Tag: Corey Walter

Sunday, June 25th: Hurlbutt Impresses in Ports’ Loss while Barrera, Terrell & McDonald Wield Big Bats for Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt (8 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt (8 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts     3

Stockton Ports  1

LP – Tomasovich 2-3 / 3.77

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt

(8 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

Despite the fact that the Ports didn’t end up prevailing on Sunday, RHP Dustin Hurlbutt delivered another impressive start for Stockton. The 24-year-old allowed just 3 hits over 8 shutout innings and, setting aside his one spot start for Nashville, he’s now given up just 2 earned runs, struck out 24 and failed to allow a walk over his last 21 innings of work for Stockton. At one point, Hurlbutt retired 13 consecutive batters on Sunday, but he left after 8 frames with the game a scoreless tie. An error by shortstop Eli White helped lead to an unearned run off LHP Cody Stull in the top of the 9th. White then tripled and scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 9th, but LHP Andrew Tomasovich surrendered a pair of runs in the top of the 10th to suffer his 3rd loss for Stockton. To find out more about this year’s Stockton Ports, check out our recent podcast with Stockton skipper Rick Magnante here – A’s Farm Podcast with Rick Magnante

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

Tuesday, June 20th: Olson’s HR Helps Sounds Win in a Walk-Off while Vermont Claims Victory in Season Opener

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

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

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

GAME #2

New Orleans Baby Cakes  3

Nashville Sounds             6

WP – Castro 1-4 / 4.50

HR – Olson (17), Wendle (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(2 for 4 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

With two men on and the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning, first baseman Matt Olson stepped to the plate and slugged a 3-run homer to give the Sounds the walk-off win in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Both of Tuesday’s contests were 7-inning affairs. Second baseman Joey Wendle‘s 3-run homer tied the game in the 6th, while left fielder Renato Nunez singled, doubled and scored a run, and shortstop Franklin Barreto and designated hitter Bruce Maxwell had a pair of hits apiece for the Sounds. Starter Paul Blackburn allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, over 2 innings of work, while LHP Patrick Schuster tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Simon Castro notched the win after throwing a scoreless frame in the top of the 7th for Nashville.

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Wednesday, June 14th: Walter Pitches Sounds to Victory while Puk K’s 11 in Ports Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Corey Walter (6 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Corey Walter (6 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Iowa Cubs               1

Nashville Sounds  6

WP – Walter 2-1 / 2.96

HR – Olson (16), Canha (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Corey Walter

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

RHP Corey Walter turned in another outstanding start for the Sounds on Wednesday. 2014’s 28th-round draft pick for the A’s gave up just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Nashville, and the 24-year-old has now allowed 1 earned run or less in three of his last four starts for the Sounds. First baseman Matt Olson homered in his first game back in Nashville, while right fielder Mark Canha also slugged a solo shot for the Sounds. Left fielder Matt McBride singled, tripled and drove in 3 runs, and designated hitter Bruce Maxwell singled in his first at-bat since his return from the disabled list. Olson returned to Nashville when RHP Daniel Gossett from promoted to the A’s on Wednesday. Though nothing official has yet been announced, Susan Slusser reported in the Chronicle that third baseman Matt Chapman, who was not in the Sounds lineup on Wednesday, was set to join the A’s on Thursday. And it’s looking likely that RHP Frankie Montas, who’s appeared strictly out of the bullpen so far this season, will start one of the three games that Nashville is scheduled to play this weekend.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

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

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A.J. Puk

A.J. Puk

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

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

 

NASHVILLE SOUNDS

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

Daniel Gossett

Daniel Gossett

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

 

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

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

Grant Holmes

Grant Holmes

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

 

STOCKTON PORTS

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

Logan Shore

Logan Shore

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

 

BELOIT SNAPPERS

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

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

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

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

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

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

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  5

Modesto Nuts     0

WP – Butler 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Bolt (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Brendan Butler

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

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

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

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

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

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Lancaster JetHawks  3

Stockton Ports         9

WP – Puk 4-4 / 3.51

HR – Murphy (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

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

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

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Talking Top Prospects with A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A's Assistant GM Billy Owens

A’s Assistant GM Billy Owens

Now that we’re a couple of months into the minor league season, we wanted to step back and take a look at how some of the A’s top prospects have been shaping up so far this season. And there’s no one better to help us do that than A’s assistant general manager Billy Owens.

