Tag: Miguel Mercedes

Sunday, June 25th: Hurlbutt Impresses in Ports’ Loss while Barrera, Terrell & McDonald Wield Big Bats for Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt (8 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt (8 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts     3

Stockton Ports  1

LP – Tomasovich 2-3 / 3.77

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Dustin Hurlbutt

(8 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

Despite the fact that the Ports didn’t end up prevailing on Sunday, RHP Dustin Hurlbutt delivered another impressive start for Stockton. The 24-year-old allowed just 3 hits over 8 shutout innings and, setting aside his one spot start for Nashville, he’s now given up just 2 earned runs, struck out 24 and failed to allow a walk over his last 21 innings of work for Stockton. At one point, Hurlbutt retired 13 consecutive batters on Sunday, but he left after 8 frames with the game a scoreless tie. An error by shortstop Eli White helped lead to an unearned run off LHP Cody Stull in the top of the 9th. White then tripled and scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 9th, but LHP Andrew Tomasovich surrendered a pair of runs in the top of the 10th to suffer his 3rd loss for Stockton. To find out more about this year’s Stockton Ports, check out our recent podcast with Stockton skipper Rick Magnante here – A’s Farm Podcast with Rick Magnante

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

Snappers Hitting Coach Juan Dilone Delivers the Lowdown on Beloit’s Best Batters

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

jdDilone, Juan2Back in 1990, when the Bash Brothers were ruling the roost and Oakland was on its way to its third straight World Series appearance, the A’s signed a teenaged Juan Dilone as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic.

He ended up playing eight minor league seasons as an outfielder and an infielder in the A’s and Giants organizations, ultimately reaching as high as Double-A. But after suffering a shoulder injury while playing in the Mexican League, Dilone decided to call it quits on his playing career.

Shortly after retiring as a player, A’s general manager Billy Beane and a number of coaches talked to Dilone about becoming a hitting coach. After giving coaching a one-week trial run at the A’s Dominican Republic facility, he decided that pursuing a coaching career in baseball was the right choice for him. And Dilone is now entering his 16th season working for the A’s organization. He’s served as the hitting coach for various A’s affiliates over the years and also spent four years working with the A’s Dominican operations.

Dilone is now in his second season serving as the hitting coach for the Beloit Snappers. We took the opportunity to talk with him last week during the Snappers’ final series before the Midwest League All-Star break. And it was great to get some valuable insights on the fine art of hitting as well as his thoughts on some of the A’s hitting prospects who are swinging the bat for Beloit this season…

AF:  What are some of the most important statistics the A’s organization looks at when looking to promote a position player to the next level? For example, do traditional stats still play a major role or do they look more at the “rate” stats now?

JD:  So, right now we are not paying much attention to batting average. We are looking at run production [i.e. runs created, weighted runs created plus], looking at hard contact rate, swinging strike percentage, line drive percentage. The rate stats are the stuff the organization is focused on at this time.

AF:  It’s very interesting to hear what the A’s are looking for, at least in terms of stats. My next question has to do with hitters’ launch angles. It’s been a really popular topic in baseball recently. I was wondering, as a hitting coach, do you look to teach about that? If so, what goes into teaching and practicing that?

JD:  Well, you know, the launch angle, we are really building that. In fact, this year the A’s are really emphasizing it, coming from the top down. For the most part, you really cannot teach launch angles. That is something a hitter creates. So, what I try to get those guys to do is hit hard line drives. So, if they do that, they are going to get their extra-base hits. We try to keep the hitters hitting line drives all over the field.

AF:  Yeah, I was interested in what a professional hitting coach would have to say about launch angles.

Collin Theroux

Collin Theroux

JD:  We’ve got a player right now, Collin Theroux – he’s the catcher. Every time he hits the ball, it is CRUSHED. He’s got some big power, but his launch angle is way too high. So, I have been working with him on keeping that launch angle at about 15-20 degrees. He’s also been collapsing on the backside. I’ve been working on correcting that with him. So, we want to get Theroux more in line in the box and staying focused on the middle of the field. Really, he should have 20 homers, at least. He’s got some juice.

AF:  I’ve seen him hit some of the longest bombs this year, and that’s just in the home games!

JD:  (Smiles) No doubt!

