Tag: Edwin Diaz

Wednesday, July 12th: Hurlbutt Helps Hounds Snap Skid while Beloit’s Big Bats Lead to Win and Nunez Named MVP at AAA All-Star Game

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt (5 1/3 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Dustin Hurlbutt (5 1/3 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks     1

Midland RockHounds  7

WP – Hurlbutt 1-1 / 2.30

HR – Rosa (12)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt

(5 1/3 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

RHP Dustin Hurlbutt helped the RockHounds snap their three-game losing streak on Wednesday. The 24-year-old allowed just 2 hits over 5 1/3 scoreless frames to earn his 1st win for Midland, and Hurlbutt has now failed to allow a run over his last 11 1/3 innings of work for the Hounds. First baseman Viosergy Rosa homered, walked and scored twice, while third baseman Jordan Tarsovich had 3 hits, including a double. Left fielder Tyler Ramirez doubled in a pair of runs, and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis went 1 for 3 with a walk in his return to the RockHounds from the Sounds on Wednesday.

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

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

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

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

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

 

Game #1:  Kane County 5 – Beloit 1

Jesus Zambrano

Jesus Zambrano

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

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

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

 

Game #2:  Kane County 2 – Beloit 1

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

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

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

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

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

 

Game #3:  Kane County 10 – Beloit 9

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

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

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

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

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

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

 

Game #4:  Beloit 3 – Kane County 1

John Gorman

John Gorman

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

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

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

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

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

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

 

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Sunday, July 9th: Toffey Helps Vermont Win 6th Straight in a Walk-Off while Snappers Drop 6th Straight & Sounds Waste Jensen’s Solid Effort

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Third Baseman Will Toffey (2 for 3 / Double / 2 Walks / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Third Baseman Will Toffey (2 for 3 / Double / 2 Walks / 2 RBIs)

 

NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE  (Class-A Short-Season)

Hudson Valley Renegades  4

Vermont Lake Monsters    5

WP – Berube 1-0 / 5.40

Prospect Of The Game:

Third Baseman Will Toffey

(2 for 3 / Double / 2 Walks / 2 RBIs)

The Lake Monsters notched their sixth straight win, this one in a walk-off, on Sunday. This year’s 4th-round draft pick for the A’s, third baseman Will Toffey, had 2 hits, including a double, drew a pair of walks and drove in the tying and winning runs with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to give Vermont the victory. Second baseman Ryan Gridley doubled in a run and walked twice, while right fielder Anthony Churlin had a pair of hits, and catcher Jordan Devencenzi singled, walked and drove in a run for Vermont. 7th-round RHP Parker Dunshee made the start and tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings, while RHPs Bryce Conley and Wyatt Marks both allowed 2 runs in relief, and RHP Marc Berube picked up the win after tossing a scoreless top of the 9th for the Lake Monsters. Meanwhile, 2nd-round outfielder Greg Deichmann and 9th-round LHP Jared Poche, both out of LSU, were officially added to Vermont’s roster on Sunday.

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

Saturday, July 8th: Blanco Pitches VT to 5th Straight Victory while Montas Is Solid in Sounds’ Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Argenis Blanco (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 8 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Argenis Blanco (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 8 K)

 

NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE  (Class-A Short-Season)

Hudson Valley Renegades  0

Vermont Lake Monsters    7

WP – Blanco 1-2 / 3.54

HR – Churlin (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Argenis Blanco

(6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 8 K / Win)

The Lake Monsters won their fifth straight game with their third straight shutout on Saturday. 21-year-old Venezuelan RHP Argenis Blanco allowed just 3 hits and struck out 8 over 6 scoreless innings to earn the victory for Vermont. This year’s 23rd-round draft pick for the A’s, RHP Malik Jones, who was just promoted from the Arizona League, tossed 2 scoreless innings in his first appearance for the Lake Monsters, and 19th-round RHP Michael Danielak pitched a perfect 9th to complete the 4-hit shutout on Saturday. Right fielder Anthony Churlin hit a 3-run homer, while catcher Iolana Akau singled, doubled and drove in a run for Vermont in the victory.

