better than that. His FIP sits at 2.90 and his xFIP at 3.12. Meanwhile, his K/9 is a solid 9.34 and he has a very good swinging strike rate of 13.1%.

*RHP Sam Sheehan, the A’s 31st-round pick last year, shut the door on the Whitecaps. He allowed just 1 hit and struck out 2 in 1 ⅓ scoreless innings to earn his 4th save. Sheehan now has superb 1.57 ERA in 28 ⅔ innings this season for the Snappers.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 6 – South Bend 3

Collin Theroux

Collin Theroux

*RHP Xavier Altamirano had a quality start in his second straight outing, putting up a pitching line of 6 IP/4 H/2 ER/1 BB/6 K.

*Center fielder and leadoff hitter Mike Martin went 3 for 4 while scoring a pair of runs for the Snappers.

*First baseman Kyle Nowlin, Oakland’s 21st-round pick in 2016, went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBIs for Beloit.

*Catcher Collin Theroux, the 32nd-round pick by the A’s last year, threw out both runners who tried to steal. For the season, he has thrown out nearly 48% of attempted steals, which is an impressive number for any catcher. The 23-year-old possesses a cannon of a throwing arm and is not afraid to show it off. It’s definitely something that opposing teams need to be wary of coming into a series.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 6 – South Bend 0

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

*Beloit batters hit 3 home runs off of Cubs starter LHP Manuel Rondon. Third baseman Trace Loehr hit his 3rd home run in the 1st inning, designated hitter Kyle Nowlin clubbed his 8th, also in the 1st, and second baseman J.C Rodriguez slugged his 2nd home run on the season in the 4th.

*Loehr went 2 for 4 to continue his hot hitting in the second half. By the end of the series with South Bend, Loehr was batting .340 with a .553 slugging percentage in 26 games in the second half.

*Nowlin reached base in all 4 plate appearances, continuing his own second-half hot streak. By the end of the South Bend series, Nowlin was slashing .326/.426/.500 in the second half.

*Despite having to warm up multiple times due to rainy conditions, LHP Zack Erwin threw 4 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball.

*RHP Seth Martinez was spectacular in relief of Erwin. Working at a brisk pace, the A’s 17th-round pick in 2016 did not allow a baserunner over 5 perfect innings while striking out 3. Martinez’s successful outing can be attributed to his solid fastball command and a sweeping slider, which helped him induce a lot of weak contact.

 

Game #5:  Beloit 7 – South Bend 6

J.C. Rodriguez

J.C. Rodriguez

*The Snappers pitchers with the three worst ERAs on the current staff combined to help Beloit win the final game of the set on Monday and sweep the series from South Bend. LHP Kyle Twomey (5.93 ERA), RHP Mitchell Jordan (6.04 ERA) and RHP Jesus Zambrano (5.36 ERA) weren’t particularly sharp, allowing a lot of hard contact and scattering 16 hits while allowing 6 runs, 5 earned. But they buckled down to get out of some sticky situations, and some impressive defensive plays behind them helped to bail them out as well.

*Beloit threw out three South Bend runners at home plate in the game. A great throw by left fielder J.C. Rodriguez to the plate got the first runner, while a tremendous relay from center fielder JaVon Shelby to shortstop Trace Loehr to catcher Collin Theroux nailed the second, and second baseman Josh Vidales made a magnificent bare-handed pick up and then fired home a bullet to nab the third runner.

*With the score tied at 6-6 and one out in the bottom of the 9th inning, up stepped left fielder J.C. Rodriguez. Full name: Jean Carlo Rodriguez. Extra innings were looming over what was already a long and wacky game. But on a 1-1 pitch, Rodriguez smacked his third home run of the year, a line drive over the left field wall, to cap off a wild win and complete the sweep.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Home Stand:

First Baseman Kyle Nowlin

(7 for 13 / Home Run / 3 Walks / 3 RBIs)

 

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Monday, July 17th: Hurlbutt Helps Hounds Win Again while Bailey & Walter Are Solid for Ports & Sounds

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt (7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Dustin Hurlbutt (7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  5

