Tag: Nolan Sanburn

Taking a Look at A’s Recent Drafts

Addison Russell

Addison Russell

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

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

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


–2014 DRAFT–

Matt Chapman

Matt Chapman

#1 – 3B Matt Chapman

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

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

#2 – RHP Daniel Gossett

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

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

#3 – RHP Brett Graves

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

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

#4 – RHP Jordan Schwartz

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

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

#5 – RHP Heath Fillmyer

Beloit – A (A’s organization)

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

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


–2013 DRAFT–

Billy McKinney

Billy McKinney

#1 – OF Billy McKinney

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

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

#2 – LHP Dillon Overton

Stockton – A+ (A’s organization)

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

#3 – SS Chad Pinder

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

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

#4 – 1B-3B Ryon Healy

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

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

#5 – LHP Chris Kohler

Extended Spring Training (A’s organization)

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


–2012 DRAFT–

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson

#1 – SS-2B Addison Russell

Cubs – MLB

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

Iowa – AAA (Cubs organization)

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

#2 – SS Daniel Robertson

Montgomery – AA (Rays organization)

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

#3 – 1B Matt Olson

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

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

#4 – C Bruce Maxwell

Midland – AA (A’s organization)

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

#5 – RHP Nolan Sanburn

Birmingham – AA (White Sox organization)

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

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

*          *          *

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Sunday, August 31st: Pitching Prospect Nolan Sanburn Dealt in Adam Dunn Deal while Stockton Wins Behind Matt Olson’s Big Bat and Sacramento Loss Forces Dramatic Finale on Monday

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (2 for 4 / Home Run / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (2 for 4 / Home Run / 4 RBIs)



Stockton Ports  6

Modesto Nuts     2

WP – Joseph 7-3 / 3.58

HR – Olson (37)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(2 for 4 / Home Run / 4 RBIs)

First baseman Matt Olson hit his league-leading 37th home run, a 3-run shot, and also singled in a run to help Stockton win its sixth straight on Sunday. Shortstop Daniel Robertson singled, doubled and scored twice, while designated hitter Renato Nunez had a pair of hits and drove in a run, and center fielder Boog Powell went 2 for 5 and scored a run in his second game for Stockton since returning from his suspension. Starter Jake Sanchez returned to the mound after spending two weeks on the disabled list and allowed just 1 run and struck out 5 over 4 innings of work, while RHP Jonathan Joseph followed up by tossing 4 scoreless frames to earn his 7th win for the Ports. Meanwhile, Stockton’s bullpen lost RHP Nolan Sanburn to the White Sox as a result of the Adam Dunn deal. Sanburn struck out 73 in 71 1/3 innings while posting a 3.28 ERA in 42 relief appearances this season for Stockton. The Ports also lost RHPs Tim Atherton and Blake Hassebrock when the two were promoted to Sacramento. Jake Sanchez was activated from the disabled list to make Sunday’s start and RHP Brendan McCurry was promoted from Beloit to bolster Stockton’s bullpen.

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

Wednesday, August 20th: Jonathan Joseph Tosses 5 Scoreless & Matt Olson Homers in Ports Victory while Matt Buschmann Earns 8th Win for River Cats

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Jonathan Joseph (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Jonathan Joseph (5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)



Stockton Ports         4

Lake Elsinore Storm  0

WP – Joseph 6-3 / 3.99

HR – Olson (36)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Jonathan Joseph

(5 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

RHP Jonathan Joseph was impressive in a spot start for Stockton, allowing just 2 hits over 5 shutout innings to earn his 6th win on Wednesday. RHPs Andres Avila and Nolan Sanburn both tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, with Sanburn picking up his 6th save for Stockton. First baseman Matt Olson hit his league-leading 36th home run, a 2-run shot, while outfielder Tyler Marincov singled, doubled and drove in a run, and shortstop Daniel Robertson singled, doubled, walked and stole a pair of bases for the Ports.

