Tag: Webster Garrison

A’s 2018 Minor League Staff

 

Nashville Sounds manager Fran Riordan

Nashville Sounds manager
Fran Riordan

NASHVILLE SOUNDS (Triple-A)

Manager: Fran Riordan

Pitching Coach: Rick Rodriguez

Hitting Coach: Eric Martins

Fran Riordan, 42, will manage at the Triple-A level for the first time after leading the Double-A Midland RockHounds to a Texas League title in 2017. It was the fourth consecutive championship for Oakland’s Double-A affiliate. The 2018 season will be Riordan’s fourth in the Athletics organization. Prior to 2017 with Midland, he managed Single-A Beloit in 2015 and 2016 after a 14-year career managing in the independent Frontier and Northern Leagues. Riordan sports a career managerial mark of 869-857 (.503) over 17 seasons dating back to 2000. He takes over the manager role vacated by Ryan Christenson who was hired as the bench coach for Oakland. Rick Rodriguez, 57, returns to Nashville for a third season as pitching coach for the Sounds. He helped lead the Sounds to the 2016 American Southern Division Championship and has helped 14 Sounds pitchers make their Major League debut over the last two years. Prior to Nashville, Rodriguez spent one season serving in the same role with Advanced-A Stockton. He was Triple-A Sacramento’s pitching coach for 12 seasons, including his most recent stint in 2013-14. Rodriguez also served as the A’s bullpen coach from 2011-12 and as the manager of Advanced-A Modesto in 2003. Eric Martins, 46, returns to Nashville for a third season as the Sounds’ hitting coach. He has helped develop hitters such as Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chad Pinder and Franklin Barreto over the last two seasons. Martins served in the same role with Double-A Midland in 2015. Prior to his one season in Midland, he was a scout for the A’s since 2007. During his time as a scout, Martins was responsible for signing A.J. Griffin, Daniel Robertson and Chapman. Athletic trainer Brad LaRosa and strength and conditioning coach Henry Torres also return to Nashville after being with the Sounds in 2017.

 

Midland RockHounds manager Scott Steinmann

Midland RockHounds manager
Scott Steinmann

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (Double-A)

Manager: Scott Steinmann

Pitching Coach: Steve Connelly

Hitting Coach: Tommy Everidge

Scott Steinmann takes over at Midland after joining the Oakland organization as manager at Single-A Beloit in 2017. Prior to joining the A’s organization, he spent 17 seasons on various coaching staffs in the Seattle Mariners farm system, including nine seasons as a manager. Steve Connelly and Tommy Everidge move from Single-A Stockton to Midland in 2017 to take over as pitching and hitting coaches respectively. Justin Whitehouse returns as athletic trainer and Omar Aguilar joins the club from Beloit as strength and conditioning coach.

 

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

Stockton Ports manager
Rick Magnante

STOCKTON PORTS (High-A)

Manager: Rick Magnante

Pitching Coach: Bryan Corey

Hitting Coach: Brian McArn

Rick Magnante returns as manager at Single-A Stockton for the fourth consecutive season and is in his 22nd season in the A’s organization. Prior to Stockton, Magnante served as the manager of Class-A Beloit in 2014 after spending eight seasons with the A’s short-season teams in Vermont (2011-2013) and Vancouver (2006-2010). Pitching coach Bryan Corey moves up from Short-Season Vermont and hitting coach Brian McArn joins the club from Midland. Shane Zdebiak returns as athletic trainer and Matt Mosiman joins the A’s organization as the Ports strength and conditioning coach.

 

Beloit Snappers manager Webster Garrison

Beloit Snappers manager
Webster Garrison

BELOIT SNAPPERS (Class-A)

Manager: Webster Garrison

Pitching Coach: Don Schulze

Hitting Coach: Juan Dilone

Webster Garrison is the new manager at Beloit after helming the A’s Arizona Rookie League club in 2017. It will be his 20th season as a coach or manager in the A’s farm system. Don Schulze moves from Midland to take over as pitching coach, Juan Dilone returns for his third consecutive season as hitting coach and Brian Thorson returns for his 35th season in the A’s organization as an athletic trainer.

 

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

Vermont Lake Monsters manager
Aaron Nieckula

VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS (Class-A Short-Season)

Manager: Aaron Nieckula

Pitching Coach: Carlos Chavez

Hitting Coach: Lloyd Turner

Aaron Nieckula returns for his fourth season as manager at Vermont and his 12th season managing in the A’s farm system. He also serves as spring training and instructional league coordinator. Carlos Chavez takes over as pitching coach after spending 2017 at Beloit, while hitting coach Lloyd Turner and athletic trainer Toshiaki Nagahara also return to Vermont.

 

AZL A's pitching coach Gabriel Ozuna

AZL A’s pitching coach
Gabriel Ozuna

ARIZONA LEAGUE A’S (Rookie Short-Season)

Manager: Eddie Menchaca

Pitching Coach: Gabriel Ozuna

Hitting Coach: Ruben Escalera

Eddie Menchaca will manage the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League after spending nine seasons in the Seattle Mariners organization. He compiled a 441-460 record in seven seasons as a manager, most recently at Single-A Bakersfield in 2016. Pitching coach Gabriel Ozuna, hitting coach Ruben Escalera, coach Gabe Ortiz and athletic trainer Chris Lessner all return in 2018. Matt Rutledge takes over as strength and conditioning coach.

 

Traveling instructor  Steve Scarsone

Traveling instructor
Steve Scarsone

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Gil Patterson

Minor League Hitting Coordinator: Jim Eppard

Minor League Defensive Coordinator: Juan Navarette

Minor League Instruction Coordinator: Ed Sprague

Minor League Traveling Instructor: Steve Scarsone

Minor League Traveling Instructor: Hiram Bocachica

Minor League Field Coordinator: Aaron Nieckula

Minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, minor league hitting coordinator Jim Eppard, minor league defensive coordinator Juan Navarette, minor league instruction coordinator Ed Sprague, minor league field coordinator Aaron Nieckula and traveling instructor Steve Scarsone all return in their same player development roles. In addition, the A’s have hired Hiram Bocachica as a traveling instructor.

