Catcher Max Stassi singled in 2 runs in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 6-5 win on Monday.
Tuesday, November 6th:
Second baseman Grant Green tripled and singled, while RHP Brett Hunter gave up 2 runs in 1 inning of relief and RHP Gary Daley allowed 3 runs on 2 hits and 4 walks in just 2/3 of an inning in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 13-6 loss on Tuesday.
Wednesday, November 7th:
RHP James Simmons struck out 2 in 1 scoreless inning of relief in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 8-0 loss on Wednesday.
Thursday, November 8th:
Second baseman Grant Green hit a 3-run homer and catcher Max Stassi went 1-for-4 in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 4-3 loss on Thursday.
Friday, November 9th:
No A’s prospects appeared in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 5-1 win on Friday.
Saturday, November 10th:
Second baseman Grant Green went 0-for 4 with 2 strikeouts, while RHP Gary Daley tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings and RHP Brett Hunter allowed 2 unearned runs and struck out 4 in 1 1/3 innings in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 11-5 loss on Saturday.
No A’s prospects appeared in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 5-1 win on Monday.
Tuesday, October 23rd:
Second baseman Grant Green had a pair of hits, catcher Max Stassi singled, and RHP Brett Hunter allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, over 2/3 of an inning in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 7-7 tie on Tuesday.
Wednesday, October 24th:
Catcher Max Stassi went 0-for-2 and RHP Gary Daley tossed 1 scoreless inning of relief in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 15-1 win on Wednesday.
Thursday, October 25th:
Second baseman Grant Green doubled and struck out twice and RHP James Simmons struck out 2 in 1 scoreless inning of relief in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 6-3 loss on Thursday.
Friday, October 26th:
RHP Brett Hunter tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief and catcher Max Stassi doubled in Phoenix’s only run of the game in the Desert Dogs’ 6-1 loss on Friday.
Saturday, October 27th:
Second baseman Grant Green singled, walked and scored a run, RHP James Simmons tossed 2/3 of an inning of scoreless relief, and RHP Gary Daley allowed 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 8-8 tie on Saturday. Simmons has yet to allow a hit in 6 1/3 innings of relief in the AFL this month.
RHP Shawn Haviland allowed 1 earned run over 4 innings, relievers Brett Hunter and James Simmons each tossed a scoreless inning, and second baseman Grant Green went 0-for-3 in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 4-2 loss in extra innings on Monday.
Tuesday, October 16th:
Infielder Yordy Cabrera homered and catcher Max Stassi had 2 hits in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 3-3 tie on Tuesday.
Wednesday, October 17th:
Second baseman Grant Green had a single, 2 walks and an RBI in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 7-3 loss on Wednesday.
Thursday, October 18th:
RHPs Gary Daley, James Simmons and Brett Hunter each tossed a scoreless inning, while catcher Max Stassi went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts and Grant Green went 1-for-5 with 3 strikeouts as the DH in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 2-2 tie on Thursday.
Friday, October 19th:
Infielder Yordy Cabrera had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in 3 runs in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 10-6 win on Friday. This was Cabrera’s last game with the A’s organization. He was dealt to the Marlins the next day in a 3-team trade that brought Diamondbacks’ outfielder Chris Young to the A’s.
Saturday, October 20th:
Catcher Max Stassi had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, while starter Shawn Haviland allowed 4 runs in just 1 2/3 innings and RHPs James Simmons and Gary Daley each tossed a scoreless inning with Daley picking up the win in the Phoenix Desert Dogs’ 12-11 victory on Saturday.
Fall isn’t just time for post-season play, it can also be an important time for some of the minor leagues’ top prospects. And as the A’s begin Game #3 of their American League playoff series against Detroit at the Coliseum on Tuesday, some of the team’s top prospects will begin play in the Arizona Fall League.
The league has been going strong for 20 years now, and its schedule runs for about 6 weeks from early-October through mid-November. There are 6 teams in the AFL, with each team comprised of prospects from 5 different organizations. A’s prospects play for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, where this year they’ll be joined by prospects from the Rays, Braves, Brewers and Marlins.
The attendance at AFL games typically tops out at around 200 or so, with the crowds comprised of a healthy dose of scouts, agents, and various professional baseball personnel. Most organizations use the AFL as an opportunity to get some of their top prospects a little more live game action to hopefully help advance their development.
