Tag: Max Schrock

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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A’s Farm’s 2017 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

First baseman Matt Olson

First baseman Matt Olson

With the 2017 minor league season now complete, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field really were in the A’s system in 2017. We’re not selecting top prospects here, just looking at the top performers on the field this season. So, with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2017 Post-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, Class-A Beloit, Class-A Short-Season Vermont and the Rookie League Short-Season AZL A’s in 2017. Offensive players were selected from the primary starters at each position for each team over the course of the season, 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 among the top starters for each team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. Asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system, but players’ major league statistics and statistics acquired while with other organizations have not been included.

Although A.J. Puk is undoubtedly the A’s top pitching prospect, he doesn’t appear here since he split his season between Stockton and Midland, had an ERA over 4.00 for the year, and had teammates on both squads who performed better on the field over the course of the season. But that in no way diminishes his overall prospect status. The same applies to Yairo Munoz, who split time between Nashville and Midland and also split time between shortstop, third base and the outfield and thus was not the primary starter at any position for either team. Shortstop Jorge Mateo and third baseman Sheldon Neuse are not included either, since both arrived in trades in July and neither appeared in more than 40 regular season games in the A’s system.

Check out our list of All-Star candidates at each position. Then click on the link just 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 this season. So take a look at the candidates for yourself and then cast your vote in our poll for the top A’s Organizational All-Star of 2017!

 

–THE CANDIDATES–

 

CATCHER

Nashville – Ryan Lavarnway (264 AB / 6 HR / .239 AVG / .327 OBP / .341 SLG / .668 OPS)

Midland – Sean Murphy (356 AB / 13 HR / .250 AVG / .313 OBP / .410 SLG / .723 OPS) *

Stockton – Jose Santiago Chavez (167 AB / 2 HR / .192 AVG / .240 OBP / .287 SLG / .528 OPS)

Beloit – Collin Theroux (273 AB / 13 HR / .147 AVG / .251 OBP / .330 SLG / .580 OPS)

Vermont – Iolana Akau (159 AB / 0 HR / .195 AVG / .251 OBP / .226 SLG / .478 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Santis Sanchez (99 AB / 0 HR / .253 AVG / .306 OBP / .313 SLG / .619 OPS)

 

FIRST BASE

Nashville – Matt Olson (294 AB / 23 HR / .272 AVG / .367 OBP / .568 SLG / .935 OPS)

Midland – Viosergy Rosa (517 AB / 18 HR / .255 AVG / .325 OBP / .418 SLG / .743 OPS)

Stockton – Sandber Pimentel (244 AB / 14 HR / .279 AVG / .374 OBP / .484 SLG / .857 OPS)

Beloit – Miguel Mercedes (452 AB / 16 HR / .230 AVG / .286 OBP / .394 SLG / .680 OPS)

Vermont – Aaron Arruda (157 AB / 4 HR / .191 AVG / .251 OBP / .318 SLG / .570 OPS)

AZL A’s – Alonzo Medina (127 AB / 2 HR / .197 AVG / .297 OBP / .315 SLG / .612 OPS)

 

SECOND BASE

Nashville – Joey Wendle (478 AB / 8 HR / .285 AVG / .327 OBP / .429 SLG / .756 OPS)

Midland – Max Schrock (417 AB / 7 HR / .321 AVG / .379 OBP / .422 SLG / .801 OPS)

Stockton – Nate Mondou (470 AB / 2 HR / .287 AVG / .366 OBP / .381 SLG / .747 OPS) *

Beloit – Trace Loehr (363 AB / 3 HR / .267 AVG / .302 OBP / .364 SLG / .666 OPS)

Vermont – Ryan Gridley (210 AB / 1 HR / .262 AVG / .357 OBP / .333 SLG / .690 OPS)

AZL A’s – Marcos Brito (171 AB / 1 HR / .234 AVG / .320 OBP / .298 SLG / .618 OPS)

 

