Tag: Jaycob Brugman

A’s In The AFL – November 13-18 Final Update

A's AFL MVP:  Infielder Sheldon Neuse

A’s AFL MVP:
Infielder Sheldon Neuse

 
A’s Prospect AFL Highlights
(November 13 – 18)

Monday, November 13th:
Catcher Sean Murphy and left fielder Jaycob Brugman each went 1 for 4, while RHP Sam Bragg threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief as Mesa lost 10-3 on Monday.

Tuesday, November 14th:
Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 4 with a home run, while left fielder Jaycob Brugman went 0 for 3 with a walk, and RHP Nolan Blackwood retired the side on 6 pitches in the 9th in Mesa’s 5-1 loss on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 15th:
Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 5, while catcher Sean Murphy went 1 for 4, and designated hitter Jaycob Brugman went 1 for 5 and drove in a run as Mesa won 5-2 on Wednesday to clinch a spot in the AFL Championship Game.

Thursday, November 16th:
Shortstop Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 4 with a double, while RHP Logan Shore made the start and gave up 4 runs in 4 innings of work to suffer the loss. RHP Miguel Romero allowed 1 run in 2 innings of relief, and RHP Sam Bragg threw 1 scoreless inning in Mesa’s 10-5 loss on Thursday.

Friday, November 17th:
No games scheduled.

Saturday, November 18th:
Designated hitter Jaycob Brugman went 3 for 4, while catcher Sean Murphy went 1 for 3. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 4 and drove in a run, and RHP Nolan Blackwood tossed 2/3 of a scoreless inning in relief as Mesa lost the AFL Championship Game to Peoria 8-2 on Saturday.

Sunday, November 19th:
No games scheduled.

 

A’s Prospect Final Regular Season AFL Stats
(October 10 – November 16)

Sheldon Neuse (3B-SS)
86 AB / 5 HR / 7 BB / 16 K / .314 AVG / .366 OBP / .570 SLG / .935 OPS

Sean Murphy (C)
68 AB / 0 HR / 10 BB / 7 K / .309 AVG / .413 OBP / .368 SLG / .780 OPS

Jaycob Brugman (OF)
33 AB / 0 HR / 8 BB / 8 K / .182 AVG / .341 OBP / .242 SLG / .584 OPS

Tyler Ramirez (OF)
17 AB / 1 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .059 AVG / .200 OBP / .235 SLG / .435 OPS

Logan Shore (RHP)
24 IP / 35 H / 16 ER / 2 BB / 18 K / 6.00 ERA / 1.54 WHIP

Nolan Blackwood (RHP)
11 1/3 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 16 K / 1.59 ERA / 0.79 WHIP

Miguel Romero (RHP)
10 2/3 IP / 20 H / 9 ER / 3 BB / 7 K / 7.59 ERA / 2.16 WHIP

Sam Bragg (RHP)
9 1/3 IP / 12 H / 5 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / 4.82 ERA / 1.39 WHIP

*          *          *

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 In The AFL – November 6-11 Update

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: C Sean Murphy

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: C Sean Murphy

 
A’s Prospect AFL Highlights
(November 6 – 11)

Monday, November 6th:
Catcher Sean Murphy went 0 for 2 with 2 walks, while left fielder Jaycob Brugman went 0 for 3 with 2 walks and a stolen base. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 0 for 3 with a walk, and RHP Nolan Blackwood struck out 3 in 1 scoreless inning of relief to earn the save in Mesa’s 5-2 win on Monday.

Tuesday, November 7th:
Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 4 with a double and drove in 2 runs, while left fielder Jaycob Brugman went 0 for 1 with a walk, and RHP Miguel Romero threw 1 scoreless inning of relief in Mesa’s 5-1 win on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 8th:
No games scheduled.

Thursday, November 9th:
Designated hitter Jaycob Brugman went 2 for 6 with a double, while catcher Sean Murphy went 2 for 4 with 2 walks, and RHP Sam Bragg allowed 2 runs, 1 earned, in 1 inning of relief to suffer the loss as Mesa lost 5-4 in 10 innings on Thursday.