San Antonio Missions    1

WP – Hurlbutt 2-1 / 1.99

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt

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

RHP Dustin Hurlbutt delivered another outstanding start to help the RockHounds take their second straight from San Antonio on Monday. The 24-year-old allowed 1 run on just 2 hits over 7 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Midland, and Hurlbutt has now given up just 1 run and 7 hits in 18 1/3 frames over his last 3 starts for the Hounds. RHP Tyler Sturdevant tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to secure his 1st save for Midland on Monday. Right fielder J.P. Sportman singled, tripled and drove in a run, while center fielder B.J. Boyd had 3 hits, including a pair of doubles, stole a base and scored twice, and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis doubled, walked and drove in a pair of runs for the RockHounds.

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

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Kane County (7/7-10)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers managed just one win in their recent four-game series against the Kane County Cougars, Arizona’s Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The Cougars entered the series with a total of just 33 home runs, the least of any team in the league. For comparison, the Lake County Captains lead the league with 95 home runs. Outfielder Marcus Wilson has hit a team-leading 8 home runs while slashing .293/.393/.481 for the Cougars.

 

Game #1:  Kane County 5 – Beloit 1

Jesus Zambrano

Jesus Zambrano

*The Snappers snapped a 29-inning scoring drought when they scored an unearned run in the 9th inning thanks to a fielding error by Kane County shortstop Raymel Flores.

*RHP Jesus Zambrano had his second straight scoreless outing in long relief. After pitching 4 scoreless innings in his last outing, he threw 3 scoreless frames in Friday’s appearance.

*Beloit batters struck out 9 times while managing just 3 singles over 7 innings against Kane County starting pitcher Sam McWilliams. While not known for putting up big strikeout numbers, McWilliams is nonetheless a strike-throwing machine. He attacked Snappers hitters all day, with 70 of his 94 pitches going for strikes.

 

Game #2:  Kane County 2 – Beloit 1

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*The A’s 29th-round pick in 2016, RHP Matt Milburn, had a solid pitching line of 5 IP/4 H/2 ER/0 BB/6 K. Milburn has a rather pedestrian 4.36 ERA on the season, but his peripheral numbers suggest he has been much better than that. He sports a FIP of 2.74 and an xFIP of 3.09.

*RHP Heath Bowers, who possesses a wicked slider with a lot of movement, threw 3 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball in relief while striking out 5. The Midwest League All-Star has an impressive 2.17 ERA, but he still needs to cut down on the free passes as he’s walked 27 batters in 49 ⅔ innings of work.

*21-year-old shortstop Edwin Diaz had a big game for Beloit, going 3 for 5 with a triple and an RBI.

*2015’s 33rd-round draft pick for the A’s, outfielder Mike Martin, reached base 3 times, on a pair of hits and a walk.

 

Game #3:  Kane County 10 – Beloit 9

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

*It was a wild Sunday afternoon, with the Snappers committing 5 errors. The game saw Beloit score the first two runs of the match. Kane County then scored 10 unanswered runs, followed by Beloit scoring 7 unanswered runs.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano has joined the Snappers’ starting rotation after spending the first half of the season as a long reliever. The 22-year-old had his worst outing of the season on Sunday, and it really all fell apart in the 5th and 6th innings, when he surrendered a total of 7 earned runs.

*It appeared that right fielder JaVon Shelby may have been benched for a lack of hustle when he didn’t return to the field in the 7th inning after misplaying a ball in the 6th inning. The A’s 5th-round pick in 2016 looked to take his time to get to a drive down the right field line by Cougars outfielder Anfernee Greer and then chucked the ball towards third base, where it bounced away and allowed Grier to come all the way around to score on what looked like a Little League home run.

*Third baseman Edwin Diaz hit what looked like a line-drive RBI single to left field in the 6th inning. But the ball took a crazy bounce past Kane County left fielder Anfernee Grier and rolled all the way to the wall. Diaz raced around the bases and scored an inside-the-park home run. That’s one way to raise the slugging percentage!