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

Thursday, July 31st: Hounds Win with the Help of another Kent Matthes Grand Slam while Deck McGuire Pitches Cats to Victory and Billy Burns Is Sent to Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (Grand Slam)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (Grand Slam)



Corpus Christi Hooks      1

Midland RockHounds  6

WP – Long 10-6 / 3.16

HR – Matthes (11)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Kent Matthes

(Grand Slam)

Midland outfielder Kent Matthes hit his third grand slam in the last two weeks, which was also his sixth home run in the last six days, to help the Hounds win on Thursday. Outfielder D’Arby Myers and first baseman Blake Forsythe each drove in a run for the RockHounds. Starter Nate Long was solid, allowing just 1 unearned run while striking out 10 over 7 innings to earn his 10th win. Meanwhile, outfielder Kenny Wilson was outrighted to Midland, while former RockHounds outfielder Billy Burns was optioned to Sacramento.

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

Exclusive: Talking Top Prospects with A’s Special Assistant Grady Fuson

gfDSC01787-1[2c]Long-time baseball man Grady Fuson served as the A’s scouting director from 1995 until 2001, when the team drafted such talented players as Eric ChavezTim HudsonMark MulderBarry Zito and Rich Harden. He left the A’s at the end of 2001 to become the assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers and, after moving on to head up the Padres scouting department, Fuson eventually returned to the A’s a little over four years ago to serve as a special assistant to general manager Billy Beane.

Of course, many know Fuson as the scout in the cinematic version of Moneyball who has a dramatic confrontation with the A’s general manager – though that’s not quite how it happened (which we chronicled here), and he and Beane are both back on the same team and rowing in the same direction.

Prior to the amateur draft in early-June, Fuson’s duties primarily consist of scouting amateur prospects in preparation for the draft. But once the draft is complete, he begins a tour around the A’s minor league system, checking in on teams from Sacramento and Stockton to Midland and Beloit.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Fuson in Stockton just before the major league All-Star break, and prior to Ports catcher Bruce Maxwell’s promotion to Midland. We took the opportunity to pick the brain of one of baseball’s top talent evaluators and get the lowdown on some of the A’s top prospects at Stockton, as well as a few other promising players from throughout the system…


AF:  So let me just start off by asking you, as a guy with a long background in both scouting and development, how does it feel to lose a couple of top-quality prospects like Addison Russell and Billy McKinney?

GF:  Well, it hurts, but I’m in this business for the same reason as the people I work for, and I know everything we do is about that big league club. As good as our club has been the last two years, to me, this is what you’ve got to do. And I think Billy [Beane] worked through this thing magically – the timing, the quality of the players we got. We didn’t just add pitching, we added aces, and this could end up being the difference in us possibly putting a ring on our finger or not. And when it’s all said and done, that’s a big part of development – drafting and developing these prospects to be at that level of interest so that they could be a part of a deal like that.

AF:  Well, this year, most of the A’s top prospects are right here in Stockton. Of course, shortstop Daniel Robertson was probably more affected by the Addison Russell trade than anyone. So what do you see for Daniel Robertson’s baseball future at this point?

drrobertson480_szmaxxpi_ibplc2rl2GF:  He’s on time with his progression. He has many talents. Maybe he’s not as “sexy,” if that’s the word, as Addison, but probably more consistent in some areas. But he’s taken another step in his maturity as a baseball player. You can’t out-work him – he’s here every day. He wants to get better, and he’s shown he’s better this year than he was a year ago. He’s becoming more consistent. The biggest thing – the thing we were all counting on when he signed – was coming into some power, and it’s starting to come. You can see it in his numbers, you can see it in BP – it’s starting to come. Everything else is in his hands, and he’s playing great baseball.

AF:  Did his development this year make it any easier for the organization to make the deal and trade away someone like Addison Russell?

GF:  Maybe to some hidden degree. But Billy’s come out on the record and said that we’re going to worry about 2015 and 2016 when we get to them. And it’s really no different down here in the system. You know, we’re not as deep as we were a couple years ago. We’ve made a lot of trades, we’ve made a lot of moves. But one good move is we do have a Daniel Robertson at a key position. Maybe he’s not on as a quick a path as Addison could be on, but Danny’s not far behind Addison in any category, trust me.

AF:  Another guy who looked to be really affected by the trade, particularly by Billy McKinney’s departure, was center fielder Herschel Powell. He had a great first half at Beloit before getting called up to Stockton and then was hit with the 50-game suspension after just a couple of weeks here. So what’s your take on his performance this year and the recent developments with him as well?