Friday, November 10th:
RHP Logan Shore made the start and allowed 1 run in 4 innings of work, while RHP Nolan Blackwood pitched 2 perfect innings in relief, and third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 5 in Mesa’s 3-3 tie on Friday.

Saturday, November 11th:
Catcher Sean Murphy went 3 for 5 with a double and drove in 2 runs, while third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 5 and drove in 2 runs, and left fielder Jaycob Brugman went 2 for 6 with a double and drove in a run. RHP Miguel Romero tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief to earn the win as Mesa won 16-2 on Saturday.

Sunday, November 12th:
No games scheduled.

 

A’s Prospect AFL Stats
(October 10 – November 11)

Sheldon Neuse (3B-SS)
73 AB / 4 HR / 7 BB / 14 K / .288 AVG / .350 OBP / .534 SLG / .884 OPS

Sean Murphy (C)
60 AB / 0 HR / 10 BB / 6 K / .317 AVG / .431 OBP / .383 SLG / .814 OPS

Jaycob Brugman (OF)
21 AB / 0 HR / 7 BB / 4 K / .190 AVG / .393 OBP / .286 SLG / .679 OPS

Tyler Ramirez (OF)
17 AB / 1 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .059 AVG / .200 OBP / .235 SLG / .435 OPS

Logan Shore (RHP)
20 IP / 30 H / 12 ER / 2 BB / 13 K / 5.40 ERA / 1.60 WHIP

Nolan Blackwood (RHP)
10 1/3 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 3 BB / 16 K / 1.74 ERA / 0.87 WHIP

Miguel Romero (RHP)
8 2/3 IP / 16 H / 8 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / 8.31 ERA / 2.19 WHIP

Sam Bragg (RHP)
7 IP / 11 H / 5 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / 6.43 ERA / 1.57 WHIP

*          *          *

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 Prospects Shore & Brugman on Life in the AFL

by Nick Badders / A’s Farm Arizona Correspondent

00aflafl_striahgt_logo_4vdwdld9_cg5m3bavAfter catching up with A’s prospects Sheldon Neuse and Sean Murphy last week, A’s Farm took the opportunity to check in with a couple more of Oakland’s young stars in the Arizona Fall League this week: RHP Logan Shore and outfielder Jaycob Brugman.

The 22-year-old Shore was a highly-coveted college pitcher whom the A’s selected with their 2nd-round pick in last year’s draft, while the 25-year-old Brugman was the A’s 17th-round selection back in 2013.

Shore spent most of this past season honing his craft with Stockton in the High-A California League, while a hot start for Triple-A Nashville earned Brugman a promotion to Oakland, where he made his big league debut last June.

So far, Shore has made four starts for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League, while Brugman was only recently added to the Solar Sox roster after outfielder Tyler Ramirez was sidelined by a back injury.

 

LOGAN SHORE

ls624519bAfter making his pro debut with short-season Vermont in 2016, Shore kicked off the 2017 season with High-A Stockton. He allowed just one earned run or less in six of his first nine appearances for the Ports before landing on the disabled list in May with a lat strain. After a brief rehab stint in the Arizona League, Shore returned to Stockton in July, where he posted a 4.97 ERA over his final eight appearances for the Ports.

AF:  What have your impressions been of the Arizona Fall League so far?

LS:  It’s been good. It’s been challenging, which I knew coming in, being able to pitch against guys who are going to be in the big leagues in the next year or next couple years. It’s been a really good experience for me, and I know for all the other guys – Nolan [Blackwood], just talking with him, and [Sam] Bragg. And it’s hard. It’s a hard league to pitch in. It’s been fun though.

AF:  You mentioned a few guys you’ve played with. There are also a lot of players you have not previously played alongside. How is it playing with such a mix?

