Tag: JaVon Shelby

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 3-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (6/16-18)

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

If this matchup sounds familiar, that’s because these two teams just met for a 4-game series the previous weekend. It was definitely an odd scheduling quirk. But this series saw the Snappers looking to play spoiler to the River Bandits’ playoff hopes in what were the final three games of the Midwest League’s first-half divisional race for both teams.

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*RHP Mitchell Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, was not fooling any of the River Bandits batters in this game. The 22-year-old gave up 5 runs on 8 hits while walking 3, and he didn’t strike out a batter in 4 innings of work. Jordan also gave up 3 home runs, two of which traveled over 430 feet.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued his stellar season out of the Beloit bullpen with what was probably his best performance of the season, if not the best of his pro career. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 8 over 4 scoreless innings for the Snappers.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou has served as a model of consistency in the Snappers lineup this season, so it’s odd to see him in the midst of slump. And it didn’t help when Bandits right fielder Ronnie Dawson went all out to make a diving catch to rob Mondou of what would have been an RBI double. So the A’s 13th-round pick in 2016 decided to take a different approach in his second at-bat. Mondou hit a seeing-eye ground-ball single to Dawson in right. And with that, he snapped his 0-for-17 skid.

*Last year’s 1st-round pick for the Astros, RHP Forrest Whitley, dominated the Snappers for the second time in less than a week, striking out 8 while throwing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief for Quad Cities.

*With the end of the first half of the season drawing near, it seemed as though Beloit’s batters were running on empty. They combined to strike out 16 times in this 9-inning game.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 4 – Quad Cities 3 (10 innings)

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*23-year-old LHP Zack Erwin was effective at keeping the ball low in the zone, getting 8 ground-ball outs for the Snappers. His final line for the night was an impressive 6 IP/5 H/1 ER/0 BB/4 K.

*Slap-hitting third baseman Trace Loehr lined a key 2-run double in the bottom of the 6th inning to give Beloit the lead, but it was just his 5th extra-base hit this season (3 doubles and 2 triples).

*The A’s 5th-round pick last year, outfielder JaVon Shelby, possesses an above-average throwing arm in the outfield, and the converted third baseman showed both the good and the bad that can result from that in this game. Shelby threw out a runner at home plate from his position in center field at one point. But after a lineout to center, he tried to double-up the runner at first base. Unfortunately, the throw went high and wide of first baseman Miguel Mercedes, ricocheting off the dugout fence and allowing the runner to advance to second.

*As the game entered extra innings, Beloit’s fans were eagerly awaiting a home-team hero to end the game so that they could enjoy the scheduled post-game fireworks. That hero was shortstop Eric Marinez. In the bottom of the 10th, he lined an RBI single to left field to score first baseman Kyle Nowlin from second base as the Snappers celebrated a walk-off win in extra innings.

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*RHP Brandon Bailey, the 6th-round pick of the A’s in 2016, hurled another solid game (5 IP/3 H/2 ER/3 BB/5 K). There had been some question as to whether or not he could hold up as a starter, but he’s so far put those questions to rest with a terrific first half for Beloit. And Bailey is now sporting a 2.72 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 53 innings for the Snappers.

*It was a sloppy game defensively for the Snappers as the team committed 3 infield errors – one apiece by first baseman Miguel Mercedes, second baseman Nate Mondou and shortstop Trace Loehr.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou smashed a line-drive, 2-run single that deflected off the glove of diving River Bandits first baseman Taylor Jones. And it was more than welcome for Mondou, who’s hit for a .137 batting average this month.

 

Series Notes:

JaVon Shelby

JaVon Shelby

*Outfielder JaVon Shelby went 1 for 13 with 8 strikeouts in the series. Shelby finished the first half with a total of 98 strikeouts, the second-most by a player in the Midwest League, and he’s now struck out in a full 45% of his at-bats for the Snappers.

