Tag: Paul Blackburn

Friday, August 25th: Barreto Stars in Sounds’ Walk-Off Win while Gridley Leads Vermont to Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Second Baseman Franklin Barreto (4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs / 2 Stolen Bases)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Second Baseman Franklin Barreto (4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs / 2 Stolen Bases)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Round Rock Express  5

Nashville Sounds      6

WP – Schuster 3-1 / 6.20

HR – Barreto (15), Decker (5)

Prospect Of The Game:

Second Baseman Franklin Barreto

(4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / Walk / 3 RBIs / 2 Stolen Bases)

Nashville notched its third straight win, this one in an 11-inning walk-off, on Friday. Second baseman Franklin Barreto had a big night at the plate, collecting 4 hits, including a home run and a double, while also drawing a walk, swiping a pair of bases, driving in 3 runs and scoring 3 times, and the 21-year-old has now gone 12 for 19 over his last 4 games for the Sounds. Starter Zach Neal allowed 2 runs over 6 innings of work and left the game with a 1-run edge. RHP Josh Smith gave up 2 runs in the top of the 7th to surrender the lead, but Barreto singled in the tying run in the bottom of the 7th for the Sounds. A fielding error by shortstop Yairo Munoz led to an unearned run in the top of the 9th off RHP Lou Trivino, but center fielder Jaff Decker led off the bottom of the 9th with a solo shot to tie things up once again and send the game to extra innings. Barreto drew a walk to get on board in the bottom of the 11th and then came around to score on third baseman Joey Wendle‘s RBI single as Nashville won in a walk-off and made a winner of LHP Patrick Schuster, who’d pitched a perfect frame in the top of the 11th for the Sounds. And with center fielder Rajai Davis dealt to the Red Sox and RHP Paul Blackburn landing on the disabled list, the A’s recalled RHP Michael Brady and outfielder Mark Canha from Nashville on Friday.

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

Meet Your 2018 Oakland A’s!

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

Third Baseman Matt Chapman

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell

CATCHERS

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

 

INFIELDERS

Matt Olson

Matt Olson

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

 

OUTFIELDERS

Dustin Fowler

Dustin Fowler

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

 

STARTING PITCHERS

Paul Blackburn

Paul Blackburn

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

 

RELIEF PITCHERS

Blake Treinen

Blake Treinen

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

 

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

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Saturday, July 1st: Ports Prevail Behind Butler’s Solid Effort while Semien Helps Sounds Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brendan Butler (5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brendan Butler (5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Visalia Rawhide   4

Stockton Ports   5

WP – Butler 2-2 / 3.33

HR – Bolt (9), Mondou (1)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Brendan Butler

(5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

Stockton came back to earn its third win in its last four games on Saturday. 23-year-old Cuban RHP Norge Ruiz made his first start for Stockton and allowed 4 runs on 6 hits over 4 innings of work. RHP Brendan Butler replaced him on the mound and was impressive in relief, throwing 5 scoreless frames to earn his 2nd win for Stockton. Center fielder Skye Bolt, who hit a grand slam on Friday night, singled, walked, homered, stole a base and scored twice on Saturday, while first baseman Sandber Pimentel had a pair of doubles for the Ports. Second baseman Nate Mondou hit his 1st home run for Stockton, and right fielder Seth Brown had a pair of hits and singled in the tying run in the 5th inning. Left fielder Brett Siddall, who walked and moved to third on Pimentel’s second double in the bottom of the 8th, eventually came in to score the winning run on a wild pitch. Matt Chapman, serving as the designated hitter for Stockton, went 0 for 4 in his first rehab appearance for the Ports and is scheduled to make the start at third base for Stockton on Sunday. In other news, RHP Brandon Bailey was promoted to the Ports from the Snappers and Stockton outfielder Tyler Ramirez was reassigned to the RockHounds on Saturday.