(Information provided by A’s Media Relations, Sounds Media Relations and Ports Media Relations)

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

A’s 2017 Minor League Staff

 

Nashville Sounds manager Ryan Christenson

Nashville Sounds manager Ryan Christenson

NASHVILLE SOUNDS (Triple-A)

Manager: Ryan Christenson

Pitching Coach: Rick Rodriguez

Hitting Coach: Eric Martins

Ryan Christenson was named manager at Triple-A Nashville after guiding Double-A Midland to back-to-back Texas League Championships in 2015-16.  He began his managerial career in the A’s farm system in 2013 and has a 323-236 (.578) record while leading his clubs to postseason appearances in all four of his seasons.  Christenson is currently managing the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.  Rick Rodriguez (pitching coach), Eric Martins (hitting coach) and Brad LaRosa (athletic trainer) return to the Nashville staff while Henry Torres joins the club as strength and conditioning coach.

 

 

Midland RockHounds manager Fran Riordan

Midland RockHounds manager Fran Riordan

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (Double-A)

Manager: Fran Riordan

Pitching Coach: John Wasdin

Hitting Coach: Brian McArn

Fran Riordan replaces Christensen at the helm of Midland after managing at Single-A Beloit the previous two seasons.  Prior to that, he managed for 14 season in independent leagues.  John Wasdin (pitching coach), Brian McArn (hitting coach) and Justin Whitehouse (athletic trainer) return to Midland and Matt Rutledge joins the staff as strength and conditioning coach. [UPDATE: Pitching coach John Wasdin has joined the Baltimore organization as pitching coordinator, and Beloit pitching coach Don Schulze will now move up to serve as Midland’s pitching coach.]

 

 

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

STOCKTON PORTS (High-A)

Manager: Rick Magnante

Pitching Coach: Steve Connelly

Hitting Coach: Tommy Everidge

Rick Magnante returns as manager at Single-A Stockton for the third consecutive season and is in his 21st season in the A’s organization.  Steve Connelly (pitching coach), Tommy Everidge (hitting coach) and Sean Doran (strength and conditioning coach) also return to Stockton.  An athletic trainer to replace Travis Tims will be determined at a later date.

 

 

Beloit Snappers pitching coach Don Schulze

Beloit Snappers pitching coach Don Schulze

BELOIT SNAPPERS (Class-A)

Manager: Scott Steinmann

Pitching Coach: Don Schulze

Hitting Coach: Juan Dilone

Scott Steinmann joins the Oakland organization as manager of the Beloit Snappers in the Midwest League.  Steinmann had spent his entire professional baseball career, which began in 1996 as a player, in the Seattle organization.  His first coaching assignment came in 1999 at Everett of the Northwest League and he spent 17 seasons on various coaching staffs in the Mariners farm system, including nine seasons as a manager.  His most recent assignment was in 2015 at the helm of Single-A Clinton.  Don Schulze (pitching coach), Juan Dilone (hitting coach) and Brian Thorson (athletic trainer) return to Beloit and Omar Aguilar takes over as strength and conditioning coach. [UPDATE: With Midland pitching coach John Wasdin joining the Baltimore organization as pitching coordinator, Beloit pitching coach Don Schulze will now move up to serve as Midland’s pitching coach. And Carlos Chavez has been promoted from Vermont to take over as Beloit’s new pitching coach.]

 

 

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS (Class-A Short-Season)

Manager: Aaron Nieckula

Pitching Coach: Carlos Chavez

Hitting Coach: Lloyd Turner

The coaching staff at Short Season Single-A Vermont remains the same with Aaron Nieckula as manager, Carlos Chavez as pitching coach and Lloyd Turner as hitting coach.  Toshi Nagahara returns as athletic trainer and J.D. Howell will be the new strength and conditioning coach. [UPDATE: With Carlos Chavez moving up to serve as Beloit’s pitching coach, Bryan Corey will now take over as Vermont’s new pitching coach.]

 

 

Arizona League A's manager Webster Garrison

Arizona League A’s manager Webster Garrison

ARIZONA LEAGUE A’S (Rookie Short-Season)

Manager: Webster Garrison

Pitching Coach: Gabriel Ozuna

Hitting Coach: Ruben Escalera

The A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League will also have the same staff, including manager Webster Garrison, pitching coach Gabriel Ozuna, hitting coach Ruben Escalera, coach Gabe Ortiz, athletic trainer Chris Lessner and strength and conditioning coach Terence Brannic.

 

 

Traveling instructor Steve Scarsone

Traveling instructor Steve Scarsone

Minor League Instruction Coordinator: Ed Sprague

Minor League Traveling Instructor: Steve Scarsone

Minor League Hitting Coordinator: Jim Eppard

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Gil Patterson

Minor League Pitching Rehab Coordinator: Craig Lefferts

Minor League Defensive Coordinator: Juan Navarrette

Minor League Field Coordinator: Aaron Nieckula

Ed Sprague was named coordinator of instruction after serving as a consultant for the A’s player development department in 2016.  He hit .247 with 152 home runs and 558 RBI in 1203 games over 11 seasons in the majors, including part of one season with Oakland in 1998.  Following his playing career, the Stockton native was the head coach at the University of the Pacific for 12 seasons from 2004-15.  Steve Scarsone, who has spent the last eight seasons managing in the A’s farm system, was named traveling instructor.  Gil Patterson, Jim Eppard, Juan Navarrette and Craig Lefferts return in their roles as pitching coordinator, hitting coordinator, defensive coordinator and pitching rehab coordinator, respectively. Nate Brooks was named medical coordinator after 12 seasons with the A’s as a minor league athletic trainer and rehab coordinator.  Travis Tims, who begins his 10th season in the Oakland organization, replaces Brooks as rehab coordinator.  A.J. Selliger will take over as strength and conditioning coordinator in his fourth season in A’s system.  Brooks and Selliger replace Jeff Collins and Josh Cuffe, who have joined the Major League staff in Oakland.

(Information provided by A’s Media Relations)

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

A’s 2016 Minor League Staff

 

Nashville Sounds manager Steve Scarsone

Nashville Sounds manager Steve Scarsone

NASHVILLE SOUNDS (Triple-A)

Manager: Steve Scarsone

Pitching Coach: Rick Rodriguez

Hitting Coach: Eric Martins

Steve Scarsone returns to Triple-A Nashville for the second consecutive season after the Sounds finished 66-78 in 2015. This will be his fourth consecutive season as manager of the A’s Triple-A club and he now has a 634-632 record in nine seasons as a minor league manager, including stints in the A’s system with Midland from 2011-12, Stockton in 2010 and Kane County in 2009. Rick Rodriguez will be the pitching coach after holding that role with Single-A Stockton last year. This is his 32nd season in the A’s organization, which includes seven seasons as a player and two years as bullpen coach in Oakland (2011-12). Eric Martins takes over as hitting coach after making his minor league coaching debut as hitting coach at Midland in 2015. Brad LaRosa returns as the athletic trainer and AJ Seeliger was named strength and conditioning coach.

