Worth Noting: The hot-hitting Rivercats were shut out for the first time this season. Outfielder Jeff Fiorentino had 2 of the Rivercats’ 7 hits, and starter Tyson Ross allowed 3 runs and struck out 4 over 5 innings of work.
Worth Noting: Outfielder Jeremy Barfield hit the 5th grand slam for A’s affiliates in the first week of play, outfielder Shane Peterson had 3 hits and scored 3 runs, and starter Daniel Straily allowed 2 runs and struck out 6 over 5 innings.
Worth Noting: Infielder Miles Head hit his second homer of the season, shortstop Michael Gilmartin and outfielder Myrio Richard had 2 hits apiece, and starter Blake Treinen allowed 4 runs over 6 1/3 innings.
Worth Noting: Outfielder Chad Oberacker homered for the second night in a row, outfielder Dusty Robinson hit his 3rd homer of the season, outfielder Bobby Crocker and third baseman Wade Kirkland had 3 hits and 2 RBIs apiece, and reliever Jeff Urlaub struck out 4 over 3 shutout innings for the win.
The opening day roster for the A’s Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League, the Sacramento Rivercats, hadn’t been officially announced as of Wednesday night. But with a few exceptions, it’s pretty clear how the Rivercats’ roster will shape up.
The Rivercats are likely to start the season with 13 pitchers, including top prospects Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock, as well as right-hander Tyson Ross until he’s needed as the A’s fifth starter in mid-April. The offense will include five outfielders led by promising sluggers Jermaine Mitchell and Grant Green, five infielders anchored by first baseman Chris Carter and third baseman Stephen Parker, and a catching corps led by top catching prospect Derek Norris.
The Rivercats’ regular lineup is likely to include Norris behind the plate – backed up by veteran minor leaguer Joel Galarraga – Carter, Wes Timmons, Adam Rosales and Parker around the horn in the infield – with minor league pickup Brandon Hicks backing them up – and Green, Mitchell, Michael Taylor and minor league veterans Brandon Moss and Jeff Fiorentino rotating in the outfield and in the designated hitter spot.
The Rivercats’ rotation will be made up of Ross, Parker and Peacock along with returning Rivercats Travis Banwart and Carlos Hernandez. Meanwhile, the bullpen will primarily be comprised of minor league veterans, all of whom will be at least 26 years old at the start of the season, and most of whom were signed as minor league free agents in the off-season.
You’ll find the Sacramento Rivercats’ likely roster, along with profiles of some of the team’s top players, below. And be sure to check back with A’s Farm throughout the season for daily updates on all the A’s minor league games and top prospects!
Probably the most talented of all the A’s young pitching acquisitions this off-season, Parker was a first-round draft pick in 2007 who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and ended up missing all of the 2010 season. He returned to Double-A Mobile in 2011 and turned in a 3.79 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 112 in 130 2/3 innings. After earning a late-season call-up with the Diamondbacks, he gave up no runs in his only major league start. Parker should eventually end up as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher for the A’s, but he could benefit from a little more seasoning at Sacramento this year.
Of all the young hurlers the A’s acquired this off-season who pitched above Single-A last year, Peacock had the lowest ERA and the best strikeout rate of them all, turning in a stellar 2.39 ERA and striking out 177 in 146 2/3 innings between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg last year. He earned a late-season call-up with the Nationals and gave up only 1 run in 12 innings of major league action. The Florida native seems to be a smart pitcher who’s figured out what it takes to win, and it’d be surprising if he didn’t get a chance to be pitching in the majors before the season’s through.
The only hitter the A’s acquired in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals, Norris certainly fits the A’s mold in that he’s a power hitter who has a propensity for drawing walks. His career minor league OBP of .403 no doubt got the A’s attention. But while he slugged 20 home runs at Double-A Harrisburg last season, he managed to hit only .210. If he can just keep his average above the Mendoza line, Norris could serve to bridge the gap between Kurt Suzuki and young catching prospect Max Stassi.
Acquired in the Dan Haren deal with the Diamondbacks, it was originally hoped that the slugging first baseman would be anchoring the heart of the A’s lineup by now. He’s put up big power numbers in the minors, clubbing 31 home runs at Triple-A Sacramento in 2010 and posting a career minor league slugging percentage of .540. But Carter will have to take the opportunity to open some eyes and really show the A’s what he can do at Sacramento in 2012.
Along with Carter, Taylor had lots of expectations thrust upon him as soon as the A’s managed to pry him away from Philadelphia. And while the 6’5” outfielder put up stellar numbers in the Phillies system, his progress has stagnated a bit since coming to the A’s. But Taylor does still have a .296/.371/.476 career minor league slash line along with some good tools. At 26 though, 2012 may be his last real opportunity to show the A’s just what’s he’s capable of.