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

A’s Farm Podcast Gets the Inside Scoop on Nashville’s Top Prospects from Hitting Coach Eric Martins & Pitching Coach Rick Rodriguez

This week, the A’s Farm Podcast turns its focus to the Nashville Sounds, the A’s Triple-A affiliate, when Nashville’s hitting coach Eric Martins and pitching coach Rick Rodriguez join A’s Farm Editor-in-Chief Bill Moriarity to provide the inside scoop on some of Nashville’s top prospects.

rrRR_200_x_250_sln62qk4_rxwbqro8emEM_200_x_250_o8srttxq_lf6658swMartins offers the lowdown on some recent Sounds hitters who are now with the A’s like Matt Chapman, Chad Pinder, Bruce Maxwell, Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto, while Rodriguez shares his insights on some promising pitchers like Daniel Gossett, Paul Blackburn, Frankie Montas and more. Eric Martins joins us at the top of the show, and Rick Rodriguez joins us at 22.45.

A’s Farm Podcast
with host Bill Moriarity and special guests hitting coach Eric Martins & pitching coach Rick Rodriguez

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.

Wednesday, June 28th: Milburn’s Stellar Start & Shelby’s 2 HRs Lead Snappers to Shutout Win while Sawyer Pitches Ports to Victory & Bassitt Returns

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Matt Milburn (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Beloit Snappers Pitcher Matt Milburn (6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K / Win)

 

MIDWEST LEAGUE  (Class-A)

Beloit Snappers  3

Peoria Chiefs        0

WP – Milburn 4-5 / 4.71

HR – Shelby 2 (7)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Matt Milburn

(6 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 8 K / Win)

The Snappers shut out Peoria on 3 hits to win for the fifth time in their last six games on Wednesday. Starter Matt Milburn was impressive, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 8 over 6 shutout innings to earn his 4th win, and the 23-year-old has now given up just 1 run while striking out 20 in 13 innings over his last two starts for Beloit. RHP Heath Bowers threw 3 scoreless frames in relief to complete the 3-hit shutout and post his 2nd save for the Snappers. After going 11 for 68 with 38 strikeouts over his last 20 games, right fielder JaVon Shelby busted out of his recent slump in a big way on Wednesday by belting a pair of home runs for Beloit. First baseman Luke Persico singled twice and drove in a run, while center fielder Mike Martin had a pair of hits and scored a run in his return to the Snappers after spending five games with Vermont. Meanwhile, Beloit RHP Mitchell Jordan was placed on the disabled list and 23-year-old Cuban RHP Miguel Romero was added to the Snappers roster on Wednesday.

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

Monday, June 26th: Blackburn Pitches Sounds to Victory while Top Draft Picks Debut for Vermont & Norge Ruiz Makes 1st Start for AZL A’s

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (5 1/3 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds RHP Paul Blackburn (5 1/3 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Round Rock Express  3

Nashville Sounds      5

WP – Blackburn 5-6 / 3.05

HR – Nunez (20), McBride (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

(5 1/3 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / Win)

The Sounds notched their first win since last Tuesday on Monday night in Nashville. RHP Paul Blackburn turned in another solid start for the Sounds, allowing 2 runs over 5 1/3 frames to earn his 5th win, and the 23-year-old now has an ERA of 1.73 over 5 starts during the month of June. RHP Simon Castro tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Jake Sanchez got the final three outs in the 9th to notch his 3rd save for Nashville. Third baseman Renato Nunez hit his league-leading 20th home run, a 2-run shot in the 1st inning to give the Sounds an early lead, while catcher Matt McBride belted a 3-run blast in the bottom of the 4th, and right fielder Mark Canha and designated hitter Ryan Lavarnway had a pair of hits apiece in the win. Meanwhile, catcher Beau Taylor and RHP Kyle Finnegan were reassigned to Nashville from Midland on Monday, while RHP Ben Bracewell was returned to the RockHounds.

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

Thursday, June 22nd: Ports Win Behind Siddall’s Big Bat while Sounds Drop a Pair

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Designated Hitter Brett Siddall (4 for 4 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Designated Hitter Brett Siddall (4 for 4 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts       1

Stockton Ports  11

WP – Duno 6-3 / 5.10

HR – Siddall 2 (9), Murphy (9), Bolt (7)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Brett Siddall

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

Designated hitter Brett Siddall had a big night at the plate for the Ports on Thursday. The 22-year-old collected 4 hits, including a pair of home runs, while driving in 5 runs to lead Stockton to victory in the first game of the second half. Catcher Sean Murphy and center fielder Skye Bolt both slugged solo shots, while first baseman Sandber Pimentel had 3 hits and drove in a pair of runs for the Ports. RHP Angel Duno turned in a strong start on Thursday, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 6th win for Stockton. In other news, A’s shortstop Marcus Semien was sent to Stockton to begin a rehab assignment and is expected to make his first appearance for the Ports on Friday.