 

Midland RockHounds manager Ryan Christenson

Midland RockHounds manager Ryan Christenson

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (Double-A)

Manager: Ryan Christenson

Pitching Coach: John Wasdin

Hitting Coach: Brian McArn

Ryan Christenson returns to Double-A Midland after guiding the RockHounds to their second consecutive Texas League championship last year. He is now 245-174 in three seasons as a manager and has led his club to the playoffs all three seasons. John Wasdin returns as Christenson’s pitching coach for the fourth consecutive season and Brian McArn moves up from Stockton to take over as hitting coach. This is McArn’s 19th season as hitting coach in the A’s farm system, which includes a stop at Midland in 2004. Justin Whitehouse returns as the athletic trainer and Henry Torres will be the strength and conditioning coach.

 

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

STOCKTON PORTS (High-A)

Manager: Rick Magnante

Pitching Coach: Steve Connelly

Hitting Coach: Tommy Everidge

Rick Magnante will manage at Stockton for the second consecutive season following a 74-66 showing in 2015. He is now 531-563 in 13 seasons as a manager in the minors. Steve Connelly is in his first season as the Ports pitching coach after holding that job with Short Season Single-A Vermont in 2014 and Single-A Beloit in 2015. Tommy Everidge joins Stockton as hitting coach after serving in that capacity for Vermont in 2014 and 2015. Travis Tims returns as athletic trainer and Sean Doran takes over as strength and conditioning coach.

 

Beloit Snappers manager Fran Riordan

Beloit Snappers manager Fran Riordan

BELOIT SNAPPERS (Class-A)

Manager: Fran Riordan

Pitching Coach: Don Schulze

Hitting Coach: Juan Dilone

Fran Riordan returns to manage Beloit for the second consecutive season after the Snappers finished 55-84 in 2015. He spent the previous 14 years managing in independent leagues. Don Schulze is in his first season as pitching coach at Beloit after spending last year at Nashville. This is 11th season as pitching coach in the A’s farm system. Juan Dilone will be the hitting coach after spending the previous seven years with the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League. Brian Thorson returns as athletic trainer and Matt Rutledge will serve as strength and conditioning coach.

 

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS (Class-A Short-Season)

Manager: Aaron Nieckula

Pitching Coach: Carlos Chavez

Hitting Coach: Lloyd Turner

In addition to his duties as the A’s minor league field coordinator, Aaron Nieckula will manage the A’s Short Season club at Vermont for the second consecutive season. It is his 11th year as a manager in the A’s farm system and he has a 649-679 record over the previous 10 seasons. Carlos Chavez returns as pitching coach for the second consecutive year and Lloyd Turner takes over as hitting coach after spending the previous two seasons at Beloit. Toshi Nagahara returns as the athletic trainer and Omar Aguilar is the strength and conditioning coach.

 

Arizona League A's manager Webster Garrison

Arizona League A’s manager Webster Garrison

ARIZONA LEAGUE A’S (Rookie Short-Season)

Manager: Webster Garrison

Pitching Coach: TBA

Hitting Coach: Ruben Escalera

Webster Garrison will be the manager of the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League, his ninth season as manager. He last managed at Stockton in 2013 and has a 534-522 record over his previous eight seasons. This is his 24th season in the A’s organization, which includes 17 years as a minor league manager or coach and seven years as a player. Ruben Escalera will be the hitting coach after managing the club the previous two seasons and Gabe Ortiz will be a coach. Chris Lessner returns as the athletic trainer and Terence Brannic is the strength and conditioning coach.

 

Minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson

Minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson

Minor League Field Coordinator: Aaron Nieckula

Minor League Hitting Coordinator: Jim Eppard

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Gil Patterson

Minor League Rehab Pitching Coordinator: Craig Lefferts

Minor League Defensive Coordinator: Juan Navarrette

Gil Patterson returns to the A’s organization as minor league pitching coordinator after spending the previous three years in the Yankees organization in a similar role. Patterson was the A’s minor league roving pitching instructor in 1996 and from 2008-12 and also coached in the A’s farm system from 1991-95. Jim Eppard was named minor league hitting coordinator after spending 13 seasons in the Angels organization. He spent the last two years as assistant hitting coordinator after a two-year stint as the Angels major league hitting coach. Juan Navarrete is in his 22nd season with the A’s and will be the minor league defensive coordinator and Craig Lefferts and Aaron Nieckula return for their second consecutive season as minor league rehab pitching coordinator and minor league field coordinator, respectively.

 

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

A’s 2015 Minor League Staff

 

Nashville Sounds manager Steve Scarsone

Nashville Sounds manager Steve Scarsone

NASHVILLE SOUNDS (Triple-A)

Manager Steve Scarsone

Pitching Coach Don Schulze

Hitting Coach Webster Garrison

Steve Scarsone was named manager of the A’s new Triple-A affiliate at Nashville.  This will be his third consecutive season as manager of the A’s Triple-A club as he guided Sacramento to a 79-65 record in each of the previous two seasons.  Scarsone now has a 568-554 record in eight seasons as a minor league manager, including stints in the A’s system with Midland from 2011-12, Stockton in 2010 and Kane County in 2009.  Don Schulze and Webster Garrison earn their first Triple-A assignments in 2015 as pitching coach and hitting coach, respectively.  This will be Schulze’s 10th year as a pitching coach in the A’s system, including the last four at Double-A Midland, and Garrison’s 15th as a coach or manager.  Brad LaRosa returns as the athletic trainer and Terence Brannic was named strength coach.

 

Midland RockHounds manager Ryan Christenson

Midland RockHounds manager Ryan Christenson

MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (Double-A)

Manager Ryan Christenson

Pitching Coach John Wasdin

Hitting Coach Eric Martins

Ryan Christenson takes over as manager at Midland after leading Stockton to an 85-55 record and a playoff appearance in 2014.  He made his managerial debut in 2013 at Single-A Beloit after spending six seasons as a player in the Major Leagues, including four with the A’s from 1998-2001.  John Wasdin will be the pitching coach on Christenson’s staff for the third consecutive season and Eric Martins was named hitting coach.  Martins served as a scout for the A’s for the past seven seasons.  Justin Whitehouse returns as the athletic trainer and A.J. Seeliger is the new strength coach.

