Tag: Jaycob Brugman

Sunday, August 20th: Puk Pitches Hounds to Victory while Brown’s Big Bat Helps Ports Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        1

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Puk 2-3 / 4.91

HR – Sportman (11)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

(6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

Starter A.J. Puk turned in an impressive performance to help the RockHounds score their sixth win in their last seven games on Sunday. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 run while striking out 7 over 6 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Midland, and he’s now recorded 42 strikeouts over his last 27 innings for the RockHounds. RHPs Joel Seddon, Sam Bragg and Kyle Finnegan each tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief. Right fielder J.P. Sportman doubled and hit a 2-run homer, while center fielder B.J. Boyd (.327) and second baseman Max Schrock (.323) collected 3 hits apiece to move into first and third place, respectively, in the Texas League batting race.

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

Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Back in May, we took a look at what a young, rebuilding A’s team might look like. But now that we’ve passed the July 31st trade deadline and the A’s have made a number of deadline deals, and even some post-deadline deals, to add players like Blake Treinen, Dustin Fowler, Boog Powell, Jorge Mateo, Sheldon Neuse, James Kaprielian and Jesus Luzardo to the system, it’s a good time to take another look at what the near future might look like for the A’s.

Of course, one never knows what the A’s might do in the offseason, but the fact that they don’t really have many veteran trade chips left to deal will definitely limit their ability to barter. And, as usual, it seems unlikely that they will splurge too much on the free agent market at this stage of the game. The team could dip its toe in the water to fill a few holes on a short-term basis, particularly on the pitching staff, but there aren’t likely to be any terribly significant commitments in the near term, at least not until a new stadium is within view.

Two players who’ve played significant roles this year seem likely to depart after the season – center fielder Rajai Davis, who’s set to become a free agent, and second baseman Jed Lowrie, whom the A’s hold a $6 million option on for next year. With the A’s now fully committed to a youth movement and with both Franklin Barreto and Chad Pinder capable of playing second base, it seems unlikely that the A’s will opt to bring back Lowrie. But is there still any chance that they might be able to get something for either of them before the season’s through the way they did with Yonder Alonso? It’s possible, but it seems like any deal that would have been possible probably would have happened by now. And looking ahead, there are only two significant players on the current roster who are due to become free agents after the 2018 season – outfielder Matt Joyce and reliever Santiago Casilla. Could the A’s possibly get anything for either player in the offseason? Anything’s possible but, if they can, it’s not likely to amount to much.

When looking at next season on the position player front, eleven guys seem to be pretty solid bets for the major league roster, leaving a number of others left to battle for one or two remaining spots, depending on whether the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players in 2018. The eleven most likely to lay claim to a roster spot include catchers Bruce Maxwell and Josh Phegley, infielders Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien, Franklin Barreto, Matt Olson and Ryon Healy, outfielders Khris Davis, Matt Joyce and Dustin Fowler, and super utility infielder/outfielder Chad Pinder. That leaves guys like Boog Powell, Jaycob Brugman, Mark Canha, Jake Smolinski and Renato Nunez fighting for the one or two remaining roster spots. When it comes to the pitching staff, things could be a little more up in the air, and one would have to suspect that’s where any offseason additions might be most likely to occur.

So, setting aside any possible offseason deals or free-agent signings, and adding in a fresh batch of summer arrivals, let’s take a position-by-position look at how things might stack up for the 2018 Oakland A’s…

 

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

CATCHERS

With Stephen Vogt’s departure and Bruce Maxwell making the move to the major league roster in June, the catching corps could prove to be one of the more predictable parts of next season’s roster. Maxwell and Josh Phegley seem set to split time behind the plate for the 2018 A’s, though the team could always give recently-acquired catcher Dustin Garneau the opportunity to compete with Phegley for the chance to serve as Maxwell’s platoon partner. The team’s top minor league catching prospect, former 3rd-round pick Sean Murphy, has played in just 39 games at the Double-A level and is probably another year away from factoring into the catching conversation.

