Three pitchers combined to throw a 5-hit shutout for the Snappers on Saturday. Starter Brendan Butler, who threw 4 1/3 no-hit innings in his last appearance, allowed just 2 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 4 shutout frames on Saturday. LHP Will Gilbert then pitched a perfect 5th to pick up the win, while Butler’s tandem-pitching partner, LHP Ty Damron, tossed 4 scoreless innings in relief to earn the save for the Snappers. Third baseman Edwin Diaz had 3 hits, including a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 3rd to put Beloit on the board, and ended up driving in a total of 3 runs on the day. Second baseman Nate Mondou singled, doubled and also drove in 3, while center fielder JaVon Shelby singled, scored twice and slugged a 3-run homer in the 6th, and first baseman Miguel Mercedes smacked a 2-run shot later in the same inning to wrap up the Snappers 12-run outburst on Saturday.
by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
The Beloit Snappers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals’ Midwest League affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, for a 3-game home series at Pohlman Field in Beloit this week.
The Chiefs had a couple of the Cardinals’ 1st-round picks playing in the series, including 18-year-old outfielder Dylan Carlson (#16 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline).
Peoria took Game #1 from Beloit by a score of 7-3 on Thursday, while the Snappers mounted a great comeback in Game #2 (in what shall now be known as “the Collin Theroux game”) to win by a score of 5-4 on Friday, and Game #3, which turned out to be a 12-0 shutout win, was completely dominated by the Snappers on Saturday.
Game #1: Peoria 7 – Beloit 3
*Snappers tandem starters Matt Milburn and Brandon Bailey were not at their most effective on Thursday. Between the two, they walked 5 and gave up all 7 Chiefs runs in 5 ⅓ innings of work.
*The Snappers were very aggressive at the plate against Chiefs starter Ronnie Williams (#25 Cardinals prospect on MLB Pipeline), resulting in a lot of quick outs through the first 6 innings. In fact, Williams threw just 61 pitches through 6 innings of work.
*Half the Snappers 10 hits in the game came during their 3-run 7th inning.
*Snappers infielder Edwin Diaz led off the 7th inning with a booming home run to left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season and Beloit’s only extra-base hit of the game.
Game #2: Beloit 5 – Peoria 4
*Coming into Friday’s game, Beloit catcher Collin Theroux was 5 for 65 in his professional baseball career, including an 0-for-33 mark as a Snapper. Theroux proceeded to go 3 for 3 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs and also made a terrific sliding catch in foul territory.
*Theroux’s first home run of the game, and of his pro career, was hit over the Pohlman Field scoreboard in left-center field and the estimated distance was over 430 feet!
*Theroux’s second home run was a game-tying 2-run shot that came in the 7th inning.
*Snappers pitcher Brendan Butler noted that Theroux had a good spring in Arizona and was starting to make better and more consistent contact. Maybe this career game will be a turning point in his young career.
*Outfielder Luis Barrera showed off his blazing speed by legging out a triple to lead off the bottom of the 7th inning and later scored.
*Designated hitter Miguel Mercedes hit the go-ahead home run in the 8th inning just over the wall in left field. It was his 2nd home run of the season for the Snappers.
*Starting Pitcher Boomer Biegalski allowed a lot of hard contact in the 1st inning, but he bounced back and pitched much better over his next 3 innings of work. Biegalski’s final line: 4 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 3 K.
*Last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s, LHP Dalton Sawyer, pitched 4 very strong innings. Sawyer dominated the Chiefs with a mix of fastballs, sliders and changeups. Sawyer’s final line: 4 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 BB / 7 K.
Game #3: Beloit 12 – Peoria 0
*Beloit hitters recorded 16 hits and scored 12 runs in the game. Not to be outdone, Beloit pitchers combined to throw a 5-hit shutout with 0 walks and 12 strikeouts.
*Beloit pitchers Brendan Butler, Will Gilbert, and Ty Damron were very efficient, needing just 112 pitches to get through the game.
