Monday, September 15, 2014

Oakland MiLB Postseason Round-Up

Following the abysmal 2013 campaign in the sense that Oakland only produced a lone affiliate postseason representative in that of Beloit, Oakland overcame their minute drought with Stockton and Midland surging forth into September despite the untimely collapse of Sacramento and thus depriving the A's organization of three full season ballclubs entry to games past Labor Day. Stockton, pertaining to an absolutely dominant stretch through the latter portion of the summer, was slain two bouts into their first appearance since 2011 while Midland bested their competition en route to a nine contest romp towards a Texas League championship crown to claim Oakland their first MiLB league title since the 2009 Rockhounds ballclub. Daniel Robertson and Beau Taylor starred as the lone farmhands to tightrope both postseason squads with the absence of Hiroyuki Nakajima and Blake Forsythe to season ending injuries that conclude their tenure as Athletics with both having been cast to free agency with the conclusion of the campaign while Oakland's prospect jewel, Matt Chapman, was bestowed with a permanent postseason post at 3B for the Puppy Dogs with the departure of Jefry Marte to the disabled list as well. Without any tangible statistical sample sizes arriving from Stockton due to their unexpected demise, Midland's stretch does raise some intrigue with numerous roster members now departing forth outside of the A's system while Matt Chapman and Beau Taylor have made claims to shuffle depth charts for the approaching 2015 assignments with their performances as fruitful spring crusades could boost their potential standing within the organization. More so a rewarding sequence for an A's developmental staff that had been deprived from a crown for a half decade, Midland's climb to the title has given some much needed morale for the Texas League bunch and partially assisted in Midland reaffirming their affiliation with the Athletics with a recently announced extension through the 2016 as the Rockhounds continue to remain as Oakland's most loyal MiLB ballclub with their East Bay partnership having been cemented since 1999. 

Statistical Records: 

Stockton -

Chad Pinder: 9 PAs, 2-8 (3 K)

Matt Olson: 9 PAs, 3-7 (3 2B/BB/K)

Renato Nuñez: 9 PAs, 1-9 (3 K)

Ryon Healy: 9 PAs, 0-9 (4 K)

Jaycob Brugman: 8 PAs, 3-8 (2 K)

Tyler Marincov: 8 PAs, 0-8 (2 K)

Bobby Crocker: 3 PAs, 0-3 (2 K)

Boogie Powell: 4 PA, 2-4

Chris Lamb: 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 HR), 0 BB, 8 K, 2 GB/2 FB

Brendan McCurry: 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 3 GB/0 FB

Austin House: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 GB/0 FB

Tim Alderson: 3 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R (1 HR), 0 BB, 4 K, 3 GB/1 FB, 2 HBP

Rodolfo Fernandez: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GB/1 FB

Michael Ynoa: 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 GB/1 FB, HBP

Bobby Wahl 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 HR), 0 BB, 2 K, 0 GB/0 FB

Josh Bowman: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 HR), 0 BB, 1 K, 3 GB/2 FB

Stockton/Midland -

Daniel Robertson: 39 PAs, 7-29 (HR/9 BB/3 K/HBP). 9 PAs, 2-5, 4 BB with Stockton. 

Beau Taylor: 28 PAs, 6-20 (HR/2 2B/3 BB/2 HBP/3 K). 9 PAs, 2-5, HR, 2 BB, 2 HBP with Stockton. 

Midland -

Matt Chapman: 35 PAs, 9-32 (2 HR/2 2B/3 BB/4 K/SB)

Kenny Wilson: 40 PAs, 9-38 (3B/2B/2 BB/10 K/2 SB)

Conner Crumbliss: 30 PAs, 2-19 (HR/5 BB/3 K/HBP/SB)

Max Muncy: 41 PAs, 9-34 (2 HR/3 BB/6 K/SB)

Jeremy Barfield: 40 PAs, 9-30 (3 2B/9 BB/4 K/HBP)

Kent Matthes: 41 PAs, 8-33 (HR/2 2B/4 BB/7 K/3 HBP)

D'Arby Myers: 18 PAs, 5-17 (2B/BB/4 K)

Blake Forsythe: 12 PAs, 2-9 (3 BB/2 K)

Hiroyuki Nakajima: 2 PAs, 1-2

Chad Oberacker: 5 PAs, 0-5 (3 K)

Dusty Coleman: 39 PAs, 9-39 (HR/2B/12 K/SB)

Bruce Maxwell: 2 PAs, 0-2

Nate Long: 3 GS/ 17 2/3 IP, 16 H, 2 ER (1 HR), 5 BB, 9 K, 21 GB/11 FB

Murphy Smith: 3 G/ 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 11 GB/1 FB

Marcus Walden: 4 G/ 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 9 GB/3 FB

Tim Sexton: 1 GS/ 3+ IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 5 GB/1 FB

Ryan Doolittle: 2 G/ 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 3 GB/1 FB

Frank Gailey: 4 G/ 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 3 GB/2 FB

Ryan Dull: 5 G/ 4 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 8 GB/0 FB

Jose Flores: 6 G/ 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R (1 HR), 3 BB, 6 K, 6 GB/2 FB

Chris Jensen: 2 GS/ 10 1/3 IP, 14 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 12 GB/6 FB

Omar Duran: 0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K

Shawn Haviland: 2 GS/ 9 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 7 BB, 7 K, 6 GB/8 FB

Deryk Hooker: 1 GB/2 G/ 7 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 6 BB, 9 K, 7 GB/1 FB

Matt Chapman, after having been plopped into the extraordinarily advanced caliber of competition from Beloit and three months removed from Big West collegiate adversaries with CSU-Fullerton, exceeded expectations with his replacement stint for Midland while exhibiting his remarkable defensive capabilities coupled with exceptional disciplinary displays with a mere four punchouts versus Texas League arms following an unfathomably massive jump from the Midwest League through 38 plate appearances (Including his regular season debut going 0-3 through Midland's seasonal finale). His two dingers included one smacked ~390 feet to pull center against the wind while his second was an opposite field poke that was assisted graciously by the blustery Texas jetstream that demonstrate his mighty power potentiality with at the very least a consistent opposite field approach as Chapman easily made contact to all fields during his Midland tenure. The undisputed best defensive infield asset for Oakland with a stunning amount of arm strength, Chapman now firmly stands in contention to acquire more Texas duties through 2015 even should he initially be slotted upon Stockton's roster. The 21 year old Dove Canyon native amassed four multiple hit outings through his eight Midland postseason appearances to produce a 9-32 (4 XBH/3:4 BB-K) result as one of the Rockhounds' most pivotal catylsts during their championship run. 

