Tag: Miguel Mercedes

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 4-Game Series vs. Clinton (8/10-13)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers split a 4-game series with the Clinton LumberKings, the Mariners’ Midwest League affiliate, that concluded this Sunday at Pohlman Field in Beloit.

It’s been a rough year for the LumberKings, and nothing sums it up better than the fact that they’re currently on their third manager this season after their first two skippers resigned.

Beloit, meanwhile, continues to battle with the Peoria Chiefs for a Midwest League Western Division playoff spot.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 4 – Clinton 1

Jesus Lopez

Jesus Lopez

*LHP Kyle Twomey allowed no earned runs in 5 innings of work. And in 15 ⅔ frames over his last 3 starts, Twomey has given up just 1 earned run. During that stretch, he’s lowered his ERA almost a full run to 4.15 for the Snappers.

*Left fielder Josh Vidales, the A’s 28th-round pick in 2016, reached base in all 4 of his plate appearances. The 24-year-old had 3 singles and a walk and also drove in a run for the Snappers.

*Second baseman Jesus Lopez cracked a line-drive home run to left field with two outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning to put Beloit on the board. It was his 1st home run of the year for the Snappers.

*Lopez struggled last season, putting up a slash line of .193/.256/.262 between Beloit and Vermont. The native of Nicaragua came back this season with a couple of changes. He’s grown his hair out and, more notably, he’s abandoned switch hitting and is hitting strictly from the right side now. Lopez has looked good this season in his second stint with the Snappers. He’s currently slashing .313/.356/.422 for Beloit, and at just 20 years old, there’s still plenty of time for improvement.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 4 – Clinton 2

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*Matt “The Burn” Milburn had another solid outing for the Snappers, giving up just 1 run and striking out 6 in 5 innings of work. The A’s 29th-round pick in 2016 has shown some real swing-and-miss ability, as evidenced by his 8.8 K/9 rate.

*RHP John Gorman worked 1 ⅔ scoreless innings to close out the game and earn his 1st save for the Snappers. He’s proved to be a great addition to the Beloit bullpen. In 16 ⅓ innings for the Snappers, Gorman has compiled a 1.10 ERA and an excellent 20/1 K/BB ratio.

*Both designated hitter Kyle Nowlin and second baseman Jesus Lopez went 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base for the Snappers.

 

Miguel Mercedes

Miguel Mercedes

Game #3:  Clinton 5 – Beloit 4

*First Baseman Miguel Mercedes went 2 for 3 with a walk. He hit a double and a towering home run to center field, his team-leading 16th of the year.

*RHP Xavier Altamirano battled through 5 innings without his best stuff. His final line was 5 IP/9 H/4 ER/1 BB/2 K.

*The Snappers put a run on the board in both the 8th and 9th innings but still came up short, stranding the tying run on third base in the bottom of the 9th to end the game.

 

Game #4:  Clinton 4 – Beloit 2

Kyle Nowlin

Kyle Nowlin

*LHP Zack Erwin gave up 2 runs while striking out 6 in 5 innings of work. After three terrific pitchers (Dalton Sawyer, Brendan Butler and Brandon Bailey) were promoted from Beloit to Stockton this season, Erwin has become the ace of the Snappers pitching staff in the second half.

*RHP Joseph Camacho, signed as an undrafted free agent after last year’s draft, struck out 4 in 3 scoreless innings of relief. He’s compiled a 3.07 ERA with a 23/5 K/BB ratio in 29 ⅓ innings for the Snappers this season. Thus far, Camacho has looked like a real find by the A’s scouting staff.

*RHP Sam Sheehan, a 31st-round pick by Oakland in 2016, had a rare bad day on the mound. He surrendered 2 runs in the top of the 9th to suffer his 1st loss for the Snappers.

*First Baseman Kyle Nowlin cracked a two-out double to right-center field, scoring a hustling Edwin Diaz from first base to put Beloit on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning.