AF:  Moving on to some more position players, what have you seen out of outfielder Luis Barrera?

JD:  Well, he did a good job here in Beloit at the end of last season. He does a great job of putting the ball in play and, of course, he has very good speed. Because of that, he can always create a batting average that should be like .290 or .300. He’s been solid this year defensively, running the bases, bunt hitting. He still needs to learn more about the knowledge of the game, because he’s so young. But he has been awesome out of the leadoff spot for us.

AF:  After joining the team in mid-April, outfielder Luke Persico had a hot streak throughout the month of May that earned him an All-Star nod. What accounted for his success and what was he doing right during that stretch?

JD:  We were working on something with his back leg so that he can stay behind the baseball better. That was really nice to see him hitting the ball all over the field with line drives. He has kind of struggled the last couple of weeks. I think it is because of some fatigue setting in. But overall, he works very hard and is a very smart guy.

Nate Mondou

Nate Mondou

AF:  Speaking of All-Stars, second baseman Nate Mondou has been the most consistent hitter in the Snappers lineup. Batting usually second or third, he has done a fantastic job of getting on base. Tell me about his approach and what you like about him?

JD:  Mondou has a tremendous work ethic. We have set up a daily routine that has helped him be successful this season. He is a true professional on and off the field. That is something I love about him. He is also always searching for the little details to try and increase his baseball knowledge. That is very impressive to see from a young guy. He has done so well for us this year. But the last two weeks or so, he has put too much pressure on himself. He is chasing balls he normally would lay off. Right now, he just needs to slow down everything and he’ll get back to where he was.

AF:  While he does lead the Snappers with 11 home runs, first baseman Miguel Mercedes has some other aspects of his game that he needs to work on. For example, he didn’t take a walk in his first 21 games of the season. What improvements do you need to see from him?

JD:  Last year, he got into a bad habit of being too aggressive, which carried over into this year. That approach doesn’t allow you to walk very much. He was also trying to hit everything out of the ballpark. So, we have been working on pitch recognition with him and he has bought into it. He is now seeing that turn into results as he is having much better at-bats and more success. Now he is laying off the breaking ball down and away. The other problem was that he was guessing too much. He definitely still has work to do, but he is getting there in pitch recognition.

JaVon Shelby

JaVon Shelby

AF:  Outfielder JaVon Shelby was a 5th-round pick last year as a third baseman, but he moved to the outfield this season. He is the son of former major leaguer John Shelby, so he grew up around the game. Watching him this season, the raw talent is clearly there. Unfortunately, he’s really struggled with a strikeout rate of nearly 50%. What’s been going on with him and what adjustments does he need to make at this point?

JD:  At the beginning of the season, I sat down with him and tried to find out what he was doing last year when he was in Vermont. I think that was a very good meeting between me and him. So, the thing we have been trying to do with him is keep him looking middle of the field and opposite field, because last year his front side was flying open. He has gotten into that bad habit again, so we are pounding it home that he needs to stay looking opposite field to create a better bat path to the ball and stay behind. He is just too jumpy at the plate right now. Shelby is a very interesting player to me. I really like him. He doesn’t deserve the season he is having right now. Things are going to get better. It’s only a matter of time before he starts hitting again.

AF:  Despite this being his third season in Beloit, infielder Edwin Diaz is still just 21 years old. To me, it seems like he is starting to figure it out at the plate. What changes has he made and what has been working for him this season?

JD:  I’ve known Diaz for a long time. When he is hot, nobody can get him out. I think last season he ran out of energy playing every day. The same thing is happening again here recently. I try to take everything slow with him, because sometimes when you put too much information on him, he doesn’t know how to take it. He is so young, I feel sometimes he does not know how to deal with it. I have to keep it simple.

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

AF:  I’ve noticed he has had a better approach at the plate this season.

JD:  Yes, his pitch recognition is way better now. We know he can be a little streaky. But, man, when he’s feeling it, look out!

AF:  I’ve also heard good things about his defense. Can you give me little more insight on that?

JD:  I feel he is major league ready defensively right now. He’s played shortstop, third base and some second base last year.

AF:  Would you say he is one of the best defensive players on the Snappers right now?