Daniel Robertson, following his 2-5 (4 BB) stint for Stockton which unfortunately didn't correlate with his fellow Ports teammates, was lifted towards Midland to acclimate to his 2015 place of residency for the Puppies and amassed a 5-24 (HR/5:3 BB-K) output for the Texas bunch as his permanent second base post in favor of Dusty Coleman at shortstop. With Dusty Coleman departing for free agency and equally displaying a gaudy plate approach that saw him accumulate 212 strikeouts for Midland (Postseason included) that nearly assuredly shall prevent him from inking once more with Oakland and challenging Robertson, the former 1st round supplemental selection shall seemingly be placed firmly at SS defensively barring another free agent acquisition with Chad Pinder unable to approach Robertson defensively. Robertson won't remain at the position however unless significant and seismic improvements to the defensive intangibles and instincts are shown during the upcoming season as scouts unanimously view Robertson as a major league second baseman with periodical stints at shortstop for utility purposes as the Southern Californian native occasionally plays back on grounders and has fringy range to his right that aren't traits exhibited by premiere shortstop prospects. Still, with the depression of middle infield defense within the A's organization, Robertson will undoubtedly continue to be planted at the position until his MLB debut. 

Jeremy Barfield tied Robertson for the most pristine disciplinary record of the postseason with a 9:4 BB/K through his 40 PAs including three doubles and a 9-30 production that could salvage his standing with another organization as a MiLB free agent this offseason. Conner Crumbliss wound up 2-19 with a HR and 5:3 BB/K through 30 PAs as the diminutive utility specialist smacked a whopping six sacrifices for Midland in his seven playoff bouts and featured as the most "selfless" offensive component for the Doggies. Kent Matthes crushed a desicive three run blast during Midland's first Texas League championship series contest to secure a victory while enduring three HBPs and gunning two baserunners from the corner outfield to complete his stint within the A's midst going 8-33 with 3 XBH and a 4:7 BB/K. Bruce Maxwell only appeared within a lone contest for the Hounds in relief of the then departed Blake Forsythe following a gruesome home plate collision and went 0-2 while never starting a contest behind the plate or at DH as the Midland staff opted to bench the struggling German born and Alabama native backstop after a tumultuous transition towards the Texas League as he has succumb to the increase of competition that has stunted numerous other Oakland farmhands. Still possessing untapped power capability and vastly improved defensive instincts, Maxwell shall acquire another attempt within Texas to flash his ability and sat due to Midland's coaching bunch reverting to a pure winning mentality never witnessed within minor league baseball outside of the postseason. Beau Taylor, displaced to Stockton in favor of Maxwell, ironically leapt over him to claim permanent starting duties at backstop following his Stockton stint in which Taylor predictably demolished inferior competition he had already conquered two seasons prior that included opening the Stockton playoff crusade reaching off his initial six plate appearances. Taylor went 4-15 with 2 XBH and three punchouts for the Canines and thus shall attempt to salvage his career during spring for the Floridean teetering non-prospect status. Opening 0-12, Max Muncy additionally burst forth en route to a probable PCL assignment for the native Texas and disciplinary oriented prospect with two consecutive outings with a HR plus a 4-5 effort during Midland's definitive title series.

Nate Long starred with a 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 13 GB/1 FB to dispatch Tulsa during the first contest of Midland's clinching set in the championship deciding series as the elderly statesman of the Rockhound rotation anchored the staff with his crafty offspeed oriented repetiore. Deryk Hooker turned in a marvelous Game 4 outing as well as the MiLB free agent acquisition the previous December shall undoubtedly latch onto another organization while still being fairly youthful for an arm fluctuating between AA and AAA at 25 years of age during the 2015 MiLB opening day with outstanding movement despite frustrating inconsistency with his control. Marcus Walden, the Fresno native and previous Sacramento rotation member, obliterated Texas League bats with a 8 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K, 9 GB/3 FB result that could bode well for the former Oakland 40 man roster asset exploring free agent opportunities this offseason. Ryan Dull, Jose Flores and Murphy Smith each rose upon the mound with sublime performances that greatly bolstered Midland's chances in the playoffs as the Puppies scrapped together plus production from their pitching contingent following the gutting of their previous outstanding arms midseason. Drew Granier, considerably Midland's lone technical pitching prospect regarding major league upside, was not permitted to participate due to his impending AZFL assignment this Fall and his upcoming Rule 5 eligibility this December despite his control struggles and a strikeout philosophy that has gotten him into precarious situations on the hill. 

Dusty Coleman, Kenny Wilson, D'Arby Myers, Jefry Marte, Ryan Doolittle, Omar Duran, Frank Gailey, Tim Sexton, Jose Flores, Jeremy Barfield, Kent Matthes, Shawn Haviland, Deryk Hooker, and Marcus Walden now all depart outside of the organizations barring any potential re-signs as the hefty majority of the Midland squad shall not present any sort of prospect reward in regards to major league ramifications for the Athletics. Max Muncy, Matt Chapman, Bruce Maxwell and Daniel Robertson still present outstanding positional potentiality heading onward while Chris Jensen, Ryan Dull and Nate Long at the very least shall contend for PCL berths come April. Michael Ynoa, Austin House, Seth Streich, Tanner Peters, Matt Chapman, Boogie Powell, Raul Alcantara, Matt Olson, Kris Hall and Renato Nuñez are each expected to compete and participate upon Midland's 2015 squad either to open or later towards the Fall (In cases of Streich and Alcantara recuperating from surgery) with an unbelievably prospect laden ballclub supplanting the buzz surrounding Stockton's 2014 cast. They figure to present the most intriguing farmhand mix within the Oakland organization on paper at the moment for the 2015 season. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Brendan McCurry Novelty

The breakthrough sensation of the 2014 Oakland draft class thus far, Brendan McCurry has shot forth from anonymous 22nd round selection to the cusp of Midland with an absurd amount of deception and vicious offspeed movement. Restrained from the upper reaches of the draft comparatively based upon age, lackluster fastball velocity and an extraordinary uncommon novelty of dueling arm slots, McCurry has fittingly silenced initial skepticism buzzing around him prior to ascending towards the Texas League after abusing Midwest League offenses en route to a pair of successful Stockton appearances for the Sooner (Or rather Oklahoma State Cowboy). Additionally wielding a grasp of a decent changeup with major league average projection, McCurry could potentially be destined for a rapid major league shuttle with pitch movement unparalleled within the Oakland system. While still doubtful as the organization shall likely have the righty commence within Stockton to open 2015 even should he obliterate spring opposition due to Midland bullpen overcapacity and brass will respectfully opt to witness McCurry's progress in a more gradual format, he still possesses the potentially to barrel through the affiliates with his quirky and devastating repetiore. Mixing traits of Tucker Healy and Heath Fillmyer with consistent repetition of combative and vastly seperate low 3/4th and over the top arm slots, McCurry places a firm bid to barge through prior to the 2015 campaign as Oakland's undisputed and quintessential pure relief prospect. 