GF:  Well, he’s gone crazy a little bit this year. He really had a great first half at Beloit. He’s learning the little things a little better. He’s always been a runner, and he’s always had the tools to play center. He’s always been an aggressive hitter, and now he’s learning the strike zone. He’s getting on base more. His instincts stealing bases still need some work but are starting to come. He came here and had a quick two weeks, and it didn’t look like the Cal League was prepared to stop him. And now we got the “oopsie,” so we got to wait 50 [games].

AF:  With Powell out for a while, another outfielder who was hitting well at Beloit and is now getting a chance here in Stockton is Jaycob Brugman. I remember you telling me to keep an eye on him in spring training, and he’s gotten off to a pretty good start here in the California League so far.

GF:  Brugman’s a good player. He’s one of our better defenders on the corner. He reads balls well, and he’s a good thrower. He’s got the best release. There are not a lot of things he does that are way off the charts, but there’s nothing that he does below average. He does a lot of good things on all sides of the game.

AF:  Now first baseman Matt OIson’s been having a good year here – he’s been leading the California League in home runs and it looks like his plate discipline has improved as well.

GF:  As far as his strikeout percentage, he’s cutting that back a little bit. But the good thing is he’s walking. So there are times when he’s going to swing through pitches, but he’s also swinging at strikes, and that’s a big key for him going forward.

AF:  What kind of improvements have you seen Renato Nunez make this year at the plate but also in the field at third base?

rnrenato-nunez-2013cGF:  It’s a work in progress. It’s repetition, repetition, repetition. He’s not perfect, but he’s working on it. He’s getting there. There’s no reason not to think he’ll be fine there when it’s all said and done. The more offensive he becomes, the better at third he becomes! He’s gotten stronger. He’s a lot more physical this year. Last year, he tapered his body and thinned out at 19. This year at 20, he’s starting to add some good weight. His hands are quicker. He’s got another 10 yards to the ball when he hits it. He’s got a chance to be a beast when he’s done.

AF:  What about Chad Pinder? It was a big leap for him to skip the Midwest League and come right up to the California League this year, but he got off to a great start here.

GF:  First of all, we’ve got to go back to spring training when he showed up 25 pounds stronger, and it was good weight. He had a whole different look in his eye. He looked a little bit more confident. I thought last year he was kind of frozen a little bit in the pro game. It looked like he was out of sorts and uncomfortable, plus he got hurt and lost a lot of time. But after Instructional League, he got his feet on the ground and worked his tail off in the winter in our strength program. And in spring training, he was one of the more impressive young guys in the whole camp. So we pushed him a little bit and sent him here. He’s playing a new position – 80% of the time at second base. Back in his amateur days, it was more short and third. So he’s still learning a lot of the nuances at second. But offensively, he’s been aggressive. He needs to learn how to control the strike zone a little bit more as he continues to grow, but he’s really putting a charge into the baseball when he squares it.

AF:  The other guy you guys bumped up here to Stockton with Pinder, Ryon Healy, started off the season slow, but he’s really been turning it on here of late.

GF:  For me personally, that would be my most improved guy. From last summer to Instructional League and even into spring training, things were a little rough. He himself is learning a new spot at third base. But I can tell things are more comfortable. He’s moving his feet better, he’s got better angles and lines. But offensively, he’s got much more timing and rhythm, and his true hand-speed strength is starting to show up.

AF:  How do you feel Bruce Maxwell’s been doing both at the plate and behind the plate, and how has he been in terms of learning to work with the pitching staff and that whole aspect of the game?

GF:  That bat’s fine. There are still some things we’re working on as far as the pull side, but his discipline’s been good. His receiving’s better and he’s been throwing real well…One thing that’s been impressive in talking to the staff here is that he’s really taken a big leap in leadership. He runs our meetings before every series. We have a meeting with all the pitchers and go over the opposing club. And he’s basically taken charge of that meeting, so that’s a step in the right direction. He’s in there, pitchers are digging him, everything’s good.