SHORTSTOP

Nashville – Franklin Barreto (469 AB / 15 HR / .290 AVG / .339 OBP / .456 SLG / .796 OPS)

Midland – Richie Martin (380 AB / 4 HR / .234 AVG / .311 OBP / .332 SLG / .643 OPS) *

Stockton – Eli White (448 AB / 4 HR / .270 AVG / .342 OBP / .395 SLG / .737 OPS)

Beloit – Eric Marinez (410 AB / 3 HR / .278 AVG / .341 OBP / .359 SLG / .699 OPS)

Vermont – Kevin Merrell (125 AB / 2 HR / .320 AVG / .362 OBP / .424 SLG / .786 OPS)

AZL A’s – Nick Allen (138 AB / 1 HR / .254 AVG / .322 OBP / .326 SLG / .648 OPS)

 

THIRD BASE

Nashville – Matt Chapman (175 AB / 16 HR / .257 AVG / .348 OBP / .589 SLG / .937 OPS)

Midland – Jordan Tarsovich (341 AB / 3 HR / .240 AVG / .336 OBP / .328 SLG / .664 OPS)

Stockton – Mikey White (440 AB / 17 HR / .261 AVG / .331 OBP / .457 SLG / .787 OPS)

Beloit – Edwin Diaz (347 AB / 10 HR / .233 AVG / .326 OBP / .378 SLG / .703 OPS) *

Vermont – Will Toffey (209 AB / 1 HR / .263 AVG / .377 OBP / .349 SLG / .726 OPS)

AZL A’s – Jake Lumley (135 AB / 0 HR / .333 AVG / .388 OBP / .444 SLG / .832 OPS)

 

LEFT FIELD

Nashville – Renato Nunez (473 AB / 32 HR / .249 AVG / .319 OBP / .518 SLG / .837 OPS)

Midland – Tyler Ramirez (487 AB / 11 HR / .306 AVG / .399 OBP / .437 SLG / .835 OPS) *

Stockton – Brett Siddall (440 AB / 21 HR / .300 AVG / .365 OBP / .495 SLG / .861 OPS)

Beloit – Luke Persico (446 AB / 5 HR / .260 AVG / .327 OBP / .368 SLG / .695 OPS)

Vermont – Anthony Churlin (166 AB / 3 HR / .265 AVG / .320 OBP / .422 SLG / .742 OPS)

AZL A’s – Lazaro Armenteros (156 AB / 4 HR / .288 AVG / .376 OBP / .474 SLG / .850 OPS)

 

CENTER FIELD

Nashville – Jaff Decker (351 AB / 6 HR / .274 AVG / .342 OBP / .368 SLG / .709 OPS)

Midland – B.J. Boyd (533 AB / 5 HR / .323 AVG / .366 OBP / .428 SLG / .793 OPS)

Stockton – Skye Bolt (432 AB / 15 HR / .243 AVG / .327 OBP / .435 SLG / .762 OPS)

Beloit – Mike Martin (281 AB / 1 HR / .296 AVG / .356 OBP / .377 SLG / .732 OPS) *

Vermont – Logan Farrar (214 AB / 4 HR / .341 AVG / .413 OBP / .495 SLG / .909 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Austin Beck (152 AB / 2 HR / .211 AVG / .293 OBP / .349 SLG / .642 OPS)

 

RIGHT FIELD

Nashville – Mark Canha (272 AB / 12 HR / .283 AVG / .373 OBP / .529 SLG / .903 OPS)

Midland – J.P. Sportman (513 AB / 12 HR / .275 AVG / .327 OBP / .417 SLG / .744 OPS)

Stockton – Seth Brown (518 AB / 30 HR / .270 AVG / .340 OBP / .506 SLG / .846 OPS)

Beloit – JaVon Shelby (374 AB / 8 HR / .198 AVG / .283 OBP / .299 SLG / .582 OPS)

Vermont – Greg Deichmann (164 AB / 8 HR / .274 AVG / .385 OBP / .530 SLG / .915 OPS)

