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A’s Farm’s 2014 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team

First baseman Matt Olson led all A's minor leaguers with 37 home runs for Stockton

First baseman Matt Olson led all A’s minor leaguers with 37 home runs for Stockton.

With the 2014 minor league season now complete, it’s time to take a step back and determine who the true standouts on the field really were in the A’s system in 2014. And with that in mind, it’s time to name A’s Farm’s 2014 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team!

Below you’ll find the primary starting players at each position for Triple-A Sacramento, Double-A Midland, High-A Stockton, Class-A Beloit, Class-A Short-Season Vermont and the Rookie League Short-Season Arizona League A’s in 2014. Offensive starters were selected from the players who had the most games played at each position for each team, 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 hurlers who’ve had at least 10 starts for their team, while closers were selected from each team’s saves leader.

Players who left the A’s system during the season – Michael Taylor, Dusty Robinson, Billy McKinney, B.A. Vollmuth, etc. – have not been included. And the 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.

Check out our list of All-Star contenders at each position below. Then just click on the link below our 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 good look at the candidates for yourself and feel free to chime in with your own thoughts and selections!

 

A’s Farm’s Organizational All-Star Team – The Contenders

 

CATCHER

Sacto – Ryan Ortiz (2 HR / .215 AVG / .291 OBP / .362 SLG / .653 OPS)

Midland – Blake Forsythe (5 HR / .224 AVG / .307 OBP / .349 SLG / .656 OPS)

Stockton – Bruce Maxwell (6 HR / .243 AVG / .334 OBP / .334 SLG / .668 OPS) *

Beloit – Philip Pohl (6 HR / .242 AVG / .313 OBP / .374 SLG / .687 OPS) *

Vermont – Kyle Wheeler (0 HR / .181 AVG / .227 OBP / .205 SLG / .432 OPS)

AZL A’s – Argenis Raga (0 HR / .338 AVG / .400 OBP / .479 SLG / .879 OPS)

 

FIRST BASE

Sacto – Anthony Aliotti (9 HR / .267 AVG / .365 OBP / .406 SLG / .771 OPS) *

Midland – Max Muncy (7 HR / .264 AVG / .385 OBP / .379 SLG / .764 OPS)

Stockton – Matt Olson (37 HR / .262 AVG / .404 OBP / .543 SLG / .947 OPS)

Beloit – Michael Soto (9 HR / .290 AVG / .353 OBP / .492 SLG / .845 OPS) *

Vermont – John Nogowski (1 HR / .264 AVG / .351 OBP / .347 SLG / .699 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Shawn Duinkerk (0 HR / .167 AVG / .222 OBP / .254 SLG / .476 OPS)

 

SECOND BASE

Sacto – Jose Martinez (8 HR / .276 AVG / .345 OBP / .372 SLG / .717 OPS)

Midland – Conner Crumbliss (10 HR / .251 AVG / .358 OBP / .394 SLG / .752 OPS)

Stockton – Chad Pinder (13 HR / .288 AVG / .336 OBP / .489 SLG / .824 OPS)

Beloit – Chih Fang Pan (1 HR / .254 AVG / .311 OBP / .331 SLG / .642 OPS)

Vermont – Trent Gilbert (0 HR / .242 AVG / .300 OBP / .317 SLG / .618 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Jesus Lopez (0 HR / .221 AVG / .316 OBP / .272 SLG / .588 OPS)

 

SHORTSTOP

Sacto – Andy Parrino (7 HR / .286 AVG / .363 OBP / .404 SLG / .767 OPS)

Midland – Dusty Coleman (18 HR / .223 AVG / .300 OBP / .397 SLG / .697 OPS)

Stockton – Daniel Robertson (15 HR / .310 AVG / .402 OBP / .471 SLG / .873 OPS)

Beloit – Melvin Mercedes (2 HR / .222 AVG / .303 OBP / .316 SLG / .618 OPS)

Vermont – Yairo Munoz (5 HR / .298 AVG / .319 OBP / .448 SLG / .768 OPS)

AZL A’s – Trace Loehr (0 HR / .244 AVG / .313 OBP / .288 SLG / .600 OPS)

 

