Down On The Farm – Week #15: Pitching’s the Name of the Game!

Brad Peacock - the comeback kid?

At Sacramento, just like with the big club, pitching seems to be the name of the game. Sacramento’s pitching has been solid all year, so it’s no surprise that the team sports the second-best record in the Pacific Coast League. And last week, Dan Straily struck out 13 on Friday, Bruce Billings tossed 6 scoreless innings on Saturday and Brad Peacock, who’d been struggling for the past month and a half, bounced back on Sunday to earn his first win since May. Meanwhile, Midland’s rotation has been struggling since losing ace A.J. Griffin as well as Straily. And Stockton’s starting staff has been problematic all season, with things getting even worse last week. While in Burlington, the Bees have been relying on the mighty arms of Drew Granier and A.J. Cole to keep them buzzing. You can get daily updates on all the A’s 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: 2-2

Record This Season: 57-38

Due to the Triple-A All-Star break, the River Cats had only 4 games on the schedule last week, but those 4 games included 3 strong outings from starters Dan Straily, Bruce Billings and Brad Peacock, none of whom allowed more than 1 run. In addition, River Cats’ starter Graham Godfrey was the winner in last week’s Triple-A All-Star game. Sacramento’s bullpen also received a bit of a boost with the signing of former big league closer Chris Ray, who has a total of 51 major league saves under his belt. The team’s offense continues to be led by Josh Donaldson, Kila Ka’aihue, Eric Sogard and Michael Taylor, who seemed to be getting his second wind last week, hitting 2 home runs, driving in 6 runs and raising his batting average 10 points to a healthy .312.

Top Cats:

Catcher Josh Donaldson (25 R / 10 HR / 33 RBI / 12 BB / 18 K / .360 AVG / .420 OBP / .664 SLG / 1.084 OPS)

Outfielder Michael Taylor (55 R / 8 HR / 47 RBI / 53 BB / 68 K / .312 AVG / .418 OBP / .478 SLG / .897 OPS)

2B Eric Sogard (25 R / 3 HR / 19 RBI / 23 BB / 13 K / .323 AVG / .425 OBP / .462 SLG / .886 OPS)

Pitcher Dan Straily (33 IP / 15 H / 4 ER / 11 BB / 46 K / 1.09 ERA / 0.79 WHIP)

Pitcher Tyson Ross (32 IP / 30 H / 9 ER / 13 BB / 23 K / 2.53 ERA / 1.34 WHIP)

Pitcher Graham Godfrey (78 IP / 80 H / 25 ER / 14 BB / 49 K / 2.88 ERA / 1.21 WHIP)

Pitcher Bruce Billings (87 IP / 74 H / 32 ER / 24 BB / 80 K / 3.31 ERA / 1.13 WHIP)

Pitcher Brad Peacock (90 2/3 IP / 112 H / 68 ER / 43 BB / 96 K / 6.75 ERA / 1.71 WHIP)


MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 3-2

Record This Season: 44-47

The RockHounds’ offense finally came alive last week as the lineup averaged 9 runs per game. Top prospect Michael Choice has been heating up of late. The outfielder now leads the team with 9 home runs and 57 RBIs and has raised his batting average to .279 and his slugging percentage, which had remained under .400 for most of the season, to .412. Third baseman Miles Head seems to be adjusting to the Texas League and currently sports a slash line of .273/.356/.455 at Midland. First baseman Anthony Aliotti and outfielder Conner Crumbliss continue to lead RockHounds’ regulars with healthy on-base percentages over .400, with Crumbliss also leading the team in stolen bases with 18. The team’s pitching staff is still suffering from the loss of both A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily. But top pitching prospect Sonny Gray provided a ray of hope by turning in one of his better outings last week, striking out 6 in 5 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his 3rd win on the season.

