Stockton starter Angel Duno surrendered 2 runs on 5 hits over 3 innings of work and left the game with the Ports down by a run on Friday. RHP Joey Wagman pitched a perfect 4th before Duno’s tandem-pitching partner, RHP Logan Shore, took over in the top of the 5th, and last year’s 2nd-round draft pick for the A’s was solid once again. Shore threw 3 scoreless frames before allowing a run in the 8th. Unfortunately, since Stockton had tied the game, that proved to be the winning run and, while Shore ended up suffering his 1st loss, he allowed just 1 run and struck out 5 in 4 innings of relief on Friday. And the 22-year-old has now notched 17 strikeouts in 16 innings for Stockton so far this season. Third baseman Mikey White had 2 singles and drove in Stockton’s first run in the 2nd, while designated hitter Branden Cogswell had a pair of hits and brought home the tying run in the bottom of the 5th for the Ports. In other news, A’s starter Sonny Gray is set to make a rehab start for Stockton on Saturday night and, as an added bonus, it’ll also be Asparagus Night at the ballpark for the Ports!
RHP Zach Neal turned in a strong start for Nashville on Tuesday, allowing 2 runs while walking none and striking out 5 over 5 2/3 frames to earn his 1st win and help the Sounds snap their five-game skid. Despite surrendering a home run in the 9th, RHP Bobby Wahl got the final three outs to pick up his 2nd save. After scoring a total of just five runs over the last five games, Nashville managed to push five runs across the plate in Tuesday’s win. And it was the first time that Sounds’ batters had put more than four runs on the board since the third game of the season back on April 8. Right fielder Mark Canha had 2 hits and drove in 2 runs, while third baseman Renato Nunez notched a pair of singles for Nashville. First baseman Matt Olson walked and singled in his team’s first run in the 2nd inning, and shortstop Franklin Barreto drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and also stole a base for the Sounds. Meanwhile, with A’s starter Kendall Graveman on the disabled list, Nashville RHP Cesar Valdez is scheduled to join Oakland and make the start for the A’s on Thursday. RockHounds RHP Corey Walter is expected to be added to the Sounds roster to replace Valdez, and second baseman Joey Wendle is set to begin a rehab assignment with the Sounds on Wednesday as he returns from a right shoulder injury.
Three pitchers combined to throw a 5-hit shutout for the Snappers on Saturday. Starter Brendan Butler, who threw 4 1/3 no-hit innings in his last appearance, allowed just 2 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 4 shutout frames on Saturday. LHP Will Gilbert then pitched a perfect 5th to pick up the win, while Butler’s tandem-pitching partner, LHP Ty Damron, tossed 4 scoreless innings in relief to earn the save for the Snappers. Third baseman Edwin Diaz had 3 hits, including a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd to put Beloit on the board, and ended up driving in a total of 3 runs on the day. Second baseman Nate Mondou singled, doubled and also drove in 3, while center fielder JaVon Shelby singled, scored twice and slugged a 3-run homer in the 6th, and first baseman Miguel Mercedes smacked a 2-run shot later in the same inning to wrap up the Snappers 12-run outburst on Saturday.
by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
The Beloit Snappers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals’ Midwest League affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, for a 3-game home series at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week.
The Chiefs had a couple of the Cardinals’ 1st-round picks playing in the series, including 18-year-old outfielder Dylan Carlson (#16 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline).
Peoria took Game #1 from Beloit by a score of 7-3 on Thursday, while the Snappers mounted a great comeback in Game #2 (in what shall now be known as “the Collin Theroux game”) to win by a score of 5-4 on Friday, and Game #3, which turned out to be a 12-0 shutout win, was completely dominated by the Snappers on Saturday.
Game #1: Peoria 7 – Beloit 3
*Snappers tandem starters Matt Milburn and Brandon Bailey were not at their most effective on Thursday. Between the two, they walked 5 and gave up all 7 Chiefs runs in 5 ⅓ innings of work.
*The Snappers were very aggressive at the plate against Chiefs starter Ronnie Williams (#25 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline), resulting in a lot of quick outs through the first 6 innings. In fact, Williams threw just 61 pitches through 6 innings of work.
*Half the Snappers 10 hits in the game came during their 3-run 7th inning.
*Snappers infielder Edwin Diaz led off the 7th inning with a booming home run to left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season and Beloit’s only extra-base hit of the game.
Game #2: Beloit 5 – Peoria 4
*Coming into Friday’s game, Beloit catcher Collin Theroux was 5 for 65 in his professional baseball career, including an 0-for-33 mark as a Snapper. Theroux proceeded to go 3 for 3 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs and also made a terrific sliding catch in foul territory.