*Snappers pitcher Ty Damron is technically considered a starting pitcher. But with the 8-man tandem rotation that the Snappers (and other A’s affiliates) are using, Damron came in as reliever in this one and actually got credited with a save in a 12-run game.
*Beloit’s Pohlman Field offered ideal hitting conditions on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a temperature near 80 degrees and a 23 MPH wind blowing out to right-center field. And Snappers hitters took advantage, with all but one Snapper getting at least one hit.
*The Snappers’ 3 home runs came from outfielder JaVon Shelby, who hit his 1st of the season, and infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes, both of whom hit their 3rd.
*Diaz had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBIs.
*Shelby’s home run was impressive as it capped a 6-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off three straight good pitches from Chiefs pitcher Dailyn Martinez. Shelby was also wearing special cleats in honor of Jackie Robinson day across baseball. You can see what Shelby had to say about Jackie Robinson here...
*The start of Game #2 was delayed by an hour and thirty-one minutes because of inclement weather. Miguel Mercedes’ go-ahead home run actually came with the rain coming down pretty hard. And the game had an announced attendance of 94. Yep, you read that right.
*Game #3 of the series saw Snappers pitchers retire 16 Chiefs batters in a row.
*Snappers pitchers combined for 35 strikeouts in the 3-game series.
*Infielders Edwin Diaz and Miguel Mercedes are tied for the team lead in home runs with 3 apiece.
*Edwin Diaz looks like a player who is just starting to tap into his power potential. With his powerful right-handed swing and his sturdy 6’2”, 195-pound frame, this 21-year-old infielder is a player to keep an eye on.
*It is hard to properly describe the amazing game that Collin Theroux had on Friday. It is just another great example of how baseball is such an unpredictable game. Anyone can be the hero on any given night!
by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
Beloit’s Pohlman Field
The Beloit Snappers opened their season with a doubleheader vs. the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins affiliate) at Pohlman Field in Beloit on Friday, April 8th. This came after the originally-scheduled opening day on Thursday was postponed due to wet grounds at Pohlman Field.
While starting the season with a doubleheader is not ideal for anyone (players, coaches, fans, front office, the guys in the press box), it ended up being a fine day at the ‘ol ballpark. The Snappers split the doubleheader, losing the first game 4-0 and winning the second game 3-2.
Pitcher Xavier Altamirano
*Starter Brendan Butler had an inconsistent first outing, allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, over 3 2/3 innings to take the loss. He was mostly hurt by a rough 2nd inning in which he gave up three straight hard-hit doubles.
*RHP Xavier Altamirano had a strong debut, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He featured a slow curveball at 67-69 mph that really kept the Kernels off balance. Fellow Snappers hurler Dakota Chalmers mentioned that Altamirano had a really good spring training, so he was not at all surprised that Altamirano started off the season strong.
*Outfielder Cole Gruber, last year’s 27th-round draft pick for the A’s, had a chance to show off his speed by reaching base on a beautiful bunt single down the third base line in the 3rd inning.
*Kernels starting pitcher Eduardo Del Rosario really impressed, holding the Snappers to just 2 hits and striking out 7 over 6 shutout innings.
First Baseman Miguel Mercedes
*Starter Ty Damron, last year’s 15th-round draft pick for the A’s, pitched 4 strong innings of shutout ball, painting the outside corner all night. The left-hander was a strike-throwing machine, notching 7 K’s on the night. Damron needed just 11 pitches to get through the first two innings. Overall, he threw a total of 58 pitches, 46 for strikes.
*The only trouble for Damron came in the 4th inning, when the Kernels loaded the bases with nobody out. He then struck out the next two batters on six pitches. The third out of the inning was not as easy as Kernels outfielder Christian Cavaness worked an 11-pitch at-bat before finally succumbing to a strikeout. During the lengthy at-bat, Snappers pitcher Michael Murray commented, “Rarely does a long at-bat like this ever work out in the pitcher’s favor.” In this case, Murray was glad to be wrong.