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Olson

Matt Olson

With the departures of Trevor Plouffe and Yonder Alonso, and the likely departure of Jed Lowrie in the offseason, the A’s infield looks to be right at the heart of the youth movement in 2018. Young slugger Matt Chapman is set to anchor the infield at the hot corner, while Marcus Semien is expected to be back at shortstop. It seems likely that top prospect Franklin Barreto will get every opportunity to take over at second base, where he’s probably best-suited defensively and where he’s most likely to remain since the A’s acquired promising shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal. The team seems ready to make Matt Olson its primary first baseman, though his consistent platoon splits make it likely that, like Yonder Alonso, he’ll frequently sit against lefties while Ryon Healy moves from the designated hitter spot to take over at first. Meanwhile, with Olson at first and Chapman at third, Healy looks likely to get the bulk of his at-bats in the DH slot once again, serving in that role against righties while seeing some time in the field against lefties. And with Olson likely to sit out against most lefties, that could give super-utility man Chad Pinder, who’s sure to make the squad, a good chance to get some regular at-bats against lefties while stepping into the field in any number of positions and giving various A’s regulars a bit of a breather by sliding into the DH spot for the day. And, of course, Pinder also has the ability to spell Semien and Barreto in the middle infield any time either of them is slumping or could just use a day off. The A’s could also decide to give a player who’s probably best-suited for the designated hitter role a shot to see what he can do as the regular DH against lefties. Right-handed slugger Renato Nunez may be limited defensively, but he’s currently leading the Pacific Coast League with 31 home runs while slashing an impressive .309/.387/.630 against Triple-A lefties this season. So, Nunez clearly could have the ability to do some damage from the DH spot when Healy makes the move to first against lefties. Behind Chapman, Semien, Barreto, Olson, Healy, Pinder and Nunez, other infield options down on the farm could include second basemen Joey Wendle and Max Schrock, shortstop Jorge Mateo, third baseman Sheldon Neuse and Yairo Munoz, who’s been increasing his versatility by playing third base, shortstop and center field for Triple-A Nashville this season.

 

OUTFIELDERS

Dustin Fowler

Dustin Fowler

With a couple of the team’s most veteran position players still in the outfield picture, the youth movement may have a slightly less dramatic effect on the A’s outfield alignment in 2018. The team still has control of its top home run hitter, Khris Davis, for two more seasons. So, assuming he sticks around for at least one more campaign, he’s likely to see most of his time in left field once again. And assuming Matt Joyce is back for the final year of his contract, then he’s likely to wind up back in right field against right-hander hurlers anyway. As for center field, the A’s clearly acquired Dustin Fowler from the Yankees to be their center fielder of the future, and that future is likely to start in 2018. Super-utility man Chad Pinder is capable of putting in time in the outfield. And since Joyce and Fowler are both left-handed hitters, he could well serve as an outfield platoon partner, particularly for Joyce in right. And if things line up as expected, then that would leave one or two more roster spots available for outfielders depending on if the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players and whether or not they decide to make room for Renato Nunez on the roster in 2018. Lefty-swinging outfielders Boog Powell and Jaycob Brugman, who’ve been the main men in center field over these past couple of months, will clearly move behind Fowler on the depth chart as soon as he returns from the disabled list. Though Powell and Brugman are both capable of playing all three outfield positions, the fact that they both hit from the left side severely limits their ability to serve in any sort of platoon role in the A’s outfield as it’s currently configured. And we all know how much the A’s value those platoon matchups. That could help the cause of a couple of other outfield options who happen to be right-handed hitters – Mark Canha, who still possesses some intriguing power potential, and Jake Smolinski, who’s always put up strong numbers against lefties, is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and is currently on a minor league rehab assignment after sitting out most of the season due to shoulder surgery. One thing that seems certain is that the one of the most interesting roster battles next season should be for the A’s last one or two remaining outfield spots.

 