*Nowlin has made some immense strides in his hitting as well as his play at first base this season for the Snappers. While he doesn’t possess great range, Nowlin has learned how to better scoop out throws in the dirt. And he’s come on strong at the plate of late, putting up a slash line of .307/.409/.473 for the Snappers in the second half.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Series:

Left Fielder/Second Baseman Josh Vidales

(7 for 16 / Triple / Walk / 4 RBIs / Stolen Base)

 

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Saturday, August 12th: Sawyer Leads Stockton to Shutout Win while Gossett K’s 10 in Sounds’ Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dalton Sawyer (5 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Dalton Sawyer (5 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Visalia Rawhide   0

Stockton Ports   4

WP – Sawyer 3-4 / 3.22

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Dalton Sawyer

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

Stockton shut out Visalia on 5 hits to win its third straight on Saturday. Starter Dalton Sawyer was outstanding, striking out 5 while throwing 5 scoreless innings to earn his 3rd win for the Ports, and last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s has now allowed just 4 earned runs while striking out 23 over his last 20 innings for Stockton. RHPs Joey Wagman, Miguel Romero and Kyle Friedrichs combined to throw 4 scoreless frames in relief to complete the shutout on Saturday. First baseman Mikey White walked and doubled with the bases loaded to drive in 3 runs, and designated hitter Jake Smolinski went 0 for 2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch in his first rehab appearance for the Ports. Meanwhile, LHP Andrew Tomasovich was activated from the disabled list while LHP Jared Lyons landed on the DL for Stockton on Saturday.

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

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 7-Game Home Stand vs. Burlington & Peoria (7/29-8/4)

bsby Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

Beloit took three out of four games from the Burlington Bees, the Angels’ Midwest League affiliate, in a series that wrapped up on Tuesday at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The Snappers then went on to win two out of three games from the Peoria Chiefs, the Cardinals’ Class-A affiliate, in a series that ended on Friday. And Beloit’s Midwest League playoff dreams are alive and well as the Snappers have played good baseball in the second half of the season.

 

BURLINGTON SERIES (7/29-8/1)

The general consensus is that the Angels have one of the weakest farm systems in baseball. And the 2017 Burlington Bees do nothing to dispel that notion. The only truly noteworthy prospect on the squad is RHP Joe Gatto, who is the Angels’ #26 ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 4 – Burlington 0

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

*The right-handed pitching trio of Seth Martinez, Heath Bowers and Sam Sheehan, while not exactly dominant – they combined to walk 5 while scattering 8 hits – still managed to shut out Burlington on Tuesday. Sheehan loaded the bases in the 9th inning with one out before striking out the next two Bees batters to preserve the shutout.

*Snappers shortstop Eric Marinez went 3 for 4 at the plate with a triple and an RBI for Beloit.

*3 of the 4 stolen bases by Beloit in this game came courtesy of leadoff hitter Mike Martin. The Snappers center fielder twice stole third base.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 5 – Burlington 0

Kyle Twomey

Kyle Twomey

*LHP Kyle Twomey threw his best game as a member of the A’s organization. The former Cubs farmhand turned in a solid stat line of 5 IP/2 H/0 ER/2 BB/7 K.

*The A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, RHP Mitchell Jordan, has primarily been pitching in long relief since returning from the disabled list on July 5. For the most part, he’s been hit pretty hard this season, with an ERA of 5.70 and opposing batters hitting .318 against him. But in this game, he threw 3 shutout innings, with RHP John Gorman contributing 1 scoreless frame to complete the 4-hit shutout for the Snappers.

*Every Beloit batter had at least 1 hit in the game.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 4 – Burlington 3 (12 innings)

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*RHP Matt Milburn, the A’s 29th-round pick in 2016, made yet another strong start, giving up just 2 runs in 7 innings of work. After posting a 5.58 ERA in 59 ⅔ innings in the first half, Milburn has been sensational in the second half. He has a 1.85 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP and a 47:7 K/BB ratio in 48 ⅔ innings for the Snappers in the second half.

*After having a tough time through the first 5 innings against Bees starter Joe Gatto, Beloit mounted a successful comeback against the Burlington bullpen.

*Utility man Josh Vidales, recently demoted from High Class-A Stockton, came through with a big 2-RBI single to tie the game in the 6th inning. The A’s 28th-round draft pick in 2016 was playing left field in this game. He’s also played second base and third base for the Snappers.

*Oakland’s 21st-round pick in 2016, first baseman Kyle Nowlin, came through with a clutch home run to tie the game again in the 8th inning. It was his 10th home run of the season.

*With the bases-loaded and one out in the 12th inning, right fielder Mike Martin hit a chopper to Burlington second baseman Juan Moreno, who tried to turn a 4-6-3 double play. But Martin, with his blazing speed, managed to beat out the throw to first as the Snappers won on a walk-off fielder’s choice.