AF:  Speaking of pitchers, Seth Streich has been having one of the best seasons of any guy in the system. What’s he been doing right, what’s been working for him and what’s allowed him to have the success he’s been having?

ssStreich2bGF:  The changeup. That’s been our plan of attack with him for a year now. He’s had one, but it wasn’t a pitch that he really used. It wasn’t a pitch that he thought he had to use. He’s been predominantly a fastball/curveball guy. His changeup’s been hard, it’s been flat. So all the guys have been working to soften up his change and get some bottom to it. And I think it’s really been an added weapon for him. I’ve always loved the way he throws his fastball. He’s one of our best as far as locating it down and away.

AF:  How is his overall fastball command at this point and how hard does he throw it?

GF:  He’s really good with his fastball – he’s always been able to nail his fastball. He’s 90-93 mph, in that area…but I’ll say the same thing now that I said two years ago, he’s a changeup away from being a really good pitcher.

AF:  Nolan Sanburn has finally been healthy all year and has been out there pitching on a regular basis. So how do you see him coming along at this point?

GF:  Good. I think he’s prepared to pitch at the next level if needed. The biggest thing is getting back on the field for a full year, staying healthy and getting the innings he needs instead of being hampered by low innings. You don’t get better not being on the mound, and now he’s getting on the mound consistently and he’s been solid.

AF:  Do you see him sticking in the bullpen in the foreseeable future?

GF:  Yeah, I see that. It’s probably up for future discussion though.

AF:  What about the guy everyone’s always interested in, Michael Ynoa? He’s had some good outings and some not-so-good outings here in Stockton this year. So where do you see things are at with him right now?

Michael YnoaGF:  He’s healthy. He’s throwing hard. Like you said, it’s been 50/50 success. The boys have been giving him a little bit more of a slider look instead of a curveball. Last night was the first time I’ve gotten to see this new little slider. And even though I saw his breaking ball a year ago in spring training as good as I’ve ever seen it, the bottom line is he just doesn’t repeat it enough to be effective with it. The slider that I saw last night on numerous occasions might be a very, very helpful pitch for him. When he threw it right, it had the perfect depth and angle for a slider to get some swings-and-misses. And that’s what Michael needs right now – he needs a pitch that he can get some more swings-and-misses with.

AF:  Now you were just in Sacramento, so is there anyone in particular there you could see helping the big club in the near future if needed?

GF:  Yes. Andy Parrino could go up there and play defense all day long. He’s swinging it a lot better than he did a year ago. He had a unique down year offensively last year, but Andy could be on anybody’s big league team in the right role. Shane Peterson continues to do everything you want to see out of a guy. He could be a fourth or fifth outfielder for anybody – thankfully, we haven’t needed that because of the job that Craig Gentry’s done. But he’s talented – he can play all three outfield spots, he gives you quality at-bats. There’s a flash of thunder in there, there’s a flash of speed in there. So there are a lot of things that could be attractive.

AF:  Have you had the chance to see much of Max Muncy or Billy Burns at Midland this year and, if so, where do you feel they’re at?

GF:  I think they’re both in good spots. Muncy has some hot streaks and has some cold streaks, but I think overall he’s been pretty consistent this year…I think he’s right on track – his patience, his ability to defend. We’ve toyed with him at third and that looks like a very playable option. Billy can steal a base on call and he’s played well in center field. You’ve got to remember, he’s a singles guy – and the higher up you play, the more they shorten the field, so he’s having to figure that out a little bit. You know, in spring training, everything’s opened up and nobody really cares. But once the season starts and guys start putting hitting charts against you and know where you hit it, they defend you a little bit different. So he’s kind of in the middle of that part of the learning curve.

AF:  And have you had a chance to see last year’s 2nd-round draft pick Dillon Overton, who’s been working his way back from Tommy John surgery down in Arizona?

dospringstate10weatherford4-3cGF:  Yeah, I saw his first rehab. He was at 90 mph. The curveball was there – it just wasn’t consistent. But he threw easy. He attacked the strike zone at 90 mph. He’s been throwing 3 innings.

AF:  Do you think there’s any chance of seeing him outside of Arizona this year?

GF:  Yeah, I think the plan is once we get him up to around a 5-inning-type pitch count, we’ll probably send him somewhere, but we’re not going to pitch him a ton.

AF:  Now what about a couple of young pitchers from the 2013 draft who’ve been on the sidelines, Chris Kohler and Dustin Driver? What’s the latest with the two of them?