Top Hounds:

1B Anthony Aliotti (48 R / 7 HR / 45 RBI / 52 BB / 75 K / .304 AVG / .416 OBP / .436 SLG / .852 OPS)

Outfielder Conner Crumbliss (62 R / 4 HR / 29 RBI / 78 BB / 61 K / .266 AVG / .412 OBP / .381 SLG / .793 OPS)

Outfielder Michael Choice (56 R / 9 HR / 57 RBI / 32 BB / 87 K / .279 AVG / .349 OBP / .412 SLG / .761 OPS)

Pitcher Murphy Smith (96 IP / 114 H / 46 ER / 34 BB / 61 K / 4.31 ERA / 1.54 WHIP)

Pitcher Sonny Gray (89 2/3 IP / 91 H / 47 ER / 45 BB / 60 K / 4.72 ERA / 1.52 WHIP)

Pitcher Gary Daley (96 1/3 IP / 102 H / 55 ER / 62 BB / 55 K / 5.14 ERA / 1.70 WHIP)


STOCKTON PORTS

(High-A California League)

Record This Week: 0-6

Record This Season: 35-59

The Ports lost all 6 of their games last week to run their current losing streak to 8, and the team’s shaky pitching staff has been the main culprit. Right-hander Sean Murphy, who had been dominant all season at both Stockton and Burlington, has struggled in his last 3 starts. The long ball has been his biggest liability, and he’s allowed 4 over his last 16 innings. Jacob Brown, Ian Krol and Blake Hassebrock all had disastrous outings last week, and Krol’s ERA now stands at 5.38 while Hassebrock’s is a whopping 8.65. The only Stockton starter who’s looked solid lately has been right-hander Josh Bowman, who’s the only current member of the starting rotation with an ERA under 4.00. The Ports’ offense, which had been hot, has come back down to earth a bit. And the promotion of one of the team’s hottest hitters, catcher Beau Taylor, to Midland certainly hasn’t helped. Outfielders Josh Whitaker and Chad Oberacker have been carrying most of the load lately, though shortstop Michael Gilmartin chipped in by hitting 2 home runs and driving in 5 runs on his birthday Saturday.

Top Ports:

1B A.J. Kirby-Jones (35 R / 13 HR / 47 RBI / 50 BB / 86 K / .265 AVG / .381 OBP / .470 SLG / .851 OPS)

Outfielder Josh Whitaker (53 R / 17 HR / 53 RBI / 27 BB / 99 K / .278 AVG / .338 OBP / .500 SLG / .838 OPS)

Outfielder Chad Oberacker (40 R / 7 HR / 33 RBI / 30 BB / 50 K / .274 AVG / .349 OBP / .430 SLG / .778 OPS)

Pitcher Josh Bowman (96 1/3 IP / 104 H / 41 ER / 26 BB / 77 K / 3.83 ERA / 1.35 WHIP)

Pitcher Jacob Brown (86 2/3 IP / 94 H / 42 ER / 19 BB / 63 K / 4.36 ERA / 1.30 WHIP)

Pitcher Sean Murphy (60 IP / 55 H / 31 ER / 18 BB / 53 K / 4.65 ERA / 1.22 WHIP)


BURLINGTON BEES

(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 2-4

Record This Season: 44-48

Having lost most of their best hitters to Stockton, Burlington’s offense has struggled for much of the season. Outfielders Rashun Dixon, Eliezer Mesa and Bobby Crocker have been left to carry the load - with marginal results. Mesa leads Bees’ regulars in batting average at .310 while Dixon leads in on-base percentage at .373 and slugging percentage at .466. Right-handers Drew Granier and A.J. Cole continue to be the real bright spots for the Bees. And both turned in solid outings again last week, with Granier lowering his ERA to 3.25 and Cole lowering his ERA at Burlington to an impressive 2.36.