LS:  It’s cool. Even a lot of the guys…I played against in college, whether it be a couple of guys [who] went to Vanderbilt or Riley Ferrell was at TCU. And so these guys, the guys that I’ve heard of and I’ve seen play…it’s kind of cool to connect names to faces, and it’s been a lot of fun.

AF:  Another familiar face, Steve Connelly, is your pitching coach here. How beneficial has it been, having worked with him this past season in Stockton?

LS:  Yeah, he was my pitching coach all year. So, anytime you get someone who kind of knows you and knows my routine and how my pitches work and all that kind of stuff, it helps. If I don’t feel right, I can go to him and he can kind of tell me what he sees.

AF:  I talked with catcher Sean Murphy a while back and he mentioned that he was impressed by you. What has impressed you about him in his approach, and how have you learned from him as a catcher?

LS:  He just knows the game. It’s nice having a catcher you can trust and know that he…kind of sees hitters’ tendencies. And I can trust what he’s doing with calling pitches and that kind of stuff. Even with two strikes, if I want to be throwing a breaking ball or something and there’s a runner on third, I know one-hundred percent he’s going to block it and have no worries if I throw a ball in the dirt or anything like that. He’s as solid as they come. It’s been fun having him catch me in the beginning of the year and then obviously out here and all through the next few years.

AF:  Another guy I want to ask you about is A.J. Puk. You played together for three years at Florida and now you’re coming up through the A’s system together after being drafted almost next to each other last year. What’s your relationship like with him going back to college and looking at where you are now?

LS:  We were roommates all three years at school, starting freshman year in the dorms all the way through our junior year. We always joked about getting drafted by the same team and obviously never thought that was even a possibility. You know, the chances of that happening are so slim. Obviously, it happened and it’s been fun. We’re best friends. And he’s somebody that I look up to, just because he’s successful and he’s got a really, really long and big career ahead of him. So, it’s fun to have that friendship and push each other to get better.

AF:  What was your reaction when you found out that he was drafted and then, shortly thereafter, you found out that you were drafted by the same team?

LS:  It was weird. He was supposed to go at one. Then some things kind of happened and he fell to the A’s at six. Forty picks later, I find out I’m going to the A’s, and it was a really cool moment.

AF:  You two were drafted in 2016, so you haven’t been in the organization that long. What have been your impressions of how the organization has helped you grow and develop as a pitcher?

LS:  Just kind of learning who you are. I mean, you kind of learn who you are in college, but pitching in college and pitching in pro ball is a little bit different in my opinion. Having to go out there every five days, compared to every seven, playing 140 games instead of 75 or 80, it’s just a different ball game. You kind of have to learn who you are as a person, who you are in the weight room, that kind of stuff. It changes so much. So, the first year, this year, was really a big learning experience for me, figuring out what I need to do to put myself in the best possible situation every fifth day to be successful. It’s been going well.

AF:  You were pitching pretty well before your injury this year. Was it hard to get back into that groove on the mound after returning from the disabled list?

LS:  Yeah, it took a little bit. I mean obviously pitching out in the AZL [Arizona League] is a lot different than throwing in High-A or even in Low-A. It took me a couple of outings. I felt really good in the AZL and it was fine. And then when I went back to Stockton, I got hit around a little bit the first couple of games back. Overall, anytime you go through failures like that, it’s a good learning experience and you get stronger from that.

AF:  Outside of the talent level, what kind of differences have you noticed between the AZL, Stockton and now the Arizona Fall League?

LS:  Yeah, I mean, big jump in talent from AZL to Stockton. I would say from Stockton to here, it’s just the three or four top hitters in High-A are pretty much every hitter out here, which is fun. You’ve really got to lock in and really got to think ahead and be prepared.

AF:  There’s just a couple of weeks now left in the AFL season, so what are your plans for the offseason?

LS:  You know, just hang out with my family and friends and get some good work in and get ready for spring training in 2018. Obviously, being out here playing this long, through the middle of November, maybe take a week or so off and then start right back up working out and that kind of stuff.