GF:  Driver’s got a back issue, so he’s been out. I don’t think it’s too bad. Before that, he had an infectious disease for a while – it wasn’t anything major – but he was basically quarantined from the complex. Then when he came back from that, he threw a couple times and then that’s when the back thing popped up, right around the time of the draft.

AF:  And what’s the latest with Kohler?

GF:  Kohler’s elbow is just a slow go. It’s still biting him. They’ve gone back in and taken another look. I think he was going back in to have another MRI. But he’s not currently in any legitimate throwing program as we speak. I don’t see him see pitching a whole lot the rest of this season.

AF:  And finally, how much of this year’s 1st-round draft pick, Matt Chapman, did you get a chance to see prior to the draft and what’s your take on him?

mcimg_6735bGF:  I’ve seen parts of him for two years…He’s a very talented defensive kid. I can’t believe he didn’t play shortstop in college. He’s got a gifted arm. He’s got gifted hands. He reacts well. He’s very polished defensively. He’s got some raw power in there and very impressive strength. There are some things we’ve got to clean up a little bit in his approach and his moves. But he’s got a chance to be a complete guy – you know, hit, hit with some power. This guy’s got a chance to be a Gold Glover.

AF:  Well, let’s hope so! That’s great, thanks a lot.


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Sunday, June 22nd: Justin Higley’s Inside-The-Park Grand Slam Leads Vermont to Victory, While Matt Olson’s 2 HRs Help Stockton Win

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Designated Hitter Justin Higley (Inside-The-Park Grand Slam)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Designated Hitter Justin Higley (Inside-The-Park Grand Slam)


NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE  (Class-A Short-Season)

Connecticut Tigers                 7

Vermont Lake Monsters  10

WP – Cruzado 1-0 / 2.70

HR – Higley (3)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Justin Higley

(Inside-The-Park Grand Slam)

Lake Monsters designated hitter Justin Higley pulled off a rare feat on Sunday – an inside-the-park grand slam. And to make things even better, it came with the game tied in the bottom of the 8th inning and provided Vermont with the margin of victory on Sunday. Higley also doubled, walked and scored 3 runs in the game, and he now has 9 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in his first 10 games this season. Second baseman Joe Bennie had 3 hits and drove in a run, while first baseman Ryan Huck singled, doubled and drove in a pair. Starter Cristhian Perez allowed 4 runs, 3 earned, over 5 innings of work, while RHP Fernando Cruzado picked up the win despite giving up a run in the 9th.

See Justin Higley’s inside-the-park grand slam for yourself…


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

Thursday, June 19th: Ports Win in a Walk-Off Behind Matt Olson’s Big Bat as Dan Straily Gets Shelled in Cats Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (5 for 6 / 2 Home Runs / Double / 5 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports First Baseman Matt Olson (5 for 6 / 2 Home Runs / Double / 5 RBIs)



Bakersfield Blaze  7

Stockton Ports    8

WP – Sanburn 2-1 / 3.18

HR – Olson 2 (17), Nunez (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(5 for 6 / 2 Home Runs / Double / 5 RBIs)

First baseman Matt Olson had a huge night in Stockton’s 11-inning victory on Thursday. The A’s third overall pick in 2012 draft collected 5 hits, including a double in the 1st inning, a home run in the 6th to tie the game and another homer in the bottom of the 11th to provide the walk-off win for the Ports. Olson drove in 5 runs and scored 3 times on the night, and his 17 home runs currently lead all California League hitters. Third baseman Renato Nunez tagged his 10th home run, while outfielder Dusty Robinson, designated hitter Ryon Healy and second baseman Chad Pinder had a pair of hits apiece for the Ports. Starter Tim Atherton surrendered 4 runs in the 1st inning on a 2-out grand slam but held Bakersfield scoreless over the next 5 frames, and he ended up allowing 4 runs on 5 hits over 6 innings of work. RHP Michael Ynoa gave up 3 runs on 3 hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief, while RHP Nolan Sanburn tossed a scoreless 9th, 10th and 11th to pick up his 2nd win. In other news, the A’s signed 25-year-old Venezulean minor league free agent RHP Yeiper Castillo and assigned him to Stockton. The former Red Sox, Cubs and Angels prospect has compiled a 3.71 ERA over 152 career minor league games. He’ll join RHP Jake Sanchez, acquired in the Michael Taylor trade, as the two newest members of the Ports pitching staff.

