Tag Archive for Stockton Ports

Wednesday, July 27th: Graves Is Almost Perfect in Ports’ Win while Alcantara Leads Sounds to Shutout Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brett Graves (8 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Stockton Ports Pitcher Brett Graves (8 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / Win)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

Stockton Ports             2

High Desert Mavericks  1

WP – Graves 5-8 / 5.11

HR – Pimentel (16)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Brett Graves

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

2014’s 3rd-round draft pick for the A’s, RHP Brett Graves, was nearly perfect for the Ports on Wednesday. The 23-year-old allowed just one base runner all night, on an infield single in the 7th inning, and ended up throwing 8 shutout innings to earn his 5th win for Stockton. RHP Carlos Navas notched his 6th save despite giving up a run in the bottom of the 9th to spoil the shutout. First baseman Sandber Pimentel slugged his 16th home run in the 2nd inning to put the Ports on the board, while left fielder James Harris singled in a run in the 7th, and second baseman Mikey White singled, doubled and scored a run for Stockton.

Click here for more on Nashville, Midland & Beloit…

Monday, July 25th: Sounds Win behind Alcantara’s Big Bat while Seddon Pitches Hounds to Victory and Snappers Sweep Doubleheader

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Designated Hitter Arismendy Alcantara (4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Designated Hitter Arismendy Alcantara (4 for 5 / HR / Double / 4 RBIs)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Omaha Storm Chasers  5

Nashville Sounds       12

WP – Detwiler 2-0 / 4.09

HR – Nunez (15), Alcantara (8), Ravelo (6)

Prospect Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Arismendy Alcantara

(4 for 5 / Home Run / Double / 4 RBIs)

Designated hitter Arismendy Alcantara had a big game in his return to Nashville on Monday. The 24-year-old collected 4 hits, including a home run and a double, and drove in 4 runs, while third baseman Renato Nunez singled, hit his team-leading 15th home run and drove in 2 runs, and first baseman Rangel Ravelo homered and drove in a pair. Starter Ross Detwiler allowed 4 runs over 6 innings of work to earn his 2nd win for the Sounds. And with Oakland optioning RHP Jesse Hahn back to Nashville on Monday, Max Muncy was recalled by the A’s.

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

Sunday, July 24th: Billy Burns’ Big Hit Keys Sounds’ Victory while 18-year-old Oscar Tovar Impresses Again in AZL A’s Loss

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Billy Burns (4 for 5 / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Outfielder Billy Burns (4 for 5 / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Omaha Storm Chasers  5

Nashville Sounds         6

WP – Healy 4-1 / 2.97

Prospect Of The Game:

Outfielder Billy Burns

(4 for 5 / 2 RBIs / Stolen Base)

With two outs, the bases loaded and the Sounds down by a run in the bottom of the 8th inning, center fielder Billy Burns stepped to the plate and singled in a pair of runs to provide the margin of victory for Nashville on Sunday. Burns collected 4 hits on the day, stole a base and scored twice, while right fielder Jaycob Brugman singled, doubled and also drove in a pair for the Sounds. Starter Dillon Overton was charged with 5 runs in 7 innings of work, while RHP Tucker Healy tossed a scoreless 8th to earn his 4th win, and LHP Patrick Schuster pitched a perfect 9th to pick up his 6th save for the Sounds. And with RHP Jesse Hahn’s return to the A’s on Sunday, Arismendy Alcantara was optioned back to Nashville.

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

Talking about Stockton’s Top Prospects with Manager Rick Magnante

rmMGR_Magnante_dervlq1cStockton skipper Rick Magnante originally began his professional baseball career as a 13th-round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians out of the University of Santa Barbara back in 1969. He first joined the A’s organization in 1995 as an area scout covering southern California. He also began managing short-season teams for the A’s in 2006 after his duties prepping for each year’s draft were through.

After spending five seasons in Vancouver and three seasons in Vermont, Magnante gave up his scouting duties and began managing full-time. He spent the 2014 season in Beloit and is now in his second season with Stockton. We took the opportunity to talk with the skipper earlier this week to get his first-hand take on a few of the Ports’ top prospects…

AF:  It seems like the guy who’s really been one of the most consistent hitters for you here in Stockton this season has been Joe Bennie.

RM:  That would be correct.