*Theroux’s first home run of the game, and of his pro career, was hit over the Pohlman Field scoreboard in left-center field and the estimated distance was over 430 feet!
*Theroux’s second home run was a game-tying 2-run shot that came in the 7th inning.
*Snappers pitcher Brendan Butler noted that Theroux had a good spring in Arizona and was starting to make better and more consistent contact. Maybe this career game will be a turning point in his young career.
*Outfielder Luis Barrera showed off his blazing speed by legging out a triple to lead off the bottom of the 7th inning and later scored.
*Designated hitter Miguel Mercedes hit the go-ahead home run in the 8th inning just over the wall in left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season for the Snappers.
*Starting Pitcher Boomer Biegalski allowed a lot of hard contact in the 1st inning, but he bounced back and pitched much better over his next 3 innings of work. Biegalski’s final line: 4 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 3 K.
*Last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s, LHP Dalton Sawyer, pitched 4 very strong innings. Sawyer dominated the Chiefs with a mix of fastballs, sliders and changeups. Sawyer’s final line: 4 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 BB / 7 K.
Game #3: Beloit 12 – Peoria 0
*Beloit hitters recorded 16 hits and scored 12 runs in the game. Not to be outdone, Beloit pitchers combined to throw a 5-hit shutout with 0 walks and 12 strikeouts.
*Beloit pitchers Brendan Butler, Will Gilbert, and Ty Damron were very efficient, needing just 112 pitches to get through the game.
*Snappers pitcher Ty Damron is technically considered a starting pitcher. But with the 8-man tandem rotation that the Snappers (and other A’s affiliates) are using, Damron came in as reliever in this one and actually got credited with a save in a 12-run game.
*Beloit’s Pohlman Field offered ideal hitting conditions on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a temperature near 80 degrees and a 23 MPH wind blowing out to right-center field. And Snappers hitters took advantage, with all but one Snapper getting at least one hit.
*The Snappers’ 3 home runs came from outfielder JaVon Shelby, who hit his 1st of the season, and infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes, both of whom hit their 3rd.
*Diaz had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBIs.
*Shelby’s home run was impressive as it capped a 6-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off three straight good pitches from Chiefs pitcher Dailyn Martinez. Shelby was also wearing special cleats in honor of Jackie Robinson day across baseball. You can see what Shelby had to say about Jackie Robinson here...
*The start of Game #2 was delayed by an hour and thirty-one minutes because of inclement weather. Miguel Mercedes’ go-ahead home run actually came with the rain coming down pretty hard. And the game had an announced attendance of 94. Yep, you read that right.
*Game #3 of the series saw Snappers pitchers retire 16 Chiefs batters in a row.
*Snappers pitchers combined for 35 strikeouts in the 3-game series.
*Infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes are tied for the team lead in home runs with 3 apiece.
*Edwin Diaz looks like a player who is just starting to tap into his power potential. With his powerful right-handed swing and his sturdy 6’2”, 195-pound frame, this 21-year-old infielder is a player to keep an eye on.
*It is hard to properly describe the amazing game that Collin Theroux had on Friday. It is just another great example of how baseball is such an unpredictable game. Anyone can be the hero on any given night!
by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
Hi there! My name is Ryan Christoffersen and I will be contributing to Athletics Farm this season from Beloit, Wisconsin. Beloit is the home of the Oakland Athletics’ Low Single-A affiliate, the Beloit Snappers (#OhSnap).
Working as a Stats Stringer and Official Scorer at Pohlman Field in Beloit, I am going to be at almost every home game. That means I will be able to keep everyone updated on what is happening and what I am seeing from the prospects playing for the Snappers. This is actually my second year working in the Pohlman Field press box. Last season, I was the Pitch F/X Operator for the Snappers, so I am already familiar with about ten of the players on the current roster.
Don’t forget to read the main source of news for the Beloit Snappers at snappersbaseball.com, where new Media Relations Manager Garrett Mansfield is doing some great work. And speaking of snappersbaseball.com and Garrett, check out his article on the Snappers opening day roster. That article and my following thoughts should work together to give Oakland A’s fans a very good idea of what prospects are in Beloit to start this season and why they should be very excited!
