Tag: Oakland Athletics

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

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

First baseman Matt Olson

First baseman Matt Olson

With the 2017 minor league season now complete, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field really were in the A’s system in 2017. We’re not selecting top prospects here, just looking at the top performers on the field this season. So, with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2017 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Nashville, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton, Class-A Beloit, Class-A Short-Season Vermont and the Rookie League Short-Season AZL A’s in 2017. Offensive players were selected from the primary starters at each position for each team over the course of the season, with notable players not leading in games played at a particular position listed in the designated hitter category. Starting pitchers for each club were selected from among the top starters for each team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader. Asterisks denote players with combined statistics from multiple minor league teams within the A’s system, but players’ major league statistics and statistics acquired while with other organizations have not been included.

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

Check out our list of All-Star candidates at each position. Then click on the link just below the list of contenders to find A’s Farm’s winning Organizational All-Stars at each position. The winners were determined based purely on performance, not potential. Remember, we’re not selecting the top prospects here, we’re choosing the top performers on the field this season. So take a look at the candidates for yourself and then cast your vote in our poll for the top A’s Organizational All-Star of 2017!

 

–THE CANDIDATES–

 

CATCHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FIRST BASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SECOND BASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SHORTSTOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THIRD BASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LEFT FIELD

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CENTER FIELD

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RIGHT FIELD

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

STARTING PITCHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CLOSER

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A’s Final 2017 Minor League Hitting & Pitching Leaders

Includes Nashville Sounds (AAA), Midland RockHounds (AA), Stockton Ports (A), Beloit Snappers (A), Vermont Lake Monsters (A), AZL A’s (Rk)

 

–HITS–

bb622196172 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

148 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

141 J.P. Sportman OF (Mid)

140 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

136 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas) / Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

 

–DOUBLES–

ew64220132 Eli White SS (Sto)

29 Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

29 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

28 Kyle Nowlin 1B (Bel)

28 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–TRIPLES–

jw6215638 Joey Wendle 2B (Nas)

8 Trace Loehr 3B-2B (Bel)

7 Jorge Mateo SS (Mid) / Luis Barrera OF (Bel-Sto)

7 Skye Bolt OF (Sto) / Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

7 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto) / Seth Brown OF (Sto)

 

–HOME RUNS–

rn60052432 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

30 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

23 Matt Olson 1B (Nas)

21 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

18 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–TOTAL BASES–

sb664913262 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

245 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

228 Skye Bolt OF (Sto)

218 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

216 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–RBIs–

vr594983110 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

109 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

78 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

74 J.P. Sportman OF (Mid)

73 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

 

–RUNS–

bb62219682 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

80 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

80 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

78 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

76 Skye Bolt OF (Sto)

 

–WALKS–

tr669262b73 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

69 Kyle Nowlin 1B (Bel)

59 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

56 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

56 Viosergy Rosa 1B (Mid)

 

–STRIKEOUTS–

js642069164 JaVon Shelby OF (Bel)

146 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

143 Collin Theroux C (Bel)

141 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

141 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

 

–STOLEN BASES–

mm66503327 Mike Martin OF (Bel-Ver)

22 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

16 Luis Barrera OF (Bel-Sto)

16 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

16 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

 

–ERRORS–

em64271428 Eric Marinez SS (Bel)

25 Eli White SS (Sto)

21 Franklin Barreto SS (Nas)

21 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

20 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

 

–BATTING AVERAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

bb622196.323 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

.321 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

.304 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.300 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

.300 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

 

–ON-BASE PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

tr669262b.398 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.379 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

.366 B.J. Boyd OF (Mid)

.366 Nate Mondou 2B (Bel-Sto)

.365 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

 

–SLUGGING PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

rn600524.518 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

.506 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

.495 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

.464 Yairo Munoz SS-3B-OF (Nas-Mid)

.457 Mikey White 3B (Sto)

 

–ON-BASE + SLUGGING– (minimum 300 at-bats)

bs615702.861 Brett Siddall OF (Sto)

.846 Seth Brown OF (Sto)

.837 Renato Nunez OF-3B (Nas)

.829 Tyler Ramirez OF (Sto-Mid)

.801 Max Schrock 2B (Mid)

 

Click here for A’s minor league pitching leaders…

A’s Set Fall League Instructional Roster

00DSC04060xThe A’s released their Fall Instructional League roster on Tuesday. Camp is set to open at the A’s minor league facilities in Arizona in a little over a week and will run for four weeks.

27 pitchers and 28 position players are currently scheduled to attend. And some high-profile prospects like 18-year-old Cuban outfielder Lazaro Armenteros and top pitching prospects A.J. Puk and Logan Shore will be participating.

Also attending will be six of the A’s top seven picks from this year’s draft – outfielders Austin Beck and Greg Deichmann, infielders Nick Allen and Will Toffey, catcher Santis Sanchez and pitcher Logan Salow. You can see the full list of A’s prospects who are set to appear in camp below…

 

–PITCHERS–

A.J. Puk

A.J. Puk

Ismael Aquino

Dakota Chalmers

Wandisson Charles

Bryce Conley

Dustin Driver

Kevin Duchene

Angel Duno

Caleb Evans

Brett Graves

Angello Infante

Rafael Kelly

Pat Krall

Wyatt Marks

Jeferson Mejia

Jose Mora

Richard Morban

James Naile

Teodoro Ortega

A.J. Puk

Wilkin Ramos

Adam Reuss

Jean Ruiz

Logan Salow

Dalton Sawyer

Logan Shore

Oscar Tovar

Brandon Withers

 

Santis Sanchez

Santis Sanchez

–CATCHERS–

Iolana Akau

Jordan Devencenzi

Jose Rivas

Santis Sanchez

Collin Theroux

Skyler Weber

 

–INFIELDERS–

Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Nick Allen

Aaron Arruda

Marcos Brito

Jordan Diaz

Ryan Gridley

Jesus Lage

Eric Marinez

Alonzo Medina

Miguel Mercedes

Will Toffey

Yerdel Vargas

 

–OUTFIELDERS–

Austin Beck

Austin Beck

Lazaro Armenteros

Austin Beck

Anthony Churlin

Greg Deichmann

Yhoelnys Gonzalez

Jeramiah McCray

Mickey McDonald

Kevin Richards

Rafael Rincones

JaVon Shelby

Eli White

 

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.

