Tag Archive for Matt Olson

Thursday, June 25th: Tim Atherton & Brad Mills Pitch Hounds & Sounds to Shutout Victories while Snappers Drop 9th Straight

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Tim Atherton (8 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Tim Atherton (8 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  5

San Antonio Missions    0

WP – Atherton 5-3 / 5.31

HR – Nunez (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Tim Atherton

(8 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

RHP Tim Atherton turned in his best start yet for Midland on Thursday, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7 over 8 scoreless innings to earn his 5th win for the RockHounds as they shut out San Antonio in the opening game of the series. RHP Andres Avila got the final three outs in the 9th to complete the shutout for the Hounds. Third baseman Renato Nunez hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 1st, while left fielder Jaycob Brugman singled in a pair in the 7th, and first baseman Matt Olson and right fielder Josh Whitaker had a pair of hits apiece for the RockHounds. In other news, Olson and Nunez were both selected to participate in the Futures Game, which will be played on Sunday, July 12 in Cincinnati.

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

A’s Farm’s 2015 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team

Matt Chapman

Third baseman Matt Chapman leads all A’s minor leaguers with 11 home runs for Stockton

With the California League and the Midwest League All-Star breaks taking place this week and all the minor league affiliates right around the halfway points of their seasons, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field have been in the A’s system in the first half of 2015. And with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2015 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Nashville, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton and Class-A Beloit. Offensive starters were selected from the players who’ve had the most games played at each position for each team, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers for each club were selected from hurlers who’ve had at least ten starts for their team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. Statistics listed are through games of Monday, June 22.

The asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system. Center fielder Brett Vertigan spent about a month with Beloit before being promoted to Stockton, while third baseman Jose Brizuela appeared in ten games with Stockton before joining Beloit. Right fielder Robert Martinez spent most of the season with Beloit before being sent to Vermont just a few days ago, and Midland’s Nate Long made one emergency start for Nashville.

Check out our list of All-Star contenders at each position. Then just click on the link below the list of contenders to find A’s Farm’s winning Organizational All-Stars at each position. The winners were determined based purely on performance, not potential. Remember, we’re not selecting the top prospects here, we’re choosing the top performers on the field so far this season. So take a good look at the candidates for yourself and feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and selections!

 

–THE CANDIDATES–

 

CATCHER

Nashville – Bryan Anderson (2 HR / .192 AVG / .267 OBP / .297 SLG / .564 OPS)

Midland – Bruce Maxwell (1 HR / .244 AVG / .328 OBP / .297 SLG / .625 OPS)

Stockton – Beau Taylor (3 HR / .213 AVG / .332 OBP / .338 SLG / .669 OPS)

Beloit – Jose Chavez (0 HR / .158 AVG / .229 OBP / .192 SLG / .421 OPS)

 

FIRST BASE

Nashville – Anthony Aliotti (0 HR / .287 AVG / .361 OBP / .337 SLG / .698 OPS)

Midland – Matt Olson (8 HR / .217 AVG / .383 OBP / .391 SLG / .775 OPS)

Stockton – John Nogowski (1 HR / .264 AVG / .355 OBP / .338 SLG / .693 OPS)

Beloit – Max Kuhn (3 HR / .199 AVG / .286 OBP / .290 SLG / .576 OPS)

 

SECOND BASE

Nashville – Joey Wendle (5 HR / .258 AVG / .306 OBP / .406 SLG / .712 OPS)

Midland – Colin Walsh (8 HR / .299 AVG / .425 OBP / .494 SLG / .919 OPS)

Stockton – Branden Cogswell (2 HR / .262 AVG / .358 OBP / .344 SLG / .702 OPS)

Beloit – Trent Gilbert (4 HR / .306 AVG / .342 OBP / .426 SLG / .768 OPS)

 

SHORTSTOP

Nashville – Andy Parrino (4 HR / .271 AVG / .366 OBP / .429 SLG / .795 OPS)

Midland – Chad Pinder (7 HR / .300 AVG / .364 OBP / .457 SLG / .822 OPS)

Stockton – Franklin Barreto (6 HR / .271 AVG / .310 OBP / .432 SLG / .743 OPS)

Beloit – Yairo Munoz (7 HR / .250 AVG / .280 OBP / .381 SLG / .660 OPS)

 

THIRD BASE

Nashville – Ryan Roberts (1 HR / .285 AVG / .344 OBP / .389 SLG / .733 OPS)

Midland – Ryon Healy (5 HR / .274 AVG / .324 OBP / .383 SLG / .708 OPS)

Stockton – Matt Chapman (11 HR / .244 AVG / .328 OBP / .544 SLG / .872 OPS)

Beloit – Jose Brizuela (4 HR / .196 AVG / .311 OBP / .321 SLG / .633 OPS) *

 

LEFT FIELD

Nashville – Jason Pridie (8 HR / .305 AVG / .358 OBP / .474 SLG / .832 OPS)