THIRD BASE

Sacto – Alden Carrithers (2 HR / .284 AVG / .381 OBP / .349 SLG / .729 OPS)

Midland – Jefry Marte (10 HR / .259 AVG / .333 OBP / .375 SLG / .709 OPS)

Stockton – Renato Nunez (29 HR / .279 AVG / .336 OBP / .517 SLG / .853 OPS)

Beloit – Luis Baez (7 HR / .237 AVG / .260 OBP / .344 SLG / .603 OPS)

Vermont – Jose Brizuela (6 HR / .254 AVG / .320 OBP / .413 SLG / .733 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Jean Carlo Rodriguez (0 HR / .184 AVG / .296 OBP / .224 SLG / .520 OPS)

 

LEFT FIELD

Sacto – Nick Buss (4 HR / .307 AVG / .371 OBP / .380 SLG / .751 OPS)

Midland – Chad Oberacker (2 HR / .221 AVG / .280 OBP / .315 SLG / .595 OPS) *

Stockton – Aaron Shipman (1 HR / .292 AVG / .414 OBP / .410 SLG / .824 OPS)

Beloit – B.J. Boyd (6 HR / .226 AVG / .300 OBP / .319 SLG / .619 OPS)

Vermont – Ben McQuown (2 HR / .239 AVG / .313 OBP / .319 SLG / .632 OPS)

AZL A’s – Robert Martinez (5 HR / .219 AVG / .339 OBP / .411 SLG / .749 OPS)

 

CENTER FIELD

Sacto – Shane Peterson (11 HR / .308 AVG / .381 OBP / .460 SLG / .841 OPS)

Midland – Billy Burns (1 HR / .237 AVG / .315 OBP / .302 SLG / .618 OPS) *

Stockton – Bobby Crocker (11 HR / .271 AVG / .336 OBP / .421 SLG / .757 OPS)

Beloit – Boog Powell (3 HR / .343 AVG / .451 OBP / .435 SLG / .886 OPS) *

Vermont – Brett Vertigan (1 HR / .265 AVG / .309 OBP / .364 SLG / .673 OPS)

AZL A’s – Jonesy Zarraga (0 HR / .228 AVG / .283 OBP / .307 SLG / .590 OPS)

 

RIGHT FIELD

Sacto – Josh Whitaker (12 HR / .295 AVG / .342 OBP / .488 SLG / .830 OPS) *

Midland – Kent Matthes (16 HR / .232 AVG / .291 OBP / .424 SLG / .715 OPS) *

Stockton – Jaycob Brugman (21 HR / .280 AVG / .354 OBP / .506 SLG / .860 OPS) *

Beloit – Tyler Marincov (18 HR / .268 AVG / .347 OBP / .486 SLG / .833 OPS) *

Vermont – Scott Masik (1 HR / .218 AVG / .321 OBP / .276 SLG / .598 OPS)

AZL A’s – Vicmal De La Cruz (0 HR / .210 AVG / .306 OBP / .299 SLG / .605 OPS)

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Sacto – Daric Barton (9 HR / .261 AVG / .371 OBP / .411 SLG / .781 OPS)

Midland – Hiroyuki Nakajima (6 HR / .247 AVG / .321 OBP / .342 SLG / .664 OPS) *

Stockton – Ryon Healy (16 HR / .285 AVG / .318 OBP / .428 SLG / .746 OPS)

Beloit – Ryan Mathews (12 HR / .269 AVG / .317 OBP / .454 SLG / .771 OPS)

Vermont – Max Kuhn (5 HR / .275 AVG / .345 OBP / .426 SLG / .772 OPS) *

AZL A’s – Edwin Diaz (1 HR / .241 AVG / .343 OBP / .359 SLG / .702 OPS)

 

STARTING PITCHER

Sacto – Zach Neal (166 IP / 170 H / 57 ER / 20 BB / 124 K / 3.09 ERA / 1.14 WHIP) *

Midland – Chris Jensen (160 1/3 IP / 147 H / 56 ER / 62 BB / 94 K / 3.14 ERA / 1.30 WHIP)

Stockton – Seth Streich (114 IP / 110 H / 40 ER / 22 BB / 116 K / 3.16 ERA / 1.16 WHIP)