STARTING PITCHERS

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn

What once looked like a strong suit for the A’s, thanks to trades, injuries and poor performance, now appears to be a little more up in the air. Twelve different pitchers have made starts for the A’s this season. LHP Sean Manaea is the only A’s hurler to make it to the mound for more than 20 starts so far this season, and he also leads the teams in wins and strikeouts. RHP Kendall Graveman was looked at as the team’s ace-in-waiting behind Sonny Gray and was the A’s opening day starter this year, but injuries have limited him to 11 starts this season. Manaea and Graveman look to be locks to top the A’s rotation again in 2018. But don’t forget about a guy who put up better numbers than either of those pitchers have this season before undergoing hip surgery this summer – RHP Andrew Triggs. If he returns healthy and regains his form, then Triggs would also be in line to claim a rotation spot next season. A pair of rookies would appear to be the best bets to round out the rotation – RHP Paul Blackburn, who’s been solid in 9 starts for the A’s, and RHP Daniel Gossett, a former 2nd-round pick who’s shown plenty of promising potential. Behind those five (none of whom is currently over the age of 28), there are a number of arms who could be in waiting at Nashville but who also come with a number of questions marks. RHPs Jharel Cotton and Jesse Hahn have combined to make 31 starts for the A’s this season, and while both have shown great promise at times, they can both be wildly inconsistent as well. RHP Daniel Mengden, who showed such potential at times last season, is still in the picture and has recently returned to action for Nashville after missing much of the season due to injuries. Veteran RHP Chris Smith also remains in the mix and could serve as valuable rotation depth at Triple-A. Other potential starting options in the system include RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been working out of the bullpen at Nashville while making his way back from Tommy John surgery), RHP Frankie Montas (who had been serving in a starting role at Triple-A before landing on the disabled list), RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season on the A’s roster), RHP Corey Walter (who’s made 11 starts for the Sounds this season), and LHP A.J. Puk (the A’s top draft pick last year who’s put up an ERA of 5.36 and struck out 61 in 45 1/3 frames since joining Double-A Midland in June). Puk may not be ready to be a real rotation option for the A’s to start the season but, depending on how things play out, he could prove to be a legitimate option for the team before next season is through.

 

RELIEF PITCHERS

Blake Treinen

Blake Treinen

The bullpen could be the biggest question mark for the A’s heading into 2018. There aren’t too many locks here, nor too many talented young hurlers who look to be ready to bloom into superstar status. This could be an area the A’s seek to fill in with a few shrewd free-agent pickups, or the organization might just decide to make the best with what they’ve got and wait until the team looks like it might be ready to contend before investing in outside help for the bullpen. But looking at what’s in-house at the moment, RHP Blake Treinen seems to be the best option for the closer’s role. Of course, RHP Santiago Casilla is still under contract for next season, while the A’s will also maintain control of a couple of other familiar faces from the bullpen – RHPs Liam Hendriks and Ryan Dull. Two hard-throwing RHPs will remain in the mix as well – Frankie Montas, who’s still working to harness his potential, and Simon Castro, who has shown some promise in 13 appearances for the A’s this season. RHP Bobby Wahl will be returning from thoracic outlet surgery, while RHP J.B. Wendelken will be coming back from Tommy John surgery. And there are a number of possible long-relief options to consider as well, including RHP Chris Hatcher (who was recently acquired from the Dodgers), RHP Chris Smith (who could be well-suited for such a role), RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen at Nashville), RHPs Michael Brady and Josh Smith (both of whom have served in that role at times this season), and RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season in that role for the A’s). On the left side of the bullpen, the A’s current options look to be fairly limited. Of course, LHP Daniel Coulombe, who’s made 53 relief appearances for the A’s this season, clearly stands atop the pack. LHP Felix Doubront has been serving in a relief role for Nashville since returning from Tommy John surgery, and the A’s recently acquired LHP Sam Moll, who’s made 139 relief appearances in the Rockies system over the last five years. But beyond that, there aren’t many more southpaws to be seen in the bullpen picture at this point anyway, so stay tuned.

 

One never really knows what the A’s might decide to do in any given offseason, and this one’s certainly no different. But one thing’s clear – the team is committed to rebuilding with this current crop of young players. There aren’t many veterans left to deal away at this point, so any significant additions would most likely have to come from the free agent market, though it seems unlikely that the A’s would be ready to make too much of a splash in the free agent pool at this stage of the game. Once plans for the A’s new ballpark are announced, we should start to get a much better sense of what the team’s long-term and short-term player personnel plans are. But for now, this is how the current crop of young players who are likely to make the squad next season is shaping up. And hopefully, A’s fans can look forward to watching this promising pack of prospects develop into a winning team that will be able to carry its winnings ways into a new ballpark somewhere in Oakland in the not-too-distant future.