JD:  With Diaz, he makes tough plays look routine. It’s awesome to see from a young kid like that. If he can hit at least just enough, there’s no question he’s going to be a major leaguer. The way Diaz plays defense is amazing to me. He makes it look so easy.

AF:  Yeah, Edwin Diaz is a very intriguing player to me. Definitely a name for A’s fans to keep an eye on moving forward.

JD:  Yes, definitely. Diaz is still very young, but he has all the ability you would want. It is great to see him putting it all together this season!

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (6/16-18)

bsThe Beloit Snappers took just one of three games from the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Midwest League affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this weekend.

If this matchup sounds familiar, that’s because these two teams just met for a 4-game series the previous weekend. It was definitely an odd scheduling quirk. But this series saw the Snappers looking to play spoiler to the River Bandits’ playoff hopes in what were the final three games of the Midwest League’s first-half divisional race for both teams.

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*RHP Mitchell Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, was not fooling any of the River Bandits batters in this game. The 22-year-old gave up 5 runs on 8 hits while walking 3, and he didn’t strike out a batter in 4 innings of work. Jordan also gave up 3 home runs, two of which traveled over 430 feet.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued his stellar season out of the Beloit bullpen with what was probably his best performance of the season, if not the best of his pro career. The 22-year-old allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 8 over 4 scoreless innings for the Snappers.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou has served as a model of consistency in the Snappers lineup this season, so it’s odd to see him in the midst of slump. And it didn’t help when Bandits right fielder Ronnie Dawson went all out to make a diving catch to rob Mondou of what would have been an RBI double. So the A’s 13th-round pick in 2016 decided to take a different approach in his second at-bat. Mondou hit a seeing-eye ground-ball single to Dawson in right. And with that, he snapped his 0-for-17 skid.

*Last year’s 1st-round pick for the Astros, RHP Forrest Whitley, dominated the Snappers for the second time in less than a week, striking out 8 while throwing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief for Quad Cities.

*With the end of the first half of the season drawing near, it seemed as though Beloit’s batters were running on empty. They combined to strike out 16 times in this 9-inning game.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 4 – Quad Cities 3 (10 innings)

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*23-year-old LHP Zack Erwin was effective at keeping the ball low in the zone, getting 8 ground-ball outs for the Snappers. His final line for the night was an impressive 6 IP/5 H/1 ER/0 BB/4 K.

*Slap-hitting third baseman Trace Loehr lined a key 2-run double in the bottom of the 6th inning to give Beloit the lead, but it was just his 5th extra-base hit this season (3 doubles and 2 triples).

*The A’s 5th-round pick last year, outfielder JaVon Shelby, possesses an above-average throwing arm in the outfield, and the converted third baseman showed both the good and the bad that can result from that in this game. Shelby threw out a runner at home plate from his position in center field at one point. But after a lineout to center, he tried to double-up the runner at first base. Unfortunately, the throw went high and wide of first baseman Miguel Mercedes, ricocheting off the dugout fence and allowing the runner to advance to second.

*As the game entered extra innings, Beloit’s fans were eagerly awaiting a home-team hero to end the game so that they could enjoy the scheduled post-game fireworks. That hero was shortstop Eric Marinez. In the bottom of the 10th, he lined an RBI single to left field to score first baseman Kyle Nowlin from second base as the Snappers celebrated a walk-off win in extra innings.

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 5 – Beloit 3

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*RHP Brandon Bailey, the 6th-round pick of the A’s in 2016, hurled another solid game (5 IP/3 H/2 ER/3 BB/5 K). There had been some question as to whether or not he could hold up as a starter, but he’s so far put those questions to rest with a terrific first half for Beloit. And Bailey is now sporting a 2.72 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 53 innings for the Snappers.

*It was a sloppy game defensively for the Snappers as the team committed 3 infield errors – one apiece by first baseman Miguel Mercedes, second baseman Nate Mondou and shortstop Trace Loehr.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou smashed a line-drive, 2-run single that deflected off the glove of diving River Bandits first baseman Taylor Jones. And it was more than welcome for Mondou, who’s hit for a .137 batting average this month.

 

Series Notes:

JaVon Shelby

JaVon Shelby

*Outfielder JaVon Shelby went 1 for 13 with 8 strikeouts in the series. Shelby finished the first half with a total of 98 strikeouts, the second-most by a player in the Midwest League, and he’s now struck out in a full 45% of his at-bats for the Snappers.