*Oakland’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, catcher Collin Theroux, smashed a double to left-center field in the 8th inning that registered 105 MPH off the bat. Theroux can really hit the ball as hard as anyone in the Midwest League.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 3 – Kane County 1

John Gorman

John Gorman

*LHP Zack Erwin was excellent, striking out 8 in 6 scoreless innings to earn the win. Great fastball location combined with a solid splitter seem to be the keys to his success. And Erwin appears to have taken a big step forward this season. After posting a 6.53 ERA in 80 innings for Stockton in 2016, he’s currently sporting a 2.28 ERA for the Snappers in 2017. So, the demotion to Beloit seems to have really helped Erwin right the ship.

*RHP John Gorman gave up his first earned run as a Snapper on Monday, but he has been impressive out of the bullpen. A 31st-round pick in 2015, Gorman has struck out 16 batters in 10 ⅔ innings between short-season Vermont and Beloit this season. His pitching arsenal includes a fastball that ranges between 88-90 MPH, a changeup and a slider.

*The A’s 21st-round pick in 2016, designated hitter Kyle Nowlin, reached base 3 times. He had an RBI single, an RBI double and a walk, and he also scored a run.

*Catcher Collin Theroux struck out 4 times, earning the “Golden Sombrero,” and he now has an unsightly 43.4 K% on the season. The good news for Theroux is that he threw out both runners who tried to steal on him.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

(6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K)

 

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Saturday, June 24th: Ports Win Behind Ramirez’s Big Bat while Puk Struggles in Hounds’ Loss & Beck Debuts in AZL A’s Opener

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Tyler Ramirez  (Grand Slam)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Tyler Ramirez
(Grand Slam)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts     2

Stockton Ports  8

WP – Meisner 6-5 / 3.98

HR – Ramirez (6), Pimentel (2), Semien (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Tyler Ramirez

(Grand Slam)

With the game tied 2-2 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 5th inning, center fielder Tyler Ramirez stepped to the plate and slugged a grand slam to provide the margin of victory for the Ports on Saturday. And the 22-year-old is now hitting .350 over his last 5 games for Stockton. First baseman Sandber Pimentel homered for the second straight night, while right fielder Seth Brown had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, and designated hitter Marcus Semien singled, doubled, homered and drove in a pair in his first rehab appearance for the Ports. RHP Casey Meisner turned in his third straight quality start for Stockton, allowing 2 runs while striking out 6 over 7 innings of work to earn his 6th win on Saturday.

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

Snappers Hitting Coach Juan Dilone Delivers the Lowdown on Beloit’s Best Batters

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

jdDilone, Juan2Back in 1990, when the Bash Brothers were ruling the roost and Oakland was on its way to its third straight World Series appearance, the A’s signed a teenaged Juan Dilone as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic.

He ended up playing eight minor league seasons as an outfielder and an infielder in the A’s and Giants organizations, ultimately reaching as high as Double-A. But after suffering a shoulder injury while playing in the Mexican League, Dilone decided to call it quits on his playing career.

Shortly after retiring as a player, A’s general manager Billy Beane and a number of coaches talked to Dilone about becoming a hitting coach. After giving coaching a one-week trial run at the A’s Dominican Republic facility, he decided that pursuing a coaching career in baseball was the right choice for him. And Dilone is now entering his 16th season working for the A’s organization. He’s served as the hitting coach for various A’s affiliates over the years and also spent four years working with the A’s Dominican operations.

Dilone is now in his second season serving as the hitting coach for the Beloit Snappers. We took the opportunity to talk with him last week during the Snappers’ final series before the Midwest League All-Star break. And it was great to get some valuable insights on the fine art of hitting as well as his thoughts on some of the A’s hitting prospects who are swinging the bat for Beloit this season…

AF:  What are some of the most important statistics the A’s organization looks at when looking to promote a position player to the next level? For example, do traditional stats still play a major role or do they look more at the “rate” stats now?

JD:  So, right now we are not paying much attention to batting average. We are looking at run production [i.e. runs created, weighted runs created plus], looking at hard contact rate, swinging strike percentage, line drive percentage. The rate stats are the stuff the organization is focused on at this time.

