Sunday, July 20, 2014
With the departure of JP Sportman towards Vermont and the AZL squad having been consequently deprived of their bonafide leadoff threat, Oakland has opted to promote one of the undisputed most intriguing prospects throughout the entirety of the Athletics system in Rodolfo Penalo to partake in his unofficial American debut following his initial instructional league gauntlet during the previous offseason. Despite a shift within the midst of his 5th Dominican campaign and thus eliminating any significant veneer from his prospect status, Penalo still boasts a large amount of buzz for his remarkable discipline and stolen base capability competing in La Victoria. Essentially a reiteration of Billy Burns, the 21 year old arrives as the lightest player in professional baseball; weighing in at a staggering 130 pounds and standing a towering 5'7" while balancing his physical dimensions with the ability to switch hit and play LF, CF, and 2B. The concept of positional versitily may be an extremely well known and infamous tactic associated with the A's organization, but Rodolfo's comical size, absurd speed tool and unbelievable statistical résumé easily slot the Dominican 2009 signee as the most peculiar farmhand within the A's clutches. Finally, the Dominican academy's vital weapon shall be unleashed upon the AZL ballclubs with a probable full season 2015 assignment awaiting Penalo given a smooth transition.
Arriving for a modest sum prior to 2010, Rodolfo initially rambled through his first three stints as a professional while developing physically (To the extent in which his genetics could allow him to) en route to his standout 2013 breakthrough, as the diminutive center of the diamond prospect spearheaded the entirety of A's farmhands in stolen base totals with 29 swiped through 39 attempts. None within the full season affiliates came within challenging the speedster aside from Chris Bostick who clocked in with 25 successfully burgralized off of opposing batteries. Penalo amassed a 55:58 BB/K with 37 SBs (21 CS) through 2012 with but a mere 18 XBH between his 428 plate appearances that prevented Rodolfo from being escorted to the United States alongside Ronald Herrera and Jonesy Zarraga despite outstanding discipline totals and a plus speed tool, thus being forced to undergo a fourth go-around through the Dominican Summer series as a 20 year old. Usually interpreted as the precursor towards an international release, Rodolfo's senior romp collectively cut whispers of his probable release and rather raised eyebrows within the organization with a .311/.424/.404 slash produced alongside a 25:21 BB/K and his afforementioned 29 stolen bases.
Unfortunately, despite his instructional league introduction due to his breakthrough, Rodolfo was sanctioned out for another stint within the Dominican academy for an unprecedented and nearly unheard of 5th attempt versus DSL caliber of competition. Predictably, Penalo overpowered repetiores and arsenals of a league which he had already proved himself to be vastly superior to, amassing an absurd .274/.464/.398 slash thanks to arguably the most ludicrous discipline rate seen over the past few decades within the Athletics MiLB system over an approximate 150 PAs sample that concluded with a 38:18 BB/K and a 24.7% BB%. Penalo feasted upon the amount of on-base opportunities as well, swiping his previous total of 29 bases within a ridiculous 35 attempts, rapidly approaching the cumulative total of Billy Burns in Midland (45) despite having his schedule commence on May 31st and equally missing 10 days due to injury. His career best 158 wRC+ and .124 ISO finally convinced Oakland to bump Rodolfo to Papago as JP Sportman departs and assimilates with the remaining Lake Monsters, as Penalo shall likely partake primarily at CF duties with Edwin Diaz and Jesus Lopez already in the AZL infield and Trent Gilbert, Joe Bennie, and Max Kuhn awaiting in the northeast.
There is significant skepticism associated with Rodolfo Penalo however as one could easily assume, with his statistics partially inflated attributed to him being an approximate 2.8 years above the average DSL age. Additionally, he'll have to successfully combat collegiate arms and experienced backstops as he didn't exactly match with Austin Hedges while within the Carribean. At the very least, Rodolfo has proven himself to be blatantly ahead of the teenage counterparts he has previously been tossed in against over the past half decade, and his inticing intangibles surely at very least will be extraordinarily intriguing to finally witness versus non-Latin farmhands.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Luis Baez has scrapped together one of the oddest single seasons in the A's organization over the past decade with Beloit.
After a staggering five campaigns encased within the Oakland rookie leagues, three as a Dominican participant and two playing in Papago, Luis Baez now has emerged in the Midwest League as an elderly farmhand given the average age within the MWL being an approximate 1 1/2 years younger than the 23 year old versatile Latin middle infielder. Having garnered Midwest League All-Star recognition through his initial romp amongst the Low A caliber of competition, Baez has received praise amongst his counterparts for his production as a Snapper thus far while rubbing elbows with first round acquisition, Matt Chapman, at third base and the trio of Chih Fang-Pan, Melvin Mercedes and Branden Cogswell amongst the middle infield contingent on the ballclub. The previously anonymous Dominican 2007 signee has raised eyebrows however not for his batting average or doubles total which placed him upon the All-Star roster, but rather for blossoming as one of the most uttlerly peculiar prospects in the A's organization with arguably the most stalwart swing first mentality in the organization and quite possibly the worst plate discipline coupled alongside that. Baez has also managed to lead the A's system in cumulative errors committed with 25 while standing with a .914 FLD% between shortstop and third base for Beloit which have given him the reputation for the most inconsistent Oakland defensive prospect this season, following in the steed of Yordy Cabrera in 2012 and Renato Nuñez in 2013.
Amongst the negatives, Luis Baez has vaulted up to stand deadlocked for 5th place within the Midwest League for amassed doubles with 22 for the Snappers while producing a remarkable and absurd .309/.304/.456 slash line versus southpaws with Beloit, going 21-68 with 8 XBH, a lone sacrifice fly and a 0:16 BB/K to churn out a seldom seen output though 70 plate appearances. More odd, Baez evidently participated in one game for Beloit in which he hit left handed for the first time during his seven year professional career due to seemingly random circumstance, going 1-3 with a run scoring double nonetheless. The 6'2", 200 pounder has compiled a .260/.280/.381 slash line throughout his 342 PAs during his initial full season stint, accompanying that with a plus .121 ISO, .300 wOBA and a less than desirable 83 wRC+ heavily attributed to his 2.3% BB% (8 BB in 342 PAs) that places his fate amongst the A's into question as his contract shall expire this offseason. Regardless, Baez' brief glimpses of brilliance may spur forth the organization to re-sign the impending 24 year old en route to Stockton for the 2015 campaign similarly as was opted with Jonathan Joseph this offseason. The California League could bode even more ludicrous statistical production from the Carribean prospect, but his ability to gradually acquire professional opportunities hinges upon his success on being utilized in platoon situations and whether discipline can be instilled to the often impatient Baez, whose 2B% of 6.43% this season nearly triples his walk percentage.