*With RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer promoted to Stockton, RHP Michael Murray and LHP Ty Damron on the shelf with injuries, and RHP Dakota Chalmers working on his mechanics in extended spring training, it has recently left the Snappers searching for pitchers who can give them effective innings. While it’s difficult for a pitching staff to withstand that many losses, it will certainly give some other young pitchers in the organization a chance to show just what they’ve got.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

RHP Xavier Altamirano

(4 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Quad Cities (6/9-12)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took just one of four games from the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Astros’ Midwest league affiliate, at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week.

The River Bandits are far and away the best power-hitting team in the Midwest League this season, with a league-best 64 home runs entering the series. One of the biggest sluggers for the Bandits has been 19-year-old first baseman/outfielder Yordan Alvarez, who’s hitting .397 with 5 home runs in just 22 games in the Midwest League.

The Bandits currently have two of the Astros’ top 10 prospects according to MLB Pipeline – outfielder Daz Cameron (son of former major league outfielder Mike Cameron) and RHP Forrest Whitley. Both players definitely impressed in this series, making life hard for the Snappers.

 

Game #1:  Quad Cities 8 – Beloit 3

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*Beloit got off to a hot start in the game, with center fielder Luis Barrera smacking a 2-0 pitch off the center field wall for a leadoff triple.

*The next batter, first baseman Luke Persico, who last year’s 12th-round pick for the A’s, promptly singled home Barrera to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning. It was one of 3 hits on the night for Persico, who has been in a bit of a slump during the month of June.

*Persico got his sixth start of the season at first base in this game. Usually a corner outfielder, having the ability to also play first base should provide Persico with valuable versatility going forward.

*RHP Matt Milburn pitched 2 perfect innings to start, striking out 4. The A’s 29th-round pick in 2016 was displaying a superb cutter early on, but River Bandits batters were finally able to catch on and ended up tagging Milburn for 4 earned runs in 6 innings of work.

 

Game #2:  Quad Cities 13 – Beloit 5

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*Shortstop Edwin Diaz slugged his 7th home run of the season for the Snappers. It was a 3-run blast over the center field wall in the bottom of the 1st inning to give Beloit an early lead.

*Two pitchers made their U.S. baseball debuts for the Snappers. RHP Abdiel Mendoza, an 18-year-old from Panama, started the game and finished with a line of 2 ⅓ IP/3 H/4 ER/3 BB/2 K. LHP Jhenderson Hurtado replaced Mendoza, and the 21-year-old Venezuelan had a line of 2 ⅔ IP/4 H/2 ER/2 BB/2 K. Both pitchers struggled with their command, which is understandable considering they only arrived in Beloit about four hours before the first pitch.

*Speaking of time, this 9-inning game labored along at a turtle’s pace – or a Snapper’s pace, if you will! The game clocked in at 3 hours and 35 minutes.

*Believe it or not, both teams actually had a pitcher named “Abdiel” from Panama in this game. While a unique name in the United States, it must be a much more common handle in Panama!

*Snappers first baseman Kyle Nowlin made his third pitching appearance of the season in the game, getting two outs on just four pitches. With the scoreless outing, last year’s 21st-round pick for the A’s was the only Beloit pitcher among five not to give up a run in the game.

 

Game #3:  Quad Cities 4 – Beloit 0

Mitchell Jordan

Mitchell Jordan

*The Houston Astros’ #5 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Forrest Whitley, made things difficult for the Snappers in this game by tossing 4 ⅔ hitless innings. The 6’7” right-hander overpowered Snappers hitters all day long. The 19-year-old struck out 7, but did walk 4, which led to him being pulled just one out short of qualifying for the win.

*Beloit batters managed just 2 singles in the game. On the bright side, the Snappers weren’t lacking in base runners since they did draw 7 walks off Quad Cities pitchers.

*Catcher Collin Theroux, the A’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, was back starting again after getting three games off to recover from a nagging injury. It was a rough return for Theroux as he struck out in all four of his at-bats, thus earning himself the “Golden Sombrero.”

*The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, was able to get through 6 innings allowing just 3 runs, and that is good enough to be considered a “quality start.”