This year, it looks like the A’s are definitely doing that with some of their top hitting prospects while giving their top pitching prospects a little time off. Many of you will certainly recognize the names of top minor league position players like Grant Green, Miles Head and Max Stassi, but don’t expect to be seeing the likes of top pitching prospects Brad Peacock, Sonny Gray or A.J. Cole in Arizona this time around…
It will be interesting to see where the A’s #1 draft pick from 2009 ends up playing for the Desert Dogs. At Sacramento in 2012, the former USC shortstop made starts in left field, center field, second base, third base and short. After slumping a bit at the plate for Midland in 2011, Green’s offensive numbers rebounded this season at Sacramento. And a strong performance in the AFL could bolster his chances of landing a utility role with the major league club next year.
Acquired along with Josh Reddick and Raul Alcantara from the Red Sox in the Andrew Bailey/Ryan Sweeney deal, Head turned out to be the best hitter in the A’s minor league system in 2012. The majority of his starts came at third base, though he did get a handful of starts at first base as well. The 21-year-old right-handed slugger will continue trying to make his mark with the bat in the AFL while also working on refining his skills in the field.
The former 4th-round draft pick had his most productive season in the system with Stockton in 2012, and his defensive skills behind the plate are considered solid. Once viewed as the A’s catcher of the near-future, injuries have slowed Stassi’s progress a bit, and the team is eager to see him get some extra at-bats in the AFL before giving him a chance to see what he can do at Double-A Midland next year.
118 IP / 130 H / 67 ER / 71 BB / 79 K / 5.11 ERA / 1.70 WHIP
At age 26, Daley has been bouncing around the minor leagues for 7 seasons now. He struggled in 2012 at Midland and has a career ERA of 5.91 in 605 minor league innings. Lack of control has been the main issue with Daley, as he has averaged 5.7 walks per 9 innings over his extensive minor league career.
120 IP / 124 H / 64 ER / 47 BB / 104 K / 4.80 ERA / 1.43 WHIP
The 33rd-round draft pick was never considered a top prospect but put himself on the map with a strong 2010 season at Stockton. He struggled mightily at Midland in 2011 though, posting an ERA of 7.08 in 27 starts. The right-hander settled down a bit in his second season at Double-A, but Haviland needs to make a strong impression in the AFL if he really wants to put himself back in the mix again.
63 1/3 IP / 53 H / 21 ER / 22 BB / 50 K / 2.98 ERA / 1.18 WHIP
The former 1st-round draft pick has struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness since being drafted in 2007, but he may have re-invented himself this season as a dependable reliever. In 2012 with Midland and Sacramento, the right-hander struck out 7.1 batters per 9 innings, and a strong season in the AFL could help to bolster Simmons’ chances of landing a spot in the A’s bullpen next season.
56 IP / 53 H / 28 ER / 31 BB / 60 K / 4.50 ERA / 1.50 WHIP
Hunter has yet to truly impress since being drafted in 2008. The only thing that really stands out about the right-hander is his career strikeout rate of 10.1 batters per 9 innings over 193 minor league innings Unfortunately, he also has a career walk rate of 6.7 per 9 innings and a 4.99 career ERA. But if Hunter can just learn to harness his stuff in the AFL, he could see his stock start to rise.
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With the 2012 minor league season now complete, it’s a good time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field really were in the A’s system in 2012. And with that in mind, we’re naming A’s Farm’s 2012 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team!
Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Sacramento, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton, Class-A Burlington, Class-A Short-Season Vermont and the Rookie League Short-Season AZL A’s in 2012. Offensive starters were selected from the players who had the most games played at each position for each team, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers were selected from hurlers who had at least 100 innings pitched for each club, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. The asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system, and players’ major league statistics were not included.
Below the list of contenders, you’ll find A’s Farm’s selection of Organizational All-Stars at each position. The winners were determined based purely on performance, not potential. Remember, we’re not selecting the top prospects here, we’re choosing the top performers on the field this season. So take a good look at the candidates for yourself and feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and selections!
A’s Farm’s 2012 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team – The Contenders
Sean Doolittle – hey, where’d you guys hide my bat? (photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Probably the most surprising addition to the A’s roster this season has been left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle. Why? Well, because last year at this time, he wasn’t even a pitcher! Doolittle was a 1st-round draft pick for the A’s back in 2007 out of the University of Virginia. Though he competed as both a first baseman and a pitcher in college, he was projected to be a power-hitting first baseman for the A’s. But after less than 1,000 at-bats in the A’s minor league system, a string of serious injuries ended up keeping him off the field for most of 2009, all of 2010, and the vast majority of 2011.