 

Xavier Altamirano

Xavier Altamirano

Game #4:  Burlington 7 – Beloit 2

*RHP Xavier Altamirano continued to look good as a starter, but the 23-year-old was the tough-luck loser in this one despite putting up a solid stat line of 6 IP/5 H/2 R/1 ER/1 BB/7 K.

*The Snappers had just 6 hits in the loss. And catcher Jason Goldstein, acquired from the Mariners for LHP Dillon Overton in the offseason, went 2 for 3 with a walk.

 

PEORIA SERIES (8/2-4)

The Peoria Chiefs are one of the Snappers’ main competitors for a Western Division playoff spot in the second half. Peoria’s outfield features a pair of 1st-round picks, 2015 1st-rounder Nick Plummer and 2016 1st-rounder Dylan Carlson.

 

Game #1:  Beloit 7 – Peoria 1

Zack Erwin

Zack Erwin

*Infielder Edwin Diaz returned to Beloit after a rough 13-game stretch in Stockton. When the A’s acquired shortstop Jorge Mateo from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal and assigned him to Double-A Midland, that sent RockHounds shortstop Richie Martin down to Stockton and bumped Diaz back to Beloit.

*LHP Zack Erwin, fresh off being named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Month after he compiled a 0.69 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and a 32:4 K/BB ratio in 26 innings in July, spun yet another great start for the Snappers. Utilizing his extremely effective splitter, Erwin went 6 shutout innings while giving up just 2 hits and striking out 9.

*Beloit had 14 hits in the game. First baseman Kyle Nowlin and left fielder Josh Vidales each collected 2 singles and a walk, while designated hitter Miguel Mercedes and third baseman Trace Loehr both had a pair of hits, but Loehr had to leave the game after suffering a lower body injury while legging out a triple. Outfielder Mike Martin went 3 for 5 and added a stolen base.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 7 – Peoria 6 (10 innings)

Mike Martin

Mike Martin

*First baseman Miguel Mercedes fell a triple short of the cycle, finishing 3 for 5 with a booming 2-run homer to left-center field in the 6th inning.

*Catcher Jason Goldstein reached base 4 times with 2 hits and 2 walks.

*After being down by 6 runs at one point, Beloit then went on to score 7 unanswered runs to win 7-6 in 10 innings. It all started and ended with center fielder Mike Martin. He led off the 6th inning with a triple, which helped ignite a 4-run frame for the Snappers. And in the 10th inning, Martin once again came up with the bases loaded and one out in extra innings – the exact same situation that he’d faced three days earlier. This time, he hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring home the winning run as the Snappers won in a walk-off.

 

Game #3:  Peoria 13 – Beloit 10

Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz

*The Snappers and the Chiefs combined for a Midwest League record 20 extra-base hits in the game.

*There were a combined 15 runs scored in the 8th inning alone, 10 by Peoria and 5 by Beloit.

*Four Snappers homered in the game: Miguel Mercedes (15), Collin Theroux (12), Edwin Diaz (9), and J.C Rodriguez (4).

*Shortstop Edwin Diaz went 3 for 5 with 4 RBIs while first baseman Miguel Mercedes went 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs.

*Peoria first baseman Stefan Trosclair hit for the cycle.

*After giving up 6 earned runs in 1 ⅓ innings of relief, RHP Joseph Camacho‘s 1.50 ERA rocketed to 3.55.

 

Series Notes:

*Outfielder Mike Martin is a dynamic threat on the base paths. He swiped 6 bases during this home stand, and the speedster is now 20 for 22 in stolen base attempts between Beloit and Vermont this season.