AF:  He’s been doing a good job of getting on base, and he’s been showing some pop too. So what’s been working for him this year?

jb643218bRM:  Well, I think Joe has the innate ability to hit a baseball and hit it hard. He’s a guy who has a good sense of timing and readiness that allows him to recognize pitches and give quality at-bats regardless of the count. He’s not opposed to getting himself into a two-strike count and battling through that and maybe getting to a full count and working a walk or getting a hit. So I think his recognition skills and his timing, along with a strong powerful swing with leverage, has allowed him to drive baseballs the way he’s done this year. And as you mentioned, his consistency has been very good from day one, but it’s gotten better. His average has picked up as of late, so he’s starting see the results of the hard work that he truly puts in every day. He’s extremely diligent, very passionate, very committed. You know, the attitude is everything. There’s some things you can’t teach. There’s some things you can help players with in terms of all their skill sets. But Joe has a natural feel to hit. And he’s just getting to become what we expect here in Oakland. He’s becoming a professional hitter.

AF:  I know he’s moved around a bit in the field – second base, third base, the outfield. So where do you feel he’s really best-suited to be in the field?

RM:  I think that right now our biggest concern with Joe is finding a place he’ll be serviceable as a defender. So the process is still ongoing. He’s played some third, not this year but previously. He began the year at second base here, and he still continues to play second base. We’re still experimenting a little bit with him in the outfield. So, in terms of what he’s going to be ultimately, I don’t think anybody has the answer to that right now. We haven’t solved that dilemma yet. But the reality is if you hit, you play. So I think Joe’s going to figure that out. And I think wherever we ask him to play, he’s very willing to do that. He’s very open-minded. He’s not reluctant, saying “This is difficult,” or “I don’t feel comfortable here.” He’s looking to say, “How can I be better? What do I need to do?”

AF:  Another guy who’s been pretty consistent for you and has certainly done a great job of getting on base all season is outfielder James Harris. What’s he meant to your team this year and what kind of development have you seen out of him?

jh605266bRM:  He truly has been our most consistent player, because he’s hit from day one for average and hasn’t stopped. He too is getting better as the season progresses. The more repetitions you get, the more at-bats you get, if you’re getting better, you’re going to see results. Everybody goes through some ups and downs, and so has James to some degree, but from day one he’s been selective and aggressive enough in his at-bats to get the pitches he wants to hit. So he’s developed as a hitter very dramatically since his first years in pro ball with Tampa Bay. This is my first real exposure to James. I saw him in spring training and he had a terrific spring. Along with his ability to hit, there is some power there, and I think it will develop more than what you’re seeing here in the California League this year. He’s also athletic, he can run. The area he really needs to improve upon is his defense. He needs to become a better outfielder and a better thrower. But if the bat is a big part of the equation, he’s shown this year that he’s made huge strides at the plate, and I’m pleased to say that he’s having a great year.

AF:  Since he’s been in pro ball for a while, I think people tend to forget that he’s actually still fairly young. He’s still just 22.

RM:  Yeah, he was a high school signing, not unlike B.J. Boyd. They’re both from the same area. He’s gotten a second chance here, and he’s made the most of it. And that speaks to his character and his drive and his focus on what he wants to do and where he wants to go. So it’s been a good year for James.

AF:  Now another guy who’s been a big bat for you here this year is first baseman Sandber Pimentel. He’s obviously got some power, and he’s done a good job of getting on base too. So what have you seen out of him this year in Stockton?

sp622698RM:  Well, he’s young as well. He’s 21 years old. The first thing you see is his physical presence – he looks the part. This is what they’re supposed to look like. I’m sure David Ortiz looked something like this at his age as well. So the comparison is fair from a physical profile. But what I’ve seen from Sandber is the ability to work harder at what he’s doing, to take all facets of the game – his hitting, his fielding, his throwing, his base running – to another level, to get better at being a complete, all-around player. I think what you deal with sometimes with the Latin player is the fact there is no baseball infrastructure in the Dominican. There is no Little League, PONY League, high school, junior college, college baseball. Most everything they do is on a showcase basis – they go, they hit, they throw, they field, they run. The tools are evaluated, but the baseball IQ is not developed. So when you bring a kid like him and you put him in the Cal League where you’re playing with older guys, more advanced guys, more skilled guys, guys with better baseball acumen for lack of a better term, his learning curve is going to be slower. So patience and perseverance are the key words for him. You just have to continue to teach and mentor him. And this year he’s been receptive and we’re starting to see some of the fruits of our labor in the way he’s playing the game on both sides of the line. So we’re pleased with the development from Sandber.