See what Matt Olson had to say after his big night here…


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Monday, May 19th: Straily Pitches Cats to Victory while Ports Win in Extras and Hounds & Snappers Fall

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Dan Straily (7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Sacramento River Cats Pitcher Dan Straily (7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / Win)



El Paso Chihuahuas          1

Sacramento River Cats  2

WP – Straily 1-0 / 5.25

HR – Parrino (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Dan Straily

(7 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 8 K / Win)

After struggling his first time out, RHP Dan Straily was far more impressive in his second start for Sacramento on Monday, allowing 1 run on just 2 hits while striking out 8 over 7 innings to earn the win. RHP Fernando Nieve tossed a scoreless 8th inning, and RHP Evan Scribner got the final 3 outs in the 9th for his 7th save. With the River Cats down by one in the 6th, shortstop Andy Parrino hit his 1st home run to tie the game, and designated hitter Alden Carrithers singled in outfielder Nick Buss in the 7th to provide the winning run for the River Cats. Meanwhile, catcher Stephen Vogt went 2 for 4 to post his fourth-straight two-hit game for Sacramento.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

Thursday, April 17th: Ports Fall despite Streich’s Stellar Start while Snappers Win behind Finnegan and Cats & Hounds Come up Short


A’s Farmhand Of The Day

Stockton Ports Pitcher Seth Streich (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K)

 Stockton Ports Pitcher Seth Streich      (6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K)



Stockton Ports        3

Inland Empire 66ers  4

LP – Sanburn 0-1 / 5.00

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Seth Streich

(6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K)

RHP Seth Streich turned in an impressive start for Stockton, allowing just 3 hits while walking none and striking out 9 over 6 scoreless innings, and he left the game with a 3-run lead. In his first appearance for the Ports, RHP Hunter Adkins came on to give up 2 runs in 1 2/3 innings of relief, and RHP Nolan Sanburn surrendered 2 more runs – the tying run in the 9th and the winning run in the 10th – to take the loss. Designated hitter Renato Nunez singled, walked twice and drove in a run, while second baseman Chad Pinder also singled in a run, and shortstop Daniel Robertson singled and scored twice for the Ports. Meanwhile, Stockton starter Shawn Haviland was promoted to Midland and Hunter Adkins is expected to join RHPs Seth Streich, Josh Bowman, Manny Correa and Tim Atherton as the newest member of Stockton’s starting rotation.

Click here for more on Sacramento, Midland & Beloit…

A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2014

Former top pitching prospect Sonny Gray - who will be the next to make it big?

Former top pitching prospect Sonny Gray – who will be the next to make it big?

With the first A’s players set to report to spring training camp in just a couple of weeks, it’s time to present A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2014. We’ve combined half a dozen different A’s prospect lists to come up with a consensus list that reflects a broad base of wisdom where A’s prospects are concerned.

You can find the prospect lists that we used to compile our consensus list at the very end of this piece. Some of the lists we’ve included are from better known sources and some are from lesser known sources, but they’ve all been chosen because they represent intelligent and informed opinions about the A’s system. For the purposes of this list, we’ve looked at the top ten picks from each list and assigned points to each player as follows: 10 points for each first place finish, 9 points for second, 8 for third, all the way on down to 1 point for each tenth place finish.

It’s interesting to note that the A’s 2012 top draft pick, shortstop Addison Russell, was the unanimous choice as the A’s top prospect, and the top five picks on our consensus list – Russell, McKinney, Alcantara, Ynoa and Nunez – were each included on all six lists. Six of the top ten are position players, while only four are pitchers. Half are products of the 2012 draft class. Half will also be 20 years old or younger to start the season, and only two are certain to start out above Class-A (Russell and Muncy, who are both expected to start the year at Midland), with none of the top ten starting out at Triple-A. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2014…