*The Snappers first two runs of the season were scored on wild pitches by Kernels starter Tyler Wells.
*Designated hitter Miguel Mercedes had the Snappers’ first extra-base hit of the season, a double scorched into left-center field that scored first baseman Kyle Nowlin to give the Snappers their first win of the season in a walk-off!
Early season baseball can be sloppy. In this short two-game series, there were two runs scored via wild pitch, one run scored via a throwing error, one passed ball, one balk, and a total of three errors. Catcher Collin Theroux picked a man off first base in Game #1 of the doubleheader, while lefty reliever Will Gilbert picked off an inherited runner in the 7th inning of Game #2.
Center fielder Jaff Decker had a big night at the plate to help Nashville come back from a 5-run deficit and win in 11 innings on Friday. Decker reached base in all 6 of his trips to the plate, going 4 for 4 with a double and 2 walks, while also swiping a pair of bases, driving in a run and scoring twice. His biggest hit was a two-out double in the 9th to tie things up and send the game to extra innings. He also walked and scored the Sounds’ second run in the 11th. Chris Parmelee singled in Decker in the 11th, homered to lead off the top of the 10th and also singled in another run in the 5th. Renato Nunez singled in the winning run in the 11th with his only hit of the game, while second baseman Franklin Barreto had 3 hits, including a 2-run homer in the 5th. Third baseman Matt Chapman exited the game after the 4th inning for unknown reasons. RHP Michael Brady, signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason, was shaky in his first start for the Sounds, lasting just 3 innings after surrendering 5 runs in the 1st, but RHP Zach Neal was impressive in relief, tossing 4 scoreless frames to help keep his team in the hunt. RHP Aaron Kurcz picked up the win despite allowing the tying run in the bottom of the 10th, while RHP Bobby Wahl got the final three outs in the 11th to earn the save for the Sounds. In other news, reliever Tyler Sturdevant was added to the roster on Friday to replace Jesse Hahn, who was recalled by the A’s on Wednesday.
by Ryan Christoffersen / A’s Farm Beloit Correspondent
Hi there! My name is Ryan Christoffersen and I will be contributing to Athletics Farm this season from Beloit, Wisconsin. Beloit is the home of the Oakland Athletics’ Low Single-A affiliate, the Beloit Snappers (#OhSnap).
Working as a Stats Stringer and Official Scorer at Pohlman Field in Beloit, I am going to be at almost every home game. That means I will be able to keep everyone updated on what is happening and what I am seeing from the prospects playing for the Snappers. This is actually my second year working in the Pohlman Field press box. Last season, I was the Pitch F/X Operator for the Snappers, so I am already familiar with about ten of the players on the current roster.
Don’t forget to read the main source of news for the Beloit Snappers at snappersbaseball.com, where new Media Relations Manager Garrett Mansfield is doing some great work. And speaking of snappersbaseball.com and Garrett, check out his article on the Snappers opening day roster. That article and my following thoughts should work together to give Oakland A’s fans a very good idea of what prospects are in Beloit to start this season and why they should be very excited!
Ten Snappers making a return trip to Beloit this season…
Leon “Boomer” Biegalski
RHP Boomer Biegalski: Real name is “Leon.” I prefer “Boomer.” It makes me think of Tom DeLonge’s character from the blink-182 music video First Date. Boomer Biegalski actually led the 2016 Beloit Snappers with 153 1/3 innings pitched. He finished with a respectable 3.70 ERA (3.96 FIP) and a 1.19 WHIP. He was even selected to play in the Midwest League All-Star Game. The problem with Biegalski last season was how poorly he pitched in the second half. Not only was his ERA about a full run higher after the all-star break (first half: 3.21 ERA, second half: 4.15 ERA), but his home runs allowed ballooned from 4 in the first half to 10 in the second half. It has got to be frustrating to return to Beloit after a full season there, but I would bet he is one of, if not the first, Snappers moved up this season.