Down on the Farm with Stockton Ports Pitcher Brandon Bailey

bb669064bBrandon Bailey grew up in Colorado and attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he struck out 125 batters in 100 1/3 innings while posting a 2.42 ERA in his final season for the Bulldogs.

After the right-hander was selected by the A’s in the 6th round of last year’s amateur draft, he spent most of the season playing for Vermont, the A’s Class-A affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he put up a solid 3.08 ERA in 10 appearances. But Bailey was even more impressive for Beloit this season, posting a 2.88 ERA while notching 61 strikeouts over 68 2/3 innings of work for the Snappers before being promoted to the Ports at the start of July.

Last summer, we shared a few of Bailey’s blog posts about some of his experiences in the A’s minor league system in the weeks and months after the draft. We heard from him again just last week about some recent changes in his life, which you can check out here, and now we’re happy to share his latest update from Stockton. You can check out his personal blog here and you can follow him on Twitter at @BBailey_19

 

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how quickly humans can get caught up in a routine or daily schedule. With iPhones, iPads and Surface Pro 3s receiving our undivided attention, it seems like more and more people are forgetting to soak in all the blessings God has put in front of us on a daily basis. Things that on the surface seem so small or insignificant that we set them off to the side. Memories that we often take for granted, thinking that it’s always going to be there for us to appreciate. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of being glued to my technology and taking things for granted during numerous points in my life.

Over the past week, I have set aside some time to self-reflect, asking myself a set of questions: “What is my current routine? What do I like about it and what do I want to change?” With the help of family members, friends and teammates, I have discovered over the past five years that my life has been revolving around discontentment – always looking forward to the next step, the next goal, the next phases of life. Whether that’s in baseball, school or daily events, I am always planning for something further on down the road. This can be looked at as a positive trait as well as a negative one.

For starters, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people who like to plan out their school and/or work week. This is definitely me, and if you are anything like me, you probably find creating a to-do list to be oddly satisfying. Whether it’s something as simple as turning in a homework assignment or something as complex as solving world hunger, if it’s on my list and I complete the task, you can bet your ass that I will cross it off with a solid ballpoint pen (organized nerd geek for the win!). This technique, along with utilizing a planner to construct a strategy for my typical 9-to-5 work day, ultimately directs me on a path towards maximizing productivity, erasing wasted effort, and most importantly, eliminating wasted time. By being efficient during the set hours of the week that are designed for work, I:

1) Put myself in a position to have more free time to do fun stuff like binge watch House of Cards or talk to my family and friends on the phone.

2) Have a clear conscience that everything I needed to do in terms of “adulting” has been completed.

3) Give myself the opportunity to be in the present moment.

Brandon Bailey  (photo by Meghan Camino)

Brandon Bailey
(photo by Meghan Camino)

What I discovered over the past week is that, even though I am extremely organized with my time, I am still not taking advantage of being in the present moment. Why? Because I’ve let my work mentality transfer over into my personal life. Simple fix, right? Not so much – at least for me.

As a pitcher, I’ve been taught to constantly focus on the next pitch – a basic mindset that keeps me focused on the task at hand – letting go of anything that has happened during the previous pitch, at-bat, inning, game, or even the season, for that matter. This mentality, in my opinion, is the leading outlook on the art of pitching, simply because it forces the athlete to control what they can control, and that is – the NEXT pitch. Once the ball is released from the pitcher’s hand, he or she has zero say in what happens next. Gravity, the umpire’s opinion, and the hitter’s decision to swing or not are all up in the air. All the pitcher can do is hope that:

1) He made a quality pitch that is difficult for the batter to hit.

2) The hitter perceived the pitch as enticing and decided to swing, and hopefully miss.

3) The umpire felt that the pitch was within a certain area that gave the hitter a fair opportunity to put the ball in play (i.e. “the strike zone”).

If any one of these things doesn’t go the pitcher’s way, odds are there will be a negative outcome. It could be something as simple as the umpire calling the pitch a ball or something as catastrophic as a three-run walk-off Jimmy Jack to lose Game 7 of the World Series. Regardless, it’s out of the pitcher’s control. Like the great Clayton Kershaw said earlier this year, “They pay me to get the next guy out,” once again, emphasizing that pitchers, even the greatest in the world, are always looking ahead to the next pitch or the next at-bat.

On the positive side, I am aware of what I want to change. On the negative side, it’s unfortunate that it took me five years to come to this realization. All those times when God wanted me to just enjoy where I was currently at in life, I was looking ahead six months down the road. If I could do it all over again, I would praise him for the blessings of that day and let him handle all the worry, stress and uncertainty of my future.

Again, I think it’s okay to be excited for the future. It gives us hope. But if you let what’s to come blind you from the blessings of today, your life will be driven by discontentment and a restless aspiration for improvement. When in reality, the way to improve your future is by giving 100% to today.

*          *          *

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.

