Down On The Farm – Week #14: Top Draft Picks Making Their Mark

That's right, Jason, the new you is on the way!

Well, a month after the amateur draft, we’re starting to get some sense of what the A’s may have netted with their picks. And if a major league career can be predicted on the basis of 10 minor league games, then the A’s 1st-round pick Addison Russell is clearly headed for the Hall of Fame, the team’s third overall pick Matt Olson is destined to be the second coming of Jason Giambi at first base, and 4th-round pick B.J. Boyd will no doubt live up to the "Carl Crawford in the making" tag. Ah, if only life was so certain! But seeing some of the kids getting off to a hot start does still warm the cockles of an A’s fan’s heart. And did I mention that Michael Ynoa is back in action, and his right arm has not fallen off his body? It’s true! You can get daily updates on everything that’s going on in the A’s minor league system on my Athletics Farm blog and more details on all the A’s minor league teams and top prospects right here on Athletics Nation after the jump…


SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Record This Week: 3-4

Record This Season: 55-36

Sacramento headed into the AAA All-Star break with the second-best record in the Pacific Coast League. Despite losing some of the team’s top hitters like Brandon Moss, Chris Carter, Derek Norris and Brandon Hicks to the major league club, the River Cats’ offense has kept up the pace with some hot-hitting from recently demoted players like Josh Donaldson, Eric Sogard and Kila Ka’aihue. The team also added Midland’s best hitter, outfielder Shane Peterson, when he was promoted to Sacramento shortly after returning from the disabled list. The River Cats lost one of their most effective starting pitchers when A.J. Griffin was promoted to Oakland, but right-hander Dan Straily has been even more unhittable since his elevation from Midland, allowing just 3 runs while striking out 33 in his first 26 innings with Sacramento. Pitching prospect Brad Peacock continues to struggle with his command, and his ERA on the season now stands at 7.12. Meanwhile, 2009’s 1st-round draft pick Grant Green continues to increase his versatility around the diamond, and he’s now gotten starts in left field and center field and at shortstop, third base and second base this season.

Top Cats:

Catcher Josh Donaldson (21 R / 10 HR / 32 RBI / 9 BB / 17 K / .382 AVG / .433 OBP / .718 SLG / 1.152 OPS)

2B Eric Sogard (23 R / 2 HR / 17 RBI / 22 BB / 10 K / .339 AVG / .448 OBP / .473 SLG / .921 OPS)

Outfielder Michael Taylor (52 R / 6 HR / 41 RBI / 49 BB / 67 K / .302 AVG / .405 OBP / .451 SLG / .857 OPS)

Pitcher Dan Straily (26 IP / 14 H / 3 ER / 9 BB / 33 K / 1.04 ERA / 0.88 WHIP)

Pitcher Tyson Ross (29 IP / 27 H / 7 ER / 7 BB / 18 K / 2.17 ERA / 1.17 WHIP)

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


MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 3-4

Record This Season: 41-45

The RockHounds’ offense has really struggled to score runs of late, and losing one of their top hitters, outfielder Shane Peterson, first to injury and now to Sacramento hasn’t helped. But the team should get a boost from the addition of the system’s top hitter, third baseman Miles Head. After his first two weeks at Midland, he’s hitting .281 and seems to be picking up the pace a bit lately. Top prospect Michael Choice continues to muddle along and is currently batting .263 with 7 home runs. The RockHounds’ rotation took a big hit when Dan Straily was promoted to Sacramento, but diminutive Dominican Republican Fabio Castro has done a respectable job for Midland since joining the rotation after his demotion from Sacramento. Top pitching prospect Sonny Gray has yet to really put it together this season, posting an ERA of 5.02 while walking 41 batters in 84 1/3 innings.

