Tag: Sheldon Neuse

A’s In The AFL – October 16-20 Update

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: Catcher Sean Murphy

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: C Sean Murphy

 

A’s Prospect AFL Highlights

(October 16 – 20)

Monday, October 16th:

Catcher Sean Murphy and third baseman Sheldon Neuse each went 0 for 4, while RHP Sam Bragg allowed 1 run in 1 inning and RHP Nolan Blackwood threw 1 scoreless inning in relief as Mesa was shut out 2-0 on Monday.

Tuesday, October 17th:

Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 5 with a double and drove in 2 runs, while RHP Miguel Romero allowed 4 runs, 3 earned, in just 2/3 of an inning of relief as Mesa won 8-5 on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 18th:

Catcher Sean Murphy went 2 for 4 with a double, while third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 4 with a double and drove in 2 runs in Mesa’s 6-5 loss on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 19th:

No A’s prospects appeared in Mesa’s 6-4 win over Surprise on Thursday, but former A’s prospect Brendan McCurry tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief.

Friday, October 20th:

Catcher Sean Murphy went 2 for 4 and drove in 2 runs and designated hitter Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 3 with 2 walks and scored twice, while RHP Logan Shore made the start and allowed 3 runs in 4 innings of work and RHP Nolan Blackwood threw 1 scoreless inning in relief to earn the win as Mesa won 7-6 on Friday.

Saturday, October 21st:

No games scheduled.

Sunday, October 22nd:

No games scheduled.

 

A’s Prospect AFL Stats

(October 10 – 20)

Sheldon Neuse (3B-SS)

32 AB / 2 HR / 3 BB / 9 K / .313 AVG / .371 OBP / .563 SLG / .934 OPS

Sean Murphy (C)

22 AB / 0 HR / 3 BB / 1 K / .318 AVG / .444 OBP / .409 SLG / .854 OPS

Tyler Ramirez (OF)

17 AB / 1 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .059 AVG / .200 OBP / .235 SLG / .435 OPS

Logan Shore (RHP)

8 IP / 14 H / 6 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / 6.75 ERA / 1.88 WHIP

Miguel Romero (RHP)

2 2/3 IP / 5 H / 3 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 10.12 ERA / 2.63 WHIP

Nolan Blackwood (RHP)

3 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 5 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.67 WHIP

Sam Bragg (RHP)

2 IP / 4 H / 2 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 9.00 ERA / 2.00 WHIP

 

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A’s In The AFL – October 10-14 Update

A's AFL Prospect Of The Week: Infielder Sheldon Neuse

A’s AFL Prospect Of The Week: IF Sheldon Neuse

 

A’s Prospect AFL Highlights

(October 10 – 14)

Tuesday, October 10th:

Catcher Sean Murphy went 1 for 4 with a double and drove in a run, while designated hitter Sheldon Neuse went 0 for 3 with a walk, and right fielder Tyler Ramirez went 0 for 4 with a walk and 3 strikeouts as Mesa lost its season opener 7-4 on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 11th:

Shortstop Sheldon Neuse went 3 for 4 with a grand slam, and right fielder Tyler Ramirez went 0 for 4 with a walk, while RHP Nolan Blackwood struck out 2 in 1 scoreless inning of relief as Mesa won 9-4 on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 12th:

Left fielder Tyler Ramirez went 1 for 4 with a home run and a walk, and catcher Sean Murphy went 0 for 2 with 2 walks and drove in a run, while RHP Sam Bragg allowed 1 run in 1 inning of relief as Mesa lost 10-9 on Thursday.

Friday, October 13th:

Third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 1 for 4 with a 2-run homer, while RHP Miguel Romero tossed 2 scoreless innings in Mesa’s 4-2 win on Friday.

Saturday, October 14th:

Designated hitter Sean Murphy went 2 for 4 with a walk, while third baseman Sheldon Neuse went 2 for 5, and right fielder Tyler Ramirez went 0 for 5 with 3 strikeouts. RHP Logan Shore made the start and allowed 3 runs over 4 innings of work as Mesa lost 4-3 on Saturday.

Sunday, October 15th:

No games scheduled.

