Down On The Farm – Week #9: Cats, Hounds, Ports & Bees All Enjoying Winning Ways Down On The Farm

Brandon Moss - that one definitely woulda been out at Raley Field!

Well, all the A’s minor league affiliates managed to enjoy winning ways this week, even the last-place Stockton Ports, who are just a few weeks removed from an epic 16-game losing streak. Outfielder Brandon Moss clubbed 3 home runs this week and has been hitting up a storm at Sacramento. Outfielder Shane Peterson and first baseman Anthony Aliotti have been getting on base more than 40% of the time and have been leading the way at Midland. Infielder Miles Head is leading all A’s minor leaguers in slugging percentage and has been teeing off on California League pitchers at Stockton. And right-hander Drew Granier leads the league in wins and has been dominating Midwest League batters at Burlington. You can get daily updates on everything that’s going on with all 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…


SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 36-22

After suffering their first losing week of the season last week, the River Cats returned to have a winning week this week. There was an awful lot of coming and going in the River Cats’ clubhouse over the past week. Infielder Luke Hughes was sent down to Double-A Midland. Outfielder Jeff Fiorentino was released. Reliever Neil Wagner was put on waivers and claimed by San Diego. Thanks to a leg injury, starter Bruce Billings was put on the disabled list, along with catcher Joel Galarraga. Catcher Anthony Recker was returned to Sacramento, along with first baseman Daric Barton and starters Graham Godfrey and Tyson Ross. Left-hander Sean Doolittle was promoted from Midland and added to the River Cats’ bullpen, where he proceeded to strike out 8 batters in his first 3 2/3 innings. Sacramento’s lineup continues to be led by outfielder Brandon Moss, who clubbed 3 more home runs this week to lift his team-leading total to 14. First baseman Chris Carter is the team’s current RBI-leader with 46. Brandon Hicks, who’s been the Cats’ everyday shortstop since Adam Rosales’ recall, currently leads the team in runs and is tied for the team-lead in doubles with outfielder Michael Taylor, who raised his average to .321 this week. Starter Graham Godfrey had an impressive outing in his return to the River Cats, allowing 1 run while walking none and striking out 7 in 8 innings of work. Right-hander A.J. Griffin turned in his best outing since he joined the team, allowing 2 runs on just 2 hits while striking out 6 over 7 innings on Sunday. But top pitching prospect Brad Peacock’s been struggling a bit of late, and his ERA on the season currently stands at 4.81. I had the chance to do an interview with River Cats catcher Derek Norris last week that you can see on my Athletics Farm blog. But what I found most interesting was the quote below where he described why it is that his whole hitting profile seems to have undergone such a drastic transformation this year, from a low-average/high-walk guy to a high-average/low-walk guy…

Norris: Yeah, I got with my hitting coach this off-season back home. And we pretty much just broke down my last season because I was very upset with the way that it went. We pretty much just started from scratch and weighed the pros and cons of my season and it just came down to the percentages of me hitting were always with two strikes. And anybody who knows baseball knows that if you’re hitting with two strikes a lot, you’re not going to be hitting for a very good average. So being able to know the difference between seeing pitches and getting in good hitters’ counts and seeing pitches and getting in good pitchers’ counts. So we pretty much just broke that down into, if you get a good pitch to hit early in the count, your percentages are way better of getting a hit than later in the count when there’s two strikes. So that was one of the biggest things – just swinging the bat more at good pitches to hit, but not going out of your strike zone to try and get base hits.

Top Cats:

Outfielder Brandon Moss (30 R / 14 HR / 32 RBI / 21 BB / 37 K / .294 AVG / .379 OBP / .588 SLG / .967 OPS)

Outfielder Michael Taylor (26 R / 3 HR / 22 RBI / 28 BB / 34 K / .321 AVG / .420 OBP / .481 SLG / .901 OPS)

Shortstop Brandon Hicks (36 R / 6 HR / 23 RBI / 18 BB / 53 K / .269 AVG / .357 OBP / .503 SLG / .860 OPS)

1B Chris Carter (34 R / 10 HR / 46 RBI / 25 BB / 62 K / .262 AVG / .336 OBP / .481 SLG / .817 OPS)

Pitcher Graham Godfrey (37 2/3 IP / 36 H / 5 ER / 5 BB / 29 K / 1.19 ERA / 1.09 WHIP)

Pitcher Bruce Billings (48 IP / 39 H / 16 ER / 10 BB / 44 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.02 WHIP)

Pitcher A.J. Griffin (29 1/3 IP / 26 H / 13 ER / 6 BB / 24 K / 3.99 ERA / 1.09 WHIP)

Pitcher Pedro Figueroa (14 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 5 BB / 13 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.71 WHIP)



MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Double-A Texas League)

The RockHounds had a good week, winning 4 out of 6, despite a somewhat sluggish offense. The team lost two of its most productive hitters when outfielder Shane Peterson and second baseman Tyler Ladendorf were put on the disabled list. In their absence, the offense has pretty much been carried by first baseman Anthony Aliotti, who’s currently batting .315, and outfielder and leadoff hitter Conner Crumbliss, who leads the team with 12 stolen bases, along with outfielders Jeremy Barfield and Michael Choice. Choice’s big bat showed signs of waking up this week when he had a 4-hit game, but he’s since gone just 4 for 15. Infielder Luke Hughes will soon be joining the team from Sacramento, but the Hounds lost valuable left-hander Sean Doolittle when he was promoted to Sacramento. The RockHounds’ rotation has been led by Murphy Smith, who has an impressive ERA of 2.88, Daniel Straily, who leads all A’s minor leaguers with 79 strikeouts, and top prospect Sonny Gray, who has been somewhat spotty in his 10 Texas League starts this season.