Top Hounds:

1B Anthony Aliotti (39 R / 6 HR / 37 RBI / 48 BB / 74 K / .303 AVG / .415 OBP / .429 SLG / .844 OPS)

Outfielder Conner Crumbliss (56 R / 4 HR / 26 RBI / 71 BB / 58 K / .263 AVG / .407 OBP / .386 SLG / .792 OPS)

Infielder Josh Horton (35 R / 8 HR / 41 RBI / 36 BB / 79 K / .256 AVG / .339 OBP / .419 SLG / .758 OPS)

Pitcher Murphy Smith (91 IP / 108 H / 42 ER / 32 BB / 58 K / 4.15 ERA / 1.54 WHIP)

Pitcher Gary Daley (88 IP / 89 H / 46 ER / 53 BB / 51 K / 4.70 ERA / 1.61 WHIP)

Pitcher Sonny Gray (84 1/3 IP / 87 H / 47 ER / 41 BB / 54 K / 5.02 ERA / 1.52 WHIP)


STOCKTON PORTS

(High-A California League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 35-53

The loss of the system’s best hitter this season, third baseman Miles Head, to Midland hasn’t seemed to slow down Stockton’s surging offense one bit. Third baseman B.A. Vollmuth, who was promoted from Burlington to take Head’s place, was hitting .262 with 2 home runs after his first two weeks with the team. Catcher Beau Taylor has been out-hitting top catching prospect Max Stassi at Stockton and, with Head now out of the picture, he currently leads the team in batting average at .319 and in on-base percentage at .405. But it’s outfielder Josh Whitaker who’s really been carrying the Ports’ offense of late, and he currently leads the team in home runs, total bases, RBIs and slugging percentage. Stockton’s bullpen has been bolstered with the recent additions of right-hander Max Perlman and left-hander Jeff Urlaub from Burlington. And despite his last two rocky outings, Stockton’s starting rotation has been led by right-hander Sean Murphy who has struck out 46 batters in 54 innings for the Ports. Left-hander Ian Krol has been inconsistent so far this season and currently has a 1-5 record with an ERA of 4.90. Right-hander Blake Hassebrock has continued to struggle since returning from the disabled list and sports an ERA of 8.56 on the season.

Top Ports:

Catcher Beau Taylor (24 R / 3 HR / 33 RBI / 28 BB / 29 K / .319 AVG / .405 OBP / .440 SLG / .845 OPS)

1B A.J. Kirby-Jones (35 R / 13 HR / 47 RBI / 50 BB / 85 K / .265 AVG / .382 OBP / .473 SLG / .856 OPS)

Outfielder Josh Whitaker (50 R / 16 HR / 50 RBI / 26 BB / 92 K / .289 AVG / .348 OBP / .510 SLG / .859 OPS)

Pitcher Jacob Brown (84 IP / 87 H / 34 ER / 16 BB / 63 K / 3.64 ERA / 1.23 WHIP)

Pitcher Josh Bowman (90 1/3 IP / 97 H / 40 ER / 24 BB / 73 K / 3.99 ERA / 1.34 WHIP)

Pitcher Sean Murphy (54 IP / 47 H / 26 ER / 17 BB / 46 K / 4.33 ERA / 1.19 WHIP)


BURLINGTON BEES

(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 42-44

The tandem of right-handers A.J. Cole and Drew Granier has really been the core of the Bees’s pitching staff. Cole has completely turned his season around since his demotion from Stockton, going 4-1 with a 2.44 ERA and striking out 52 in 44 1/3 innings with Burlington, while Granier leads all A’s minor league pitchers in wins with 9. The Bees lost one of their key hitters, third baseman B.A. Vollmuth, when he was promoted to Stockton. But the team added this year’s 5th-round draft pick, first baseman Max Muncy, who posted an OPS of .826 in his first two weeks with Burlington.

