Down On The Farm – Week #21: Cole Impresses, Ynoa Disappoints, while Weeks Works It Out at Sacramento

You never know how a young player is going to respond to a promotion or a demotion. On the good side of things, after getting off to a horrific start at Stockton this season, starter A.J. Cole has responded to his demotion to Burlington by becoming one of the most dominant pitchers in the Midwest League, and this week he lowered his ERA south of 2.00. But on the other side of things, former top prospect Michael Ynoa has responded to his promotion to Vermont by giving up more than a walk per inning and posting an ERA north of 9.00. But this week’s biggest demotion had to be second baseman Jemile Weeks’ assignment to Sacramento. So far, Weeks seems to be working out whatever was ailing him in Oakland, as he’s managed to hit over .500 in his first few games back in the Pacific Coast League. 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: 4-3

Record This Season: 81-55

The River Cats’ offense has finally cooled off a bit over the past few weeks but, no matter who’s been in the mix, the pitching staff has remained strong all season. Right-hander Dan Straily picked up right where he left off, giving up just 3 hits and 1 run in his first start back at Sacramento, while left-hander Carlos Hernandez tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his first start after his promotion from Midland. Shortstop Brandon Hicks was the Cats’ big hitting star this week, homering in 3 straight games, capping off the streak with a grand slam, and driving in 10 runs on the week. And in his first 3 games back at Sacramento, second baseman Jemile Weeks went 7 for 12 with a double, 3 walks, 3 RBIs and a stolen base.

Top Cats:

Outfielder Michael Taylor (76 R / 12 HR / 64 RBI / 81 BB / 102 K / .291 AVG / .408 OBP / .452 SLG / .860 OPS)

Shortstop Brandon Hicks (60 R / 18 HR / 60 RBI / 44 BB / 109 K / .251 AVG / .355 OBP / .524 SLG / .879 OPS)

1B Kila Ka’aihue (39 R / 14 HR / 46 RBI / 38 BB / 59 K / .252 AVG / .363 OBP / .504 SLG / .867 OPS)

Pitcher Dan Straily (58 IP / 30 H / 9 ER / 17 BB / 71 K / 1.40 ERA / 0.81 WHIP)

Pitcher Tyson Ross (75 2/3 IP / 65 H / 23 ER / 28 BB / 62 K / 2.74 ERA / 1.23 WHIP)

Pitcher Bruce Billings (127 1/3 IP / 118 H / 57 ER / 38 BB / 114 K / 4.03 ERA / 1.23 WHIP)



MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 1-6

Record This Season: 60-70

The RockHounds had a rough week, winning just 1 game, and the pitching staff was the main culprit, with starters Matt McSwain, Fabio Castro and Murphy Smith all having rough outings. Meanwhile, left-hander Ian Krol tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief for Midland this week. A few RockHounds’ hitters have been heating up of late though. And over the past week, third baseman Miles Head had two 3-hit games, designated hitter Matt Rizzotti banged out 4 doubles, first baseman Anthony Aliotti hit over .400, catcher David Freitas, acquired in the Kurt Suzuki deal from the Nationals, went 6 for 12, and outfielder Conner Crumbliss had 8 RBIs from the leadoff spot for the Hounds.

Top Hounds:

DH Matt Rizzotti (17 R / 4 HR / 24 RBI / 8 BB / 27 K / .317 AVG / .363 OBP / .516 SLG / .879 OPS)

OF Conner Crumbliss (91 R / 8 HR / 43 RBI / 113 BB / 89 K / .261 AVG / .415 OBP / .388 SLG / .803 OPS)

1B Anthony Aliotti (70 R / 10 HR / 75 RBI / 65 BB / 119 K / .298 AVG / .389 OBP / .437 SLG / .826 OPS)

Pitcher Sonny Gray (140 IP / 144 H / 67 ER / 56 BB / 91 K / 4.31 ERA / 1.43 WHIP)

Pitcher Murphy Smith (132 2/3 IP / 165 H / 68 ER / 49 BB / 78 K / 4.61 ERA / 1.61 WHIP)

Pitcher Shawn Haviland (109 1/3 IP / 110 H / 56 ER / 44 BB / 95 K / 4.61 ERA / 1.41 WHIP)



STOCKTON PORTS

(High-A California League)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 51-81

First baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones wielded the big bat at Stockton this week, clubbing 2 home runs and driving in 5 runs, and he currently leads the team with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs. The Ports have been a little shaky on the defensive side of the ball though. So far this season, third baseman B.A. Vollmuth has made 18 errors in 57 games, and shortstop Yordy Cabrera has made 20 errors in just 54 games. Josh Bowman continues to lead Stockton’s starting staff, and right-hander Max Perlman finally delivered a solid outing, allowing just 2 hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings for the Ports this week.

