Down On The Farm – Week #19: Top Prospects On The Move

Last week’s big news was the promotion of this year’s top draft pick, shortstop Addison Russell, to Class-A Vermont. Well, he was joined this week by the team’s second overall pick, third baseman Daniel Robertson, who also got the call less than two months after officially signing with the team. Of course, the A’s 4th and 5th overall picks, catcher Bruce Maxwell and right-hander Nolan Sanburn, are already stationed at Vermont. Left-handed pitching prospect Ian Krol was elevated to Double-A Midland this week, marking the first time he’s done time above Class-A. The team’s 8th overall pick, first baseman Max Muncy, has already been promoted all the way up to Class-A Burlington. Meanwhile, 3rd overall pick, first baseman Matt Olson, already has 20 extra base hits in the Arizona League and could be the next in line for a look. But the aggressive promotion of two 18-year-olds fresh out of high school – Russell and Robertson – testifies to the talent of the promising pair and to the faith that the organization has placed in them. Let’s hope that faith will be well-rewarded! 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 here on Athletics Nation right after the jump…


SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Record This Week: 4-2

Record This Season: 75-47

The River Cats’ hot-hitting lineup finally cooled off this week. An offense that had been averaging more than 7 runs per game over the last couple of weeks averaged just a little over 3 runs per game this week. Fortunately, Sacramento’s pitching staff was more than ready to pick up the slack as River Cats’ pitchers surrendered only 14 runs over 6 games this week. Right-hander Tyson Ross struck out 10 over 11 innings of work, and Bruce Billings turned in an impressive outing on Wednesday, striking out 6 over 7 scoreless innings, while Brett Anderson had his best rehab outing to date when he tossed 6 scoreless innings for the win on Friday. Kila Ka’aihue has been one of the team’s biggest bats since his demotion from the big club, and in Saturday’s game, he clubbed 2 home runs to help the River Cats win. Meanwhile, outfielder Collin Cowgill has been struggling lately at Sacramento. He’s currently 5 for his last 30 and is batting just .244 on the season for the River Cats.

Top Cats:

3B Josh Donaldson (38 R / 13 HR / 45 RBI / 23 BB / 34 K / .335 AVG / .402 OBP / .598 SLG / 1.000 OPS)

1B Kila Ka’aihue (34 R / 12 HR / 39 RBI / 34 BB / 43 K / .260 AVG / .387 OBP / .538 SLG / .924 OPS)

Shortstop Brandon Hicks (53 R / 14 HR / 49 RBI / 38 BB / 86 K / .268 AVG / .374 OBP / .536 SLG / .910 OPS)

Pitcher Tyson Ross (70 IP / 64 H / 22 ER / 23 BB / 56 K / 2.83 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

Pitcher Graham Godfrey (102 IP / 96 H / 36 ER / 23 BB / 60 K / 3.18 ERA / 1.17 WHIP)

Pitcher Bruce Billings (112 1/3 IP / 99 H / 43 ER / 33 BB / 106 K / 3.45 ERA / 1.18 WHIP)



MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 2-4

Record This Season: 55-63

The RockHounds have been keeping up a steady pace of winning 2 games per week lately. The pitching staff has been looking pretty shaky, and the bullpen has been making a habit of coughing up the lead late in the game. Top prospect Sonny Gray has really turned things around over the past month and delivered another solid outing this week, allowing just 2 runs over 7 innings of work on Wednesday to lower his ERA to 4.12. None of the team’s other starters have an ERA under 4.50 on the season. Left-hander Ian Krol was promoted from Stockton this week to help bolster the bullpen. He looked good in his first outing for Midland, but in his second outing on Sunday, he gave up 4 runs in just 1/3 of an inning to turn over the lead and take the loss. On the offensive side of things, second baseman Josh Horton has been heating up of late, and he went 8 for 20 with 3 doubles and 5 RBIs this week. Meanwhile, speedy outfielder Conner Crumbliss accomplished a rare feat when he managed to leg out 2 triples in 1 game on Friday.