AF:  Do you have any plans or goals for 2018? Any specific things you want to accomplish before spring training?

LS:  I mean, really just work on the things that I feel body-wise to put myself in the best possible situation to stay healthy next year. I mean, some things, obviously, I’m sticking with that I learned during the rehab process in the two months I was back in Arizona. Just kind of hone in on those things and whatever happens, happens next year, and just keep working hard.

2017 (Stockton): 72.2 IP / 81 H / 33 ER / 16 BB / 74 K / 4.09 ERA / 1.33 WHIP

2017 (AZL A’s): 8 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 13 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.25 WHIP

2017 (Total): 80.2 IP / 83 H / 33 ER / 16 BB / 87 K / 3.68 ERA / 1.23 WHIP

AFL: 16 IP / 24 H / 11 ER / 2 BB / 11 K / 6.19 ERA / 1.63 WHIP

 

JAYCOB BRUGMAN

jb595144bAn Arizona native, Brugman began the 2017 season with Triple-A Nashville. After posting a .307 batting average for Nashville in May, he soon earned a call up to Oakland, where he batted .266 over 48 games with the A’s. Shortly after the club acquired outfielder Boog Powell from the Mariners in August, Brugman was sent back to Nashville, where he ended up finishing the season on the disabled list. A back injury to outfielder Tyler Ramirez in the AFL recently opened a roster spot for Brugman on the Mesa Solar Sox squad, and he’s gotten into just four games so far in Arizona.

AF:  You haven’t been down here in the Arizona Fall League that long. So, how did it come about that you ended up in the AFL?

JB:  I was looking for a winter ball team, and one of the players [Tyler Ramirez] got hurt and the organization reached out to me and said, “Hey, it might be a good idea to play some games in the fall league if you’re looking for extra ABs,” because I got hurt in the season. So, I was like, “Sure, that sounds like fun.”

AF:  You were with the Solar Sox in 2015. So, how does it feel to be back? Have you noticed any differences or similarities?

JB:  It’s all the same. It’s pretty fun. I really liked it when I came in ’15. I like getting to know new players from different organizations, so that was a cool thing.

AF:  What is that like, playing with guys you haven’t played with before?

JB:  I’ve only played with one of the A’s guys before, so it’s fun to get to know other people. It really builds the networking throughout your career. Later down the road, you see someone you played with and it’s an instant connection.

AF:  Is there anything you are trying to work on or anything the organization wants you to try to work on in your few weeks here?

JB:  I’m trying to work on certain little things for my game here and there personally. Nothing specific from the organization, but I’m always trying to get better. And I know what I need to do to try and work on it now.

AF:  I want to take you back to this past season. Did you have an expectation of potentially getting called up to the big leagues?

JB:  I was hopeful. I went into it with the attitude of “I’m going to make them call me up.” That’s what you kind of have to do. It was good. I was fortunate enough to get called up and make my debut, and it was pretty awesome.

AF:  How’d you react when you found out you were being called up?

JB:  I was…just a lot of emotions. It was really fun. I was excited that the team in Nashville, the coaching staff – I’ve been with them for a few years – I was excited to have them experience it with me. So, that was fun.

AF:  Your manager in Nashville, Ryan Christenson, who’s sort of come up with you through the organization – Stockton, Midland, Nashville – will be the bench coach in Oakland next year. What kind of an impact has he had on you?

Jaycob Brugman (photo: Nick Badders)

Jaycob Brugman
(photo: Nick Badders)

JB:  Oh, huge. I’m really comfortable around him and I know I can ask him anything. He knows so much about the game. I’m constantly just asking him questions and we’re just talking baseball and that’s what he loves to do. He loves talking baseball, and that’s why he’s such a good coach, because he’s personable and loves baseball. It’s going to be a fun time up there. Hopefully I can get up there again this next year and be able to play with him on the bench.