AF:  Two other hitters I wanted to ask you about are last year’s top two draft picks for the A’s – infelders Richie Martin and Mikey White. Both have had some struggles at the plate this season. So what kind of challenges have you seen those guys having to face this year in High-A?

mw608383bRM:  White first because he’s been here all year – his strengths for me are his baseball skills. His ablity to know how to play the game, to be in the right position, to make the throw to the proper base, to advance along the bases correctly – all those things are in place for him. But now it’s a matter of how can we develop the tools? And so the first thing, of course, that we want to do is we want him to become a better hitter. He got off to a slow start this year, and we’ve been working diligently with him on his approach. By that, I mean his ability to get ready to hit in a physical manner so that he’s in a position to recognize pitches, be balanced, be centered, be leveraged, and be strong at contact. And we’re starting to see that now as the season has progressed into the second half. His at-bats are better. If you notice his swings, you’ll see he’s over the baseball, his hands are in a better position, his timing is improved, he’s recognizing better. So we’re very pleased with that, because it’s been a little bit of a tough road for him this first half. But he has not allowed it to affect his attitude, how he approaches the game, his work ethic. He comes out here every day very open-minded and willing to do what we ask him to do. And sometimes you’ve got to take two steps backward before you can take one step forward. We’ve gone through the backward steps, so now we’re looking for the forward steps.

AF:  And what about Richie Martin?

rm621006cRM:  He got kind of sidetracked with the meniscus tear in spring training, and that set him back a little bit, so he didn’t get the full benefit of spring training. And when you go to extended [spring training] after all the teams break down there, it’s not quite the same as spring training – you’re not facing different clubs, you’re not facing better arms. So it took him a little bit of time to get going. What you see with Richie I think is what everybody sees. You see a very athletic, agile, strong, toolsy kind of player in terms of his ability to catch the ball, his ability to run, his ability to throw with an above-average arm – all those things stand out. He too is in a position right now where he’s facing much better competition, and he too is one that we need to try to help get in sync at the plate. And by that, I mean to get his timing in a position where he can recognize pitches, be on time and be in a position to drive baseballs with greater regularity. So the things we’re working on with him are basically his timing, his readiness and his overall approach to hit. So we’re making some strides with him, but it’s an ongoing process. And you believe, as talented and athletic as he is – and, of course, he’s a very dedicated kid, a very competitive kid, and a self-starter – that he’ll figure it out.

AF:  Okay, I wanted to ask you about one pitcher on your staff who came here from Beloit at the end of May – and that’s Kyle Friedrichs. He had a disastrous first start, giving up nine runs in his debut. But ever since then, he’s been about as solid as could be, and he hardly ever walks anyone. So tell me what you’ve been seeing out of Kyle Friedrichs and what’s been working so well for him this season?

kf664851RM:  Well, he’s a smart pitcher. He knows how to attack hitters. It’s not about ego with him. He’s not trying to strike them out, he’s trying to get them out. He’s trying to pitch to contact within the first three pitches and have the hitters put the ball in play and allow his defense to play behind him. What has been surprising has been the humber of strikeouts he’s had. He has a mix of pitches – he he’s got a four-pitch arsenal. He knows how to use his pitches, he can locate, he upsets hitters’ timing and he pitches ahead in the count – all of which is a recipe for success. So, he’s more pitcher than he is power, but it’s working right now for him and he’s really been a welcome addition to our club.

AF:  Which of his pitches are really working for him at this point?

RM:  Well, he locates a fastball and he stays down in the zone. So even when they do touch him, it’s on the ground. That’s important for him. And there’s a little movement. He’s got a slider, he’s got a curveball and he’s got a change. And I would call them all serviceable pitches. He’s got a mix. So he’s the type of guy who might go through the lineup the first time using one or two pitches to get outs. Then in those second or third at-bats, other pitches are introduced and now the hitters have to cover more than one or two pitches, and that’s to his advantage.

AF: It sounds like being able to locate that fastball down in the zone is the key for him.

RM:  Most everything that he throws is down and it’s got downward plane to it, so it’s groundball, groundball, groundball. It’s not overpowering, so the key is command of the pitches.

AF:  Now I know you were a scout before you got into coaching. So did Grady Fuson hire you to be a scout for the A’s when he was the team’s scouting director back in the ‘90s?