When it looked like Doolittle’s injuries would keep him from ever having the chance to be a productive hitter again, the decision was made to try his hand at pitching late last year. After getting his feet wet at Stockton, Midland and Sacramento earlier this year – and meeting with impressive results every step of the way – the 25-year-old was called up by the A’s in early-June. And he’s quickly proven himself to be a reliable lefty in the A’s bullpen, posting a 2.08 ERA and striking out 26 batters in his first 13 games with the A’s. When we visited Oakland shortly before the All-Star break, we had the chance to talk with Doolittle about his amazing success on the mound, and what’s behind it all…
AF: A year ago, you probably would have had a hard time imagining that you’d be standing on the pitcher’s mound here at the Oakland Coliseum a year later. Where was your head at this time last year?
SD: It was pretty immensely out of it to be honest with you. I was wondering if I was ever going to play again period. I was in the middle of missing my third season. I really had no idea what direction my career was headed. I was just trying to stay busy and kind of throwing myself into rehab trying to get healthy. But it was pretty much one of the last things I was thinking of to be honest.
AF: When was the decision finally made for you to start pitching?
SD: It was like the last week of August. I think I threw the last game of the rookie ball season down there (in Arizona). I’d just had some bad news from the doctor, and it looked like I was going to need extensive time off or another surgery on my wrist. So I kind of asked, and it took a week for them to bounce it off the powers that be and have them go through the chain of command. And they had a scout come in and watch me throw and, by the last week of August, I was a pitcher.
AF: So you were the first one to bring up the idea then.
AF: Well, that was a good idea! Having pitched in college, I guess it wasn’t something that was completely new to you anyway.
SD: Yeah, that’s why they were open to me making the switch. I had the background. It wasn’t totally foreign. It was something I had done. And it came back pretty quick.
AF: Well, you started out in A-ball at Stockton this year. When did you think – hey I think this thing might work out?
SD: It was probably last year in the Instructional League. The first time out, I hit 97 mph several times and the location was there. I was commanding the fastball. I was throwing strikes with that kind of velocity. And in the Instructional League very early on, I was like – I really think there’s something here. I could maybe do something with this. But I never thought it would happen this fast.
AF: So what has the key been to your quick success pitching?
SD: I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that out to be totally honest with you.
AF: So if we figure it out, we should let you know.
SD: Yeah, absolutely. You might have to ask somebody else. I’m still not sure what I’m doing.
AF: Well, what are you mainly throwing now?
SD: Fastball, slider, changeup – a lot of fastball/slider combos to lefties. But the fastball’s been the key for me – the velocity and the way that I’ve been able to command it has really helped me have success. It’s kind of been my go-to pitch.
AF: So is there anything in particular you’re working on right now?
SD: Just trying to develop my off-speed stuff as much as we can. It’s still a work in progress. It’s to the point that I feel like I can compete with it for sure, but it’s not to where I want it to be and where I think it could be. But pitchers talk about how it takes them years to refine their breaking stuff and get the feel for their changeup. So we’re working on it everyday as much as we can, without throwing too much – there’s a fine line there.
AF: Coming up here to Oakland, is there anything that’s been particularly different with the big league game for you?
SD: There’s just less room for error. The strike zone is smaller, and the hitters battle a lot more. And if you catch the outer third of the plate, you’re going to be in trouble. In the lower levels, maybe they foul it off. If you make a mistake, more times than not, you’re going to pay for it. So that’s what I’m finding out.
AF: So basically, just don’t make mistakes!
Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page onFacebookand follow us onTwitter@AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!
With the California League and the Midwest League both in the midst of their All-Star breaks and minor league teams right around the halfway points of their seasons, it seems like the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts in the A’s system have been in the first half of 2012. And with that in mind, we’ve decided to name A’s Farm’s Organizational All-Star Team!
Below you’ll find the starting players at each position for Triple-A Sacramento, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton, and Class-A Burlington. Offensive starters were determined based on games played at each position, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers for each club were determined based purely on performance while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. The asterisks denote the four players with combined statistics from two teams, Stockton and Burlington. And players currently on the major league roster were not included.
Below the list of contenders, you’ll find A’s Farm’s selection of Organizational All-Stars at each position. The winners were determined purely on performance, not potential. Remember, we’re not selecting the top prospects here, we’re choosing the top performers on the field so far this season. Take a good look at the candidates for yourself and feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and selections. Is it true that numbers don’t lie? You tell me!