Beloit – Kyle Finnegan (125 IP / 109 H / 56 ER / 53 BB / 61 K / 4.03 ERA / 1.30 WHIP) *

Vermont – A.J. Burke (71 2/3 IP / 76 H / 31 ER / 13 BB / 57 K / 3.89 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

AZL A’s – Carlos Navas (71 IP / 75 H / 26 ER / 20 BB / 61 K / 3.30 ERA / 1.34 WHIP)

 

CLOSER

Sacto – Jeremy McBryde (65 IP / 40 H / 16 ER / 26 BB / 66 K / 2.22 ERA / 1.02 WHIP / 17 SV)

Midland – Seth Frankoff (64 1/3 IP / 59 H / 24 ER / 21 BB / 69 K / 3.36 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 16 SV) *

Stockton – Austin House (61 2/3 IP / 50 H / 21 ER / 23 BB / 82 K / 3.06 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 19 SV) *

Beloit – Andres Avila (69 2/3 IP / 66 H / 22 ER / 17 BB / 64 K / 2.84 ERA / 1.19 WHIP / 8 SV) *

Vermont – Koby Gauna (24 2/3 IP / 19 H / 9 ER / 4 BB / 19 K / 3.28 ERA / 0.93 WHIP / 12 SV) *

AZL A’s – Jesus Rivas (21 IP / 28 H / 5 ER / 4 BB / 10 K / 2.14 ERA / 1.52 WHIP / 7 SV)

 

Click here to see A’s Farm’s 2014 Post-Season Organizational All-Star Team…

A’s Minor League Leaders – August 2014 Update

With just a couple of weeks left in the minor league season, we thought we’d take a quick look at the A’s minor league leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. A minimum of 200 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 100 innings is required for the pitching categories, with the exception of saves, of course. Included are current players from Sacramento, Midland, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont and the Arizona League A’s, but not from the Dominican Summer League A’s, and the stats below are complete through Sunday. Some of the names you might expect to see atop the lists, while others may come as a bit of a surprise!

 

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J.P. Sportman

BATTING AVERAGE

1) J.P. Sportman .346

2) Herschel Powell .344

3) Shane Peterson .316

It’s interesting to note that the A’s 27th-round draft pick this year out of Central Connecticut State, J.P. Sportman, currently boasts the best batting average among all A’s minor leaguers. And the 22-year-old center fielder has been hitting even better for Vermont than he was for Arizona, batting .367 for the Lake Monsters. #2 on the list is Stockton outfielder Herschel “Boog” Powell, who’s currently serving a 50-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines. Meanwhile, Sacramento outfielder Shane Peterson has been the River Cats most consistent hitter all season, and he also leads all A’s minor leaguers in doubles with 35.

 

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Herschel Powell

ON-BASE PERCENTAGE

1) Herschel Powell .453

2) J.P. Sportman .402

3 tie) Matt Olson .401

3 tie) Daniel Robertson .401

Stockton center fielder Herschel Powell did an incredible job of getting on base in April, May, June and the first week of July before being served with a 50-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines. Powell did most of his damage while leading off for Beloit but continued getting on base at a similar rate in almost two weeks at Stockton before receiving his suspension. Powell should be eligible to rejoin Stockton for the last few games of the season as well as for the California League playoffs. Vermont outfielder J.P. Sportman boasts the second-best on-base percentage despite drawing just 19 walks. Stockton first baseman Matt Olson’s is tied for the third-best OBP despite batting just .254 thanks to the fact that he leads all A’s minor leaguers in walks with 108. Meanwhile, Stockton shortstop Daniel Robertson’s .308 batting average has helped to keep him on base all season for the Ports.

 

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Renato Nunez

SLUGGING PERCENTAGE

1) Renato Nunez .552

2) Matt Olson .543

3) Jaycob Brugman .519

When it comes to slugging, you need not look any further than Stockton. Ports third baseman Renato Nunez currently sports the best slugging percentage among all A’s minor leaguers. Nunez’s 59 extra-base hits in 111 games mean that he’s been averaging more than 1 extra-base hit in every 2 games for the Ports. The 20-year-old Venezuelan also leads all A’s’ minor leaguers in RBIs with 91. Matt Olson’s 35 home runs also help to put him high on the slugging list. Meanwhile, Stockton outfielder Jaycob Brugman might be the most surprising addition to the top sluggers’ list, but the 22-year-old has now hit 9 home runs in his last 10 games for the Ports.

