Tag: Daniel Mengden

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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Saturday, June 10th: Holmes Impresses in Hounds Shutout Victory while Nunez, Chapman & Barreto Key Sounds Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Grant Holmes (8 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 8 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Grant Holmes (8 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 8 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Frisco RoughRiders       0

Midland RockHounds  6

WP – Holmes 5-5 / 4.79

HR – Boyd (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Grant Holmes

(8 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 8 K / Win)

On Saturday, RHP Grant Holmes turned in one of the best pitching performances of any A’s minor leaguer so far this season. Despite struggling during much of his debut season in the Double-A Texas League, the former 1st-round draft pick of the Dodgers was impressive in Saturday’s start against Frisco, flashing the form that the A’s have been hoping to see since acquiring him last summer in the Josh Reddick deal. The 21-year-old South Carolina native was perfect through his first 5 innings on Saturday, and he didn’t surrender a hit until he’d registered one out in the 7th. Holmes ended up allowing just 2 hits while walking none and striking out 8 over 8 shutout innings to earn his 5th win, and he’s now recorded 17 strikeouts over his last 14 frames for the RockHounds. LHP Brandon Mann gave up 1 hit in a scoreless 9th to complete the 3-hit shutout, while left fielder B.J. Boyd had 3 hits, including his 1st home run of the season, and second baseman J.P. Sportman singled, doubled and drove in a pair of runs to help the RockHounds win their third straight on Saturday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton & Beloit…

Sunday, June 4th: Blackburn Leads Sounds to Shutout Victory while Murphy’s 2 HRs Help Stockton Win & Armenteros Makes Pro Debut

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  6

Iowa Cubs               0

WP – Blackburn 4-5 / 3.26

HR – Chapman (13), McBride (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

(7 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

RHP Paul Blackburn turned in an impressive start for the Sounds on Sunday, allowing just 2 hits over 7 shutout innings to notch his 4th win for Nashville. And the former 1st-round supplemental pick for the Cubs now has an ERA of 1.44 over his last 4 starts for the Sounds. RHPs Tyler Sturdevant and Tucker Healy each contributed a scoreless inning in relief to complete the 4-hit shutout on Sunday. Third baseman Matt Chapman homered for the second straight day and doubled in the Sounds’ first run, while designated hitter Matt McBride also homered, doubled and drove in a pair, and catcher Ryan Lavarnway singled, doubled, walked and drove in a run to help the Sounds win for the fifth time in their last six games. Meanwhile, first baseman Matt Olson was recalled by the A’s, and RHP Daniel Mengden was optioned back to Nashville on Sunday.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton, Beloit & the Dominican Summer League A’s…

Monday, May 29th: Murphy’s Big Bat Helps Ports Win in Extras while Seddon & Manarino Receive Promotions

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Sean Murphy (3 for 6 / 2 Doubles / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Sean Murphy (3 for 6 / 2 Doubles / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports                       8

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes  3

WP – Biegalski 3-2 / 6.83

Prospect Of The Game:

Catcher Sean Murphy

(3 for 6 / 2 Doubles / 3 RBIs)

Catcher Sean Murphy came through with a big 3-run double in the top of the 12th inning to help Stockton win its third straight on Monday. Murphy had 3 hits in the game, including another double in the 9th, and he’s now gone 8 for 14 in his last 3 games to raise his average to .291. First baseman Chris Iriart had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, while center fielder Tyler Ramirez singled, doubled, walked and scored twice. Second baseman Branden Cogswell had a pair of hits and drove in the tying run in the top of the 9th, and right fielder Seth Brown singled twice and drove in 2 runs, including to the go-ahead run in the 12th. Stockton starter Casey Meisner allowed 3 runs over 5 2/3 frames, while LHP Cody Stull threw 3 shutout innings in relief, and RHP Boomer Biegalski tossed 2 scoreless innings to pick up the win for the Ports. Meanwhile, one of Stockton’s top starting pitchers, LHP Evan Manarino, was reassigned to the RockHounds on Monday. The 24-year-old Manarino, who was the A’s 25th-round draft pick in 2015, put up a 3.21 ERA while striking out 41 and walking just 3 in 47 2/3 frames for the Ports this season.