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Friday, August 11th: Neal & Fillmyer Pitch Sounds & Hounds to Victory while Armenteros Helps AZL A’s Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Zach Neal (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Zach Neal (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Memphis Redbirds   1

Nashville Sounds   3

WP – Neal 3-7 / 4.99

HR – Munoz (7)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Zach Neal

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

RHP Zach Neal turned in an outstanding start for the Sounds on Friday, allowing just 1 run over 7 innings of work to notch his 3rd win for Nashville. RHP Chris Bassitt threw a scoreless 8th, and RHP Lou Trivino pitched a perfect 9th to pick up his 1st save for the Sounds. Center fielder Yairo Munoz singled, homered and drove in a pair, while catcher Matt McBride doubled, walked and scored a run, and left fielder Kenny Wilson singled twice, stole a base and drove in a run for Nashville. Meanwhile, the A’s sent outfielders Mark Canha and Jaycob Brugman back to the Sounds and recalled outfielder Boog Powell and RHP Michael Brady on Friday.

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

Chapman, Maxwell & Brugman: A Trio of Young A’s Players Talks about Life in the Majors

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

The A’s youth movement finally appears to be in full effect – and third baseman Matt Chapman, catcher Bruce Maxwell and outfielder Jaycob Brugman are clear evidence of that. While Maxwell has been back and forth between Oakland and Nashville multiple times over the last couple of seasons, Chapman and Brugman both were called up in June to make their major league debuts for the A’s.

We’d spoken with all three players before during stops at Stockton, Nashville, the Arizona Fall League and in spring training, but we wanted to check in and see how the trio has been adjusting to life in the majors. So, earlier this week, we took the opportunity to talk to all three of them again, but this time while wearing major league uniforms in the A’s clubhouse…

 

MATT CHAPMAN

mc656305cThe A’s top draft pick in 2014, the third baseman has been considered one of the team’s top power-hitting prospects. He hit 16 home runs in just 49 games for Nashville this season and tagged a pair of home runs in one game for Oakland. Chapman is also known as a talented defender at the hot corner and has already made a number of impressive plays in the field for the A’s. The 24-year-old went on the disabled list in late June with a knee infection, but he returned to action during the first week of July, and he’s now fully focused on making his mark in the majors.

AF:  Now that you’re here in Oakland, what’s the biggest difference you find yourself encountering in the big leagues compared to what you’d experienced in the minor leagues?

MC:  I don’t know if I can put my finger on one thing. But you see good stuff every single night. Guys are consistent in what they do. They try to figure out what your weaknesses are and they try to exploit them. So, you’ve just got to keep working extra hard to stay with your approach. And every little thing counts. At this level, it’s attention to detail, and it’s a lot of work. You know, the talent’s at every level, but up here, it’s just fine-tuned, and everybody knows their role and knows what they’re doing. It’s a clean game and it’s at a fast pace. There’s always an adjustment at every level.

AF:  Are there any specific adjustments that you’ve had to make at this level so far?

MC:  Really just slowing the game down and trying to get back to what I do best. You’ve got to trust what’s gotten you to this level.

AF:  You mentioned the game being faster at this level. It seems like everyone says that. Was that one of the first things that you noticed here?

MC:  Yeah, the speed of the game just keeps getting faster and faster at each level.

AF:  What about the defensive end of things? You’ve always been known as a solid defender at third base, and you’ve already made some nice plays for the A’s in the field. Has your preparation or anything else you do in the field changed for you up here?

MC:  The preparation stays the same. I feel like I have a pretty good preparation routine defensively. I guess just kind of getting to know my pitchers and getting to know the hitters on the opposing teams, and just figuring out who bunts, who doesn’t, kind of where to position myself and what pitches the pitchers on our team throw and all those little detail-oriented things.

AF:  So, how did they break the news to you in Nashville that you were going to the big leagues?

MC:  My coach came into the cage and told me I wasn’t in the lineup, so I was kind of mad. And then he told me that I was going to the big leagues, so it was a nice surprise.

AF:  How nervous were you in your first big league game? Did it seem like you were in a dream?

MC:  Yeah, definitely. There are so many emotions going on at that time, it’s hard to really even describe it, but it was a great day. It was like I was having an out-of-body experience…you’re kind of in your own world.

AF:  Well, I know you’re from southern California, so has your family had the chance to come see you here much?

MC:  Yeah, they’ve had the chance to come up once. They came for my debut.

AF:  So, how tough was it for you having to sit out while you were on the disabled list? Were you kind of going crazy?