AZL A’s – Enrry Pantoja (90 AB / 0 HR / .244 AVG / .355 OBP / .289 SLG / .644 OPS)

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Nashville – Matt McBride (251 AB / 10 HR / .231 AVG / .299 OBP / .434 SLG / .734 OPS)

Midland – Tyler Marincov (286 AB / 9 HR / .266 AVG / .339 OBP / .444 SLG / .784 OPS)

Stockton – Branden Cogswell (326 AB / 0 HR / .270 AVG / .352 OBP / .328 SLG / .681 OPS) *

Beloit – Kyle Nowlin (416 AB / 11 HR / .248 AVG / .357 OBP / .394 SLG / .751 OPS)

Vermont – Jordan Devencenzi (170 AB / 1 HR / .276 AVG / .367 OBP / .324 SLG / .691 OPS)

AZL A’s – Ben Spitznagel (92 AB / 0 HR / .337 AVG / .460 OBP / .457 SLG / .917 OPS)

 

STARTING PITCHER

Nashville – Paul Blackburn (79 2/3 IP / 69 H / 27 ER / 26 BB / 56 K / 3.05 ERA / 1.19 WHIP)

Midland – Heath Fillmyer (149 2/3 IP / 158 H / 58 ER / 51 BB / 115 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

Stockton – Dalton Sawyer (130 2/3 IP / 113 H / 52 ER / 47 BB / 140 K / 3.58 ERA / 1.22 WHIP) *

Beloit – Zack Erwin (95 1/3 IP / 74 H / 22 ER / 29 BB / 91 K / 2.08 ERA / 1.08 WHIP)

Vermont – Parker Dunshee (40 1/3 IP / 20 H / 3 ER / 8 BB / 48 K / 0.67 ERA / 0.69 WHIP) *

AZL A’s – Chris Kohler (42 2/3 IP / 44 H / 19 ER / 12 BB / 24 K / 4.01 ERA / 1.31 WHIP)

 

CLOSER

Nashville – Simon Castro (38 IP / 24 H / 14 ER / 21 BB / 63 K / 3.32 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 4 SV)

Midland – Kyle Finnegan (60 1/3 IP / 61 H / 26 ER / 25 BB / 57 K / 3.88 ERA / 1.43 WHIP / 12 SV) *

Stockton – Nolan Blackwood (57 IP / 42 H / 19 ER / 18 BB / 48 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.05 WHIP / 19 SV)

Beloit – Sam Sheehan (40 2/3 IP / 26 H / 10 ER / 27 BB / 54 K / 2.21 ERA / 1.30 WHIP / 6 SV)

Vermont – Wandisson Charles (21 IP / 15 H / 8 ER / 18 BB / 29 K / 3.43 ERA / 1.57 WHIP / 5 SV)

AZL A’s – Slater Lee (21 IP / 21 H / 9 ER / 6 BB / 21 K / 3.86 ERA / 1.29 WHIP / 4 SV)

 

Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2017 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

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

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Friday, September 8th: Bolt’s Big Bat Can’t Stop Stockton’s Playoff Sweep while Hounds Suffer Shutout Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Skye Bolt (2 for 3 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Skye Bolt (2 for 3 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE NORTH DIVISION FINALS  (High-A)

GAME #3

Modesto Nuts     8

Stockton Ports  2

LP – E.Manarino

HR – S.Bolt

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Skye Bolt

(2 for 3 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

Stockton went down to defeat on Friday to suffer a three-game sweep in their best-of-five playoff series with Modesto. Center fielder Skye Bolt provided the Ports with both their runs on the night, singling in Stockton’s first run in the 5th inning and then slugging a solo shot in the 7th. First baseman Mikey White had 2 hits, including a double, while shortstop Eli White doubled, walked and scored a run for Stockton. Starter Evan Manarino had a rough outing, allowing 6 runs, 4 earned, in just 3 innings of work to suffer the loss as Stockton saw its season come to an end on Friday.