Click here for more on Nashville & Beloit…

Tuesday, May 23rd: Mengden Throws 7 Scoreless, Chapman Homers & Wendle Has 4 Hits to Help Sounds Post Shutout Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Mengden (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Daniel Mengden (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Omaha Storm Chasers  0

Nashville Sounds       10

WP – Mengden 2-1 / 2.21

HR – Chapman (10)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Mengden

(7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHP Daniel Mengden delivered his second straight strong start for the Sounds, allowing just 3 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 7 scoreless innings to earn his 2nd win on Tuesday. And Mengden has now allowed just 1 run and struck out 12 without issuing a walk in 13 innings over his last 2 outings for Nashville. RHP Chris Smith pitched 2 perfect innings in relief to complete the 3-hit shutout as the Sounds won their third straight on Tuesday. Third baseman Matt Chapman tripled and also homered for the second straight night, notching his 10th round-tripper for Nashville. Second baseman Joey Wendle collected 4 hits, including a triple and a double, and drove in 2 runs, while first baseman Chris Parmelee singled twice, doubled and drove in a run. Catcher Matt McBride singled, doubled and drove in a pair, and center fielder Ryan LaMarre tripled with the bases loaded to drive in 3 for Nashville. Meanwhile, LHP Felix Doubront, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, was added to the Sounds’ active roster on Tuesday.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Saturday, May 20th: Manarino Pitches Ports to Victory while Hounds & Snappers Get Blanked & Maxwell Lands on DL

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Evan Manarino (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Lake Elsinore Storm  1

Stockton Ports         3

WP – Manarino 3-2 / 3.76

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Evan Manarino

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

After enduring his roughest outing of the season in his last appearance for Stockton, LHP Evan Manarino turned in one of his best starts of the year on Saturday. The 24-year-old was almost perfect over 6 innings, allowing just 1 base runner on a double and striking out 3 to earn his 3rd win for the Ports. RHP Chris Jensen, who was reassigned to Stockton from the Sounds on Saturday, permitted 1 run in 3 innings of relief to pick up the save for the Ports. First baseman Seth Brown continued his hot hitting of late, reaching base in all 4 of his plate appearances, on a triple, a walk and a pair of singles. He drove in Stockton’s first run and also stole a base in the game, and Brown is now 11 for 27 with 3 home runs and 7 RBIs over his last 7 games. Right fielder Brett Siddall doubled and scored a run, while second baseman Branden Cogswell singled in a pair for the Ports. Meanwhile, RHP Carlos Navas was reassigned to the RockHounds and Midland LHP Cody Stull was sent to Stockton on Saturday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A's top prospect Franklin Barreto

Top prospect Franklin Barreto

Whatever happens with the A’s before the start of next season, one thing is certain – with many of the team’s current everyday players set to become free agents in the offseason, there’s bound to be plenty of turnover on the 25-man roster.

Center fielder Rajai Davis, first baseman Yonder Alonso, third baseman Trevor Plouffe, current shortstop Adam Rosales, as well as reliever John Axford, are all set to hit the free agent market in the offseason, and second baseman Jed Lowrie has a team option for 2018 and seems unlikely to return. Of course, most of these potential free agents are likely to be traded before the season is through but, one way or another, they’re all likely to be long-gone by the time 2018 rolls around.

The only regular position players in the starting lineup who are currently under team control for 2018 are outfielders Khris Davis and Matt Joyce, catcher Stephen Vogt, first baseman/designated hitter Ryon Healy and shortstop Marcus Semien, who will reclaim his starting shortstop role once he returns from the disabled list. Backup catcher Josh Phegley, utility infielder Chad Pinder and reserve outfielders Mark Canha and Jake Smolinski will also remain under team control for 2018. And the entire pitching staff, with the exception of Axford, will still be under control next year as well.