*Beloit finished the home stand 1 1/2 games ahead of Peoria for the second playoff spot in the Midwest League Western Division second half.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Home Stand:

First Baseman Miguel Mercedes

(10 for 29 / 2 Home Runs / 9 RBIs)

 

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Friday, August 4th: 4 HRs Help Sounds Snap Skid while 4 HRs Aren’t Enough to Help Snappers Prevail and Mengden & Ruiz Return to the Mound

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Second Baseman Franklin Barreto (3 for 5 / Home Run / Double)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Second Baseman Franklin Barreto (3 for 5 / HR / Double)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds  8

Reno Aces              5

WP – Bassitt 2-2 / 8.75

HR – Nunez (28), Olson (22), Barreto (12), Carter (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman Franklin Barreto

(3 for 5 / Home Run / Double)

Four home runs helped the Sounds snap their four-game losing streak on Friday. Second baseman Franklin Barreto continued his hot hitting of late, collecting 3 hits, including a home run and a double, and the 21-year-old has now gone 12 for 20 over his last 5 games for the Sounds. First baseman Matt Olson doubled, hit his 22nd home run and drove in 3, while left fielder Renato Nunez walked, doubled, drilled his minor-league-leading 28th homer and drove in a pair, and designated hitter Chris Carter walked and slugged a 2-run shot for the Sounds. Starter Corey Walter gave up 2 runs in 3 1/3 innings of work, and RHP Chris Bassitt picked up the win despite allowing 2 runs in 2 innings of relief for Nashville.

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

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…

Snappy Thoughts: Beloit’s 5-Game Home Stand vs. West Michigan & South Bend (7/19-24)

by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

bsThe Beloit Snappers split a rain-shortened two-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit’s Midwest League affiliate, last week at Pohlman Field in Beloit. The Snappers then went on to sweep the South Bend Cubs, Chicago’s Class-A affiliate, in a three-game set that concluded on Monday.

The Whitecaps entered the series with the best record in all of minor league baseball. A sparkling 2.64 ERA and 19 shutouts are far and away the best from any team this season in the Midwest League. In terms of top prospects, the standout is outfielder Derek Hill, who ranks as the #8 prospect in the Tigers organization according to MLB Pipeline. A 1st-round pick in 2014, Hill spent most of the season on the disabled list before returning to action late last month.

South Bend has been a solid team, staying above .500 during most of the season. The Cubs recently lost their top prospect, RHP Dylan Cease, to the White Sox organization in the Jose Quintana trade. But they do have an athletic, high-upside outfielder in D.J. Wilson, who ranks as the #6 prospect in the Cubs organization according to MiLB Pipeline.

 

Game #1:  West Michigan 6 – Beloit 3

Heath Bowers

Heath Bowers

*After three rather uneventful innings on Wednesday, things started to get a little crazy in Beloit. As the skies grew darker, a tornado siren suddenly went off while the Snappers were warming up, which halted the game. The contest would not resume until the next day as a major thunderstorm with tornado potential rolled through south-central Wisconsin. A lightning bolt actually struck one of the left field light poles, which knocked out a number of lights as well as the scoreboard, and Pohlman Field had to go without a scoreboard the next day.

*When the game resumed in the top of the 4th inning on Thursday, RHP Mitchell Jordan took the hill for the Snappers. It was clearly not his day, as he gave up 6 earned runs while getting just two outs in the top of the 4th inning. Jordan, the A’s 10th-round pick in 2016, has struggled to miss bats this season, giving up a lot of hard contact.

*RHP Heath Bowers righted the ship for Beloit, throwing 3 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief. What was most encouraging to see from Bowers is how he attacked the strike zone, throwing 33 of his 47 pitches for strikes. As good as his 1.96 ERA in 55 innings might look, the 30 walks he has given up show that he has constantly been walking a tightrope. If Bowers is going to succeed going forward, he’ll need to start issuing fewer free passes.

 

Game #2:  Beloit 2 – West Michigan 0

Matt Milburn

Matt Milburn

*In this 7-inning game, a safety squeeze bunt from shortstop Jesus Lopez and an RBI double from first baseman Miguel Mercedes accounted for all the Snappers’ scoring.

*RHP Matt Milburn, a 29th-round pick by the A’s in 2016, pitched 5 ⅔ scoreless innings to earn his 6th win for the Snappers. While Milburn is sporting a respectable 3.92 ERA, his peripherals suggest that he has been much better than that. His FIP sits at 2.90 and his xFIP at 3.12. Meanwhile, his K/9 is a solid 9.34 and he has a very good swinging strike rate of 13.1%.

*RHP Sam Sheehan, the A’s 31st-round pick last year, shut the door on the Whitecaps. He allowed just 1 hit and struck out 2 in 1 ⅓ scoreless innings to earn his 4th save. Sheehan now has superb 1.57 ERA in 28 ⅔ innings this season for the Snappers.