*With RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer promoted to Stockton, RHP Michael Murray and LHP Ty Damron on the shelf with injuries, and RHP Dakota Chalmers working on his mechanics in extended spring training, it has recently left the Snappers searching for pitchers who can give them effective innings. While it’s difficult for a pitching staff to withstand that many losses, it will certainly give some other young pitchers in the organization a chance to show just what they’ve got.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Xavier Altamirano

(4 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Kane County (5/15-17)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers split a four-game series this week with the Kane County Cougars, Arizona’s Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The teams were originally scheduled to play five games in three days in order to make up for two games that were rained out earlier in the year at Kane County. Unfortunately, rain was in the forecast yet again, forcing the teams to cancel one of the five games.

Kane County came into the series at the top of the Midwest League Western Division standings. The Cougars boast a well-balanced team with an especially strong bullpen. The Cougars also feature one of the premier hitters in the Midwest League, 20-year-old outfielder Marcus Wilson. And by the end of the series, Wilson was sporting an impressive .347/.446/.642 slash line to go along with 6 home runs on the season.

 

Game #1:  Kane County 8 – Beloit 5

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*The A’s 10th-round draft pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, struggled mightily to start the game. Jordan allowed a number of hard-hit balls, and a 7-run 1st inning put Beloit in a big hole early on.

*After giving up a total of 8 earned runs in the loss, Jordan’s ERA jumped from 1.08 to 4.58. His final line for the day read: 3 IP/10 H/8 ER/3 BB/4 K.

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes reached base in all three of his plate appearances and had the Snappers’ only extra-base hit of the game, a double to deep center field in the 4th inning.

 

Game #2:  Kane County 11 – Beloit 3

Nate Mondou Photo: Dave Baker

Nate Mondou
(Photo: Dave Baker)

*This game actually started on Monday night but was stopped after just seven minutes due to a heavy rainstorm and was resumed with just one out in the 1st inning on Tuesday.

*Last year’s 13th-round draft pick for the A’s, infielder Nate Mondou, hustled out of the box to stretch what would have been a single for most batters into an important two-out double in the bottom of the 1st inning. And Mondou’s hustle would open the door for three two-out runs to score for Beloit before the inning was through.

*Outfielder JaVon Shelby, the A’s 6th-round pick in 2016, reached base in all three of his plate appearances and drove in two of the Snappers’ three runs in the loss.

*It was a game to forget for the Snappers’ pitching staff. RHPs Jesus Zambrano, Seth Martinez (making his Beloit debut), Sam Sheehan and Yordys Alejo combined to give up 11 runs, 10 earned, on 11 hits and 7 walks.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 8 – Kane County 2

Brendan Butler Photo: Dave Baker

Brendan Butler
(Photo: Dave Baker)

*RHP Brendan Butler was asked to get the Snappers pitching back on track in Tuesday’s second game and, sure enough, he was up to the task. Butler’s breaking stuff was really working. He struck out 7 while allowing no earned runs in 4 ⅔ innings, and his ERA now sits at 1.60.

*Butler’s breakout is real. Not only does he pass the eye test, but his peripheral numbers also show how dominant he has been this season. Some notable stats include a 0.84 WHIP and a 10.5 K/9 rate, while hitters are batting just .176 against him. Butler already looks like a major draft-day steal for the A’s scouting department after being taken in the 30th round of the 2015 draft.

*RHP Heath Bowers tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win for the Snappers, and he now owns a sterling 1.74 ERA. Bowers has been manager Scott Steinmann’s go-to guy when he’s needed a long reliever this season.

*It was just another ho-hum, 3-for-4 day for infielder Nate Mondou. He barely missed a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd inning as the ball hit off the wall in deep right-center field, and he had to settle for an RBI double that gave Beloit the lead.

*The Snappers scored three runs on bases-loaded walks and one run on a hit-by-pitch as part of their six-run 3rd inning.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 7 – Kane County 6

Luke Persico Photo: Dave Baker

Luke Persico
(Photo: Dave Baker)

*RHP Dakota Chalmers is still struggling to maintain consistent control of his pitches. Blessed with a fastball that sits around 95 mph and a wicked curveball, the A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline has the stuff to eventually become a front-line starter. In this one, the 20-year-old threw a season-high 75 pitches (his previous high was 57) and finished the game with a stat line of 4 IP/1 H/0 ER/4 BB/5 K.

