The Ports won on Wednesday with the help of another outstanding performance by its pitching staff. Starter A.J. Puk, last year’s top draft pick for the A’s, was charged with 2 unearned runs on 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 7 over 4 innings of work. In the 3rd inning, Puk walked a pair of batters and uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. Then, with two outs, third baseman Mikey White had a ground ball kick off his glove that allowed both runners to score. It was White’s 5th error of the season. Outside the 3rd inning, the only other base runner that Puk allowed was the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 1st. And after the 3rd, the southpaw bounced back to strike out the side in order in the 4th. After Puk exited with the game a 2-2 tie, his new tandem-pitching partner, RHP Boomer Biegalski, took to the mound to make his first appearance for the Ports since being promoted from Beloit. And Biegalski couldn’t have been better in his debut. The 22-year-old was perfect over 4 no-hit innings, facing the minimum 12 batters without allowing a base runner to earn the win in his first stint for Stockton. Biegalski only allowed two balls to leave the infield, both fly outs to right fielder Seth Brown, while he induced seven infield ground outs and two infield pop outs to go along with his one strikeout to complete his impressive performance. RHP Carlos Navas got the final three outs of the game to pick up his 1st save of the season for Stockton. Seth Brown singled in a pair of runs to put the Ports on the board in the 3rd inning then followed up by slugging a solo shot in the 8th, while shortstop Eli White drove a 2-run double to center in the 7th to break the tie and provide the winning run for the Ports.
by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
The Beloit Snappers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals’ Midwest League affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, for a 3-game home series at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week.
The Chiefs had a couple of the Cardinals’ 1st-round picks playing in the series, including 18-year-old outfielder Dylan Carlson (#16 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline).
Peoria took Game #1 from Beloit by a score of 7-3 on Thursday, while the Snappers mounted a great comeback in Game #2 (in what shall now be known as “the Collin Theroux game”) to win by a score of 5-4 on Friday, and Game #3, which turned out to be a 12-0 shutout win, was completely dominated by the Snappers on Saturday.
Game #1: Peoria 7 – Beloit 3
*Snappers tandem starters Matt Milburn and Brandon Bailey were not at their most effective on Thursday. Between the two, they walked 5 and gave up all 7 Chiefs runs in 5 ⅓ innings of work.
*The Snappers were very aggressive at the plate against Chiefs starter Ronnie Williams (#25 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline), resulting in a lot of quick outs through the first 6 innings. In fact, Williams threw just 61 pitches through 6 innings of work.
*Half the Snappers 10 hits in the game came during their 3-run 7th inning.
*Snappers infielder Edwin Diaz led off the 7th inning with a booming home run to left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season and Beloit’s only extra-base hit of the game.
Game #2: Beloit 5 – Peoria 4
*Coming into Friday’s game, Beloit catcher Collin Theroux was 5 for 65 in his professional baseball career, including an 0-for-33 mark as a Snapper. Theroux proceeded to go 3 for 3 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs and also made a terrific sliding catch in foul territory.
*Theroux’s first home run of the game, and of his pro career, was hit over the Pohlman Field scoreboard in left-center field and the estimated distance was over 430 feet!
*Theroux’s second home run was a game-tying 2-run shot that came in the 7th inning.
*Snappers pitcher Brendan Butler noted that Theroux had a good spring in Arizona and was starting to make better and more consistent contact. Maybe this career game will be a turning point in his young career.
*Outfielder Luis Barrera showed off his blazing speed by legging out a triple to lead off the bottom of the 7th inning and later scored.
*Designated hitter Miguel Mercedes hit the go-ahead home run in the 8th inning just over the wall in left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season for the Snappers.
*Starting Pitcher Boomer Biegalski allowed a lot of hard contact in the 1st inning, but he bounced back and pitched much better over his next 3 innings of work. Biegalski’s final line: 4 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 3 K.
*Last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s, LHP Dalton Sawyer, pitched 4 very strong innings. Sawyer dominated the Chiefs with a mix of fastballs, sliders and changeups. Sawyer’s final line: 4 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 BB / 7 K.
Game #3: Beloit 12 – Peoria 0
*Beloit hitters recorded 16 hits and scored 12 runs in the game. Not to be outdone, Beloit pitchers combined to throw a 5-hit shutout with 0 walks and 12 strikeouts.
*Beloit pitchers Brendan Butler, Will Gilbert, and Ty Damron were very efficient, needing just 112 pitches to get through the game.
*Snappers pitcher Ty Damron is technically considered a starting pitcher. But with the 8-man tandem rotation that the Snappers (and other A’s affiliates) are using, Damron came in as reliever in this one and actually got credited with a save in a 12-run game.
*Beloit’s Pohlman Field offered ideal hitting conditions on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a temperature near 80 degrees and a 23 MPH wind blowing out to right-center field. And Snappers hitters took advantage, with all but one Snapper getting at least one hit.
