Tag: Jorge Mateo

Sunday, September 17th: Naile Leads Midland to Shutout Victory as RockHounds Win 4th Straight Texas League Title

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher James Naile (6 H / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher James Naile (6 H / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #5

Midland RockHounds  1

Tulsa Drillers                  0

WP – J.Naile

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher James Naile

(6 H / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

After losing the first two games of the best-of-five championship series, the RockHounds came back from the brink of elimination to win three straight do-or-die games, capping their remarkable run with a shutout victory over Tulsa on Sunday to claim their fourth straight Texas League championship title. Though he labored a bit early on, starter James Naile, who took the loss in Game #1 on Tuesday, got the job done on Sunday. Aided by a pair of double plays and a couple of runners caught stealing, Naile tossed 6 shutout innings, allowing 5 hits and striking out 6, to earn the win for the RockHounds. Relievers Tyler Sturdevant, Joel Seddon, Brandon Mann and Kyle Finnegan combined to throw 3 scoreless and hitless frames, with Finnegan getting the final three outs in the 9th to notch his 3rd save of the series and complete the 5-hit shutout on Sunday. The game’s first batter, shortstop Jorge Mateo, scored the match’s only run after he reached base on an infield error to lead off the game. Mateo eventually came around to score on first baseman Viosergy Rosa‘s two-out RBI single, and that was all the scoring that either team would do on Sunday. Rosa also drew a pair of walks in the game, while second baseman Max Schrock had 3 hits, including a double. Center fielder J.P. Sportman singled and stole a base, and third baseman Sheldon Neuse, who ended up going 9 for 18 to hit an even .500 in the series, doubled and drew a walk in the RockHounds’ final victory of the season.

Midland RockHounds Championship Roster

RHP Carlos Navas hoists the championship trophy (photo via Carlos Navas' twitter)

RHP Carlos Navas hoists the championship trophy
(photo via Carlos Navas’ twitter)

 

 

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Friday, September 15th: Fillmyer Leads Hounds to Shutout Victory in Game #3

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Heath Fillmyer (5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Heath Fillmyer (5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #3

Midland RockHounds  2

Tulsa Drillers                  0

WP – H.Fillmyer

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Heath Fillmyer

(5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / Win)

In a must-win game, RockHounds RHP Heath Fillmyer outdueled former A’s RHP Brandon McCarthy to force a Game #4 in the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series. Facing elimination, Midland managed to shut out Tulsa on just 5 hits on Friday. The A’s 5th-round draft pick in 2014, Fillmyer struck out 4 over 5 scoreless frames to earn the win. RHP Sam Bragg tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, while RHP Tyler Sturdevant threw a scoreless 8th, and RHP Kyle Finnegan pitched a perfect 9th to complete the shutout and pick up the save for Midland. Meanwhile, McCarthy, making a rehab start for Tulsa, surrendered 2 runs over 6 innings of work to suffer the loss. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse singled twice and walked, while second baseman Max Schrock doubled and scored the RockHounds’ first run in the 4th inning on first baseman Viosergy Rosa‘s RBI groundout. Shortstop Jorge Mateo then tripled and scored his team’s second run in the 6th on Schrock’s RBI groundout. Meanwhile, RHP Grant Holmes is set to take the mound for Midland in another do-or-die match on Saturday.

Midland RockHounds Postseason Roster

 

Saturday’s Game:

Midland @ Tulsa (Championship Game #4) – 5:05pm PT / 7:05pm CT

 

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Tuesday, September 12th: Sportman’s Big Bat Isn’t Enough to Help Hounds Prevail in Game #1

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder J.P. Sportman (2 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder J.P. Sportman (2 for 4 / HR / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #1