AF:  What was the biggest takeaway or most valuable thing you learned in the big leagues?

JB:  Just how everything is amplified up there. Focus, all the little things, fundamentals. Doing it the right way and be professional. A lot of times in the minor leagues, you get lost in the small towns and the no-one-really-watching-you kind of thing. So, I just probably learned to go about my business in a better way and be a little more professional and kind of grow up a little, you know? Little bigger stage.

AF:  What were your impressions of the big league coaching staff?

JB:  They’re all great. I really liked them. Unfortunately, [Mark] Kotsay, the bench coach, he had to leave – you know the incident with his daughter. But he was great. Scar [Steve Scarsone] was his replacement. It was just a good group and all the guys, [Bob] Melvin and Chip Hale, it was really fun playing for them. Any big league coach will have an impact on you because they’ve been around so long and they’ve got so much to give.

AF:  You’ve played all three outfield positions throughout your career. Is there somewhere you feel most comfortable?

JB:  I like center field. I feel a little more comfortable out there. It’s where you play the most every day that you get comfortable with. So, whether I’m playing left every day, it’d be left, or right. I like them all, it’s just a fun time for sure.

AF:  Now you only have a couple of weeks left in the AFL season and then you’re off for the winter before spring training starts. Do you have any plans for the winter or anything you want to work on before spring training gets underway?

JB:  Yeah, I mean, I’m just going to work on different tweaks that I’ve made to my swing, things like that. But really just trying to rest the body and get it ready and as strong as I can get and come into spring training ready.

AF:  Outside of making it back to the Coliseum, do you have any goals or plans for 2018?

JB:  Just play as hard as I can and try to force their hand almost and not let them send me down – make the club and try and put pressure on them for me to be there. Just play my game and keep doing what I know I can do and have confidence and force their hand a little.

2017 (Nashville): 1 HR / 19 BB / 28 K / .275 AVG / .355 OBP / .340 SLG / .695 OPS

2017 (Oakland): 3 HR / 18 BB / 38 K / .266 AVG / .346 OBP / .343 SLG / .688 OPS

AFL: 0 HR / 7 BB / 2 K / .000 AVG / .438 OBP / .000 SLG / .438 OPS

*          *          *

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 In The AFL – October 30-November 4 Update

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: IF Sheldon Neuse

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: IF Sheldon Neuse

 
A’s Prospect AFL Highlights
(October 30 – November 4)

Monday, October 30th:
Shortstop Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 4 with a 3-run homer, and catcher Sean Murphy went 0 for 5, while RHP Miguel Romero threw 1 scoreless inning in relief, and RHP Nolan Blackwood allowed 2 runs in 1 inning as Mesa won 8-4 on Monday.

Tuesday, October 31st:
RHP Sam Bragg allowed 1 run in 1 inning of relief as Mesa lost to Salt River 8-2 on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 1st:
Designated hitter Sean Murphy went 1 for 4 with a walk and drove in a run, while right fielder Jaycob Brugman went 0 for 2 with 3 walks in Mesa’s 8-5 win on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 2nd:
Designated hitter Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 4 with a walk and hit a game-winning 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning, while catcher Sean Murphy went 1 for 4. RHP Logan Shore allowed 4 runs in 4 innings of work, while RHP Miguel Romero threw 1 scoreless inning in relief, and RHP Nolan Blackwood tossed 2 scoreless innings to earn the win as Mesa won 8-6 on Thursday.

Friday, November 3rd:
Designated hitter Jaycob Brugman went 0 for 3 with a walk, while third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 0 for 2, and RHP Sam Bragg allowed 1 run in 1 inning of relief as Mesa was shut out 3-0 on Friday.

Saturday, November 4th:
Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 2 and drove in a run for the AFL East Fall Stars as the AFL East beat the AFL West 4-2 in the AFL Fall Stars Game on Saturday.

Sunday, November 5th:
No games scheduled.