A’s Farm’s Organizational All-Star Team – The Contenders
As every A’s fan who doesn’t spend the winter hibernating already knows, the A’s acquired a major haul of young prospects in this off-season’s deals that sent away popular players Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney. In return, the A’s restocked their organization with six young pitchers and four young hitters, not a one over the age of 25.
But who are these talented youngsters that the A’s are pinning their future hopes and dreams on, and where will they end up in the coming year? Well, wonder no more! Without any further ado, let’s meet this year’s freshly-minted Athletics…
Crafty lefty Tom Milone (photo by Ed Wolfstein/Icon SMI)
The oldest and most experienced of the A’s young pitching acquisitions, Milone had a 3.22 ERA in 24 starts at Triple-A Syracuse and a 3.81 ERA in 5 major league starts for the Nationals in 2011. A master of control, the California native walked a paltry 16 batters in his 148 1/3 Triple-A innings last year. At this point, he’s probably the most ready to step into the A’s major league rotation. The talented Mr. Milone is certainly not going to blow anyone away with his stuff, but he’s a smart lefty who knows how to pitch. And how many guys have had a very long career with that kind of profile? Paging Mr. Jamie Moyer, please pick up the crafty lefty courtesy phone!
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Strikeout machine Brad Peacock (photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Of all the young hurlers the A’s acquired who pitched above Single-A last year, Peacock had the lowest ERA and the best strikeout rate of them all, turning in a stellar 2.39 ERA and striking out 177 in 146 2/3 innings between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg last year. He earned a late-season call-up with the Nationals and gave up only 1 run in 12 innings of major league action. The lowest draft pick of the bunch, the Florida native seems to be another smart pitcher who’s figured out how to put it all together. And it’d be surprising if he didn’t get a chance to be pitching in the majors before the season’s through.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Sacramento Rivercats
Future star Jarrod Parker (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Probably the most talented of all the A’s young pitching acquisitions, Parker was a first-round draft pick in 2007 who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and ended up missing all of the 2010 season. He returned to Double-A Mobile in 2011 and turned in a 3.79 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 112 in 130 2/3 innings. After earning a late-season call-up with the Diamondbacks, he gave up no runs in his only major league start. Parker should eventually end up as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for the A’s, but he could probably benefit from a little more seasoning. And if the A’s are going to treat any of their new young pitching prospects with kid gloves, it’ll probably be Parker.
Along with Parker, Cole is considered one of the best raw pitching talents in the A’s off-season prospect haul. At 6’4”, the young right-hander appears to be all arms and legs. But his right arm seems to have the ability to mesmerize mortal men, striking out batters at a rate of 10.9 per 9 innings over his short minor league career. Like most 20-year-old pitching prospects, he needs to work on developing his secondary pitches. But the lanky right-hander has tremendous potential and, at his young age, plenty of time to achieve it.
The youngest of all the A’s new pitching prospects, the team was reportedly willing to include Ryan Sweeney in the Andrew Bailey deal in order to get their mitts on this talented youngster, who checks in at just 19 (let’s hope his Dominican birth certificate checks out!). Alcantara’s shown impeccable control for his age, walking just 20 batters in 125 2/3 minor league innings. Like Cole, he needs to work on his secondary pitches. But he’s another hurler with tremendous upside and plenty of time to get where he needs to go.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Burlington Bees
Man in the middle Ryan Cook (photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The only reliever the A’s grabbed in their off-season prospect haul, Cook turned in a nifty 2.21 ERA while striking out 62 batters in 61 innings between Triple-A Reno and Double-A Mobile last season. The Fresno-area native struggled a bit in his brief audition in the Diamondbacks bullpen last year, giving up 6 runs in his 12 appearances. But Cook did manage to strike out 7 major league batters over 7 2/3 innings. He throws hard and could ultimately prove to be an effective set up man behind future A’s closer Fautino De Los Santos.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Hustler Josh Reddick (photo by Kelly O'Connor/SittingStill.net)