Top Bees:

Outfielder Rashun Dixon (32 R / 7 HR / 20 RBI / 27 BB / 43 K / .248 AVG / .373 OBP / .466 SLG / .839 OPS)

Outfielder Eliezer Mesa (32 R / 4 HR / 29 RBI / 10 BB / 39 K / .310 AVG / .344 OBP / .432 SLG / .777 OPS)

Outfielder Bobby Crocker (38 R / 6 HR / 37 RBI / 22 BB / 67 K / .273 AVG / .350 OBP / .399 SLG / .749 OPS)

Pitcher A.J. Cole (49 2/3 IP / 44 H / 13 ER / 9 BB / 57 K / 2.36 ERA / 1.07 WHIP)

Pitcher Drew Granier (110 2/3 IP / 109 H / 40 ER / 34 BB / 107 K / 3.25 ERA / 1.29 WHIP)

Pitcher Raul Alcantara (85 1/3 IP / 104 H / 51 ER / 34 BB / 44 K / 5.38 ERA / 1.62 WHIP)


VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS

(Class-A Short-Season New York-Penn League)

Record This Week: 2-4

Record This Season: 15-12

Vermont’s lineup continues to be led by infielder Chris Bostick, who’s been getting starts at both shortstop and second base, first baseman Jacob Tanis, whose OBP of .382 leads all regulars, and outfielder John Wooten, whose .457 slugging percentage leads the team. This year’s 2nd-round draft pick, catcher Bruce Maxwell, has been batting just .232 since his promotion to Vermont after getting off to a hot start in Arizona. Right-hander Andres Avila has thus far been the standout on the pitching staff, walking just 6 while striking out 23 in 25 innings of work. Meanwhile, this year’s 8th-round draft pick, right-hander Kris Hall, has struck out 18 batters in 12 innings in relief.

Top Monsters:

First Baseman Jacob Tanis (11 R / 2 HR / 18 RBI / 11 BB / 16 K / .308 AVG / .382 OBP / .440 SLG / .822 OPS)

Infielder Chris Bostick (20 R / 2 HR / 9 RBI / 10 BB / 18 K / .305 AVG / .368 OBP / .432 SLG / .800 OPS)

Outfielder John Wooten (10 R / 2 HR / 14 RBI / 7 BB / 14 K / .287 AVG / .330 OBP / .457 SLG / .788 OPS)

Pitcher Andres Avila (25 IP / 25 H / 10 ER / 6 BB / 23 K / 3.60 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

Pitcher J.C. Menna (23 IP / 25 H / 11 ER / 10 BB / 16 K / 4.30 ERA / 1.52 WHIP)

Pitcher Kris Hall (12 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 5 BB / 18 K / 0.75 ERA / 0.92 WHIP)


AZL ATHLETICS

(Rookie Short-Season Arizona League)

Record This Week: 3-2

Record This Season: 14-5

While the A’s top draft pick of 2012, shortstop Addison Russell, and Dominican catcher Reynaldo Mateo continued their hot hitting last week, the A’s second overall pick, infielder Daniel Robertson, and Venezuelan third baseman Renato Nunez really kicked it up a notch. Robertson went 5 for 5 with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs in Thursday’s game and, at one point last week, he had a streak of 8 hits in 9 at bats. And in his last 3 games last week, Nunez went 9 for 14 with 6 doubles, a triple, a home run, and 6 RBIs. Dominican right-hander Gregory Paulino leads the pitching staff with 20 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings, but former top prospect Michael Ynoa had a rocky outing last week, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits in just 1 1/3 innings of work.

Top AZL A’s:

Shortstop Addison Russell (18 R / 1 HR / 13 RBI / 14 BB / 9 K / .480 AVG / .600 OBP / .680 SLG / 1.280 OPS)

3B Renato Nunez (10 R / 1 HR / 12 RBI / 6 BB / 5 K / .417 AVG / .512 OBP / .750 SLG / 1.262 OPS)

Catcher Reynaldo Mateo (15 R / 3 HR / 22 RBI / 5 BB / 14 K / .393 AVG / .424 OBP / .768 SLG / 1.192 OPS)

Infielder Daniel Robertson (11 R / 3 HR / 8 RBI / 9 BB / 10 K / .326 AVG / .436 OBP / .605 SLG / 1.041 OPS)

Pitcher Gregory Paulino (22 2/3 IP / 20 H / 7 ER / 4 BB / 20 K / 2.78 ERA / 1.06 WHIP)

Pitcher Vincent Voiro (10 IP / 8 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 9 K / 1.80 ERA / 0.90 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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