Top Ports:

1B A.J. Kirby-Jones (57 R / 21 HR / 67 RBI / 79 BB / 120 K / .248 AVG / .380 OBP / .472 SLG / .852 OPS)

Outfielder Josh Whitaker (62 R / 20 HR / 61 RBI / 33 BB / 122 K / .259 AVG / .325 OBP / .472 SLG / .796 OPS)

2B Ryan Pineda (24 R / 4 HR / 28 RBI / 28 BB / 51 K / .263 AVG / .357 OBP / .406 SLG / .763 OPS)

Pitcher Josh Bowman (146 2/3 IP / 157 H / 59 ER / 33 BB / 127 K / 3.62 ERA / 1.30 WHIP)

Pitcher Jacob Brown (124 IP / 143 H / 69 ER / 26 BB / 86 K / 5.01 ERA / 1.36 WHIP)

Pitcher Sean Murphy (102 2/3 IP / 94 H / 58 ER / 31 BB / 104 K / 5.08 ERA / 1.22 WHIP)



BURLINGTON BEES

(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 3-4

Record This Season: 66-65

After a shaky start at Stockton, top pitching prospect A.J. Cole has continued to dominate Midwest League hitters, and this week, the right-hander struck out 5 in 5 scoreless innings to earn his 6th win. Blake Hassebrock, who also started out the season struggling at Stockton, had his best outing for Burlington this week, allowing just 1 run and striking out 6 in 5 innings of work. And right-hander Tanner Peters impressed by allowing just 1 earned run over 13 2/3 innings. This year’s 5th-round draft pick, first baseman Max Muncy, has been the Bees’ hottest hitter of late, and he hit .375 this week with 5 doubles. With Sean Jamieson shipped off to Arizona in the Stephen Drew deal, this year’s 1st-round pick Addison Russell is now the go-to guy at shortstop for the Bees, and he’s currently hitting .258 with 2 triples and 3 stolen bases after his first 9 games at Burlington.

Top Bees:

First Baseman Max Muncy (33 R / 4 HR / 21 RBI / 35 BB / 32 K / .261 AVG / .368 OBP / .414 SLG / .782 OPS)

Outfielder Rashun Dixon (53 R / 12 HR / 38 RBI / 48 BB / 100 K / .236 AVG / .362 OBP / .415 SLG / .777 OPS)

Outfielder Bobby Crocker (56 R / 6 HR / 53 RBI / 34 BB / 100 K / .275 AVG / .348 OBP / .380 SLG / .728 OPS)

Pitcher A.J. Cole (90 2/3 IP / 75 H / 20 ER / 18 BB / 98 K / 1.99 ERA / 1.03 WHIP)

Pitcher Drew Granier (152 2/3 IP / 136 H / 52 ER / 51 BB / 146 K / 3.11 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

Pitcher Raul Alcantara (102 2/3 IP / 119 H / 58 ER / 38 BB / 57 K / 5.08 ERA / 1.53 WHIP)



VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS

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

Record This Week: 0-7

Record This Season: 27-39

Vermont has been on a real slide lately, and the team is currently riding an 8-game losing streak. The pitching staff has really been struggling of late, with starters Andres Avila, Brent Powers and Michael Ynoa all enduring painful outings this week. Ynoa’s start on Sunday was particularly brutal, when the former top prospect allowed 8 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 2 over just 1 1/3 innings of work. Vermont hasn’t been doing much on the offensive side of things lately either. Outfielder John Wooten and second baseman Chris Bostick continue to be two of the few bright lights in the team’s lineup. This year’s 10th-round draft pick, outfielder Brett Vertigan, has been heating up of late though, and he hit .375 with a pair of doubles for the Lake Monsters this week.

Top Monsters:

Outfielder John Wooten (27 R / 4 HR / 37 RBI / 16 BB / 41 K / .298 AVG / .340 OBP / .419 SLG / .759 OPS)

2B Chris Bostick (35 R / 3 HR / 23 RBI / 22 BB / 54 K / .257 AVG / .326 OBP / .382 SLG / .708 OPS)

Outfielder Brett Vertigan (28 R / 0 HR / 12 RBI / 22 BB / 26 K / .263 AVG / .333 OBP / .364 SLG / .697 OPS)

Pitcher Tyler Vail (45 2/3 IP / 38 H / 22 ER / 17 BB / 40 K / 4.34 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

Pitcher Andres Avila (55 IP / 59 H / 28 ER / 16 BB / 46 K / 4.58 ERA / 1.36 WHIP)

Pitcher J.C. Menna (51 2/3 IP / 54 H / 27 ER / 21 BB / 38 K / 4.70 ERA / 1.45 WHIP)



AZL ATHLETICS

(Rookie Short-Season Arizona League)

Record This Week: 2-3

Record This Season: 36-16

Despite having a rare losing week, the A’s still maintain the best record in the Arizona League. The crop of fresh draft picks has consistently been playing well since the schedule started back in June. With top picks Addison Russell and Daniel Robertson both already receiving promotions, first baseman Matt Olson, outfielder B.J. Boyd and third baseman Renato Nunez have been leading the lineup. Nunez has been the team’s hottest hitter of late, and he collected 5 extra base hits in 5 games this week. Meanwhile, this year’s 15th round draft pick Vince Voiro has been leading the pitching staff, and in his last appearance on Saturday, the right-hander struck out 6 batters in just 3 innings of work.

Top AZL A’s:

3B Renato Nunez (30 R / 4 HR / 40 RBI / 14 BB / 29 K / .331 AVG / .401 OBP / .552 SLG / .953 OPS)

Outfielder B.J. Boyd (37 R / 1 HR / 20 RBI / 23 BB / 35 K / .309 AVG / .411 OBP / .446 SLG / .857 OPS)

First Baseman Matt Olson (28 R / 8 HR / 41 RBI / 16 BB / 44 K / .290 AVG / .354 OBP / .538 SLG / .893 OPS)

Pitcher Vince Voiro (37 1/3 IP / 35 H / 15 ER / 8 BB / 41 K / 3.62 ERA / 1.15 WHIP)

Pitcher Jose Torres (52 IP / 52 H / 25 ER / 29 BB / 41 K / 4.33 ERA / 1.56 WHIP)

Pitcher Gregory Paulino (60 IP / 75 H / 38 ER / 16 BB / 56 K / 5.70 ERA / 1.52 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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