Of course, no one is ever certain what the A’s will do in the offseason, but it does seem as though the front office has structured this team to be ready for a big youth infusion next season – which could work well with the team’s stated intention of announcing plans for a new stadium before the end of the year.

So, disregarding any potential trades or free agent signings, let’s just assume that the A’s do decide to move forward with a full-on youth movement next season, stocking the roster with as many prospects as possible who are currently in the team’s minor league system. No one is saying that they will, or that they should, but just for the fun of it, let’s take a look at what a young, prospect-laden A’s team could potentially look like in 2018.

As previously mentioned, the pitching staff is already full of fairly young arms under team control, so any big changes would primarily involve position players, which is what we’ll mainly focus on here, though we will briefly touch on 2018’s potential pitching staff as well. It’s worth noting that every single position player proposed below for a potential prospect-laden A’s roster is currently age 29 or under, with Khris Davis the only potential everyday.player currently over the age of 26.

 

CATCHERS

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

The team’s current catching corps is set to be under team control for next year. 32-year-old Stephen Vogt is earning $2.965 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for the second time in the offseason, while 29-year-old Josh Phegley is earning just $545,000 this year and will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. With Vogt struggling so far this season and set to receive a raise through the arbitration system next year, this looks like an obvious spot to make a move to get younger. 26-year-old catcher Bruce Maxwell seems to have mastered Triple-A at this point, with a career slash line of .318/.386/.527 in the Pacific Coast League. And he’s looked fairly solid both at the plate and behind the plate during his 42 major league games for the A’s last year and this year. If the team does decide to put the left-handed-hitting Maxwell behind the dish next season, then it would make plenty of sense to keep Phegley around as his right-handed-hitting counterpart, and to try to make a deal to trade the popular Vogt either this summer or in the offseason to a club that’s looking for a little veteran catching help.

 

OUTFIELDERS

Jaycob Brugman

Jaycob Brugman

When we look at the A’s outfield picture for 2018, two things seem fairly certain: one Davis will stay and one Davis will go. 29-year-old left fielder Khris Davis, who’s hit 54 home runs since joining the A’s last season, is clearly the best-hitting outfielder on the A’s roster and seems likely to stick around. Davis is under team control for two more seasons, and he could serve as the most veteran presence on a young A’s squad next year while manning left field and holding down the cleanup spot. But 36-year-old center fielder Rajai Davis was always intended to serve as a one-year rental and is expected to depart via free agency in the offseason. One of last year’s other free agent signings, 32-year-old right fielder Matt Joyce, was signed to a two-year deal but has severely under-performed so far for the A’s. With one year left on his contract after this season, the team could try to foist him off on a contending club looking for a veteran left-handed bat, even if it means having to eat part of his deal. If the A’s do decide to go with a youth movement next year, there really won’t be much room on the roster for an under-achieving veteran outfielder with sub-par defensive skills. The A’s could replace Joyce in right field with 23-year-old slugger Matt Olson, who currently has 9 home runs, a .349 on-base percentage and a .508 slugging percentage for the Sounds while also leading the team with 19 walks. Olson has long been looked at as one of the top power-hitting prospects in the system and, though he’s mainly been playing first base for Nashville this season, he primarily played right field last year at Triple-A, has appeared at the position in half of his major league games, and has looked solid as a corner outfielder, where his strong arm can come in handy. Olson would immediately represent a defensive upgrade in the outfield and, potentially, an offensive one as well. When it comes to replacing Rajai in center, finding a successor in the A’s system could be tough since the A’s organization is sorely lacking in true center fielders, but there is one possible replacement who might be worth taking a chance on, and that’s Jaycob Brugman. Many in the A’s front office seem to feel that the 25-year-old is better-suited to serve as a part-time center fielder and really view him as more of a corner outfielder. And while he may not have the quickness and the range that one would ideally like to see in a true center fielder, it’s been a while since the A’s have had the luxury of having a true center fielder, and Brugman has shown a propensity for out-performing expectations at every level. He’s also experienced, having played more games in center field than at any other position in his minor league career. And while appearing in 154 games in center, Brugman has made just 2 errors at the position. Then there’s the fact that, while serving as the Sounds’ primary leadoff hitter, he’s boasting a .377/.441/.472 slash line this season since returning from the disabled list earlier this month. The former 17th-round draft pick has over-achieved at every minor league level, and he could do the same at the major league level as the A’s center fielder in 2018. It’s worth noting that Brugman and Olson are both left-handed hitters, but 28-year-old right-handed-hitting outfielders Mark Canha and Jake Smolinski both remain under team control for another few years and could be available to serve as platoon partners if needed.