RM:  Grady hired me in 1995 to be an area scout in southern California. And I spent five, almost six, years before I even explored the chance to get on the field. And when I went to Italy in 2005 to be part of the MLB international academy there, I met some people on that side and they offered me the opportunity to manage South Africa in the first World Baseball Classic. And we were an organization that welcomed scouts, after the draft, to be a part of the short-season staffs. So I’d mentioned to [farm director] Keith Lieppman on a couple of occasions that would be something I’d like to do if the opportunity presented itself. And after the baseball classic, he asked me if I’d like to manage Vancouver in 2006 and I said, “You don’t have to ask twice.” So I’ve been able to do a few things here with Oakland, and I’m grateful to Grady for bringing me over and I’m grateful to Keith for giving me the opportunity to manage. 2013 was my last year as a scout and now I’m full-time on the field.

AF:  And I guess it sounds like you’re enjoying the chance to be back out on the field.

RM:  At this point in my life, I’m truly blessed. I’ve got a full-time job in baseball, I have a five-month offseason, and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor at this point in my life. I’m just very grateful for how things have happened here in Oakland.

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Saturday, July 23rd: Gossett K’s 7 in Hounds Loss while Blanco Throws 5 Shutout Frames in AZL A’s Win

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Daniel Gossett (7 IP / 7 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Daniel Gossett (7 IP / 7 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  2

San Antonio Missions    3

LP – Cochran-Gill 4-4 / 3.42

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Gossett

(7 IP / 7 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 7 K)

2014’s 2nd-round draft pick for the A’s, RHP Daniel Gosssett, gave up just 1 earned run in his third straight start for the RockHounds, but it wouldn’t be enough to earn the win on Saturday. Gossett also allowed 1 unearned while striking out 7 and walking none, and he left after 7 innings with the game a 2-2 tie. RHP Lou Trivino tossed 2 scoreless innings of relief in his Double-A debut, while RHP Bobby Wahl struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th, but RHP Trey Cochran-Gill gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 11th as the RockHounds lost in a walk-off. Center fielder Brett Vertigan collected 3 hits, while second baseman Josh Rodriguez doubled and drew a pair of walks. Designated hitter Tyler Marincov had a pair of hits, and right fielder Danny Oh singled in a run for the RockHounds.

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

Catching Up With a Pair of the Ports’ Top Hitters: James Harris & Joe Bennie

spstockton-ports-logoThe A’s affiliate in the California League, the Stockton Ports, has struggled for much of this season, putting up a .408 winning percentage through the team’s first 98 games. But a couple of Stockton’s biggest standouts in the batter’s box so far this season have been outfielder James Harris and second baseman/outfielder Joe Bennie.

Harris is the team leader in hits, runs, total bases, stolen bases, batting average and on-base percentage, while Bennie leads the team in doubles, extra-base hits and RBIs. We took the opportunity to talk with the pair earlier this week in Stockton.

 

JAMES HARRIS

jh605266bAs a 17-year-old high school outfielder, Oakland native James Harris was a 1st-round pick for Tampa Bay in the 2011 amateur draft. But after struggling through four seasons in the Tampa system, never rising above Class-A, the former top prospect was released towards the end of spring training in 2015. Within a couple of weeks though, Harris was signed by his hometown team and sent to Beloit, where he had a solid season as the Snappers’ leadoff hitter, putting up a .359 on-base percentage over 86 games in the Midwest League. And he’s taken things up another notch this season with the Ports, putting up an impressive .312/.390/.442 slash line and stealing 20 bases through 96 games while also being named a California League All-Star…

AF:  You’ve been having a good year here in Stockton and you’ve been very consistent. So what’s been working for you here this season?

JH:  Pretty much just going out there and having fun. I put in a lot of work in the offseason to be able to just come out here and play and not have to worry about trying to make too many major adjustments throughout the season. I’m just trying to stay consistent with an approach and attitude and make little minor adjustments within the season. So I think that’s helped with consistency.

AF:  What was your offseason program like and what were you really focused on in the offseason?

JH:  This offseason was a lot of skill work – so hitting, first steps, speed, jumps. Just trying to stay consistent with the short swing and be able to repeat that swing over and over again regardless of pitch and location. And then obviously being able to steal some more bases, being able to get a good first step. And then just kind of working out to be a little stronger, to be able to drive the ball to all fields, and be able to do things I need to do to stay healthy for a full season.