The key piece of the Bailey deal with Boston, Reddick compiled a .280 batting average while playing in 87 games for the Red Sox last year, primarily as a right fielder. Reddick has shown good power in the minors, clubbing 14 homers in just 191 at bats at Triple-A Pawtucket last season. And he did manage to hit 18 doubles in a part-time role with the Sox last year, so he could be counted on to chalk up a few more two-baggers in the slightly more spacious Coliseum. He does tend to strike out a lot more than he walks though. The Georgia native has been characterized as a gritty, go-go, Eric Byrnes type of player, as well as a colorful character – and he does seem to be slightly fond of crazy hair! Reddick will be given the first shot at spending the 2012 season as the A’s primary right fielder, so he should get a chance to win over the A’s faithful and show the A’s brass just what he’s capable of.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Over-achiever Collin Cowgill (photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A speedy right-handed hitting outfielder who throws with his left hand? Could it be the second coming of Rickey? Probably not. But Cowgill could end up finding a spot in the A’s outfield this season, even if it’s just as the A’s fifth outfielder. The team has had their eye on Cowgill for quite a while, attempting to draft him and trying to trade for him once before. He hits for average, steals bases and has shown surprising pop for his 5’9” / 185 lb. stature. Cowgill hit .354, stole 30 bases and hit 13 home runs for Triple-A Reno last season. And the good news is his numbers have improved each of the last few years as he has moved up the ladder from South Bend to Visalia to Mobile to Reno, his OPS rising from .705 to .819 to .825 to .984 last year at Triple-A. He got 100 at bats in the Diamondbacks outfield last season, turning in a .239 batting average in his time with Arizona. Cowgill should get a chance to come to the plate more often for the A’s in 2012, most likely serving as the fifth outfielder and getting some starts in right field behind Josh Reddick.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Oakland A’s
Walk machine Derek Norris (photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Norris certainly fits the A’s mold in that he’s a power hitter who has a propensity for drawing walks. He has a career minor league OBP of .403, which no doubt got the A’s attention. But while he clubbed 20 home runs at Double-A Harrisburg last season, he managed to hit only .210. The previous year in the Single-A Carolina League, he hit just .235. In each of the last two seasons though, Norris managed to chalk up more walks than hits, so he’s found his way on base one way or another. Expect him to try to improve on his batting average at Double-A Midland this year. If Norris can just keep his power numbers up and manage to get on base enough, he could serve to bridge the gap between current A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki and the A’s even younger catching prospect, Max Stassi.
Likely To Start 2012 With: Midland Rockhounds
Young slugger Miles Head (photo by John Sullivan/Daily News)
Head is a talented, but still very young, hitter whom the A’s decided to target in the Bailey trade with Boston. Last year while playing in Single-A, he opened eyes by hitting .299 with 37 doubles and 22 HRs to go along with an .887 OPS. Originally drafted as a third baseman, he’s spent most of his time in the Red Sox system playing first base, but the A’s are planning to return him to third. Some are skeptical about the 6-foot / 215-pounder’s ability to stick at third, but it can’t hurt to give it the ol’ college try! Just 20, Head’s still a few years away from making an impact at the major league level, but if he continues to hit, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to move up through the A’s system pretty quickly regardless of his ultimate position.
Travis Schlichting shows off his Hall of Fame mullet (photo courtesy of Big League Stew)
The A’s have signed three minor league free agent pitchers, former Giants right-hander Merkin Valdez, former Dodgers right-hander Travis Schlichting, and former Phillies left-hander Fabio Castro, who measures in at an impressive 5’7”.
The diminutive Dominican Republican has a career ERA of 3.30 in 43 2/3 major league innings. Schlichting, best known for his Hall of Fame mullet, has a career ERA of 3.55 in 25 1/3 major league innings. And Merkin Valdez, best known for his unusual name, has a career ERA of 5.57 in 72 2/3 major league innings.
All three are expected to spend most of the 2012 season hanging out in the Sacramento bullpen, keeping one eye on the Rivercats’ starting pitchers and another eye on the latest additions to the A’s disabled list. The trio will likely be joined there by three other A’s minor league free agent signees, left-hander Erick Threets and right-handers Jim Miller and Edgar Gonzalez – all of whom are over 5’7” and none of whom are named “Merkin.”
Chico Escuela: The original diminutive Dominican Republican
The A’s have traded starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez and minor league pitcher Robert Gilliam to Washington for four of the Nationals’ top prospects. With the deal, the A’s will add three talented pitchers along with a power-hitting catcher to their system.
Left-hander Tom Milone had an ERA of 3.32 and struck out 155 in 148 1/3 innings last year at Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Brad Peacock had an ERA of 2.39 and struck out 177 in 146 2/3 innings while splitting the season between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg. 19-year-old hurler A.J. Cole had an ERA of 4.04 and struck out 108 in 89 innings last year at Single-A Hagerstown. And catcher Derek Norris hit 20 homers in his first season at Double-A Harrisburg.
Milone and Peacock will compete for spots in the A’s starting rotation this season.
Check out all the important coverage of the trade: