Vermont was victorious in the second game of its best-of-three playoff series on Monday to sweep the series with two straight wins and clinch a spot in the New York-Penn League Championship Series for the first time since 1996. The Lake Monsters didn’t give Mahoning Valley much of a chance on Monday, shutting out the Scrappers on just 1 hit. 19-year-old LHP Jesus Luzardo, acquired from Washington in the Ryan Madson/Sean Doolittle deal, made the start and allowed just 1 hit while striking out 5 over 5 shutout innings to earn the victory for Vermont. RHP Wyatt Marks, LHP Logan Salow and RHP Michael Danielak then combined to throw 4 scoreless and hitless frames in relief, with Danielak recording the save on Monday. After hitting a grand slam in the first game of the series, center fielder Logan Farrar singled, doubled, walked and drove in a run, while shortstop Ryan Gridley singled and drew a pair of walks, and right fielder Greg Deichmann and designated hitter Jordan Devencenzi both drove in runs with sacrifice flies for the Lake Monsters. Vermont will begin play in the New York-Penn League Championship Series on Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s contest between Staten Island and Hudson Valley.
The A’s released their Fall Instructional League roster on Tuesday. Camp is set to open at the A’s minor league facilities in Arizona in a little over a week and will run for four weeks.
27 pitchers and 28 position players are currently scheduled to attend. And some high-profile prospects like 18-year-old Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros and top pitching prospects A.J. Puk and Logan Shore will be participating.
Also attending will be six of the A’s top seven picks from this year’s draft – outfielders Austin Beck and Greg Deichmann, infielders Nick Allen and Will Toffey, catcher Santis Sanchez and pitcher Logan Salow. You can see the full list of A’s prospects who are set to appear in camp below…
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.
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.
Stockton shut out Visalia on 5 hits to win its third straight on Saturday. Starter Dalton Sawyer was outstanding, striking out 5 while throwing 5 scoreless innings to earn his 3rd win for the Ports, and last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s has now allowed just 4 earned runs while striking out 23 over his last 20 innings for Stockton. RHPs Joey Wagman, Miguel Romero and Kyle Friedrichs combined to throw 4 scoreless frames in relief to complete the shutout on Saturday. First baseman Mikey White walked and doubled with the bases loaded to drive in 3 runs, and designated hitter Jake Smolinski went 0 for 2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch in his first rehab appearance for the Ports. Meanwhile, LHP Andrew Tomasovich was activated from the disabled list while LHP Jared Lyons landed on the DL for Stockton on Saturday.
The A’s were fortunate enough to be able to sign all of their 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of this year’s amateur draft.
It’s been almost two months since the first of those players signed by the A’s began playing with the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s. So, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.
You’ll find the A’s top 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of the 2017 draft along with their current statistics through August 11 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…
Beck got off to a bit of a slow start, going 1 for his first 21 with 12 strikeouts. And his 5/33 BB/K ratio on the season will still need to see quite a bit of improvement. But Beck’s bat’s been starting to warm up a bit of late, and the 18-year-old just hit the first home run of his pro career in Thursday’s game. He’s also gone 4 for 4 in steal attempts while starting 20 error-free games in center field for the AZL A’s.
Merrell’s basically been doing what was expected of him when he was drafted – making contact, getting on base and utilizing his speed to make things happen. While primarily hitting in the leadoff spot, Merrell’s .299 batting average is second-best for Vermont and his 9 stolen bases and 22 runs both lead the squad.
Thus far, Deichmann has been the best batter to come out of this year’s draft for the A’s. The slugger from LSU appears to be an advanced college hitter who’s demonstrated both power and plate discipline. He currently leads Vermont in extra-base hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while also showing a good arm in right field.
Allen got off to a slightly late start after taking a little longer to sign than most. But since the start of July, he’s been playing shortstop regularly while usually leading off. He’s been doing a decent job while still getting his feet wet as a pro, and the 18-year-old has 2 triples and stolen 3 bases so far for the AZL A’s.
Toffey has pretty much been serving as Vermont’s everyday third baseman since play began in the New York-Penn League. He’s done a good job of getting on base, and his 26 walks and 8 doubles both lead the team, but he’s failed to record a home run in his first 36 pro games for Vermont.
The A’s have been bringing the 18-year-old backstop along slowly and he’s been playing sporadically for the Arizona League squad. Sanchez has mostly struggled at the plate early on, going 8 for 50 with just 1 extra-base hit for the A’s.
16 1/3 IP / 11 H / 3 ER / 11 BB / 22 K / 1.65 ERA / 1.35 WHIP
There was talk of the college closer getting a shot at serving in a starting role, but that may have to wait until next season. For now, the southpaw has been serving out of the Lake Monsters bullpen. He’s been victimized by bad defense at times, but Salow has managed to post 22 strikeouts over his first 16 1/3 innings as a pro.
29 1/3 IP / 16 H / 3 ER / 6 BB / 35 K / 0.92 ERA / 0.75 WHIP
Dunshee has been the most promising pitcher to come out of this year’s draft so far for the A’s. After allowing 3 runs in his first appearance for the AZL A’s, Dunshee moved to Vermont, where he’s now failed to allow a run in his first 27 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters. The former Wake Forest star is an experienced college hurler, and he’s been striking out nearly 11 batters per 9 innings while notching nearly 6 times more strikeouts than walks.
22 1/3 IP / 20 H / 4 ER / 1 BB / 22 K / 1.61 ERA / 0.94 WHIP
Howard has been almost as impressive as Dunshee in the early going. The 6-foot-9 righty has demonstrated great control, walking just 1 and striking out 22 while also failing to allow a home run over his first 22 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.
