Down On The Farm – Week #4: Could the River Cats’ Hot Hitters Help the A’s?

Michael Taylor - Ready to be more than just Coco Crisp's understudy?

Well, the Sacramento River Cats have been doing the one thing their parent club hasn’t been doing lately – namely, hitting! The A’s Pacific Coast League affiliate averaged nearly 8 runs per game last week, while the big league club averaged just 2 1/2 runs per game over the past week. Will the A’s turn to Sacramento for help at some point? Outfielders Michael Taylor, Jermaine Mitchell and Brandon Moss have been hitting up a storm, catcher Derek Norris and first baseman Chris Carter have been hitting the ball hard, and even third baseman Stephen Parker has been hitting close to .300. You can get daily updates on everything that’s going on with the A’s minor league teams and top prospects on my Athletics Farm blog and lots more details on the last week of A’s minor league action right here on Athletics Nation after the jump…


(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Record This Week: 3-3

Record This Season: 16-8

The River Cats’ best hitter so far this season, outfielder Michael Taylor, was out of the loop for much of the week, as he had to travel to Baltimore with the A’s to be available in case the team needed to put Coco Crisp on the disabled list. But the River Cats offense kept up the pace without him, averaging nearly 8 runs per game last week. Outfielder/designated hitter Brandon Moss continued his solid hitting, and he currently leads all River Cats regulars in slugging percentage and is tied with first baseman Chris Carter for the team lead in home runs with 4. Outfielder Jermaine Mitchell really started to come on strong last week, raising his batting average to .333 and his on-base percentage to a healthy .407. Mitchell also leads the team in runs and is tied for the team lead in triples and stolen bases. Catcher Derek Norris is sporting an impressive .329 batting average after his first 20 games, and third baseman Stephen Parker is hitting .295 with a lofty .416 on-base percentage. Top prospect Brad Peacock has been the most solid member of the River Cats rotation thus far, striking out 28 batters in 28 1/3 innings while posting a 3.49 ERA. Right-hander Andrew Carignan has been a great addition to the River Cats bullpen since being sent down from Oakland, giving up just 1 run and striking out 11 in 7 innings of relief. Fautino De Los Santos has also looked strong since being sent to Sacramento, allowing no base runners and striking out 6 over 3 innings of work, as has Graham Godfrey, who gave up just 1 run and struck out 7 over 7 innings in his first start back. And Josh Donaldson homered twice in his first 3 games back in a River Cats uniform this week.

Top Cats:

Outfielder Brandon Moss (11 R / 4 HR / 10 RBI / .338 AVG / .415 OBP / .592 SLG / 1.006 OPS)

Outfielder Michael Taylor (14 R / 2 HR / 18 RBI / .360 AVG / .387 OBP / .558 SLG / .945 OPS)

Outfielder Jermaine Mitchell (20 R / 1 HR / 8 RBI / .333 AVG / .407 OBP / .514 SLG / .921 OPS)

Pitcher Brad Peacock (28 1/3 IP / 25 H / 11 ER / 10 BB / 28 K / 3.49 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

Pitcher Andrew Carignan (7 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 11 K / 1.29 ERA / 0.57 WHIP)


(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 3-4

Record This Season: 12-11

Outfielder Shane Peterson continues to be the RockHounds’ most consistent hitter this season, leading all regulars in runs, hits, doubles, triples, walks, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He’s played in every one of the RockHounds’ games so far and, 23 games into the season, he’s been reaching base at nearly a 47% clip. Outfielder Jeremy Barfield has been coming on strong of late and is now second to Peterson in many offensive categories, including runs, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage. The RockHounds pitching staff, which had been looking pretty dominant over the first couple weeks, came back down to earth a bit last week. But starter A.J. Griffin is still looking like the star of the staff with a 2.08 ERA and 34 strikeouts over his first 5 starts, while top prospect Sonny Gray has a 4.80 ERA over his first 5 starts. 26-year-old right-hander Jonathan Ortiz has been the star of the RockHounds bullpen, allowing just 1 run and striking out 11 over 8 2/3 innings of relief while notching 4 saves. Meanwhile, left-hander Sean Doolittle, just promoted from Stockton, struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced in his first appearance for Midland.