SS/2B/3B Trace Loehr: Here is an interesting case. Loehr, like Biegalski, spent all of last season with the Snappers. A 6th-round pick out of high school in 2014, Loehr was the #26 prospect in the A’s organization according to MLB Pipeline going into the 2016 season. But it was a season full of speed bumps for this slick-fielding infielder. Loehr did not hit well in the first half, batting just .211/.241/.283. He had a short stay on the disabled list in late April/early May. And then, in late July, Loehr was arrested and was placed on the temporarily inactive list for almost two weeks. With limited information available on the incident, I have to assume Loehr was cleared of any wrongdoing. When he came back in August, he started to play really well, hitting .338/.372/.513 in 21 games with 4 stolen bases and numerous “web gems” in the field. If Loehr can continue to play closer to what he did last August, we could have a post-hype breakout player.
3B/SS Edwin Diaz: Spent all of last season with the Snappers. Has some potential with the bat, but a high strikeout rate (29.7%) is part of the reason he is back in Beloit.
LHP Andrew Tomasovich: Side-arm lefty reliever has some nasty swing-and-miss stuff (11.34 K/9 in 39 2/3 innings), but has trouble controlling it (1.64 WHIP, 5.67 ERA).
RHP Michael Murray: Made 12 starts for the Snappers last season. ERA was a little high at 4.28, but probably more representative of his season is the fact that he had a 3.66 FIP in 61 innings.
RHP Brendan Butler: Pitched well in 9 starts for Beloit in 2016 with 3.14 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 51 2/3 innings. Can he build off of successful 2016 season? If so, he could move up quickly.
OF Mike Martin: Pleasant surprise for Snappers in 2016 before getting hurt in July and missing the rest of the season. Hit .298 with a .372 OBP and 7 stolen bases in 34 games for the Snappers.
OF Luis Barrera: Young outfielder with exciting potential is going into his age-21 season. Hit .310/.361/.428 between Vermont and Beloit last season while playing all three outfield spots.
RHP Xavier Altamirano: Strong start to 2016 in Beloit, but struggled in May before being put on DL. Once healthy, he pitched in Vermont the rest of the year and had a 2.48 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 65 1/3 innings.
C Collin Theroux: 32nd-round pick in 2016 had a brief cameo in Beloit at the end of the season. In 21 at-bats, Theroux struck out 15 times and did not record a hit. Nowhere to go but up!
Top five new Snappers ranked in order of how excited I am to see them play this season…
OF/3B/2B JaVon Shelby: An article from last year here on Athletics Farm talks about the 2016 A’s draft class with Athletics Scouting Director Eric Kubota. In the article, Kubota talks about how Shelby is capable of playing the outfield as well as third base and second base. He is described as a versatile, “toolsy” player with a lot of potential. Kubota even says he is “a Josh Harrison (of the Pirates) type of player.” Harrison is a versatile, productive and overall exciting player to watch – he also hit .337 in 79 games in the Midwest League in 2009. If Shelby even slightly resembles Josh Harrison, the Snappers are getting a fun player to watch.
1B Miguel Mercedes: Listed at 6’4”, 255 lbs., this power-hitting first baseman should be knocking home runs out of homer-friendly Pohlman Field all summer long. HOT TAKE ALERT! – Mercedes will finish in the top three in home runs in the Midwest League.
LHP Will Gilbert: A college closer at North Carolina State, this guy looks to be the best bet as the Snappers best reliever to start the season. I have always heard one of the quickest paths to the majors are for left-handed relievers. From his good stats in Vermont to his high draft spot for a reliever (8th round), I could see Gilbert playing for the Oakland A’s in the big leagues in the not-too-distant future, provided he pitches up to his potential in Beloit.
OF Cole Gruber: I am always pumped to see a player with blazing speed. Whether it is base stealing, running the bases, or making plays in the outfield, speed kills. Gruber led the Arizona League with 28 stolen bases while being caught just twice last season.