AF:  When you came over to the A’s organization last season, things really seemed to start clicking for you right away. It seems like you started having a lot of success right off the bat. So is there anything in particular that accounts for that?

JH:  Change of scenery and maturity. You know, when Tampa drafted me, I was young – 17 years old. And after a few years over there, I was still learning and adjusting to the game. And by the time I got over here, it was a good change of scenery. I’ve had an opportunity to go out there and play every day, so I’ve just tried to make the most of it. I just kind of went back into a position where nothing was going to be given, so I didn’t want to back down or let down or anything. And also, the energy and the vibes over here with the coaches and the coordinators have all been good. And I think I’ve been able to communicate with them and be pretty open with them about things that I want to work on, and also feel comfortable with asking questions about things that they feel I could do better and take the criticism for what it is and work to be better at it.

AF:  Well, I guess sometimes it’s just nice to be able to make a fresh start!

JH:  It is, it is – and just an opportunity to play for a team I grew up watching and was my favorite team. It made the game fun again. It’s almost like the beginning of a dream all over again.

AF:  I was going to ask you about that. Being from Oakland, when you first found out that you were going to have the chance to join the A’s, what was your first reaction to that?

JH:  My first reaction was just thankful that another team was going to give me an opportunity. And the second thing was just, you know, that’s something I’ve always dreamed about. I’ve played in the Coliseum a few times with my high school team and been to a ton of games there. And when I told my family, they were really excited. So I just want to make the most of the opportunity and do the best I can to be able to play at home in my backyard.

AF:  So when you were growing up and following the A’s, who were some of the players you liked and had your eye on?

JH:  Well, the teams when I was younger that I remember, Jermaine Dye was a big guy, and then Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada – you know, that whole team with the big three [Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito] – Terrence Long, Scott Hatteberg, Mark Ellis, Huston Street had just got there…

AF:  The classic Moneyball days!

JH:  Yeah, that was what I knew. And tickets were $5 on hot dog day. I’d go with my family or I’d go on summer field trips with programs and stuff. I think I still have a deck of cards at home with a bunch of A’s players from growing up. Those was the guys that I remember being able to watch. And Rickey Henderson has always been my favorite player.

AF:  I was wondering about that. I had a feeling that might be the case.

JH:  Yeah, Rickey’s always been my favorite player. I met him in high school, because he went to my high school [Oakland Technical High School]. And they ended up naming our high school field after him, so I met him then. I talked to him a little bit when I was with Tampa in the offseason. And then this year, I’ve had a chance to work with him more.

AF:  I imagine you must have spent some time with him in Arizona in spring training.

JH:  Yeah, I talked to him there. And then he’s come here two or three times and I’ve had a chance to talk to him here.

AF:  Well, I imagine when a guy like Rickey has something to say to you, you probably listen!

JH:  100 percent – I guarantee you he’s not trying to steer me wrong!

AF:  You can’t go wrong listening to Rickey!

JH:  Exactly!

AF:  Have you seen Moneyball and, if you have, what did you think about it?

JH:  I have. I thought it was a pretty good film. I didn’t know much about the whole Moneyball scheme and what they were doing at the time. I just learned of it once I saw it what the whole idea of it was. And it makes more sense now being in the middle of it and seeing how organizations work when it comes to players. I thought it was a real good movie though.

AF:  Then finally, is there anything that you’re particularly focused on at this point in the season?

JH:  Everything. I think the main thing is just staying focused. It’s so easy at the end of the season to start kind of losing focus and start shutting it down a little bit. So just trying to stay locked in on every game – we’ve got somewhere close to 50 games left – to lock it in for every pitch, or on the bases, or out in the field. And then just constantly working on jumps, reads, you know, little stuff, footwork in the outfield, staying consistent with the swing and getting good pitches to hit, not trying to do too much, just trying to keep everything simple and just staying focused through the end of the season. I don’t want to let up early. Letting up early creates a bad habit, and they see that stuff. They want to see you finish all the way through. You know, if you get to the big leagues, even if you’re not in the playoff chase, they want you still going hard all the way to the end of the season.

AF:  That’s right, you can’t let up till the last game!