Top Hounds:

Outfielder Shane Peterson (19 R / 1 HR / 12 RBI / .307 AVG / .469 OBP / .493 SLG / .963 OPS)

First Baseman Anthony Aliotti (10 R / 1 HR / 8 RBI / .352 AVG / .417 OBP / .463 SLG / .880 OPS)

Outfielder Jeremy Barfield (16 R / 3 HR / 16 RBI / .284 AVG / .333 OBP / .486 SLG / .820 OPS)

Pitcher A.J. Griffin (30 1/3 IP / 20 H / 7 ER / 5 BB / 34 K / 2.08 ERA / 0.82 WHIP)

Pitcher Jonathan Ortiz (8 2/3 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 2 BB / 11 K / 1.04 ERA / 0.81 WHIP / 4 Saves)


(Advanced-A California League)

Record This Week: 1-5

Record This Season: 11-12

The Ports offense went into a bit of a funk last week and, consequently, the team went into a bit of a tailspin as well, losing 5 of 6 games. But it seems that one thing the team can always count on is infielder Miles Head, whose hot hitting got even hotter this past week. He added 2 homers and 8 RBIs to his totals last week, and he currently leads the Ports in runs, hits, triples, home runs, RBIs, total bases, batting average and slugging percentage. The other thing the team can count on is first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones, who sports the team’s best on-base percentage at .449 and is right behind Head in hits, homers, RBIs, total bases, batting average and slugging percentage. 15th-round draft pick T.J. Walz is still the star of Stockton’s starting rotation, with a 2.70 ERA and 27 strikeouts over his first 4 starts. Meanwhile, top prospects A.J. Cole, Ian Krol and Blake Hassebrock still have just 1 win between them.

Top Ports:

Infielder Miles Head (20 R / 6 HR / 24 RBI / .368 AVG / .390 OBP / .716 SLG / 1.106 OPS)

First Baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones (12 R / 4 HR / 17 RBI / .351 AVG / .449 OBP / .581 SLG / 1.031 OPS)

Outfielder Josh Whitaker (18 R / 2 HR / 8 RBI / .262 AVG / .367 OBP / .393 SLG / .760 OPS)

Pitcher T.J. Walz (23 1/3 IP / 20 H / 7 ER / 6 BB / 27 K / 2.70 ERA / 1.11 WHIP)

Pitcher Blake Treinen (25 2/3 IP / 24 H / 11 ER / 6 BB / 25 K / 3.86 ERA / 1.17 WHIP)


(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 12-12

The Bees got a dominant pitching performance this week from 33rd-round draft pick Sean Murphy, who struck out 13 in 7 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.17 after his first 4 starts. 32nd-round draft pick Drew Granier notched his 4th win, and his ERA currently stands at 1.33 after his first 5 starts. The Bees offense continues to be led by the big bat of outfielder Dusty Robinson, who leads the team in hits, walks, runs, RBIs, triples, home runs, total bases and slugging percentage. The big right-hander from Bakersfield currently leads all A’s minor leaguers in homers with 7.

Top Bees:

Outfielder Dusty Robinson (18 R / 7 HR / 21 RBI / .287 AVG / .382 OBP / .632 SLG / 1.015 OPS)

Outfielder Chad Oberacker (14 R / 2 HR / 7 RBI / .317 AVG / .403 OBP / .524 SLG / .927 OPS)

First Baseman Douglas Landaeta (11 R / 3 HR / 8 RBI / .293 AVG / .339 OBP / .552 SLG / .890 OPS)

Pitcher Sean Murphy (23 IP / 15 H / 3 ER / 10 BB / 31 K / 1.17 ERA / 1.09 WHIP)

Pitcher Drew Granier (27 IP / 21 H / 4 ER / 6 BB / 22 K / 1.33 ERA / 1.00 WHIP)

You can check out my blog - Athletics Farm - for daily updates on the A’s minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.

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