 

A’s Prospect AFL Stats

(October 10 – 14)

Sheldon Neuse (3B-SS)

16 AB / 2 HR / 1 BB / 6 K / .375 AVG / .412 OBP / .750 SLG / 1.162 OPS

Tyler Ramirez (OF)
17 AB / 1 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .059 AVG / .200 OBP / .235 SLG / .435 OPS

Sean Murphy (C)

10 AB / 0 HR / 3 BB / 0 K / .300 AVG / .500 OBP / .400 SLG / .900 OPS

Logan Shore (RHP)

4 IP / 7 H / 3 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 6.75 ERA / 2.00 WHIP

Miguel Romero (RHP)

2 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0.00 ERA / 1.50 WHIP

Nolan Blackwood (RHP)

1 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0.00 ERA / 1.00 WHIP

Sam Bragg (RHP)

1 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 9.00 ERA / 3.00 WHIP

 

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Preview: Shore, Murphy, Neuse, Ramirez Set to Lead A’s AFL Squad

by Bill Moriarity / A’s Farm Editor

00aflafl_striahgt_logo_4vdwdld9_cg5m3bavWhile most baseball fans are focused on the drama of postseason play in the fall, it’s also an important time for some of the minor leagues’ top prospects. And starting on Tuesday, some of the A’s most promising young prospects will begin play in the Arizona Fall League.

2017 marks the 26th season of the Arizona Fall League. Each year, the league schedule runs for about 5-6 weeks from early-October through mid-November. There are 6 teams in the AFL, with each team comprised of prospects from 5 different organizations. A’s prospects will be playing for the Mesa Solar Sox again this year, where they’ll be joined by players from the Astros, Tigers, Cubs and Nationals.

Attendance at AFL games typically hovers in the 200s, with the crowds comprised largely of scouts, agents and various professional baseball personnel. Most organizations use the AFL as an opportunity to get some of their top prospects a little more live game action and hopefully help advance their development.

Some of the A’s top young Double-A hitting prospects will be seeing action in Arizona this year, including catcher Sean Murphy, infielder Sheldon Neuse and outfielder Tyler Ramirez, while the A’s AFL pitching contingent will be comprised of promising right-handers Logan Shore, Miguel Romero, Nolan Blackwood and Sam Bragg. Cuban RHP Norge Ruiz was originally scheduled to participate, but he’s still been bothered by an elbow strain and was replaced on the squad by Bragg.

 

–A’s Prospects in the AFL in 2017–

 

sm669221bSean Murphy

Catcher

Age: 22

Midland RockHounds / Stockton Ports

13 HR / 32 BB / 67 K / .250 AVG / .313 OBP / .410 SLG / .723 OPS

Last year’s 3rd-round draft pick for the A’s has always been valued for his strong throwing arm and his solid work behind the plate, but he also proved he has some pop by hitting 13 home runs this season. The 22-year-old slashed .297/.343/.527 for Stockton in the hitter-friendly California League before earning a promotion to Midland the last week of June. He struggled a bit at Double-A though, putting up a .209/.288/.309 slash line for the RockHounds. His strong defense and power potential make Murphy the A’s top catching prospect, and he’ll have the opportunity to work on developing a little more consistency at the plate during his time in the AFL.

 

sn641914bSheldon Neuse

Third Baseman / Shortstop

Age: 22

Hagerstown Suns / Stockton Ports / Midland RockHounds

16 HR / 40 BB / 112 K / .321 AVG / .382 OBP / .502 SLG / .884 OPS

Acquired from the Nationals in the Ryan Madson/Sean Doolittle deal, last year’s 2nd-round draft pick for Washington has done nothing but hit since joining the A’s system. After compiling 19 doubles, 9 home runs and a .469 slugging percentage for the Nationals’ Class-A Hagerstown Suns in the first half, the 22-year-old kicked things up a notch when he joined High-A Stockton, slugging a robust .675 and hitting 7 home runs in just 22 games for the Ports. While his power numbers dropped off after his August promotion to Double-A Midland, Neuse still managed to up put up an impressive .373 batting average to go along with a healthy .427 on-base percentage for the RockHounds. And he should continue to get the chance to see time at both third base and shortstop during his stint in the AFL.

 

tr669262bTyler Ramirez

Outfielder

Age: 22

Stockton Ports / Midland RockHounds

11 HR / 73 BB / 133 K / .304 AVG / .398 OBP / .431 SLG / .829 OPS

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. Improved competition hasn’t seemed to hinder the 22-year-old one bit. He hit better at Stockton than he did for Vermont, and 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 73 walks were most among A’s minor leaguers, while his .398 on-base percentage was best among A’s prospects with at least 300 at-bats. He also compiled the second-most hits and tied for the second-most runs in the system this season. While Ramirez can play all three outfield positions, he seems to look most comfortable in left, where he spent the bulk of his time this season.