 

JOE BENNIE

jb643218bTaken by the A’s in the 28th round of the 2013 draft, Bennie has done a great job of getting on base ever since joining the A’s organization, and he currently sports a .370 on-base percentage over parts of four minor league seasons. Bennie started out primarily playing second base, while seeing a little time at third base, but he shifted to the outfield last season, and has split his time between the outfield and second base this year. Bennie has been one of Stockton’s best hitters this season and is currently boasting the best on-base percentage (.380) and slugging percentage (.448) in his time in the A’s system. And his brother Robert, an outfielder, was just taken by the A’s in the 24th round of this year’s draft…

AF:  You’ve been having a really solid year here at Stockton. You’ve been getting on base and showing a little pop. So what’s been clicking for you here this season?

JB:  I just think it’s a product of having a lot of at-bats over the past couple years and just all the hard work in the offseason. I showed up to spring training early just trying to get some extra at-bats. And I just think it’s starting to click with my approach and just my confidence out there. So I’m happy the results are coming as part of that.

AF:  And how do you feel about hitting here in Stockton as opposed to Beloit, where you were last year? How’s it been different for you?

JB:  You can mis-hit some balls and they’ll travel a little bit more here. But I try not to let that stuff get to me or get me off my approach. It’s the same game, so I just try to stick with what I can do.

AF:  What are some of the differences in the kind of pitching you’ve had to face here in High-A in the California League?

JB:  I just think they have more of an idea of how to pitch. So they’re really going to attack your weaknesses until you prove you can fix them. In rookie ball, pitchers kind of just throw the ball as hard as they can and they don’t know where it’s going. Last year, they kind of had more of an idea. But this year, it’s been challenging at times because they know what they’re doing. But I just stick to the same approach each day and try not to let that get in my way.

AF:  In your time in the organization, you’ve played a few different positions – second base, third base, the outfield. Is there anywhere in particular that you feel most comfortable at this stage of the game?

JB:  Yeah, I guess they’re searching for a position for me. And they like that I can kind of fill the utility role, which I don’t mind at all because it keeps me in the lineup every day – it doesn’t matter where I’m playing. Personally, I really like second base. I got drafted as a second baseman. I played there for the first two years of pro ball. That’s somewhere I’m really comfortable. But after last year going to instructs to work on the outfield, I’m really comfortable out there now too. So wherever they put me, it doesn’t bother me. I’m pretty comfortable everywhere now.

AF:  Are there many guys on this team you’ve had the chance to spend a lot of time playing with since you were drafted?

JB:  Lana Akau since rookie ball, our first year when we got drafted. Jose Brizuela the last two or three seasons. James Harris the last two years. So there’s been a couple guys I’ve been with pretty much every step of the way.

AF:  Now I know you’re from the east coast. So, prior to this year, had you had the chance to spend much time out in California before and how do you like living and playing out here on the west coast?

JB:  Oh, it’s definitely the first time I’ve been out here for a long period of time. I was out here for like three days my junior year of college when we played the University of San Diego. But other than that, it’s my first time in Cali…I like it a lot. California is nice. We get to travel to nice places. You know the weather is always going to be sunny and a little hot. So I’m enjoying this lifestyle.

AF:  So who have you been living with out here?

JB:  I live with Heath Fillmyer and Brett Graves – two pitchers.

AF:  Have you been getting the pitchers’ perspective on things now?

JB:  Oh, yeah. Sometimes I’ll ask them how they would pitch me. Maybe other teams have that same approach against me, so I use that to my advantage.

AF:  Getting into the mind of the enemy!

JB:  Exactly!

AF:  So is there anything that’s been particularly memorable for you about this season?

JB:  I love every day just coming to the locker room, just getting ready to go. I don’t take a day for granted in pro ball.

AF:  Is there anything in particular you’re focused on or working on at this point in the season?

JB:  Yeah, I try to make progress every day. Right now, I’m sticking to my routine hitting, just trying to stick with that so I’m consistent. And defensively, that’s probably where I put in the most work. In B.P., I really take my reps seriously. But for the most part, just trying to stay healthy and take care of my body.

AF:  And finally, how did you feel about your brother getting drafted by the A’s and the two of you being together here in the same organization now?

JB:  Oh, it was a dream come true. He had a lot of looks from a couple teams. And I was really hoping it was the A’s all the way, just because I love this organization and I’ve seen the opportunities I’ve gotten and I just think this is a great place for him to be. We’ve only been teammates once, and that was in varsity baseball, and I was a senior and he was a freshman. So it’ll be fun to go to spring training with him and hopefully we get to the big leagues together!