Owens originally joined the A’s organization back in 1999, working as an area scout and coaching short-season baseball over the next five years. He was then named the A’s director of player personnel in 2004. And about a year and a half ago, he was promoted to the position of assistant general manager, where the A’s have been able to put his extensive knowledge of the game and its players to use in a variety of different ways.

Owens took some time out to speak with us this week while he was busy scouting prospects for this year’s amateur draft. We asked him about ten of the most intriguing prospects in the A’s system – five hitters and five pitchers – and, as always, his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the A’s young players is apparent…

 

AF:  Let’s start out with the team’s top prospect, shortstop Franklin Barreto. He got off to slow starts the past couple of seasons, but this year, as a 21-year-old at Triple-A, he started out hot and has continued to hit well over the first two months of the season. What kind of progress have you seen out of him this year and what does he still have left to learn at the Triple-A level?

fb620439BO:  I think Franklin’s always been a gifted hitter. He’s a guy who we’ve scouted since he was 14 years old in Venezuela. He’s always been able to use the field, he’s got power that’s untapped, and he’s improving defensively. He’s very athletic, he’s got a short swing, but he still needs to tighten up his strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s always been something of a free swinger. But kids like that who are so talented, they can touch a lot of different pitches, so they’re not apt sometimes to go deep in the count and do a lot of things in terms of plate discipline, because he can barrel the baseball. He’s talented, and for a 21-year-old kid who’s in a tough environment to hit in Nashville, one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in that league, it’s pretty impressive. He had a strong spring training this year, and I think that probably was the impetus for him to start out so strong this year in Nashville. He popped a couple of homers this year in spring training, and he really acclimated himself well to the major league staff. Everybody was able to see, the staff, the fans and the players at the upper level, what kind of talent Franklin has. And, obviously, he’ll get an opportunity at some point because he’s very talented.

AF:  It seems like he’s been playing with a lot more energy this year. I know the plan originally was for him to split time between shortstop and second base this year at Nashville, but I think he’s only played about half a dozen games so far this year at second base.

BO:  I think he’s playing a solid shortstop, and he’s such a good athlete that he could play all over the diamond. Obviously, short is probably the toughest place to play defensively, and he’s shown, at 21 in Triple-A, that he can handle the position fairly well. He’s got all the tools and all the components to handle the position. And just the way the roster’s constructed, we have a lot of guys there who have versatility and we have 40-man-roster players who are playing various positions there. So, from a positional standpoint, it just makes the most sense for him to be doing what he’s doing at shortstop and really kind of assert himself. Everybody has a different opinion about what his final destination’s going to be, but at some point, he’ll be a very productive major league player, and it’s nice to see him getting the bulk of his games so far at Triple-A at shortstop.

AF:  Another top prospect who’s started the season in Nashville is third baseman Matt Chapman. He missed some time in the first month with a wrist injury, but he’s certainly been making up for it since he’s been back, and he hit 11 home runs in the month of May. So what have you been seeing out of him and what’s he still got to work on at Triple-A?

mc656305BO:  I think, with Matt, his defensive talent is off the charts. He’s probably one of the most talented third basemen at any level. You hear the names of Machado and Arenado when you’re discussing his defense – that’s not hyperbole, that’s just the fact. This guy’s defense is superlative and, offensively, his power is undeniable. He had 36 homers last year. Our fans have been able to see it first-hand the last two spring trainings. He had a 3-homer game last year in his brief time in Triple-A. And for him, it’s just all about really defining that strike zone, you know, learning it. With the injury, he started out fairly slow in April. But in May, with the 11 homers, his strikeout rate is actually a little bit lower this month than it was for his whole Texas League season last year when he was the Texas League MVP, so that’s encouraging. I think Matt’s capable of making adjustments, he’s smart, and he’s not afraid at all, as we’ve seen so far in his two big league camps. With him, it’s just all about tightening that strike zone and eliminating some swings-and-misses. But the bottom line is that he’s a really gifted defender, and every time he steps up to the plate, he’s dangerous. And coming at a premium position, that’s a pretty solid package.