A’s Top-Performing Minor League Hitters of 2017

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

With the end of the minor league season almost upon us, it’s time to take a look at some of the young hitters in the A’s system who’ve been having true standout seasons on the field in 2017. So, let’s run down some of the top-performing position players in the A’s system this year. For the purposes of this piece, we’re only examining hitters who’ve compiled at least 300 at-bats this season and who are currently in the A’s minor league system. And remember, we’re not ranking top prospects here, just taking a look at some of the top performers on the field. All statistics are through games of Friday, September 1…

 

rn6005243B-OF Renato Nunez

Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(466 AB / 32 HR / 41 BB / 139 K / .253 AVG / .315 OBP / .526 SLG)

Considered a top power-hitting prospect for the A’s ever since the team signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela over six years ago, Nunez is back for his second season at Nashville. And his power seems to have reached new heights in his second stint at Triple-A. His 32 home runs are the most among A’s minor leaguers and tie him for second-most in the 16-team Pacific Coast League. The right-handed slugger’s 61 extra-base hits lead the A’s system, and his .526 slugging percentage is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats. The 23-year-old has also been much more consistent at the plate than he has been in past campaigns, though his lack of speed has led him to ground into 14 double plays so far this season. Nunez should get a look with the A’s this September, where he may have the chance to see some time in left field and in the designated hitter spot over the last month of the season. But with Matt Chapman entrenched at the hot corner, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be seeing much time at his old position. He really has the ability to hammer lefties, so his best role may be as a power-hitting platoon player, either as a DH or in left field. He’ll be out of options next season though, so the A’s will quickly need to determine exactly what they think they have in Mr. Nunez.

 

tr669262bOF Tyler Ramirez

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA)

(474 AB / 11 HR / 72 BB / 129 K / .310 AVG / .404 OBP / .441 SLG)

Ramirez has proven to be a fast mover in the A’s system. After being drafted in the 7th round last year and spending most of last season with short-season Vermont, the left-handed hitter started this year at High-A Stockton and then moved up to Double-A Midland this summer without missing a beat. The improved competition hasn’t seemed to hinder the 22-year-old, as he hit better at Stockton than he did for Vermont, and has hit even better for Midland than he did at Stockton. Ramirez has been remarkably consistent while hardly ever taking a day off and has a real knack for reaching base. His 72 walks are most among A’s minor leaguers, while his .404 on-base percentage is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats. He’s also compiled the second-most hits and runs in the system so far this season. While Ramirez can play all three outfield positions, he seems to look most comfortable in left, where he’s spent the bulk of his time this season.

 

bs615702OF Brett Siddall

Stockton Ports (A+)

(432 AB / 20 HR / 31 BB / 102 K / .301 AVG / .365 OBP / .493 SLG)

After turning in a somewhat unimpressive season last year at Beloit, Siddall may have shown as much improvement as any hitter in the A’s system this year. Taken by Oakland in the 13th round of the 2015 draft, the left-handed hitter got off to a slow start this season, compiling a rather tepid .657 OPS in April, but a healthy .929 OPS in the second half has helped to turn things around in a big way for the 22-year-old. His 20 home runs and .493 slugging percentage have helped to make him a potent force in the Ports lineup this season, while primarily playing in left and right field and also seeing frequent time in the DH spot for Stockton. He can tend to crowd the plate a bit and has been hit by pitches 14 times this season, which is the most among A’s minor leaguers.

 

sb664913OF Seth Brown

Stockton Ports (A+)

(509 AB / 28 HR / 55 BB / 143 K / .267 AVG / .337 OBP / .495 SLG)

Back for his second season in Stockton, Brown has really unleashed his power potential for the Ports this year. After getting off to a sluggish start with a .718 OPS in the first half, the left-handed hitter has put up an impressive .951 OPS since the California League All-Star break in late June to become Stockton’s best hitter in the second half. The 25-year-old leads all A’s minor leaguers in total bases, while his .495 slugging percentage is good for second-best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats, and his 28 home runs and 106 RBIs both currently lead the California League. Of course, along with power come strikeouts, and his 143 whiffs are tied for second-most in the A’s system. After being taken in the 19th round of the 2015 draft as a first baseman, Brown has spent the past couple of seasons primarily playing right field, but he’s begun seeing some more time at first base again lately.

 

bb622196OF B.J. Boyd

Midland RockHounds (AA)

(519 AB / 5 HR / 33 BB / 74 K / .329 AVG / .372 OBP / .437 SLG)

Taken by the A’s in the 4th round of the 2012 draft as a teenager out of Palo Alto High, Boyd has really come into his own in his sixth season in the A’s system. After turning in a somewhat uninspiring season at Stockton last year, the 24-year-old has compiled more hits and runs than any A’s minor leaguer this season and is tied for the second-most doubles with 29, while his .329 batting average is best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats and also happens to lead the Texas League. The left-handed hitter has been incredibly productive hitting near the top of the order for the RockHounds and has swiped 15 bases while primarily splitting time between left and center field. Boyd has shown tremendous consistency this year and even leads his team in total bases this season.

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A’s Top-Performing Minor League Pitchers of 2017

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

With the end of the minor league season about a week away, it seems like a good time to take a look at some of the young hurlers in the A’s system who’ve been having true standout seasons on the field this year. Many minor league players can dazzle with an amazing week, or even an amazing month, but being able to perform at a high level over the course of an often grueling minor league season, where travel can be torturous and days off are rare, is another thing altogether. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the top-performing pitchers in the A’s system this year. For the purposes of this piece, we’re only examining hurlers who’ve thrown over 100 innings this season. And remember, we’re not ranking top prospects here, just taking a look at some of the top performers on the field. All statistics are through games of August 25…

 

ds662121bDalton Sawyer

Beloit Snappers (A) / Stockton Ports (A+) / Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(120 IP / 99 H / 43 ER / 46 BB / 126 K / 3.23 ERA / 1.21 WHIP)

After being selected by Oakland in the 9th round of the draft last year, the left-hander may be having the best season of any hurler in the A’s system this year. Sawyer started out the season by putting up a 2.25 ERA and striking out 64 in 56 innings for Beloit before compiling a 2.93 ERA while striking out 60 in 55 1/3 frames for Stockton. The 23-year-old surrendered 11 runs in a pair of spot starts for Nashville earlier in the year or his overall numbers would look even more impressive. But thanks to his mid-90s fastball and a solid changeup, the southpaw’s always been able to put up strong strikeout numbers, and his 126 K’s are the fourth-most among A’s minor leaguers. And with his strong showing at Stockton in the second half, Sawyer should be in a position to compete for a spot in Double-A Midland’s starting rotation next season.