MC:  Yeah, definitely. I wanted to come back, and I wanted to come back as fast as possible. And when I first came back, I was fresh out of the hospital. So, there’s definitely an adjustment period with getting some strength back, but I feel totally good now. It took some time for the antibiotics to finish off and for me to feel right again, but I feel good and confident going into the rest of the year.

AF:  Is it true that you were texting Bob Melvin from the hospital quite a bit and telling him you were ready to come back?

MC:  Yeah, yeah.

AF:  So, on the personal side of things, what are your living arrangements like and where are you living at here in the Bay Area now?

MC:  I’m in Walnut Creek…I’m staying with a couple guys on the team.

AF:  Had you ever spent much time in the Bay Area before?

MC:  Not too much. I’ve just been kind of checking it out. I’ve got to make my way into San Francisco on one of our off days.

AF:  How does it feel to have a bunch of guys you’ve played with in the minors up here playing with you as well?

MC:  Yeah, it’s definitely good to know you’ve got some guys like that to lean on. And you get to go to war with those guys you feel comfortable with, and we can all help each other learn together and grow.

AF:  Have any of the guys who’ve been here a while helped you out or offered you any helpful advice?

MC:  Yeah, everybody’s kind of helped me out and tried to help me feel comfortable and make that adjustment. Yonder Alonso’s helped me out a lot and just tried to get me thinking the right way and pointing things out to me that maybe I wouldn’t notice, so it’s good.

AF:  We’ve got a couple of months left in the season at this point. So, is there anything in particular that you’re focused on trying to accomplish?

MC:  Well, from a team aspect, we want to win, and I think we feel like we can do something really special in the second half. We’ve got a good group of guys…and we feel like we can compete on a daily basis. And if you look at the records around the league, everything’s pretty tight with the wild card, so nothing’s out of the question. I think we just want to keep getting better and keep growing as a team. And then, personally for me, I just want to keep getting better and keep making that transition to the big leagues and figure out how to bring my best self every single day and how to compete at this level and take that into finishing strong this year and preparing for the next.

 

BRUCE MAXWELL

bm622194bA 2nd-round selection in Oakland’s 2012 draft class, the 26-year-old backstop has climbed his way up through the A’s system step by step and he’s now taken over as the A’s primary receiver. He’s done solid work behind the plate, and is currently boasting a .386 on-base percentage in 28 games for the A’s this season. Always known for his work ethic, Maxwell is determined to make the most of the opportunity to lay claim to the A’s catching job.

AF:  I think this is your third time back up here in Oakland this year. Do you feel like there’s something new you learn each time you come up or do you come back with a little more confidence each time?

BM:  You’re always learning stuff up here. But I feel like this time around, it’s a different feel, different mindset, different role I’m playing seeing how the departure of Stephen Vogt puts me in a more solidified position up here. So, I’m able to kind of relax a little more than I have in the past and be able to kind of trust in my game and take on a leadership role on this team, even as a rookie. But it’s a little different – everything is a little more important now, everything is more consistent now. And I’ve reached a comfort level of mine that I’ve been looking for. So, now it’s just time to play.

AF:  So, it’s made things a lot easier for you now knowing that you’ve got a defined role.

BM:  It’s made everything I do on a daily basis a lot easier and a lot more consistent for the most part – just getting the consistent at-bats now and getting the consistent looks behind the plate.

AF:  Now that you’ve been in there more regularly, has your relationship with the pitchers on the staff changed at all?

BM:  Not really. I’ve known a lot of these guys for the past couple years. So, they treat me just like they did when I was up here for a week or when I was up here for three days. Now it’s just they get to work with me a little more consistently, so they get a little more comfortable.

AF:  And how much time do you spend studying the scouting reports and working with the pitching staff prior to a game, prior to a series?

BM:  It’s our job, we do it all the time. It’s just about the feel, the relationship between you and the pitcher and making sure you guys are on the same page…I’ve gotten more comfortable with the meetings, with the knowledge and the information. Now I’m seeing these teams consistently, so the knowledge is more polished. And we just continue to learn about these hitters and try to dominate them the best we can.

AF:  What about at the plate? Are the opposing pitchers at this level approaching you any differently than the pitchers in Triple-A did?