 

Game #3:  Beloit 6 – South Bend 3

Collin Theroux

Collin Theroux

*RHP Xavier Altamirano had a quality start in his second straight outing, putting up a pitching line of 6 IP/4 H/2 ER/1 BB/6 K.

*Center fielder and leadoff hitter Mike Martin went 3 for 4 while scoring a pair of runs for the Snappers.

*First baseman Kyle Nowlin, Oakland’s 21st-round pick in 2016, went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBIs for Beloit.

*Catcher Collin Theroux, the 32nd-round pick by the A’s last year, threw out both runners who tried to steal. For the season, he has thrown out nearly 48% of attempted steals, which is an impressive number for any catcher. The 23-year-old possesses a cannon of a throwing arm and is not afraid to show it off. It’s definitely something that opposing teams need to be wary of coming into a series.

 

Game #4:  Beloit 6 – South Bend 0

Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez

*Beloit batters hit 3 home runs off of Cubs starter LHP Manuel Rondon. Third baseman Trace Loehr hit his 3rd home run in the 1st inning, designated hitter Kyle Nowlin clubbed his 8th, also in the 1st, and second baseman J.C Rodriguez slugged his 2nd home run on the season in the 4th.

*Loehr went 2 for 4 to continue his hot hitting in the second half. By the end of the series with South Bend, Loehr was batting .340 with a .553 slugging percentage in 26 games in the second half.

*Nowlin reached base in all 4 plate appearances, continuing his own second-half hot streak. By the end of the South Bend series, Nowlin was slashing .326/.426/.500 in the second half.

*Despite having to warm up multiple times due to rainy conditions, LHP Zack Erwin threw 4 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball.

*RHP Seth Martinez was spectacular in relief of Erwin. Working at a brisk pace, the A’s 17th-round pick in 2016 did not allow a baserunner over 5 perfect innings while striking out 3. Martinez’s successful outing can be attributed to his solid fastball command and a sweeping slider, which helped him induce a lot of weak contact.

 

Game #5:  Beloit 7 – South Bend 6

J.C. Rodriguez

J.C. Rodriguez

*The Snappers pitchers with the three worst ERAs on the current staff combined to help Beloit win the final game of the set on Monday and sweep the series from South Bend. LHP Kyle Twomey (5.93 ERA), RHP Mitchell Jordan (6.04 ERA) and RHP Jesus Zambrano (5.36 ERA) weren’t particularly sharp, allowing a lot of hard contact and scattering 16 hits while allowing 6 runs, 5 earned. But they buckled down to get out of some sticky situations, and some impressive defensive plays behind them helped to bail them out as well.

*Beloit threw out three South Bend runners at home plate in the game. A great throw by left fielder J.C. Rodriguez to the plate got the first runner, while a tremendous relay from center fielder JaVon Shelby to shortstop Trace Loehr to catcher Collin Theroux nailed the second, and second baseman Josh Vidales made a magnificent bare-handed pick up and then fired home a bullet to nab the third runner.

*With the score tied at 6-6 and one out in the bottom of the 9th inning, up stepped left fielder J.C. Rodriguez. Full name: Jean Carlo Rodriguez. Extra innings were looming over what was already a long and wacky game. But on a 1-1 pitch, Rodriguez smacked his third home run of the year, a line drive over the left field wall, to cap off a wild win and complete the sweep.

 

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A’s Prospect of the Home Stand:

First Baseman Kyle Nowlin

(7 for 13 / Home Run / 3 Walks / 3 RBIs)

 

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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, July 14th: Holmes’ Strong Start Helps Hounds Win while Costa’s Big Bat Leads Vermont to Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Grant Holmes (7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Grant Holmes (7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks     1

Midland RockHounds  7

WP – Holmes 6-9 / 4.92

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Grant Holmes

(7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHP Grant Holmes turned in an outstanding start for the RockHounds, allowing 1 run on just 3 hits over 7 innings of work to earn his 6th win on Friday. RHPs Sam Bragg and Tyler Sturdevant each tossed 1 scoreless inning in relief for the Hounds. Right fielder J.P. Sportman collected 3 hits and drove in a run, while second baseman Max Schrock singled twice and drove in 3. Designated hitter Jermaine Curtis had 2 hits and a walk and scored twice, and catcher Sean Murphy singled, walked twice and drove in a pair of runs for the RockHounds.

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

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)

bsby Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent

The 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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