Click here for more on Midland…

Tuesday, September 5th: Vermont Rained Out as Midland & Stockton Prepare to Start Playoffs on Wednesday

Midland RockHounds' Game #1 starter A.J. Puk

Midland RockHounds’ Game #1 starter A.J. Puk

While Vermont’s third-to-last regular season game against Tri-City was rained out on Tuesday, two A’s affiliates, the Midland RockHounds and the Stockton Ports, are both set to begin postseason play on Wednesday. In the first games of their respective series, Midland LHP A.J. Puk is set to face San Antonio RHP Enyel De Los Santos, while Stockton RHP Logan Shore will be opposed by a hurler-to-be-named for Modesto.

Midland first baseman Viosergy Rosa led the Texas League with 110 RBIs, while outfielder B.J. Boyd led the league in hits and tied for the league lead in runs while his .323 batting average was third-best in the league, and second baseman Max Schrock‘s .321 average put him right behind Boyd in the batting race while his .379 on-base percentage was third-best in the league. RockHounds RHP Grant Holmes led the league in strikeouts with 150. Stockton outfielder Seth Brown‘s 30 home runs led the California League, as did his 109 RBIs, while Ports RHP Nolan Blackwood‘s 19 saves were the second-most in the league. You’ll find both teams’ playoff schedules as well as links to their complete playoff rosters below…

 

Texas League South Division Championship Series

Wednesday, Sept. 6 – Midland (A.J. Puk 2-5, 4.36) @ San Antonio (Enyel De Los Santos 10-6, 3.78)

Thursday, Sept. 7 – Midland (James Naile 2-3, 3.21) @ San Antonio (Brett Kennedy 13-7, 3.70)

Friday, Sept. 8 – San Antonio (Joey Lucchesi 5-3, 1.79) @ Midland (Casey Meisner 4-4, 4.12)

Saturday, Sept. 9 – San Antonio (TBD) @ Midland (TBD) [if necessary]

Sunday, Sept. 10 – Midland (TBD) @ San Antonio (TBD) [if necessary]

Midland RockHounds Playoff Roster

 

California League North Division Finals

Wednesday, Sept. 6 – Stockton (Logan Shore 2-5, 4.09) @ Modesto (TBD)

Thursday, Sept. 7 – Stockton (TBD) @ Modesto (TBD)

Friday, Sept. 8 – Modesto (TBD) @ Stockton (TBD)

Saturday, Sept. 9 – Modesto (TBD) @ Stockton (TBD) [if necessary]

Sunday, Sept. 10 – Stockton (TBD) @ Modesto (TBD) [if necessary]

Stockton Ports Playoff Roster

 

Wednesday’s Games:

Midland @ San Antonio (Playoff Game #1) – 5:05pm PT / 7:05pm CT

Stockton @ Modesto (Playoff Game #1) – 7:05pm PT

Vermont @ Lowell (Regular Season) – 3:35pm PT / 6:35pm ET

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our exclusive A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Sunday, August 20th: Puk Pitches Hounds to Victory while Brown’s Big Bat Helps Ports Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher A.J. Puk (6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        1

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Puk 2-3 / 4.91

HR – Sportman (11)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher A.J. Puk

(6 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K / Win)

Starter A.J. Puk turned in an impressive performance to help the RockHounds score their sixth win in their last seven games on Sunday. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 run while striking out 7 over 6 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for Midland, and he’s now recorded 42 strikeouts over his last 27 innings for the RockHounds. RHPs Joel Seddon, Sam Bragg and Kyle Finnegan each tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief. Right fielder J.P. Sportman doubled and hit a 2-run homer, while center fielder B.J. Boyd (.327) and second baseman Max Schrock (.323) collected 3 hits apiece to move into first and third place, respectively, in the Texas League batting race.

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

Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Back in May, we took a look at what a young, rebuilding A’s team might look like. But now that we’ve passed the July 31st trade deadline and the A’s have made a number of deadline deals, and even some post-deadline deals, to add players like Blake Treinen, Dustin Fowler, Boog Powell, Jorge Mateo, Sheldon Neuse, James Kaprielian and Jesus Luzardo to the system, it’s a good time to take another look at what the near future might look like for the A’s.

Of course, one never knows what the A’s might do in the offseason, but the fact that they don’t really have many veteran trade chips left to deal will definitely limit their ability to barter. And, as usual, it seems unlikely that they will splurge too much on the free agent market at this stage of the game. The team could dip its toe in the water to fill a few holes on a short-term basis, particularly on the pitching staff, but there aren’t likely to be any terribly significant commitments in the near term, at least not until a new stadium is within view.

Two players who’ve played significant roles this year seem likely to depart after the season – center fielder Rajai Davis, who’s set to become a free agent, and second baseman Jed Lowrie, whom the A’s hold a $6 million option on for next year. With the A’s now fully committed to a youth movement and with both Franklin Barreto and Chad Pinder capable of playing second base, it seems unlikely that the A’s will opt to bring back Lowrie. But is there still any chance that they might be able to get something for either of them before the season’s through the way they did with Yonder Alonso? It’s possible, but it seems like any deal that would have been possible probably would have happened by now. And looking ahead, there are only two significant players on the current roster who are due to become free agents after the 2018 season – outfielder Matt Joyce and reliever Santiago Casilla. Could the A’s possibly get anything for either player in the offseason? Anything’s possible but, if they can, it’s not likely to amount to much.

When looking at next season on the position player front, eleven guys seem to be pretty solid bets for the major league roster, leaving a number of others left to battle for one or two remaining spots, depending on whether the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players in 2018. The eleven most likely to lay claim to a roster spot include catchers Bruce Maxwell and Josh Phegley, infielders Matt Chapman, Marcus Semien, Franklin Barreto, Matt Olson and Ryon Healy, outfielders Khris Davis, Matt Joyce and Dustin Fowler, and super utility infielder/outfielder Chad Pinder. That leaves guys like Boog Powell, Jaycob Brugman, Mark Canha, Jake Smolinski and Renato Nunez fighting for the one or two remaining roster spots. When it comes to the pitching staff, things could be a little more up in the air, and one would have to suspect that’s where any offseason additions might be most likely to occur.

So, setting aside any possible offseason deals or free-agent signings, and adding in a fresh batch of summer arrivals, let’s take a position-by-position look at how things might stack up for the 2018 Oakland A’s…

 

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

CATCHERS

With Stephen Vogt’s departure and Bruce Maxwell making the move to the major league roster in June, the catching corps could prove to be one of the more predictable parts of next season’s roster. Maxwell and Josh Phegley seem set to split time behind the plate for the 2018 A’s, though the team could always give recently-acquired catcher Dustin Garneau the opportunity to compete with Phegley for the chance to serve as Maxwell’s platoon partner. The team’s top minor league catching prospect, former 3rd-round pick Sean Murphy, has played in just 39 games at the Double-A level and is probably another year away from factoring into the catching conversation.