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

Thursday, July 6th: Sounds Win behind Nunez’s Big Bat while Stockton Stages Comeback Win and Hounds Fall in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Third Baseman Renato Nunez (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Third Baseman Renato Nunez (3 for 5 / 2 HRs / 5 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds             11

Colorado Springs Sky Sox  7

WP – Finnegan 1-0 / 5.40

HR – Nunez 2 (24)

Prospect Of The Game:

Third Baseman Renato Nunez

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

Third baseman Renato Nunez did his part to help Nashville snap a four-game skid on Thursday. The 23-year-old Venezuelan collected 3 hits, including a pair of home runs to extend his league-leading total to 24, while also driving in 5 runs. Right fielder Mark Canha singled, doubled twice and scored twice, while first baseman Jermaine Curtis doubled, singled twice, walked and drove in a run, and shortstop Joey Wendle had 2 hits, including a run-scoring triple, for the Sounds. Starter Jesse Hahn allowed 4 runs over 3 2/3 innings of work, while RHP Kyle Finnegan tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win, and RHP Simon Castro got the final two outs in the 9th to notch his 4th save for Nashville.

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

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Wisconsin (6/30-7/3)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took the final game of their four-game set with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Brewers’ Midwest League affiliate, at Beloit’s Pohlman Field on Monday to split their series.

Wisconsin’s pitching staff has struggled this season, ranking near last in the Midwest League in almost every pitching category. The team also ranks last in the league in batting average (.220), slugging percentage (.346) and OPS (.642). So, it’s no surprise that the Timber Rattlers finished last in the Midwest League’s Western Division for the first half.

 

Game #1:  Wisconsin 7 – Beloit 4

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*LHP Zack Erwin struggled with his command in this one, walking 3 batters and giving up 3 runs in just 4 ⅔ innings.

*RHP Yordys Alejo was taken deep twice by Timber Rattlers’ second baseman Tucker Neuhaus, slugging a solo shot in the 6th inning, then belting a 3-run blast in the 7th.

*The Snappers scored 4 runs on 10 hits in the game, but missed many prime opportunities to score more runs, including stranding the bases loaded in both the 6th and 7th innings.

 

Game #2:  Wisconsin 4 – Beloit 2

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

*Switch-hitting shortstop Eric Marinez hit his third home run of the season in the bottom of the 1st inning for Beloit, but it turned out to be the Snappers’ only extra-base hit of the game.

*The Timber Rattlers scored more runs (4) than they had hits (3).

*Cuban RHP Miguel Romero made his first appearance for Beloit, throwing 32 pitches in just 2 innings of work, presumably because he was on a pitch count. The 23-year-old gave up 2 earned runs, both in his second inning of work.

*RHP Seth Martinez, the A’s 17th-round pick in 2016, was strong in long relief. One mistake in the 4th inning to Timber Rattlers first baseman Ronnie Gideon led to a two-run homer (clocked at 106 mph off the bat) that ended up being the difference in the game. Despite being tagged with the loss, that was the only hit Martinez allowed, and he was charged with just one run earned run while striking out 7 in 6 innings of stellar work.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 4 – Wisconsin 2

Kyle Twomey

Kyle Twomey

*LHP Kyle Twomey made his first home start at Pohlman Field in this one. Last year, he posted a solid season in the Midwest League for the South Bend Cubs. Despite compiling a 3.44 ERA in 73 ⅓ innings in 2016, Twomey was released by the Cubs this spring and was promptly signed by the A’s as a minor league free agent. Though he’s currently sporting an ugly 6.89 ERA for the Snappers this season, Twomey put up a solid line in this game: 5 IP/4 H/2 ER/2 BB/3 K.

*RHP Jesus Zambrano was impressive in relief. The 20-year-old struck out 5 batters over 4 scoreless frames. And 4 of his 5 strikeouts saw Wisconsin hitters flailing at his changeup, which was diving down into the dirt.