Including the postseason, McCurry's exquisite statistical romp produced a 31 IP, 16 H, 1 R (1 HR), 3 BB, 40 K result with a mere three XBH permitted coupled with a GB/FB ratio north of 3.50 as the righty excessively and consistently induced weak contact alongside a definitive control of the strike zone while occasionally demonstrating command as well. Winding up more effective versus righties, McCurry punched out 31 of the 64 RHB he's grappled with professionally thus far with like-handed opposition going 9-59 with.1 XBH (2B) as opposed to LHB with a 6:1 K/BB through 37 encounters with southpaws. While still generating outstanding movement and therefore able to tread water versus lefties in the Midwest League with his sidearm approach far more potent against righties, McCurry may have to be restricted specifically towards ROOGY status should the strikeout percentages not increase as he ascends and takes on more fearsome bats that shall be able to recognize and decode McCurry more effectively. Still, his performance as a 22 year old has been spectacular with two potential plus offerings in that of his curve and slider which correspond with his specific arm slot being utilized. McCurry technically boasts nine pitches if you count offerings utilized with different slots with a split finger, fourseam, twoseam, changeup, slider and curveball while merely opting for his FB, CH and SL with the sidearm approach. His fastball, primarily 87-90 MPH while occasionally touching 91, showcases more velocity when opting for his higher arm slot and is unanimously the least reliable of his four offerings despite demonstrating late life and snap on it. Having to entirely be predicated upon deception, repetition, and command with a significantly minuscule frame, it's easy to recognize how McCurry slid dramatically during this past June as establishing his fastball versus Texas and Pacific Coast League competition may not necessarily bode well. There are specific, albeit extremely seldom seen, examples of inferior fastballs versus a more tangible caliber of competition such as Paul Smyth with Sacramento, a slider specialist having to entirely rely upon his 80-82 MPH predominant secondary with a well subpar 88-89 MPH fastball bolstered through deception who starred as one of Sacramento's more dependable 2014 bullpen assets with a 56:14 K/BB through 59 frames desipite 9 HR permitted. Usually elevating his arsenal, Smyth was ripe for dingers while McCurry pertains to blatantly superior movement and strike zone placement with rivaling deception and command to that of the Kitty Cats' PCL All-Star Game representative in something that presents some optimism for the elderly draftee and former middle infielder who more recently had begun to commit entirely to the mound. Considering McCurry also wields numerous fastball variations to keep bats honest even upon incessantly scouring his reports, the Oklahoma State alumni ought to have an opportunity to overcome his velocity shortcomings.

What is there to make of a 5'10" righty who shifts arm slot on purpose to capitalize and maximize upon matchup and deception while garnering 40 4SFB (45), 45 (50) 2SFB, 45 CH (50), 55 SL (65) and 55 CB (65) grades? Most likely a relief and situational specialist as a realistic major league probable outcome with the ceiling of an All-Star late inning asset. McCurry's outstanding statistical output shall be extraordinary difficult to duplicate heading onward however especially versus advanced offenses, as expectations must be tempered for the Stillwater native and roadbumps shall undoubtedly be encountered and addressed as a natural portion of McCurry's developmental path. Still boasting some of the best movement and arguably a slider to contend with Dillon Overton and Bobby Wahl for the best throughout the A's system, McCurry is still assuredly an intriguing bullpen project to monitor as he steadily climbs upwards towards Oakland. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Oakland A's MiLB POTM Awards: August

       (Photo Courtesy of: Donn Parris) 

With the final month of the Oakland campaign having reached its conclusion throughout the nation, the last slough of accolades are prepped to be distributed following an eventful July that brought breakthrough stints for Tyler Marincov that ignited his Stockton promotion and Dillon Overton en route to his New York-Penn League dominance. During the fifth month of minor league proceedings througout the organization, once more the majority of outstanding performances originated from the prospect hub of Stockton with Daniel Robertson, Bobby Crocker, Ryon Healy and Jaycob Brugman each having orcastrated phenomenal campaigns offensively with Stockton additionally having tightened a commanding stranglehold upon the Cal League with an astonishing 85-59 record. Ryan Mathews, Conner Crumbliss, Beau Taylor and Nick Buss partook in successful concluding crusades as well, but none of the remaining contenders wound up approaching the Stockton juggernaut for August:

April: Tyler Ladendorf/Seth Streich

May: Stephen Vogt/Michael Ynoa

June: Renato Nuñez/Seth Streich 

July: Tyler Marincov/Dillon Overton

August Player of The Month: Jaycob Brugman - 

Despite anticipated regression to close his mindblogging effort within California, Jaycob Brugman's absurd power demonstration with a stretch of 10 HRs blasted through 10 days coupled with his 11 HR milestone for August, the first player in the Oakland organization to achieve an 11 HR month since Chris Carter with Stockton in August of 2008, easily stamps him as another Stockton monthly award representative with the southpaw furthermore having placed himself within contention for a 2015 Midland berth to commence his second MiLB full season. The evenly graded 6'0"/195 pounder had astounded with his arm strength while presenting a projectable swing and athleticism that plopped the BYU alumni into the clutches of Oakland within the 17th round of the 2013 Draft prior to his debut Vermont assignment. Brugman struggled while acclimating to professional repetiores amongst his fellow NYPL competitors with a lackluster .261/.301/.382 statistical output along with a 7:48 BB/K through 176 plate appearances prior to the offseason and a full season task following his preliminary Arizona spring warm-ups. Brugman burst forth in Wisconsin during an otherwise abysmal campaign for Beloit as their most consistent and reliable offensive contributor with minimal down stretches to produce a .278/.371/.484 slash and 35:65 BB/K (12.6% BB%) that saw the 22 year old corner outfield farmhand shipped westward to Stockton to assist with the Ports' postseason hopes. Having already established himself profoundly within the Central Valley thanks to the favorable dimensions of Banner Island for lefties, Brugman has firmly entrenched himself within Stockton legend for his dinger exploits in one of the more memorable offensive weeks in A's organizational history. Brugman's demonstrated power displays have been largely attributable to the California League atmosphere with the projectable right field prospect figuring to amass more modest totals in that regard. Still with zero glaring deficiencies throughout the entirety of his cumulative tool package outside of some strike zone/offspeed pitch recognition refinement still to be focused upon, Brugman profiles as a reserve outfield asset upon reaching a major league plateau with his ceiling residing in that of a starting right fielder. Offering a glimpse of his potentiality and probable ceiling through Mid-August, Brugman easily absconds with the prize following his fellow Beliot and current Stockton outfield companion in that of Tyler Marincov. 