BM:  Yeah, up here, their execution’s a lot better than it is at Triple-A, so it’s a little different. But up here, guys who’ve been around the game for a while already know their own scouting report. So, it’s our job to make the adjustment before the other team does. They know my scouting report, and I know my own scouting report. So, it’s just about minimizing their execution and then taking advantage of it when they don’t execute.

AF:  I know when you were first drafted, you didn’t have a lot of catching experience under your belt, and that was a big focus for you early on. So, where do you feel you’re at defensively at this point, and are there any little things you’re working on right now?

BM:  Yeah, behind the plate, everything is so small. So, it’s about staying on your work and being able to perfect everything that you do. I’m constantly adjusting my stances and my receiving skills and all that kind of stuff, because there’s always room for improvement back there. I’m pretty quiet as a catcher in general, and I get compliments from umpires and coaches and stuff but, at the same time, I could be that much better. So, never a day goes by that we don’t work on what I do behind the plate.

AF:  You mentioned Stephen Vogt earlier, so what did you pick up from him while you were both here?

BM:  I’ve been with Stephen the last four years. I’ve been in big league camp every year, and you learn little things from guys in your position every year. He’s taught me so much – the mental side of it, the physical side of it, the catching side of it. I continue to apply all that in my everyday work and my everyday game play. So, I couldn’t be more grateful for a teammate like him, and I wish him all the success over in Milwaukee.

AF: Whether it’s on the field or off the field, what are the key differences between playing here at this level and playing in Triple-A?

BM:  Everybody wants to win up here. Triple-A is still a developmental process. You know, we won everywhere we’ve been for the most part, this core group of young guys. But up here, it’s more of a team-based evaluation. It’s all about wins up here, however you’ve got to do it. It’s about getting those “W”s in the column. Up here, it’s easier to kind of put yourself on the back burner and just kind of do what you need to do for the team.

AF:  You don’t need to worry about getting to the next level because there is no next level! But you’ve been up and down between here and Nashville a few times this year. So, on the personal side of things, where are you staying at now, and who are you living with up here?

BM:  Well, me and a couple of the other young guys are about to bunk up out in Walnut Creek on the next home stand. We’ve found a place for a couple months. We’ve just been kind of trying to figure it out. So, moves to be made soon.

AF:  I know you moved around a bit as an Army brat. So how do you find living in the Bay Area?

BM:  It’s all right. We don’t really have time to do much out here. I’m here for work, and then when work’s over, I go back home. The fans out here are great. There’s a lot of history out here in the Bay Area, but we don’t get much time to go and explore those things in general. I get to the field pretty early to take care of my job, because this is the reason why I’m here.

AF:  Well, I guess the part of the Bay Area you know the best is the Coliseum!

BM:  Pretty much!

 

JAYCOB BRUGMAN

jb595144bThe lefty-swinging outfielder was the A’s 17th-round draft pick in 2013. A bit of an underdog who wasn’t always prominently placed on prospect lists, Brugman has consistently out-performed expectations and over-achieved at every level. The 25-year-old has often hit near the top of the order during his minor league career and has always done a good job of getting on base. He was sporting a .373 on-base percentage in 33 games for Nashville this season, and has hit a pair of home runs in his first 33 games for the A’s. Always known as a hard worker, his enthusiasm for succeeding at the major league level is apparent.

AF:  Well, we’ve talked to you when you were at Stockton and Nashville, and now you’re here in Oakland. So, what are the biggest differences you find in the game at this level?

JB:  Everyone’s good! The pitchers are really good every day. And they’re going to adjust to you, so it’s a constant battle between you and the pitcher – and you’ve got to make those adjustments quicker.

AF:  Have you found yourself having to make many adjustments already?

JB:  Yeah, just working with the hitting coach [Darren Bush]. They know how it is up here and have got some good insights. I’ve just been making some small adjustments with my swing here and there that’s allowing me to see the ball a little better and drive the balls a little better and get into my legs a little more.

AF:  Have many of the guys who’ve been around a while also been helping you out or offering you any advice since you’ve been here?

JB:  Yeah, definitely, all the older guys – I talk to them every day. Mainly the outfielders because I’m out there with them a lot – so Khris Davis and Matt Joyce and Rajai Davis. They’ve seen everyone, so it’s nice to be able to say, “Hey, what kind of approach do you have on this guy?” Especially Joyce, because he’s left-handed like I am, so we talk a lot about that stuff. Every little bit helps.