 

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

Stockton Ports manager Rick Magnante

STOCKTON PORTS (High-A)

Manager Rick Magnante

Pitching Coach Rick Rodriguez

Hitting Coach Brian McArn

Rick Magnante assumes the managerial reins at Stockton, his 13th season as a minor league manager.  He has a 457-497 record in his previous 12 seasons, including 55-84 last season with Beloit.  Rick Rodriguez will be the pitching coach after two seasons in that capacity at Sacramento.  Rodriguez is in his 31st season in the A’s organization, which includes seven seasons as a player and two years as bullpen coach in Oakland (2011-12). Brian McArn returns as hitting coach, his 18th in that role with the A’s and his fourth at Stockton (2011-12, 14).  Travis Tims returns as athletic trainer and Henry Torres takes over as strength coach.

 

Beloit Snappers manager Fran Riordan

Beloit Snappers manager Fran Riordan

BELOIT SNAPPERS (Class-A)

Manager Fran Riordan

Pitching Coach Steve Connelly

Hitting Coach Lloyd Turner

Fran Riordan joins the A’s organization as manager at Beloit after spending 14 years managing in independent leagues.  Riordan spent the last four seasons at the helm of Florence in the Frontier League, guiding the Freedom to a 190-194 record over that stretch.  Steve Connelly, who had his first professional coaching assignment as pitching coach at Vermont last year, takes over those duties at Beloit in 2015.  Lloyd Turner returns for his second consecutive season as hitting coach with the Snappers and Brian Thorson returns as athletic trainer.  JD Howell will serve as strength coach.

 

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

Vermont Lake Monsters manager Aaron Nieckula

VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS (Class-A Short-Season)

Manager Aaron Nieckula

Pitching Coach Carlos Chavez

Hitting Coach Tommy Everidge

In addition to his duties as minor league field coordinator, Aaron Nieckula will manage the A’s short-season club at Vermont, his ninth year as a manager in the A’s farm system.  He has spent the last two seasons at Midland and guided the RockHounds to a 77-63 record and the Texas League Championship in 2014.  Carlos Chavez will be the pitching coach after two seasons with the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League.  Tommy Everidge returns for his second consecutive season as Vermont’s hitting coach and Toshi Nagahara returns as the athletic trainer.

 

Arizona League A's pitching coach Ariel Prieto

Arizona League A’s pitching coach Ariel Prieto

ARIZONA LEAGUE A’S (Rookie Short-Season)

Manager Ruben Escalera

Pitching Coach Ariel Prieto

Hitting Coach Juan Dilone

Ruben Escalera will manage the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League for the second consecutive season and ninth season overall.  He previously managed from 2002-08 and spent the five years in between in various roles as an instructor in the A’s system.  Ariel Prieto was named pitching coach after serving as a coach on the Major League staff the previous three seasons.  He previously served as pitching coach with the A’s rookie club from 2009-11 and will also serve as a liaison between the A’s Dominican Republic and United States based operations.  Juan Dilone returns for his seventh season as hitting coach and Gabriel Ortiz is in his second season as coach.  Chris Lessner returns as the athletic trainer.

 

Minor league hitting coordinator Greg Sparks

Minor league hitting coordinator Greg Sparks

Minor League Field Coordinator: Aaron Nieckula

Minor League Hitting Coordinator: Greg Sparks

Minor League Pitching Coordinator: Garvin Alston

Minor League Rehab Pitching Coordinator: Craig Lefferts

Minor League Defensive Coordinator: Juan Navarrette

Aaron Nieckula was named minor league field coordinator and will oversee minor league spring training, extended spring training and instructional league.  Greg Sparks will take over as minor league hitting coordinator after spending three seasons as hitting coach at Triple-A Sacramento.  Sparks is in his 18th season in the A’s organization, which includes eight years as minor league roving hitting instructor from 2004-11.  Garvin Alston was named minor league pitching coordinator after spending the previous six seasons as minor league pitching rehab coordinator.  Craig Lefferts, who spent the previous 12 seasons as a pitching coach in the A’s farm system, replaces Alston as minor league rehab pitching coordinator.  Juan Navarrette is in his 21st season with the A’s and will be the minor league defensive, base running and bunting coordinator.  

 

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

Catching Up With: The Stockton Ports

spDSC02021BThere’s no question that two of the A’s top hitting prospects can currently be found in the clubhouse of the California League Stockton Ports. The A’s 8th overall draft pick in last year’s draft, first baseman Max Muncy, currently leads all A’s minor leaguers in home runs and RBIs. And the A’s top pick last year, 19-year-old Addison Russell, is second on his team in runs, walks, doubles, total bases and stolen bases and currently leads the team in triples. We took the opportunity to talk with both of them while in Stockton last week, along with their manager, Webster Garrison, to get some perspective on how things have been shaping up for some of the A’s top prospects this season in Stockton…


ADDISON RUSSELL

arDSC02744dFrom day one, the A’s have been aggressive in promoting their top draft pick from last year, shortstop Addison Russell. And this year, the team chose to start him at Stockton in the High-A California League, where he had the distinction of being the youngest player in the league. The 19-year-old struggled early on, but he’s turned things around and has really been coming on strong of late…

AF:  At 19, you’re the youngest player in the California League this year. So does anybody give you a hard time about being so young?

AR:  Not really, I’m usually just treated as another guy here.

AF:  You started the season out kind of slow, but the last month or so, you really seem to be putting it together. So what accounted for the early struggles, and what’s accounted for the turnaround?

AR:  I think I’m just more relaxed now. I’m seeing more pitches. I’m seeing more time on the field. I’m just more relaxed, and I think I perform at my best whenever I feel that way.

AF:  Was there a lot for you to get used to when you first came to the California League?

AR:  Yeah, me being a young guy, I kind of had to soak everything in. And there was just a lot of stuff that I wasn’t used to, so I had to make a few adjustments, and I did.

AF:  Besides just getting more relaxed and more comfortable at the plate, what were some of the adjustments you had to make?

AR:  It’s really just recognizing the pitch. Before this league, I never really saw a cutter or a two-seam [fastball], and I’m seeing those pitches really well now. That was just a little adjustment that I had to make.

AF:  What about in the field, are there any differences for you at this level?