*Oakland’s 21st-round draft pick from last year, designated Hitter Kyle Nowlin, hit a big 3-run homer to straightaway center field to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning.

*Outfielder Luke Persico raised his batting average over .300 with a 3-for-4 day at the plate while also drawing a walk. The A’s 12th-round pick in 2016 has really settled into the third spot in the batting order for the Snappers, which is somewhat remarkable considering that he started the season at extended spring training in Arizona. But Persico’s shown he can handle Midwest League pitching and could possibly be looking at a promotion to Stockton in the second half if he can keep up the pace.

 

Brendan Butler

Brendan Butler

 

A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Brendan Butler

(4 ⅔ IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K)

 

 

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Tuesday, May 16th: Brugman’s 4 Hits Help Sounds Win while Ports Snap 8-Game Skid with a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (4 for 6 / Home Run / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (4 for 6 / Home Run / 4 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  11

Fresno Grizzlies       6

WP – Cotton 1-0 / 5.40

HR – Olson (9), Chapman (6), Brugman (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman

(4 for 6 / Home Run / 4 RBIs)

Since returning from the disabled list on May 2, outfielder Jaycob Brugman has put up an impressive .395/.469/.512 slash line for the Sounds, and he continued his hot hitting on Tuesday. Brugman collected a total of 4 hits, including his 1st home run of the season, while driving in 4 runs to help Nashville win its second straight at Fresno. Third baseman Matt Chapman singled, walked and hit his 6th home run, a 2-out solo shot in the 2nd to put the Sounds on the board, while first baseman Matt Olson notched his 9th home run, a 3-run shot, to tie him with Renato Nunez for the team lead. RHP Jharel Cotton picked up the win in his first start since being sent back to the Sounds. Cotton allowed 4 runs, 3 earned, on 6 hits while walking none and striking out 4 over 5 frames, and all the runs that scored off him on Tuesday came courtesy of two home runs. Meanwhile, RHP John Axford struck out 3 while throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his second rehab appearance for the Sounds.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

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

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

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

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Albuquerque Isotopes  1

Nashville Sounds       3

WP – Gossett 1-2 / 4.15

HR – Barreto (5), Parmelee (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Gossett

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

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

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Bowling Green (5/5-7)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers ended a 6-game home stand this week with a 3-game series against Tampa Bay’s Midwest League affiliate, the Bowling Green Hot Rods, at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The Hot Rods feature five young position-player prospects all ranked in the top 15 in the Rays’ farm system according to MLB Pipeline. They are 20-year-old outfielder Garrett Whitley, 19-year-old outfielders Joshua Lowe and Jesus Sanchez, 19-year-old infielder Lucius Fox and 18-year-old infielder Adrian Rondon.

While we all know that the A’s may prefer to draft more experienced college players, based on the young talent on this team, it seems that the Rays may have their sights more set on high school players.

 

Game #1:  Bowling Green 7 – Beloit 6

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*The Snappers’ stagnant offense finally came out of its shell in the 9th inning. After scoring just 1 run over the first 8 frames, Beloit put 5 runs on the board in the bottom of the 9th. Unfortunately, the Snappers’ rally fell short, with outfielder JaVon Shelby called out on strikes with the tying run on second and the winning run on first.

*The A’s 2016 12th-round draft pick, outfielder Luke Persico, went 4 for 5 with 4 singles and an RBI in the game.

*Last year’s 13th-round pick for the A’s, second baseman Nate Mondou, had his 10-game hitting streak and his 20-game on-base streak snapped with an 0-for-5 day.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 3 – Bowling Green 2 (12 innings)

Michael Murray

Michael Murray

*Starter Michael Murray pitched 5 strong innings for Beloit. He made just one real mistake all day, a solo home run to Hot Rods outfielder Jesus Sanchez.

*Murray had a big breaking curveball working in this one, and it helped him to strike out a season-high 7 batters while walking none. 47 of his 61 pitches went for strikes.