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman

The A’s could be due for the biggest turnover in the infield next year. 30-year-old first baseman Yonder Alonso, 30-year-old third baseman Trevor Plouffe, and soon-to-be-34-year-old utility infielder Adam Rosales are all expected to depart via free agency after the season, if they’re not dealt before then, while 33-year-old second baseman Jed Lowrie’s contract has a club option for 2018, which essentially puts him in the same boat as the rest. The only starting infielder expected to return is 26-year-old shortstop Marcus Semien, who remains under team control through 2020. Fortunately, the A’s do have some talented young players to put around him in the infield, including top prospects Matt Chapman and Franklin Barreto as well as a number of other promising young players. The 24-year-old Chapman has been the A’s top third base prospect since the day the team made him its top draft pick in June of 2014. He hit 23 home runs in just 304 at-bats for Stockton in 2015, mashed 36 between Midland and Nashville last year, and has hit 8 in just 88 at-bats while boasting a .557 slugging percentage so far this season for the Sounds. And to top it off, Chapman is also considered a top defender at the hot corner with an elite throwing arm. Widely considered to be the A’s top hitting prospect, Barreto just turned 21 a few months ago, but he’s already been tearing it up at Triple-A this year, putting up an impressive .320/.369/.510 slash line for the Sounds so far this season. Though Barreto has spent most of his time at the shortstop position, he’s also seen some time at second base, and many in the A’s front office have openly talked about the likelihood of him having to make the move to the other side of the bag, where the A’s are likely to soon have an opening. 25-year-old infielder Ryon Healy debuted with a bang for Oakland last season, posting a .305/.337/.524 slash line for the A’s. He’s been hitting at a more average pace so far this season while primarily serving in the designated hitter role, but Healy still holds plenty of promise. And given the chance to move out of the DH spot and play every day in the field at first base for the A’s in 2018 could be just what he needs to get back on track and really show what he can do. And speaking of designated hitters, 23-year-old slugger Renato Nunez has spent most of his minor league career playing third base, but since Matt Chapman has returned to health at Nashville, Nunez has been spending most of his time alternating between left field and the designated hitter spot for the Sounds. Nunez’s power has always been real, and he currently leads his team in home runs and doubles with 10 of each while sporting a .536 slugging percentage, and he even managed to hit a ball clear out of First Tennessee Park in Thursday night’s game. With his power bat and his defensive deficiencies, Nunez seems perfectly-suited to serve in the designated hitter role. And in a limited sample so far this season, 25-year-old infielder Chad Pinder has looked like one of the A’s best hitters. He’s gotten starts at shortstop, at second base, in the outfield and as the designated hitter so far for the A’s, and he’s also spent time at third base in college and in the minors. Pinder’s versatility could make him well-suited for a super-utility role, spelling Barreto at second, Semien at short and Chapman at third, while also filling in in the outfield and as well as in the designated hitter spot. We all know how much the A’s value versatility, and Pinder’s positional flexibility could make him a valuable piece for a young A’s team in 2018.