Tulsa Drillers                  5

Midland RockHounds  3

LP – J.Naile

HR – J.Sportman

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder J.P. Sportman

(2 for 4 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

A big 4-run 2nd inning led Tulsa to victory over Midland in the first game of the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series on Tuesday. After getting through an efficient 1st inning on just 7 pitches, starter James Naile surrendered 4 runs in the 2nd to put the Hounds in an early hole. He gave up another run in the 6th and ended up allowing 5 runs on 10 hits over 6 innings of work to suffer the loss. RHP Sam Bragg tossed 2 scoreless frames in relief, and RHP Nolan Blackwood pitched a perfect 9th in his Midland debut. Center fielder J.P. Sportman had a big game at the plate, slugging a 2-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd to bring his team back within a run. He then doubled with one out in the 8th but was left stranded. Shortstop Jorge Mateo singled, walked twice, stole a base and scored a run, and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis had a pair of hits and drove in a run for the RockHounds. Blackwood and outfielder Skye Bolt both joined the RockHounds postseason roster from Stockton, while RHP Aaron Kurcz, who’s been dealing with a blister issue, and LHP A.J. Puk, who experienced some forearm discomfort in his last start, were reassigned to Stockton’s roster. Meanwhile, RHP Grant Holmes is set to take the mound for Midland in Game #2 on Wednesday. Midland RockHounds Postseason Roster

 

Wednesday’s Game:

Tulsa @ Midland (Championship Game #2) – 4:30pm PT / 6:30pm CT

Vermont @ Hudson Valley (Championship Game #1) – 3:35pm PT / 6:35pm ET

 

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Saturday, September 9th: Farrar’s Slam Leads Vermont to Victory while Mateo Helps Hounds Mount Comeback Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Outfielder Logan Farrar (Grand Slam)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Outfielder Logan Farrar (Grand Slam)

 

NY-PENN LEAGUE SEMIFINAL SERIES  (Class-A Short-Season)

GAME #1

Mahoning Valley Scrappers  3

Vermont Lake Monsters     8

WP – H.Donica

HR – L.Farrar, G.Deichmann, J.Godard

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Logan Farrar

(Grand Slam)

Center fielder Logan Farrar’s big blast helped Vermont prevail in the first game of its best-of-three playoff series with Mahoning Valley on Saturday. With the bases loaded, one out and the Lake Monsters down by two runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, Farrar stepped to the plate and slugged a grand slam to provide the margin of victory for Vermont. Right fielder Greg Deichmann followed Farrar’s blast with a solo shot, and second baseman Javier Godard added a 2-run drive in the 8th. RHP Parker Dunshee made the start and surrendered his first runs since June, giving up 2 runs in 2 innings of work, while RHP Brian Howard allowed 1 run in 4 innings of relief, and RHP Heath Donica struck out 4 over 1 1/3 scoreless frames to earn the victory for Vermont. The series will resume on Monday when it moves to Mahoning Valley with LHP Jesus Luzardo set to make the start for the Lake Monsters. Vermont Lake Monsters Playoff Roster

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Monday, September 4th: Mateo Helps Hounds Snag Playoff Spot while Vermont Clinches Division Title

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds SS Jorge Mateo (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  9

Frisco RoughRiders       3

WP – Fillmyer 11-5 / 3.49

HR – Mateo 2 (4)

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Jorge Mateo

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

The RockHounds clinched their fourth straight playoff appearance on Monday. Shortstop Jorge Mateo had another big day at the plate, collecting 3 hits, including a pair of home runs. The 22-year-old slugged a solo shot in the 3rd inning and added a 2-run blast in the 8th. Mateo drove in 4 runs on the day and ended up going 9 for 20 over his last 4 regular season games for the RockHounds. Second baseman Max Schrock had 3 hits and stole base, while third baseman Sheldon Neuse singled twice, doubled and drove in 3 runs, and center fielder B.J. Boyd went 0 for 5 to finish the season in third place in the Texas League batting race with a .323 batting average. RHP Heath Fillmyer turned in another strong start for the RockHounds, allowing 3 runs over 7 1/3 innings of work to earn his 11th win for Midland. The best-of-five Texas League South Division Series begins on Wednesday in San Antonio, with Game #3 and Game #4 (if necessary) taking place in Midland. LHP A.J. Puk is set to make the Game #1 start for Midland on Wednesday.