*Following in Murray’s footsteps, LHP Ty Damron and RHP Heath Bowers each had strong outings in relief, and they both did a marvelous job painting the corners of the strike zone.

*Beloit’s home run leader, first baseman Miguel Mercedes, came up with a clutch two-out single to tie the game in the 8th inning.

*Kyle Nowlin, pinch hitting for left-handed-hitting outfielder Cole Gruber against a left-handed pitcher, drew a bases-loaded, walk-off walk in the 12th inning to give the Snappers their third walk-off win of the season.

 

Game #3:  Bowling Green 6 – Beloit 2

Dakota Chalmers

Dakota Chalmers

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, had trouble finding the strike zone consistently yet again in this contest. Despite walking 4 and giving up 2 hits in only 2 innings of work, Chalmers escaped without giving up a run as he left the bases loaded to end both innings.

*Chalmers had a brilliant outing on April 17 against Kane County, during which he struck out 10 and walked none over 4 scoreless innings. Since then, he has walked 14 and hit 1 batter in just 8 ⅓ innings over 4 games. Despite his control issues, Chalmers still possesses filthy stuff. Opponents have hit a meager .175 against Chalmers, and he has punched out 30 batters in just 18 ⅓ innings.

*Outfielder Cole Gruber has struggled at the plate with a .182 batting average on the season. On the mound though, it’s been a different story. Gruber has proved to be an effective lefty reliever. The A’s 27th-round draft pick last year threw a scoreless 9th inning in this one and has now thrown 3 scoreless innings this season despite only topping out at around 85 mph.

*Snappers hitters combined for an ugly 14-strikeout/0-walk performance, which is the antithesis of the type of plate discipline that the A’s organization likes to preach.

 

Series Notes:

*The Snappers did not hit a home run in the 3-game series.

*Outfielder Luke Persico was Beloit’s hottest hitter in the series, going 8 for 15 for the Snappers.

*As mentioned in our last series recap, LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler will no longer be pitching as part of the Snappers’ two-man pitching tandems. Both will be stand-alone starters from here on out. Starting this week, the Snappers’ starting rotation will look like this:

Monday: Dalton Sawyer

Tuesday: Brandon Bailey/Mitchell Jordan

Wednesday: Brendan Butler

Thursday: Ty Damron/Michael Murray

Friday: Matt Milburn/Dakota Chalmers

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Michael Murray

(5 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Dayton (5/2-4)

By Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers started a 6-game home stand this week with a 3-game series against Cincinnati’s Midwest League affiliate, the Dayton Dragons, at Pohlman Field in Beloit. It was the Snappers’ first series of the season against a Midwest League Eastern Division opponent.

The Dragons have built a reputation this season for being very aggressive on the base paths and entered the series leading the Midwest League with 42 stolen bases in just 24 games. The Snappers, on the other hand, are currently last in the league with just 11 stolen bases in their first 22 games.

The Dragons also have the Reds’ # 5 prospect, outfielder Taylor Trammell, along with the Reds’ #8 prospect, catcher Tyler Stephenson (according to MLB Pipeline). The Snappers lost two of the three games in the series. Beloit won Game #2 by a score of 9-2, while Dayton won Game #1 and Game #3 by scores of 4-1 and 7-2, respectively.

 

Game #1:  Dayton 4 – Beloit 1

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes entered the game with 0 walks in 91 plate appearances. So, of course, Mercedes took 3 walks in his first 3 plate appearances of the game! Let this be yet another reminder that you can’t predict baseball.

*Snappers’ hitters struck out an unsightly 13 times in the loss.

*Catcher Jason Goldstein, acquired in the offseason trade that sent A’s pitcher Dillon Overton to the Mariners, threw out 2 of the 3 runners who tried to steal against him.

*Last year’s 5th-round pick for the A’s, right fielder JaVon Shelby, was credited with 2 outfield assists in the game.

*With a game-time temperature of 48 degrees, Snappers pitchers knew coming in it was going to be a battle to control their pitches. And between four Beloit pitchers, they combined to walk 8 batters.