 

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Matt Olson

HOME RUNS

1) Matt Olson 35

2) Renato Nunez 29

3) Jaycob Brugman 19

Not only are Matt Olson and Renato Nunez #1 and #2 in home runs in the A’s minor league system, but they’re also #1 and #2 in the California League home run race. The California League may have the reputation of being a hitters’ league, but these two Ports infielders have been the most prolific home run hitters in the league so far this season. Stockton outfielder Jaycob Brugman has recently climbed his way up the home run list by hitting 9 homers in his last 10 games for the Ports. Brugman has definitely warmed up to the California League. After hitting 8 home runs in 70 games for Beloit, Brugman’s hit 11 home runs in just 37 games for Stockton.

 

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Daniel Robertson

HITS

1) Daniel Robertson 155

2) Shane Peterson 154

3) Ryon Healy 142

Stockton shortstop Daniel Robertson has been playing every day and batting leadoff much of the time, giving him the opportunity to rack up a whopping 155 hits in 121 games while posting a .308 batting average for the Ports. Sacramento outfielder Shane Peterson has been healthy all season and playing every day for the River Cats, so he’s collected 154 hits while while batting .316. #3 on the hits list may be a bit of a surprise. First baseman/third baseman Ryon Healy started off the season in a terrible slump for Stockton but hung in there and has now cranked out 142 hits while playing every day and putting up a .281 batting average for the Ports.

 

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Nate Long

ERA

1) Nate Long 3.12

2) Seth Streich 3.16

3) Chris Lamb 3.21

RockHounds starter Nate Long started out the season as a middle reliever for Midland until injuries to Raul Alcantara and Tanner Peters forced him into the RockHounds’ rotation, where he’s blossomed. The 28-year-old currently boasts the best ERA among all A’s minor league starters and is second in the system in both wins and strikeouts. Meanwhile, Stockton’s Seth Streich has been the most impressive starting pitcher in the A’s minor league system this season, ranking among the ERA, WHIP and strikeout leaders, but a shoulder injury has sidelined him for the past three weeks. Stockton starter Chris Lamb may be the most surprising entry on the list. The 24-year-old posted a 4.53 ERA last season for Beloit, but he started out well this season for the Snappers and has flourished since his promotion to the hitter-friendly California League – go figure!

 

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Seth Streich

WHIP

1) Seth Streich 1.16

2) Zach Neal 1.16

3) Kyle Finnegan 1.24

Before being sidelined with a shoulder injury, Stockton starter Seth Streich had been demonstrating great command, which really helped him do a terrific job of keeping men off base this season. The 23-year-old walked just 22 batters in 114 innings. He also managed to surrender just 7 home runs in the homer-happy California League. River Cats starter Zach Neal, who’s done stints with Sacramento, Midland and Stockton this season, is right behind Streich on the WHIP list and has walked a miniscule 19 batters in 145 1/3 innings this season. Meanwhile, Beloit starter Kyle Finnegan has done a great job of keeping runners off base by allowing just 88 hits over 108 2/3 innings of work for the Snappers.

 

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Matt Buschmann

STRIKEOUTS

1) Matt Buschmann 119

2) Nate Long 117

3) Seth Streich 116

Stockton starter Seth Streich far out-paced all other A’s minor league pitchers in strikeouts for most of the season, until he was sidelined by a shoulder injury. With Streich out of action, Sacramento starter Matt Buschmann, who was signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason, has moved to the top of the list by striking out 119 batters in just 121 2/3 innings. Midland starter Nate Long is second on the strikeout list with 117 in 138 1/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, River Cats starter Arnold Leon should soon pass Streich for third on the list as he currently stands at 112 strikeouts for Sacramento.