 

hf641571Heath Fillmyer

Midland RockHounds (AA)

(136 2/3 IP / 141 H / 53 ER / 51 BB / 104 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

A former infielder, the right-hander hadn’t spent a lot of time on the mound when the A’s took him in the 5th round of the 2014 draft, but the team clearly saw something it liked. The 23-year-old has turned out to be a smart pitcher who seems to have learned how to handle hitters and work his way out of jams while primarily pitching to contact. His fastball can range from the low to mid 90s and he shows a decent changeup and curve as well. Fillmyer doesn’t miss a lot of bats or put up gaudy strikeout numbers, but he knows how to get the job done and has shown an ability to stay healthy and take his turn on the mound every fifth day. He was a non-roster invitee to big league camp last spring, so the organization obviously values him. Fillmyer should make it onto the 40-man roster by next spring and ought to be ready to show what he can do at Triple-A next season.

 

xa665098Xavier Altamirano

Beloit Snappers (A)

(109 IP / 94 H / 40 ER / 28 BB / 87 K / 3.30 ERA / 1.12 WHIP)

After being drafted in the 27th-round in 2015 and then splitting last season between Beloit and Vermont, the right-hander may be having one of the most overlooked seasons among A’s minor league hurlers this year. Altamirano started out the season in the Beloit bullpen, making 17 relief appearances before moving into the starting rotation, where he’s made 12 starts for the Snappers. The 23-year-old is very much a control pitcher and has issued just 28 walks over 109 innings this season, which is impressive, especially for a hurler in the low minors. He’s definitely a pitch-to-contact guy who isn’t going to overpower anyone, but he seems to have the ability to induce a lot of weak contact. He allows very few base runners and delivers a solid outing almost every time out. And after turning in a strong season for the Snappers, Altamirano should get a chance to challenge California League hitters for Stockton next season.

 

dh664955Dustin Hurlbutt

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA) / Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(118 1/3 IP / 92 H / 48 ER / 43 BB / 108 K / 3.65 ERA / 1.14 WHIP)

After turning in a solid season for Beloit last year, much like Altamirano, Hurlbutt has quietly put together a strong season in the A’s system this year. The right-hander possesses an effective changeup, and hitters seem to have a hard time figuring him out, so he ends up avoiding a lot of hard contact. Hurlbutt had Tommy John surgery during his college career before being taken by the A’s in the 16th round in the 2015 draft. The 24-year-old spent the first half of this season averaging more than a strikeout per inning at Stockton, made one spot start for Nashville, and then spent most of the second half with Double-A Midland before landing on the disabled list a little over a week ago with a right shoulder strain. But he should be more than ready to return to Midland next year to pick up where he left off this season.

 

ap640462dA.J. Puk

Stockton Ports (A+) / Midland RockHounds (AA)

(112 1/3 IP / 94 H / 53 ER / 46 BB / 166 K / 4.25 ERA / 1.25 WHIP)

The A’s top pick in last year’s draft, the 6-7 southpaw has certainly opened some eyes and flashed some tantalizing glimpses of the potential that the A’s saw when they selected him in the 1st round last year. Puk has had some truly dominant starts, and then has had a few where he’s seemed completely out of whack. But on the whole, the 22-year-old has looked very good in his first full season as a pro. Of course, what really jumps out about Puk are his eye-popping strikeout numbers. The lefty leads all A’s minor leaguers with 166 strikeouts and has been whiffing an average of 13.3 batters per nine innings this year. Puk started out the season averaging 14.5 K/9 for Stockton before moving up to Midland. It’s also good to know that he’s been able to keep his walk rate down to 3.7 BB/9 this season. But even more impressively, he’s only allowed 3 home runs all year, which is quite an accomplishment considering he spent half his season in the homer-happy California League. It’ll be interesting to see if the A’s take things slow and have Puk return to the RockHounds to start next season or if they decide to have him start the year at Triple-A Nashville. Either way, depending on how things play out over the course of the season, it’s entirely possible that Puk could end up seeing time in Oakland before next year is through.

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Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

CATCHERS

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

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Olson

Matt Olson

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

 

OUTFIELDERS

Dustin Fowler

Dustin Fowler

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

 

STARTING PITCHERS

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn

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

 

RELIEF PITCHERS

Blake Treinen

Blake Treinen

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

 

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

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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.

A’s Top 11 Draft Picks Mid-Season Progress Report

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

00DSC04060xThe A’s were fortunate enough to be able to sign all of their 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of this year’s amateur draft.

It’s been almost two months since the first of those players signed by the A’s began playing with the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s. So, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.

You’ll find the A’s top 11 picks from the first 10 rounds of the 2017 draft along with their current statistics through August 11 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…

 

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#1 – 1st Round

Austin Beck

Age: 18 / Outfielder

AZL A’s

92 AB / 1 HR / 5 BB / 33 K / .185 AVG / .240 OBP / .272 SLG / .512 OPS

 

Beck got off to a bit of a slow start, going 1 for his first 21 with 12 strikeouts. And his 5/33 BB/K ratio on the season will still need to see quite a bit of improvement. But Beck’s bat’s been starting to warm up a bit of late, and the 18-year-old just hit the first home run of his pro career in Thursday’s game. He’s also gone 4 for 4 in steal attempts while starting 20 error-free games in center field for the AZL A’s.