I hope you enjoyed my opening thoughts on the opening day Snappers roster! Growing up here in the midwest as a huge baseball fan, it was inevitable that I would take interest in the Midwest League. I really started to follow the Midwest League starting in 2004. In my experience, I have found that the Midwest League is a place for players to have their breakout seasons. While 2016 was a tough year in the standings, I am very excited for the 2017 Beloit Snappers. While lacking in top prospects, this team is full of players with breakout potential. #OhSnap
You can find the complete Beloit Snappers opening day roster here.
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First baseman Viosergy Rosa had a big night at the plate, but it wasn’t enough to help the RockHounds prevail on Friday. Rosa ripped a 3-run homer in the 6th inning to tie the game and slugged a 2-run shot in the 8th to give his team the lead. But RHP Jake Sanchez surrendered 2 runs in the top of the 9th to blow the save and send the game to extra innings, and RHP Sam Bragg allowed 3 runs, 1 earned, in the 11th to take the loss. Midland starter Corey Walter was charged with 2 unearned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work, while second baseman Max Schrock collected 3 hits for the Hounds, and shortstop Richie Martin walked twice and made 4 errors in his Double-A debut on Friday. Martin was promoted to Midland from the Ports prior to the game, while RockHounds RHP Heath Fillmyer was placed on the disabled list and RHP Kris Hall was reassigned to the AZL A’s roster.
A’s Prospect Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Shortstop Josh Rodriguez (2 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE (Triple-A)
Nashville Sounds 13
Omaha Storm Chasers 7
WP – Santos 1-2 / 3.16
HR – Brugman (6), Rodriguez 2 (3)
Prospect Of The Game:
Shortstop Josh Rodriguez
(2 for 5 / 2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)
With Nashville notching 13 runs on 18 hits on Sunday, shortstop Josh Rodriguez had the biggest day while right fielder Jaycob Brugman had the biggest moment. Rodriguez ripped a pair of home runs, tagging a 2-run shot in the top of the 4th inning to break a 2-2 tie and briefly give the Sounds a 2-run edge and then drilling a 3-run drive in the 8th inning to extend his team’s lead. Brugman had 4 hits in the game, including a big 3-run homer to break a 6-6 tie in the 7th. And Brugman is now 9 for 13 with 3 extra-base hits over his last 3 games, while Rodriguez is 6 for 11 with 5 extra-base hits in his last 3 games. First baseman Matt Olson singled, doubled and drove in a run, while left fielder Rangel Ravelo singled, drew 3 walks and drove in a run, and catcher Matt McBride and second baseman Joey Wendle had 3 hits apiece to help Nashville prevail on Sunday. Starter Jharel Cotton allowed 6 runs over 5 innings of work, while RHP Eduard Santos tossed 2 scoreless innings to earn his 1st win for the Sounds.
It’s been about ten weeks since this year’s amateur draft and about two months since the first of the players picked by the A’s began playing with either the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters or the rookie-ball Arizona League A’s.
The A’s managed to sign all of their top 20 picks this year. The highest-drafted player Oakland’s front office wasn’t able to sign was 21-year-old right-hander Brigham Hill out of Texas A&M, whom the team took with its 21st pick in the 20th round. But the A’s were fortunate that they were able to ink all 20 of the players they picked before him and get those prospects into the system. And with about two months of play now in the books, it seems like a good time to take a look at how some the A’s newest prospects have been performing down on the farm.
The A’s focused on pitching with their top 20 picks this year, taking 12 pitchers in the top 20 and 7 in the top 10. The team’s top pick, LHP A.J. Puk, has been the standout among the pitching prospects so far this season. The 6-foot-7 21-year-old has looked dominant at times for Vermont, posting a 2.70 ERA while striking out 27 over 20 innings of work for the Lake Monsters.