*First Baseman Miguel Mercedes was called out on a rare batter interference call. Nate Mondou, who was on first base, took off trying to steal second. Mercedes took a called ball but got in the way of Bandits catcher Gabriel Bracamonte, who trying to gun down Mondou at second. In the box score, it’s shown as Mercedes being out 3 unassisted (3U). Oh, the things you learn as an official scorer.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 1 – Quad Cities 0

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

*LHP Zack Erwin mowed down the mighty River Bandits lineup, throwing 5 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball and striking out 7 to earn the win. While Erwin has just 15 ⅔ innings under his belt this season, he has looked strong since returning from the disabled list. And if he can keep it up, hopefully he can make his way back up the minor league ladder after stumbling in Stockton last season.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just 1 hit, to earn his 2nd save for the Snappers. Flying a bit under the radar this season, Altamirano has been tremendous out of the Beloit bullpen. He owns a sparkling 1.88 ERA and currently has a 23 ⅓ scoreless-innings streak.

*Third baseman Trace Loehr walked 3 times in the game. He had taken a total of just 10 walks in his previous 48 games.

*The only run of the game scored on a double play. So, there were no RBIs recorded for either team, which is a fairly rare feat.

 

Former Snappers Notes:

I want to be sure to give a shout out to RHP Brendan Butler and LHP Dalton Sawyer for their well-deserved promotions to the High-A Stockton Ports. Butler compiled a 2.32 ERA in 54 1/3 innings for Beloit. Sawyer put up a 2.25 ERA in 56 innings for the Snappers, while also recently making an emergency spot start for Nashville. Both pitchers seem to have very bright futures ahead of them, and hopefully we’ll have the chance to see both of the former Snappers pitching for the A’s before long!

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

LHP Zack Erwin

(5 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 7 K)

 

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Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 3-Game Series vs. Clinton (5/30-6/1)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took two out of three games from the Clinton LumberKings, Seattle’s Midwest League affiliate, this week at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The series win moved the Snappers into third place in the Midwest League Western Division. The first half of the season ends on June 18, and the top two teams in both divisions at the end of the first half will clinch spots in the Midwest League playoffs.

A year after going to the Midwest League Championship, the LumberKings are near the bottom of the Western Division standings this season. Their top-rated prospect is third baseman Joe Rizzo, a 19-year-old taken in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft by the Mariners. Another one of Clinton’s top players is outfielder Anthony Jimenez, who’s been having a breakout year in the Midwest League. Jimenez has tallied 6 home runs and 19 stolen bases while maintaining a .307 batting average.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 8 – Clinton 7

Dalton Sawyer

Dalton Sawyer

*The first game of the series was pretty sloppy all around. The two teams combined for 6 errors, with the Snappers committing 4 of them.

*LHP Dalton Sawyer grinded through 5 innings of work, ending the day with a stat line of 5 IP/4 H/2 ER/4 BB/8 K. The A’s 9th-round pick in 2016 threw just 53 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

*RHP Heath Bowers had his worst outing of the season in relief of Sawyer. Entering the game with a sparkling 1.67 ERA, Bowers gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits and 2 walks in 2 ⅔ innings. He also uncorked 3 wild pitches.

*RHP Yordys Alejo kept Beloit in the game, shutting down the LumberKings with 3 strikeouts in 1 ⅓ innings of relief.

*The A’s 2016 13th-round draft pick, Nate Mondou, went 3 for 5 with a two-out RBI single in the 8th inning. The second baseman continues to do just about anything and everything the Snappers need to win ballgames, and it would come as no surprise if Mondou gets the chance to contribute for the Stockton Ports at some point this season.

*After an epic, 9-pitch at-bat that ended in a walk to pinch-hitter Miguel Mercedes, his fellow Dominican-born teammate, Eric Marinez, came up with the bases loaded, one out and his team down by one run. The Beloit third baseman then proceeded to rocket a single into left field that scored both the tying and winning runs, sending the good guys home happy.

 

Game #2:  Clinton 13 – Beloit 3

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

*RHP Mitchell Jordan was not fooling anybody in this one. The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016 was tagged for 9 earned runs in 3 innings of work. That included a very rare occurrence in which the same pitcher (Jordan) surrendered 2 grand slams in the same game.