Friday, July 11, 2014
With July having already arrived and a significant amount of upheaval having taken place within the A's farm system, including the losses of Addison Russell, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily coupled with suspensions of Tyler Ladendorf and Boogie Powell, another ranking of the premier farmhands still remaining within the organization seems necessary as a blueprint to sufficiently cope with the post-Addison Russell era. Amidst the blockbusting swap that snagged Oakland Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, Stockton continues to teem with an undeniable and copious prospect bounty between breakthrough campaigns for the 20 year old trio of Renato Nuñez, Matt Olson and Daniel Robertson alongside flashes of brilliance demonstrated by Ryon Healy and Chad Pinder. Michael Ynoa, Nolan Sanburn and the upstart Seth Streich also bolster the pitching contingent of a Ports ballclub that single handedly has provided optimism for saddened and disgruntled A's prospect enthusiasts. Matt Chapman's selection within the 2014 Draft also alleviates the losses to an extent as well, with Brett Graves, Tyler Willman, Branden Cogswell and Branden Kelliher assisting the draft class in boosting the profile of the Athletics' farm. Listed below are the 100 prospects within the Oakland Athletics organization through July prior to an official ranking come Winter, as this initial shuffling is fluid and shall likely be shifted tremendously as the July and August performances unfold. Still providing a glance towards the 2015 campaign, here are the 100 highest ranked prospects for Oakland (2008 draftees were not noted due to their free agency this offseason; thus explaining absences of Jeremy Barfield, Tyler Ladendorf, Shawn Haviland, Dusty Coleman, and Ryan Doolittle)
1. Daniel Robertson
2. Renato Nuñez
3. Raul Alcantara
4. Matt Olson
5. Matt Chapman
6. Michael Ynoa
7. Dillon Overton
8. Bobby Wahl
9. Max Muncy
10. Nolan Sanburn
11. Dylan Covey
12. Chad Pinder
13. Seth Streich
14. Justin Higley
15. Chris Kohler
16. Jesus Zambrano
17. Kyle Finnegan
18. Ryon Healy
19. Bijon Boyd
20. Brett Graves
21. Branden Kelliher
22. Bruce Maxwell
23. Branden Cogswell
24. Tucker Healy
25. Tyler Willman
26. Arnold Leon
27. Jefry Marte
28. Carlos Hiciano
29. Dustin Driver
30. Billy Burns
31. Trace Loehr
32. Aaron Shipman
33. Daniel Gossett
34. Boogie Powell
35. Miles Head
36. Austin House
37. Tanner Peters
38. Edwin Diaz
39. Sam Bragg
40. Anthony Aliotti
41. Kris Hall
42. Jesus Lopez
43. Iolana Akau
44. Sean Murphy
45. Josh Whitaker
46. Seongmin Kim
47. Heath Fillmyer
48. Junior Mendez
49. Drew Granier
50. Jose Torres
51. Omar Duran
52. Bobby Crocker
53. Jose Brizuela
54. Lee Sosa
55. Rodolfo Penalo
56. Vicmal De La Cruz
57. Seth Frankoff
58. Blake Hassebrock
59. Jake Sanchez
60. Yairo Muñoz
61. Trent Gilbert
62. Robert Martinez
63. Lou Trivino
64. Conner Crumbliss
65. Ryan Dull
66. Jaycob Brugman
67. Jordan Schwartz
68. Chris Jensen
69. Corey Miller
70. Tyler Marincov
71. Beau Taylor
72. Jean Carlo Rodriguez
73. Jerad Grundy
74. Paul Smyth
75. Joe Bennie
76. Matt Stalcup
77. Shawn Duinkerk
78. Joe Michaud
79. Melvin Mercedes
80. Max Kuhn
81. Derek DeYoung
82. Joel Seddon
83. Luis Barrera
84. JP Sportman
85. Dakota Freese
86. Ryan Huck
87. Chih Fang-Pan
88. Hunter Adkins
89. AJ Burke
90. Brendan McCurry
91. Cody Kurz
92. Kyle Wheeler
93. Andres Avila
94. Luis Baez
95. Santiago Chavez
96. Sandber Pimentel
97. Robbie Mullen
98. Cody Stull
99. Ivan Andueza
100. Sam Roberts
Monday, June 30, 2014
Announced personally via his twitter, Jeremy Barfield has concluded his experimental bout upon the mound and shall adopt a bat to close his tenure within the Athletics organization; knowledgeable of his contract expiration come the offseason. For Jeremy, this likely signifies that any probability of a prolonging of his contract is mostly obsolete as his future offensively is more so limited than his potential upon the mound, with a plus strikeout percentage featuring as an optimistic beacon amidst understandable control and command issues for an individual who had just transitioned towards the hill 10 months prior. His output within the Stockton bullpen was initially sensational, constructing a 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 13 K line through his first couple appearances with zero visible roadbumps in a cumulative effort that had some speculating that Barfield could in fact partake in a Doolittle-esque ascent accomplished during the 2012 campaign. However, issues arose rapidly with the newly crowned relieving Ports set-up man, as he struggled with command of his four pitch repertoire to wind up settling for a ghastly 35 IP, 29 H, 18 ER (5 HR), 28 BB, 39 K résumé with a 23.9% K% and a 6.15 FIP within his first three competitive months following his announced shift. Even though it was anticipated the hulking right hander would encounter difficulties expected for a farmhand attempting to drastically adapt to another post, Barfield blindsided most with an unseen re-conversion towards the outfield:
(Via @BarfieldRage): "Thankfully no more of those 'you should try pitching' suggestions. I gave it a year so just shut up and let me do what I do best... So grateful to be a part of an organization that genuinely cares about my well being. If this is it I'm gonna go out doing what I love."
Seemingly, the desicion was a personal one opposed towards an organizational suggestion, as Barfield was evidently never entirely comfortable and/or pleased on the rubber. Despite a route to Oakland clearly being more viable through a bullpen position, the former 8th rounder seems content with departing the Oakland organization offensively, with an affiliate assignment having yet to be announced. Equipped with freakish amount of engrained arm strength, Barfield also amazed with his propensity for the longball, launching 64 HRs through an accumulated 2,462 MiLB plate appearances (1 HR per every 41.8 PAs) since his 2008 initiation with Vancouver to establish himself as a prominent power threat for Oakland while registering transferable 50-55 grade ratings. His most successful stint came while housed within Midland for the 2013 campaign, producing a 135 wRC+, .273 ISO, .369 wOBA and a 12.3% BB% (14:17 BB/K) between his 114 PAs, all of which were career bests for the corner outfielder and spurned the Athletics to bump him forth to California for his Sacramento Rivercats debut. Similarly to Anthony Aliotti, Barfield struggled mightily upon arrival following his midseason Texas departure, conversely amassing anemic career worsts within wRC+ (52), wOBA (.268), and K% (23.1%) categories before his highly publicized transition and reacclimation with Stockton. It'll be a matter of what the now veteran prospect enjoys however, as he'll shift once more and grapple with Texas League or Pacific Coast League as a batter to smash a few more dingers before a offseason of questions arises for the 27 year old. Sam Roberts and Jesus Rivas now are the lone positional outcasts left to grace mounds within the organization, with the Barfield saga serving as a reminder towards the even more so improbability of Sean Doolittle's mindboggling success.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Recently announced; Beloit middle infielder, Sam Roberts, has officially converted from his engrained middle infield post for the Snappers to the bullpen after a whopping five appearances out of the Turtles bullpen in emergency situations after being bestowed with positional pitching duties prior to the 2014 campaign. Roberts compliments former positional transitions such as Sean Doolittle, Jeremy Barfield, the recently released Jensi Peralta and Jesus Rivas that establishes Oakland as a prominent experimental organization that will now attempt to wring any remaining potential from the 25 year old Virginian in hopes of another success story and furthermore definitively hammer down the A's "Cinderella" narrative. Unlike Doolittle however, the previous four of Barfield, Roberts, Peralta and Rivas switched due to offensive struggles and plus potential with arm strength rather than the wrist issue that significantly hampered Doolittle's swing mechanics and incited a shift to the hill where Doolittle dominated as a two way prospect at the University of Virginia en route to Brooks Wallace award nominations. Roberts, like Doolittle, pitched significantly at a Virginian institution as the VMI alumni vacillated between closing roles to Friday night rotation duties all while featuring as the Keydet's offensive juggernaut. This differentiates Roberts from Jeremy Barfield, who had absolutely zero pitching experience outside of his little league pursuits and required a thorough AZL and instructional gauntlet for Barfield to prepare for the California League. Thus far for the hulking righty former corner outfielder, predictably he has wound up struggling at times and his production has fluctuated for the Ports through his 31 2/3 IP, with a 37:27 K/BB and a cringe worthy 6.01 FIP. Wielding a promising 24.5% K% however, Barfield could very well reconcile with the organization and re-sign for another attempt in 2015 after his contract expires this offseason. Jensi Peralta, formally a middle infielder, demonstated similar qualities to Barfield within the AZL featuring bunches of strikeouts and walks, but evidently wasn't enough to convince the A's to retain him. Jesus Rivas, a DSL outfielder prior to his shift, shined as the Dominican closer during his initial campaign through 2013 and rightfully acquired an immediate American promotion and mildly shocking Vermont assignment to bypass the AZL entirely, as the Caribbean righty competes for a Midwest League post come 2015.