 

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#2 – 1st Round Supplemental

Kevin Merrell

Age: 21 / Shortstop

Vermont Lake Monsters

107 AB / 2 HR / 8 BB / 20 K / .299 AVG / .345 OBP / .402 SLG / .746 OPS

 

Merrell’s basically been doing what was expected of him when he was drafted – making contact, getting on base and utilizing his speed to make things happen. While primarily hitting in the leadoff spot, Merrell’s .299 batting average is second-best for Vermont and his 9 stolen bases and 22 runs both lead the squad.

 

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#3 – 2nd Round

Greg Deichmann

Age: 22 / Outfielder

Vermont Lake Monsters

93 AB / 3 HR / 16 BB / 24 K / .323 AVG / .423 OBP / .559 SLG / .983 OPS

 

Thus far, Deichmann has been the best batter to come out of this year’s draft for the A’s. The slugger from LSU appears to be an advanced college hitter who’s demonstrated both power and plate discipline. He currently leads Vermont in extra-base hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while also showing a good arm in right field.

 

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#4 – 3rd Round

Nick Allen

Age: 18 / Shortstop

AZL A’s

76 AB / 1 HR / 4 BB / 16 K / .250 AVG / .288 OBP / .355 SLG / .643 OPS

 

Allen got off to a slightly late start after taking a little longer to sign than most. But since the start of July, he’s been playing shortstop regularly while usually leading off. He’s been doing a decent job while still getting his feet wet as a pro, and the 18-year-old has 2 triples and stolen 3 bases so far for the AZL A’s.

 

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#5 – 4th Round

Will Toffey

Age: 22 / Third Baseman

Vermont Lake Monsters

133 AB / 0 HR / 26 BB / 27 K / .233 AVG / .356 OBP / .323 SLG / .680 OPS

 

Toffey has pretty much been serving as Vermont’s everyday third baseman since play began in the New York-Penn League. He’s done a good job of getting on base, and his 26 walks and 8 doubles both lead the team, but he’s failed to record a home run in his first 36 pro games for Vermont.

 

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#6 – 5th Round

Santis Sanchez

Age: 18 / Catcher

AZL A’s

50 AB / 0 HR / 6 BB / 16 K / .160 AVG / .250 OBP / .180 SLG / .430 OPS

 

The A’s have been bringing the 18-year-old backstop along slowly and he’s been playing sporadically for the Arizona League squad. Sanchez has mostly struggled at the plate early on, going 8 for 50 with just 1 extra-base hit for the A’s.

 

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#7 – 6th Round

Logan Salow

Age: 22 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

16 1/3 IP / 11 H / 3 ER / 11 BB / 22 K / 1.65 ERA / 1.35 WHIP

 

There was talk of the college closer getting a shot at serving in a starting role, but that may have to wait until next season. For now, the southpaw has been serving out of the Lake Monsters bullpen. He’s been victimized by bad defense at times, but Salow has managed to post 22 strikeouts over his first 16 1/3 innings as a pro.

 

pd670161

 

#8 – 7th Round

Parker Dunshee

Age: 22 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

29 1/3 IP / 16 H / 3 ER / 6 BB / 35 K / 0.92 ERA / 0.75 WHIP

 

Dunshee has been the most promising pitcher to come out of this year’s draft so far for the A’s. After allowing 3 runs in his first appearance for the AZL A’s, Dunshee moved to Vermont, where he’s now failed to allow a run in his first 27 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters. The former Wake Forest star is an experienced college hurler, and he’s been striking out nearly 11 batters per 9 innings while notching nearly 6 times more strikeouts than walks.

 

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#9 – 8th Round

Brian Howard

Age: 22 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

22 1/3 IP / 20 H / 4 ER / 1 BB / 22 K / 1.61 ERA / 0.94 WHIP

 

Howard has been almost as impressive as Dunshee in the early going. The 6-foot-9 righty has demonstrated great control, walking just 1 and striking out 22 while also failing to allow a home run over his first 22 1/3 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.

 

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#10 – 9th Round

Jared Poche

Age: 22 / Left-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters

2 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0.00 ERA / 1.50 WHIP

 

Poche made his first appearance in July, throwing 2 scoreless innings for Vermont, before landing on the disabled list with a forearm strain that’s expected to end his first pro season prematurely.

 

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#11 – 10th Round

Jack Meggs

Age: 22 / Outfielder

Vermont Lake Monsters

69 AB / 3 HR / 9 BB / 14 K / .290 AVG / .370 OBP / .449 SLG / .820 OPS

 

The 10th-round draft pick out of Washington started out strong. Meggs smashed 3 home runs in his first 17 games, a number no one on the Lake Monsters squad has yet to surpass, while also boasting a .370 on-base percentage and a .449 slugging percentage before landing on the disabled list in late July.

 

–TOP HITTER–

gd656364#3 – 2nd Round

Greg Deichmann

Age: 22 / Outfielder

Vermont Lake Monsters

93 AB / 3 HR / 16 BB / 24 K / .323 AVG / .423 OBP / .559 SLG / .983 OPS

 

–TOP PITCHER–

pd670161#8 – 7th Round

Parker Dunshee

Age: 22 / Right-Handed Pitcher

Vermont Lake Monsters + AZL A’s

29 1/3 IP / 16 H / 3 ER / 6 BB / 35 K / 0.92 ERA / 0.75 WHIP

 

 

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.