AR:  Yeah, it’s a little bit of a faster-paced level. The guys that hit are a little bit quicker to first base and second base, and I have to get rid of the ball a little bit faster, so I had to make that adjustment. But overall, I’m just working on my whole game.

AF:  Do you feel you have to try to come in on the ball a little faster now?

AR:  I still try to stay in that relaxed state, but just get the ball out a little bit quicker.

AF:  You got to spend a little time in the big league camp this spring. So what did you take away from that experience?

arfPCk2bFI5AR:  I really just tried to get to know the guys and see how they practice, their approaches, their work ethic, just what they do everyday to get prepared for the game. And I try to really put that into my routine and my preparation for the game.

AF:  Well, I guess you got a good sense of how the major leaguers do it anyway. So was everybody cool to you there?

AR:  Yeah, they were all nice and friendly. They came up and talked to me for a little bit and introduced themselves and I introduced myself to them. It was just a good experience.

AF:  So have you kept in touch with your boys in Beloit – Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson?

AR:  Yeah, we text and we snapchat and all that stuff every now and then. It’s always good to hear they’re doing good, and it’s always good to hear from them.

AF:  Well, you’re from Florida, so how is it for you living out here in California?

AR:  It’s a little different than back home. There’s a lot of one-way streets – I’m not used to that.

AF:  Have you turned the wrong way yet?

AR:  A few times. But other than that, it’s not too bad. We’re staying in a good part of town. There’s some good people there. I’m familiarizing myself with the area, and it’s a nice place.

AF:  Do you share a place with some of your teammates?

AR:  Yeah, I’m with a few teammates in an apartment – Dusty Robinson, Tanner Peters and Rashun Dixon.

AF:  Has your family been out to visit you and see you play at all?

AR:  My dad came out here at the beginning of last month and it was just awesome that he kind of got to experience what I’ve been living for the past few months. He enjoyed being out here and seeing his son play. And I’m hoping the other side of my family – my mom, my sisters and my brother – can come out here. I think they would enjoy it.

AF: Well you know, Sacramento’s right up the road – the Triple-A affiliate. Have you had a chance to get up there yet?

AR:  Yeah, I’ve been up there to play a pre-season game with the Ports. And it was a pretty nice spot – it was really, really nice.

AF:  Well, you never know, it might be home before long!

 

MAX MUNCY

mm165457_10151385210931662_1498946120_n4Besides Addison Russell, the only other member of last year’s draft class for the A’s to start the season as high as Stockton this year is first baseman Max Muncy. The 22-year-old came roaring out of the gate this season and currently leads all A’s minor leaguers with 20 home runs, which is a bit of a pleasant surprise, since he totaled just 4 last year…

AF:  Obviously, you’ve been having a good year here in Stockton. So what’s been the key to your success this season?

MM:  I feel like I’ve been swinging the same way I’ve swung my whole life. The only difference is there’s been a few more home runs…

AF:  Just a few?

MM:  (Laughs) Just a few…Yeah, I’ve never put up home run numbers like this. A lot of people say it’s because of the ballpark, it’s because of the league we’re in – maybe a couple of them, but for the most part, I think the big difference is I spent a lot of the off-season working on back-spinning balls. If anyone saw me play last year, they’d notice I had a ton of doubles, but all of them were top-spin balls right down the line. Even the ones I was hitting in the gaps weren’t back-spun, they were spinning sideways, top-spin – they didn’t have back-spin, so they weren’t carrying as much. To me, that’s the big difference. If you hit line drives with back-spin, they tend to carry a little bit more than everything else, so I feel like that’s been the big difference when it comes to my home run numbers.

AF:  So you started working on that at home this off-season?

MM:  Well, I’ve always had a big problem with top-spin. A lot of lefties have that problem. There’s not many lefties that back-spin all the time. So that’s something I’ve been working on for a while. And this off-season, I really tried to focus on that. I just worked on getting a more downward plane to the ball, staying inside of it a little bit and not coming out early on my swing. And I feel like that’s been a huge difference for me.

AF:  I know I was talking with some coaches in spring training who were talking about developing your power potential more. So I don’t know if people have always thought that you had greater power potential than you’ve shown in the past.

MM:  Yeah, that’s what a lot of people have thought. You know, I’ve never put up huge home run numbers. In college, I always had a couple, but I wasn’t hitting 15-16 home runs in college like some guys were. So I think they saw it, and I knew I had it. But I’ve been a line drive hitter my whole life, and I still feel like I’m a little bit of a line drive hitter. The only difference is I’m hitting line drives with back-spin that are going a little bit more up in the air because they’ve got that back-spin and they carry.

AF:  What’s the most home runs you’ve ever had in a season before?

MM:  Probably back in high school. I don’t know what my numbers were in high school. But as far as I can remember, I had 11-12 as a freshman in college.

AF:  So when the season started out and everything started going so well for you right off the bat, you must have been thinking, “Gee, this is working out even better than I planned!”

mmmuncy480_60w34d44_lft31oaw2MM:  It was a pretty unreal experience for me. I was getting very good contact on a lot of the balls I was hitting. I was putting them in the air, and I wasn’t popping them up – I was hitting them really well. It’s hard to explain, because I’ve never had a start like that before. I’ve never just hit home run after home run, and to do that was pretty amazing. I had friends calling me from school back home saying, “Hey, mix in an infield single every now and then – those are pretty cool too.” It was a lot of fun, and I think I let that get to my head a little bit…

AF:  I was going to ask you about that little dip you had in May…

MM:  I really think I let it get to my head a little bit. I saw the home runs and I was thinking, “Hey, maybe I can hit more if I start lifting more.” And I was hitting a lot of pop-ups, I wasn’t getting very good contact. I think my strikeout numbers went up. And that’s something I hate doing too – I hate striking out. In the game yesterday, I had a home run but I struck out twice, and I think I was more upset about the strikeouts than I was happy about the home run. That’s another thing I’ve always taken a lot of pride in is walking more than I’ve struck out.

AF:  Well, that’ll serve you well in this organization! So you think you started getting a little too homer-happy after the hot start and got a little out of your game?

MM:  Yeah, I definitely think I got out of my game. I was trying to lift the ball too much. We went to a couple places like Lancaster, where the wind was just howling out to right field, and I saw that and automatically I’m thinking, “Oh, I’m getting a couple of home runs.” It got to my head, and I wasn’t hitting very many balls. So I had to come back down to earth a little bit and realize that’s not going to happen all the time. I’ve just got to go back to hitting my line drives, and that’s when the home runs started coming again.