AF:  One guy at Nashville who really seemed to turn it up a notch in May is first baseman Matt Olson. I know there was some talk this spring about him altering his swing a bit. Has that played much into this recent uptick and where do you feel things are at with him at this point?

mo621566BO:  Matt Olson, he’s definitely a student of the game. And I always go back to Stockton with him. You know, out of the draft, he was more of an all-fields hitter, and then he had a pretty solid season there in Beloit his first year out as a teenager. But Stockton is a fairly hitter-friendly environment and it’s very inviting to right field, so Matt was able to pop 37 home runs that year. But I think with that, he also became a lot more pull-oriented by hitting those home runs that year at Stockton. And it carried over to Midland, where it became a pull-heavy approach, and the park wasn’t quite as friendly and the defensive shift was more in vogue. So, as he climbed the ladder and they started doing the defensive shifts and he still was pull-happy, he realized that he had to make adjustments to go back to that hitter who uses the whole field. And I think, for some guys, it’s always good just to get a taste of the big leagues to realize it is a little bit different, the pitchers can make adjustments and they can exploit your weaknesses. And Matt’s a smart kid, so he went to the big leagues, saw what it had to offer and realized he had to make some swing adjustments. So now his swing’s shorter, he’s using the field a lot more, and he’s more conscious of trying to barrel the ball to all fields. It’s definitely carried over so far in this Triple-A season and, quite frankly, I think at some point it’ll translate to the upper levels. He’s another one who’s a gifted defender, at first base. I’ve said it, all our instructors have said it – his defense has been spectacular at first base throughout his minor league career. And once he added some versatility by playing right field – I believe he actually led the Texas League in assists a couple of years ago in his first full-time duty in the outfield – he’s proven that he can play above-average major league first base defensively and also actually play an average right field. So, with the natural power that he possesses and an improved contact rate, he’ll have a chance to make his presence known at some point in the next year or two.

AF:  Another guy who had a pretty good month of May at Nashville is Renato Nunez. He’s been doing his usual thing and hitting lots of home runs. He’s got as many homers as anyone in your system right now. We know the power is real for Renato, but how far away do you feel he is from being where he really needs to be?

rn600524BO:  Renato is 23 years old…and he’s always been a kid who’s capable of barreling the ball to all fields. He got a majestic, pretty stroke. I believe, in Double-A, he hit around .280. Last year, he started out hot but then, for some reason in the second half, he got a lot more pull-conscious. And though he still had a high homer total, his average plummeted. This year, he had a strong spring training, and he’s got 13 or 14 homers to start the year. But I still believe that he’s got another click left in him, where at 23 years old, he’s got time to mature as a hitter and start bringing that average up. He’s got a swing that’s capable of touching the baseball at multiple spots in the strike zone, so he shouldn’t have to sell out for power to hit the homers. He should be able to use the whole field. He’s in that .240ish range right now in Triple-A. But I believe, within the next two or three years, that he’ll still have the opportunity to go ahead and become more of a line-to-line hitter and become more of a complete hitter. And with Chapman and Barreto manning the left side of the infield, Renato’s been able to go out to left field and do a solid job out there and sprinkle some games in at third base and improve his defense. But make no mistake, Renato’s a hitter and, at some point within the next two or three years, hopefully he’ll start using the field more and become the hitter he’s capable of becoming.

AF:  As you mentioned, he’s been playing a lot of field so far this season. Do you think that’s the most likely defensive landing spot for him at this point?

BO:  Well, I just think with Chapman being such a special defender at third base, you have Barreto playing short, and when Semien comes back, he can play short, so with all the different players we have the same age playing similar positions, it’s been nice to give Renato a chance to improve his versatility by getting comfortable in left field.