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes went “oppo boppo” to lead off the bottom of the 6th inning for Beloit, but the right-handed batter just barely got it over the wall in straightaway right field. It was Mercedes’ 10th home run of the year, putting him in second place in the Midwest League home run race.

*While he’s shown plenty of home run power, Mercedes still has a lot of room to improve at the plate, as his .215/.270/.436 slash line can attest to. Mercedes might not ever hit for a high average, but he will have to learn to show better plate discipline, taking a few more walks and cutting down on the strikeouts. His power is real though, and he is just 21 years old, so there’s still some time for Mercedes to try to make some significant improvements at the plate.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 9 – Clinton 1

Colllin Theroux

Collin Theroux

*It was yet another great start from RHP Brendan Butler. He had a great changeup in this game that consistently bewildered the LumberKings hitters.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano shut the door with 3 scoreless innings in relief, earning his 1st save of the year for the Snappers. Altamirano became the eleventh different Snappers pitcher to record a save this season.

*Designated hitter Kyle Nowlin, the Athletics’ 21st-round pick last year, just missed his 6th home run of the season. The ball hit off the top of the left-center field wall and ended up as a 2-RBI double for Nowlin.

*The A’s 32nd-round pick in 2016, catcher Collin Theroux, had his second multi-homer game of the season. His first home run was measured at 414 feet with an exit velocity of 110 mph. That ball was CRUSHED!

*By the end of the series, Theroux had 8 home runs on the season, which is by far the most home runs hit by a catcher in the A’s system this year. The second-highest home run total is 4 by Stockton catcher Sean Murphy.

 

Series Notes:

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*At the end of this series, Nate Mondou‘s .339 batting average was good for third-best in the Midwest League. And Mondou absolutely loves to hit at Pohlman Field. He sports an incredible .380 batting average at the Snappers’ home park.

*Infielder Edwin Diaz slashed .362/.464/.507 for the month of May. He also lowered his strikeout rate and improved his walk rate, all great signs that the 21-year-old may be starting to put it all together in his third season with Beloit.

*Outfielders Luis Barrera and Luke Persico hit .333 and .319, respectively, in the month of May.

*RHP Brandon Bailey did not pitch in this series, but it’s worth mentioning what a tremendous month he had. Bailey put up an impressive 0.50 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP while walking just 2 and striking out 22 over 18 innings of work in May.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Second Baseman Nate Mondou

(7 for 12 / 3 RBIs / 1 SB)

 

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Friday, June 2nd: Olson Hits 2 HRs in Sounds’ 4th Straight Victory while Hounds Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds First Baseman Matt Olson (3 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 4 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  12

Iowa Cubs                 3

WP – Smith 3-2 / 3.35

HR – Olson 2 (14), Nunez (14)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

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

A big 7-run 1st inning made it easy for Nashville to notch its fourth straight victory on Friday. First baseman Matt Olson led the attack, launching a pair of home runs – a 3-run blast in the 1st and a solo shot in the 7th. Olson also singled and scored in the 9th, while left fielder Renato Nunez homered, doubled and drove in a pair. Olson and Nunez now have 14 home runs apiece, tying them for the team lead. Third baseman Matt Chapman collected 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, and right fielder Ryan LaMarre singled twice, walked, drove in 2 runs and swiped a pair of bases for the Sounds. RHP Chris Smith turned in an outstanding start, striking out 8 over 6 shutout innings to earn his 3rd win for Nashville.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Wednesday, May 31st: Sportman’s Big Bat Helps Hounds Win while Hahn Makes Rehab Start for Stockton

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman J.P. Sportman (3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Second Baseman J.P. Sportman (3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Arkansas Travelers        5

Midland RockHounds  7

WP – Manarino 1-0 / 3.00

HR – Sportman (6), Munoz (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman J.P. Sportman

(3 for 4 / Home Run / 2 RBIs)