AF:  Is there anything different about playing center field in the majors, or playing it here at the Coliseum?

JB:  Yeah, guys hit a little harder and a little farther! It’s just small adjustments. There’s certain stadiums where you’ve got to really make sure you can see the ball well. It just takes a little getting used to. But you work every day and things come.

AF:  Do you find it’s really even more important here in the majors to get that first step right in center field?

JB:  Yeah, you know, I’ve been working on that a lot. That whole first-step thing, I’ve been trying to get that right. And not necessarily getting the first step quickly, but going in the right direction. It’s not a matter of how quick you can move, but how efficient the routes are that you can make.

AF:  Do you enjoy playing out there in center field as opposed to playing in the corners?

JB:  Oh yeah, I love it. It is fun! I like to be out there and have the whole field in front of me – it’s kind of cool.

AF:  You’ve got the best seat in the house out there! So, how did they break the news to you that you were going up to Oakland when you were at Nashville?

JB:  They kind of just faked a hitters’ meeting. My hitting coach [Eric Martins] said before the game, “Hey, we’re going to go over some stuff and look at some video.” So, after the game, I went in there and thought we were going to have a normal meeting. And then the other coaches and the manager [Ryan Christenson] came in and told me, and I was like, “What? No way!”

AF:  What did your first game in the majors feel like? Were you nervous or excited? Was it all just a blur?

JB:  It could have easily been like that. But I really had to focus and make sure I wasn’t too riled up. I knew I had a job to do, and I knew I had to control my emotions. So, I really worked hard on just trying to focus in and narrow my scope and not be overwhelmed.

AF:  Now I know you’re married and have a couple of kids. So, were they able to be out here for your first game?

JB:  They were! They were at the first debut week, and they live here now with me.

AF:  I was going to ask you what your living situation here in the Bay Area was like now.

JB:  We’re in Walnut Creek.

AF:  So, you’re all back together here now in a nice, normal situation.

JB:  As normal as baseball can be!

AF:  Were you with your family in Nashville or were you rooming with other guys there?

JB:  No, I didn’t see them for a while. I roomed with Daniel Gossett, and I didn’t know when I would see my family next. So, it’s nice to be with them.

AF:  So, how does it feel to have a bunch of guys you’ve played with for a while in the minors up here with you?

JB:  It’s fun – it’s awesome! You know them, you play with them throughout the system, so it’s just a good, comfortable situation, and it’s nice to see them all have that success too.

AF:  Well, I guess it’s probably something you guys have all sat around talking about before, and now it’s actually happening.

JB:  Yeah, that’s right!

AF:  We’ve got a couple of months left in the season at this point. So, what are you focused on trying to accomplish the rest of the way?

JB:  Just to put together some wins as a team. My goal is just to help the team win as much as I can. I want to be able to end the season with an impact and have people talking about how this team is going to be next year and kind of have that sense about us that we’re going to be trouble next year. I think that’s all we can do right now is just finish hard.

AF:  Put a little fear into people!

JB:  Yeah, that’s right!

*          *          *

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

A’s Farm Podcast Gets the Inside Scoop on Nashville’s Top Prospects from Hitting Coach Eric Martins & Pitching Coach Rick Rodriguez

This week, the A’s Farm Podcast turns its focus to the Nashville Sounds, the A’s Triple-A affiliate, when Nashville’s hitting coach Eric Martins and pitching coach Rick Rodriguez join A’s Farm Editor-in-Chief Bill Moriarity to provide the inside scoop on some of Nashville’s top prospects.

rrRR_200_x_250_sln62qk4_rxwbqro8emEM_200_x_250_o8srttxq_lf6658swMartins offers the lowdown on some recent Sounds hitters who are now with the A’s like Matt Chapman, Chad Pinder, Bruce Maxwell, Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto, while Rodriguez shares his insights on some promising pitchers like Daniel Gossett, Paul Blackburn, Frankie Montas and more. Eric Martins joins us at the top of the show, and Rick Rodriguez joins us at 22.45.