*The Snappers’ 3 home runs came from outfielder JaVon Shelby, who hit his 1st of the season, and infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes, both of whom hit their 3rd.
*Diaz had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBIs.
*Shelby’s home run was impressive as it capped a 6-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off three straight good pitches from Chiefs pitcher Dailyn Martinez. Shelby was also wearing special cleats in honor of Jackie Robinson day across baseball. You can see what Shelby had to say about Jackie Robinson here...
*The start of Game #2 was delayed by an hour and thirty-one minutes because of inclement weather. Miguel Mercedes’ go-ahead home run actually came with the rain coming down pretty hard. And the game had an announced attendance of 94. Yep, you read that right.
*Game #3 of the series saw Snappers pitchers retire 16 Chiefs batters in a row.
*Snappers pitchers combined for 35 strikeouts in the 3-game series.
*Infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes are tied for the team lead in home runs with 3 apiece.
*Edwin Diaz looks like a player who is just starting to tap into his power potential. With his powerful right-handed swing and his sturdy 6’2”, 195-pound frame, this 21-year-old infielder is a player to keep an eye on.
*It is hard to properly describe the amazing game that Collin Theroux had on Friday. It is just another great example of how baseball is such an unpredictable game. Anyone can be the hero on any given night!
After going 0 for 12 to start the season, catcher Collin Theroux came through in a big way for the Snappers on Friday. Last year’s 32nd-round draft pick for the A’s hit a 2-run homer to tie the game in the 2nd inning, then tagged another 2-run shot to tie the game again in the 7th. Designated hitter Miguel Mercedes then slugged a solo shot in the 8th to provide the winning run and help the Snappers snap their five-game losing streak on Friday. Starter Boomer Biegalski allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, in 4 innings of work, while his tandem-pitching partner, LHP Dalton Sawyer, was outstanding in relief, striking out 7 over 4 scoreless frames to earn his 1st win for the Snappers.
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.
Shortstop Yairo Munoz homered for the second straight day and reached base 4 times to help the RockHounds win their fourth straight on Wednesday. Munoz tagged a 2-run homer in the 1st inning to give the Hounds an early lead they would never relinquish. The 21-year-old also doubled and drew a pair of walks in the game. Left fielder J.P. Sportman homered, doubled and drove in 3 runs, while right fielder Tyler Marincov singled, homered, walked twice and drove in 2, and second baseman Max Schrock singled twice and drove in a pair in his Double-A debut. Starter Brandon Mann allowed 3 runs and struck out 10 over 6 innings of work to earn the win, while RHP Jake Sanchez tossed a scoreless 9th to notch his 8th save on Wednesday. Along with Schrock, RHP James Naile was also promoted to Midland from the Ports on Wednesday, while shortstop Franklin Barreto and RHP Chris Jensen were both reassigned from the RockHounds to the Sounds. Barreto, catcher Beau Taylor and third baseman Matt Chapman were all named to the Texas League Postseason All-Star Team on Wednesday. Chapman was also named the Texas League Player of the Year, and Midland manager Ryan Christenson was named the Texas League Manager of the Year. And after clinching a playoff berth for the third straight season on Tuesday, the Hounds are now set to begin postseason play on Wednesday, September 7 at Corpus Christi.
After struggling for the first time with Nashville in his last outing, RHP Daniel Mengden was outstanding on Tuesday, allowing just 3 hits while walking none and striking out 6 over 5 shutout innings to earn his 7th win for the Sounds. Relievers Sean Doolittle, Aaron Kurcz, J.B. Wendelken and Tucker Healy tossed 1 scoreless and hitless inning apiece to complete the 3-hit shutout. Three home runs accounted for all the Sounds’ scoring on Tuesday. Designated hitter Renato Nunez tagged his team-leading 22nd home run in the top of the 1st inning, while shortstop Josh Rodriguez slugged a grand slam in the 2nd, and second baseman Colin Walsh clubbed a 2-run homer in the 5th. Right fielder Jaycob Brugman singled, doubled and scored a run, and center fielder B.J. Boyd went 0 for 4 in his Triple-A debut as the Sounds won their fourth straight on Tuesday.
It’s been about ten weeks since this year’s amateur draft and about two months since the first of the players picked by the A’s began playing with either the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s.
The A’s managed to sign all of their top 20 picks this year. The highest-drafted player Oakland’s front office wasn’t able to sign was 21-year-old right-hander Brigham Hill out of Texas A&M, whom the team took with its 21st pick in the 20th round. But the A’s were fortunate that they were able to ink all 20 of the players they picked before him and get those prospects into the system. And with about two months of play now in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.
The A’s focused on pitching with their top 20 picks this year, taking 12 pitchers in the top 20 and 7 in the top 10. The team’s top pick, LHP A.J. Puk, has been the standout among the pitching prospects so far this season. The 6-foot-7 21-year-old has looked dominant at times for Vermont, posting a 2.70 ERA while striking out 27 over 20 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.