AF:  A guy at Nashville who isn’t always included in the top prospect talk but who’s an interesting player is outfielder Jaycob Brugman. He’s always seemed to out-perform expectations at every level. He was sidelined with a leg injury to start the season, but since he’s been back, he’s done nothing but hit over the past month. So what do you think his ceiling is?

jb595144bBO:  You know, he wasn’t a high-round draft pick, but since he’s been in our system, he’s always hit, whether it’s been in Beloit, or when he went to the California League and he wrecked it and hit 10 home runs in a month during his brief time in the Cal League. He went to Double-A and he was the igniter at the top of the lineup and played good defense in center field. And in Triple-A last year, they had one of the best records with one of the youngest teams in Triple-A – and at the top of the lineup, Jaycob makes things happen. He’s off to a great start. He missed some time with the injury in April, but since he’s been playing, he’s above .300. He uses the whole diamond, he’s got some power in there – he’s had double-digit home run seasons in the minor leagues. He’s got a very good throwing arm defensively, and he’s always been one the higher guys in assists. He takes really good routes in the outfield. So, I think he’ll eventually be a major league player. And it’s safe to say that he’ll be a fourth outfielder, but I think that if he’s assertive, he has a chance to surprise some people and do what he’s always done at the top level at some point when he gets the opportunity.

AF:  For the majority of his minor league career, he’s played center field, but most people seem to talk about him ending up as a corner outfielder. How do you feel about his ability to play center field at the major league level?

BO:  Well, I think he’s definitely capable of playing all three outfield positions and being a fourth outfielder. There’s no question in my mind that he can do that. And I think that Jaycob’s going to assert himself. He’s not a flyer, he’s not going to go up there and give you a blazing time down the line and do cartwheels and what not, but he’s efficient – he takes great routes and gets good angles. So, he can fill in at all three and be a fourth outfielder. But if he keeps on asserting himself, I think he’s going to surprise people at the top level, even defensively. He’s a technician and he’s efficient in center field with enough speed.

AF:  Okay, let’s talk about a few pitching prospects at Triple-A. Daniel Gossett was a 2nd-round pick of yours a few years ago. He took a big step forward last year, then he seemed to really impress people during his brief time in the big league camp this spring. He had a few bumpy starts early on this year, but he’s been on a nice little run at Nashville lately. So what have you been seeing out of Daniel Gossett this year and how close is he to being major-league ready?

dg605254BO:  Yeah, last year was a breakout year for Daniel. He was good at three levels last year. And being dominant in 2016 gave him a chance to go to big league camp in 2017 and get a taste of it. And honestly, I don’t think he was totally sharp. He showed some good stuff, but he wasn’t totally sharp at the end of minor league camp, and I believe it carried over to his first three or four outings at Triple-A, but he’s been able to right the ship. In May, he had an outstanding month. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is getting even better. I think in about 54 innings, he’s got 50 strikeouts and the walks are like 19, and he’s really pounding that strike zone. He’s up to 96 mph. He’s got a nice four-pitch mix. He’s being aggressive within the strike zone. So, if you wash away those first three or four outings of the year, he’s really on that good trajectory now to show what he’s capable of doing. He’s got a cutter that he throws 90 mph, he’s got a good slider, a solid curveball and an outstanding changeup. So, he’s got the pitches – he really proved that last year. And with that strikeout rate being so strong at Triple-A, the next step is just to continue to get more consistency and then, when an opportunity strikes, he’ll be ready.