 

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Chris Jensen

WINS

1) Chris Jensen 12

2) Nate Long 11

3) Arnold Leon 10

Midland starter Chris Jensen, acquired from Colorado in the Brett Anderson trade, currently leads all A’s minor leaguers in wins with 12. Jensen also sports a 3.32 ERA and has given up just 3 home runs in 146 1/3 innings of work this season. Fellow Midland starter Nate Long is second on the wins list with 11, while Sacramento starter Arnold Leon is third with 10. Leon also boasts strong strikeout numbers, but he’s allowed 155 hits in just 128 innings of work, leading to a 5.27 ERA for the season.

 

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Austin House

SAVES

1) Austin House 17

2) Seth Frankoff 16

3) Evan Scribner 15

Stockton closer Austin House leads all A’s minor leaguers in saves with 17. House has also struck out 70 batters in just 48 1/3 innings of work so far this season. Sacramento reliever Seth Frankoff is second on the saves list, with all but one of his 16 saves coming during his time with Midland. The 25-year-old Frankoff has struck out 63 in 58 innings of relief for both Midland and Sacramento this season. #3 on the saves list is a familiar name to A’s fans, the River Cats’ Evan Scribner. When not with the A’s, Scribner’s been sharing Sacramento’s closing duties with Jeremy McBryde, who’s right behind him on the saves list with 14. Scribner’s been showing great command this season, walking just 9 while striking out 68 over 44 innings of work for Sacramento.

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our weekly A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Sunday, August 17th: Dillon Overton Impresses Again for Vermont while Deck McGuire Takes the Loss for Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Dillon Overton (3 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Vermont Lake Monsters Pitcher Dillon Overton (3 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 5 K)

 

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

Brooklyn Cyclones               7

Vermont Lake Monsters  3

LP – Graves 3-2 / 6.75

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Dillon Overton

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

One of the best stories in the A’s system in the second half of the season has to be the return of last year’s 2nd-round draft pick for the A’s, LHP Dillon Overton, to the mound 12 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery. On Sunday, Overton allowed just 1 baserunner while striking out 5 over 3 scoreless innings for the Lake Monsters. Since returning to action, Overton has struck out 42 and walked just 4 over 31 innings while putting up a 1.45 ERA, and has now allowed just 1 run and struck out 11 over 9 innings of work since joining Vermont. After Overton exited Sunday’s game, this year’s 3rd-round draft pick, RHP Brett Graves, allowed 5 runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief to take the loss. Designated hitter Max Kuhn tripled, doubled and scored, while shortstop Yairo Munoz and outfielder Ben McQuown both singled, stole a base and scored a run for the Lake Monsters.

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

Sunday, August 10th: Jaycob Brugman Hits Pair of Homers in Ports Victory while Sacramento Wins Slugfest in Reno

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (2 Home Runs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (2 Home Runs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Modesto Nuts       2

Stockton Ports  6

WP – Alderson 3-0 / 2.76

HR – Nunez (29), Brugman 2 (7), Taylor (4)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman

(2 Home Runs)

The Ports once again upheld their reputation for hitting home runs by slugging 4 round-trippers on Sunday night. Outfielder Jaycob Brugman belted 2 home runs to give him a total of 5 over Stockton’s last 5 games. Catcher Beau Taylor homered for the third straight night, while third baseman Renato Nunez hit his 29th home run in the 3rd inning to give Stockton the lead, and shortstop Daniel Robertson singled, doubled and walked to extend his hitting streak to 16 games and raise his batting average to .307. RHP Tim Alderson turned in his fourth straight quality start for Stockton, allowing just 2 runs while striking out 6 over 7 innings of work to earn his 3rd win for the Ports.

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

Monday, August 4th: Jake Sanchez Pitches Ports to Victory as Matt Olson & Renato Nunez Homer Once Again for Stockton

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Jake Sanchez (6 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Jake Sanchez (6 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Visalia Rawhide   2

Stockton Ports   8

WP – Sanchez 7-1 / 3.27

HR – Olson (33), Nunez (28), Robertson (15), Crocker (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Jake Sanchez

(6 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / Win)