The A’s second overall pick, RHP Daulton Jefferies, just started seeing some action in Arizona and, in 3 brief appearances, the 21-year-old has shown off his pinpoint control by allowing just 1 run while walking none and striking out 10 over 5 2/3 frames for the AZL A’s. Oakland’s third overall pick taken in the 2nd round was Puk’s teammate at Florida, RHP Logan Shore, who recently joined his friend and former college teammate at Vermont. And in his first 4 appearances, the 21-year-old has allowed 2 earned runs and struck out 8 over 9 innings of work.
The team’s top high school pick was RHP Skylar Szynski, who was taken in the 4th round. Though he’s currently sporting a 8.10 ERA, the 19-year-old’s numbers aren’t really that bad, having allowed 16 hits and just 4 walks while striking out 8 in 13 1/3 innings for the AZL A’s. Three other pitchers from the top 10 rounds who are currently at Vermont have all been perfoming well. 6th-round RHP Brandon Bailey, who’s primarily been used as a starter, has posted a 3.41 ERA over 29 innings since joining the system. LHPs Will Gilbert and Dalton Sawyer have both been working out of the bullpen, where 8th-rounder Gilbert has notched 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings while 9th-rounder Sawyer has struck out 20 over 15 2/3 frames for the Lake Monsters.
Meanwhile, 10th-round pick Mitchell Jordan has been solid while serving in a starting role in Arizona, putting up a 3.24 ERA while walking just 7 and striking out 30 in 33 1/3 innings of work for the AZL A’s. The fastest riser of this year’s draft class has been the A’s 14th-round pick, RHP Nolan Blackwood out of the University of Memphis, who is the only member of this year’s crop to make it all the way up to the Beloit Snappers of the Class-A Midwest League. After looking solid in 5 relief appearances for Vermont, the 21-year-old has struggled a bit since joining Beloit’s bullpen, allowing 9 runs in his first 8 appearances for the Snappers.
When it comes to position players, the team’s three top 10 selections – 3rd-round catcher Sean Murphy, 5th-round third baseman JaVon Shelby and 7th-round outfielder Tyler Ramirez – all did a brief stint in Arizona before joining Vermont. Murphy’s power has yet to show itself as he has just 2 extra-base hits over his first 70 at-bats, while Shelby’s shown himself to be a bit of a free swinger, striking out 39 times in 144 at-bats while putting up a .188 batting average. Ramirez has fared a little better, with a .248/.348/.376 slash line over his first 39 games since joining the system.
The two standouts among the team’s position player picks have been shortstop Eli White and second baseman Nate Mondou, who’ve formed a productive double-play combo for Vermont and who were both recently named New York-Penn League All-Stars. 11th-rounder White has 10 doubles to go along with a .303/.365/.406 slash line, while 13th-rounder Mondou’s impressive .401 on-base percentage is among the five best in the league.
You’ll find the A’s top 20 picks of the 2016 draft along with their current statistics through August 19 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…
RHP Argenis Blanco turned in another impressive outing for the AZL A’s, striking out 8 over 5 2/3 shutout innings to earn his 4th win on Thursday, and the 20-year-old Venezuelan has now failed to allow more than 2 earned runs in each of his last 10 appearances. 19-year-old Dominican RHP Wandisson Charles gave up 1 run in 3 1/3 innings of relief to earn his 1st save. This year’s 21st-round draft pick for the A’s, left fielder Kyle Nowlin, had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a pair, while 28th-round second baseman Josh Vidales singled, doubled and drove in a run, and 2015 11th-round center fielder James Terrell walked, doubled in a run and scored twice for the A’s in Thursday’s win.
As things heat up in August, some of the organization’s top sluggers like Matt Chapman and Renato Nunez have really been starting to get hot lately as well. In addition, the team’s top three draft picks – pitchers A.J. Puk, Daulton Jefferies and Logan Shore – all appear to be finding a groove as they settle into the system. A version of this weekly minor league report was originally prepared by Athletics Farm for Athletics Nation…
LHP Ross Detwiler turned in an impressive start for the Sounds on Saturday, allowing just 4 hits while walking none and striking out 7 over 6 1/3 shutout innings to earn his 3rd win for Nashville. RHP Ryan Brasier tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Tucker Healy got the final three outs in the 9th to complete the 6-hit shutout and notch his 7th save for the Sounds. Third baseman Renato Nunez belted his team-leading 17th home run, while shortstop Chad Pinder ripped his 14th round-tripper, and he’s second only to Nunez in that category for the Sounds this season. LHP Dillon Overton was promoted to the A’s to make Saturday’s start for Oakland, while the A’s traded Nashville outfielder Billy Burns to Kansas City in return for outfielder Brett Eibner, who was assigned to the Sounds on Saturday.