Top Hounds:

1B Anthony Aliotti (62 R / 9 HR / 64 RBI / 63 BB / 106 K / .291 AVG / .391 OBP / .425 SLG / .816 OPS)

OF Conner Crumbliss (78 R / 5 HR / 36 RBI / 102 BB / 82 K / .254 AVG / .405 OBP / .362 SLG / .767 OPS)

2B Josh Horton (47 R / 8 HR / 51 RBI / 44 BB / 100 K / .272 AVG / .343 OBP / .411 SLG / .754 OPS)

Pitcher Sonny Gray (122 1/3 IP / 124 H / 56 ER / 50 BB / 77 K / 4.12 ERA / 1.42 WHIP)

Pitcher Murphy Smith (127 IP / 159 H / 64 ER / 46 BB / 73 K / 4.54 ERA / 1.61 WHIP)

Pitcher Shawn Haviland (98 1/3 IP / 100 H / 54 ER / 42 BB / 89 K / 4.94 ERA / 1.44 WHIP)



STOCKTON PORTS

(High-A California League)

Record This Week: 2-4

Record This Season: 47-72

The Ports’ pitching staff has been making it pretty tough for the team to win lately. The staff gave up an average of almost 10 runs per game this week. Starter Max Perlman allowed 10 runs in just 3 innings of work on Sunday. Right-hander Sean Murphy had a tough outing on Friday, surrendering 6 runs, 4 earned, over 5 innings. And Blake Hassebrock had another in a series of rough outings on Tuesday, just before his demotion to Burlington, giving up 5 runs in 5 innings to take his 6th loss. Right-handed reliever Jonathan Joseph has looked sharp since his promotion from Burlington, striking out 5 in 4 innings over his first 2 appearances. Corner infielder Tony Thompson had a big game on Wednesday, blasting 2 home runs, including a walk-off 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning to help the Ports win a 14-12 slugfest, while shortstop Yordy Cabrera clubbed his 1st home run of the year for the Ports this week.

Top Ports:

1B A.J. Kirby-Jones (46 R / 16 HR / 55 RBI / 67 BB / 107 K / .246 AVG / .375 OBP / .446 SLG / .821 OPS)

Catcher Max Stassi (48 R / 15 HR / 45 RBI / 27 BB / 83 K / .268 AVG / .331 OBP / .468 SLG / .799 OPS)

Pitcher Josh Bowman (126 2/3 IP / 137 H / 50 ER / 32 BB / 110 K / 3.55 ERA / 1.33 WHIP)

Pitcher Jacob Brown (114 IP / 130 H / 57 ER / 22 BB / 76 K / 4.50 ERA / 1.33 WHIP)

Pitcher Blake Treinen (92 2/3 IP / 106 H / 47 ER / 19 BB / 81 K / 4.56 ERA / 1.35 WHIP)

Pitcher Sean Murphy (88 IP / 78 H / 45 ER / 26 BB / 87 K / 4.60 ERA / 1.18 WHIP)



BURLINGTON BEES

(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 3-4

Record This Season: 58-60

Burlington’s slumbering offense has been showing signs of waking up a bit lately, thanks in most part to outfielder Rashun Dixon, who banged out 3 home runs and 7 RBIs this week. Also lending a helping hand has been the A’s most advanced draft pick this year, 5th-round first baseman out of Baylor Max Muncy, who’s currently 6 for his last 14. Right-hander Drew Granier turned in two more solid outings this week, allowing 3 runs and striking out 10 over 11 2/3 innings of work. Top pitching prospect A.J. Cole gave up just 1 run in his start on Tuesday. And Blake Hassebrock, in his first start since his demotion from Stockton, allowed 2 runs on just 2 hits over 5 innings to earn his 1st win for the Bees on Sunday.

Top Bees:

Outfielder Rashun Dixon (51 R / 12 HR / 35 RBI / 41 BB / 78 K / .264 AVG / .380 OBP / .473 SLG / .852 OPS)

First Baseman Max Muncy (25 R / 4 HR / 16 RBI / 22 BB / 24 K / .259 AVG / .352 OBP / .424 SLG / .776 OPS)

Outfielder Bobby Crocker (51 R / 6 HR / 44 RBI / 32 BB / 87 K / .267 AVG / .346 OBP / .378 SLG / .724 OPS)

Pitcher A.J. Cole (75 2/3 IP / 64 H / 19 ER / 14 BB / 84 K / 2.26 ERA / 1.03 WHIP)