AF:  Well, stick with what works! Now I remember hearing good things about your defense going back to when you were first drafted. So is there anything different about playing in the field at this level?

MM:  I’ve always taken pride in my defense at first base. I’ve always felt like I’m a little bit of an above average defender at first base because I was never a first baseman. When I went to college, I was recruited there as a second baseman/third baseman. So I’ve always had decent feet and good hands, and I feel like taking that to first base is a huge advantage for me. I know I can get around balls and what I need to do. I can get reads on short hops. That’s just something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in. I’ve always loved being a good defender. To me, it’s a good feeling when I’m able to make the other infielders feel comfortable throwing the ball across the field to me. I’ve been there before. Like I said, I wasn’t always a first baseman. I’ve had first baseman before where you weren’t sure if they were going to catch it or they were going to miss it. So I take a lot of pride in that.

AF:  I never realized you’d played second and third before. So you’ve really got much more of that infielder’s mentality.

MM:  Yeah, I’d never played first base until I got to college. And the only reason they put me there is that’s where the open spot was on the team, and they just wanted my bat in the lineup. I got there my first year, and I just ended up staying there until now. And as far as I know, the A’s have told me that’s where I’m staying. I’m always going to mess around at those other positions just in case – I think that’d be a fun opportunity.

AF:  Well, I guess the way the season’s started for you has given you a lot of confidence anyway, which always helps, right?

MM: Yeah, it definitely helps. It’s been a really fun year so far, and I’m really looking forward to the second half. Hopefully I can stay a little bit more consistent, and not have a month that kind of drops off a little bit.

AF:  Well, no matter what, as long as you keep taking those walks and getting on base, you’ll get through it!

MM:  Yeah.

 

WEBSTER GARRISON

wgWebby_480_c883nwvr_ieksll7d3The Ports are managed by Webster Garrison. The affable former infielder is in his third season as Stockton’s skipper and has plenty to say about the team’s top prospects…

AF:  I wanted to start out by asking you about shortstop Addison Russell. He started out a little shaky this year. But what have you seen from him in the three months that he’s been here so far?

WG:  The kid’s a hard worker. But he’s not putting as much pressure on himself as he was earlier in the season. There were a lot of expectations on him, and he was just trying so hard to get it done, then he started getting a little frustrated as well. Now he’s got it going a little bit. We moved him in the lineup from first to second just to take a little pressure off him where he’s not the first guy up every night. And he’s just settling in and having fun. He’s a good guy – the guys enjoy his company out here. And he’s just started to get comfortable out there and play extremely well as of late.

AF:  So you think it’s just been a matter of him relaxing and getting comfortable with things?

WG:  Yeah, taking the pressure off himself and just relaxing and playing baseball.

AF:  What specific adjustments has he had to make?

WG:  Well, hitting-wise, which is what he was struggling with the most, he has to be able to use the whole field. Instead of just trying to crank every ball out of the ballpark, now he’s starting to use the whole field. He’s waiting back better. He’s not as jumpy. He’s not as anxious. He’s just relaxing and letting the ball come to him and hitting it where it’s pitched compared to trying to go get it. And he’s getting to know these pitchers a lot better. Basically, he didn’t know any of these pitchers. Now that we’ve been through a couple of teams a few times, he knows what they’ve got and he knows how they’re trying to attack him and he’s made a good adjustment and he’s having fun.

AF:  So do you think he’s a fast learner?

WG:  Yeah, he’s definitely a fast learner for a 19-year-old kid. Most 19-year-old kids would probably still be in struggle mode right now. But he’s turning a corner and it’s good to see, and he’s a mature kid for his age.

AF:  Well, having a fast learning curve sure makes your life a lot easier!

WG: It makes my life a lot easier, and I definitely feel a lot better right now!

AF:  Now what about defense, how’s his learning curve been in the field?

WG:  He’s got all the actions. He’s got the arm. He’s preparing himself. He’s coming in, getting the notes, getting to know the hitters. He’s positioning himself well. I don’t have to watch him as much as I used to because I know he’s got a good idea what he’s doing out there. He’s got good hands and a strong arm and has definitely got the actions. He’s got a lot of range out there.

AF:  Another guy who’s been a standout this year is first baseman Max Muncy, who came in and hit from day one with surprising power. So I’m curious to get your take on what he’s been doing here this year.

wg600404_10150928221176662_549587495_n3WG:  Yeah, since day one, he’s been swinging a real good bat, and it all started in spring training. He came into spring training swinging a good bat, so he’s just kept it going all season. He’s got a real good idea of hitting. The kid knows what he wants to do. And when he’s getting his pitch, he’s not missing it much. He was the only lefty in our lineup in the first half, so on certain occasions they really wouldn’t pitch to him, and he made the adjustment and takes his walks if he has to. And if they challenge him, he’s ready. He’s using the whole park as well, but his strong side’s his pull side. So when he gets that pitch in, he’s ready for it. And he’s laying off away until he gets two strikes, and he can definitely go that way as well. He’s a good-looking young hitter.

AF:  What would you say is his single greatest strength as a hitter?

WG:  I would say his swing – where he hits the ball. He goes through the ball and bottom-halfs it. He knows he’s not one of the best runners, so he’s trying to stay off the ground and he’s working hard on creating that back-spin where he’s in the air mostly. And it’s paid big dividends for him compared to pounding balls on the ground. He’s got that back-spin bottom-half where that ball’s getting up in the air, and it’s a good idea to be hitting like that here and in the California League period.

AF:  I wanted to ask you about a couple of pitchers. Raul Alcantara recently joined your club. So what do you think of what you’ve seen from him so far?

WG:  I saw him in spring training as well. Yesterday he was good. He went after hitters. He attacked hitters with all his pitches and got some easy outs and did a good job overall. He only had one walk, and that was late in his outing, which is a big key. If you’re throwing strikes, you’re definitely going to have some success.

AF:  What about another guy who was here but was recently promoted to Midland, Drew Granier. What did you see from him?

WG:  This kid’s a fierce competitor. He expects the best when he goes out there. And he’s got the pitches. He’s working on his changeup still, but his fastball’s moving, his breaking ball’s moving, and he’s got a great idea of pitching. He’s a little older kid than Alcantara – he’s a college kid – but he’s got a real good idea of pitching, and he’s aggressive – he goes after guys.