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, allowed just 1 hit but walked 4 batters in 3 innings of work. He threw just 26 strikes in 54 pitches.

*RHP Michael Murray, the A’s 32nd-round pick in 2015, battled through a strenuous 3 innings of work. He threw 33 of his 60 pitches for strikes, with a line of 3 IP/5 H/3 R/2 ER/2 BB/3 K

*Both Chalmers and Murray were bouncing many of their breaking pitches in the dirt, a clear sign that they were having trouble with their grip in the less-than-ideal Wisconsin weather.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 9 – Dayton 2

Kyle Nowlin

Kyle Nowlin

*Last year’s 21st-round pick for the A’s, Kyle Nowlin, had a big game at the plate to help the Snappers win. The designated hitter went 3 for 5 with his 3rd home run of the year and 3 RBIs.

*Catcher Collin Theroux also homered in the game and currently leads all catchers in the A’s system with 4 home runs. And while the 32nd-round pick in 2016 has shown some good pop, he still needs to work on making more contact at the plate.

*After striking out 13 times in their previous game, the Snappers did a better job of battling through their at-bats in this one, resulting in 10 hits while striking out just 6 times and drawing 5 walks.

*The Snappers recorded 3 outfield assists in the game, one by last year’s 12th-round pick, right fielder Luke Persico, and a pair by last year’s 27th-round pick, left fielder Cole Gruber.

*Listed at 5’10” and 175 lbs., Oakland’s 2016 6th-round pick, RHP Brandon Bailey, doesn’t possess the kind of size that scouts usually look for in a starting pitcher. But what Bailey does have is a great fastball-changeup combination that resulted in 8 of his 12 recorded outs in this game coming on either a strikeout or a groundout.

 

Game #3:  Dayton 7 – Beloit 2

Nate Mondou

Nate Mondou

*I have to admit that I have so far failed to properly spotlight the contributions of Nate Mondou this season. Simply put, this guy has been playing great baseball, and I’ve hardly even mentioned him. Well, that’s about to change. After turning in a 3-for-3 night with a pair of walks in Thursday’s loss, the left-handed-hitting second baseman, who was taken by the A’s in the 13th round of the 2016 draft, made it into the top five in the Midwest League batting race with a .354 average. He also has excellent numbers across the board, boasting a .432 OBP, a .443 SLG and an .875 OPS.

*And after his impressive performance on Thursday, Mondou had managed to reach base in 20 straight games for the Snappers.

*Last but not least is his defense. Mondou has impressed with the leather quite a bit this season, notably making two jump-throw outs as well as a leaping catch that turned into a double play in this series.

*Center fielder Mike Martin, fresh off the DL last week, recorded 2 outfield assists in the game.

*It was an excellent pitching matchup, with two 6’5” lefties with great stuff on the mound for this one. For Dayton, it was one of the Midwest League’s best strikeout artists in Scott Moss. For Beloit, it was one of the Midwest League’s ERA leaders in Dalton Sawyer.

*Sawyer had his scoreless-inning streak snapped at 21 frames. The 23-year-old, 9th-round pick from last season finished with a respectable line of 4 ⅓ IP/4 H/2 ER/1 BB/6 K but still ended up suffering the loss.

 

Series Notes:

Dalton Sawyer

Dalton Sawyer

*Dayton runners made an astonishing 14 outs on the base paths in the 3-game series. The outs were recorded on 7 outfield assists, 4 failed base-stealing attempts, 1 pickoff by the pitcher, 1 pickoff by the catcher, and 1 runner who was doubled off first after a leaping catch by second baseman Nate Mondou.

*In the second game of the series, Nate Mondou played third base for the first time in his professional career. It’s unclear whether that was just a one-time thing or possibly something we’ll be seeing more of in order to help increase Mondou’s versatility.