Top Bees:

Outfielder Rashun Dixon (30 R / 6 HR / 17 RBI / 23 BB / 36 K / .263 AVG / .387 OBP / .482 SLG / .869 OPS)

Outfielder Eliezer Mesa (32 R / 4 HR / 28 RBI / 10 BB / 33 K / .327 AVG / .363 OBP / .457 SLG / .820 OPS)

Outfielder Bobby Crocker (36 R / 6 HR / 37 RBI / 21 BB / 60 K / .282 AVG / .361 OBP / .415 SLG / .775 OPS)

Pitcher A.J. Cole (44 1/3 IP / 39 H / 12 ER / 9 BB / 52 K / 2.44 ERA / 1.08 WHIP)

Pitcher Drew Granier (99 IP / 102 H / 40 ER / 29 BB / 91 K / 3.64 ERA / 1.32 WHIP)

Pitcher Raul Alcantara (79 1/3 IP / 100 H / 50 ER / 34 BB / 44 K / 5.67 ERA / 1.69 WHIP)


VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS

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

Record This Week: 5-3

Record This Season: 13-8

Outfielder John Wooten, first baseman Jacob Tanis and infielder Chris Bostick have led Vermont’s offense in the team’s first three weeks out of the chute. This year’s 2nd-round draft pick, catcher Bruce Maxwell, was promoted to Vermont after just 6 games with the Arizona League A’s. 6th-round draft pick, right-hander Seth Streich, also joined Vermont, as did 8th-round pick Kris Hall, who’s struck out 15 batters in 8 scoreless innings for Vermont.

Top Monsters:

Outfielder John Wooten (9 R / 2 HR / 13 RBI / 5 BB / 13 K / .320 AVG / .354 OBP / .520 SLG / .874 OPS)

Infielder Chris Bostick (14 R / 2 HR / 7 RBI / 7 BB / 15 K / .280 AVG / .341 OBP / .413 SLG / .755 OPS)

First Baseman Jacob Tanis (8 R / 1 HR / 14 RBI / 9 BB / 14 K / .271 AVG / .354 OBP / .386 SLG / .740 OPS)

Pitcher Andres Avila (20 IP / 20 H / 7 ER / 4 BB / 18 K / 3.15 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

Pitcher J.C. Menna (18 IP / 23 H / 10 ER / 7 BB / 13 K / 5.00 ERA / 1.67 WHIP)

Pitcher Brent Powers (14 2/3 IP / 13 H / 5 ER / 6 BB / 12 K / 3.07 ERA / 1.30 WHIP)


AZL ATHLETICS

(Rookie Short-Season Arizona League)

Record This Week: 3-1

Record This Season: 11-3

The A’s top draft pick of 2012, shortstop Addison Russell, has so far distinguished himself with the Arizona League A’s, posting a .469/.622/.719 slash line in his first 10 games. The A’s 3rd overall pick in the draft, first baseman Matt Olson clubbed 3 home runs in his first 10 games, while 4th-round pick B.J. Boyd collected 5 doubles and 10 stolen bases over his first 11 games. Former top prospect Michael Ynoa finally retuned to the mound after battling injuries for most of the past two years and has pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Arizona League A’s thus far.

Top AZL A’s:

Shortstop Addison Russell (14 R / 1 HR / 7 RBI / 12 BB / 6 K / .469 AVG / .622 OBP / .719 SLG / 1.341 OPS)

Outfielder B.J. Boyd (14 R / 0 HR / 4 RBI / 6 BB / 10 K / .395 AVG / .477 OBP / .579 SLG / 1.056 OPS)

Catcher Reynaldo Mateo (12 R / 2 HR / 16 RBI / 4 BB / 11 K / .357 AVG / .408 OBP / .667 SLG / 1.075 OPS)

First Baseman Matt Olson (9 R / 3 HR / 13 RBI / 0 BB / 10 K / .357 AVG / .372 OBP / .690 SLG / 1.063 OPS)

Pitcher Tyler Vail (9 2/3 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 11 K / 0.93 ERA / 0.62 WHIP)

Pitcher Michael Ynoa (2 IP / 0 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 0.00 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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