The 10th-round draft pick out of Washington started out strong. Meggs smashed 3 home runs in his first 17 games, a number no one on the Lake Monsters squad has yet to surpass, while also boasting a .370 on-base percentage and a .449 slugging percentage before landing on the disabled list in late July.
RHP Dustin Hurlbutt delivered another outstanding start to help the RockHounds take their second straight from San Antonio on Monday. The 24-year-old allowed 1 run on just 2 hits over 7 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Midland, and Hurlbutt has now given up just 1 run and 7 hits in 18 1/3 frames over his last 3 starts for the Hounds. RHP Tyler Sturdevant tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to secure his 1st save for Midland on Monday. Right fielder J.P. Sportman singled, tripled and drove in a run, while center fielder B.J. Boyd had 3 hits, including a pair of doubles, stole a base and scored twice, and designated hitter Jermaine Curtis doubled, walked and drove in a pair of runs for the RockHounds.
It’s been four weeks since the amateur draft, so let’s take a quick look at which of the A’s 2017 draft picks are currently playing for the Vermont Lake Monsters and the Arizona League A’s and how they’ve been performing so far in the early going. All statistics are through games of Sunday, July 9…
The A’s second overall pick in this year’s draft, shortstop Kevin Merrell, has been hitting well with a .314/.324/.400 slash line and a pair of stolen bases while primarily batting out of the leadoff spot. 4th-round third baseman Will Toffey has shown good plate discipline. He’s already drawn 8 walks, but he also leads the team with 3 errors. 10th-round outfielder Jack Meggs, whose college statistics weren’t particularly eye-popping, has been one of Vermont’s best hitters. He leads the team with 2 home runs and 24 total bases and has put up an impressive .356/.383/.533 slash line. 11th-round infielder Ryan Gridley has been doing a great job of getting on-base and is currently boasting a .410 OBP. 12th-round first baseman Aaron Arruda leads the team with 5 extra-base hits, but his 14 strikeouts also lead the squad. Most of this year’s pitching picks have thrown a very limited number of innings, but 7th-round RHP Parker Dunshee has been the standout on the pitching staff, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings for Vermont. No other members of this year’s draft class have thrown more than 7 innings for the Lake Monsters, but 6th-round LHP Logan Salow has allowed just 1 unearned run while striking out 7 in 5 innings of work. And 6’9″ RHP Brian Howard recently made his pro debut by tossing 2 scoreless frames for Vermont. 2nd-round outfielder Greg Deichmann and 9th-round LHP Jared Poche, both out of LSU, were officially added to the Lake Monsters roster on Sunday but have yet to make their pro debuts.
1st OF Austin Beck (North Davidson HS-NC)
3rd SS Nick Allen (Francis Parker HS-CA)
5th C Santis Sanchez (Intl Baseball Academy HS-PR)
15th LHP Josh Reagan (South Carolina)
17th RHP Josh Falk (Pittsburgh)
18th OF Mickey McDonald (Illinois-Chicago)
20th RHP Osvaldo Berrios (PR Baseball Academy HS-PR)
This year’s top pick for the A’s, outfielder Austin Beck, hasn’t exactly gotten off to a blazing start, going 3 for 29 with just 1 walk and 15 strikeouts. 3rd-round shortstop Nick Allen has gotten into 5 games since signing and has put up a .294/.333/.412 slash line, while 5th-round catcher Santis Sanchez has gone 1 for 7. 18th-round outfielder Mickey McDonald leads the team with 6 stolen bases and is second on the squad with 13 hits and 18 total bases. 25th-round first baseman Hunter Hargrove has been hitting well with a .313/.389/.406 slash line. And 36th-round outfielder Logan Farrar has been a revelation early on, going 17 for 35 with 8 extra-base hits while sporting an impressive .486/.561/.800 slash line. Though, as an international free agent, he wasn’t actually a member of this year’s draft class, 18-year-old Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros has put up a slash line of .278/.366/.389 with a home run, a double, 3 stolen bases, 3 walks and 14 strikeouts over his first 36 at-bats for the AZL A’s. Meanwhile, on the mound, 32nd-round RHP Caleb Evans and 28th-round LHP Pat Krall have been the pitching standouts thus far. Evans has struck out 10 over 8 1/3 scoreless innings, while Krall has put up a 2.35 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP over his first 4 appearances for the A’s.
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RHP Heath Fillmyer helped the Hounds snap a four-game skid on Tuesday. 2014’s 5th-round draft pick for the A’s allowed just 1 run while striking out 6 over 5 innings of work to earn his 5th win, and the 23-year-old has now compiled a 1.84 ERA over his last 5 starts for Midland. Center fielder B.J. Boyd singled, doubled, stole a base and drove in a pair, while catcher Sean Murphy doubled, walked and drove in 3 runs for the RockHounds.
The Snappers shut out Peoria on 3 hits to win for the fifth time in their last six games on Wednesday. Starter Matt Milburn was impressive, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 8 over 6 shutout innings to earn his 4th win, and the 23-year-old has now given up just 1 run while striking out 20 in 13 innings over his last two starts for Beloit. RHP Heath Bowers threw 3 scoreless frames in relief to complete the 3-hit shutout and post his 2nd save for the Snappers. After going 11 for 68 with 38 strikeouts over his last 20 games, right fielder JaVon Shelby busted out of his recent slump in a big way on Wednesday by belting a pair of home runs for Beloit. First baseman Luke Persico singled twice and drove in a run, while center fielder Mike Martin had a pair of hits and scored a run in his return to the Snappers after spending five games with Vermont. Meanwhile, Beloit RHP Mitchell Jordan was placed on the disabled list and 23-year-old Cuban RHP Miguel Romero was added to the Snappers roster on Wednesday.