*Third baseman Trace Loehr went 3 for 4 at the plate, but his most impressive feat may have come in his first at-bat. With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Loehr worked an 11-pitch at-bat, eventually lining a single to right. This brought up the A’s 21st-round pick in 2016, first baseman Kyle Nowlin, who proceeded to crack a line-drive home run oppo boppo over the fence in right-center field to tie the game at two apiece. And it was all set up by Loehr’s outstanding at-bat to keep the inning alive.

*RBI doubles by outfielders Luis Barrera and Mike Martin brought home the other two runs for Beloit in the victory.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 2 – Wisconsin 1

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*Second baseman Trace Loehr turned in his second 3-hit game in as many days for the Snappers.

*RHP Matt Milburn struggled out of the gate, surrendering 4 hits to the first 5 batters he faced. But the Athletics 29th-round pick in 2016 managed to make it out of the 1st inning allowing just 1 run. Milburn went on to pitch 6 scoreless innings after that, inducing 9 ground ball outs, most of which were handled by the marvelous up-the-middle duo of shortstop Edwin Diaz and second baseman Trace Loehr. Milburn’s final line was a superb 7 IP/7 H/1 ER/1 BB/6 K.

*The biggest play of the game came in the top of the 4th inning. With Wisconsin left fielder Joantel Segovia on first base and two outs, Timber Rattlers third baseman Gilbert Lara smacked a double to center field. Segovia was determined to score on the play, but Snappers center fielder Luis Barrera and shortstop Edwin Diaz had other plans. Barrera got to the ball quickly and fired an accurate throw to the cutoff man, Diaz, who then rocketed a long relay throw home to nab Segovia at home plate. That kept it a 2-1 ballgame, and the Snappers would never surrender the lead.

 

Former Snappers Notes:

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*Congratulations to RHP Brandon Bailey and second baseman Nate Mondou, who were both promoted to the High-A Stockton Ports last week.

*Bailey, the A’s 6th-round pick in 2016, compiled a 2.68 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP while holding hitters to a .199 batting average over 57 innings of work. He also averaged an impressive 11.5 strikeouts per 9 innings for the Snappers. While listed at just 5’10” and 175 lbs., Bailey possesses excellent stuff and is an interesting arm to watch as he climbs the ladder.

*Mondou, the A’s 13th-round pick in 2016, was the most consistent batter for Beloit through the first half of the season. The left-handed contact hitter had a strong slash line of .296/.371/.385 with a 114 wRC+ for the Snappers. Mondou will always be very dependent on his ability to hit for average and take walks, as he has little to no power, and he’ll probably be limited to playing second base. But it wouldn’t be wise to bet against this very cerebral ballplayer.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

2B-3B Trace Loehr

(7 for 12 / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

 

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A’s Farm’s 2017 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third baseman Matt Chapman

Third baseman Matt Chapman

With the California League and the Midwest League All-Star breaks taking place this week and all the minor league affiliates right around the halfway points of their seasons, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field have been in the A’s system in the first half of 2017. And with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2017 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Nashville, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton and Class-A Beloit. Offensive players were selected from the primary starters 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 for each club were selected from among the top starters for each team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. Statistics listed are through games of Wednesday, June 21. And asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system, but players’ major league statistics have not been included.

Outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who was recently released from the Nashville roster after being designated for assignment, is not included here since he is no longer in the A’s system. But Matt Chapman and Jaycob Brugman, who were recently promoted to the big leagues, are included since they were primary starters for Nashville and are still in the organization. Bruce Maxwell doesn’t appear here since, due to stints on the disabled list and with the A’s this season, he’s only started 19 games at catcher for Nashville this year. LHP A.J. Puk was recently promoted to Midland but spent most of his season with Stockton, while LHP Dalton Sawyer was recently promoted to Stockton but spent most of his season with Beloit, and RHP Corey Walter is currently with Nashville but made most of his starts with Midland and, consequently, all three pitchers are listed with the teams that they’ve made most of their appearances with this year.