The RockHounds scored 7 runs on 16 hits to snap their four-game losing streak on Wednesday. J.P. Sportman, playing second base with Max Schrock on the disabled list, led the attack, collecting 3 hits, including his 6th home run, and driving in a pair of runs for Midland. Shortstop Yairo Munoz smacked his 3rd home run, and a number of players making their season debuts for the Hounds made key contributions as well. Catcher Beau Taylor, returning from a 50-game suspension, had 3 hits, including a triple, and drove in a run, while center fielder Kenny Wilson, who spent most of the season with the Sounds, singled, tripled and scored, and third baseman Jermaine Curtis, a minor league free agent signee who was sidelined with a hamstring injury in the spring, had a pair of doubles and drove in a run for Midland. The trio replaced three RockHounds who landed on the disabled list on Wednesday. Shortstop Richie Martin, who was hit in the head with a fastball in Tuesday’s game, is headed to Arizona for treatment after suffering a broken nose in the incident according to Hounds’ play-by-play man Bob Hards, while second baseman Max Schrock has been dealing with leg and foot injuries that caused him to miss four games last week, and RHP James Naile hasn’t pitched in over two weeks due to an abdominal strain. Meanwhile, back on the field, LHP Evan Manarino made his Double-A debut for Midland on Wednesday and allowed 2 runs on 9 hits over 6 innings of work to earn the win, while RHP Kyle Finnegan tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief to post his 7th save for the RockHounds.

Click here for more on Stockton & Beloit…

A’s Minor League Team Leaders

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Franklin Barreto

Franklin Barreto

With the first two months of the minor league season almost in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at the A’s minor league team leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. And it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the names of top prospects like Franklin Barreto, Matt Chapman and A.J. Puk high atop our list of A’s minor league team leaders.

Leaders are included for all four of the A’s full-season affiliates – Nashville, Midland, Stockton and Beloit. A minimum of 100 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 40 innings is required for the ERA and WHIP categories for pitchers. An asterisk indicates not just a team leader but also an organizational leader in a particular category, and the stats are complete through games of Sunday, May 28. Some of these names you may expect to see atop the lists, while others might come as a bit of a surprise!

You can always stay up to date on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system right here on Athletics Farm. A version of this report originally appeared on Athletics Nation

Click here to see the A’s Minor League Team Leaders…

Sunday, May 28th: Walter Pitches Sounds to Doubleheader Split while Big HRs by Brown & Mercedes Help Ports & Snappers Prevail

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Corey Walter (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Corey Walter (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

GAME #2

Colorado Springs Sky Sox  1

Nashville Sounds              2

WP – Walter 1-0 / 2.79

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Corey Walter

(7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / Win)

After spending most of the season pitching for Double-A Midland, RHP Corey Walter looked more than ready for Triple-A on Sunday. 2014’s 28th-round draft pick for the A’s allowed just 1 run on 6 hits while throwing a 7-inning complete game to earn his 1st win for the Sounds in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader. The game was a 1-1 tie until the bottom of the 7th inning, when third baseman Matt Chapman doubled to lead off the inning and then came in to score the winning run on catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s RBI single as the Sounds won in a walk-off to split the twinbill. First baseman Matt Olson doubled and walked in the game, and designated hitter Renato Nunez walked and drove in the Sounds’ first run with a sacrifice fly. RHP Paul Blackburn, who’s riding a 13-inning scoreless streak, is set to take the mound on Monday for Nashville.

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

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Wisconsin (5/22-25)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers took three out of four games from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Milwaukee’s Midwest League affiliate, in their series this week at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

The matchup featured the only two minor league teams in the state of Wisconsin, and there’s always a lot of energy in the air anytime these two Dairy State rivals meet. Beloit came into the series just one game behind Wisconsin in the Midwest League Western Division standings and finished it one game ahead of their in-state rivals.

The Timber Rattlers currently possess the worst team batting average in the Midwest League, but one of the team’s top hitting prospects is catcher Mario Feliciano. The 18-year-old has put up an impressive .291/.365/.418 slash line, which is especially remarkable considering he is one of the youngest players in the Midwest League and he’s playing such a demanding position. Wisconsin’s top starter, RHP Trey Supak, started the second game of the series and threw 5 scoreless innings. The 20-year-old now carries a 1.76 ERA, placing him in the top ten in the Midwest League.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 12 – Wisconsin 2

Luis Barrera

Luis Barrera

*Speedy outfielder Luis Barrera smashed a 3-run homer to right field in the 5th inning that was estimated to travel 440 feet!