AF:  It’s very interesting to hear what the A’s are looking for, at least in terms of stats. My next question has to do with hitters’ launch angles. It’s been a really popular topic in baseball recently. I was wondering, as a hitting coach, do you look to teach about that? If so, what goes into teaching and practicing that?

JD:  Well, you know, the launch angle, we are really building that. In fact, this year the A’s are really emphasizing it, coming from the top down. For the most part, you really cannot teach launch angles. That is something a hitter creates. So, what I try to get those guys to do is hit hard line drives. So, if they do that, they are going to get their extra-base hits. We try to keep the hitters hitting line drives all over the field.

AF:  Yeah, I was interested in what a professional hitting coach would have to say about launch angles.

Collin Theroux

Collin Theroux

JD:  We’ve got a player right now, Collin Theroux – he’s the catcher. Every time he hits the ball, it is CRUSHED. He’s got some big power, but his launch angle is way too high. So, I have been working with him on keeping that launch angle at about 15-20 degrees. He’s also been collapsing on the backside. I’ve been working on correcting that with him. So, we want to get Theroux more in line in the box and staying focused on the middle of the field. Really, he should have 20 homers, at least. He’s got some juice.

AF:  I’ve seen him hit some of the longest bombs this year, and that’s just in the home games!

JD:  (Smiles) No doubt!

AF:  Moving on to some more position players, what have you seen out of outfielder Luis Barrera?

JD:  Well, he did a good job here in Beloit at the end of last season. He does a great job of putting the ball in play and, of course, he has very good speed. Because of that, he can always create a batting average that should be like .290 or .300. He’s been solid this year defensively, running the bases, bunt hitting. He still needs to learn more about the knowledge of the game, because he’s so young. But he has been awesome out of the leadoff spot for us.

AF:  After joining the team in mid-April, outfielder Luke Persico had a hot streak throughout the month of May that earned him an All-Star nod. What accounted for his success and what was he doing right during that stretch?

JD:  We were working on something with his back leg so that he can stay behind the baseball better. That was really nice to see him hitting the ball all over the field with line drives. He has kind of struggled the last couple of weeks. I think it is because of some fatigue setting in. But overall, he works very hard and is a very smart guy.

Nate Mondou

Nate Mondou

AF:  Speaking of All-Stars, second baseman Nate Mondou has been the most consistent hitter in the Snappers lineup. Batting usually second or third, he has done a fantastic job of getting on base. Tell me about his approach and what you like about him?

JD:  Mondou has a tremendous work ethic. We have set up a daily routine that has helped him be successful this season. He is a true professional on and off the field. That is something I love about him. He is also always searching for the little details to try and increase his baseball knowledge. That is very impressive to see from a young guy. He has done so well for us this year. But the last two weeks or so, he has put too much pressure on himself. He is chasing balls he normally would lay off. Right now, he just needs to slow down everything and he’ll get back to where he was.

AF:  While he does lead the Snappers with 11 home runs, first baseman Miguel Mercedes has some other aspects of his game that he needs to work on. For example, he didn’t take a walk in his first 21 games of the season. What improvements do you need to see from him?

JD:  Last year, he got into a bad habit of being too aggressive, which carried over into this year. That approach doesn’t allow you to walk very much. He was also trying to hit everything out of the ballpark. So, we have been working on pitch recognition with him and he has bought into it. He is now seeing that turn into results as he is having much better at-bats and more success. Now he is laying off the breaking ball down and away. The other problem was that he was guessing too much. He definitely still has work to do, but he is getting there in pitch recognition.

JaVon Shelby

JaVon Shelby

AF:  Outfielder JaVon Shelby was a 5th-round pick last year as a third baseman, but he moved to the outfield this season. He is the son of former major leaguer John Shelby, so he grew up around the game. Watching him this season, the raw talent is clearly there. Unfortunately, he’s really struggled with a strikeout rate of nearly 50%. What’s been going on with him and what adjustments does he need to make at this point?