Pitcher Drew Granier (140 1/3 IP / 127 H / 45 ER / 44 BB / 133 K / 2.89 ERA / 1.22 WHIP)

Pitcher Raul Alcantara (99 2/3 IP / 118 H / 56 ER / 36 BB / 54 K / 5.06 ERA / 1.55 WHIP)



VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS

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

Record This Week: 1-6

Record This Season: 24-30

Vermont’s lineup has really struggled to score runs lately and, consequently, the team struggled to win just one game this week. This year’s 37th-round draft pick, outfielder John Wooten, continues to be the team’s leading hitter, but top pick Addison Russell has been coming on strong since his promotion. After his first 10 games with Vermont, the 18-year-old shortstop is batting .333 with 2 doubles, 2 triples and a home run. The A’s 2nd overall pick this year, third baseman Daniel Robertson, joined Russell at Vermont this week and, in his first 4 games, he’s 4 for 15 with a pair of doubles. Another high profile prospect, Michael Ynoa, tossed 5 1/3 innings for the team this week, allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, while walking 6 and striking out 3. In his first 2 outings for Vermont, the A’s 5th overall pick this year, right-hander Nolan Sanburn, has looked sharp, striking out 5 over 5 scoreless innings, while 6th-round pick Seth Streich and 8th-round pick Kris Hall both tossed 3 scoreless innings for Vermont this week.

Top Monsters:

Outfielder John Wooten (22 R / 4 HR / 30 RBI / 10 BB / 33 K / .302 AVG / .330 OBP / .441 SLG / .771 OPS)

Catcher Bruce Maxwell (18 R / 0 HR / 12 RBI / 19 BB / 24 K / .275 AVG / .358 OBP / .352 SLG / .710 OPS)

2B Chris Bostick (31 R / 3 HR / 19 RBI / 19 BB / 46 K / .260 AVG / .335 OBP / .385 SLG / .720 OPS)

Pitcher J.C. Menna (44 1/3 IP / 43 H / 20 ER / 18 BB / 36 K / 4.06 ERA / 1.38 WHIP)

Pitcher Andres Avila (46 IP / 51 H / 22 ER / 13 BB / 40 K / 4.30 ERA / 1.39 WHIP)

Pitcher Tyler Vail (34 2/3 IP / 29 H / 17 ER / 13 BB / 24 K / 4.41 ERA / 1.21 WHIP)



AZL ATHLETICS

(Rookie Short-Season Arizona League)

Record This Week: 4-2

Record This Season: 29-13

With the loss of this year’s top two draft picks Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson to Vermont, some of the A’s other top prospects have had to step up to carry the load. The team’s lineup is now led by third baseman Renato Nunez who leads all current players in hits and RBIs, outfielder B.J. Boyd who leads the team in runs, walks and stolen bases, and first baseman Matt Olson who currently leads in doubles with 14 and home runs with 5. 2010’s 4th-round draft pick, third baseman Chad Lewis, returned to the Arizona League after Robertson’s promotion to Vermont and hit the game-winning home run in his first game back. Meanwhile, this year’s 15th-round pick, right-hander Vince Voiro, turned in an impressive outing on Friday, striking out 6 over 3 scoreless innings.

Top AZL A’s:

3B Renato Nunez (22 R / 3 HR / 32 RBI / 7 BB / 25 K / .336 AVG / .382 OBP / .549 SLG / .932 OPS)

Outfielder B.J. Boyd (32 R / 1 HR / 14 RBI / 18 BB / 30 K / .295 AVG / .392 OBP / .420 SLG / .812 OPS)

First Baseman Matt Olson (22 R / 5 HR / 29 RBI / 11 BB / 35 K / .277 AVG / .333 OBP / .515 SLG / .849 OPS)

Pitcher Jose Torres (43 IP / 41 H / 19 ER / 25 BB / 34 K / 3.98 ERA / 1.53 WHIP)

Pitcher Vince Voiro (28 1/3 IP / 29 H / 13 ER / 7 BB / 31 K / 4.13 ERA / 1.27 WHIP)

Pitcher Gregory Paulino (48 1/3 IP / 56 H / 26 ER / 11 BB / 49 K / 4.84 ERA / 1.39 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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