Runner-Up: Beau Taylor -

Another Stockton representative, Beau Taylor had floundered through three seperate stints within Midland offensively as the organization opted to displace Taylor back towards California in favor of Bruce Maxwell to better acquire starting duties consistently and hopefully tweak issues present amongst the often difficult Texas League transition. The more-so offensively oriented asset, Taylor's plus attribute present at the plate resided within his disciplinary capabilities, a trait not observed throughout the majority of his Texas tenure while still failing to consistently recognize and evaluate major league average potential offspeed offerings on his current assignment with the Ports. Regardless, Taylor has demonstrated an improved ability to turn off of fastballs for Stockton as he has since obliterated inferior California League arsenals predicated upon the fastball with a mindboggling .333/.435/.533 result through 138 PAs within his second Stockton go-around with an even .200 ISO (15 XBH/5 HR) after thwacking a mere 6 HRs through his entire Midland duration between 2012-2014. Specifically through August, Taylor obliterated competition as he gave Stockton a crucial outlet offensively to lean upon as they steadily rose towards the postseason with a .333/.436/.542 month coupled with a 19:26 BB/K. Taylor's catching abilities alone won't be able to provide him with further opportunities such as Iolana Akau and Santiago Chavez and thus shall have to hit his way upwards to the PCL and the majors. This demotion and corresponding success could ignite the since forgotten farmhand however as he shall have to challenge Bruce Maxwell upon the Oakland MiLB catching depth chart come March to retain his prospect status going forward. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Conner Crumbliss - .323/.404/.525, 115 PAs, 12 XBH (4 HR), 11 BB, 11 K, 3 HBP, 3 SB (0 CS)

Daniel Robertson - .368/.429/.504, 133 PAs, 13 XBH (1 HR), 13 BB, 17 K, 2 SB (1 CS)

Max Kuhn - .333/.400/.456, 101 PAs, 8 XBH (1 HR), 9 BB, 24 K, 3 SB (1 CS) 

Sandber Pimentel - .341/.434/.523, 53 PAs, 15-44 (4 XBH/1 HR), 7 BB, 6 K

Bobby Crocker - .319/.407/.489, 108 PAs, 10 XBH (2 HR), 14 BB, 35 K, 9 SB (0 CS)

Nick Buss - .342/.435/.410, 138 PAs, 6 XBH (1 HR), 18 BB, 18 K, 5 SB (1 CS)

Argenis Raga - .417/.463/.583, 41 PAs, 15-36, 4 XBH (2 2B/2 3B), 3 BB, 3 K

Jeremy Barfield - .275/.400/.478, 85 PAs, 8 XBH (2 HR), 15 BB, 19 K

Santiago Chavez - .098/.156/.098, 46 PAs, 4-41 (0 XBH), 2 BB, 13 K, 69% CS% (9 of 13 basestealers thrown out) 

August Pitcher of The Month: Dillon Overton - 

Claiming the accolade for the second consecutive month, Dillon Overton eviscerated short season caliber positional foes to an even more extreme extent through his concluding month prior to the offseason as the lanky southpaw neutralized NYPL offenses with a 15 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 22 K line while with the Monsters. Resulting in an encompassing and statically exquisite 0.91 FIP, Overton has additionally increased his velocity to 87-90 MPH recently from his initial 83-86 fluctuation to commence his campaign alongside a plus potential slider flashed in bursts accompanied by a solid changeup seldom witnessed within the NYPL. Demonstrating a present semblance of command, Overton has frightening potential to streak through the organization upon his Beloit/Stockton debut and arrive within Texas towards the latter portion of the upcoming summer. The lefty amassed a cumulative 37 IP, 30 H, 8 ER (0 HR), 4 BB, 53 K, 1.25 GB/FB short season result through his induction into the Oakland organization with additional promises of slight velocity increases to follow Overton as he ascends. Possibly having achieved even more comical statistical outputs and the probability of a 50 strikeout month should Overton been permitted to exceed his three inning limitation, the Oklahoma native strolls towards another monthly pitching excellence award for the A's. 

Runner-Up: Chris Lamb -

Essentially recognized for his resounding performance in Rancho Cucamonga in which the southpaw amassed a 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 17 K line, Lamb joins Nate Long (July) as the second individual within the A's organization to accumulate a 40 strikeout month with a 35 IP, 28 H, 11 R (3 HR), 9 BB, 41 K result. Having broken through to establish himself for Texas residency for the upcoming spring, Lamb's outing versus the Quakes propels him towards the cusp of the POTM honors narrowly being bested by Dillon Overton's consistency and precision: 

"Having already had a successful California League induction, Chris Lamb's breakthrough 2014 rampage through Beloit and Stockton culminated in a historic and awe inspiring outing in which Lamb abused an unsuspecting Rancho Cucamonga lineup for an unprecedented 17 strikeout performance. Additionally, Lamb tied the California League record for consecutive punchouts with 10 amassed straight including a mindboggling duration of fourteen struck out of a cumulative fifteen batters faced, with the lone exception occurring upon an infield single. Concluding with a final 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 17 K result, Lamb shattered the previous placeholder of Arnold Leon's 13 strikeout outing for Sacramento during July that knotted Sean Murphy's start in Burlington during the 2012 campaign for the single most punchouts having been accumulated through a lone appearance over the past three seasons. More so reminiscent of Pedro Martinez than the 11th round acquisition from the 2011 draft proceeding that embarked on his third consecutive Midwest League assignment to open his 2014, Chris Lamb suddenly has since amassed three seperate double digit strikeout performances for Stockton with the remainder of the organization having only produced six during this season (Tim Atherton, Arnold Leon, Zach Neal, Matt Buschmann, Jake Sanchez, Nate Long). The Berkley native has burst forth from the cusp of non-prospect status forth towards a probable Midland assignment to commence the 2015 campaign in a remarkable sequence for the southpaw in one of Oakland's most prominent storylines to have emerged from the previous few months"

Honorable Mentions: 

Jesus Zambrano - 29 IP, 26 H, 8 ER (1 HR), 7 BB, 25 K, 27 GB/20 FB

Mike Fagan - 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K, 9 GB/2 FB

Daniel Gossett - 10 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 15 K, 6 GB/4 FB

Matt Stalcup - 34 1/3 IP, 32 H, 9 ER (3 HR), 7 BB, 30 K, 31 GB/30 FB

Brendan McCurry - 12 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 15 K, 14 GB/5 FB

Zach Neal - 39 2/3 IP, 41 H, 13 ER (3 HR), 4 BB, 27 K, 38 GB/35 FB

Austin House - 10 2/3 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 14 K, 14 GB/0 FB

Ruber Aquino - 7 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 4 GB/5 FB

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Year of Positional Pitching/Pitcher Hitting