Midland – Jaycob Brugman (2 HR / .274 AVG / .331 OBP / .402 SLG / .733 OPS)

Stockton – B.J. Boyd (4 HR / .283 AVG / .347 OBP / .411 SLG / .758 OPS)

Beloit – Joe Bennie (3 HR / .252 AVG / .356 OBP / .374 SLG / .729 OPS)

 

CENTER FIELD

Nashville – Craig Gentry (2 HR / .240 AVG / .315 OBP / .326 SLG / .640 OPS)

Midland – Chad Oberacker (4 HR / .302 AVG / .363 OBP / .458 SLG / .820 OPS)

Stockton – Brett Vertigan (3 HR / .322 AVG / .408 OBP / .443 SLG / .851 OPS) *

Beloit – James Harris (4 HR / .250 AVG / .365 OBP / .408 SLG / .773 OPS)

 

RIGHT FIELD

Nashville – Kent Matthes (2 HR / .233 AVG / .294 OBP / .358 SLG / .652 OPS)

Midland – Josh Whitaker (7 HR / .280 AVG / .320 OBP / .518 SLG / .838 OPS)

Stockton – Tyler Marincov (7 HR / .258 AVG / .331 OBP / .405 SLG / .736 OPS)

Beloit – Robert Martinez (3 HR / .184 AVG / .262 OBP / .293 SLG / .555 OPS) *

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Nashville – Alden Carrithers (1 HR / .286 AVG / .379 OBP / .344 SLG / .723 OPS)

Midland – Renato Nunez (9 HR / .228 AVG / .304 OBP / .413 SLG / .717 OPS)

Stockton – Michael Soto (5 HR / .265 AVG / .328 OBP / .399 SLG / .727 OPS)

Beloit – Sandber Pimentel (10 HR / .258 AVG / .340 OBP / .447 SLG / .787 OPS)

 

STARTING PITCHER

Nashville – Brad Mills (73 1/3 IP / 68 H / 29 ER / 31 BB / 54 K / 3.56 ERA / 1.35 WHIP)

Midland – Nate Long (83 IP / 70 H / 25 ER / 29 BB / 68 K / 2.71 ERA / 1.19 WHIP) *

Stockton – Dylan Covey (79 2/3 IP / 69 H / 28 ER / 26 BB / 55 K / 3.16 ERA / 1.19 WHIP)

Beloit – Brett Graves (72 2/3 IP / 78 H / 37 ER / 27 BB / 39 K / 4.58 ERA / 1.45 WHIP)

 

CLOSER

Nashville – Ryan Cook (20 2/3 IP / 13 H / 6 ER / 9 BB / 16 K / 2.61 ERA / 1.07 WHIP / 5 SV)

Midland – Ryan Dull (34 IP / 21 H / 1 ER / 9 BB / 39 K / 0.26 ERA / 0.88 WHIP / 6 SV)

Stockton – Brendan McCurry (32 2/3 IP / 27 H / 10 ER / 9 BB / 38 K / 2.76 ERA / 1.10 WHIP / 12 SV)

Beloit – Jose Torres (38 2/3 IP / 28 H / 15 ER / 13 BB / 42 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.06 WHIP / 5 SV)

 

Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2015 Mid-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

Saturday, June 20th: Michael Soto Has Big Hit & Matt Chapman Hits 10th HR as Ports Win 8th Straight in a Walk-Off while AZL A’s Drop Opener and 25 Draft Picks Join A’s Affiliates

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Michael Soto (2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Michael Soto (2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Bakersfield Blaze  3

Stockton Ports    4

WP – Roberts 2-1 / 3.45

HR – Chapman (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Michael Soto

(2 for 4 / Double / GWRBI)

With two outs, a man on and the game tied in the bottom of the 9th, first baseman Michael Soto doubled to drive in the winning run as the Ports won in a walk-off on Saturday to post their eighth straight victory. Soto also singled but was left stranded in the 7th, while third baseman Matt Chapman homered for the second straight night, hitting his 10th to tie him with Beloit’s Sandber Pimentel for most among A’s minor leaguers, and designated hitter John Nogowski singled in a run in the 3rd for Stockton. Starter Kyle Finnegan allowed 3 runs over 5 innings of work and left with the game tied, while RHPs Trevor Bayless and Sam Roberts each tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, with Roberts picking up his 2nd win for the Ports.

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

Monday, June 15th: Kyle Finnegan & Tim Atherton Pitch Ports & Hounds to Victory while Eight RockHounds Are Named TX League All-Stars

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Kyle Finnegan (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Kyle Finnegan (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports         7

Lake Elsinore Storm  1

WP – Finnegan 4-4 / 5.29

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Kyle Finnegan

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

RHP Kyle Finnegan turned in a strong start for Stockton on Monday, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 4th win. The 23-year-old had given up 12 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings over his last 3 starts for the Ports. A’s RHP Edward Mujica made his first rehab appearance for Stockton and struck out 2 in a spotless 7th. RHP Corey Walter also struck out a pair in the 8th, and RHP Trevor Bayless pitched a perfect 9th in his return from the disabled list. Outfielder Tyler Marincov singled, doubled and drove in 3, while third baseman Matt Chapman doubled in a pair in the 2nd. After collecting 4 hits on Sunday, shortstop Franklin Barreto had 3 hits, including a double, on Monday, and first baseman John Nogowski and second baseman Branden Cogswell had a pair of hits apiece for the Ports. While Trevor Bayless was activated from the disabled list on Monday, outfielder J.P. Sportman returned to the disabled list for Stockton.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

Taking a Look at A’s Recent Drafts

Addison Russell

Addison Russell

With the major league amateur draft set to take place today, it’s a good time to take a look back at some of the A’s recent drafts.

We’ll focus on the top five picks from the team’s last three drafts and examine how those players are currently performing and how they’re shaping up as major league prospects.

So take a look and see how you think the A’s have done in recent drafts – and let’s see how they do later today! This article was also posted on Athletics Nation earlier today…

 

–2014 DRAFT–

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman

#1 – 3B Matt Chapman

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

8 HR / 13 BB / 33 K / .236 AVG / .325 OBP / .538 SLG / .863 OPS

#2 – RHP Daniel Gossett

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

54 1/3 IP / 62 H / 34 ER / 30 BB / 47 K / 5.63 ERA / 1.69 WHIP

#3 – RHP Brett Graves

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

63 IP / 65 H / 29 ER / 25 BB / 38 K / 4.14 ERA / 1.43 WHIP

#4 – RHP Jordan Schwartz

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

36 2/3 IP / 56 H / 37 ER / 27 BB / 35 K / 9.08 ERA / 2.26 WHIP

#5 – RHP Heath Fillmyer

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

30 IP / 41 H / 24 ER / 15 BB / 25 K / 7.20 ERA / 1.87 WHIP

Despite all the A’s deal-making in the offseason, all the A’s top picks from last year’s draft are still in the system. Top pick Matt Chapman, who was touted as a defensively-gifted third baseman with raw power potential, got a late start to the season after injuring his knee right before the start of spring training. The 22-year-old finally got started at Stockton about a week into May and he’s really been heating up of late with 5 home runs over his last 7 games, and he now has 8 homers in just 106 at-bats so far this season. And if he can keep up that pace, Chapman’s prospects could be looking good. The A’s decided to insert their top four pitching picks from last year’s draft directly into the Class-A Beloit Snappers’ starting rotation this season, with mixed results. 3rd-rounder Brett Graves so far has emerged as the pick of the litter. His fastball gets up to 95 mph and he induces a lot of ground balls while showing good control but his off-speed pitches could still use some work. 2nd-rounder Daniel Gossett has a solid fastball and breaking ball and generates lots of swings-and-misses but his changeup is still a work in progress and he’s shown a tendency to surrender the long ball. But both Graves and Gossett have shown the potential to improve as the season goes on. On the other side of the coin though, 4th-rounder Jordan Schwartz struggled mightily at Beloit and was recently removed from the Snappers roster and is expected to start pitching for short-season Vermont as soon as its season begins in a couple of weeks. 5th-rounder Heath Fillmyer, who spent most of last month on the disabled list, has also struggled but still remains with the Snappers for the time being despite taking the loss in all 6 of his starts this season. Overall, Chapman has shown the potential to develop into a solid power-hitting corner infielder, while Gossett and Graves could develop into rotation candidates one day, but they’ve still got a ways to go. And as far as Schwartz and Fillmyer go, it remains to be seen.

 

–2013 DRAFT–

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney

#1 – OF Billy McKinney

Tennessee/Myrtle Beach – AA/A+ (Cubs Organization)

4 HR / 23 BB / 26 K / .324 AVG / .399 OBP / .497 SLG / .896 OPS

#2 – LHP Dillon Overton

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

46 1/3 IP / 45 H / 19 ER / 11 BB / 44 K / 3.69 ERA / 1.21 WHIP

#3 – SS Chad Pinder

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

7 HR / 18 BB / 47 K / .294 AVG / .364 OBP / .457 SLG / .820 OPS

#4 – 1B-3B Ryon Healy

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

4 HR / 17 BB / 35 K / .273 AVG / .325 OBP / .380 SLG / .704 OPS

#5 – LHP Chris Kohler

Extended Spring Training (A’s organization)

The A’s started off the 2013 draft somewhat surprisingly, by picking a high school outfielder with a sweet swing – Billy McKinney. I’ve heard that A’s GM Billy Beane had to be sold on the pick by the scouting department, which might help explain the quickness with which McKinney ended up being dealt. But since going to the Cubs in the deal for hurlers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel last summer, the 20-year-old outfielder has shown that he can indeed hit, consistently batting over.300 with a solid number of extra-base hits, particularly doubles. He started the season at High-A but is currently one of the youngest players in the Double-A Southern League, and he hasn’t missed a beat at that level. The Cubs clearly don’t see McKinney’s future in center field though. Ever since he joined the Cubs organization last summer, he hasn’t started a single game in center, instead spending most of his time in right. 2nd-rounder Dillon Overton got off to an inauspicious start by undergoing Tommy John surgery before ever throwing a pitch in the A’s organization. But Overton’s been solid so far this season for Stockton. His command has been excellent and, despite the fact that he’s still recovering his velocity, he’s been posting solid strikeout numbers. And the 23-year-old could still shape up as an effective major league hurler somewhere down the line. 3rd-rounder Chad Pinder has been one of the fastest movers of the A’s 2013 draft class. After playing second base at Stockton last year, the 23-year-old’s been playing a solid shortstop for Midland this season while showing some pop with 7 home runs so far in a low-offense league, and Pinder could prove to be a middle infield option at some point in the future. 4th-rounder Ryon Healy has been on the same fast track as Pinder while spending time at both first and third base. He’s shown some pop at times as well, but his plate discipline could still stand some improvement. Meanwhile, 5th-rounder Chris Kohler has shown potential but has been slowed by injuries and has spent this season at extended spring training in Arizona with the expectation that he should be getting into action sometime after the draft. He missed all of last season. But in his only competitive play in the Arizona League in 2013, Kohler showed some real promise by striking out 32 batters in just 22 2/3 innings as an 18-year-old. Now 20, he’s still got some time to show what he can do.

 

–2012 DRAFT–

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson

#1 – SS-2B Addison Russell

Cubs – MLB

4 HR / 10 BB / 53 K / .241 AVG / .295 OBP / .407 SLG / .702 OPS

Iowa – AAA (Cubs organization)

1 HR / 1 BB / 7 K / .318 AVG / .326 OBP / .477 SLG / .803 OPS

#2 – SS Daniel Robertson

Montgomery – AA (Rays organization)

3 HR / 17 BB / 41 K / .272 AVG / .347 OBP / .436 SLG / .783 OPS

#3 – 1B Matt Olson

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

7 HR / 50 BB / 56 K / .222 AVG / .378 OBP / .407 SLG / .785 OPS

#4 – C Bruce Maxwell

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

1 HR / 19 BB / 22 K / .233 AVG / .319 OBP / .288 SLG / .607 OPS

#5 – RHP Nolan Sanburn

Birmingham – AA (White Sox organization)

22 IP / 20 H / 12 ER / 14 BB / 22 K / 4.91 ERA / 1.55 WHIP

Well, we all know about the A’s top pick in the 2012 draft – the golden child, Addison Russell. While most people didn’t know much about the young Floridian before the draft, it didn’t take long for A’s fans to fall in love with the humble but hot-hitting infielder. Russell shot through the A’s system before being dealt to the Cubs, along with Billy McKinney, in last summer’s deal for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. And Russell’s rise only hastened with his arrival in the Cubs camp. Russell became the first member of the A’s 2012 draft class to make his debut in the major leagues when he broke in with the Cubs in April at the age of 21 (though Max Muncy made his major league debut with the A’s just four days later). Russell has been the Cubs’ everyday second baseman since then, despite appearing in just 5 games at second base in his minor league career. Russell has had his ups and downs so far in the majors, as anyone that young will, but he’s already shown some pop by accumulating 12 doubles in his first 40 games and will undoubtedly settle in and likely become a fixture in the Cubs infield for many years to come. One of Russell’s best friends and former roommates, 2nd-rounder Daniel Robertson, went to the Rays in the Ben Zobrist deal. Also a shortstop, Robertson has shown some solid doubles power while playing at Double-A this year. He left last Tuesday’s game with an apparent wrist injury but is currently considered one of Tampa Bay’s top prospects and the team’s shortstop of the future. 3rd-rounder Matt Olson is the top pick from the A’s 2012 draft class still left in the system. Olson has always been known for his power and patience, leading the A’s system last year in home runs with 37 and in walks with 117. This season at Midland, which is a notorious death trap for power hitters, the 21-year-old so far has put up 7 home runs while walking an incredible 50 times in his first 55 games. Olson’s also been making a number of starts in right field to increase his versatility and perhaps help him find an opening in the majors a little faster. 4th-rounder Bruce Maxwell has struggled a bit at the Double-A level so far this season, and the backstop will have to show greater production at the plate if he hopes to move up the ladder in the near future. 5th-rounder Nolan Sanburn was dealt to the White Sox in the Adam Dunn deal last season. The 23-year-old has shown some promise by striking out a batter per inning throughout his minor league career, but he’s also been slowed by injuries and is currently on the disabled list at Double-A Birmingham. If he can stay healthy though, Sanburn could prove to be an effective bullpen piece for the Sox somewhere down the line.

*          *          *

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Thursday, May 28th: Nate Long & Brad Mills Pitch Hounds & Sounds to Victory while Sandber Pimentel Homers Again in Snappers Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Nate Long (7 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Nate Long (7 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Tulsa Drillers                  0

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Long 3-3 / 2.81

HR – Olson (7), Walsh (5)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Nate Long

(7 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / Win)

The RockHounds shut out Tulsa on just 5 hits on Thursday. After a 90-minute rain delay, RHP Nate Long took the mound and ended up striking out 8 over 7 shutout innings to earn his 3rd win for the Hounds. It was the 29-year-old’s sixth quality start since moving into Midland’s starting rotation in late-April. RHP Jonathan Joseph tossed a scoreless 8th and 9th to close things out for the RockHounds. Top prospect Matt Olson, making his 12th start this season in right field, drew 3 walks, singled and slugged his team-leading 7th home run, while second baseman Colin Walsh clubbed his 5th homer. Catcher Carson Blair drew a pair of walks and doubled with the bases loaded to drive in 3 runs, and outfielder Chad Oberacker collected 2 doubles and drove in a pair to help the Hounds notch their fourth win in their last five games.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton & Beloit…

Talking Top Prospects with A’s Director of Player Personnel Billy Owens

bo1151079bNow that we’re almost a third of the way into the minor league season, it seems like a good time to take a step back and take a look at how some of the A’s top prospects have been doing so far this season. And there’s no one better to help us do that than the A’s director of player personnel, Billy Owens.

Owens originally joined the A’s organization back in 1999, working as an area scout and coaching short-season baseball over the next five years. He was promoted to his current position in 2004, where he’s been able to put his knowledge of the game and its players to much more thorough use. Owens spoke with us earlier this week while he was out on the road scouting prospects for next month’s amateur draft. And as always, his enthusiasm for the A’s top young prospects is obvious…

 

AF:  Well, let’s start out in Nashville. You guys obviously have an awful lot of veteran players there this year. But the one guy down there who genuinely qualifies as a legitimate prospect is the guy you got from the Indians for Brandon Moss, and that’s second baseman Joey Wendle. He’s been showing some pop with the bat, getting lots of doubles and extra-base hits, and he’s looked pretty good in the field too. He might still need to refine his plate discipline and pitch selection a bit, but what have you been seeing out of him?

jwWendle, Joey2BO:  I think he’s off to a good start. Joey’s a guy we saw extensively in the Arizona Fall League two years ago, and then he had an injury in 2014 with the Indians. Then we followed him after he came back from his injury in August, and we were definitely intrigued by the player. Then we were able to acquire him in the offseason in a good deal for both sides with Brandon Moss. And he definitely had a strong spring training. He’s got a very short, consistent stroke. He’s got some power in there, the production’s been solid the first two months, and he’s got strong intangibles. The glove’s steady. He didn’t have that much Double-A tutelage, so it’s not surprising that his numbers aren’t tremendous from a plate discipline standpoint now. But with his character, good eye and power potential, we think that’s going to get better as time goes by this season. And talking to his college coaches over the years, the Indians personnel and our guys in Triple-A this year and in major league spring training, everyone extols his character and his work ethic. His intangibles are off the charts, and we like his bat too.

AF:  Okay, let’s move down to Midland, where most of the team’s top young hitting prospects are this year. Of course, your top prospect there is first baseman Matt Olson, who’s also been getting some time in the outfield this year. As usual, he’s been taking his walks and getting on base. He’s hit 6 home runs there so far in what is typically a very tough place for guys to hit. But what do you think about what you’ve seen out of Matt Olson so far at the Double-A level?

moOlson, Matt2BO:  Matt’s an exciting player. He’s 21 years old. He has 6 homers in a notoriously tough park, especially for a left-handed batter. The walk numbers are like 37 walks and 44 strikeouts. He’s been playing a really good outfield. He can play corner outfield fine – his arm’s strong. At first base, his talent level’s elite from a defensive perspective. I don’t think there’s a better defensive first baseman in all of professional baseball. With his strong throwing arm, it translates well to the outfield – and it increases his versatility. Seeing Matt over the years since Parkview High School in Lilburn, Georgia outside of Atlanta, he can get streaky with the home runs. His raw power is off the charts – he hit 37 homers last year at Stockton. But I can definitely see him, once he’s totally acclimated and has his swing plane down, going on one of those notorious hot streaks, and he can pop you 10 or 15 homers in a 30-game stretch. And I like the fact that he’s increased his defensive versatility. The walk and power numbers are good and I think he’s due for an explosion at the plate.

AF:  Another guy who moved up to Midland along with Olson this year is Chad Pinder, whom you guys have moved back over to shortstop. He’s now got as many home runs as Olson does and has been hitting well at Midland which, again, is a tough place to hit. So tell me what you think of Pinder’s offensive performance as well as how he’s looked at shortstop so far this year.

cpPinder, Chad2BO:  He actually played a lot of shortstop and third base in college. And at the time we drafted Chad, we had two prominent players who are no longer with us at the shortstop position [Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson], so Chad was able to increase his versatility and play second base, play some third base and play some games at shortstop. He’s definitely got solid hands, the footwork is improving and he’s got enough range for the position. His arm’s strong enough to play either shortstop or third base. He’s progressing very well. The biggest thing with him was I think he only had about 22 walks last year…and pitchers at the upper levels can exploit the fact that you’re going to be that impatient. So he’s improved his walk numbers dramatically. I think he already has almost as many walks this year as he had all of last season. He’s got the 6 homers, and the ball comes off his bat well. For the left side of the infield, he’s got a lot of potential. In a dream world, the guy I’d to compare him to would be J.J. Hardy. What he’s doing is exciting and he’s definitely a legitimate prospect.

AF:  Well, speaking of the left side of the infield at Midland, another top prospect over there who just came back recently is third baseman Renato Nunez. He got a late start to the season due to some nagging injuries, but he’s been heating up and has hit a few homers there recently. So what do you think of his progress at this point?

rnNunez, Renato2BO:  Renato is an exciting player. He’s probably got as good a chance to hit for average and power as anybody in our organization. He’s a kid I personally scouted since he was 14 years old, and he’s really maturing as a hitter. If you look at the numbers right now, he’s really holding his own. He’s got like 13 walks and about 17 strikeouts and he’s got a few home runs already. So from where he was as a 19-year-old player in the Midwest League who had some power…to how he developed last year to hit the 29 homers in Stockton…to see where he is now really tightening that zone at 21 years old in Double-A is very encouraging, because the swing’s as pure as you’ll see from the right side of the plate and the power is real. So if he can just tone it down to where he’s just swinging at strikes and taking the balls, he can be an explosive hitter.

AF:  The A’s other big third base prospect, last year’s #1 pick Matt Chapman, also got off to a late start this year due to a knee injury. But now he seems to be heating up a bit too at Stockton. So what are your impressions of Matt Chapman at this point?

mcChapman, Matt2BO:  Matt Chapman is exciting. He’s probably got as strong a throwing arm as anybody playing baseball. On a scouting scale of 2 to 8, he’s got a legitimate 8 throwing arm. And defensively at third base, he’s got a chance to probably be a 7 defensively. He went to the Double-A playoffs last year and hit a couple home runs in the Texas League championship series. He’s got real power. The ball goes off his bat well. Plate discipline is always a thing we really encourage. It was impressive for him to do what he did last year in the Texas League playoffs, but we definitely want to improve that plate discipline from the numbers at Beloit last year. We worked on that down in the instructional league and in the time that he was healthy in spring training, and now we’re starting to see the fruits of that labor and he’s starting to heat up in the California League.

AF:  Another top prospect at Stockton is the kid you got in the offseason from Toronto in the Josh Donaldson deal, shortstop Franklin Barreto. Just like Addison Russell was when he was there, he’s either the youngest or at least one of the youngest players in the California League at just 19. So what are you seeing out of Franklin Barreto and what are you expecting to see out of him?

fbBarreto, Franklin2BO:  Franklin’s starting to percolate now. What Franklin did last year at Vancouver, which is a notorious pitcher’s park, to go there and hit .311 and hit 6 home runs and put up almost 30 steals, it was exciting. We did an extensive scouting job on him, not only in the Northwest League last year, but he’s another kid, like Renato Nunez, who I go back to when he was 14 years old. So we’ve seen him a lot over the years. And just like Addison Russell and Billy McKinney, he’s skipping Low-A as a teenager and going straight to the California League. And actually, between those three players, at this point of the season, he probably has the highest batting average out of all three of those guys during that period. They’re all three talented, and they were able to survey the California League in April and May and make adjustments. And hopefully, like those other two guys, he’ll really flourish in High-A ball the rest of the season.

AF:  Another guy at Stockton who’s been putting himself on the map with his performance there lately is outfielder Brett Vertigan. He got off to a great start at Beloit and got moved up to Stockton and has been getting the job done there as well. People might not have been watching him quite as closely earlier on, but he’s certainly been opening some eyes this year. So tell me a little bit about what you’ve seen out of Brett Vertigan.

bvVertigan, Brett2BO:  He’s been swinging the bat really well. It’s good to see he’s having success. He’s an outstanding kid, a hard worker. He’s probably similar to Sam Fuld. The guy’s a ball hawk in the outfield and he can be a slap hitter at the plate, has pretty good plate discipline and does things aggressively with his legs. So for a player to take a step forward, grind away and take advantage of an opportunity, we’re definitely excited to see what Brett’s doing this year.

AF:  He seems to be doing a pretty good impression of Boog Powell from last year.

BO:  Yeah, definitely. Maybe they didn’t start with all the accolades, but they were good players and our outstanding player development people were able to get the most out of their ability.

AF:  One pitcher of particular interest at Stockton is Dillon Overton, who was the A’s 2nd-round pick in 2013 and is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery after coming back in the second half of last season. They’re obviously still being a little cautious with his pitch count, but what’s your impression of his progress this year?

doOverton, Dillon2BO:  His strikeout-to-walk ratio has been amazing. But we’re still taking baby steps with him coming back from the Tommy John surgery. And honestly, before the surgery, he was a guy who could probably pitch comfortably in that 90-91 mph range and get up to 92-93 mph, where he could be a lights-out pitcher and a quick mover. So far, after the surgery, he’s been pretty much around 87-89 mph and will touch 90 mph. He’s still very effective and has a solid chance to be a good major league pitcher. But if he can continue to make progress and get a little bit more velocity over the course of the next couple years, along with that pinpoint control, he’s got a chance to be a rotation piece.

AF:  We were speaking about Franklin Barreto, but the A’s have another promising young shortstop at Beloit, Yairo Munoz, who’s just 20. He’s had some big games lately and has been heating up a bit. Tell me what you’ve seen out of Munoz so far.

ymMunoz, Yario2BO:  Yeah, last year at 19 years old in the New York-Penn League, he popped 5 home runs, hit .298 and made the All-Star team. Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz both have the potential to be five-tool players at their position. Along with Matt Chapman, they have the two best infield throwing arms in the organization. Yairo’s got legitimate power to all fields – he’s got a chance to be a 15-20 home run guy. I could definitely see a similarity to Tony Batista when he played for the A’s in the mid-‘90s as a middle infielder and a third baseman who could pop 15-20 home runs and play solid defense. And just the energy and the enthusiasm he brings everyday is exciting. He’s definitely an underrated talent.

AF:  A guy who’s been a bit of a surprise this year at Beloit is first baseman Sandber Pimentel, who’s just been hitting great and showing a lot of pop this year. He wasn’t really on a lot of people’s radar before this season, so tell me a little bit about him.

sp552fd147046a1.image2BO:  Yeah, he’s an exciting kid. He’s like a miniature “Big Papi.” There’s only one, but being from the Dominican Republic and kind of the way he carries himself, you can tell he models himself after David Ortiz. But he’s a kid who controls the zone, the swing is real and the ball comes off his bat. He’s got legitimate power potential and he’s got a nice glove at first base. He’s taken to the United States – the kid’s improved his English immensely in the last year and a half. The coaches rave about his day-to-day work ethic and his personality. And he’s definitely emerging as a legitimate prospect for us.

AF:  So is he another one of those guys you’ve been watching since he was a kid?

BO:  Yeah, for sure. I’ve seen Sandber since he was 14 or 15 years old out there scouting Latin America. Our guys are so good. Raymond Abreu in the Dominican Republic has been with us for twenty years. He’s a guy who goes back to the Miguel Tejada days and all the way back to Luis Polonia. He runs a tremendous camp down there in La Victoria in the Dominican Republic. Julio Franco is out there in Venezuela, and he’s been able to mine for talent over there for years. Those guys are in the trenches and working every day. And it’s kind of nice to see guys like Nunez and Barreto, Sandber Pimentel and Yairo Munoz really emerge this year. It’s definitely a credit to Raymond and Julio.

AF:  Now your top two pitching picks from last year’s draft, Daniel Gossett and Brett Graves, are both in the rotation at Beloit this year. So how have they been progressing from your point of view?

dgGossett, Daniel2BO:  Yeah, Daniel Gossett was a winner at Clemson. In the New York-Penn League last year, he had a tremendous strikeout-to-walk ratio. And now in the Midwest League, we’re seeing his numbers gradually improving. He’s around 90-92 mph with a solid breaking ball and we’re working on incorporating the changeup into his arsenal. He’s a strike thrower and he’s definitely aggressive in the zone. Brett Graves kind of has a tick more velocity – he’s up to 94-95 mph. He sinks the ball really well. We’re just trying to tighten those off-speed pitches so we can increase those strikeouts, but the groundball rate’s been pretty good.