AF:  Another slightly younger guy in that Nashville rotation who’s been performing well this year is 23-year-old Paul Blackburn. He’s a former 1st-round supplemental pick for the Cubs whom you guys got from Seattle in the Danny Valencia deal. So what do think about him now that you’ve had a chance to get a good look at him in your system here this year?

pb621112BO:  Paul, he’s a control arm. He’s in that low-90s range. His fastball’s between 89-92 mph. It’s got pretty good sink to it. He’s got a solid breaking ball. He’s a northern California kid. He was in our range in the draft a couple of years back and the Cubs took him, so we made a good trade with the Mariners, and he’s been solid. He was okay in big league camp. I think he was excited to play for the hometown team here. And then he impressed all our minor league instructors. And at Nashville, he’s been tough. He’s thrown strikes as advertised. He’s able to manipulate the ball within the strike zone. He changes speeds. He’s definitely poised at a young age to be doing as well as he’s done at Triple-A. He’s not a stuff guy, but he’s a strike thrower, and he commands the baseball within the zone with an assortment of pitches, and he changes speeds well, so we’re excited to have Paul.

AF:  A guy who’s recently joined the staff at Nashville from Double-A Midland is Corey Walter. He’s another guy who wasn’t a high draft pick – he was a 28th-rounder – but since he’s been in the system, it seems like he’s done nothing but get outs, and he just had a nice outing in his last start for Nashville. So what are your impressions of Corey Walter and what’s his ceiling look like to you?

cw657794BO:  Yeah, Corey Walter, he’s kind of been the pitching version of Jaycob Brugman. He came into the system unheralded, and he’s done nothing but pitch really well. He’s been versatile. He’s at a point where his fastball is 90-92 mph, and it’s got a lot of sink to it. He’s a pitch-to-contact guy where he forces the action on the mound. He’s got a nice slider to complement the heater and the sinker, and he also sprinkles in a changeup. But he’s been efficient, he’s been a strong strike thrower. He really came into his own in Stockton, and it carried over last year in multiple roles at Double-A. With the logjam of quality starters in Triple-A and the young guys in the big leagues, we sent him back to Double-A to start the year and he did his thing in the Texas League again, which he’s done for the last year and a half. And I think his versatility and the sinker is going to really treat him well going forward. He’s proven that he can start and get a chance to be an effective starter, but that sinker will play very well out of the ‘pen as well, and he’s a strike thrower, so he’s got a chance to be versatile from a pitching standpoint. And he’s always performed well.

AF:  Yeah, it’s nice to see him getting a chance in Triple-A. Let’s wrap up with a couple of your younger pitching prospects. Grant Holmes, who was a 1st-round draft pick for the Dodgers, has had some struggles at Midland this year but, at 21, he’s also one of the youngest pitchers in the Texas League. So what’s he got to do to get over the hump at Double-A?

gh656550BO:  With Grant, the velocity’s always been there. He’s got a high strikeout rate at Double-A, especially for a kid who’s 21 years old. For him, it’s just a matter of tightening his breaking ball and getting a little bit more separation as far as the miles per hour between the changeup and the heater. I think they kind of blend together at times, and he’s got to get that separation to give hitters something else to really gauge and think about. And from a pitching standpoint, being assertive and being aggressive within the strike zone, but also learning the zones where your strengths are and understanding the scouting reports of the opposition. You know, being 21 years old in an advanced league, in Double-A, coming over here in a trade, getting acclimated and used to a new environment – getting traded at such a young age is not easy – so coming over here, being young, and getting an aggressive promotion to Double-A at 21…hopefully he’ll have an opportunity here the next three months to really hit the ground running, make some adjustments, use that high velocity that he’s shown the whole time, improve that separation between the heater and the changeup and keep on tightening that breaking ball, and he’ll have a chance to have a strong second half.

AF:  Okay, let’s wrap things up with your top draft pick last year, A.J. Puk. He’s been throwing well at Stockton, racking up lots of strikeouts and looking dominant at times. What have you seen out of A.J. this year, where he’s at in terms of his development and what he’s got to do to get to the next level?

ap640462cBO:  When you look at Andrew Miller, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, those lefties who are so tall and throw hard – A.J.’s been up to 99 mph from the left side – if they can really simplify their delivery, because their stuff’s so good, that’s just the best thing going forward. So A.J.’s going to keep on refining and simplifying his delivery. But his stuff is unquestionable. His fastball has ranged anywhere from 94-99 mph, and it’s got this component to it at the end where it has a little bit of giddy-up and it misses bats. His breaking ball, especially his slider, misses bats, and his changeup misses bats – and that’s how you get the 69 strikeouts in 44 innings. And honestly, I think he’s got another click to him. He doesn’t need to try to miss bats so much, but he has an element of deception, the stuff is quality, and you don’t see 99 mph from the left side every day. So, what’s Michael Jordan say? “The ceiling’s the roof!”