 

ls624519bLogan Shore

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age: 22

Stockton Ports / AZL A’s

80 2/3 IP / 83 H / 33 ER / 16 BB / 87 K / 3.68 ERA / 1.23 WHIP

Last year’s 2nd-round draft pick for the A’s got off to a good start for Stockton this season, putting up a 3.12 ERA over his first 9 appearances for the Ports before landing on the disabled list thanks to a lat strain. After being sidelined for a couple of months, Shore returned to the mound in July, but he had to endure a few rough outings for Stockton before finally finding his footing and posting a 3.24 ERA in 6 August starts. Shore has shown himself to be a consistent strike thrower, averaging 9.7 strikeouts per 9 innings this season, and he possesses solid command of his pitches. But he only managed to make it to the mound for 80 2/3 innings in his first full season, so he’ll be looking to make up for lost time in the AFL this year.

 

mr673603Miguel Romero

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age: 23

Stockton Ports / Beloit Snappers / AZL A’s / DSL A’s

31 1/3 IP / 31 H / 17 ER / 11 BB / 42 K / 4.88 ERA / 1.34 WHIP

One of the A’s recent Cuban imports, Romero is a hard thrower who, in addition to a mid-90s fastball, also features a changeup and a slider. After making brief pit stops in the Dominican and Arizona Leagues, he looked solid in 3 starts for Class-A Beloit this summer, compiling a 2.25 ERA in his brief time with the Snappers. But the 23-year-old struggled after his promotion to Stockton. He notched 25 strikeouts in just 18 1/3 innings, but too many walks and home runs led to a bloated 6.87 ERA in his 8 appearances for the Ports. Romero finished the season on the disabled list for Stockton and logged just 31 1/3 innings in his first season in the U.S., so the A’s will be eager to get a better look at the hurler in the AFL.

 

nb670154Nolan Blackwood

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age: 22

Stockton Ports

57 IP / 42 H / 19 ER / 18 BB / 48 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.05 WHIP

Drafted by the A’s in the 14th round just last year, the sidearmer impressed in his first full season. The 22-year-old turned out to be a very reliable closer for Stockton, successfully converting 19 of 20 save opportunities this season. Blackwood led all A’s minor leaguers in saves while striking out 48 batters in 57 innings and giving up just 2 home runs all year in the homer-happy confines of the California League. The Mississippi native then failed to allow a hit or a run in a pair of relief appearances for Double-A Midland in the Texas League Championship Series, and he’ll get the chance to show what he can do against advanced competition this year in the AFL.

 

sb595892Sam Bragg

Right-Handed Pitcher

Age: 24

Midland RockHounds

68 1/3 IP / 69 H / 23 ER / 16 BB / 56 K / 3.03 ERA / 1.24 WHIP

With Cuban RHP Norge Ruiz, who had been set to participate in the AFL this year, still sidelined by an elbow strain, Bragg will get the chance to return to the AFL for his second straight season. The 24-year-old also spent his second straight season with Double-A Midland this year, posting a solid 3.03 ERA in 45 relief appearances for the RockHounds. The A’s 18th-round pick in the 2013 draft has always had good control and solid strikeouts numbers, and he’s had equal success against both righties and lefties. Bragg seems to have gotten a bit stuck at the Double-A level though, so he’ll be looking for a strong AFL campaign to help open up some eyes and raise his stock in the organization.

*          *          *

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Sunday, September 17th: Naile Leads Midland to Shutout Victory as RockHounds Win 4th Straight Texas League Title

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher James Naile (6 H / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher James Naile (6 H / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #5