Ten Snappers making a return trip to Beloit this season…
Leon “Boomer” Biegalski
RHP Boomer Biegalski: Real name is “Leon.” I prefer “Boomer.” It makes me think of Tom DeLonge’s character from the blink-182 music video First Date. Boomer Biegalski actually led the 2016 Beloit Snappers with 153 1/3 innings pitched. He finished with a respectable 3.70 ERA (3.96 FIP) and a 1.19 WHIP. He was even selected to play in the Midwest League All-Star Game. The problem with Biegalski last season was how poorly he pitched in the second half. Not only was his ERA about a full run higher after the all-star break (first half: 3.21 ERA, second half: 4.15 ERA), but his home runs allowed ballooned from 4 in the first half to 10 in the second half. It has got to be frustrating to return to Beloit after a full season there, but I would bet he is one of, if not the first, Snappers moved up this season.
SS/2B/3B Trace Loehr: Here is an interesting case. Loehr, like Biegalski, spent all of last season with the Snappers. A 6th-round pick out of high school in 2014, Loehr was the #26 prospect in the A’s organization according to MLB Pipeline going into the 2016 season. But it was a season full of speed bumps for this slick-fielding infielder. Loehr did not hit well in the first half, batting just .211/.241/.283. He had a short stay on the disabled list in late April/early May. And then, in late July, Loehr was arrested and was placed on the temporarily inactive list for almost two weeks. With limited information available on the incident, I have to assume Loehr was cleared of any wrongdoing. When he came back in August, he started to play really well, hitting .338/.372/.513 in 21 games with 4 stolen bases and numerous “web gems” in the field. If Loehr can continue to play closer to what he did last August, we could have a post-hype breakout player.
3B/SS Edwin Diaz: Spent all of last season with the Snappers. Has some potential with the bat, but a high strikeout rate (29.7%) is part of the reason he is back in Beloit.
LHP Andrew Tomasovich: Side-arm lefty reliever has some nasty swing-and-miss stuff (11.34 K/9 in 39 2/3 innings), but has trouble controlling it (1.64 WHIP, 5.67 ERA).
RHP Michael Murray: Made 12 starts for the Snappers last season. ERA was a little high at 4.28, but probably more representative of his season is the fact that he had a 3.66 FIP in 61 innings.
RHP Brendan Butler: Pitched well in 9 starts for Beloit in 2016 with 3.14 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings. Can he build off of successful 2016 season? If so, he could move up quickly.
OF Mike Martin: Pleasant surprise for Snappers in 2016 before getting hurt in July and missing the rest of the season. Hit .298 with a .372 OBP and 7 stolen bases in 34 games for the Snappers.
OF Luis Barrera: Young outfielder with exciting potential is going into his age-21 season. Hit .310/.361/.428 between Vermont and Beloit last season while playing all three outfield spots.
RHP Xavier Altamirano: Strong start to 2016 in Beloit, but struggled in May before being put on DL. Once healthy, he pitched in Vermont the rest of the year and had a 2.48 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 65 1/3 innings.
C Collin Theroux: 32nd-round pick in 2016 had a brief cameo in Beloit at the end of the season. In 21 at-bats, Theroux struck out 15 times and did not record a hit. Nowhere to go but up!
Top five new Snappers ranked in order of how excited I am to see them play this season…
OF/3B/2B JaVon Shelby: An article from last year here on Athletics Farm talks about the 2016 A’s draft class with Athletics Scouting Director Eric Kubota. In the article, Kubota talks about how Shelby is capable of playing the outfield as well as third base and second base. He is described as a versatile, “toolsy” player with a lot of potential. Kubota even says he is “a Josh Harrison (of the Pirates) type of player.” Harrison is a versatile, productive and overall exciting player to watch – he also hit .337 in 79 games in the Midwest League in 2009. If Shelby even slightly resembles Josh Harrison, the Snappers are getting a fun player to watch.
1B Miguel Mercedes: Listed at 6’4”, 255 lbs., this power-hitting first baseman should be knocking home runs out of homer-friendly Pohlman Field all summer long. HOT TAKE ALERT! – Mercedes will finish in the top three in home runs in the Midwest League.
LHP Will Gilbert: A college closer at North Carolina State, this guy looks to be the best bet as the Snappers best reliever to start the season. I have always heard one of the quickest paths to the majors are for left-handed relievers. From his good stats in Vermont to his high draft spot for a reliever (8th round), I could see Gilbert playing for the Oakland A’s in the big leagues in the not-too-distant future, provided he pitches up to his potential in Beloit.
OF Cole Gruber: I am always pumped to see a player with blazing speed. Whether it is base stealing, running the bases, or making plays in the outfield, speed kills. Gruber led the Arizona League with 28 stolen bases while being caught just twice last season.