RHP Jake Sanchez turned in another solid start for Stockton on Monday, allowing just 1 run over 6 innings of work to earn his 7th win for the Ports. Sanchez has now struck out 51 and walked only 11 in 55 innings while posting a 3.27 ERA and winning 7 of his 9 starts since joining Stockton. After slugging a grand slam in the 1st inning on Saturday, designated hitter Renato Nunez hit a 3-run homer in the 1st to give the Ports a quick lead on Monday. First baseman Matt Olson singled, doubled and homered, while outfielder Bobby Crocker singled and homered, and shortstop Daniel Robertson hit his 15th home run for Stockton. Meanwhile, Ports pitcher Chris Lamb was named the California League Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

Click here for more on Sacramento, Beloit & Vermont…

Saturday, August 2nd: Stockton Wins with the Help of Renato Nunez’s Grand Slam while Drew Pomeranz Posts 1st Win for Sacramento

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Renato Nunez (Grand Slam)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Third Baseman Renato Nunez (Grand Slam)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports  13

San Jose Giants    7

WP – Bowman 4-7 / 5.60

HR – Olson (31), Nunez (27)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Third Baseman Renato Nunez

(Grand Slam)

Ports third baseman Renato Nunez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the 1st inning and slugged a grand slam to give Stockton a quick 4-0 lead on Saturday. Nunez would later double in a run to finish the night with 5 RBIs. Matt Olson, getting the start in right field, singled, doubled, homered and drove in 2 runs, while first baseman Ryon Healy had 3 hits, and second baseman Wade Kirkland doubled in a pair. Despite allowing 4 runs on 8 hits over 5 2/3 innings, starter Josh Bowman picked up his 4th win, while RHP Bobby Wahl tossed a scoreless 9th in his first appearance for the Ports.

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

Tuesday, July 29th: Chris Jensen & Kent Matthes Star in Hounds Loss while Tommy Milone Struggles for Sacramento and Seth Streich Exits with Apparent Injury in Stockton

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Chris Jensen (7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 2 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Chris Jensen (7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 2 K)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  2

Frisco RoughRiders        6

LP – Walden 1-2 / 2.05

HR – Matthes (10)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Chris Jensen

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

RHP Chris Jensen turned in his 6th straight quality start for the RockHounds on Tuesday, but Midland couldn’t manage to pull out the win. Acquired from Colorado in the Brett Anderson trade, the 23-year-old has been one of the Hounds’ most consistent starters while allowing a remarkably miniscule 3 home runs over 129 innings this season. On Tuesday, Jensen allowed 2 runs, only 1 earned, on just 3 hits and left after 7 innings with the game tied. But in the 8th, RHP Marcus Walden loaded the bases before LHP Omar Duran came on to surrender a grand slam. Midland managed just 3 hits in the game, with outfielder Kent Matthes homering for the 4th straight day – and he now has 5 home runs in his last 4 games.

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

Saturday, July 26th: Kent Matthes Has Huge Night in Hounds Win while A’s Infielder Alberto Callaspo Makes Rehab Appearance for Ports

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (2 Home Runs / 9 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kent Matthes (2 Home Runs / 9 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  10

Corpus Christi Hooks        4

WP – Long 9-6 / 3.36

HR – Matthes 2 (7)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Kent Matthes

(2 Home Runs / 9 RBIs)

Outfielder Kent Matthes had a huge night for the Hounds, hitting a 3-run homer in the 2nd before slugging a grand slam in the 5th and then lining a 2-run single in the 9th, giving him a total of 9 RBIs on the night. No RockHound had driven in that many runs in a single game since Tommy Everidge drove in 10 in a game back in 2008. Second baseman Conner Crumbliss tripled and walked, while outfielder D’Arby Myers singled, doubled and walked, and catcher Bruce Maxwell doubled, walked twice and scored 3 runs for the RockHounds. Starter Nate Long allowed 3 runs on 3 solo home runs in 5 1/3 innings to pick up his 9th win for Midland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AF:  And what’s the latest with Kohler?

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

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

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

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

 

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Exclusive: Skipper Ryan Christenson Gives the Lowdown on the A’s Top Prospects at Stockton

rcchristenson_4j13f5yu2Many A’s fans might remember Ryan Christenson from his days patrolling the Oakland outfield from 1998 through 2001. But he may have an even more important job now, as he’s been entrusted with overseeing some of the A’s top prospects currently playing for the Ports in Stockton. Four of the A’s top five picks from the 2012 draft and three of the team’s top four picks from 2013 all started the season with Stockton.