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

Friday, September 1st: Mateo, Boyd & Rosa Help Hounds Win Big while Bracewell, Manarino & Altamirano Are Solid for Sounds, Ports & Snappers

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (4 for 5 / Triple / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (4 for 5 / Triple / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions      5

Midland RockHounds  12

WP – Naile 2-3 / 3.21

HR – Rosa (18)

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Jorge Mateo

(4 for 5 / Triple / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

The RockHounds won their final home game of the regular season to snap their six-game losing streak and reduce their magic number for a playoff berth to three with just three games remaining. Shortstop Jorge Mateo had another big night at the plate, collecting 4 hits, including a triple, while scoring 4 runs, driving in a pair and swiping a base. It was the 22-year-old’s 18th triple and 52nd stolen base of the season, and Mateo is now hitting .450 over his last 4 games for Midland. Center fielder B.J. Boyd drove in 4 runs while notching 3 hits, including a pair of doubles, to take back the Texas League batting lead by raising his average to a robust .329. First baseman Viosergy Rosa walked, singled in a run and slugged a 3-run homer to extend his league-leading RBI total to 110, while designated hitter Jermaine Curtis walked, singled twice and doubled in a run for the RockHounds. RHP James Naile turned in his third straight quality start, allowing just 2 unearned runs and striking out 5 over 6 frames to earn his 2nd win of the season on Friday.

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

Tuesday, August 29th: Mateo Triples Twice for Hounds while Carter Homers Again for Sounds & Arizona Fall League Rosters Are Announced

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 6 / 2 Triples / RBI)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 6 / 2 Triples / RBI)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions   10

Midland RockHounds   8

LP – Mann 3-7 / 4.44

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Jorge Mateo

(3 for 6 / 2 Triples / RBI)

Shortstop Jorge Mateo turned in another strong performance for the RockHounds on Tuesday. The 22-year-old, who was acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal, collected 3 hits, including a pair of triples, while driving in a run and scoring twice, and he’s now hitting .300 with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs over his last 9 games for Midland. Designated hitter Jermaine Curtis singled, tripled, walked and drove in 3 runs, while second baseman Max Schrock and center fielder B.J. Boyd both had 2 hits and drove in runs for the RockHounds. Starter Grant Holmes allowed 1 run on 3 hits while walking 6 and striking out 8 over 5 innings of work for Midland. RHPs Sam Bragg and Kyle Finnegan each surrendered 3 runs in relief, while LHP Brandon Mann was charged with 2 unearned runs in the top of the 9th to take the loss as the RockHounds suffered their fourth straight defeat on Tuesday.

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

Sunday, August 27th: Ports Prevail Behind Brown’s Big Bat while Bracewell Leads Sounds to Shutout Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Seth Brown (2 for 5 / Grand Slam / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Seth Brown (2 for 5 / Grand Slam / 5 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports   8

San Jose Giants  6

WP – Sawyer 5-4 / 3.43

HR – Brown (26)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Seth Brown

(2 for 5 / Grand Slam / 5 RBIs)

With the bases loaded, two outs and the Ports down by a pair of runs in the top of the 3rd inning, first baseman Seth Brown stepped to the plate and slugged a grand slam off rehabbing Giants RHP Johnny Cueto to give Stockton a lead it would never surrender on Sunday. Brown also singled in another run for the Ports in the 4th to extend his league-leading RBI total to 99, while his 26 home runs are good for second in the league. Starter Dalton Sawyer allowed 5 runs while striking out 8 over 5 frames to pick up his 5th win for the Ports, while RHP Nolan Blackwood pitched a perfect 9th to notch his 18th save for Stockton.

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

Friday, August 18th: Mateo’s Big Hit Helps Hounds Win in a Walk-Off while Sounds & Ports Prevail in One-Run Victories

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        5

Midland RockHounds  6

WP – Sturdevant 2-3 / 3.58

HR – Mateo (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Jorge Mateo

(3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

With two men on and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, shortstop Jorge Mateo stepped to the plate and laced a single to right field to drive home the winning run as the RockHounds won in a walk-off to notch their fifth straight victory on Friday. Mateo also doubled in a run in the 2nd and hit a 2-run homer in the 4th for the Hounds. Designated hitter Tyler Marincov singled, doubled and drove in 2 runs, while second baseman Max Schrock and left fielder Tyler Ramirez had a pair of hits apiece for Midland. Starter Casey Meisner allowed 1 run in 4 innings of work, while RHP Tyler Sturdevant picked up the win despite giving up 3 runs, 2 earned, in 1 inning of relief for the RockHounds. Meanwhile, Midland RHP Dustin Hurlbutt landed on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain and RHP Kyle Finnegan was reassigned to the RockHounds from the Sounds on Friday.

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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