 

A’s Prospect AFL Stats
(October 10 – November 4)

Sheldon Neuse (3B-SS)
56 AB / 4 HR / 6 BB / 12 K / .286 AVG / .355 OBP / .589 SLG / .944 OPS

Sean Murphy (C)
49 AB / 0 HR / 6 BB / 5 K / .286 AVG / .386 OBP / .347 SLG / .733 OPS

Tyler Ramirez (OF)
17 AB / 1 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .059 AVG / .200 OBP / .235 SLG / .435 OPS

Jaycob Brugman
5 AB / 0 HR / 4 BB / 2 K / .000 AVG / .444 OBP / .000 SLG / .444 OPS

Logan Shore (RHP)
16 IP / 24 H / 11 ER / 2 BB / 11 K / 6.19 ERA / 1.63 WHIP

Miguel Romero (RHP)
6 2/3 IP / 15 H / 8 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / 10.80 ERA / 2.70 WHIP

Nolan Blackwood (RHP)
7 1/3 IP / 6 H / 2 ER / 2 BB / 10 K / 2.45 ERA / 1.09 WHIP

Sam Bragg (RHP)
6 IP / 9 H / 4 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 6.00 ERA / 1.50 WHIP

*          *          *

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 In The AFL – October 23-28 Update

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: C Sean Murphy

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: C Sean Murphy

 
A’s Prospect AFL Highlights
(October 23 – 28)

Monday, October 23rd:
Catcher Sean Murphy and third baseman Sheldon Neuse each went 0 for 3 with a walk, while RHPs Miguel Romero & Sam Bragg each threw 1 scoreless inning in relief with Bragg earning the save in Mesa’s 5-2 win on Monday.

Tuesday, October 24th:
No A’s prospects appeared in Mesa’s 3-1 loss to Scottsdale on Tuesday, but former A’s prospect Dakota Bacus struck out the side in 1 scoreless inning of relief for the Solar Sox.

Wednesday, October 25th:
Shortstop Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 4 with a double in Mesa’s 6-3 win over Peoria on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 26th:
Catcher Sean Murphy went 2 for 4 with a double, and designated hitter Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 4 with a double and drove in a run, while RHP Miguel Romero gave up 5 runs in just 1 inning of relief, and RHP Nolan Blackwood allowed 2 unearned runs in 1 1/3 innings as Mesa lost 19-4 on Thursday.

Friday, October 27th:
Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk and drove in 2 runs, while designated hitter Sean Murphy went 2 for 4 and drove in a run, while RHP Logan Shore made the start and allowed 1 run in 4 innings of work to earn the win, and RHP Sam Bragg threw 1 scoreless inning in relief as Mesa won 5-1 on Friday.

Saturday, October 28th:
Catcher Sean Murphy went 1 for 3 with a walk and drove in a run in Mesa’s 9-6 win over Glendale on Saturday, while outfielder Jaycob Brugman replaced injured outfielder Tyler Ramirez on the Solar Sox roster.

Sunday, October 29th:
No games scheduled.

 

A’s Prospect AFL Stats
(October 10 – 28)

Sheldon Neuse (3B-SS)
46 AB / 2 HR / 5 BB / 12 K / .304 AVG / .373 OBP / .543 SLG / .916 OPS

Sean Murphy (C)
36 AB / 0 HR / 5 BB / 3 K / .333 AVG / .442 OBP / .417 SLG / .859 OPS

Tyler Ramirez (OF)
17 AB / 1 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .059 AVG / .200 OBP / .235 SLG / .435 OPS

Logan Shore (RHP)
12 IP / 17 H / 7 ER / 1 BB / 9 K / 5.25 ERA / 1.50 WHIP

Miguel Romero (RHP)
4 2/3 IP / 12 H / 8 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / 15.43 ERA / 3.00 WHIP

Nolan Blackwood (RHP)
4 1/3 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.92 WHIP

Sam Bragg (RHP)
4 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 4.50 ERA / 1.25 WHIP

*          *          *

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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.

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