Top Hounds:

Outfielder Shane Peterson (27 R / 2 HR / 23 RBI / 42 BB / 44 K / .285 AVG / .449 OBP / .437 SLG / .886 OPS)

1B Anthony Aliotti (25 R / 4 HR / 19 RBI / 23 BB / 45 K / .315 AVG / .411 OBP / .441 SLG / .851 OPS)

Outfielder Conner Crumbliss (37 R / 4 HR / 20 RBI / 40 BB / 35 K / .270 AVG / .399 OBP / .407 SLG / .807 OPS)

2B Tyler Ladendorf (23 R / 3 HR / 22 RBI / 19 BB / 25 K / .299 AVG / .386 OBP / .429 SLG / .815 OPS)

Pitcher Murphy Smith (59 1/3 IP / 54 H / 19 ER / 23 BB / 42 K / 2.88 ERA / 1.30 WHIP)

Pitcher Daniel Straily (64 1/3 IP / 59 H / 30 ER / 22 BB / 79 K / 4.20 ERA / 1.26 WHIP)

Pitcher Sonny Gray (53 2/3 IP / 45 H / 25 ER / 24 BB / 32 K / 4.19 ERA / 1.29 WHIP)

Pitcher Jonathan Ortiz (22 IP / 18 H / 5 ER / 7 BB / 17 K / 2.05 ERA / 1.14 WHIP / 8 SV)



STOCKTON PORTS

(Advanced-A California League)

Record This Week: 5-2

Record This Season: 21-35

After enduring a 16-game losing streak last month, Stockton enjoyed one of its best week’s of the season, winning 5 of its 7 games. The Ports’ offense awoke from its slumber this week thanks, in addition to stalwarts Miles Head and A.J. Kirby-Jones, to catcher Max Stassi, whose bat has woken up a bit since he’s been healthy enough to claim regular playing time in the lineup, as well as two players who started the season at Burlington, outfielders Dusty Robinson and Chad Oberacker (who hit for the cycle in Tuesday’s game). Another Burlington transplant, right-hander Sean Murphy, won 2 games for Stockton this week, and his ERA of 1.90 is the lowest of any A’s minor league starting pitcher this season. Miles Head continues to lead all A’s minor leaguers in hits with 78, batting average with .368 and slugging percentage with .670.

Top Ports:

3B Miles Head (43 R / 11 HR / 40 RBI / 18 BB / 46 K / .368 AVG / .421 OBP / .670 SLG / 1.090 OPS)

1B A.J. Kirby-Jones (28 R / 11 HR / 35 RBI / 38 BB / 58 K / .304 AVG / .425 OBP / .552 SLG / .978 OPS)

Catcher Max Stassi (19 R / 4 HR / 16 RBI / 6 BB / 26 K / .294 AVG / .331 OBP / .477 SLG / .808 OPS)

Pitcher Jacob Brown (42 2/3 IP / 38 H / 14 ER / 5 BB / 37 K / 2.95 ERA / 1.01 WHIP)

Pitcher T.J. Walz (52 1/3 IP / 51 H / 22 ER / 12 BB / 55 K / 3.78 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

Pitcher Blake Treinen (67 1/3 IP / 74 H / 33 ER / 13 BB / 55 K / 4.41 ERA / 1.29 WHIP)



BURLINGTON BEES

(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 26-30

Burlington was aided by solid performances from a number of their starting pitchers this week. Right-hander Drew Granier won his team-leading 7th game on Thursday. Seth Frankoff struck out 11 in 6 innings to earn the win on Wednesday. And after a disastrous outing on Monday in which he gave up 10 runs in 4 1/3 innings, Raul Alcantara came back to throw 6 scoreless innings on Saturday. And in perhaps the best news of all, top prospect A.J. Cole allowed just 1 run while striking out 7 over 6 innings to earn his 1st win of the season on Tuesday. With the loss of big bat Dusty Robinson to Stockton, the double-play combination of shortstop Sean Jamieson and second baseman Chih Fang Pan has been leading the Bees’ offense of late. Pan is second among current Bees in hits, RBIs and batting average, and Jamieson leads all current Bees in walks, runs, stolen bases and on-base percentage.

Top Bees:

2B Chih Fang Pan (21 R / 2 HR / 25 RBI / 13 BB / 31 K / .299 AVG / .361 OBP / .415 SLG / .775 OPS)

SS Sean Jamieson (33 R / 3 HR / 16 RBI / 33 BB / 34 K / .251 AVG / .378 OBP / .380 SLG / .758 OPS)

Outfielder Royce Consigli (19 R / 4 HR / 18 RBI / 19 BB / 23 K / .241 AVG / .329 OBP / .418 SLG / .748 OPS)

Pitcher Drew Granier (64 1/3 IP / 56 H / 15 ER / 21 BB / 61 K / 2.10 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

Pitcher Seth Frankoff (36 1/3 IP / 36 H / 15 ER / 10 BB / 36 K / 3.72 ERA / 1.27 WHIP)

Pitcher Raul Alcantara (55 IP / 68 H / 31 ER / 22 BB / 33 K / 5.07 ERA / 1.64 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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