AF:  Well, that’s a good place to have your ceiling! Thanks for taking the time to chat. I know it’s a busy time a year for you with the draft right around the corner.

BO:  All right! Go A’s! I’m looking forward to the next three months of the year and we’ll see where it goes.

AF:  And best of luck with the draft coming up!

BO:  Yeah, it’ll be fun. We’ll be in Oakland shortly. And it’ll be fun to have [A’s scouting director] Eric Kubota lead us and to see where all those draft magnets take us!

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A’s Minor League Team Leaders

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Franklin Barreto

Franklin Barreto

With the first two months of the minor league season almost in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at the A’s minor league team leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. And it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the names of top prospects like Franklin Barreto, Matt Chapman and A.J. Puk high atop our list of A’s minor league team leaders.

Leaders are included for all four of the A’s full-season affiliates – Nashville, Midland, Stockton and Beloit. A minimum of 100 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 40 innings is required for the ERA and WHIP categories for pitchers. An asterisk indicates not just a team leader but also an organizational leader in a particular category, and the stats are complete through games of Sunday, May 28. Some of these names you may expect to see atop the lists, while others might come as a bit of a surprise!

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

Click here to see the A’s Minor League Team Leaders…

Sunday, May 28th: Walter Pitches Sounds to Doubleheader Split while Big HRs by Brown & Mercedes Help Ports & Snappers Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Corey Walter (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Corey Walter (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

GAME #2

Colorado Springs Sky Sox  1

Nashville Sounds              2

WP – Walter 1-0 / 2.79

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Corey Walter

(7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

After spending most of the season pitching for Double-A Midland, RHP Corey Walter looked more than ready for Triple-A on Sunday. 2014’s 28th-round draft pick for the A’s allowed just 1 run on 6 hits while throwing a 7-inning complete game to earn his 1st win for the Sounds in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader. The game was a 1-1 tie until the bottom of the 7th inning, when third baseman Matt Chapman doubled to lead off the inning and then came in to score the winning run on catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s RBI single as the Sounds won in a walk-off to split the twinbill. First baseman Matt Olson doubled and walked in the game, and designated hitter Renato Nunez walked and drove in the Sounds’ first run with a sacrifice fly. RHP Paul Blackburn, who’s riding a 13-inning scoreless streak, is set to take the mound on Monday for Nashville.

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

Thursday, May 25th: Manarino Leads Ports to Shutout Win with Help of Ramirez’s 2 HRs while Marincov & Persico Both Drive in 5 in Hounds’ & Snappers’ Wins

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (7 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (7 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports   2

Visalia Rawhide   0

WP – Manarino 4-2 / 3.21

HR – Ramirez 2 (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Evan Manarino

(7 IP / 6 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 6 K / Win)

LHP Evan Manarino turned in his second straight impressive start for Stockton on Thursday, putting up 6 strikeouts over 7 shutout innings to post his 4th win for the Ports. The 24-year-old southern California native has now failed to allow a run or a walk in 13 innings over his last 2 starts for Stockton. And in his first appearance since returning to the Ports from the RockHounds, LHP Cody Stull pitched 2 perfect innings in relief to complete the 6-hit shutout as Stockton prevailed for the fifth time in its last six games on Thursday. Left fielder Tyler Ramirez had a big night at the plate for the Ports. Last year’s 7th-round draft pick provided all the offense his team would need with a pair of solo shots, one in the 4th inning and one in the 9th, to give him a total of 5 round-trippers on the season, and catcher Sean Murphy collected 3 hits, including a double, for Stockton. Meanwhile, after making a pair of relief appearances for the Ports, RHP Chris Jensen was reassigned to the RockHounds on Thursday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

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