Sam Roberts, unlike any of these previous examples, was the only one to have pitched within a contest as a positional player and the lone individual to have convinced the Athletics to shift him due to his output upon the mound in extra inning bouts and disparaging blowout defeats, as the versatile righty was unlikely to have ever ascended to Stockton via his offensive potential. Roberts was teetering upon the edge of release following his anemic production within the field after accumulating a .244/.307/.307 slash through 143 PAs with 6 XBHs and a 10:37 BB/K to contribute to an even more abysmal .222/.329/.302 result through a career 592 PAs between Vermont, Burlington and Beloit following his induction into the organization after inking as a 26th round 2011 draftee. Partaking in his pitching debut with Vermont, surrendering a walkoff HR, Roberts then appeared through two contests with the Snappers during the previous campaign in 2013 to amass a 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K with his lone punchout being of the unanimous #1 overall prospect in baseball, Byron Buxton. For this campaign however, Roberts was bestowed with a dual role prior to April with Ryan Mathews coupling as another cataclysmic 15th inning replacement to don the mound and amassed a 7 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 4 K line through five appearances that culminated in a 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K appearance within a 17th inning Beloit victory in which Ryan Mathews also hurled a pair of innings to earn the victory. His final offensive appearance occurring on June 9th and his three inning effort transpiring on June 10th, Roberts has spent the previous 10 days preparing without any AZL seasoning to shift and appeared in his first outing as an exclusive pitcher on June 21st, going 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K in his most exquisite appearance as a professional while punching out Austin Wilson to conclude his outing.
"They decided he was going to do both a while ago, probably after the second time he pitched. But it was more recently they made him just a pitcher" Said Ryan Mathews, Roberts' teammate in Beloit. "[Sam Roberts] looks really good off the mound and throws a 88-90 MPH fastball with some good movement and a good slider.... He originally through he'd be drafted as a pitcher"
With no remaining hope for Roberts to assimilate as a positional farmhand, the 25 year old now has adopted renewed optimism upon the mound and now complements Trevor Bayless as the Snappers' newest bullpen additions following Blake McMullen and Tyler Hollstegge's transitions toward Vermont from Wisconsin. With Roberts' contract having yet to expire until the conclusion of the 2017 campaign, performances such as his previous effort may very well salvage his prospects of aspiring to a major league career, or at the very least a long awaited Stockton promotion.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
With the acquisition of several teenaged farmhands hailing from Venezuela, Columbia and Panama, the Athletics have once more bolstered their ranks at the Santo Domingo academy with inking of Santiago Rodriguez (RHP), Gerardo Vilchez (RHP), Jorge Martinez (6'0", 160 pounds, LHP/1B) and Jean Carlos Ruiz Torres (6'2", 170 pounds, RHP) as additional assets accompanying Ruber Aquino, Enmanuel Sullivan, Jesus Monserratt and Gean Rigby as organizational rookies set to debut after Miggy Mercedes, JC Rodriguez, Jhonny Rodriguez and Robert Mullen were welcomed just prior to the 2013 campaign. The additions usurp the absences of Jesus Zambrano and Victor Veliz, who have since ascended forth towards the AZL Papago facility following outstanding efforts previously while playing under the Caribbean affiliate, with Zambrano amassing a 3.16 FIP between his 14 outings (61 1/3 IP) as the youngest player in the organization by 51 weeks (Born 8/23/1996, Iolana Akau 8/31/1995). Zambrano equally produced a 48:12 K/BB as a 16 year old (18.8% K%/4.7% BB%) while permitting a mere 4 HRs (0.59 HR/9) to entrench himself within the 2014 AZL rotation. Joining shall be Victor Veliz after a sensational third campaign while participating amongst fellow Caribbean Oakland prospects, bursting through with a 2.91 FIP through his 71 frames with a 46:18 K/BB and a lone dinger allowed for the now 20 year old southpaw. Jesus Lopez, Oakland's $950,000 switch hitting second base acquisition hailing from Nicaraugua, shall debut domestically within Arizona as well, diminishing the buzz surrounding the DSL crop for the impending season. However, the ballclub still wields Carlos Hiciano, Juan Mendoza, Ivan Andueza, Robert Mullen, Eric Mariñez, and Luis Barrera as premier international farmhands represented in the Dominican this June. While not honed in upon by traditional MiLB outlets, the DSL is still a prominent league where numerous potential for the A's shall be housed through their summer crusade upon the island with recent successes such as Yairo Muñoz and Santiago Chavez and boasts a significant bounty of prospects Oakland fans ought to acquaint themselves with for upcoming years.
Headlining the attendees, Carlos Hiciano arrives as another July 2nd asset snatched by the Athletics to complement Jesus Lopez as the center field and shortstop prospect inked for $750,000 and revered for his sensational athleticism, garnering 70 grades for his speed while possessing a tremendous amount of arm strength, plus bat speed, and line drive tendencies that are projected to develop gradually into dingers as the 6'2", 175 pound 17 year old Dominican physically matures. Easily the most anticipated prospect for the A's present within the academy, Hiciano ought to star for the DSL bunch while grappling with the adversity that will accompany his initial foray into the professional ranks. Amongst this cast of DSLers however, Hiciano is undoubtedly the centerpiece for the Athletics, with the potentiality to emerge as a top 20 organizational prospect for the green and gold.
Despite the absences of Jean Carlo Rodriguez and Miggy Mercedes with their departures to Arizona to compete within the AZL circuit, the teenage contingent still is heavily represented positionally between the thunderous might of Luis Barrera and the blooming potential of Jhonny Rodriguez who each rightfully demonstrated their raw capabilities throughout to Dominican schedule during the 2013 campaign. Luis Barrera, the hefty 6'1", 195 pound 18 year old surged forth to lead the ballclub in HRs (4) while finishing forth to Eric Mariñez and the afforementioned duo of Jean Carlo and Jhonny Rodriguez with a cumulative XBH (13) within a truncated professional debut for Barrera, who was absent for the entirety of August with a hand fracture. Still, within his 149 plate appearance sample size, the then 17 year old firmly established himself as one of the premier short season power oriented farmhands for Oakland, amassing a .198 ISO in the often oppressive DSL confines as the righty corner outfield and potential first base prospect strung together a .190/.302/.389 slash line with a 12.1% BB% (18:22 BB/K) and an additional 107 wRC+. The lackluster average was attributable to a sour .196 BABIP that wasn't the slightest bit indicative of Barrera's potentiality as the highest grossing amateur signee of the 2012 period ($450,000) and DPL alumni promises to establish himself as an offensive juggernaut and assured AZL participant for the 2015 campaign once completed with this upcoming assigmment.
While significantly less developed than Barrera, Jhonny Rodriguez additionally inked for a six figure sum ($300,000) out of the Dominican Republic and was bestowed with the honors as the youngest positional individual within the organization (Born 7/20/1196) and proceeded to partake with his initial DSL campaign as a 16 year old, primarily manning all outfield posts while acquiring a lone and perculiar outing at second base. While severely inept for durations throughout the season, Rodriguez still was able to compile admirable stretches to offset his predictable struggles, hitting .313/.329/.450 during his final month through August (82 PAs) to boost his cumulative statistical marks to a 92 wRC+, .247/.283/.363 slash, .116 ISO and .301 BABIP despite only walking in a mere 11 instances through his 267 PA organizational opening debut. Regardless, Rodriguez still demonstrated his offensive worth despite the subpar discipline with a squad best 15 doubles and short season leading seven triples that reinforces his potential approaching his sophomore stint all prior to his 18th birthday.