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

Tuesday, June 20th: Olson’s HR Helps Sounds Win in a Walk-Off while Vermont Claims Victory in Season Opener

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

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

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

GAME #2

New Orleans Baby Cakes  3

Nashville Sounds             6

WP – Castro 1-4 / 4.50

HR – Olson (17), Wendle (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(2 for 4 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

With two men on and the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning, first baseman Matt Olson stepped to the plate and slugged a 3-run homer to give the Sounds the walk-off win in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Both of Tuesday’s contests were 7-inning affairs. Second baseman Joey Wendle‘s 3-run homer tied the game in the 6th, while left fielder Renato Nunez singled, doubled and scored a run, and shortstop Franklin Barreto and designated hitter Bruce Maxwell had a pair of hits apiece for the Sounds. Starter Paul Blackburn allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, over 2 innings of work, while LHP Patrick Schuster tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, and RHP Simon Castro notched the win after throwing a scoreless frame in the top of the 7th for Nashville.

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Thursday, June 15th: Sounds Fall Despite Blackburn’s Solid Start while Chapman, Puk & Sawyer Are All on the Move

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (5 2/3 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 3 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Paul Blackburn (5 2/3 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 3 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Iowa Cubs               4

Nashville Sounds  2

LP – Blackburn 4-6 / 2.86

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Paul Blackburn

(5 2/3 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 3 K)

On a night when all the A’s affliates went down to defeat, for a while, it looked like Sounds starter Paul Blackburn might lead Nashville to victory. The 23-year-old threw 5 scoreless frames before a throwing error by shortstop Franklin Barreto helped open the door to a 3-run inning in the 6th. And when all was said and done, Blackburn was charged with 3 unearned runs over 5 2/3 innings to suffer the loss for the Sounds. Despite the loss, Blackburn has allowed just 1 earned run over his last 18 2/3 innings for Nashville. Barreto had a pair of singles and, after enduring a 1-for-23 slump, Barreto has now gone 8 for 24 with 4 multi-hit games in his last 5 contests. Third baseman Jermaine Curtis doubled and walked in his Nashville debut. With the promotion of Matt Chapman, who went 0 for 3 with a pair of walks in his big league debut on Thursday night, Curtis was reassigned from the RockHounds to the Sounds on Thursday.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton & Beloit…

A’s Farm Report: Pitching Prospects Update – Puk, Gossett, Blackburn, Holmes & More

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

A.J. Puk

A.J. Puk

This week, we wanted to take a look at the pitchers currently appearing in all the A’s affiliates’ starting rotations. From A.J. Puk to Grant Holmes, from Daniel Gossett to Paul Blackburn, there are plenty of promising pitching prospects currently making their presence felt on the mound.

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

 

NASHVILLE SOUNDS

Current Starting Rotation: RHP Paul Blackburn, RHP Chris Smith, RHP Corey Walter, RHP Michael Brady, RHP Daniel Gossett (recently replaced by LHP Dalton Sawyer)