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Olson

Matt Olson

With the departures of Trevor Plouffe and Yonder Alonso, and the likely departure of Jed Lowrie in the offseason, the A’s infield looks to be right at the heart of the youth movement in 2018. Young slugger Matt Chapman is set to anchor the infield at the hot corner, while Marcus Semien is expected to be back at shortstop. It seems likely that top prospect Franklin Barreto will get every opportunity to take over at second base, where he’s probably best-suited defensively and where he’s most likely to remain since the A’s acquired promising shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal. The team seems ready to make Matt Olson its primary first baseman, though his consistent platoon splits make it likely that, like Yonder Alonso, he’ll frequently sit against lefties while Ryon Healy moves from the designated hitter spot to take over at first. Meanwhile, with Olson at first and Chapman at third, Healy looks likely to get the bulk of his at-bats in the DH slot once again, serving in that role against righties while seeing some time in the field against lefties. And with Olson likely to sit out against most lefties, that could give super-utility man Chad Pinder, who’s sure to make the squad, a good chance to get some regular at-bats against lefties while stepping into the field in any number of positions and giving various A’s regulars a bit of a breather by sliding into the DH spot for the day. And, of course, Pinder also has the ability to spell Semien and Barreto in the middle infield any time either of them is slumping or could just use a day off. The A’s could also decide to give a player who’s probably best-suited for the designated hitter role a shot to see what he can do as the regular DH against lefties. Right-handed slugger Renato Nunez may be limited defensively, but he’s currently leading the Pacific Coast League with 31 home runs while slashing an impressive .309/.387/.630 against Triple-A lefties this season. So, Nunez clearly could have the ability to do some damage from the DH spot when Healy makes the move to first against lefties. Behind Chapman, Semien, Barreto, Olson, Healy, Pinder and Nunez, other infield options down on the farm could include second basemen Joey Wendle and Max Schrock, shortstop Jorge Mateo, third baseman Sheldon Neuse and Yairo Munoz, who’s been increasing his versatility by playing third base, shortstop and center field for Triple-A Nashville this season.

 

OUTFIELDERS

Dustin Fowler

Dustin Fowler

With a couple of the team’s most veteran position players still in the outfield picture, the youth movement may have a slightly less dramatic effect on the A’s outfield alignment in 2018. The team still has control of its top home run hitter, Khris Davis, for two more seasons. So, assuming he sticks around for at least one more campaign, he’s likely to see most of his time in left field once again. And assuming Matt Joyce is back for the final year of his contract, then he’s likely to wind up back in right field against right-hander hurlers anyway. As for center field, the A’s clearly acquired Dustin Fowler from the Yankees to be their center fielder of the future, and that future is likely to start in 2018. Super-utility man Chad Pinder is capable of putting in time in the outfield. And since Joyce and Fowler are both left-handed hitters, he could well serve as an outfield platoon partner, particularly for Joyce in right. And if things line up as expected, then that would leave one or two more roster spots available for outfielders depending on if the A’s choose to go with twelve or thirteen position players and whether or not they decide to make room for Renato Nunez on the roster in 2018. Lefty-swinging outfielders Boog Powell and Jaycob Brugman, who’ve been the main men in center field over these past couple of months, will clearly move behind Fowler on the depth chart as soon as he returns from the disabled list. Though Powell and Brugman are both capable of playing all three outfield positions, the fact that they both hit from the left side severely limits their ability to serve in any sort of platoon role in the A’s outfield as it’s currently configured. And we all know how much the A’s value those platoon matchups. That could help the cause of a couple of other outfield options who happen to be right-handed hitters – Mark Canha, who still possesses some intriguing power potential, and Jake Smolinski, who’s always put up strong numbers against lefties, is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and is currently on a minor league rehab assignment after sitting out most of the season due to shoulder surgery. One thing that seems certain is that the one of the most interesting roster battles next season should be for the A’s last one or two remaining outfield spots.

 