Ryan Christenson: Guiding Guys to the Big Leagues from Nashville

rc636148237120845988-ryan3by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Originally drafted by the A’s in the 10th round in 1995, Ryan Christenson began his major league playing career as an outfielder with the A’s back in 1998. He made it to the playoffs with the A’s 2000 team before being dealt to Arizona during the 2001 season. The southern California native made his last major league appearance with Texas in 2003, and finished out his playing career by spending the 2004 season playing in the Pacific Coast League.

He then left the game for a while to go into the business world before being bitten by the baseball bug again and returning to the field in 2013 to skipper the Beloit Snappers, the A’s Class-A affiliate in the Midwest League. Christenson quickly impressed the A’s organization with his ability to work with young players and, like many of his young charges, he moved through the system quickly, taking the reins at Stockton in 2014, before moving on to manage Midland in 2015 and 2016, and then becoming the skipper of the Nashville Sounds this season.

Christenson has managed many of the A’s top young prospects as they’ve moved through the system together. He began at Beloit back in 2013 with Bruce Maxwell, Matt Olson and Renato Nunez. In 2014 at Stockton, in addition to Maxwell, Olson and Nunez, he also had Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder and Jaycob Brugman, and he managed all six players again at Midland the next season. Top prospects Matt Chapman and Franklin Barreto came under his charge at Midland in 2016, and have spent time with him at Nashville this year as well.

Obviously, Christenson has had a major hand in helping to develop many members of the A’s current youth movement. He’s had the chance to watch the A’s top prospects play on a daily basis as much as any other human being alive and knows them as well as anyone. So, last weekend in Nashville, we took the opportunity to talk to the skipper about his job and also got his impressions of a few of the main members of the A’s youth movement like Bruce Maxwell, Chad Pinder, Matt Chapman and Franklin Barreto…

 

AF:  As a player, you played for that 2000 A’s team that started that four-year playoff run in Oakland with guys like Giambi, Chavez, Tejada and the beginning of the Big Three with Hudson, Mulder and Zito. Those guys you played with on that 2000 team really formed the core of those winning A’s teams of the early 2000s. So, what was that whole experience like for you and what did you take from that that may be of use to you now?

RC:  Obviously, just having been in the organization at every level, I still have a feel for the philosophy that we try to teach here as a player development person with the A’s now. I think one of the things that I remember most about that group there was just the closeness that we had with the young core group of players, because it seems like we all came through the system together and kind of all arrived in the big leagues together in the late ’90s, and then started to really play better baseball and were able to win the division there in 2000. So, that’s what I see and hope for with this group as we change over now. A lot of these guys have all come through the minor leagues together and have an opportunity to do something special at the big league level with that relationship already set in place.

AF:  After you retired as a player after the 2004 season, you were out of the game for a while until you came back and started managing at Beloit in 2013. So, what led to you getting back into the game at that point?

RC:  After I was done playing, I finished up my degree. I had a business degree and kind of saw myself going into the business world. I did that for a couple years but realized pretty quickly that being behind the desk was not where I really wanted to be. I felt myself starting to miss the game and realized how much I loved the game. As a player, I didn’t think that I was going to go into coaching, but I did feel that I was missing the game. And I had some friends like A.J. Hinch, Sal Fasano and David Newhan and some guys I was talking to who were in the game and were enjoying themselves…I interviewed in 2012 and didn’t get anything, thank goodness. And I happened to land in a perfect spot with the A’s, back where I came up. And it was just a good fit. It was everything I was looking for – with a boss like [farm director] Keith Lieppman, obviously some familiarity with [Vice President of Baseball Operations] Billy Beane and [General Manager] David Forst, and [special assistant] Grady Fuson was here, and I knew [assistant general manager] Dan Feinstein from my playing days. So, that just made it feel like a good place to start my coaching career.

AF:  You’ve coached at every full-season level in the system at this point, going from Beloit up to Nashville now. So, what’s the difference for you managing guys who are just starting out their careers in Single-A and then managing guys up here in Triple-A who’ve been around a bit and who’ve maybe even spent some time in the big leagues before?

RC:  The guys here already have a feel for what they have to do on a day-to-day basis. They have a pretty good understanding of the game. At the lower levels, you’re helping these guys understand what their day-to-day routine is going to be and how they get through a day. And then up here, it’s more managing the players than managing the work day – so getting to know these guys, having that relationship, because it’s a whirlwind here. Sometimes, you have to have some tough conversations; sometimes, you get to have some real exciting conversations as far as sending guys up. But if you don’t have a pulse of where they’re all at, then this job could spiral on you in a hurry.

AF:  Yeah, you’re actually in the middle of a lot of personal drama here in Triple-A. Guys here often find themselves going through some major changes one way or another.

RC:  Yeah, they are major. And a lot of them have wives and families. At the lower levels, you don’t have to deal with that issue. Moving around is a little bit easier. But here, it can be a major uprooting.

AF:  Yeah, going back and forth between Beloit and Stockton isn’t quite as dramatic a change in life as going back and forth between Nashville and Oakland! Now you started out in Beloit with guys like Bruce Maxwell and Matt Olson, and you’ve been with them almost every year through their minor league careers. So, what’s it like for you personally to see them making it to the major league level after having started out with them back in A-ball?

rc87435-6292763FrRC:  It feels good, just because you’ve seen all the work that they’ve put in. Somebody like Maxwell, you see the transition that he’s made to turn himself into a very, very good defensive catcher. He came in as this great hitter, but the catching has continuously gotten better. So, just to see him pay attention to that and turn himself into the best catcher we have in the organization has been really neat to watch. But just the fact that I’ve been around them for four or five years and had some pretty solid relationships with these guys, just to be able to see them go up there and do it on TV at the ultimate level, which is where they all wanted to be, is pretty cool.