Daniel Gossett

Daniel Gossett

As most A’s fans know, RHP Daniel Gossett was scratched from his scheduled start for the Sounds on Saturday so that he could be available to make his major league debut for the A’s this week, filling in for injured RHP Andrew Triggs. Gossett’s season got off to a bumpy start. The A’s 2nd-round pick in 2014 posted an unsightly 6.27 ERA in 4 April starts, but put up a much more impressive 1.54 ERA over 6 starts in May. Overall, the 24-year-old has struck out 54 while walking just 19 with a 3.41 ERA over 60 2/3 innings for the Sounds. As solid as Gossett has been, RHP Paul Blackburn has possibly been even more effective. His season has been almost the opposite of Gossett’s. The Cubs’ 1st-round supplemental pick in 2012 was almost unhittable in April, with a 1.64 ERA, but he took a bit of a dip in May, compiling an ERA of 5.12. In his 2 starts in June though, the 23-year-old has allowed just 1 run and 5 hits over 13 innings of work. He’s also on the A’s 40-man roster, so a call-up at some point this season would be easy. But 36-year-old veteran RHP Chris Smith has probably been the Sounds’ best starter on the whole. He’s posted a 2.96 ERA over 51 2/3 frames, threw 6 no-hit innings in his last start, and is currently riding a 12-inning scoreless streak. RHP Michael Brady was a free agent signee in the offseason. He started out the year in the bullpen, but he’s been working out of the rotation recently and has now made 6 starts for the Sounds. The 30-year-old has compiled a respectable 3.67 ERA, but what’s most notable about him is the fact that he’s walked just 6 while striking out 42 over 41 2/3 innings for Nashville. RHP Corey Walter is a fairly recent arrival in the Sounds starting rotation, arriving from the RockHounds at the end of May. The 24-year-old was, by far and away, Midland’s best starter, putting up a 2.44 ERA for the Hounds, and he’s posted a solid 3.38 ERA over 4 starts for Nashville. The newest addition to the Sounds rotation is LHP Dalton Sawyer, who was called up from Beloit to fill in for Gossett on Saturday. The 23-year-old was the Snappers’ best pitcher, striking out 64 over 56 innings while compiling an impressive 2.25 ERA for Beloit. And last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s turned in a quality start for the Sounds on Saturday, allowing 3 runs over 6 innings of work. But it’s unclear whether or not he’ll continue to stick around Nashville while Gossett is away. After his recent stint with the A’s, RHP Daniel Mengden was set to rejoin the Sounds starting rotation until he was sidelined by a lat strain, and he’s now doing time on the disabled list, as is RHP Raul Alcantara, and rehabbing RHP Chris Bassitt has been sidelined for the time being after experiencing some discomfort in his return from Tommy John surgery.

 

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

Current Starting Rotation: RHP Grant Holmes, RHP Heath Fillmyer, RHP Brett Graves, LHP Evan Manarino, RHP Joel Seddon

Grant Holmes

Grant Holmes

Former 1st-round draft pick for the Dodgers, RHP Grant Holmes, was having a mostly disappointing season for the RockHounds until fairly recently. He had a 6.27 ERA in April and 5.52 ERA in month of May, but since the calendar turned to June, it’s been an entirely different story. The 21-year-old has struck out 17 while walking just 1 over his last 14 frames, threw 8 shutout innings in his last start and didn’t allow a hit until the 7th inning in that game. Overall, Holmes has notched 69 strikeouts over 62 innings for the Hounds this season. 23-year-old RHP Heath Fillmyer, who impressed while splitting time between Stockton and Midland last year, has been mostly mediocre for Midland so far this season, compiling a 4.22 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP over 13 starts for the RockHounds. RHP Brett Graves and LHP Evan Manarino were two of Stockton’s best starters in the early going. Graves was the first to earn his promotion to Double-A by putting up a 2.55 ERA and striking out 29 in 24 2/3 innings for the Ports, while Manarino posted a 3.21 ERA and walked just 3 batters over 47 2/3 frames for Stockton. Things have been a little tougher in the Texas League for both of them though. Graves has compiled a 5.97 ERA over his first 7 appearances, while Manarino has a 6.75 ERA after his first 3 starts for Midland. RHP Joel Seddon has recently stepped into the RockHounds rotation. The 24-year-old made 26 starts for Midland last year but started out this season in the bullpen, and he’s now made a pair of starts for the Hounds. In his last appearance on Friday, Seddon allowed just 1 run over 7 innings of work for Midland. There was room for Seddon in the RockHounds rotation with RHP Corey Walter, who had been the Hounds’ best starter, being promoted to Nashville, RHP James Naile sidelined since mid-May with an abdominal/oblique strain, and RHP Ben Bracewell‘s recent banishment to the bullpen.