*          *          *

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Friday, July 22nd: Raul Alcantara Impresses in Triple-A Debut as Sounds Win in a Walk-Off and Duno Helps Snappers Salvage Doubleheader Split

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Raul Alcantara (7 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Raul Alcantara (7 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Omaha Storm Chasers  1

Nashville Sounds         2

WP – Healy 3-1 / 3.05

HR – Nunez (14)

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Raul Alcantara

(7 IP / 4 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K)

RHP Raul Alcantara turned in an impressive start in his Triple-A debut on Friday, allowing just 1 unearned run on 4 hits over 7 innings of work, but he left with the game a 1-1 tie. RHP Ryan Doolittle tossed a scoreless 8th, while RHP Tucker Healy pitched a perfect 9th to pick up the win as the Sounds won their third straight. Third baseman Renato Nunez singled and hit his 14th home run to tie the game in the home half of the 4th, while center fielder Billy Burns had a pair of hits, and shortstop Chad Pinder singled and scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 9th as the Sounds won in a walk-off on Friday. In other news, Nashville catcher Bruce Maxwell is scheduled to fly to the Bay Area on Saturday morning to make his major league debut for the A’s.

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

Thursday, July 21st: Walter’s 4 Scoreless Frames Help Hounds Win 3rd Straight while Jensen & Murray Pitch Sounds & Ports to Victory

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Corey Walter (4 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / Win)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Corey Walter (4 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  4

San Antonio Missions    2

WP – Walter 2-2 / 2.40

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Corey Walter

(4 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / Win)

With the RockHounds down by 2 runs, RHP Corey Walter entered the game in the bottom of the 6th and tossed 4 shutout innings to give the Hounds the chance to come back and win their third straight on Thursday. Walter earned the win for Midland and now has a 2.40 ERA in 75 innings for the RockHounds this season. RHP Heath Fillmyer made the start and allowed 2 runs over 5 innings of work in his Double-A debut. First baseman Viosergy Rosa had the big hit in the 8th inning, a 2-run double to drive in the winning run. Second baseman Josh Rodriguez had a pair of hits, while catcher Beau Taylor and right fielder Tyler Marincov both singled in runs for the RockHounds. In addition to Fillmyer, RHP Lou Trivino was also reassigned to the RockHounds from Stockton, while Midland RHP Chris Jensen was sent to the Sounds on Thursday.

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

Tuesday, July 19th: Seddon’s Solid Effort & Chapman’s 4 RBIs Lead Hounds to Victory while Ports Win in a Walk-Off & Sounds Drop Twinbill

Midland RockHounds Pitcher Joel Seddon (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

Midland RockHounds RHP Joel Seddon (7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks       2

Midland RockHounds  14

WP – Seddon 4-8 / 5.27

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Joel Seddon

(7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / Win)

RHP Joel Seddon turned in his fifth straight quality start on Tuesday, allowing 2 runs, just 1 earned, over 7 innings of work to earn his 4th win for the RockHounds. And Seddon has now given up just 4 earned runs in 34 innings over his last 5 starts for Midland. A number of hitters had big nights for the Hounds. Third baseman Matt Chapman led Tuesday’s attack, collecting 4 hits, including 3 doubles, and driving in 4 runs, while shortstop Yairo Munoz had 3 hits and drove in 3, and right fielder Tyler Marincov singled, doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs for the RockHounds.

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

Monday, July 18th: Midland Falls Despite Gossett’s Solid Effort while Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s All Come Up Short

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Daniel Gossett (6 1/3 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 1 K)

A’s Prospect Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Daniel Gossett (6 1/3 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 1 K)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks     3

Midland RockHounds  2

LP – Gossett 2-4 / 3.14

Prospect Of The Game:

Pitcher Daniel Gossett

(6 1/3 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 3 BB / 1 K)

RHP Daniel Gossett allowed just 1 earned run for the second straight start but still ended up suffering his 4th loss for Midland on Monday. The 23-year-old also allowed 1 unearned run over his 6 1/3 innings of work and now has a 3.14 ERA in 9 Texas League starts. RHP Ben Bracewell gave up 1 run in 1 2/3 innings of relief for the RockHounds. Left fielder Brett Vertigan had 2 hits and drove in a run, while catcher Andy Paz had a pair of singles as well as a pair of errors, and center fielder J.P. Sportman doubled and drew a pair of walks in the loss.

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