AF:  A guy you had at Stockton, at Midland, and for a little while here at Nashville this year is Chad Pinder. He’s an interesting player with his versatility. How do you see him profiling as a major league player?

RC:  I think he’s panning out into being the super-utility guy that we’re seeing right now. I think the throwing and the glove on the infield are probably not the quality to do it every single day at this point, not that it can’t improve. But he’s got the tools to shift around and play any of the three infield positions and play them well. So, it’s good to have a guy who can bounce around and do all three versus one position every single day. And now that he’s shown that he can go in the outfield, the fact that we can put him out there anywhere on the field is huge. The first day in spring training when I saw him go to the outfield, his instincts and his first move and his desire to want to get a good jump and go get the ball kind of impressed me that he can do it, because he’s a tremendous athlete. He’s a very strong and powerful guy, and some of the home runs that we’ve seen him hit already this year up there show the capabilities that he has. But he’s got a short swing, which allows him to get the ball deep. I think he’s still kind of coming into his own and figuring out his approach. He needs to improve to be successful at the major league level as far as working counts a little bit more and drawing a few more walks. Not going out of the zone as much as he was and being an aggressive swinger is only going to help his numbers as far as what they really want to see him improve on, which is that on-base number, and he can certainly do that.

AF:  Earlier this year, you had two guys here who are considered two of the A’s top position player prospects – Matt Chapman and Franklin Barreto. Chapman’s up with the A’s now, and Barreto was up for a bit but now he’s back here in Nashville. What have you seen out of those guys, what makes them such special players, and what do they both need to do to really be able to succeed at the major league level on a long-term basis?

RC:  Well, I think both of them are right along the lines of what we were just talking about with Pinder. A refinement of their strike zone is the main thing. I think Barreto’s seen that at this level here and when he’s been in the big leagues. Somebody can be exploited that can’t lay off of that slider or that fastball that starts in the zone and by the time it gets to the hitting zone it’s dropped out of it. So, I think that’s where the improvement’s going to come offensively for all three of them – Chapman, Barreto and Pinder. Chapman is one of the best, if not the best, third basemen I’ve ever been around. The kid is absolutely electric. He’s as dynamic left and right as you can get, he’s got one of the best arms in the game at third base, and he’s got range. And especially in Oakland, he’s a perfect fit, with all that foul territory, so he’s going to be huge for them at third base. I still think they’re figuring out whether Barreto fits better at shortstop or second base. He’s a young player still kind of finding his focus. I think some of his errors that he’s made here are just a lack of focus at times, which you can see kind of drift in and out with young players. But I love what I’ve seen from him at second base. I’ve seen him make plays that remind me of Roberto Alomar. And Chapman and Barreto are both extremely powerful. Obviously, Barreto’s not as powerful as Chapman, but for a little guy, Barreto can really drive the ball to all parts of the ballpark, which is fun to watch.

AF:  Well, it sounds like he might be more of a standout player as a second baseman than as a shortstop.

RC:  I think so, I think in a perfect world. Just watching some of the young players we have in the minor leagues, I think Richie Martin is our best pure shortstop. He’s just as electric left and right as Chapman. So, I think if you can just envision those two guys on the left-hand side, that’s lock-down quality defense. Richie’s still kind of trying to figure himself out as a hitter. I’m not sure what they’re expecting or would like to see him hit, but it’s not a lot. He’s that good at shortstop. I think Barreto’s going to end up doing both. But possibly at this point in time, second base might be his better of the two.

AF:  And since you played with him, does Chapman remind you a bit of Eric Chavez?

RC:  I’m telling you, I played a lot with Chavy, and Chapman’s better than Chavez as a defender. Obviously, Chavy was a great hitter. But Chapman is better – I tell people he’s the best I’ve seen. I was always a baseball fan growing up, and I can never remember ever watching a better third baseman. He’s incredible – so much fun to watch.

AF:  So, now that you’ve had the opportunity to do this job for a few years, what’s the single best part of it for you?

RC:  My whole life I’ve just been a baseball fan. So, to be able to work in the industry of baseball has been a blessing. I was out of it and realized how much I love it and was able to get back into it. And it’s not always that easy just because you played to get back in – there’s only so many jobs to go around. But I feel very fortunate to be able to do that. And I’ve also been real fortunate to be around this young group that we’re trying to watch do something in the big leagues right now. It’s just been incredible to watch these guys play great baseball. We’ve done a lot of winning over the last four years. It’s been a great experience all around. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

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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.

Matt Olson: Riding the Nashville-to-Oakland Express

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

mo621566Matt Olson has been one of the top power-hitting prospects in the A’s system ever since the team made him its third overall pick in the 2012 draft. Since then, the Georgia native has slowly climbed the ladder step-by-step and finally made his major league debut for the A’s as a 22-year-old last September. He’s been up and down between Nashville and Oakland multiple times in 2017, and the young slugger demonstrated his power potential by hitting 4 home runs in 18 games for the A’s this season.

Olson’s always been known for his combination of power and plate discipline. And at Nashville this year, his 21 home runs are currently the second-most on the squad, while his 44 walks are tops on the team, and his .550 slugging percentage and .913 OPS are best among current Sounds. The left-handed hitter has also struck out 80 times in 280 at-bats for Nashville this year. The 23-year-old has primarily been playing first base this season, where he’s a defensive standout, but he spent most of his time in right field last year, where he’s more than capable of doing the job.

With the A’s youth movement in full swing, we’ll surely be seeing more of Olson in Oakland before the season’s through. A’s Farm first spoke with Olson in Stockton back in 2014, and we took the opportunity to catch up with him again last weekend in Nashville…

 

AF:  Well, it’s certainly been an interesting year for you. I think you’ve probably been back and forth between here and Oakland about a dozen times now!

MO:  Right around there, yeah!