#1 – Addison Russell (SS) – 60 points / 6 lists

#2 – Billy McKinney (OF) – 41 points / 6 lists

#3-4 (tie) – Raul Alcantara (RHP) – 40 points / 6 lists

#3-4 (tie) – Michael Ynoa (RHP) – 40 points / 6 lists

#5 – Renato Nunez (3B) – 37 points / 6 lists

#6-7 (tie) – Daniel Robertson (SS) – 26 points / 5 lists

#6-7 (tie) – Matt Olson (1B) – 26 points / 5 lists

#8 – Bobby Wahl (RHP) – 21 points / 4 lists

#9 – Nolan Sanburn (RHP) – 12 points / 6 lists

#10 – Max Muncy (1B) – 10 points / 3 lists



(60 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

The unanimous pick as the A’s top prospect, Russell got off to a slow start at Stockton in 2013 as the youngest player in the California League. But the then-19-year-old eventually settled in and put together a solid season both at the plate and in the field. The young shortstop slugged 29 doubles, 10 triples and 17 home runs and committed just 15 errors while playing on some pretty rocky California League fields. Russell’s attitude and his ability to learn and adapt has helped to fuel his fast rise. He’s scheduled to start the season at Double-A Midland but, if he gets off to faster start there than he did last year at Stockton, he could find himself in Sacramento before long. And with A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie set to hit free agency after the 2014 season, Russell could be just a year away from landing in Oakland.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)



(41 points / 6 lists)

Left-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 19

Drafted 2013 – 1st Round

The A’s most recent 1st-round draft pick, the team went after McKinney because of his sweet swing. And the Texas native lived up to his reputation at the plate, hitting .326 in 215 at-bats in 2013. Though he might not flash a lot of power, his ability to make contact seems solid. The center fielder looked strong in the outfield as well. And a full season facing slightly more advanced pitchers in the Midwest League should tell us a lot more about how fast McKinney will rise in the future.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Beloit Snappers (A)


raraul-alcantara01b#3-4 (tie) RAUL ALCANTARA

(40 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 21

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

Acquired from Boston with Josh Reddick and Miles Head in the Andrew Bailey/Ryan Sweeney deal, with Sonny Gray and Dan Straily now in the majors, Alcantara has emerged as the top pitching prospect in the A’s minor league system. Splitting the season between Stockton and Beloit, the right-hander posted a 3.11 ERA and led all A’s minor league starters with a 1.16 WHIP. Alcantara flashed an impressive changeup and showed solid control – walking just 24 batters over 156 1/3 innings. The A’s might start Alcantara at Midland but, since he just turned 21, they could still take it slow and have him start the season at Stockton.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)


myspringtraining22_4599LI-401x600#3-4 (tie) MICHAEL YNOA

(40 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 22

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

The biggest bonus baby in A’s history, the team reportedly paid Ynoa $4.25 million when they signed him as a flame-throwing teenager out of the Dominican Republic back in 2008. Many injury issues later, Ynoa made it back onto the mound to throw 75 2/3 innings in 2013. The 6’7” right-hander looked impressive at Beloit, posting a 2.14 ERA in 15 starts, but he put up a 7.71 ERA in just 21 innings at Stockton. Ynoa is capable of flashing a mid-90s fastball and possesses tremendous potential, but he still needs to prove that he can command his repertoire and endure a full season on the mound. Ynoa might get the chance to do that at Midland, but he’s more likely to start the season at Stockton.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)


rnNunez_480_copy_rvisuyh3_iun9o7x5c#5 RENATO NUNEZ

(37 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 20

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

Another international bonus baby like Ynoa, the A’s reportedly signed Nunez for $2.2 million out of Venezuela in 2010. Nunez turned 19 on opening day last year and celebrated by hitting a 3-run homer. His raw power is what originally attracted the A’s to the young Venezuelan, and he notched 19 homers and 27 doubles for Beloit in 2013. Nunez could improve his plate discipline a bit though – he struck out 136 times while drawing just 28 walks last season. The third baseman also led all A’s minor leaguers with 39 errors in 114 games at the hot corner in 2013. But Nunez should get the chance to show off his bat with Stockton in the hitter-friendly California League in 2014. And as long as he continues to hit, the A’s will find a way to work around his glove.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)