Check out our list of All-Star candidates at each position. Then click on the link just below the list of contenders to find A’s Farm’s winning 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 so far this season. So take a good look at the candidates for yourself and then cast your vote in our poll for the top A’s Organizational All-Star!

 

–THE CANDIDATES–

 

CATCHER

Nashville – Ryan Lavarnway (158 AB / 4 HR / .266 AVG / .368 OBP / .392 SLG / .760 OPS)

Midland – Andy Paz (120 AB / 0 HR / .258 AVG / .323 OBP / .275 SLG / .598 OPS)

Stockton – Sean Murphy (145 AB / 8 HR / .297 AVG / .344 OBP / .524 SLG / .868 OPS)

Beloit – Collin Theroux (135 AB / 10 HR / .200 AVG / .294 OBP / .467 SLG / .761 OPS)

 

FIRST BASE

Nashville – Matt Olson (214 AB / 17 HR / .271 AVG / .365 OBP / .561 SLG / .926 OPS)

Midland – Viosergy Rosa (260 AB / 10 HR / .250 AVG / .327 OBP / .431 SLG / .757 OPS)

Stockton – Chris Iriart (189 AB / 8 HR / .206 AVG / .274 OBP / .370 SLG / .644 OPS)

Beloit – Miguel Mercedes (239 AB / 11 HR / .243 AVG / .300 OBP / .448 SLG / .748 OPS)

 

SECOND BASE

Nashville – Joey Wendle (212 AB / 6 HR / .274 AVG / .313 OBP / .453 SLG / .765 OPS)

Midland – Max Schrock (184 AB / 5 HR / .304 AVG / .340 OBP / .435 SLG / .775 OPS)

Stockton – Branden Cogswell (185 AB / 0 HR / .254 AVG / .325 OBP / .314 SLG / .639 OPS)

Beloit – Nate Mondou (228 AB / 0 HR / .289 AVG / .371 OBP / .377 SLG / .748 OPS)

 

SHORTSTOP

Nashville – Franklin Barreto (276 AB / 8 HR / .279 AVG / .321 OBP / .431 SLG / .752 OPS)

Midland – Richie Martin (163 AB / 3 HR / .233 AVG / .324 OBP / .344 SLG / .668 OPS)

Stockton – Eli White (245 AB / 1 HR / .265 AVG / .354 OBP / .363 SLG / .717 OPS)

Beloit – Eric Marinez (189 AB / 1 HR / .270 AVG / .347 OBP / .349 SLG / .697 OPS)

 

THIRD BASE

Nashville – Matt Chapman (175 AB / 16 HR / .257 AVG / .348 OBP / .589 SLG / .937 OPS)

Midland – Yairo Munoz (182 AB / 6 HR / .308 AVG / .338 OBP / .522 SLG / .860 OPS)

Stockton – Mikey White (200 AB / 7 HR / .235 AVG / .323 OBP / .420 SLG / .743 OPS)

Beloit – Trace Loehr (206 AB / 0 HR / .243 AVG / .286 OBP / .277 SLG / .563 OPS)

 

LEFT FIELD

Nashville – Renato Nunez (242 AB / 18 HR / .252 AVG / .315 OBP / .541 SLG / .856 OPS)

Midland – B.J. Boyd (256 AB / 1 HR / .316 AVG / .366 OBP / .430 SLG / .795 OPS)

Stockton – Tyler Ramirez (246 AB / 5 HR / .297 AVG / .394 OBP / .411 SLG / .805 OPS)

Beloit – Luke Persico (220 AB / 3 HR / .264 AVG / .329 OBP / .382 SLG / .711 OPS)

 

CENTER FIELD

Nashville – Jaycob Brugman (132 AB / 1 HR / .288 AVG / .373 OBP / .364 SLG / .737 OPS)

Midland – Brett Vertigan (239 AB / 1 HR / .280 AVG / .371 OBP / .381 SLG / .752 OPS)

Stockton – Skye Bolt (190 AB / 6 HR / .242 AVG / .344 OBP / .432 SLG / .775 OPS)