Midland RockHounds  1

Tulsa Drillers                  0

WP – J.Naile

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher James Naile

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

After losing the first two games of the best-of-five championship series, the RockHounds came back from the brink of elimination to win three straight do-or-die games, capping their remarkable run with a shutout victory over Tulsa on Sunday to claim their fourth straight Texas League championship title. Though he labored a bit early on, starter James Naile, who took the loss in Game #1 on Tuesday, got the job done on Sunday. Aided by a pair of double plays and a couple of runners caught stealing, Naile tossed 6 shutout innings, allowing 5 hits and striking out 6, to earn the win for the RockHounds. Relievers Tyler Sturdevant, Joel Seddon, Brandon Mann and Kyle Finnegan combined to throw 3 scoreless and hitless frames, with Finnegan getting the final three outs in the 9th to notch his 3rd save of the series and complete the 5-hit shutout on Sunday. The game’s first batter, shortstop Jorge Mateo, scored the match’s only run after he reached base on an infield error to lead off the game. Mateo eventually came around to score on first baseman Viosergy Rosa‘s two-out RBI single, and that was all the scoring that either team would do on Sunday. Rosa also drew a pair of walks in the game, while second baseman Max Schrock had 3 hits, including a double. Center fielder J.P. Sportman singled and stole a base, and third baseman Sheldon Neuse, who ended up going 9 for 18 to hit an even .500 in the series, doubled and drew a walk in the RockHounds’ final victory of the season.

Midland RockHounds Championship Roster

RHP Carlos Navas hoists the championship trophy (photo via Carlos Navas' twitter)

RHP Carlos Navas hoists the championship trophy
(photo via Carlos Navas’ twitter)

 

 

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Saturday, September 16th: Neuse & Holmes Help Hounds Win and Force Decisive Game #5

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Sheldon Neuse (1 for 3 / Home Run / 2 Walks / 3 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Sheldon Neuse (1 for 3 / Home Run / 2 Walks / 3 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #4

Midland RockHounds  6

Tulsa Drillers                  3

WP – G.Holmes

HR – S.Neuse

Prospect Of The Game:

Third Baseman Sheldon Neuse

(1 for 3 / Home Run / 2 Walks / 3 RBIs)

After dropping the first two games of the best-of-five championship series, Midland won its second straight do-or-die game on Saturday to tie the series and force a decisive Game #5 on Sunday. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse, who was acquired from Washington this summer in the Ryan Madson/Sean Doolittle deal, delivered the big blow for the battling RockHounds. After Texas League RBI champion Viosergy Rosa singled for the second time in the game in the top of the 5th inning to drive in the go-ahead run and give Midland a slim 1-run lead, Neuse then stepped to the plate and slugged a 3-run homer to provide all the runs the RockHounds would end up needing on Saturday. Neuse also drew a pair of walks in the game and is now 8-for-14 in the series, while catcher Sean Murphy singled, walked and scored a run for the Hounds. Texas League strikeout king Grant Holmes turned in a solid start for Midland, allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, while striking out 6 over 6 1/3 innings of work to earn the win. Relievers Brandon Mann, Nolan Blackwood, Tyler Sturdevant and Kyle Finnegan combined to throw 2 2/3 scoreless innings, with Finnegan recording the final four outs for the RockHounds to register the save. RHP James Naile is set to take the mound as Midland attempts to clinch in its fourth straight Texas League title in Sunday’s decisive contest. Midland RockHounds Postseason Roster

 

Sunday’s Game:

Midland @ Tulsa (Championship Game #5) – 4:05pm PT / 6:05pm CT

 

 

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Friday, September 15th: Fillmyer Leads Hounds to Shutout Victory in Game #3

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Heath Fillmyer (5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Heath Fillmyer (5 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #3

Midland RockHounds  2

Tulsa Drillers                  0

WP – H.Fillmyer

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Heath Fillmyer

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

In a must-win game, RockHounds RHP Heath Fillmyer outdueled former A’s RHP Brandon McCarthy to force a Game #4 in the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series. Facing elimination, Midland managed to shut out Tulsa on just 5 hits on Friday. The A’s 5th-round draft pick in 2014, Fillmyer struck out 4 over 5 scoreless frames to earn the win. RHP Sam Bragg tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, while RHP Tyler Sturdevant threw a scoreless 8th, and RHP Kyle Finnegan pitched a perfect 9th to complete the shutout and pick up the save for Midland. Meanwhile, McCarthy, making a rehab start for Tulsa, surrendered 2 runs over 6 innings of work to suffer the loss. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse singled twice and walked, while second baseman Max Schrock doubled and scored the RockHounds’ first run in the 4th inning on first baseman Viosergy Rosa‘s RBI groundout. Shortstop Jorge Mateo then tripled and scored his team’s second run in the 6th on Schrock’s RBI groundout. Meanwhile, RHP Grant Holmes is set to take the mound for Midland in another do-or-die match on Saturday.