drdanielrobertson_mlb_display_image2#6-7 (tie) DANIEL ROBERTSON

(26 points / 5 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

Drafted by the A’s with their next pick after Russell in 2012, Robertson is currently the second-best shortstop prospect in the A’s system. There was originally some question about his ability to play the position, but Robertson played solely at short last season and showed some ability to stick there. While being able to play short clearly increases his value, with Russell penciled in as the A’s shortstop of the future, Robertson should also start seeing some time at second and third to increase his versatility. The California native hit .277 with 9 home runs and a .353 OBP for Beloit in 2013. He spent part of the year hitting near the top of the lineup and showed some ability to get on base, but it’s hoped that Robertson can also develop a little more pop as his bat matures.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)


mo15095_4110106706138_1463379083_n4#6-7 (tie) MATT OLSON

(26 points / 5 lists)

Left-Handed Hitting First Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

The next pick by the A’s after Russell and Robertson in 2012, Olson’s raw power potential was what most-impressed scouts. And in his first full season in the A’s system in 2013, he blasted 23 homers for Beloit, which was more than any A’s minor leaguer except for fellow first baseman Max Muncy. Olson also put up 32 doubles to go with 72 walks, 148 strikeouts and a .225 batting average. More than half his hits were for extra bases, putting him in that category of players who walks, strikes out and gets extra-base hits more often than he singles. The Georgia native should have the chance to put his power on display for Stockton in the hitter-friendly California league in 2014. And if the 6’4” first baseman can just cut down on the K’s and put a few more balls in play, he could be a big hit in Mudville.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)


bwEP-130529103b#8 BOBBY WAHL

(21 points / 4 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 22

Drafted 2013 – 5th Round

With more college experience than most of the A’s current crop of pitching prospects, the former Ole Miss hurler could be poised to make a quick rise. Drafted last year in the 5th-round, Wahl signed later than most and only ended up getting into 10 games, all but one with Vermont. The right-hander boasts an impressive slider and clearly was able to fool a few of the NY-Penn League hitters he faced, striking out 27 of them in his 20 2/3 innings with the Lake Monsters. Expect to see him start the 2014 season in Beloit, where the typically chilly Midwest League spring temps could help Wahl put hitters there in a deep freeze.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Beloit Snappers (A)


nsresized_99261-5csanburn3colbw_47-15782_t728#9 NOLAN SANBURN

(12 points / 6 lists)

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 22

Drafted 2012 – 2nd Round

The first pitcher taken by the A’s in the 2012 draft, Sanburn is a hard-throwing right-hander out of the University of Arkansas. And like Wahl, he’s one of the most promising college pitchers among the A’s current crop of pitching prospects. Sanburn didn’t sign quickly after the draft and only ended up making it into 7 games with Vermont in 2012. And injury issues limited him to just 16 games last year. In his 23 appearances since being drafted, Sanburn’s posted a 2.40 ERA while striking out 45 batters in 48 2/3 innings. And with a mid-90s fastball and a solid curve, the Indiana native could move quickly if he can stay healthy and get his work in on the mound.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Stockton Ports (A)


mmDSC02951cx#10 MAX MUNCY

(10 points / 3 lists)

Left-Handed Hitting First Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2012 – 5th Round

Muncy led all A’s minor leaguers in home runs, RBIs, total bases and walks in 2013. The Texas native is a better-than-average defender at first base too. And his 88 walks attest to the fact that he may have the best plate discipline of any current A’s hitting prospect. 21 of his 25 home runs came in the hitter-friendly California League, which tends to exaggerate almost everyone’s power numbers, but it was still a solid season for Muncy. He struggled a bit after making the move to Midland but, after a rough first few weeks, he seemed to settle in and start having productive at-bats again. Muncy should start the 2014 season back at Midland, where he’ll be joined in the infield by shortstop Addison Russell. And of all the A’s top hitting prospects besides Russell, Muncy is probably the most advanced at this point.

Likely To Start 2014 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)


*          *          *


Last Year’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List


Baseball America’s Top A’s Prospects

MLB.com’s Top A’s Prospects

Oakland Clubhouse’s Top A’s Prospects

Bleacher Report’s Top A’s Prospects

Prospect 361’s Top A’s Prospects

Grading On The Curve’s Top A’s Prospects



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 updates e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

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