The A’s second overall pick, RHP Daulton Jefferies, just started seeing some action in Arizona and, in 3 brief appearances, the 21-year-old has shown off his pinpoint control by allowing just 1 run while walking none and striking out 10 over 5 2/3 frames for the AZL A’s. Oakland’s third overall pick taken in the 2nd round was Puk’s teammate at Florida, RHP Logan Shore, who recently joined his friend and former college teammate at Vermont. And in his first 4 appearances, the 21-year-old has allowed 2 earned runs and struck out 8 over 9 innings of work.
The team’s top high school pick was RHP Skylar Szynski, who was taken in the 4th round. Though he’s currently sporting a 8.10 ERA, the 19-year-old’s numbers aren’t really that bad, having allowed 16 hits and just 4 walks while striking out 8 in 13 1/3 innings for the AZL A’s. Three other pitchers from the top 10 rounds who are currently at Vermont have all been perfoming well. 6th-round RHP Brandon Bailey, who’s primarily been used as a starter, has posted a 3.41 ERA over 29 innings since joining the system. LHPs Will Gilbert and Dalton Sawyer have both been working out of the bullpen, where 8th-rounder Gilbert has notched 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings while 9th-rounder Sawyer has struck out 20 over 15 2/3 frames for the Lake Monsters.
Meanwhile, 10th-round pick Mitchell Jordan has been solid while serving in a starting role in Arizona, putting up a 3.24 ERA while walking just 7 and striking out 30 in 33 1/3 innings of work for the AZL A’s. The fastest riser of this year’s draft class has been the A’s 14th-round pick, RHP Nolan Blackwood out of the University of Memphis, who is the only member of this year’s crop to make it all the way up to the Beloit Snappers of the Class-A Midwest League. After looking solid in 5 relief appearances for Vermont, the 21-year-old has struggled a bit since joining Beloit’s bullpen, allowing 9 runs in his first 8 appearances for the Snappers.
When it comes to position players, the team’s three top 10 selections – 3rd-round catcher Sean Murphy, 5th-round third baseman JaVon Shelby and 7th-round outfielder Tyler Ramirez – all did a brief stint in Arizona before joining Vermont. Murphy’s power has yet to show itself as he has just 2 extra-base hits over his first 70 at-bats, while Shelby’s shown himself to be a bit of a free swinger, striking out 39 times in 144 at-bats while putting up a .188 batting average. Ramirez has fared a little better, with a .248/.348/.376 slash line over his first 39 games since joining the system.
The two standouts among the team’s position player picks have been shortstop Eli White and second baseman Nate Mondou, who’ve formed a productive double-play combo for Vermont and who were both recently named New York-Penn League All-Stars. 11th-rounder White has 10 doubles to go along with a .303/.365/.406 slash line, while 13th-rounder Mondou’s impressive .401 on-base percentage is among the five best in the league.
You’ll find the A’s top 20 picks of the 2016 draft along with their current statistics through August 19 listed below. The teams they’ve played for so far this season are noted, with the team they’ve appeared in the most games with listed first and their current team in bold…
As things heat up in August, some of the organization’s top sluggers like Matt Chapman and Renato Nunez have really been starting to get hot lately as well. In addition, the team’s top three draft picks – pitchers A.J. Puk, Daulton Jefferies and Logan Shore – all appear to be finding a groove as they settle into the system. A version of this weekly minor league report was originally prepared by Athletics Farm for Athletics Nation…
Third baseman Matt Chapman continued his recent tear for the RockHounds, ripping a pair of home runs, a solo shot in the 4th inning followed by a two-run shot in the 6th, to account for all his team’s runs on Wednesday. The 23-year-old is now 6 for 14 with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs over his last 4 games, and his 28 home runs lead both the A’s organization as well as the Texas League. Meanwhile on the mound, RHP Joel Seddon turned in his second straight outstanding start on Wednesday, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk over 5 shutout innings to earn his 8th win, while RHP Kyle Finnegan tossed a scoreless 9th to notch his 4th save for Midland.