 

STOCKTON PORTS

Current Starting Rotation: LHP A.J. Puk, RHP Casey Meisner, RHP Dustin Hurlbutt, RHP Angel Duno, RHP Brendan Butler

Logan Shore

Logan Shore

Stockton’s starting rotation originally consisted of the A’s top three draft picks from last year’s draft – LHP A.J. Puk and RHPs Logan Shore and Daulton Jefferies – but currently, Puk’s the only one still pitching. Last year’s top pick for the A’s has looked dominant at times, though he has been a bit inconsistent, as might be expected at this stage of the game. The 22-year-old has twice allowed just 1 hit over 5 shutout innings and has had outings where he’s notched as many as 12 strikeouts. Overall, he’s compiled an ERA of 3.98 while striking out 87 and walking 22 over 54 1/3 frames for the Ports. Shore was looking good until he was sidelined with a lat strain in mid-May. When the 22-year-old landed on the disabled list, he’d compiled a 3.12 ERA while striking out 32 and walking just 6 over 34 2/3 innings for Stockton. Unfortunately, Jefferies only had the chance to throw 7 innings before undergoing Tommy John surgery. RHP Casey Meisner, who struggled mightily for Stockton last season, has been showing signs of turning things around a bit lately. Though he has an ERA of 4.68 for the season, he’s also struck out 67 while walking just 19 over 59 2/3 frames, and he just threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in his last start on Sunday. RHP Dustin Hurlbutt put up a 2.84 ERA in April, then posted a 5.32 ERA in May, and now has a 2.77 ERA in 2 starts in June. But his peripherals have consistently looked pretty good, and he’s struck out 58 and walked just 16 over 55 2/3 frames for the Ports. RHP Angel Duno has a 1:4 BB:K ratio but a 5.46 ERA for the season. The 23-year-old Venezuelan has been hurt by the long ball, surrendering 10 home runs over 61 innings of work. RHP Brendan Butler is the newest addition to Stockton’s starting rotation. The 24-year-old was one of Beloit’s best starters, compiling a 2.32 ERA for the Snappers, and he threw 5 scoreless innings in his first start for Stockton. He seems to have taken the place of RHP Boomer Biegalski in the Ports rotation, though it’s not clear if Biegalski may end up serving in something of a tandem situation with Butler. Biegalski has been a big victim of the long ball since his arrival from Beloit, surrendering 10 home runs in just 37 innings, leading to a bloated 5.84 ERA. LHP Evan Manarino and RHP Brett Graves had been two of Stockton’s best starters, but both have been promoted to Double-A Midland.

 

BELOIT SNAPPERS

Current Starting Rotation: RHP Brandon Bailey, RHP Matt Milburn, LHP Zack Erwin, RHP Mitchell Jordan & RHP Jesus Zambrano (tandem), RHP Abdiel Mendoza (recently replaced LHP Dalton Sawyer)

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

The Snappers starting rotation had been surprisingly effective this season, but the recent promotions of two of Beloit’s best starters – LHP Dalton Sawyer and RHP Brendan Butler – could change things a bit. The top remaining starter in the Snappers rotation is RHP Brandon Bailey. Last year’s 6th-round draft pick for the A’s has put up a 2.51 ERA while striking out 52 and walking just 13 over 43 innings of work. Meanwhile, RHP Matt Milburn has mostly struggled, posting a 5.60 ERA over 13 appearances for the Snappers. LHP Zack Erwin, whom the A’s acquired from the White Sox in the Brett Lawrie deal, recently returned to the rotation after starting the season on the disabled list, and the 23-year-old has pitched well, compiling a 1.69 ERA over his first 3 appearances. Last year’s 10th-round draft pick for the A’s, RHP Mitchell Jordan, and 20-year-old Venezuelan RHP Jesus Zambrano represent the sole remaining starting-pitching tandem in the A’s system, and both are sporting ERAs over 5.00 at this point in the season. With Sawyer’s promotion to Nashville, 18-year-old Panamanian RHP Abdiel Mendoza was called upon to take his spot in the rotation. The youngster surrendered 4 runs in 2 1/3 innings in his first appearance, but it’s unclear whether or not he’ll continue to occupy the fifth spot in the Snappers starting rotation. RHP Dakota Chalmers, the A’s 3rd-round draft pick in 2015, was reassigned to the Vermont roster after struggling with his control. The 20-year-old walked 29 in 29 innings while also striking out 47. He’s set to get a restart when the Lake Monsters start their season next week. RHP Michael Murray had been pitching well for Beloit before landing on the disabled list in mid-May, putting up a 2.54 ERA over his first 8 appearances. LHP Ty Damron had also been playing a part in the Snappers tandem rotation but, although he hasn’t been placed on the disabled list, he hasn’t appeared in a game in the last two weeks.

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