Christenson spent last season with many of the same players in Beloit, where he was considered to have done such a masterful job of managing the team’s top prospects that they made him the manager in Stockton this year. And with players like Daniel Robertson, Matt Olson, Renato Nunez, Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder and – until his recent promotion – Bruce Maxwell, the team is currently tied for first-place in the California League North second-half standings. A’s Farm recently took the opportunity to talk with the Stockton skipper to get his take on his talented cast of characters…

 

AF:  First off, let me ask you about Daniel Robertson. With the trade of Addison Russell, he’s now the guy in the spotlight as the A’s new shortstop of the future. So what have you seen from him at the shortstop position in the field this year, and have you seen any sort of evolution from last year to this year?

drrobertson480_szmaxxpi_ibplc2rl2RC:  As good as he was with us last year in Beloit, he is noticeably better this year. The guy makes all the routine plays. He comes out here to play every day…and he’s been solid for us at shortstop. The fact that I believe we’re leading the league in defense this year just kind of goes to show how strong we’ve been up the middle – and he’s been the captain of that.

AF:  Now what about at the plate? It looks like he’s been showing a little more discipline and taking more walks and getting on base a lot. So what have you seen in his approach at the plate this year?

RC:  I think his approach at the plate has been solid. He’s hit #1 and #2 primarily for us this year. I don’t think leadoff is a comfortable position for him, but he’s done it for us because that’s what we’ve needed – and he’s been getting on base a lot. For a 20-year-old, I think the power is starting to show its potential. He’s hit a couple balls this year that I’ve just been saying “Wow!” They’ve really come off the bat well with a lot of noise and have true carry. And he’s hit a couple home runs to right field, so I think the power that he has in that frame is coming around. The guy works his butt off in the weight room, so he’s just going to continue to get stronger. And as he comes into his twenties and gets some of that man strength, I think he’s really going to be a special player.

mo15095_4110106706138_1463379083_n4AF:  Well, speaking of power, what about your first baseman Matt Olson? He’s always had power, but he’s really been taking it to another level lately. What have you seen from him, and is there anything in particular that he’s been improving on or doing any differently this year?

RC:  His plate discipline has really impressed me this year. The fact that I believe he’s still leading all of minor league baseball in walks right now just goes to show what he’s able to do up at the plate. His eye is impeccable. He’s cut down on the swings-and-misses. He’s always had a pretty stroke. But I think the difference between last year and this year is that when he does get the mistake in the at-bat, he’s not fouling it off or missing it, he’s connecting with it. And he’s just so strong that if he does get it going in the right direction with any kind of trajectory, it’s going to go out.

AF:  What about your third baseman, Renato Nunez? Like Olson, his power seems to be hitting another level here lately. Has he been doing anything differently in his approach?

rnrenato-nunez-2013cRC:  I don’t think he’s been doing anything differently. I just think it’s a matter that they’re not missing that mistake when they get it. That’s kind of the nuts and bolts of what we try to preach as an offensive approach is to wait out that great pitch. It might be the first pitch of the at-bat, it might be the seventh pitch of the at-bat – and the walks and working the count are kind of a by-product of that mindset of getting that good pitch in the at-bat and not missing it. And that’s all he’s done here of late in this power purge is that he just has not missed his pitch. And he’s hitting it out of the ballpark, he’s been hitting it off the wall, he’s hitting doubles – the power shots are coming with regularity with him.

AF:  What about in the field? You had him last year and know he had an awful lot of errors there in Beloit. So where’s he at defensively this year?

RC:  I think he’s definitely showing some improvement in making the routine play. I think he might have had 40 errors over at third base last year. I think he doesn’t even have 10 to this point in the season. So it’s just a testament to the work that these guys do. Juan Navarrete, our infield coordinator, has a simple program that we go through every day as far as getting their ground balls and staying in that routine of consistently working on the fundamentals. He’s made some good plays for us, and he’s played a solid third base. He and Healy both have come a long way. [Ryon] Healy as well has shown tremendous improvement over there at third base, and I have no problem throwing either one of them over there and feeling very comfortable throughout the game.