*Center fielder Mike Martin and second baseman Nate Mondou both legged out hustle doubles in back-to-back at bats in the 5th inning. These are the type of plays that don’t show up in the box score, but these two players showed tremendous effort that also put extra pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

*The A’s #13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, RHP Dakota Chalmers, continued to have unhittable stuff, in more ways than one. The 20-year-old struck out 8 and gave up just 1 hit, but he still walked 4 batters over 5 innings. And for the season, Chalmers has walked 29 batters in 29 innings. Learning to control his stuff will be the key for Chalmers’ development this season, and that will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 2 – Wisconsin 1 (7 innings)

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

*RHP Brandon Bailey, the A’s 6th-round pick in last year’s draft, turned in a strong 4 IP/3 H/0 ER/1 BB/5 K line in his second appearance since returning from the disabled list.

*Bailey has now pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings and has a 2.32 ERA on the season. He joins LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler to form a formidable trio of starting pitchers for the Snappers.

*Two sacrifice flies were all the Snappers needed to win the game, the second of which, courtesy of third baseman Nate Mondou, drove in the game-winning run to help the Snappers win in a walk-off in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

 

Game #3:  Wisconsin 4 – Beloit 3 (7 innings)

Sam Sheehan

Sam Sheehan

*The A’s 12th-round draft pick last year, left fielder Luke Persico, did not record an official at-bat in the game. He drew a pair of walks and hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the Snappers’ first run in the 3rd inning.

*Second baseman Nate Mondou, normally a very cerebral player, uncharacteristically made two outs on the base paths; he was picked off and caught stealing in the loss.

*The 31st-round pick of the A’s in 2016, RHP Sam Sheehan, pitched 2 scoreless innings in relief. He has a unique 3/4-sidearm slot that would appear to be very tough on right-handed hitters.

*Beloit native Cameron Roegner made the start for Wisconsin, bringing a lot of family and friends out to the ballpark to see the hometown boy. He allowed just 1 run over 6 innings of work and left the game with a 3-run lead.

*With Roegner out of the game though, Beloit was able to battle back within a run in the bottom of the 7th. The Snappers put 2 runs on the board with the help of 4 walks by Wisconsin’s Braden Webb as well as a force out. Unfortunately, the Snappers weren’t able to come through with the big hit, or any hit for that matter, in the final frame and suffered a 1-run loss in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 15 – Wisconsin 2

Luke Persico

Luke Persico

*Left fielder Luke Persico had a big game at the plate, going 4 for 6 with 2 doubles and 5 RBIs.

*Persico continues to smack line drives all over the diamond, with a 24.4 % line-drive rate. In 148 at-bats, he’s slashing .311/.366/.480 for the Snappers. And he’s done all that during the coldest months of the season in the chilly Midwest League, where conditions can often be brutal.

*A pair of Dominican-born players, center fielder Luis Barrera and first baseman Miguel Mercedes, both homered in the game. Barrera cracked a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 1st, while Mercedes hit his 8th of the season to straightaway center in the 8th inning.

*As Oakland’s 9th-round draft pick last year, there were some expectations for LHP Dalton Sawyer, and he’s more than lived up to them. Sawyer pitched 6 innings, giving up 2 runs while striking out 7 to earn his 4th win on Thursday. And for the season, Sawyer has an ERA of 2.00 with a brilliant batting-average-against of just .165.

*RHP Seth Martinez came on in relief and pitched 3 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball for Beloit. Martinez, a 17th-round pick last year, actually picked up a save in the game even though it was a 15-2 final score.

 

Series Notes:

*Speedy outfielder Luis Barrera, known mainly for his ability to hit for average and his blazing speed, hit two home runs in the series. As previously mentioned, Barrera’s home run in the first game went an estimated 440 feet, which is the longest home run hit by a Snapper at Pohlman Field this season.

*Infielder Nate Mondou went 7 for 15 with a walk in the series, and his batting average is currently sitting at a team-leading .321.

*The Snappers outscored the Timber Rattlers 32-9 in the 4-game series, and it was one of the team’s most dominating series wins of the season.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Outfielder Luke Persico

(5 for 8 / 2 Doubles / 3 Walks / 6 RBIs)

 

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