*Word around Pohlman Field is that both LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler are going to be stretched out and allowed to be stand-alone starters. The Snappers have been using an 8-man tandem rotation this season, as have a pair of other A’s affiliates, the Stockton Ports and the Midland Rockhounds. But with Sawyer and Butler performing so well this season, it seems to make sense to stretch them out and allow them to pitch deeper into games as starting pitchers would normally do.

*Fun fact: Dayton Dragons pitching coach Derrin Ebert played the role of former Oakland A’s relief pitcher Mike Magnante in the movie “Moneyball.”

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(5 for 11 / 3 Walks / 2 RBIs + 3 great defensive plays)

 

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A’s April Minor League Leaders

Franklin Barreto

Franklin Barreto

With the first month of the minor league season now complete, it’s a good time to take a look at the A’s minor league leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. And it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the names of top prospects like Franklin Barreto, A.J. Puk and Logan Shore high atop our lists of A’s minor league leaders.

A minimum of 60 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 20 innings is required for the ERA and WHIP categories for pitchers. Players from all four of the A’s full-season affiliates – Nashville, Midland, Stockton and Beloit – are included, and the stats are complete through games of Sunday, April 30. Some of these names you may expect to see atop the lists, while others might come as a bit of a surprise!

You can always stay up to date on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system right here on Athletics Farm. A version of this report originally appeared on Athletics Nation

Click here to see the A’s April Minor League Leaders…

Monday, April 24th: Rosa’s Grand Slam Helps Hounds Win while Nunez & Canha Homer in Sounds’ Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Viosergy Rosa (2 for 5 / Grand Slam)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Viosergy Rosa (2 for 5 / Grand Slam)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  9

Corpus Christi Hooks     0

WP – Walter 2-0 / 0.56

HR – Martin (2), Rosa (2), Sportman (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Viosergy Rosa

(2 for 5 / Grand Slam)

With two outs, the bases loaded and his team up 2-0 in the top of the 5th inning, first baseman Viosergy Rosa stepped to the plate and belted a grand slam to provide the Hounds with a healthy 6-run lead and help his team with its third straight on Monday. Rosa also singled in the game, while shortstop Richie Martin slugged a solo shot in the 3rd inning, and second baseman J.P. Sportman blasted a 3-run homer in the 8th. Meanwhile on the mound, Hounds hurlers shut out the Hooks on 2 hits on Monday. Starter Corey Walter allowed both hits over 5 scoreless innings to earn the win in his first appearance since returning to the RockHounds roster from the Sounds. LHP Brandon Mann, who’d allowed 11 runs over his last 3 1/3 innings, threw 4 no-hit frames to earn his 1st save for Midland on Monday. And with Walter’s return to the roster, LHP Kyle Twomey was sent back to extended spring training in Arizona.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton & Beloit…

Sunday, April 23rd: Sawyer Leads Snappers to Shutout Victory while Boyd Helps Hounds Mount Comeback Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Dalton Sawyer (5 IP / 0 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 8 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Dalton Sawyer (5 IP / 0 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 8 K / Win)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Burlington Bees    0

Beloit Snappers  8

WP – Sawyer 2-1 / 1.08

HR – Diaz (4), Shelby (3), Persico (1), Marinez (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Dalton Sawyer

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

Starter Dalton Sawyer delivered one of the most impressive performances of any A’s minor league hurler so far this season on the front end of a 3-hit shutout win for the Snappers. Last year’s 9th-round pick for the A’s threw 5 perfect frames, striking out 8 while facing the minimum 15 batters without allowing a base runner to earn his 2nd win on Sunday. And Sawyer has now failed to allow a run over his last 13 innings of work for the Snappers. He was followed on the mound by last year’s 10th-round pick, RHP Mitchell Jordan, who allowed 3 hits over 4 scoreless frames to secure the save. The Snappers scored all 8 of their runs on home runs on Sunday. Left fielder Luke Persico launched a 2-run homer in the 3rd, while third baseman Edwin Diaz drilled a 3-run drive in the 6th. Shortstop Eric Marinez slugged a solo shot in the 7th, and center fielder JaVon Shelby tagged a 2-run shot in the 8th to help the Snappers win their second straight on Sunday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Stockton…

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