I hope you enjoyed my opening thoughts on the opening day Snappers roster! Growing up here in the midwest as a huge baseball fan, it was inevitable that I would take interest in the Midwest League. I really started to follow the Midwest League starting in 2004. In my experience, I have found that the Midwest League is a place for players to have their breakout seasons. While 2016 was a tough year in the standings, I am very excited for the 2017 Beloit Snappers. While lacking in top prospects, this team is full of players with breakout potential. #OhSnap
You can find the complete Beloit Snappers opening day roster here.
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With one out, a man on and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, shortstop Franklin Barreto lined a triple to right-center field to bring home the winning run as the Sounds won in a walk-off in their final home game on Thursday. Including his big 9th-inning triple, Barreto had 3 hits in just his second game for the Sounds. Left fielder Colin Walsh singled, doubled, walked and drove in 2 runs, while catcher Bryan Anderson tripled in a pair, and first baseman Matt Olson singled and walked twice in the win. RHP Jharel Cotton turned in his second straight strong start, striking out 6 over 5 2/3 shutout innings, and he left with the game a scoreless tie on Thursday. But RHP Bobby Wahl walked 4 and was charged with 2 runs in just 2/3 of an inning in relief, while RHP Ryan Brasier gave up 2 runs over 1 1/3 innings of work, and RHP Eduard Santos picked up the win despite giving up the tying run in the top of the 9th for Nashville. The Sounds have already clinched the division title and are set to begin playoff play in Oklahoma City next Wednesday, September 7. On Thursday afternoon, A’s general manager David Forst told 95.7 The Game’s Damon Bruce that the A’s first September call-ups from Nashville will primarily be starting pitchers, and he mentioned RHPs Daniel Mengden, Jharel Cotton and Raul Alcantara as the most likely candidates. He also suggested that recent Sounds Joey Wendle and Chad Pinder are likely to split time at second base for the A’s the rest of the way this season.
Shortstop Yairo Munoz homered for the second straight day and reached base 4 times to help the RockHounds win their fourth straight on Wednesday. Munoz tagged a 2-run homer in the 1st inning to give the Hounds an early lead they would never relinquish. The 21-year-old also doubled and drew a pair of walks in the game. Left fielder J.P. Sportman homered, doubled and drove in 3 runs, while right fielder Tyler Marincov singled, homered, walked twice and drove in 2, and second baseman Max Schrock singled twice and drove in a pair in his Double-A debut. Starter Brandon Mann allowed 3 runs and struck out 10 over 6 innings of work to earn the win, while RHP Jake Sanchez tossed a scoreless 9th to notch his 8th save on Wednesday. Along with Schrock, RHP James Naile was also promoted to Midland from the Ports on Wednesday, while shortstop Franklin Barreto and RHP Chris Jensen were both reassigned from the RockHounds to the Sounds. Barreto, catcher Beau Taylor and third baseman Matt Chapman were all named to the Texas League Postseason All-Star Team on Wednesday. Chapman was also named the Texas League Player of the Year, and Midland manager Ryan Christenson was named the Texas League Manager of the Year. And after clinching a playoff berth for the third straight season on Tuesday, the Hounds are now set to begin postseason play on Wednesday, September 7 at Corpus Christi.
RHP Daniel Gossett looked strong in his first start for the Sounds on Tuesday. Oakland’s 2nd-round draft pick in 2014 allowed 2 runs over 7 innings of work to earn the win in his Triple-A debut. And combined with his last 3 outings for Double-A Midland, the 23-year-old has now allowed just 5 earned runs in 26 innings over his last 4 starts. Rehabbing LHP Sean Doolittle struck out 2 in 1 scoreless inning of relief, while RHP Aaron Kurcz got the final three outs to close out the Sounds’ fifth straight win on Tuesday. First baseman Matt Olson singled and slugged his 17th home run, while catcher Bryan Anderson and third baseman Matt Chapman both belted 2-run shots for the Sounds. In other news, RHP Jesse Hahn returned to Nashville on a rehab assignment and is expected to take the mound for Wednesday’s start. A’s Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane told Sounds play-by-play man Jeff Hem on Tuesday’s pre-game show that second baseman Joey Wendle would soon be joining the A’s pending the completion of other transactions, presumably the reported trade of Coco Crisp to Cleveland, and Wendle – who’s batting an even .500 over his last 8 games – was not in Nashville’s lineup on Tuesday.
It’s been about ten weeks since this year’s amateur draft and about two months since the first of the players picked by the A’s began playing with either the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s.