AF:  So, has it been an interesting ride for you this year? And how’s it been adapting to all the back and forth?

MO:  Yeah, definitely. It’s definitely different than what I’ve been accustomed to. These past few years, I’m in the lineup every day playing 130-135 games and I’m getting five at-bats a day. Obviously, it’s an honor that they want me up there when I can get a spot. But it’s been a little bit of a transition having to kind of get a little more sporadic at-bats…but I’ve been working with it. It’s been good, a good experience, just getting as much time as I can under my belt.

AF:  I’m sure you’re happy to hop on a red-eye flight to Oakland anytime they call, right?

MO:  Yeah, definitely.

AF:  So, how comfortable were you able to feel during your time in the big leagues this year?

MO:  This year has gone a lot different compared to last year. Last year, with getting up there the first time and it being the end of the year, it all happened quick – it was a little bit of a whirlwind. Anytime I got in a game, obviously there were some nerves. And this year’s been a lot better. It’s been more about just being able to be out there playing the game, especially when I was up there for that week or week-and-a-half span where I was playing right field a lot, almost every day, and in the lineup a lot. It was good – it was nice to get into a rhythm and get that comfort level.

AF:  Well, you put a few out of the park during that stretch, so obviously you must have been feeling pretty comfortable then! How different was the quality of the major league pitching you faced compared to what you may have been used to seeing in Triple-A?

MO:  You can tell that guys have a little finer stuff. They’ll throw anything in any count. I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a completely different way I’ve gotten pitched. But I faced a lot of guys I hadn’t faced before. So, I’m just kind of building a book with those guys and knowing what they like to do to me and take notes for when I face them further down the road.

AF:  Are there any things you’ve taken away or learned from your time in the majors?

MO:  Whenever I’m up there, I’m trying to learn better how to approach my day, the way I go about my routines – just finding the right thing that clicks for me. Everybody has their own things they like to do in order to get ready for the game mentally and physically. And I’ve really been able to figure out for myself what gets me ready for the game.

AF:  Has anyone on the big league squad been particularly helpful to you there?

IMG_0322bMO:  You know, everybody’s been really helpful. The guys who have been around, like Jed Lowrie and Matt Joyce and Yonder Alonso, some of the main position guys, kind of take a little extra time to explain things to the younger guys. Anytime they can offer a little bit of advice, they’ve done a really great job of helping us out. Even if it’s just a little minor thing, it’s nice to have those guys kind of helping you along. It kind of takes a little bit of the behind-the-scenes stuff off your chest and you can just go out there and play the game.

AF:  So, now that you’re back in Nashville, is there anything in particular that you’re focused on here?

MO:  Just having that same hunger that I had when I showed up at the beginning of the year. I felt like I had a tough year last year and I kind of had something to prove, and I came in ready to get after it and ready to start off strong. And I’ve just been trying to continue that all year long.

AF: You’ve had the chance to spend some time in the big league camp in spring training. How helpful has that experience been for you?

MO:  It’s very helpful. Just from having seen the guys, met them, hung out with them a little bit. It makes it a whole lot easier to make that transition. Ryon Healy last year got called up without ever having set foot in the clubhouse, except when he would come across [from minor league camp] for a couple games. So, I’m sure that was a bigger transition for him trying to meet the guys and be able perform for his first time in the big leagues. So, there is a factor to that. A lot of it, going up for the first couple times, is being able to put all the other stuff aside and just playing baseball.

AF:  Your first major league game was last September. So, what was it like for you the first time you stepped onto the field in a major league park?

MO:  It’s just one of those feelings that you can’t describe. It’s something that you’ve worked your whole life for, to be able to be out there, with my family and girlfriend up in the stands watching. It’s definitely a special moment, one I’ll never forget.

AF:  I know your family’s not that far from here in Georgia. So, do they get a chance to come see you much in Nashville?

MO:  Yeah, they’ve come up here a lot. It’s only a four-hour drive, so they’ve been up here four or five or six times already this year.

AF:  Having to go back and forth between Nashville and Oakland so many times this year, where have you been living here in Nashville and where have you been staying when you’re up in Oakland?

MO:  I’ve just been living right over here by the field. I started out as roommates with Chad Pinder, and then I was roommates with Matt Chapman, and now I’m in the place by myself right now. Luckily, Ryon Healy’s renting a house up there that has some spare bedrooms just in case guys were coming up and down. So, there’s a room there that I’ve stayed in all the times that I’ve been up there.

AF:  Well, I’m sure his spare room’s gotten plenty of use this year – I’m sure it hasn’t gone to waste! It must be nice to know that whenever you do go up to Oakland, there are plenty of familiar faces around, plenty of guys you’ve known and played with for a while.

MO:  Yeah, it goes along with that comfort level that I was talking about. It makes it a whole lot easier to be able to go out and play the game. When you’ve got guys like that you’ve played with a long time, it just makes it a smoother transition.

AF:  Speaking of familiar faces, you’ve got Ryan Christenson, whom you go all the way back to Beloit with, here as your manager in Nashville this year. So, what’s it like for you having him around this year?

MO:  It’s great. This is our fourth season together, so we know each other well. He’s awesome. I love having him as our manager. He knows the right time to get on somebody if they need it, but at the same time, he jokes around with us. He’s a good mix.

AF:  And he must know you and your game as well as anyone. He’s probably seen you play more than any other human alive!

MO:  Yeah, he definitely has!

AF:  So, as we head into the final part of the season here, what are you focused on at this point?

MO:  Just keeping that hunger. I understand there are a lot of moving parts, and this year I’ve been moving up and down those four or five times. And my goal is to just kind of block it all out and do what I have to do on the field. A lot of that stuff’s out of my control. The main thing is to go out there and keep that hunger and just perform on the field.

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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.

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