AF:  And finally, there are a couple of guys who’ve been in the A’s minor league system who are now making contributions at the major league level and doing well this year. I’m talking about Max Muncy and Billy Burns. I’m just curious to know how satisfying it is for you to see those guys making contributions on the major league roster and what you think about what they’ve been doing so far?

mmMuncy, Max2BO:  Yeah, so far it’s been exciting to watch. Max Muncy was a player who went to Baylor and played all over the infield initially and eventually settled in at first base in college. Armann Brown, our outstanding scout in Texas, was always pushing and letting us know that Max could play multiple positions. And Max was outstanding at first base. We’ve been blessed with tremendous defensive first basemen, from Matt Olson to Max Muncy to Anthony Aliotti. And Max Muncy was just so good defensively, his feet worked well and he showed the arm strength, so we allowed him to play about 25 games last year defensively at third base in Double-A. And he really worked at third base in the offseason and came to major league camp and made a favorable impression. And when he was able to get the opportunity, he showed a tremendous batting eye. He led the Texas League last year in on-base percentage and walks, and he’s got sneaky power – he hit 25 home runs between Stockton and Midland a couple years ago. And when we needed another third and first baseman who could give you quality at-bats at the big league level, Max Muncy definitely answered the call and he’s playing well. That advanced eye and those innate baseball skills that he has will translate to the top level and he’ll give you a quality, professional at-bat every day. And Billy Burns, he was able to make adjustments. Billy was a right-handed hitter exclusively at Mercer University out there in Macon, Georgia. The Nationals made him a switch-hitter right away in his professional career. So by the time we got Billy, he was able to really sting the ball as a right-handed hitter, but as a left-handed hitter at the upper levels, he was more of a guy who controlled the zone and kind of poked at the baseball. Last year, Billy got a taste of the major leagues and he saw where the fielders were playing him as a left-handed hitter and he realized he needed to make an adjustment. So when he went down to Triple-A, he got a bigger bat and he worked with Greg Sparks, our hitting coordinator for the organization who was at Triple-A last year. And when he came to spring training this season, we were able to see the adjustments he made and we realized that it was going to translate to the top level much more realistically. It’s a long season and hopefully the tide turns for us but, with Max Muncy and Billy Burns, their contributions so far the first two months of the season have been great.

AF:  Well, I know you’re out scouting for the draft right now. So are you able to disclose your current location or is that top secret?

BO:  No, I never can do that. I just finished with a conference tournament and getting ready for the regionals before we go hunker down in Oakland for the week prior to the draft. It’ll be fun. We pick #20. I think our second pick is around #63. And it’s a deep draft – maybe you don’t have the guy who’s the guaranteed superstar at the top, but at 20-100, there are a lot of really good players.

AF:  Well, I’m sure you’ll have you’ll have your finger on the pulse of all of them!

BO:  Well, you know, it’s fun, but the thing is, not only do you want to draft really good players, but over the years, guys we’ve discussed at the draft, Billy Beane and David Forst will turn around and try to trade for guys we liked during the draft process down the road. So it’s not only the guys you get, but it’s also other guys you’ve evaluated you might have a chance to get in the future. It’s always a puzzle. You never really finish the puzzle, but you’re always trying to add another piece to it!

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A’s Farm Report for Week of May 11-17: Relievers in the Spotlight

Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte

Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte

 

With all the issues in the A’s bullpen weighing on everyone’s mind lately, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some of the organization’s top minor league relievers have been doing so far this season. You can always check out the latest A’s affiliate rosters here – Rosters. And you can catch up on how the A’s top minor league relievers have been doing below. This weekly minor league report by Athletics Farm originally appeared on Athletics Nation

 

Click here for this week’s updates on Nashville, Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Saturday, May 16th: Dillon Overton Pitches Ports to Victory while Sounds Fall in 18-Inning Marathon

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dillon Overton (5 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dillon Overton (5 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts     3

Stockton Ports  6

WP – Overton 1-0 / 2.08

HR – Taylor (2)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Dillon Overton

(5 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / Win)

LHP Dillon Overton had one of his best starts yet for Stockton on Saturday as he continues his road back from Tommy John surgery. The A’s 2nd-round draft pick in 2013 allowed just 1 run on 4 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 5 innings of work to lower his ERA to 2.08 and earn his 1st win of the season after receiving a no-decision in each of his first 6 starts for the Ports. RHPs Corey Walter and Ben Bracewell both allowed 1 run in 2 innings of relief for Stockton. Catcher Beau Taylor had a big night at the plate, hitting a 2-run homer to put the Ports on the board in the 2nd and doubling in another run in the 4th, while first baseman Michael Soto singled in 2 runs in the 3rd, and outfielder Brett Vertigan and third baseman Melvin Mercedes had a pair of hits apiece for the Ports.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

A’s Farm Report for Week of May 4-10: Hitting Prospects in the Spotlight

1B Matt Olson

1B Matt Olson

 

With two of the A’s top hitting prospects – third basemen Renato Nunez and Matt Chapman – both returning to action and making their season debuts this week, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some of the organization’s top hitting prospects have been doing now that we’re a month into the minor league season. You can always check out the latest A’s affiliate rosters here – Rosters. And you can catch up on how the A’s top minor league hitters have been doing below. This weekly minor league report by Athletics Farm originally appeared on Athletics Nation

 

Click here for this week’s updates on Nashville, Midland, Stockton & Beloit…