AF:  One last question that you may or may not have an answer to. There’s a guy who was blowing everybody’s mind here last year – Miles Head. I’m sure you remember him. Even though I know you haven’t seen him this year in the Texas League, do you have any idea what might be the problem with him this season?

WG:  He’s got a lot of injuries this year. It’s a slow start for him. He’s been on the DL twice this year. I heard he’s hit some balls well, just right at guys. I know Miles is going to turn it on sooner or later. It’s just a tough deal because I know he’s kind of injured and is off to a slow start. But as soon as he gets it together, I know the kid’s going to hit. It’s a beautiful thing watching him hit!

AF:  I’m sure you enjoyed it!

*     *     *

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Catching Up With: The Stockton Ports

 

Banner Island Ballpark – Home of the Stockton Ports

When the season began, top pitching prospects like A.J. Cole, Ian Krol and Blake Hassebrock were expected to make the Class-A Stockton Ports’ starting staff the real highlight of the team. But Hassebrock ended up spending much of the first half on the disabled list, Krol has struggled for most of the season, and Cole got off to such a rough start that he was eventually sent down to Burlington.

The focal point of the team turned out to be young third baseman Miles Head who quickly proved himself to be the best hitting prospect in the organization, but almost as quickly found himself promoted to Midland. With Head now gone, the Ports’ offensive load has been turned over to young hitters like catcher Max Stassi, third baseman B.A. Vollmuth, first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones, shortstop Yorda Cabrera, and outfielders Dusty Robinson and Josh Whitaker. And when we visited Stockton about a week before the All-Star break, we took the opportunity to talk with manager Webster Garrison about some of his hitting prospects.

We also had the chance to talk to the player who now appears to be the Ports’ top pitching prospect, right-hander Sean Murphy. The 23-year-old got off to a red-hot start at Burlington, posting a 1.97 ERA in 8 starts, and he’s continued to look impressive at Stockton. Murphy has the third most strikeouts of all starting pitchers currently in the A’s minor league system with 105 in 110 1/3 innings, and hitters are batting only .222 against him on the season. He’s had a couple of rough starts recently, but Murphy has clearly put himself on the map with his strong performance this season.

So be sure to check out our chat with Ports’ pitcher Sean Murphy followed by our conversation with Stockton manager Webster Garrison and get the inside scoop on the 2012 Stockton Ports…

 

Stockton Ports

Pitcher

SEAN MURPHY

AF:  You’ve been having a great year at Burlington and here at Stockton. Last season, guys were hitting over .300 against you, and most of this year, guys have been hitting around .200 against you. So what’s changed?

SM:  I would say just actually getting ahead of batters, and just staying consistent and trusting my off-speed stuff – throwing it for strikes when I need to throw it for strikes, and then going out of the zone when I need to go out of the zone. That’s the biggest key from last year to this year – just throwing every pitch with a purpose.

AF:  What made that change happen? Did somebody tell you something, did a light suddenly go off, or did it just creep up on you?

SM:  I would say (Burlington pitching coach) John Wasdin helped me out a lot with the mental side of the game – really just focusing in on throwing every pitch with a purpose, not just throwing pitches to throw them – having a your mind set on what you’re going to do with this pitch and what you want the hitter to do with it, rather than just go out there and see the sign for the curveball and just throw it – he wants it away and you throw it away, rather than splitting the plate. So I think that’s the biggest difference – just being committed and having a purpose.

AF:  You got off to a great start this year at Burlington, and then you came up here to the California League, which is considered much more of a hitters’ league. So have you had to do anything different here or had to make any adjustments?

SM:  Because the wind blows out in most places here, the biggest key is keeping the ball down in the zone. If you keep the ball down and really get ahead of batters, you can start playing with them and get them out.

AF:  You’ve been second or third behind Dan Straily in the entire A’s system in strikeouts for most of the year. So what’s been your big out pitch?

SM:  Against lefties, I’d have to say the changeup – just the deception of the changeup. Really getting ahead with the fastball, locating it, which sets up the changeup, and working the changeup off the same plane against lefties. Against righties, everything – it’s all come together for me – but I’d have to say my slider late in the count. Just going off the plate and staying down with it gets a lot of swings and misses. And then freezing people going in with the curveball – that’s a big key.

AF:  Tell me a little more about your repertoire.

SM:  My fastball – I like to get ahead with my fastball. I could get ahead with off-speed too – its just throwing it for strikes is what’s key. My #2 would be my changeup – that’s my go-to pitch. If I’m facing the cleanup hitter with runners in scoring position and a 3-2 count, I’m going to go with my changeup most of the time. And then my curveball has been a big key for me this year – actually throwing it in the zone. Then my slider late in the count. I would have to rank my pitches fastball, changeup, slider, then curve.

AF:  Well congratulations – whatever, you’re doing, it all seems to be coming together for you this year!

SM:  Yes, sir!

 

Stockton Ports

Manager

WEBSTER GARRISON

AF:  I know you played in the A’s minor league system back in the ‘90s. I remember you playing in Double-A, but they weren’t in Midland at that point, they were somewhere else, right?

WG:  When I was playing, they were in Huntsville.

AF:  Right, in the Southern League. And then you were at Tacoma in the PCL too, right?

WG:  Yep, Tacoma.

AF:  I guess you’ve seen all the stops.

WG:  A lot of them!

AF:  Well, I wanted to get your impressions of some guys on the team here in Stockton. Let’s start off with outfielder Dusty Robinson, who came up here from Burlington about a month and a half into the season. He’s obviously a big power hitter, and he’s from right here in the Central Valley. So what’s your impression been of him so far?

WG:  He works hard. Like you said, he’s got the big swing. He’s definitely a home run hitter. We’re just working on him staying on the ball, trying to use the whole field. He’s a good defensive player. He’s got a good arm and he runs well. He’s a good-looking young prospect coming up. He just has to work on that pitch away. Coming inside, he’s ready for that all the time. And he’s definitely a power hitter.

AF:  So the main thing he’s got to work on at this point is that away pitch?

WG:  Yeah, and he’s working on it. He’s not the only one – there’s a lot of guys in the minor leagues who have to work on that pitch. But that’s definitely one of the pitches he’s got to work on staying on, because he’s a big power guy. He likes to get it going, and once he gets it going, that bat’s coming through the zone and he’s looking to go to left field. And so he’s working on staying to right-center in batting practice.