One of the most entertaining anomalies throughout baseball, Oakland has had a significant amount of positional craziness between desperation arms and DH calamity that has even produced a permanent shift with that of Sam Roberts. Beloit's organizational middle infield cog and most prominent positional reserve for instances in which positional pitching was required, the former rotation ace at VMI has entirely transitioned forth from the void of non-prospect infield status to an intriguing relieving chip thanks to his continual utilization in blowouts through April for the Snappers. Possessing a 88-90 MPH fastball with sinking action and a decent slider, Roberts has at the very least resurrected his prospects of heading out to Stockton with the aging Virginia native having been extremely doubtful to have ever arrived in California through his lumber and leather. Roberts' control, very likely attributed to an impromptu spring shift with zero prior conditioning beforehand, was completely non-exsistent as the 25 year old produced a less than exceptional 24:19 K/BB through his cumulative 39 2/3 IP. After his initial five appearances while still technically classified as a utility infielder, Roberts went 7 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 4 K while demonstrating more of an ability to pitch than his statistics would indicate prior to his first official bullpen appearance on June 21st after having 1 1/2 weeks to prepare. Since that point, Roberts went 32 1/3 IP, 31 H, 8 ER (1 HR), 15 BB, 20 K while holding opponents to a brilliant .067 ISO (7 XBH) as he smoothly transitioned towards his permanent post upon the mound while even showcasing better strikeout tendencies to conclude his campaign with a 7:1 K/BB over his final four appearances (7 IP). While there may not be as extreme a study as Roberts throughout the organization, wackiness still ensued with positional novelties occurring incessantly through the summer:

Within the AZL, Jean Carlo Rodriguez partook within his technical domestic debut upon the mound as opposed to within the infield as the natural middle infielder and the 2013 DSL academy MVP was forcibly made to apply himself during an emergency situation. The versitile Venezuelan born and Panaminian native infield asset surged forth within La Victoria to highlight the Dominican ballclub following his organizational debut upon the island. Batting .302/.373/.379 through 222 plate appearances, Rodriguez established himself as a disciplinary oriented farmhand with a 19:20 BB/K while flashing bursts of speed potential with 12 swiped bases through 17 attempts that acquired him a flight towards the United States to undergo his sophomore stint within the midst of the AZL. Unsuspecting his form of debut, Rodriguez was thrust into a blowout academy opening day contest as a pitcher with two outs in the 8th frame and proceeded to induce an inning ending groundout versus the lone batter he faced. Following that, the teenage breakthrough prospect underwent significant regression as he encountered more advanced repetiores and churned out a measly .065 ISO through his limited 115 PAs (3 XBH) while emerging with a lackluster .184/.296/.224 statistical result. Attributable towards more weak hit contact and thus a .209 BABIP, Rodriguez still demonstated strike zone recognition with a 14:13 BB/K as his realistic ceiling resides in that of a defensive oriented piece and line drive bat with some pinch running upside. Rodriguez still has an opportunity to mature and fill out his 5'10"/170 pound physical frame as he progresses; turning 19 this upcoming January. Especially with a positional transition unlikely, Rodriguez shall have to bank upon his developmental ceiling and acquire some semblance of power ability should he attempt to ascend upwards upon prospects lists. If he intends upon rallying his organizational stock, the Caribbean asset shall have to consistently avoid situations as he encountered in June during his AZL debut. 

Aside from Sam Roberts within Wisconsin, Ryan Mathews accompanied his fellow 25 year old Midwest League companion with numerous appearances outside of his predominant corner outfield post for the Snappers. Most notably, Mathews acquired a victory with a perfect two frames during the 16th and 17th innings of a Beloit victory as Phil Pohl crushed a walkoff dinger to claim a seldom seen result for a Turtle ballclub that bucked usual tradition of Oakland Midwest League affiliate excellence. Making a cumulative three outings, Mathews amassed a 4 1/3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K result indicative of prototypical positional output while inheriting the duties previously embodied through Sam Roberts. Through an offensive lens, Mathews regressed following his snub from a probable Stockton assignment after a consistent debut full season campaign through 2013 as the 6'3"/195 pound Beloit veteran embarked upon a .269/.317/.454 campaign between 350 PAs with 33 XBH (12 HR) alongside an accumulated 23:85 BB/K. The elderly outfield prospect did excel through August with a stretch of three contests with 4 HRs including a near dinger that was erased through a herculean defensive effort as Mathews' flexed his power capability and concluded things with a respectable .185 ISO that could boost him forth towards California to commence the approaching spring. Lacking the prior extensive collegiate pitching experience Sam Roberts had, Mathews shall be exclusively restrained towards offensive duties with occasional pitching appearances sprinkled throughout the remainder of his Oakland stay. 

Utilized sparingly with California, Stockton's lone occurrences of positional panic transpired during their home schedule opening on April 10th as they trudged through an 18 inning (5 1/2 hour) contest and were forcibly made to trot out Wade Kirkland and Dusty Robinson with an extraordinary depleted bullpen cast already having reached their cumulative innings limitation for the night. Wade Kirkland, already boasting tremendous amounts of affiliated pitching appearances including an outing in which he threw the final two frames for Stockton before smacking a walkoff HR during May 2013, orcastrated an 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K effort as Dusty Robinson emerged for his initial pitching appearance with a 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K as Stockton finally secured a victorious result before even more absurd scenario unfolded. Dusty Robinson has since been dismissed from the A's organization while Wade Kirkland has continued to peg away as an exclusive organizational filler with periodical assignments north towards Sacramento while primarily serving as a reserve asset for scheduled Daniel Robertson and Chad Pinder rest. 

Jeremy Barfield acquired an outstanding amount of noteriety as the 2014 campaign began for his positional shift and attempt to difinitively switch towards the mound in an attempt to piggyback on the efforts of Sean Doolittle two seasons prior. Despite amassing promising and extremist quantities of swings-and-misses and therefore strikeouts, Barfield would succumb to outings in which he struggled and labored through while his control was blatantly inconsistent and disintegrated through every other appearance as one would expect for someone partaking in their initial attempt on the mound versus California League bats. With his contract expiring following the conclusion of this season, Barfield opted to cease the organization's experimentation and requested to revert back towards the outfield as he has since been housed within Midland chugging away offensively. However, Barfield has taken part through two technical positional appearances versus Texas League competition and ironically enough dominated with a 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 27 pitches (19 strikes) output. Not comfortable outside of the batter's box though, Barfield likely shall remain as a permanent organizational filler should he latch onto another organization this offseason. Joining Barfield within Midland, Conner Crumbliss made two seperate appearances going 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K for the Puppy Dogs as the another Midland asset to have been opted for during extra inning contests. 

Within Sacramento, Colin Walsh and Luis Exposito each acquired duties on the hill with Exposito producing a 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K, 22 pitch (7 strike) result while somehow avoiding to permit a run through his lone appearance in Washington while Colin Walsh went 3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K through two distinct outings. Sacramento also yielded the lone pitcher offensive appearances upon the campaign as the lone represntative during the 2013 romp was Andres Avila in Beloit while partaking in an individual plate appearance. With Nick Buss having been DFA'd and therefore branded ineligible for Sacramento's contest in which he was scheduled for DH duties, Arnold Leon and Paul Smyth were made to awkwardly and uncomfortably navigate through the three plate appearances as each struck out during their attempts as Leon made himself all the more unattractive to any intrigued national league ballclubs that believe him to be able to succeed within a rotation format. 

Discounting Sam Roberts' performance following his transition, Oakland's positional options amassed a cumulative 18 2/3 IP, 18 H, 10 R, 14 BB, 10 K result in a predictable, yet entertaining, output nonetheless. Already having undergone their Barfield commitment and Sam Roberts shift coupled with further intrigue with another permanent transition residing in that of Jesus Rivas, the converted DSL outfielder who debuted amongst Vermont and the AZL on the mound this season, Oakland has still proven themselves open to experimentation should a lively arm correlate with stagnant offensive performance. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Roasted Lamb: Chris Lamb cements his place in A's lore

      (Photo Courtesy of: Donn Parris)

Having already had a successful California League induction, Chris Lamb's breakthrough 2014 rampage through Beloit and Stockton culminated in a historic and awe inspiring outing in which Lamb abused an unsuspecting Rancho Cucamonga lineup for an unprecedented 17 strikeout performance. Additionally, Lamb tied the California League record for consecutive punchouts with 10 amassed straight including a mindboggling duration of fourteen struck out of a cumulative fifteen batters faced, with the lone exception occurring upon an infield single. Concluding with a final 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 17 K result, Lamb shattered the previous placeholder of Arnold Leon's 13 strikeout outing for Sacramento during July that knotted Sean Murphy's start in Burlington during the 2012 campaign for the single most punchouts having been accumulated through a lone appearance. More so reminiscent of Pedro Martinez than the 11th round acquisition from the 2011 draft proceeding that embarked on his third consecutive Midwest League assignment to open his 2014, Chris Lamb suddenly has since amassed three seperate double digit strikeout performances for Stockton with the remainder of the organization having only produced six during this season (Tim Atherton, Arnold Leon, Zach Neal, Matt Buschmann, Jake Sanchez, Nate Long). The Berkley native has burst forth from the cusp of non-prospect status forth towards a probable Midland assignment to commence the 2015 campaign in a remarkable sequence for the southpaw in one of Oakland's most prominent storylines to have emerged from the previous few months. More prevalent however, the question remains of Chris Lamb's prospect probability and his potentiality throughout the remainder of his organizational ascent with arguably the best pitching performance throughout the entirety of minor league baseball this season having emphatically been dropped upon his résumé. 

Most scouts don't think fondly of the lefty however, a difficult concept for most to accept for an individual who just obliterated an opposing MiLB lineup. Lamb's ceiling likely resides within that of a middle relief asset however, as the southpaw's fastball is arguably his most inferior pitch with the least amount of potentiality. Throwing 87-91 MPH with an occasional 92 MPH velocity bump, Lamb's delivery is predecated upon his funky arm angle and deception while mixing in a decent breaking offering in that of his curveball while flashing a potential 45 grade changeup and split variation at times. Lamb rather dismantled Rancho based on his outstanding command he demonstrated that evening as opposed to his repetiore, making the feat even more remarkable and unlikely with Lamb hitting his placement within the strike zone on every single offering during his 15 batter stretch  that was immensely assisted through that of a swing oriented and discipline deficient lineup thanks to Los Angeles' offensive organizational philosophy. Previous Stockton assets to have dominated Cucamonga include Sean Murphy and Trevor Cahill, who each recorded eight strikeouts out of the initial nine batters they faced versus the ballclub while Dylan Covey achieved his lone plus strikeout outing with Stockton thus far versus the Quakes. 

Lamb was still able to sustain his dominance for an unbelievable seven frames in what shall likely culminate in a career best performance for the probable 2015 Rockhound. Lamb's command consistency that he has flashed occasionally with Stockton shall have to be sustained through an entire campaign should he desire to be retained within a rotation format, as Texas League and Pacific Coast League bats will consume the 25 year old whole should he not be duplicate his command precision showcased in Southern California for 6-7 innings through 25 outings throughout every campaign: an impossible feat. Lamb shall have to migrate towards a bullpen exclusive facility past Stockton as the lefty has presently demonstrated his capability to do so, initially commencing within the Ports relieving core and opening within Beloit as their closing option. Presenting limited projection while leaning upon deception, secondaries, and control, Lamb's prospect unfortunately shall not shift through that of a scouting perspective. He still could potentially arrive within the majors as a long relief asset should his performance correlate with a injury or bullpen desperation. 

Regardless, his historic outing for Stockton still shall be firmly entrenched within memories of those Oakland minor league curators as one of the most dominant single contest performances for any lone arm ever associated with the A's organization. 

Tempering the Michael Ynoa backlash

      (Photo Courtesy of: Donn Parris) 

Having succumb to an onslaught of physical issues throughout his stay within the A's organization, Michael Ynoa has since devolved from practical demigod and international savior towards enigma and chastised entity within the Oakland system having undergone Tommy John surgery, had continual and prolonged absences due to elblow and shoulder discomfort and even a bout of Chicken Pox that prevented the 6'7" righty from attending his initial major league spring training camp. Even despite a lone option remaining for Ynoa prior to a dreaded waivers assignment following his 2013 offseason 40 man exemption, the Dominican bonus baby was retained within Stockton following a lackluster initial stretch through the California League after a breakthrough crusade through Beloit as his control disintegrated and a shoulder hindrance kept Ynoa sidelined for essentially the entirety of August. The 22 year old has since emerged once more during this campaign within an exclusive bullpen capacity to handcuff his cumulative innings amassed and present a more rapid route towards Oakland with plus results upon the mound during his first entire gauntlet residing in California with 62 punched out through his 42 2/3 IP for the Ports. Still, similar cries about Ynoa have been heard following the declaration of the $4.25M acquisition as the "Next Felix Hernandez" as a wiry 16 year old uncovered in 2008 as no performance seemingly shall satisfy disgruntled A's fans whom have roundly jeered the highly touted prospect for his inability to remain healthy and present control issues. Even MLB pundits have soured on the farmhand, witnessing him gradually slip through organizational prospect ranking interpretations as his teenage status has evaporated and Ynoa has had occasional difficulty taming full season offenses. Ynoa's backlash however has been completely unwarranted with those failing to recognize that the lanky right hander still remains at an approximate 1.2 years below the average prospect age for the California League, has incorporated a slider into his repetiore with plus potential and has additionally witnessed a velocity increase as of recently with Ynoa scraping triple digits. The premier principle of scouting minor league talent is that upside and ceiling are to be more highly regarded and revered, especially for an individual whose 6'7" frame is a classical example of pitchers with excessive height who often fail to harness control until the utmost latter stages of their prospect development. Having already demonstated his capability to generate extremist strikeout production versus California League bats, Michael Ynoa still remains firmly as a top five organizational farmhand for Oakland with easily the greatest amount of upside comparatively to any other potential Oakland challenger. 

The significant velocity increase for Ynoa has been attributable to his exclusive relief restriction with a prescribed 93-97 MPH fluctuation present through his starting duties previously. The massive presence upon the mound has since spiked dramatically to 95-99 MPH FB consistently with an inconsistent changeup and newly introduced slider to complement his arm slot that have seen plus results for Ynoa and furthermore could see him retained a late inning bullpen role even upon arriving within Oakland. Ynoa's secondaries have visibly been lagging behind an already major league quality fastball he's punctured through inferior Cal League offenses with at the moment, but both still present average to even plus projection in the case of his breaking offering. The largest critique one could note of would be Ynoa's erratic tendencies to locate the strike zone in certain instances and even more so his non-present command at the moment with numerous offerings, while technically within the strike zone, have not been quality strikes and thus been subjected to hard hit contact. Ynoa's delivery and mechanics occasionally, and admittedly, have dissolved at times which have nullified his outstanding repetiore and produced lackluster statistical results through the lens of encompassing single metrics such as ERA and FIP. This is rather customary for gigantic pitchers however, with the majority of individuals possessing excessive height failing to grasp control and, through correspondence, command until the latter stages of their development and even trickling forth into the major league tenures. An example would be Randy Johnson, considered one of baseball's greatest pitchers throughout the history of the sport boasting a 6'10" presence and one of the most superior fastballs ever witnessed. However, Johnson's dominance never surfaced until his age 29 season, leading the majors in walks distributed in 1990, 1991, and 1992 while having additionally permitted 96 BBs through his initial entire MLB campaign of 160 2/3 IP while rifling through an absurd 318 BBs allowed in his lone four full MiLB campaigns (399 IP). Johnson is an extraordinarily extreme example on a successful tangent of the spectrum however as Ynoa's career will most certainly not become as decorated, it rather just presents a comparison in the common trend of those with growth and how that affects them. Regardless, with gradual development, Ynoa shall apply reins to his delivery and ought to be able to successfully repeat it consistently, even if it requires another few campaigns. 

Ynoa's health has long since been associated with joking throughout the Oakland fanbase with his continual disabled list stints and constant physical pains that have severely stunted his ability to amass frames during his MiLB induction. For an individual who achieved a height of 6'7" prior to even having had been eligible for a driver's license in the United States and then furthermore requesting him to partake in excessive and unrelenting stresses upon one's body with an unnatural pitching motion, it would've been unbelievably miraculous had Ynoa avoided a significant surgery throughout the entirety of his career. Ynoa's genetic disposition additionally doesn't assist as he unfortunately doesn't possesses the mutant-like ligaments some within the sphere of baseball seem to. Pitchers with excessive height also and unfortunately succumb to a litany of injuries through their campaigns as Ynoa once more has had to sustain the drawbacks of pursuing a profession with demands to contort and apply ungodly amounts to stress to susceptible joints that were never intended to endure said means. This path for Ynoa has entirely to have been expected from his initial signing and the unrealistic expectation placed upon him and since continued to haunt the prospect. 

The rationale for Oakland's distribution of the loftiest bonus for an international amateur arm still remains relevant for Ynoa's present upside. With the potentially to possess two above average to slightly above average (Fastball and Slider) pitches and another major league average (changeup) offering, Ynoa's ceiling rivals some of the most outstanding pitching prospects throughout the entirety of the baseball landscape. Those who continuously relish within inpatient tendencies ought not to associate themselves with Ynoa any longer, as his development to acheieve his potential will be sluggish comparatively to others such as a Carlos Rodon or Archie Bradley with Ynoa most likely having to combat into some major league service time before he can finally unlock a portion of his ceiling. Even should Ynoa aspire to only a fragment of his potentiality, the 6'7" enigma still shall emerge as a valuable asset for Oakland; making his historic investment more than worthwhile. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Oakland A's MiLB POTM Awards: July

With the month of July having concluded, Oakland's monthly accolades are set to be distributed with a litany of outstanding and awe inspring performances having been sprinkled throughout the 31 day sample size that constitutes July. With blazing temperatures having been sustained from June and the season now having breezed past All-Star intermissions, the month has symbolized the inbetween and gateway towards the offseason as a lone 30 day stint remains coupled with Labor Day before schedules abruptly come to a halt and postseason performances commence alongside the Instructional league. The onsets of fatigue have been noticeable within the full season affiliates while short season ballclubs within Arizona, Vermont and the Dominican have had numerous performances standout as opposed their elders as statistical lines for the majority of those competing since April have begun to inflate upon the mound and deflate offensively as Oakland's farmhands begin to acclimate to the rigors of a ~140 game gauntlet. Regardless, even amongst the regression, there have been an onslaught of breakthrough outings from those such as Yairo Muñoz, Jefry Marte, and Shane Peterson as Muñoz participated within his initial entire month upon Vermont soil in stark contrast to the MiLB veterans of Marte and Peterson who increased their major league probability with noticeable ~120 plate appearance stints after laying dormant for the initial few months. Renato Nuñez attempted to duplicate his absurd June that brought him the POTM claim with another stellar outing and single month .320 ISO as he continues to completely eviscerate the California League while Sandber Pimentel stood amongst the Dominican ballclub as a DSL representative after a successful romp through untamed rookie league repetiores. However, the quintessential infividual offensive performance during the pinnacle of summer was Beloit's Tyler Marincov as the Snappers acquire their first POTM representative of the 2014 campaign: 

April: Tyler Ladendorf/Seth Streich

May: Stephen Vogt/Michael Ynoa

June: Renato Nuñez/Seth Streich 

July Player of the Month: Tyler Marincov -

Marincov absolutely obliterated Midwest League offerings amidst the departure of fellow outfield companion, Jaycob Brugman, towards Stockton while another outfield phenom, Justin Higley, accompanied him within Wisconsin. Despite being sandwiched inbetween a talented depth chart and having to construct an encore to an inept and abysmal June (.157/.215/.313, 5 BB/25 K, 93 PAs), Marincov burst forth to establish himself as one of Oakland's most prominent breakthrough prospects throughout the 2014 campaign. Marincov clubbed 31 cumulative hits during this most recent month, with a whopping 20 of them dropping for extra bases (12 2B/2 3B/6 HR) while amassing a 11:15 BB/K to compile an impressive .373/.444/.783 slash through his 99 PAs. The majority of his phenomenal burst was fueled through the conclusion of his stint as Marincov went 21-44 with 15 XBH since July 18th for a 1.598 OPS over his previous 50 plate appearances. The athletically plus corner outfield asset, Marincov garners similar attributes to Jaycob Brugman for his cumulative skill spectrum exhibiting minimal to zero overall flaws with 45-50 grades across Marincov's scouting grades as the former high school quarterback and North Florida osprey was Oakland's 8th round acquisition during the 2013 draft proceedings. Set to ascend to Stockton for the 2015 campaign with the probability of a postseason appearance for the Ports, Marincov now possesses an accumulated .261/.348/.496 résumé through his 405 PAs upon the campaign while having swiped 16 bases through 22 attempts with a 43:91 BB/K while sitting comfortably at third within the MWL with a .235 ISO as one of Oakland's more intriguing power oriented farmhands. With this only having been his initial full professional crusade, Marincov boasts serious optimism heading forward into the 2015 calendar year. 

Runner-Up: Sandber Pimentel -

Having been deserving of American entry since 2013, Sandber Pimentel has abused DSL squads with one of the more prominent power abilities within the Athletics' rookie league complex as the 19 year old stands a robust 6'3" and weighs in at 220 pounds while shifting between LF and 1B defensively. Having already amassed a .301/.432/.438 slash during his third DSL campaign with a 24:26 BB/K and 14 XBH (2 HR), Sandber went .353/.453/.485 through his 87 PAs with a 8:9 BB/K and 6 XBH en route to starring the Dominican standout and a performance that ought to definitively shuttle out the massive teenager to Arizona. More impressively, and quite possibly for one of the lone instances in Oakland MiLB history, Pimentel was hit more times (10) during July than he struck out (9) and now is deadlocked with Renato Nuñez for the second most cumulative HBP within the organization behind Daniel Robertson (15) in approximately 320 fewer plate appearances. His uncanny ability to magnetize pitches to him spanned back towards his rookie and sophomore stints as well, having accumulated 7 HBP while amassing a career 67:78 BB/K prior to his AZL debut as a 20 year old come the upcoming June. Already having opened his career at the proverbial basement of the defensive spectrum, Pimentel's potential resides within his offensive intangibles with an advanced disciplinary résumé coupled alongside uptapped physical prowess that make him an intriguing international A's prospect. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Yairo Muñoz - .309/.327/.532, 99 PAs, 2 BB, 13 K, 6 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 4 SB (3 CS)

Shane Peterson - .336/.398/.536, 126 PAs, 37 H, 12 BB, 27 K, 9 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR

Renato Nuñez - .301/.342/.621, 114 PAs, 31 H, 7 BB, 17 K, 3 2B, 10 HR

Jefry Marte - .313/.397/.455, 131 PAs, 35 H, 15 BB, 15 K, 7 2B, 3 HR

July Pitcher of the Month: Dillon Overton:

Having partaken his his initial gauntlet through professional competition, Dillon Overton has established himself clearly superior to AZL offenses with his disgusting lefty fastball-slider combination alongside and advanced changeup that has made him essentially unhittable when thrown in amongst rookie level positional players. Through his six outings upon the mound following his June debut, Overton amassed a 19 IP, 17 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 27 K line en route what could very well be an upcoming full season assignment as the former collegiate rotation mate of Jonathan Gray ought to be within consideration for a Stockton Ports starting position to commence 2015 with continual improvement within the Instructional league. At the least, Overton ought to be ushered into the Beloit rotation come 2015 as he progressively amasses innings totals within the Papago facility to conclude his current debut season. One of Oakland's more assured means for optimism, Overton owns intangibles to rapidly ascend through the system and likely remain within a starting position with his initial entire month amongst professional competition boding extremely well for his prospects in the green and gold.


Runners-up: Angel Duno and Nate Long:

Another Dominican representative accompanying Sandber Pimentel, the hefty right hander in Angel Duno equally has been partaking in his third campaign amongst DSL offenses with his ongoing stint resulting in an All-Star berth and breakthrough series of outings that shall seemingly have Duno acquiring a flight come September for the Arizona Instructional league. Wielding a simplistic delivery, Duno has utilized precision to dispose of DSL batters with a cumulative 60 IP (11 starts), 50 H, 8 ER, 12 BB, 48 K statistical result benefitted from an extremist groundball rate with the 20 year old probable to currently be able to contend for a NYPL roster position. Having now merely distributed 27 BB over a 133 1/3 IP sample coupling his current campaign alongside his 73 1/3 frames as a 19 year old sophomore within La Victoria in 2013, Duno was unleashed even further during July with a 27:4 K/BB constructed through his 29 2/3 IP with 23 H, 5 ER, plus a 43:11 GB/FB ratio that has seen him blatantly demonstrate himself above DSL challenges. The approximate age of the collegiate draftee upon debuting with the AZL for 2015, Duno ought to accompany Victor Veliz, Jesus Zambrano, Jesus Rivas and Kevin Ferreras as DSL graduates upon the mound.

On an extremely polar opposite portion of Oakland's farm system, the 28 year old Nate Long has dazzled within the Texas League during his most recent rampage through the AA caliber of competition despite free agency come 2016 looming for the rapidly aging UT-Arlington alumni and former collegiate teammate of Michael Choice. Still likely acquiring a AAA berth following a lone frame within Sacramento during 2013 for his seventh campaign next spring, Long proved himself definitively above AA with his most recent crusade in July with a 37 1/3 IP, 36 H, 10 ER (4 HR), 12 BB, 43 K performance to become the first single month 40+ strikeout pitcher within the Oakland organization during 2014 and the first since Tanner Peters' August of 2013 with Stockton (Drew Granier and Sonny Gray also achieved the feat during May 2013). Long aspired to his 43 punchout total with a July 31st outing that ranked as one of the single most outstanding pitching performances of the campaign within the Oakland system after neutralizing an unsuspecting Corpus Christi lineup with a 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 94 pitch (61 strike) outing. Without any major league probability likely awaiting the elderly Rockhound rotation member, another season of success could at least see Long latch onto another organization or Korean ballclub. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Austin House - 16 IP (13 appearances), 6 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 14 K

Seth Streich - 28 2/3 IP (6 starts), 34 H, 12 ER (2 HR), 5 BB, 28 K

Dominique Vattuone - 15 1/3 (8 appearances), 11 H (1 XBH), 2 ER, 3 BB, 13 K

Argenis Blanco - 29 IP (6 starts), 16 H, 9 ER, 11 BB, 30 K

Brendan McCurry - 12 1/3 IP (7 appearances), 6 H, 1 R (1 HR), 3 BB, 19 K

Nolan Sanburn - 16 IP (10 appearances), 17 H, 4 ER (1 HR), 4 BB, 21 K

Chris Lamb - 29 1/3 IP (7 appearances/5 starts), 25 H, 10 ER (1 HR), 10 BB, 34 K