Midland RockHounds Postseason Roster

 

Saturday’s Game:

Midland @ Tulsa (Championship Game #4) – 5:05pm PT / 7:05pm CT

 

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Wednesday, September 13th: Big Hits by Neuse & Arruda Aren’t Enough as Hounds & Lake Monsters Now Face Do-Or-Die Scenarios

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Sheldon Neuse (3 for 4 / Triple / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds 3B Sheldon Neuse (3 for 4 / Triple / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES  (Double-A)

GAME #2

Tulsa Drillers                  5

Midland RockHounds  4

LP – C.Meisner

Prospect Of The Game:

Third Baseman Sheldon Neuse

(3 for 4 / Triple / Double / 2 RBIs)

After falling in the first game of the best-of-five championship series on Tuesday, the RockHounds came up short again in the second game on Wednesday and now must win all three of the remaining contests in Tulsa in order to claim their fourth straight Texas League title. Scheduled starter Grant Holmes was a last-minute scratch for unknown reasons, and RHP Casey Meisner stepped in to take his place. The 22-year-old held Tulsa scoreless through the first 3 frames but was charged with 3 runs in the top of the 4th to take the loss. RHP Carlos Navas relieved him with one out in the inning but gave up another 2 runs to put the Hounds in a 5-0 hole before the frame was through. Third baseman Sheldon Neuse did his best to help bring the Hounds back, doubling and scoring the RockHounds’ first run in the 7th and then tripling in a pair of runs in the 8th. Neuse also singled in the game, while left fielder Tyler Ramirez singled twice, walked and drove in a run. Second baseman Max Schrock had 3 hits and scored a run, and first baseman Viosergy Rosa singled in a run for the RockHounds. After a travel day on Thursday, the series is set to resume in Tulsa on Friday. Midland RockHounds Postseason Roster

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Tuesday, August 29th: Mateo Triples Twice for Hounds while Carter Homers Again for Sounds & Arizona Fall League Rosters Are Announced

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 6 / 2 Triples / RBI)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Shortstop Jorge Mateo (3 for 6 / 2 Triples / RBI)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

San Antonio Missions   10

Midland RockHounds   8

LP – Mann 3-7 / 4.44

Prospect Of The Game:

Shortstop Jorge Mateo

(3 for 6 / 2 Triples / RBI)

Shortstop Jorge Mateo turned in another strong performance for the RockHounds on Tuesday. The 22-year-old, who was acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray deal, collected 3 hits, including a pair of triples, while driving in a run and scoring twice, and he’s now hitting .300 with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs over his last 9 games for Midland. Designated hitter Jermaine Curtis singled, tripled, walked and drove in 3 runs, while second baseman Max Schrock and center fielder B.J. Boyd both had 2 hits and drove in runs for the RockHounds. Starter Grant Holmes allowed 1 run on 3 hits while walking 6 and striking out 8 over 5 innings of work for Midland. RHPs Sam Bragg and Kyle Finnegan each surrendered 3 runs in relief, while LHP Brandon Mann was charged with 2 unearned runs in the top of the 9th to take the loss as the RockHounds suffered their fourth straight defeat on Tuesday.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, 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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Tuesday, August 15th: Carter’s Big Bat Leads Sounds to Victory while Mateo Helps Hounds Win in a Walk-Off

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Designated Hitter Chris Carter (3 for 3 / Home Run / Triple / Walk / 5 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds DH Chris Carter (3 for 3 / Home Run / Triple / Walk / 5 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Nashville Sounds   6

Memphis Redbirds   5

WP – Bracewell 3-2 / 6.25

HR – Carter (3)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Chris Carter

(3 for 3 / Home Run / Triple / Walk / 5 RBIs)

Designated hitter Chris Carter had a huge night at the plate to lead Nashville to victory on Tuesday. The 30-year-old slugger singled, tripled, homered, walked and drove in 5 runs, including the tying and winning runs in the top of the 8th for the Sounds. Third baseman Renato Nunez singled twice and scored 3 times, while catcher Beau Taylor walked and singled in a run. Starter Ben Bracewell picked up the win despite surrendering 5 runs in 7 innings of work, while RHP Raul Alcantara tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief to secure his 3rd save for the Sounds.

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