JD:  At the beginning of the season, I sat down with him and tried to find out what he was doing last year when he was in Vermont. I think that was a very good meeting between me and him. So, the thing we have been trying to do with him is keep him looking middle of the field and opposite field, because last year his front side was flying open. He has gotten into that bad habit again, so we are pounding it home that he needs to stay looking opposite field to create a better bat path to the ball and stay behind. He is just too jumpy at the plate right now. Shelby is a very interesting player to me. I really like him. He doesn’t deserve the season he is having right now. Things are going to get better. It’s only a matter of time before he starts hitting again.

AF:  Despite this being his third season in Beloit, infielder Edwin Diaz is still just 21 years old. To me, it seems like he is starting to figure it out at the plate. What changes has he made and what has been working for him this season?

JD:  I’ve known Diaz for a long time. When he is hot, nobody can get him out. I think last season he ran out of energy playing every day. The same thing is happening again here recently. I try to take everything slow with him, because sometimes when you put too much information on him, he doesn’t know how to take it. He is so young, I feel sometimes he does not know how to deal with it. I have to keep it simple.

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

AF:  I’ve noticed he has had a better approach at the plate this season.

JD:  Yes, his pitch recognition is way better now. We know he can be a little streaky. But, man, when he’s feeling it, look out!

AF:  I’ve also heard good things about his defense. Can you give me little more insight on that?

JD:  I feel he is major league ready defensively right now. He’s played shortstop, third base and some second base last year.

AF:  Would you say he is one of the best defensive players on the Snappers right now?

JD:  With Diaz, he makes tough plays look routine. It’s awesome to see from a young kid like that. If he can hit at least just enough, there’s no question he’s going to be a major leaguer. The way Diaz plays defense is amazing to me. He makes it look so easy.

AF:  Yeah, Edwin Diaz is a very intriguing player to me. Definitely a name for A’s fans to keep an eye on moving forward.

JD:  Yes, definitely. Diaz is still very young, but he has all the ability you would want. It is great to see him putting it all together this season!

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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…

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (6/9-12)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

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

The River Bandits are far and away the best power-hitting team in the Midwest League this season, with a league-best 64 home runs entering the series. One of the biggest sluggers for the Bandits has been 19-year-old first baseman/outfielder Yordan Alvarez, who’s hitting .397 with 5 home runs in just 22 games in the Midwest League.

The Bandits currently have two of the Astros’ top 10 prospects according to MLB Pipeline – outfielder Daz Cameron (son of former major league outfielder Mike Cameron) and RHP Forrest Whitley. Both players definitely impressed in this series, making life hard for the Snappers.

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 8 – Beloit 3

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*Beloit got off to a hot start in the game, with center fielder Luis Barrera smacking a 2-0 pitch off the center field wall for a leadoff triple.

*The next batter, first baseman Luke Persico, who last year’s 12th-round pick for the A’s, promptly singled home Barrera to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning. It was one of 3 hits on the night for Persico, who has been in a bit of a slump during the month of June.

*Persico got his sixth start of the season at first base in this game. Usually a corner outfielder, having the ability to also play first base should provide Persico with valuable versatility going forward.

*RHP Matt Milburn pitched 2 perfect innings to start, striking out 4. The A’s 29th-round pick in 2016 was displaying a superb cutter early on, but River Bandits batters were finally able to catch on and ended up tagging Milburn for 4 earned runs in 6 innings of work.

 

Game #2:  Quad Cities 13 – Beloit 5

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*Shortstop Edwin Diaz slugged his 7th home run of the season for the Snappers. It was a 3-run blast over the center field wall in the bottom of the 1st inning to give Beloit an early lead.

*Two pitchers made their U.S. baseball debuts for the Snappers. RHP Abdiel Mendoza, an 18-year-old from Panama, started the game and finished with a line of 2 ⅓ IP/3 H/4 ER/3 BB/2 K. LHP Jhenderson Hurtado replaced Mendoza, and the 21-year-old Venezuelan had a line of 2 ⅔ IP/4 H/2 ER/2 BB/2 K. Both pitchers struggled with their command, which is understandable considering they only arrived in Beloit about four hours before the first pitch.