STARTING PITCHERS

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn

What once looked like a strong suit for the A’s, thanks to trades, injuries and poor performance, now appears to be a little more up in the air. Twelve different pitchers have made starts for the A’s this season. LHP Sean Manaea is the only A’s hurler to make it to the mound for more than 20 starts so far this season, and he also leads the teams in wins and strikeouts. RHP Kendall Graveman was looked at as the team’s ace-in-waiting behind Sonny Gray and was the A’s opening day starter this year, but injuries have limited him to 11 starts this season. Manaea and Graveman look to be locks to top the A’s rotation again in 2018. But don’t forget about a guy who put up better numbers than either of those pitchers have this season before undergoing hip surgery this summer – RHP Andrew Triggs. If he returns healthy and regains his form, then Triggs would also be in line to claim a rotation spot next season. A pair of rookies would appear to be the best bets to round out the rotation – RHP Paul Blackburn, who’s been solid in 9 starts for the A’s, and RHP Daniel Gossett, a former 2nd-round pick who’s shown plenty of promising potential. Behind those five (none of whom is currently over the age of 28), there are a number of arms who could be in waiting at Nashville but who also come with a number of questions marks. RHPs Jharel Cotton and Jesse Hahn have combined to make 31 starts for the A’s this season, and while both have shown great promise at times, they can both be wildly inconsistent as well. RHP Daniel Mengden, who showed such potential at times last season, is still in the picture and has recently returned to action for Nashville after missing much of the season due to injuries. Veteran RHP Chris Smith also remains in the mix and could serve as valuable rotation depth at Triple-A. Other potential starting options in the system include RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been working out of the bullpen at Nashville while making his way back from Tommy John surgery), RHP Frankie Montas (who had been serving in a starting role at Triple-A before landing on the disabled list), RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season on the A’s roster), RHP Corey Walter (who’s made 11 starts for the Sounds this season), and LHP A.J. Puk (the A’s top draft pick last year who’s put up an ERA of 5.36 and struck out 61 in 45 1/3 frames since joining Double-A Midland in June). Puk may not be ready to be a real rotation option for the A’s to start the season but, depending on how things play out, he could prove to be a legitimate option for the team before next season is through.

 

RELIEF PITCHERS

Blake Treinen

Blake Treinen

The bullpen could be the biggest question mark for the A’s heading into 2018. There aren’t too many locks here, nor too many talented young hurlers who look to be ready to bloom into superstar status. This could be an area the A’s seek to fill in with a few shrewd free-agent pickups, or the organization might just decide to make the best with what they’ve got and wait until the team looks like it might be ready to contend before investing in outside help for the bullpen. But looking at what’s in-house at the moment, RHP Blake Treinen seems to be the best option for the closer’s role. Of course, RHP Santiago Casilla is still under contract for next season, while the A’s will also maintain control of a couple of other familiar faces from the bullpen – RHPs Liam Hendriks and Ryan Dull. Two hard-throwing RHPs will remain in the mix as well – Frankie Montas, who’s still working to harness his potential, and Simon Castro, who has shown some promise in 13 appearances for the A’s this season. RHP Bobby Wahl will be returning from thoracic outlet surgery, while RHP J.B. Wendelken will be coming back from Tommy John surgery. And there are a number of possible long-relief options to consider as well, including RHP Chris Hatcher (who was recently acquired from the Dodgers), RHP Chris Smith (who could be well-suited for such a role), RHP Chris Bassitt (who’s been throwing multiple innings out of the bullpen at Nashville), RHPs Michael Brady and Josh Smith (both of whom have served in that role at times this season), and RHP Raul Alcantara (who started the season in that role for the A’s). On the left side of the bullpen, the A’s current options look to be fairly limited. Of course, LHP Daniel Coulombe, who’s made 53 relief appearances for the A’s this season, clearly stands atop the pack. LHP Felix Doubront has been serving in a relief role for Nashville since returning from Tommy John surgery, and the A’s recently acquired LHP Sam Moll, who’s made 139 relief appearances in the Rockies system over the last five years. But beyond that, there aren’t many more southpaws to be seen in the bullpen picture at this point anyway, so stay tuned.

 

One never really knows what the A’s might decide to do in any given offseason, and this one’s certainly no different. But one thing’s clear – the team is committed to rebuilding with this current crop of young players. There aren’t many veterans left to deal away at this point, so any significant additions would most likely have to come from the free agent market, though it seems unlikely that the A’s would be ready to make too much of a splash in the free agent pool at this stage of the game. Once plans for the A’s new ballpark are announced, we should start to get a much better sense of what the team’s long-term and short-term player personnel plans are. But for now, this is how the current crop of young players who are likely to make the squad next season is shaping up. And hopefully, A’s fans can look forward to watching this promising pack of prospects develop into a winning team that will be able to carry its winnings ways into a new ballpark somewhere in Oakland in the not-too-distant future.