The A’s managed to sign all of their top 20 picks this year. The highest-drafted player Oakland’s front office wasn’t able to sign was 21-year-old right-hander Brigham Hill out of Texas A&M, whom the team took with its 21st pick in the 20th round. But the A’s were fortunate that they were able to ink all 20 of the players they picked before him and get those prospects into the system. And with about two months of play now in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.
The A’s focused on pitching with their top 20 picks this year, taking 12 pitchers in the top 20 and 7 in the top 10. The team’s top pick, LHP A.J. Puk, has been the standout among the pitching prospects so far this season. The 6-foot-7 21-year-old has looked dominant at times for Vermont, posting a 2.70 ERA while striking out 27 over 20 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.
The A’s second overall pick, RHP Daulton Jefferies, just started seeing some action in Arizona and, in 3 brief appearances, the 21-year-old has shown off his pinpoint control by allowing just 1 run while walking none and striking out 10 over 5 2/3 frames for the AZL A’s. Oakland’s third overall pick taken in the 2nd round was Puk’s teammate at Florida, RHP Logan Shore, who recently joined his friend and former college teammate at Vermont. And in his first 4 appearances, the 21-year-old has allowed 2 earned runs and struck out 8 over 9 innings of work.
The team’s top high school pick was RHP Skylar Szynski, who was taken in the 4th round. Though he’s currently sporting a 8.10 ERA, the 19-year-old’s numbers aren’t really that bad, having allowed 16 hits and just 4 walks while striking out 8 in 13 1/3 innings for the AZL A’s. Three other pitchers from the top 10 rounds who are currently at Vermont have all been perfoming well. 6th-round RHP Brandon Bailey, who’s primarily been used as a starter, has posted a 3.41 ERA over 29 innings since joining the system. LHPs Will Gilbert and Dalton Sawyer have both been working out of the bullpen, where 8th-rounder Gilbert has notched 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings while 9th-rounder Sawyer has struck out 20 over 15 2/3 frames for the Lake Monsters.
Meanwhile, 10th-round pick Mitchell Jordan has been solid while serving in a starting role in Arizona, putting up a 3.24 ERA while walking just 7 and striking out 30 in 33 1/3 innings of work for the AZL A’s. The fastest riser of this year’s draft class has been the A’s 14th-round pick, RHP Nolan Blackwood out of the University of Memphis, who is the only member of this year’s crop to make it all the way up to the Beloit Snappers of the Class-A Midwest League. After looking solid in 5 relief appearances for Vermont, the 21-year-old has struggled a bit since joining Beloit’s bullpen, allowing 9 runs in his first 8 appearances for the Snappers.
When it comes to position players, the team’s three top 10 selections – 3rd-round catcher Sean Murphy, 5th-round third baseman JaVon Shelby and 7th-round outfielder Tyler Ramirez – all did a brief stint in Arizona before joining Vermont. Murphy’s power has yet to show itself as he has just 2 extra-base hits over his first 70 at-bats, while Shelby’s shown himself to be a bit of a free swinger, striking out 39 times in 144 at-bats while putting up a .188 batting average. Ramirez has fared a little better, with a .248/.348/.376 slash line over his first 39 games since joining the system.
The two standouts among the team’s position player picks have been shortstop Eli White and second baseman Nate Mondou, who’ve formed a productive double-play combo for Vermont and who were both recently named New York-Penn League All-Stars. 11th-rounder White has 10 doubles to go along with a .303/.365/.406 slash line, while 13th-rounder Mondou’s impressive .401 on-base percentage is among the five best in the league.
You’ll find the A’s top 20 picks of the 2016 draft along with their current statistics through August 19 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…
Only one A’s affiliate wound up in the winning column on Friday, and first baseman Rangel Ravelo led the attack that helped the Sounds win for the eighth time in their last ten games to retain a ten-game division lead. Ravelo walked and scored in the 4th inning, singled in a pair of runs in the 7th and doubled in another run in the 9th, while designated hitter Colin Walsh and center fielder Jaycob Brugman both singled, doubled, drove in runs and scored twice. Third baseman Renato Nunez walked and doubled in a run, and right fielder Matt Olson walked twice and singled in a pair. Starter Ross Detwiler allowed 5 runs over 6 innings of work to notch the win for Nashville, while RHP Aaron Kurcz picked up the save despite giving up 2 runs in 3 innings of relief for the Sounds. And with RHP Jesse Hahn and second baseman Jed Lowrie landing on the disabled list for Oakland, RHP Andrew Triggs and outfielder Brett Eibner were both recalled by the A’s.