Complementing the positional headliners upon the ballclub are returning assets that drove the Caribbean bunch through their most recent attempt, including the rather stunning retainment of Rodolfo Penalo after a phenomenal breakthrough crusade during his fourth try within the island academy, producing a .311/.422/.404 slash, .415 wOBA, 151 wRC+, and 13.6% BB% (25:21 BB/K) and an organizational leading 29 stolen bases (39 attempts) despite only playing in 51 contests for the DSL Athletics. The 5'7", 130 switch hitting 2B/CF leadoff specialist is one of the most unique individuals under contract for Oakland, and seemingly established himself as an AZL applicant for the 2014 campaign. However, possibly due to injury, Penalo shall not debut instantly with Phoenix for the time being, although could ascend towards Papago at some instance during this calendar year. Joining Rodolfo, another intriguing prospect that has been restricted to the Dominican has been Sandber Pimentel, the consistent corner outfield asset that slotted second behind Penalo upon the DSL wRC+ leaderboard (129) while accumulating a .255/.353/.422 slash line, .377 wOBA and .167 ISO for the stout 6'3", 220 pound 18 year old after showcasing an outstanding amount of improvement comparatively to his initial attempt in regards to his power rate, smacking 10 XBH (2 HR) within his 119 PAs with a respectable 12.6% BB% (15:22 BB/K) that was actually worse than his 18.5% BB% rate during his 2012 go-around. Still, despite maintaining his discipline while bolstering that with a revitalized approach and definitive physical maturation at the plate, 19th round draftee from the 2012 Draft, Robert Martinez, had graduated towards Arizona in favor of Pimentel, who seemingly shall have to grapple once more with competition he is blatantly superior to. With another stellar trot through the DSL, Oakland will be unable to deny the sibling of the former Texas farmhand, Guillermo Pimentel, entry to the stateside rookie league facility.
Rounding out the offensive contingent, Robert Mullen, Barry Hernandez, Andys Silva, Eric Mariñez, and Raymond Rivas shall undoubtedly be stalwart contributors for the bunch through the 2014 campaign, with none above the age of 20. Mitchell Martes, Javier Godard and Miguel Guzman additionally reacclimate to the competition as now practical veterans to the facility, with each unfortunately struggling through their previous attempts. For Robert Mullen however, the 6'0" Panaminian backstop who shall usurp starting duties following the triumphant departure of Santiago Chavez, the soon-to-be 18 year old's sophomore campaign could very well propel him to the forefront of international prospects within the Athletics organization, after his sterling defensive exploits coupled with plus contributions at the plate for a newly acquainted teenager find him in a similar position to the now notable Santiago Chavez, who has graduated the DSL academy and found himself assigned directly to Midland to momentarily serve as a cog for the ailing Ryan Lipkin after sustaining a knee injury and has since been rewarded for his brilliant performance with a permanent post within Wisconsin. Mullen, the Panaminian brotherin of Jean Carlo Rodriguez, shined with his .267/.340/.367 slash and 115 wRC+ while bursting through August with a feverish 13-39 stretch with 5 XBH to close his campaign after finally settling into a groove. Now on the verge of a breakthrough, Mullen is assuredly a pivotal asset to the ballclub now having been bestowed with catching duties the the entirety of 2014 while occasionally divvying opportunities with Miguel Guzman, Barry Hernandez, and newly inked Jesus Monserratt. Eric Yoel Mariñez, the switch hitting DPL bred middle infield plug lassoed in for $95,000 by Oakland, additionally flashed promising performances for the Dominican cast to finish with a .246/.293/.351 mark (12:53 BB/K) while bashing 12 doubles and three triples to make him one of the more prominent offensive threats throughout the academy. While originally being pronounced as the switch hitting asset, Yoelie Mariñez floundered against lefties while batting right handed, going 3-43 with 18 strikeouts and a lone walk while batting .305/.354/.430 versus righties as a left-hander thus possibly prompting the organization to shift him should the trend be prolonged. Luis "Barry" Hernandez, nicknamed after Barry Bonds for his awe inspiring batting practice shows while participating with the Columbian national squad, and Andys Silva each impressed with their discipline capabilities through their initial stint for Oakland, with each amassing BB% rates north of 13.0% that didn't necessarily salvage their overall statistical measures thanks to BABIP percentages each below .270. Andys Silva, the Venezuelan middle infield asset, was far superior against southpaws during his debut romp last summer and features primarily as a defensive and utility specialist with line drive capabilities at the plate. Raymond Rivas, another Venezuelan infielder, possesses greater physical potential than Silva, standing 6'1", 185 pounds compared to Silva's modest 5'11", 160 pound frame and equally weilds an entirely different approach, rather opting for a swing first mentality as opposed to Andys' patience with beneficial results as Rivas amassed a .323 BABIP to rank fourth upon the entire club despite his horrendous eight cumulative walks drawn through his 194 plate appearances. Miguel Guzman and Mitchell Martes, both humongous teenage farmhands (6'2", 210 and 6'5", 215) have each struggled thus far offensively for the DSL bunch, with Martes featuring as an intriguing asset hailing from the Netherlands after inking for $50,000 from Aruba to coincide with Shawn Duinkerk as another Aruban pressence for Oakland.
Alongside these shall be debuting rookie acquisitions such as Yhoelnys Gonzalez, Jesus Monserratt and Gean Rigby, with Rigby and Momserratt being the first individuals signed by Oakland to have been born in 1997. Yhoelnys, inked on July 25th, was the corresponding transaction following the splash of Carlos Hiciano and Jesus Lopez for a cumulative $1.7M. Yhoelnys, the 6'1", 170 pound center field prospect deviously participated in Miami showcases with his travel ballclub out of Venezuela and has recieved acclaim for his smooth swing mechanics and athleticism. Gean Rigby, another center field asset and the second Nicaraguan addition following Jesus Lopez, bolsters a potent outfield cast as a 6'1", 180 pound developing offensive weapon with current gap power for the teenager having just recently turned 17. Another 17 year old, the Venezeulan backstop of Jesus Monserratt complements a solid catching contingent and shall shadow Guzman, Hernandez and Mullen behind the plate as he gradually garners professional experience within the academy.
Upon the mound, losses of the remarkable sensation of Jesus Zambrano and outstandingly consistent southpaw, Victor Veliz, still don't squander the potential upon the ballclub with sophomores Ivan Andueza and Juan Mendoza figuring to anchor the rotation after once more following admirable initial stints within the starting bunch for the Venezuelan lefty in Andueza and the Dominican All-Star representative in Mendoza. Andueza, formally a teenage injury replacement option upon the VWL Lara squad, is hardly an imposing pressence upon the mound as he conjures comparisons to another diminutive Venezuelan arm in Ronnie Herrera; despite Andueza actually being older than the Snappers rotation staple (2/7/1995). Andueza, standing at 5'11", 175 pounds, neutralized opposing offenses with a 2.93 FIP amassed between his 67 IP with a 49:23 BB/K (17.2% K%/7.7% BB%) to coincide with a lone HR permitted and a 1.39 GB/FB produced thanks in part to a plus changeup. It was a stellar performance that firmly places the lefty in consideration for Arizona duties even prior to the opening of the Papago schedule for 2014 should he dominate initially, attempting to become the first mid-season promotion from the DSL academy since Gregory Paulino. Juan Mendoza surprisingly enough even exceeded the southpaw's output himself:
"Want an international sleeper that's even more so hidden than Ronald Herrera or Jesus Zambrano? Look no further. Mendoza, also born in 1996, was 17 throughout the previous DSL campaign in what was his debut professional season as well. In the process of his debut, he received a DSL All-Star game berth alongside Jean Carlo Rodriguez and featured as one of the more reliable producers of a developing Dominican bunch. As he accumlulated his 71 2/3 IP, he would amass one of the most outstanding groundball rates of any rookie league Oakland prospect while walking 21 (7.1% BB%) and allowing a minuscule two dingers to compensate for a less than desirable 42 strikeouts (14.1% K%). The numbers translate to a 3.44 FIP, and a even more pristine 1.88 ERA for the Venezeulan. Unlike his fellow countrymen, Zambrano and Herrera, Mendoza has a greater physical potential (6'2", 175 pounds) and has optimistism revolving amongst his projection. But despite that recent success, the organization seems skewed towards retaining Mendoza in the Dominican for another campaign, with a probable AZL promotion in July/August. He'll turn 18 on April 15th"
Accompanying the rotation assets are intriguing potential riddlied pieces such as Jesus Rivas, a recently converted arm from his previous outfield post in an attempt to reciprocate Jensi Peralta's conversion success after the righty went 13 2/3 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 7 K as the squad's closer through 2013. Anderson Mata, inked alongside Jose Torres as another Venezuelan lefty, shall attempt to finally congeal and ascend to Arizona while the former Miami farmhand Kevin Ferrera (27 2/3 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 12 BB, 36 K) attempts to duplicate his previous dominance. Yonalis Delgadillo and Elihoref Suniaga return following absences while Wilfredo Magallanes, Jose Trejo, and Argenis Blanco, and the Puerto Rican Philip Ortiz return after debut campaigns during 2013. Yordy Alejo, Angel Duno and Reynaldo Hoyos reacclimate as DSL juniors present at the facility while Emerson Nelo and Jhenderson Hurtado attempt to debut alongside Ruber Aquino, Enmanuel Sullivan, Jorge Martinez, Santiago Rodriguez, Gerardo Vilchez and Jean Carlo Ruiz Torres despite being present but unable to contend through the 2013 calendar year.
Monday, May 12, 2014
With the opening of campaigns throughout the country between Beloit, Midland, Sacramento and Stockton, most have forgotten that the remaining outcasts yet to be assigned towards any full season affiliate have been participating within a regimen amongst their fellow Papago counterparts versus opposing organizations down in Arizona, having yet to see their March schedule shift until the Vermont and AZL campaigns get underway in June. Still tethered to Phoenix are such notable farmhands as Jesus Zambrano, Justin Higley, Chris Kohler, Dustin Driver, Yario Muñoz, Jesus Lopez, and Jose Torres who were retained due to inexperience, youth, inconsistency or just sheer inability to cram them onto an available roster as this bunch of misfits contends for injury replacement duties prior to Lake Monster roster configurations in the approaching month. Joining me to update on this seldom addressed sector of the farm system is 26th round acquisition from the 2013 Draft, Kyle Wheeler, the catcher hailing from Mississippi and a previous interviewee for this very blog who provided some intriguing insight on the Arizona proceedings thus far:
CK: Hey there Kyle. As a catcher, how have the guys upon the mound looked thus far? Anybody in particular that's stood out through the first month?
KW: I've been beyond impressed with Jesus Zambrano. The kid is 17 years old and can dominate players at this level already. The stuff he has is quite impressive. Next I would have to say Blake McMullen, he has came in and shown up to play every outing. Great command of all three pitches and the movement he has developed on his two seam and change up makes him even more special!... Blake's last two outings consisted of 8 IP has only allowed one hit while only walking one batter in 14 innings. He's an old country boy from the south, similarly to [Drew] Granier, and he's got that attitude that he will beat you even if you beat him nine out of ten times... He's gonna be damn sure he gets you that last time that counts.
AJ Burke and Jon Massad equally have came in doing great jobs as well! Both guys have come in and dominated the bottom of the strike zone. And of course Dustin Driver... What a difference from the AZL to this Spring! He commands his fastball from 93-96.... Key word he is *commanding*. He has gained a lot of confidence in all his pitches and looks like a completely different pitcher.
Chris Kohler has been on the DL with a sore shoulder. Shockingly Cody Kurz has been better and better every outing, but not sold on the control he's having yet. Kurz and I have developed a good catcher-pitcher relationship and every time I've caught him he's done well, just hoping he can adjust to other catchers. Jose Torres has been ok, spotty at times with command but when he has it he's lethal. And Jensi Peralta is the same as Torres. More trouble with command than Torres though. But a big improvement from last season in the AZL.
CK: What about on the offensive side? Again, anybody in particular that has been noticeable?
KW: Man, there's no individual that is out hitting one another... We have all swung the bats well! If I had to separate two people it would be Dayton Alexander and Brett Vertigan. Those guys have a chip on their shoulder and have shown it. Vertigan with easily five or six triples and two HRs in extended. And clutch with runners in scoring position. And Dayton just competes... Hard day in and day out like it's his last game to play. Most impressive offensively since spring started though would be Seongmin Kim. He has gone with a new approach and crushes balls now.
CK: A couple guys in particular that interest me are AJ Kubala and Justin Higley. Kubala came in as a high schooler and struck out in over half of his plate appearances through his AZL debut in 2013 and Justin Higley was pretty well deserving of Beloit this season. What have been your impressions on them thus far?
KW: AJ [Kubala] is a hard nosed worker who puts in more work than anyone in their free time. He's made several adjustments and is a lot shorter to the ball which will eliminate the strikeouts. I expect a big season from him wherever it is that he will be playing. He's young with a lot of upside in him, it's just putting it all together consistently that will make him the true player that he is capable of being... Higley has had a good spring. I hate he didn't break camp because he's a great player, but Boogie [Powell] and [Bijon] Boyd both were in front of him.
CK: What about the man in question... Yourself. How has the spring been treating you out in Arizona?
KW: [Laughs] I've improved tremendously since camp has started! Went from throwing 2.1's to 1.8's [Home to second] and Gabriel Ortiz has helped me a lot. It's definitely starting to show! I came in a little slow on the hitting side, late on a lot of fastballs, but have worked with our hitting coaches and more on time and ready to hit now. To me, it's all about being patient and buying into what your trying to learn from your coaches and it has benefited me a tremendous amount.
CK: How has the facial hair situation been too? I hope you keep growing it to Derek Norris lengths like we promised...
KW: [Laughs] Oh man, Dusty Brown gives me crap about it everyday but still growing it out! Got another five months before I even think about cutting it.
CK: Dusty Brown is just a crotchety old man
KW: That is the truest statement about Dusty!
CK: Hope everything else goes well out in Papago, Wheelie. And get out to Stockton ASAP
KW: Hope to get there sooner than later!
Noted, Blake McMullen is a 6'1", 205 righty hailing from the NAIA institution of the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma who accumulated 24 2/3 frames within the AZL during his 2013 campaign following his 29th round acquisition and amassed a 20:14 K/BB while permitting a lone dinger. Seemingly demonstrating his offseason improvement through this spring stretch, McMullen additionally flashed reasons for optimism during his initial professional stint with a 1.29 GB/FB ratio. While not spoken of as highly, Jensi Peralta enters as an intriguing farmhand following the 22 year old Venezuelan's conversion towards the mound following a lackluster offensive stretch for Oakland between the Dominican academy and the AZL, now entering his third campaign since his shift after a mere frame pitched during 2012 and 18 IP accumulated through 2013 with an erratic 19:13 K/BB with no HRs and a 1.33 GB/FB. The sample size is misiscule for Peralta, but his probable Vermont assignment makes him an interesting and underrated relieving prospect to monitor. AJ Burke and Jon Massad each participated in AZL exclusive attempts as well, with Burke having his campaign abruptly hindered by an injury as the 31st (Burke) and 25th (Massad) round pickups each completed successful debuts with Massad amassing a 24:5 K/BB within his 30 IP (3 HR/2.19 GB:FB) and AJ Burke went 29 H, 18 ER (1 HR), 6 BB, 18 K in his 20 2/3 IP. Cody Kurz, the 8th round asset plucked from Oxnard College in the 7th round during 2012, featured as a hulking former linebacker recruit that was essentially selected as a potential exclusive option, struggling nightly to command while partaking against collegiate competion. That inconsistency transitioned forth into the professional ranks after walking 29 in his 21 2/3 IP while punching out a mere nine before succumbing to an injury that squandered the entirety of his 2013, thus entering this campaign as a perculiar and fascinating bullpen option to watch. Positionally, Seongmin Kim arrives as one of Oakland's most high profile Pacific Rim assets as the most hefty international acquisition between the 2011 and 2012 signing periods after inking for $510,000 before the Korean backstop partook in a debut campaign within the Australian academy before being flown domestically to the southwest. Kim has been stunted however attributable to physical roadbumps, only amassing 55 plate appearances thus far within the AZL. Eligible for Vermont, the 21 year old receives unanimous acclaim for his offensive capabilities and reportedly has improved vastly defensively with his reactions behind the plate, establishing this 2014 as a potential breakthrough campaign for Seongmin.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
For Oakland, Buss facilitates the rotated outfield post upon the ballclub between he and Jake Goebbert with the pair promising to split between LF and DH through most Sacramento lineup configurations. Thus far, Buss has gone 2-8 for the Kittens with a HBP while debuting in his initial two contests for the A's organization, ironically enough versus his former ballclub in Albuquerque. While still participating with the Isotopes during this campaign, Buss went 24-92 with a 8:12 BB/K and 7 XBH (1 HR) in an uninspiring effort that convinced LAD to dispose of the 27 year old lefty. Sacramento should continue to utilize Buss through the upcoming months, as currently he and Shane Peterson are the only 40 man outfield members upon the Rivercats while Taylor and Goebbert still fiercely contend to alter their situation. In correspondence to the inheritance of Buss, AJ Griffin was placed upon the 60 Day DL and still provides Oakland with the TJS scheduled Raul Alcantara to await his 60 Day DL assignment, thus freeing another potential position should Oakland require a vacancy.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Announced this evening, Oakland's #1 overall pitching farmhand in Raul Alcantara shall undergo Tommy John surgery after receiving a MRI in Arizona following a DL assignment for the ever ominous "elbow soreness". For Alcantara, the 21 year old Dominican Andrew Bailey trade acquisition, it signifies a devastating blow to the organization after his offseason 40 man amnesty to avoid Rule 5 suitors from nabbing him and breakthrough 2013 campaign between Stockton and Beloit in which Alcantara amassed a 2.91 FIP within Wisconsin (77 1/3 IP) and a 4.21 marker with the Ports (79 IP) after an abysmal 2012 attempt with Burlington as a 19 year old. Hailed as possessing the best developing changeup in the organization, while bolstering that with a plus fastball, the 6'3" righty dispatched any opposing competition consistently through 2013 while walking a mere 24 batters amongst 649 faced (3.7% BB%) to earn honors as the most precision precise pitcher within the Oakland organization. And aside from a 3 HR contest versus Rancho Cucamonga, Raul was exquisite with limiting hard hit and home run contact, accumulating a 1.72 GB/FB ratio between the two affiliates.
Having sufficiently convinced the organization of his standing, Alcantara was bestowed with a Midland assignment five months past his 21st birthday following his first initial MLB spring camp and would impress with an eight inning effort (8 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K) en route to a victory. In his second outing, the strikeout percentages rebounded for the 180 pounder, going 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K to secure the Texas League pitcher of the week honor prior his most recent performance. Unfortunately, Alcantara would encounter his first roadbump of his Rockhound tenure as the youngster went 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K against San Antonio and threw only 49 of his 84 pitches for strikes. It was the first contest since June 23rd, Alcantara's California League debut, in which he walked more than he struck out and his first 3+ BB effort after only walking three or more twice throughout 2013. It would be revealed that Alcantara was suffering from discomfort though, contributing to his struggles, and was promptly placed upon the disabled list and shipped to Arizona where it has been discovered that he shall have to take part in reconstructive UCL surgery should he ever wish the pitch again. Raul ought to be eligible by May 2015 at the earliest, but could be absent for all of the 2015 season as well depending upon his recuperation. He'll likely be assigned to Midland once more when prepared.
For Oakland, already witnessing the other top pitching prospects in Michael Ynoa and Bobby Wahl land upon the DL a month into the season, it serves as a brutal loss to an organization already ailing
Thursday, May 1, 2014
With the initial month of the Athletics MiLB slate having concluded, the monthly accolades are set to be distributed to the most sensational performers throughout the first 25 contests of the season with Beloit, Stockton, Midland and Sacramento each presenting worthy potential recipients for the player and pitcher of the month. Between the seven dingers of Chad Pinder and dominant closing efforts of Seth Frankoff to Billy Burns' thirteen swiped bags and Tim Atherton's near perfection, the Oakland affiliates have surely had their fair amount of memorable outings from their positional representatives and arms upon the mound, as Sacramento, Stockton and Midland current all are afloat above the .500 threshold at a cumulative 44-34 record while Beloit resides at 8-17. From the individuals themselves, recognizable moments and lasting performances, here is Oakland's MiLB April in summary:
MiLB Player of the Month:
Ladendorf, a predominant utility middle infield asset acquired from Minnesota for Orlando Cabrera, has been restricted to Midland for the vast majority of his professional tenure for the Athletics, while having yet to acquire any NRI status during the spring exhibitions and therefore having yet to participate in a major league camp. The platoon oriented second baseman, expected to coincide with Addison Russell in Texas to commence the 2014 campaign, was lifted forth to Sacramento following the departure of Jake Elmore to the disabled list with a quadricep issue and enabled Ladendorf to partake in an opening Sacramento assignment for the second consecutive season. With 2014 being Ladendorf's final year under Oakland ownership prior to MiLB free agency, the organization opted to dismiss his paltry 3-28 stint with the Kittens before a prompt exile to the Rockhounds beforehand, after Ladendorf would then complete his tenure with Midland having amassed a .263/.340/.398 slash, 27:45 BB/K (8.9% BB%/14.9% K%), 109 wRC+, .135 ISO and a .331 wOBA in, while a career best production, still did not seemingly warrant a PCL assignment. However, he was immediately inserted into a brimming Rivercat middle infield alongside the stalwart Hiroyuki Nakajima and newcomers in that of Jose Martinez and Alden Carrithers. Instantly, Ladendorf excelled and forcibly carved a roster position for himself in a sensational breakthrough for the 5'11", 190 pounder after a stretch of seven consecutive plate appearances in which the 26 year old reached (Tied for the organizational best with Boogie Powell) and a duration of nine out of fourteen PAs. Ladendorf has been a premium catylst for Sacramento, constructing a 15:13 BB/K, .482 OBP and .440 wOBA alongside a 168 wRC+ and a continued appreciation towards left handed pitching (10-24 versus LHP). With his performance, Anthony Aliotti and Hiroyuki Nakajima have rather been the casualties for Jake Elmore and Andy Parrino instead of the recognizable Midland figure of Dorf, as he has permanently secured himself a Sacramento berth for the remainder of 2014 with his production with a necessary month to outlast the MiLB revelation of Aliotti and the previously presumed middle infield solution for the Athletics in Nakajima. Ladendorf is the second consecutive Rivercat to receive the accolade in April, joining Stephen Vogt from the 2013 campaign.
Chad Pinder: 108 PAs, .324/.361/.657, 7 HR, 3 3B, 7 2B, 32-102, 5 BB, 22 K, .333 ISO, .438 wOBA, 172 wRC+
Jake Goebbert: 88 PAs, .303/.398/.579, 4 HR, 2 3B, 5 2B, 23-76, 11 BB, 12 K, .276 ISO, .424 wOBA, 157 wRC+
Boogie Powell: 112 PAs, .348/.455/.457, 1 HR, 2 3B, 3 2B, 17 BB, 15 K, .111 ISO, .423 wOBA, 162 wRC*
Alden Carrithers: 93 PAs, .337/.473/.437, 1 HR, 0 3B, 4 2B, 16 BB, 11 K, .099 ISO, .422 wOBA, 155 wRC+
Max Muncy: 115 PAs, .289/.426/.400, 1 HR, 1 3B, 5 2B, 22 BB, 14 K, .111 ISO, .389 wOBA, 158 wRC+
Daniel Robertson: 118 PAs, .307/.407/.446, 2 HR, 8 2B, .139 ISO, .390 wOBA, 140 wRC+
MiLB Pitcher of the Month:
Streich, after arriving upon his 6th round selection from at the University of Ohio, vacillated between relief and rotation facilities before being plopped into the Snappers starting cast during the previous campaign. After a seesaw tenure through the Midwest League, Streich would be derailed thanks to a shoulder ailment that squandered his August and any probable instructional league assignment. The lanky right hander still managed to impress enough with a extremely plus groundball percentage and a mere two dingers (0.16 HR/9) permitted within his 110 2/3 frames and 21 outings that coincided with a 3.47 FIP, 16.8% K%, 8.4% BB% to vault him up to California. After participating in the treacherous California League for his first month, Streich has astounded and established himself as a breakthrough farmhand for the Athletics after a 26 2/3 IP, 18 H, 7 R (0 HR), 7 BB, 30 K statistical résumé amassed alongside a 2.76 GB/FB in what equates to a 2.36 FIP. Streich also submitted one of the most outstanding performances of the month, going 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K in Inland Empire and most recently retiring 17 of 19 versus High Desert in Banner Island after allowing three consecutive hits to open the contest. Wielding a 92-94 FB with a plus curveball and slider, Streich has the intangibles to breeze through to Midland should this production be prolonged through May.
Tim Atherton: 28 1/3 IP, 24 H, 10 ER (3 HR), 8 BB, 29 K, 3.77 FIP, 24.8% K%, 6.8% BB%, 2.06 GB/FB
Murphy Smith: 21 2/3 IP, 9 H, 1 R (0 HR), 4 BB, 16 K, 2.21 FIP, 21.9% K%, 5.5% BB%, 1.69 GB/FB
Seth Frankoff: 11 2/3 IP, 9 H, 2 ER (1 HR), 4 BB, 19 K, 1.75 FIP, 38.8% K%, 8.2% BB%, 6.50 GB/FB
Sam Bragg: 17 2/3 IP, 9 H, 3 ER (1 HR), 4 H, 17 K, 3.60 FIP, 25.4% K%, 6.0% BB%, 1.67 GB/FB
Tucker Healy: 11 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 HR), 1 BB, 17 K, 1.90 FIP, 41.2% K%, 2.4% BB%, 0.67 GB/FB
Chris Lamb: 16 IP, 8 H, 4 ER (1 HR), 4 BB, 21 K, 2.54 FIP, 35.0% K%, 6.7% BB%, 2.26 GB/FB
Offensive Performance of the Month:
Conner Crumbliss (April 29th. 0-1, 5 BB):
Crumbliss has been forcibly made to capitalize upon his versatility for the Rockhounds, shuttled to Texas after initially commencing upon Sacramento's roster to replace Addison Russell and vacate a position for Michael Taylor's reacclimation into the organization, now having split opportunities between 2B, CF and LF for Midland while even requested to appear in a pitching capacity for the first instance since 2011 during his hectic 2014 campaign thus far within Texas. Unfortunately not acquiring the fortune of Tyler Ladendorf, Crumbliss still has yet to accumulate a sufficient Rivercat opportunity after a sporadic and brief 2013 stay with the ballclub while partaking in his PCL debut. While not the assignment he necessarily had desired, Crumbliss still is demonstrating why he possesses what is unanimously regarded as some of the most exquisite plate discipline within the system, having churned out a 19:15 BB/K through April including a mindboggling five walk contest, a performance that earns the petite outfielder the award of the most awe inspring positional outing of the month. Never having drawn more than four walks in a single outing throughout his professional career, Crumbliss' production was simply astounding as the 2009 draftee amassed the same amount walks in a lone contest as Josh Whitaker, Bruce Maxwell, Chad Pinder, and Renato Nuñez have had all through April. For the 5'8" discipline specialist stuck in Texas League purgatory, more performances such as this hopefully ought to convince the organization to permanently saddle Crumbliss with a Sacramento roster post.
D'Arby Myers (April 13th): 4-4, HR, 3B, BB
Boogie Powell (April 19th): 3-3, HR, 2B, BB
Chad Pinder: (April 12th): 4-4, 2 HR
Jake Goebbert (April 21st): 2-2, 2 HR, BB
Jose "Santiago" Chavez (April 18th): 1-2, BB
Pitching Performance of the Month:
Tim Atherton (April 24th. 7 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K):
Easily the recipient of this award, Atherton flirting with perfection at Banner Island Ballpark harkened back to Tanner Peters' August 9th effort of 25 consecutive retired prior a 9th inning double and marked the second outing from a Ports rotation member to preserve a perfect outing into the 8th inning over the previous 20 cumulative games in Stockton, as Tim Atherton equally was propelled under the scrutiny of Dallas Braden at Stockton Ballpark on the 24th before a single shattered any aspirations of finalizing the 4th perfect game in California League history. After retiring 22 straight, Atherton permitted a double and then consequently another single to erase any potential shutout possibilities before the departing the contest and heading towards the disabled list with arm fautigue attributable to this very performance. Regardless, his mastery of the Lake Elsinore lineup plants the Australian upon the list as the most memorable start through April
Tim Atherton (April 19th): 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K
Seth Streich (April 17th): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K
Shawn Haviland (April 26th): 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Raul Alcantara (April 6th): 8 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Sean Murphy (April 20th): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Kris Hall (April 25th):
After Stockton found themselves confronted with a deficit, Kris Hall donned the mound attempting the preserve the differential as it was before the Ports had an opportunity to bash their way back into the ballgame. And following a brief and relatively uneventful first frame for the flamethrowing Cleveland native, Hall would have the most erratic inning possible for a relief arm as the righty would walk three batters on 13 pitches and then struck out three on a nine pitches with the bases loaded... With all nine pitches being swinging strikes. Witnessing it in person, it was quite the experience to see Hall squirm out of a seemingly innevitable situation, leading to what would be an eventual 6-5 Stockton walkoff victory following a Dusty Robinson game tying single and Ryon Healy infield single to claim their third straight out of six consecutive. For Hall, who has seesawed thus far while housed within Stockton, the latter portion of his second inning was the single most dominant sequence from any pitcher I personally have ever witnessed.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
With Oakland having previously acquired Jesus Lopez ($950,000), Carlos Hiciano ($750,000), Ruber Aquino, Enmanuel Sullivan and Yhoelnys Gonzalez, the Athletics continue their international spree with the acquisitions of Gean Rigby, Jesus Monserratt and Alexander Calderon on five figure contracts to bolster the respective 2014 DSL roster for Oakland. Gean Ribgy (Alternative spelling of "Rygby"), the second Nicaraguan after Jesus Lopez plucked by the Athletics, features as a 6'0", 180 pound center fielder who now currently is the youngest player in the organization after being born on Jaunary 7th, 1997. While information upon Rigby is minimal, there are multiple videos regarding the youngster:
Jesus Monserratt, a 180 pound Venezuelan catcher, and Alexander Calderdon, a projectable 6'3" southpaw, additionally enter the organization with Monserratt serving as the second player born in 1997 under Oakland ownership (1/3/1997). Ruber Aquino, born 12/29/1996, is the third youngest while Jesus Zambrano, the 16 year old DSL standout the promises the feature within the AZL rotation through 2014, still pertains as the 6th youngest player in the organization despite signing in 2013. Alexander Calderon joins Kevin Ferrera, Jhenderson Hurtado, Ivan Andueza, Reynaldo Hoyos and Anderson Mata as lefties upon the DSL roster with Victor Veliz headed towards Arizona. Jesus Monserratt replaces the recently departed Santiago Chavez and shall compete with Robert Mullen (Panama), Barry Hernandez (Columbia) and Miguel Guzman (Dominican Republic) for backstop duties in the international academy this summer.
Replicating the exploits of Tanner Peters during the previous August, Tim Atherton shot forth into Oakland Athletics MiLB fame with a sensational performance after retiring the initial 22 individuals in which he combated for the Ports versus Lake Elsinore following an outstanding outing against Inland Empire, going 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 10 K to shatter an initial three game organizational debut stretch during which Atherton floundered following two straight campaigns in the Midwest League. The Australian and Rule 5 asset plucked from Minnesota, Atherton has been released by two organizations (Minnesota, San Diego) after partaking in his professional debut as an outfielder prior to conversion as an 18 year old before Minnesota acquired him once more and permanently shifted the Aussie to the mound. Afterwards, Atherton began to gradually ascend through upward to the Midwest League, where the righty amassed 31 appearances and 11 outings within the Cedar Rapids rotation during his 2013 campaign, accumulating a spotless 2.94 FIP between 95 2/3 IP, a 25.5% K%, 8.3% BB% (102:33 K/BB), and a 0.38 HR/9 (4 HR) including his only double digit strikeout performance occurring versus Beloit through an eight inning effort in August. Now having settled in Stockton, Atherton seemingly has bucked his California League hazing with a cumulative 13 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 19 K output in his previous two appearances which have established the 24 year old as a promotion candidate should this continue, as his plus curveball and fastball placement have completely devastated opposing lineups. During his most recent romp, Atherton became the second Stockton starter over the previous 20 contests as Banner Island Ballpark to preserve a perfect game into the 8th inning after Tanner Peters, with his performance being observed by Dallas Braden on Thursday evening nonetheless.
Additionally, as Atherton has burst into MiLB prominence, the Stockton Ports as a ballclub have excelled with four consecutive victories which has in part been fueled through Ryon Healy's breakthrough, as the 2013 draftee and Midwest League fugitive has gone 7-21 with 6 XBH (3 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B), 3 BB and 4 K over his previous six contests following a putrid 2-36 skid to open his California League tenure. Healy has also smacked a dinger in two straight games and had recorded a walkoff base hit for Stockton in two of their previous three for the Ports, endearing himself to Stockton and seemingly dismissing any discussion regarding demotion for the 3rd round acquisition. Also, Billy McKinney, while 2-9 over his last three bouts, has amassed a 6:1 BB/K within that span as the first rounder has walked in six consecutive contests now to vastly bolster his discipline marks following his dinger barrage towards the earlier portions of the campaign. Matt Olson, Daniel Robertson, and Aaron Shipman have shined through the Ports previous couple wins, as Stockton snatched the opening bout versus High Desert in 10 frames after Hunter Adkins' rotation debut (3 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R [1 HR], 2 BB, 4 K) and a dominant bullpen performance between Jonathan Joseph, Nolan Sanburn and Tucker Healy who combined for a cumulative statistical mark of 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K to stamp a Stockton victory and improve to 11-11. Renato Nuñez, after tweaking his shoulder during batting practice, has been absent for two straight as well.
Beloit, despite witnessing a 7-0 5th inning advantage evaporate as the Snappers were bested 10-8 versus Kane County and additionally were defeated 7-2 during their opening skirmish with Burlington, have a notable storyline emerging from Wisconsin despite their unfortunate 7-14 record with Sam Roberts appearing in his third contest upon the mound as a positional player. Roberts, the former rotation member while housed within his native Virginia for VMI during his collegiate campaign, went 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K in an 8th inning effort against Burlington and now wields a cumulative 6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 HR), 4 BB, 4 K line throughout his career for the 25 year old middle infielder. Roberts, during this third appearance, also went 3-3 with a BB and smacked a leadoff 9th inning double immediately following his relief frame as the aging Midwest League utility man currently stands at 8-28 with a 2B, 5 BB and 9 K for the Snappers. Roberts now currently is on pace to make 20 appearances upon the mound for Beloit as the Snappers have constantly sought out Roberts in instances where the turtles bullpen has been depleted, and a conversion could be probable at some point for the 2011 draftee, as Roberts' prospects to ascend to Stockton as a positional player seem extraordinarily bleak. Roberts additionally has struck out Byron Buxton during his impromptu pitching career while participating in the previous season for Beloit, as well as Houston prospect Danry Vasquez while in Vermont.
For the Snappers, Boogie Powell has continuously provided for the declining ballclub after now going 11-20 with a HR, 2B, 2 3B, and a 7 BB:1 K ratio over his previous six games for the turtles. Jaycob Brugman, another upstart, went 3-5 with a 3B and 2B during Beloit's finale to Kane County while being assisted by Ryan Huck (2-4, 3B), BA Vollmuth (1-5, 2B) and of course, Sam Roberts (2-3, BB) while Chris Lamb in a rotation effort in replacement of Dylan Covey after going 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K after Covey was stunted due to presumed precipitation. However, Covey did appear within the 5th inning and proceeded to struggle mightily for the Snappers, distributing four walks in 1 2/3 IP before succumbing to Lee Sosa and Stuart Pudenz, who also couldn't decipher the Cougar lineup. Ronald Herrera would additionally finally be nipped by BABIP percentages in Iowa after a four inning attempt before Sam Bragg relieved him during the latest Beloit defeat. Bragg, the Snappers most reliable bullpen chip thus far, chalked up another brilliant outing (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K) before perrenial relieving phenom, Sam Roberts, concluded the contest. Offensively, Tyler Marincov finally reestablished himself after a 2-4 (3B) performance while Boogie Powell's 1-2 (3 BB) output gave Beloit opportunities to score throughout the contest.
Midland dropped their finale to Corpus Christi as Andrew Werner and Jesus Castillo found it difficult to acclimate as Werner acquired the start in replacement of Raul Alcantara, who is recuperating from elbow soreness. Ryan Doolittle, recently promoted to Midland from Stockton, was outstanding inbetween while partaking in his AA Texas League debut following an inconsistent stretch of health that has stunted his ascent within the organization despite sparkling statistical results. Going 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 4 GB/1 GB, 42 pitches (31 strikes), Doolittle impressed enough to assure himself a prominent role for the Rockhound heading forward as the usurps Alcantara's position on the Rockhound roster. Offensively, Crumbliss' dinger highlighted the three runs plated by Midland while Chad Oberacker contributed with a 3-4 performance and Dusty Coleman went 2-3 (BB) to supplant the loss of Josh Whitaker, who exited in the 4th inning for Conner Crumbliss and was absent in the Hounds' most recent victory against San Antonio. The Rockhounds immediately capitalized upon a more inferior opponent yesterday, claiming a 2-0 win in 11 innings off a decisive two run Dusty Coleman double after a scoreless 10 frames led by Drew Granier, who precariously tightroped through six frames with a 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K before Murphy Smith dazzled through four frames with 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K before Seth Frankoff closed the contest and increased Midland to a 12-8 mark prior to Shawn Haviland's second 2014 Texas League outing. With Josh Whitaker restrained and Billy Burns acquiring an offday, Blake Forsythe participated in RF for Midland while Miles Head extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Sacramento has settled a 12-9 record following an initial split to El Paso after a subpar effort during Jake Elmore and Andy Parrino's 2014 Sacramento debuts despite Parrino excelling with a 2-3 (BB) performance and Jake Elmore going 0-2 (BB) while Anthony Aliotti's double and Shane Peterson's single were the only other base hits for the Kittens on the evening. Josh Lindblom and Paul Smyth struggled during the contest while Jeremy McBryde and Fernando Rodriguez were stellar in relief in appearances that couldn't salvage a Rivercat victory. Sacramento would rebound with a resounding performance in the following contest, plating 11 runs between the 7th and 8th frames including a Jake Goebbert grand slam to become the only non-Stockton player with four or more HRs on the campaign for Sacramento while Tyler Ladenforf once again was remarkable in a 3-5 outing to contrast with Mike Taylor and Ryan Ortiz who each successfully made it on-base four times (2-3, 2 BB). Nate Freiman (1-4, 2B, 2 BB), Shane Peterson 2-5 (BB), and Kent Matthes (0-2, 3 BB) all contributed to the victory as well with Kent Matthes walking three times to equal his cumulative walk total from his initial 15 games. Arnold Leon had an outstanding performance to support the production at the plate by going 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 5 GB/4 FB for the Kitty Cats.