 

PITCHERS

Kendall Graveman

Kendall Graveman

As mentioned earlier, the major turnover for the A’s next year is likely to be on the position-player front, and that’s primarily because Oakland’s pitching staff is already full of fairly young arms who will be under team control for years to come. The organization currently has a dozen starting pitchers at the major league or Triple-A level who will all still be in their 20’s next year and will remain under team control for multiple years, with Sonny Gray the first to be eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. These pitchers (with their current ages in parentheses) include: Sonny Gray (27), Kendall Graveman (26), Sean Manaea (25), Andrew Triggs (28), Jesse Hahn (27), Jharel Cotton (25), Chris Bassitt (28), Daniel Mengden (24), Raul Alcantara (24), Daniel Gossett (24), Paul Blackburn (23) and Zach Neal (28). That represents a fair number of fairly decent young arms who still have the potential to get much better and will remain under control for years to come. That’s not even mentioning all the talented young arms the A’s currently have below the Triple-A level, including 24-year-old RHP Corey Walter and 21-year-old RHP Grant Holmes at Midland, and 22-year-old LHP A.J. Puk and 22-year-old RHP Logan Shore at Stockton. That should give the A’s plenty of pitching options to choose from in 2018 and beyond. As for the bullpen, it looks like that’s where most of the veterans may be found for the 2018 A’s. 34-year-old RHP John Axford is the only reliever eligible for free agency in the offseason, which means that most members of the A’s bullpen could be returning, including RHPs Ryan Madson, Santiago Casilla, Liam Hendriks, Ryan Dull and Frankie Montas, along with LHPs Sean Doolittle and Daniel Coulombe, all of whom remain under team control for 2018. Of course, 25-year-old RHP Bobby Wahl and 29-year-old RHP Josh Smith, who are both currently auditioning for the A’s, could also be options, as could 26-year-old RHP Tucker Healy, who’s currently sporting a 1.29 ERA for Nashville.

 

As mentioned earlier, this isn’t necessarily a prescription, but just a look at what could happen if they A’s do decide to move forward with a full-on youth movement next season. Of course, if the team does decide to deal potential free agents like Alonso, Plouffe, Lowrie, Rosales, Rajai Davis and Axford, or possibly even veterans like Vogt and Joyce, before the season’s through, that could net a number of new prospects in return who could potentially fill even more holes on a talented young A’s team next year. But, whatever happens, it’s certain that there will be a lot of new faces on the 2018 A’s, and most likely, many of them will be much younger faces.

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

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

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

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  13

Fresno Grizzlies        3

WP – Mengden 1-1 / 3.38

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

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Franklin Barreto

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

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

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Saturday, May 13th: Olson’s 2 HRs Help Sounds Win while Hounds Fall despite Walter’s Solid Effort

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

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

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Albuquerque Isotopes  3

Nashville Sounds       7

WP – Jensen 1-0 / 3.31

HR – Nunez (9), Olson 2 (7)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

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

The Sounds used three home runs to win their second straight against Albuquerque on Saturday. First baseman Matt Olson hit a 2-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 1st to give his team an early lead, then slugged his second 2-run shot of the night in the 6th. Olson also singled but was left stranded in the 8th, and the 23-year-old is now 5 for 15 with 3 home runs over his last 4 games for the Sounds. Left fielder Renato Nunez belted a 2-run blast of his own in the 3rd. It was his team-leading 9th round-tripper of the season for Nashville. RHP Daniel Mengden allowed just one base runner through the first three innings of his second rehab start for the Sounds. But he then allowed a pair of runs before exiting with two outs in the 4th and ultimately ended up being charged with 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5 over 3 2/3 innings of work. RHP Chris Jensen picked up the win after allowing 1 run in 1 1/3 innings of relief, while RHP John Axford pitched a perfect 6th inning in his first rehab appearance for the Sounds. And working on the back end of what was basically a tandem start, RHP Raul Alcantara threw 3 scoreless frames to notch his 1st save for Nashville. Meanwhile, outfielder Jaff Decker cleared waivers and was sent back to the Sounds on Saturday.

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

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

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

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Albuquerque Isotopes  1

Nashville Sounds       3

WP – Gossett 1-2 / 4.15

HR – Barreto (5), Parmelee (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Gossett

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

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

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