*Speaking of time, this 9-inning game labored along at a turtle’s pace – or a Snapper’s pace, if you will! The game clocked in at 3 hours and 35 minutes.

*Believe it or not, both teams actually had a pitcher named “Abdiel” from Panama in this game. While a unique name in the United States, it must be a much more common handle in Panama!

*Snappers first baseman Kyle Nowlin made his third pitching appearance of the season in the game, getting two outs on just four pitches. With the scoreless outing, last year’s 21st-round pick for the A’s was the only Beloit pitcher among five not to give up a run in the game.

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 4 – Beloit 0

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*The Houston Astros’ #5 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Forrest Whitley, made things difficult for the Snappers in this game by tossing 4 ⅔ hitless innings. The 6’7” right-hander overpowered Snappers hitters all day long. The 19-year-old struck out 7, but did walk 4, which led to him being pulled just one out short of qualifying for the win.

*Beloit batters managed just 2 singles in the game. On the bright side, the Snappers weren’t lacking in base runners since they did draw 7 walks off Quad Cities pitchers.

*Catcher Collin Theroux, the A’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, was back starting again after getting three games off to recover from a nagging injury. It was a rough return for Theroux as he struck out in all four of his at-bats, thus earning himself the “Golden Sombrero.”

*The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, was able to get through 6 innings allowing just 3 runs, and that is good enough to be considered a “quality start.”

*First Baseman Miguel Mercedes was called out on a rare batter interference call. Nate Mondou, who was on first base, took off trying to steal second. Mercedes took a called ball but got in the way of Bandits catcher Gabriel Bracamonte, who trying to gun down Mondou at second. In the box score, it’s shown as Mercedes being out 3 unassisted (3U). Oh, the things you learn as an official scorer.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 1 – Quad Cities 0

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

*LHP Zack Erwin mowed down the mighty River Bandits lineup, throwing 5 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball and striking out 7 to earn the win. While Erwin has just 15 ⅔ innings under his belt this season, he has looked strong since returning from the disabled list. And if he can keep it up, hopefully he can make his way back up the minor league ladder after stumbling in Stockton last season.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just 1 hit, to earn his 2nd save for the Snappers. Flying a bit under the radar this season, Altamirano has been tremendous out of the Beloit bullpen. He owns a sparkling 1.88 ERA and currently has a 23 ⅓ scoreless-innings streak.

*Third baseman Trace Loehr walked 3 times in the game. He had taken a total of just 10 walks in his previous 48 games.

*The only run of the game scored on a double play. So, there were no RBIs recorded for either team, which is a fairly rare feat.

 

Former Snappers Notes:

I want to be sure to give a shout out to RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer for their well-deserved promotions to the High-A Stockton Ports. Butler compiled a 2.32 ERA in 54 1/3 innings for Beloit. Sawyer put up a 2.25 ERA in 56 innings for the Snappers, while also recently making an emergency spot start for Nashville. Both pitchers seem to have very bright futures ahead of them, and hopefully we’ll have the chance to see both of the former Snappers pitching for the A’s before long!

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

(5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 7 K)

 

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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.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(7 for 12 / 3 RBIs / 1 SB)

 

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Friday, June 2nd: Olson Hits 2 HRs in Sounds’ 4th Straight Victory while Hounds Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  12

Iowa Cubs                 3

WP – Smith 3-2 / 3.35

HR – Olson 2 (14), Nunez (14)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A big 7-run 1st inning made it easy for Nashville to notch its fourth straight victory on Friday. First baseman Matt Olson led the attack, launching a pair of home runs – a 3-run blast in the 1st and a solo shot in the 7th. Olson also singled and scored in the 9th, while left fielder Renato Nunez homered, doubled and drove in a pair. Olson and Nunez now have 14 home runs apiece, tying them for the team lead. Third baseman Matt Chapman collected 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, and right fielder Ryan LaMarre singled twice, walked, drove in 2 runs and swiped a pair of bases for the Sounds. RHP Chris Smith turned in an outstanding start, striking out 8 over 6 shutout innings to earn his 3rd win for Nashville.

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