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Thursday, August 3rd: Mercedes Had Big Game in Beloit’s Win while Midland’s Puk Was Near-Perfect through Six

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers First Baseman Miguel Mercedes (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers First Baseman Miguel Mercedes (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Peoria Chiefs        6

Beloit Snappers  7

WP – Gorman 1-0 / 1.32

HR – Mercedes (14)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Miguel Mercedes

(3 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

It might have taken 10 innings, but the Snappers won in a walk-off to notch their seventh victory in their last eight games on Thursday. First baseman Miguel Mercedes had a big night at the plate for Beloit, coming a triple short of a cycle. The 21-year-old collected 3 hits, including his 14th home run and his 21st double, both of which lead the team. And after Beloit was behind 6-0, his 2-run homer in the Snappers’ 4-run 6th brought his team back within 2 runs. Beloit tied the game in the bottom of the 8th. Then, after Peoria’s Dewin Perez walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, center fielder Mike Martin‘s sacrifice fly brought home the winning run as the Snappers won in a walk-off. Martin also tripled and scored a run in the game, while shortstop Eric Marinez singled in a run in the 8th, and catcher Jason Goldstein singled twice and walked twice for Beloit. Starter Seth Martinez surrendered 6 runs over 5 frames, while RHP Mitchell Jordan was solid in relief, throwing 3 shutout innings, and RHP John Gorman tossed 2 scoreless innings to pick up his 1st win for the Snappers.

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

Sunday, July 23rd: Schrock’s Big Bat Helps Hounds Sweep Twinbill while Ports Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman Max Schrock (5 for 7 / Home Run / Double / 2 Walks / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman Max Schrock (5 for 7 / HR / Double / 2 Walks / 5 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

GAME #1

Corpus Christi Hooks       2

Midland RockHounds  12

WP – Hurlbutt 3-1 / 2.20

HR – Schrock (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman Max Schrock

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

Second baseman Max Schrock had a big game in the first of Midland’s two matches on Sunday. The 22-year-old had 4 hits, including a home run and a double, and drove in 3 runs, and he went 5 for 7 with a pair of walks and 5 RBIs overall in the doubleheader. Catcher Andy Paz had 2 hits, including a double, and drove in a pair, while shortstop Richie Martin singled, doubled and drove in a run for the RockHounds. RHP Dustin Hurlbutt delivered his second straight quality start, allowing 2 runs on just 3 hits over 6 innings of work to earn his 3rd win for Midland.

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Friday, July 7th: Mondou’s 4 Hits Help Stockton Win 3rd Straight & Vermont Wins in a Walk-Off in 15th

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Second Baseman Nate Mondou (4 for 5 / 2 Triples / Double / Walk / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Second Baseman Nate Mondou (4 for 5 / 2 Triples / Double / Walk / 2 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports         9

Lancaster JetHawks  2

WP – N.Ruiz 1-0 / 4.50

HR – E.White (2)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(4 for 5 / 2 Triples / Double / Walk / 2 RBIs)

The Ports prevailed for the third straight night with the help of hot-hitting second baseman Nate Mondou on Friday. Last year’s 13th-round draft pick for the A’s collected 4 hits, including 2 triples and a double, while also drawing a walk and driving in a pair of runs. The 22-year-old is now 8 for 12 with 3 walks, 3 extra-base hits and 5 RBIs over his last 3 games and is batting .386 since being promoted to the Ports early last week. Shortstop Eli White walked and hit a 2-run homer, while catcher Argenis Raga singled, doubled and drove in a run. 23-year-old Cuban RHP Norge Ruiz looked strong in his second start for Stockton, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 1st win, while RHP Brandon Bailey gave up 1 run in 3 innings of relief to pick up the save for the Ports.

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

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