Beloit – JaVon Shelby (218 AB / 5 HR / .216 AVG / .304 OBP / .326 SLG / .629 OPS)

 

RIGHT FIELD

Nashville – Mark Canha (104 AB / 6 HR / .212 AVG / .339 OBP / .423 SLG / .762 OPS)

Midland – Tyler Marincov (247 AB / 9 HR / .275 AVG / .353 OBP / .470 SLG / .823 OPS)

Stockton – Seth Brown (260 AB / 11 HR / .238 AVG / .307 OBP / .412 SLG / .718 OPS)

Beloit – Luis Barrera (211 AB / 2 HR / .289 AVG / .332 OBP / .417 SLG / .749 OPS)

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Nashville – Matt McBride (119 AB / 4 HR / .202 AVG / .263 OBP / .387 SLG / .650 OPS)

Midland – J.P. Sportman (264 AB / 6 HR / .284 AVG / .338 OBP / .417 SLG / .755 OPS)

Stockton – Brett Siddall (178 AB / 7 HR / .264 AVG / .328 OBP / .427 SLG / .755 OPS)

Beloit – Edwin Diaz (174 AB / 7 HR / .282 AVG / .371 OBP / .466 SLG / .837 OPS)

 

STARTING PITCHER

Nashville – Paul Blackburn (74 1/3 IP / 64 H / 25 ER / 25 BB / 54 K / 3.03 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

Midland – Corey Walter (78 2/3 IP / 78 H / 24 ER / 21 BB / 52 K / 2.75 ERA / 1.26 WHIP) *

Stockton – A.J. Puk (68 IP / 48 H / 28 ER / 25 BB / 105 K / 3.71 ERA / 1.07 WHIP) *

Beloit – Dalton Sawyer (67 2/3 IP / 41 H / 17 ER / 26 BB / 72 K / 2.26 ERA / 0.99 WHIP) *

 

CLOSER

Nashville – Simon Castro (28 IP / 19 H / 14 ER / 20 BB / 48 K / 4.50 ERA / 1.39 WHIP / 3 SV)

Midland – Kyle Finnegan (29 IP / 29 H / 10 ER / 7 BB / 27 K / 3.10 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 8 SV)

Stockton – Nolan Blackwood (28 2/3 IP / 24 H / 11 ER / 11 BB / 24 K / 3.45 ERA / 1.22 WHIP / 8 SV)

Beloit – Sam Sheehan (16 1/3 IP / 10 H / 5 ER / 9 BB / 21 K / 2.76 ERA / 1.16 WHIP / 3 SV)

 

Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2017 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

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

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collin Theroux

Collin Theroux

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

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

JD:  (Smiles) No doubt!

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

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

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

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

Nate Mondou

Nate Mondou

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

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

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

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

JaVon Shelby

JaVon Shelby

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

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

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

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

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

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

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

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

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 8 – Beloit 3

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

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

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

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

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

 

Game #2:  Quad Cities 13 – Beloit 5

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

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

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

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

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

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

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 4 – Beloit 0

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

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

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

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

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

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

 

Game #4:  Beloit 1 – Quad Cities 0

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

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

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

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

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

 

Former Snappers Notes:

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

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

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

 

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Sunday, June 11th: Meisner Pitches Ports to Victory while Chapman & Nunez Both Homer in Sounds Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Casey Meisner (6 2/3 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports RHP Casey Meisner (6 2/3 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  3

Modesto Nuts     2

WP – Meisner 4-5 / 4.68

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Casey Meisner

(6 2/3 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 6 K / Win)

RHP Casey Meisner turned in his best start of the season for Stockton on Sunday. The former 3rd-round draft pick for the Mets struck out 6 over 6 2/3 shutout innings to earn his 4th win, and the 22-year-old has now notched 21 strikeouts over his last 17 frames for Stockton. RHP Nolan Blackwood picked up his 7th save despite surrendering a pair of runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief for the Ports. First baseman Sandber Pimentel singled, doubled and drove in a run in his first appearance since returning from the disabled list, and left fielder James Harris walked and singled in a run for Stockton.

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