A’s Farm Podcast
with host Bill Moriarity and special guests hitting coach Eric Martins & pitching coach Rick Rodriguez

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Saturday, June 24th: Ports Win Behind Ramirez’s Big Bat while Puk Struggles in Hounds’ Loss & Beck Debuts in AZL A’s Opener

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Tyler Ramirez  (Grand Slam)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Tyler Ramirez
(Grand Slam)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts     2

Stockton Ports  8

WP – Meisner 6-5 / 3.98

HR – Ramirez (6), Pimentel (2), Semien (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Tyler Ramirez

(Grand Slam)

With the game tied 2-2 and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 5th inning, center fielder Tyler Ramirez stepped to the plate and slugged a grand slam to provide the margin of victory for the Ports on Saturday. And the 22-year-old is now hitting .350 over his last 5 games for Stockton. First baseman Sandber Pimentel homered for the second straight night, while right fielder Seth Brown had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, and designated hitter Marcus Semien singled, doubled, homered and drove in a pair in his first rehab appearance for the Ports. RHP Casey Meisner turned in his third straight quality start for Stockton, allowing 2 runs while striking out 6 over 7 innings of work to earn his 6th win on Saturday.

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

Thursday, June 22nd: Ports Win Behind Siddall’s Big Bat while Sounds Drop a Pair

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Designated Hitter Brett Siddall (4 for 4 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Designated Hitter Brett Siddall (4 for 4 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts       1

Stockton Ports  11

WP – Duno 6-3 / 5.10

HR – Siddall 2 (9), Murphy (9), Bolt (7)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Brett Siddall

(4 for 4 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

Designated hitter Brett Siddall had a big night at the plate for the Ports on Thursday. The 22-year-old collected 4 hits, including a pair of home runs, while driving in 5 runs to lead Stockton to victory in the first game of the second half. Catcher Sean Murphy and center fielder Skye Bolt both slugged solo shots, while first baseman Sandber Pimentel had 3 hits and drove in a pair of runs for the Ports. RHP Angel Duno turned in a strong start on Thursday, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 6th win for Stockton. In other news, A’s shortstop Marcus Semien was sent to Stockton to begin a rehab assignment and is expected to make his first appearance for the Ports on Friday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland, Beloit & Vermont…

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…

Friday, June 9th: Seddon Pitches Hounds to Victory while Sounds Fall Despite Blackburn’s Solid Effort & Puk Struggles in Ports Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Joel Seddon (7 IP / 7 H / 1 ER /1 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Joel Seddon (7 IP / 7 H / 1 ER /1 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  3

San Antonio Missions    2

WP – Seddon 3-1 / 3.75

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Joel Seddon

(7 IP / 7 H / 1 ER /1 BB / 3 K / Win)

Filling in for injured starter James Naile, RHP Joel Seddon turned in a strong start for the RockHounds on Friday. Making just his third start this season, Seddon allowed only 1 run over 7 innings of work to earn his 3rd win, while RHP Lou Trivino picked up the save despite giving up 1 run in 2 innings of relief for the RockHounds. Third baseman Jermaine Curtis had 3 hits drove in the go-ahead in the 8th inning, while shortstop Yairo Munoz and left fielder Kenny Wilson both doubled, and designated hitter Andy Paz singled in a run to help the RockHounds salvage a split in their four-game series with first-place San Antonio.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton & Beloit…

Thursday, June 8th: Butler & Biegalski Pitch Ports to Shutout Victory while Rosa Helps Hounds Mount Comeback Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brendan Butler (5 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brendan Butler (5 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  5

Modesto Nuts     0

WP – Butler 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Bolt (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Brendan Butler

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

RHPs Brendan Butler and Boomer Biegalski, both of whom started the season with Beloit, teamed up to shut out Modesto on 5 hits on Thursday as the Ports prevailed for the eighth time in their last ten games. Butler, who was promoted to the Ports on Tuesday, struck out 5 over 5 shutout innings to earn the win in his first appearance for Stockton this season. Biegalski then came on to strike out 4 in 4 scoreless frames to complete the shutout and pick up his first save for the Ports. Center fielder Skye Bolt slugged his 6th home run, a solo shot in the 3rd, and then singled in a pair of runs in the 7th, while left fielder James Harris singled, doubled and drove in a run, and shortstop Eli White had a pair of hits for the Ports. In other news, Stockton infielder Trent Gilbert and LHP Will Gilbert were sent to extended spring training in Arizona to rehab from recent injuries.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

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