AF:  That was actually the next guy I was going to ask you about, Ryon Healy. Obviously, he got off to a slow start and has really climbed a long way back and has really been playing great lately.

rh1223780bRC:  His start really wasn’t as slow as the numbers might indicate. The guy’s hit the ball the same the entire season. I really started feeling bad. We were joking around with him to start the season about how many line drives and hard fly balls he was hitting at people or guys were making diving plays on. So I wasn’t tremendously worried about him. He wasn’t overmatched by any means. And that was what I kept feeding the brass – he’s not overmatched here and I think this is where he belongs. And I’m glad they kept him here to continue to work through it. And hats off to him and the fact that he’s climbed up to where he is at this point. The way he started, if he gets off to any kind of halfway decent start, he’d have monster numbers right now. I like what he does – he’s able to put the ball in play pretty regularly, he’s not a big strikeout guy. And he’s just going to continue to get bigger and stronger and really continue to come into his own as far as his power stroke.

AF:  And you like what you’ve seen out of him so far in the field at third base?

RC:  I really have. He’s a guy who it was a new position for. He was a first baseman in college. In Instructional League last year, they moved him to third and he struggled mightily. But he’s put the work in. That’s my main credit to this whole team and why I enjoy being around these guys all the time. It’s easy for me to get them out on the field and get that extra work in. And to see it pay off with the numbers that they’ve put up as a club defensively really is just a testament to what they’ve done.

cpDSC03243dAF:  Like Healy, another guy you didn’t have last year in Beloit but who’s had a big role here this year is Chad Pinder, who’s changed positions and has been playing second base here for you. Where do you see he’s at at this point?

RC:  I got my first look at Chad in the Instructional League last offseason, and I was very impressed with his power, not just bombing balls to left but he’s got tremendous strength to drive the ball to the opposite-field gap. And he’s hit a few home runs here with us this year to the right-field side, so that’s very impressive. He’s got quick hands, and he’s really put the work in at second base. Bret Boone was in with us to start the season and got him comfortable and kind of changed his mindset. It was the first time he’d ever played on the right side of the infield after being a third baseman and shortstop in college. So, with him, I think just getting that comfort with the throw – that sidearm flip from second base as he’s going to his left – and getting used to the pivot there at second base and turning the double play. He’s definitely gotten comfortable. And we all know he’s got the arm to go to short or third if we need it. So he’s a special player – I think we’ve got something in him.

AF:  What about catcher Bruce Maxwell [who was recently promoted to Midland]? Tell me a little bit about where he’s at both at the plate and also behind the plate. His throwing has obviously improved tremendously.

bmDSC02921bxRC:  I think everybody believes that Bruce is going to hit. That’s what he is – he’s a hitter. So I don’t think that there’s any worry there. There’s some fine tinkering here and there. I think offensively his biggest challenge is just separating his offense from his defense. He would have a tendency to take an at-bat, be frustrated and go back behind the plate and make some silly mental mistakes as far as having some balls get by him, but he’s really cleaned that up…and he’s tightened his game up back there. He still has some work as far as just controlling the blocks consistently and not having the drops show up here and there. But as far as the way he’s thrown the ball, it’s been night and day from last year.

AF:  You’ve been with a lot of these guys for the past two seasons now. They seem like a pretty special crop of prospects to a lot of people. But you see more of them than anybody, so what’s your overall view of this group of players you’ve got here in Stockton?

RC:  I think everybody sees the talent on the field. It’s been a joy just to watch them play the game every single evening. But for me personally, just to be around them and see the way they interact in the clubhouse, to see the way they get their work done, to see the way that they influence not only the other position players but also the pitching staff and this group of 25 guys as a whole is really what makes them special. They really get it, they have leadership qualities, they’re just ballplayers and I just have to pinch myself when I think that the majority of them are still just 20 years old. But I’m excited for them. They’re great pieces for this organization. I don’t know what the long-term plan is for them. I know we’re in win-now mode in Oakland. So they’re valuable pieces. If they feel like they want to push them through and see them in Oakland one day, I would love that. But I know that they’re also valuable to help get a huge piece like what we’ve done with Addison Russell to get us [Jeff] Samardzija and [Jason] Hammel up there in the big leagues. So I’ve been blessed to be with them for two years and just enjoy being around them.

 

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