Green was originally selected by the A’s in the first round of the 2009 draft as a shortstop but has since been moved to the outfield. Midway through the 2011 season, Green took over in center field for Double-A Midland, where he turned in a .291/.343/.408 slash line. But his home run numbers dipped from 20 at Class-A Stockton in the 2010 season down to just 9 last year. His plate discipline has been an issue too, as he’s struck out three times as often as he’s walked in his minor league career. Still, he hits the ball hard and Green could earn a shot in the A’s outfield before long.
A six-year minor league veteran, Mitchell finally put it all together in 2011. The outfielder hit .332 with 29 doubles, 16 triples, 15 homers, and 27 stolen bases in 536 at bats between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento last season. He also posted an impressive .430 on-base percentage to go along with a .530 slugging percentage. The A’s brass thinks this talented player may have finally figured it all out and will be looking to his performance this year at Sacramento to determine whether or not he’s truly got what it takes.
-SACRAMENTO RIVERCATS LIKELY 2012 ROSTER-
Evan Scribner or Travis Schlichting
Be sure to check back with A’s Farm throughout the season for daily updates on all the A’s minor league games and top prospects
Jonny Gomes: Could his 707 swag be giving Dallas Braden's 209 swag a run for its money?
As we speculated in the last edition of this blog, the A’s have reportedly come to terms with Petaluma-born outfielder Jonny Gomes on a one-year deal worth approximately $1.1 million. Since the deal comes hot on the heels of the Seth Smith trade and both players have strong lefty/righty platoon splits, popular speculation has it that the right-handed hitting Gomes will primarily serve as a left field platoon partner for the left-handed hitting Smith, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see Gomes picking up some at bats in the designated hitter slot as well.
The signing of Gomes follows rumors that the A’s have been actively shopping first baseman Brandon Allen. So it could be safe to assume that a Brandon Allen trade could soon be the next shoe to drop and that Gomes will essentially end up taking over Allen’s roster spot. That would likely leave Chris Carter as the A’s leading designated hitter candidate – that is, unless the other recent rumor is true!
Enrique Rosas of ESPN Deportes has been reporting that the A’s are very interested in signing Manny Ramirez as a designated hitter. That would spell trouble for Chris Carter, and likely land him back at Sacramento. The only hitch with Manny is that he would likely have to serve a 50-game suspension for drug violations before he could play for the A’s.
In addition to the Smith and Gomes deals, trading Allen and signing Manny could really serve to shake up the A’s outfield/first base/designated hitter picture. Right now, if Allen is indeed dealt, it looks like the A’s would plan on starting the season with Daric Barton at first, Carter as the primary designated hitter and back up first baseman, and five outfielders on the roster – Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes and Collin Cowgill.
That would put Kila Ka’aihue at first base in Sacramento, and five outfielders in the four outfield and designated hitter spots – Grant Green, Michael Taylor, Brandon Moss, Jason Pridie and Jeff Fiorentino. And if the A’s did end up adding Manny, then that might land Chris Carter back in the first base/designated hitter mix at Sacramento as well. Till the next time, stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Oakland A’s roster roulette…
Coco Crisp: The A's had to throw in an extra million for hair-care products (AP Photo)
The A’s are reportedly on the verge of re-signing free agent outfielder Coco Crisp to a 2-year contract worth $13 million, with a one-year club option that could pay Crisp an additional $7.5 million or net him a $1 million buyout. The A’s also dealt outfielder Jai Miller, who spent most of the 2011 season at Triple-A Sacramento, to the Orioles for cash.
The A’s presumably wanted to have an experienced center fielder who can provide a solid line of defense in the outfield for a very young and inexperienced pitching staff, and didn’t feel comfortable putting their confidence in new A’s outfielders Collin Cowgill or Josh Reddick in center. Additionally, former A’s pitcher and CSN analyst Greg Cadaret tweeted that he thought the A’s needed to have a few veterans to provide a professional example for the younger players, noting that, “Peers have more effect than coaching staff.”
Crisp is expected to bat second behind Jemile Weeks in the A’s lineup, with the #3 and #4 holes still big question marks. With Crisp back in the fold, expect new A’s acquisitions Josh Reddick and Collin Cowgill to end up flanking Crisp in the outfield, with Reddick in right and Cowgill in left. A’s brass has told Reddick to be ready to play every day. And A’s GM Billy Beane has had his eye on Cowgill for a long time, and has said that he’d like to see A’s outfield prospect Michael Taylor show a little more consistency at the Triple-A level. So with Cowgill and Reddick seemingly favorites for starting roles, that could put Taylor in line for the fourth outfielder spot on the A’s bench.
Given Beane’s recent quotes and that, the way things are currently shaping up, the A’s could potentially end up with an all right-handed hitting bench, they’d be likely to want to give the fourth outfielder spot to one of the left-handed hitting non-roster invitees who’ll be competing for a major league spot this spring – most likely Jeff Fiorentino or Brandon Moss. That would leave the A’s with a Triple-A outfield comprised of Taylor, Cedric Hunter and Jason Pridie, along with either Moss or Fiorentino, battling for playing time at Sacramento in 2012.
Click players’ names below for their minor league stats: