Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oakland A's Top 102 Prospects: Offseason

Having suffered losses of prized assets such as Addidon Russell and Billy McKinney coupled with a draft boding lackluster position and zero additional compensation or competitive balance acquisitions, not to mention minimal incoming farmhands arriving via trades with the Athletics endorsing a competitive approach at the Major League level, Oakland's organizational status is most certainly not that of a high profile farm system at the moment having to presently bank upon short season depth blossoming forth and underrated gems defying expectations to retain their footing amidst the Stockton contingent of Robertson, Olson and Nuñez spearheading the organization's farm products. Hoping to contend and therefore possess a premiere developmental contingent, the Athletics optimistically would require another half decade to see the organization rocket upwards to the present standing of Chicago and Houston while still weilding the potential to breach into the upper echelon of organizational prospect stock during the upcoming couple campaigns with extremely high ceiling prospects such as Justin Higley, Carlos Hiciano, Tyler Willman, Yairo Muñoz, Heath Fillmyer, Jordan Schwartz, and Jose Torres dotting the system and boasting some outstanding potentiality. However, with the afforementioned bunch showcasing zero names with prior California League experience, the A's would be overjoyed to have a lone individual amongst the class achieve a portion of their prescribed ceiling. There's still optimism to be uncovered amongst the green and gold cast though with Matt Chapman, Daniel Robertson, Matt Olson, and Dillon Overton showcasing profiles nearly assured of major league opportunities plus Michael Ynoa, Dylan Covey, Renato Nuñez, Bobby Wahl, Dustin Driver, Chad Pinder, and Raul Alcantara additionally flashing plus attributes that could purchase them a major league payday and starting position within the foreseeable future. With the current cluster of Stockton talent now seemingly having been prepared to graduate towards the upper reaches of the MiLB ladder, Oakland must search elsewhere for their next batch of lesser level tools to dream off of with an upcoming Midwest League rotation potentially providing that as the Athletics shall ignite extremist competition between Daniel Gossett, Corey Walter, Chris Kohler, Dillon Overton, Dustin Driver, Brett Graves, Cody Stull, Jesus Zambrano, and Jordan Schwartz as likely candidates through spring that could potentially sweep through the organization as a unit as well. Benefitting graciously from Matt Chapman anchoring Midland as a prominent catylst through their postseason stretch three months plucked from amateur competition alongside breakthrough campaigns from the trio of Renato Nuñez, Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson as 20 year olds plopped in California, Oakland's system has demonstated resilience in the wake of tremendous casualties and present an intriguing gaggle of prospects to form the bedrock of their hopeful rise upwards towards one of the more respected farms within the realm of baseball once again. 

Listed below are the ~140 individuals that ought to be notable within the organization prior to the 2015 campaign as thirteen separate installments shall follow this post with an individual profile of each prospect. While officially closing at 102, the differentials were extraordinally marginal towards the bottom of the listing and thus any one of the prospects within that portion could skyrocket with a successful stint or mechanical tweak. Prospects whose 27th birthday has already occured or falls prior to MiLB opening day (April 9th, 2015) were deemed ineligible: 

1. Matt Chapman

2. Daniel Robertson

3. Raul Alcantara

4. Matt Olson

5. Dustin Driver

6. Renato Nuñez

7. Michael Ynoa

8. Bobby Wahl

9. Dillon Overton

10. Dylan Covey

11. Chad Pinder

12. Yairo Muñoz

13. Seth Streich

14. Max Muncy

15. Chris Kohler

16. Heath Fillmyer

17. Justin Higley

18. Bruce Maxwell

19. Branden Kelliher

20. Arnold Leon

21. Jordan Schwartz

22. Kyle Finnegan

23. Brett Graves

24. Boogie Powell

25. Daniel Gossett

26. Jaycob Brugman

27. Seong-Min Kim

28. Argenis Blanco

29. Jesus Lopez

30. Ryon Healy

31. Jesus Zambrano

32. Bobby Crocker

33. Trace Loehr

34. Carlos Hiciano

35. Drew Granier

36. Jose Torres

37. Tucker Healy

37. Tyler Willman

38. Austin House

39. Sam Bragg

40. Sandber Pimentel

41. Edwin Diaz

42. Tyler Marincov

43. Aaron Shipman

44. Kris Hall

45. Angel Duno

46. Brendan McCurry

47. Max Kuhn

48. Santiago Chavez

49. Robert Martinez

50. Lana Akau

51. Dakota Freese
52. Sean Murphy
53. Chris Jensen
54. Shawn Duinkerk
55. Jose Brizuela
56. Corey Walter
57. Tanner Peters
58. Miles Head
59. Jose Rivas
60. Rodolfo Peñalo
61. Branden Cogswell
62. Beau Taylor
63. Mike Fagan
64. Louie Trivino
65. Blake Hassebrock
66. Vicmal De La Cruz 
67. Josh Whitaker
68. Jake Sanchez
69. Seth Frankoff
70. Chris Lamb
71. Tyler Hollstegge
72. Ryan Dull
73. JP Sportman
74. Derek DeYoung
75. Carlos Navas
76. Lee Sosa
77. Argenis Raga
78. Junior Mendez
79. Cody Kurz
80. Koby Gauna
81. Luis Barrera
82. Philly Ortiz
83. Trent Gilbert
84. Matt Stalcup
85. Michael Soto
86. Ivan Andueza
87. Rob Huber
88. Joe Bennie
89. Eric Mariñez
90. Kevin Johnson
91. Brett Vertigan
92. David Montilla
93. Andres Avila
94. Melvin Mercedes
95. Derek Beasley
96. Ryan Mathews
97. Nick Rickles
98. Cody Stull
99. Robert Mullen
100. Miggy Mercedes
101. Dominique Vattuone
102. Emerson Nelo

Honorable Mentions: 

Jean Carlo Rodriguez
Jesus Rivas
Hunter Adkins
Trevor Bayless
Dayton Alexander
Blake McMullen
Fernando Cruzado
Jerad Grundy
Joe Michaud
Jonathan Massad
Jorge Gordon
Dawson Brown
Victor Veliz
Reynaldo Hoyos
Corey Miller
Chih Fang-Pan
Ben McQuown
Alex Nolasco
Kyle Wheeler
Andy Paz
Sam Roberts
Bennie Bracewell
Gabe Santana
Travis Pitcher
Chad Oberacker
AJ Kubala
Cristhian Perez
Ruber Aquino
Jhonny Rodriguez
Jean Mendoza
Oscar Tovar
Jean Carlos Ruiz Torres
Jorge Martinez
Ryan Huck
Tyler Painton
AJ Burke
Wade Kirkland
Phil Pohl
Ryan Gorton
Luis Baez
Javier Agelvis
Barry Hernandez
Gean Rigby
Kevin Ferreras

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.