AF:  You said he’s looking good in the outfield. So does he have skills in the outfield? He’s not just a power-hitting DH type?

WG:  Oh, he’s definitely not just a DH type. He can definitely play the outfield. He runs balls down. He throws well. He’s diving and hustling, and he runs well. So he’s not just a DH by a long shot. He can play the outfield.

AF:  He’s got about 10 stolen bases so far this year, so it does seem like he’s got a little speed.

WG:  Yeah, he’s got some speed. He can steal a base. He runs well. He’s a well put-together guy. He’s not a big tall large guy, but he’s well put-together for his size, and he does a little bit of everything. He can hit the ball out of the park, he runs well, he throws well, and he’s a good defensive outfielder.

AF:  Right-hander Sean Murphy started out the year in Burlington too and looked really good there. He came up here in May. So how’s he looking to your eyes?

WG:  He’s looking real good! He’s a competitor. He goes out there when he pitches and he locates well and he changes speeds well, and he’s competing. He’s out there and he’s got a game plan. He knows what he wants to do with the ball, and he puts it in spots and lets the defense play for him. He makes big pitches when he gets guys on, and he gives us a great opportunity to win when he’s out there. I like what I see out of that kid.

AF:  He told me that he’s been throwing with a lot of confidence and a lot of purpose. Is that what you see?

WG:  Exactly, that’s definitely what I see. He’s focused, he’s prepared, and he goes out there and he executes his pitches and it’s working well for him right now.

AF:  Another guy who just came up from Burlingtonis third baseman B.A. Vollmuth. What do you think about what you’ve seen of him thus far?

WG:  I saw a lot of him in spring training. He’s a good young player as well. He’s a good defensive guy for third base – good arm. He’s going to hit as well. He had abig springtraining for us. So were looking for some good things out of him. He’s more of a contact guy. He can use the whole field, and he can drive the ball out of the ballpark. So we’re looking for him to step in there and play well. I think he was playing pretty good in Burlington from the reports I was getting – no big numbers, but putting the ball in play hard a lot. So that’s what I’m looking forward to from him while he’s here.

AF:  He came up here when you lost your other third baseman Miles Head, who I’m sure you were happy to pencil into the lineup every night. He’s obviously up at Midland now, but tell me about your impressions of him when he was here.

WG:  He’s just one of those ballplayers who’s amazing. That’s all you can say is “amazing.” His approach to hitting is amazing. He puts the ball in play. He puts it in play hard. He hits the ball to all fields. There’s no certain way to pitch him. He hit just about every pitch and he hit it hard. He used the whole field. He plays hard, works hard. He’s a good kid all the way around. I was just happy to have him here as a ballplayer. I knew he wouldn’t be here long. But to lead the league in hitting and have 18 home runs and almost 60 RBIs for half a season, that’s just outstanding – very impressive.

AF:  And he just turned 21 while was here too, right?

WG:  He just turned 21. He’s an impressive-looking young hitter. I don’t know exactly how he’s doing in Midland right now, but he’s definitely going to be making waves later on in this game.

AF:  Obviously he’s got a lot of skills, but is there any one thing that’s been central to his success?

WG:  I think his best tool to hitting is he’s just up there hitting. He’s not up there thinking I’ve got to go the other way or I’ve got to stay inside the ball – where my arm is, where my foot is, where my head is. He’s just going up there ready to hit.

AF:  So he’s keeping it simple.

WG:  Yeah, he’s keeping it plain and simple. That’s his approach and it works well for him. He goes up there swinging. He’s not up there looking to walk – but if you walk him, he’ll take it. But he’s looking to do damage while he’s up there. He’s not just up there swinging, he’s looking to do damage.

AF:  Is there any weakness in his game? Is there anything he really needs to work on as he moves up the ladder?

WG:  He could work on his defense a little bit more – just getting jumps. He was basically a first baseman and we moved him over to third base this year. So he’s working hard at it. He’s going to get better, but he’s better than what we thought he was going to be. He’s a ballplayer – he can catch the ball, he can throw the ball. He was already an infielder, so he can definitely catch the ball. He’s just got to work on getting jumps and angles and reads and when to throw it and when not to throw it – just third baseman stuff he hasn’t done in a long time.

AF:  So you think he’s got the essentials that he could make it work at third with time?

WG:  Oh yeah, definitely. He’s only 21 years old. He just turned 21. Once he gets a couple of years under his belt at third base, he’ll definitely be okay.

AF:  How would you compare him to a guy who was a staple here for you at Stockton last year, Michael Choice? Is there any way you could compare the two?

WG:  I’d say Mike’s just a raw power guy. He’s going to hit it farther than Miles Head. He’s just one of those strong guys. When he gets a hold of it, it’s gone and it’s gone by a lot. Miles Head is just a little more of a consistent hitter using the whole field – the ball’s in play more and he’s just getting more hits. Mike’s got the big swing where he’s hitting home runs and extra base hits. He had an outstanding second half last year and made some great adjustments. But with Miles Head, the ball’s just in play more and it’s in play a lot more hard. He can just hit the ball out of the park anywhere, and there’s just a little more consistent hard contact.

AF:  Catcher Max Stassi was hurt for a while, but he’s been back playing a little more regularly for a while now and showing a little pop. What’s your take on him?

WG:  Like you said, he’s been back in the lineup. He got injured earlier in the year, and now he’s getting real comfortable again. He’s started catching a lot. And his bat’s always been a plus in my eyes, because he definitely can hit the ball, and he can drive it out of all parts of the park as well. And now he’s starting to see a lot of pitches and he’s getting more and more comfortable. He’s a staple right in the middle of our lineup right now and we’re going to continue to look for big things out of him.

AF:  Another guy people have been looking for big things from is shortstop Yordy Cabrera, but he’s been struggling a bit at the plate here. What’s your take on him?

WG:  Young, raw talent – and it shows at times. He’s a young raw kid, but he’s got a lot of potential. He’s got moves in the field – good hands, strong arm. He’s definitely got some pop in his bat. He’s just got to get a little more consistent in his approach and putting the ball in play where he can have some better results.  He’s a young kid who’s up there swinging, trying hard – so hard at times that it doesn’t work out for him. But he works so hard. If he just settles down and just tries to do the little things well, I think he’ll be okay.

AF:  Well, I guess trying too hard is better than not trying hard enough anyway.

WG:  True.

AF:  Well, thanks a lot, Webster.

 

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