Down On The Farm: Prospects Coming & Going

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

There have been an awful lot of comings and goings in the A's system over the past week or so, as always seems to be the case about this time of year. Lefty Hideki Okajima was promoted from the River Cats' staff to the A's bullpen, while perennial prospect Michael Taylor was forced to make another return trip to Sacramento. And with Jeremy Barfield laying claim to a spot in the River Cats' outfield, Conner Crumbliss was shipped back to Midland, where he'll be joined in the outfield by Josh Whitaker, who was recently promoted from Stockton. Meanwhile, righty Josh Bowman was shipped back to Stockton, where it looks like he'll be joined in the rotation by former 1st-round draft pick James Simmons, who already made his first start for the Ports this week. And those are just some of the A's prospects who've been on the move recently! 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...


SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Record This Week: 4-2

Record This Season: 24-19

Outfielders Michael Choice and Shane Peterson have really been anchoring the River Cats lineup for most of the year. Choice leads the team in home runs and RBIs while Peterson leads the team in walks and OBP. Choice had been playing strictly in center field, but he's recently begun getting some starts in right field as well. And one has to wonder if the A's might be prepping him just in case right fielder Josh Reddick's absence lingers for too long. Jeremy Barfield filled out the outfield picture when he arrived from Midland a little over a week ago, and he's been fitting right in, batting .310 with a pair of home runs in his first 9 games with Sacramento. Combined with his 8 home runs at Midland, Barfield now leads all A's minor leaguers in home runs with a total of 10. Things got a little more crowded in the outfield when Michael Taylor returned to Sacramento this week and, with Barfield playing well, the A's decided to ship Conner Crumbliss back down to Midland. If first baseman Daric Barton ends up clearing waivers, the team might need to make room on the River Cats' roster for him before long too. Meanwhile, in his first 10 games with Sacramento, shortstop Hiro Nakajima is hitting just .237. With Hideki Okajima's recall by the A's this week, RHP Dan Otero is the only real standout in the River Cats' bullpen at this point, having allowed just 1 walk and 1 run over his first 15 appearances while notching 10 saves. Sonny Gray has been the clear standout amongst the starting staff, posting an ERA of 2.47 while allowing no home runs and striking out 38 in 43 2/3 innings of work. But starters Bruce Billings, Andrew Werner and Justin Thomas all stepped up with impressive performances for Sacramento this week.

Top Cats:

C Stephen Vogt (6 HR / 15 BB / 20 K / .338 AVG / .403 OBP / .579 SLG / .982 OPS)

OF Michael Choice (8 HR / 26 BB / 35 K / .288 AVG / .396 OBP / .484 SLG / .879 OPS)

OF Shane Peterson (3 HR / 33 BB / 34 K / .288 AVG / .426 OBP / .424 SLG / .850 OPS)

3B Scott Moore (4 HR / 18 BB / 31 K / .270 AVG / .367 OBP / .452 SLG / .819 OPS)

RHP Sonny Gray (43 2/3 IP / 39 H / 12 ER / 0 HR / 19 BB / 38 K / 2.47 ERA / 1.33 WHIP)

RHP Dan Otero (18 IP / 10 H / 1 ER / 0 HR / 1 BB / 14 K / 0.50 ERA / 0.61 WHIP / 10 SV)


MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 3-4

Record This Season: 20-23

First baseman Anthony Aliotti, who has been one of the most consistent hitters in the A's sytem this year, had a career night on Saturday, collecting 3 home runs and 8 RBIs for the RockHounds. Aliotti now leads all A's minor leaguers in hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. And if Daric Barton doesn't clear waivers and end up back at Sacramento, it might finally be time for the A's to give Aliotti a shot to show what he can do in Triple-A. Outfielder Chad Oberacker's been the second hottest hitter at Midland of late. He currently has 13 doubles and 5 triples, and even collected 2 of those triples in 1 game this week! In his return to Midland from Sacramento, outfielder Conner Crumbliss was back to his old self, reaching base 4 times in his first 9 plate appearances. Since his arrival from Stockton, outfielder Josh Whitaker has had a slightly harder time of it though, hitting .176 in his first 5 games. An even more dubious distinction belongs to RockHounds' shortstop Dusty Coleman, who currently leads all A's minor leaguers in errors with 14 in his first 43 games. The team's greatest strength has been its starting rotation, which is being ably anchored by a trio of tough righties. Murphy Smith leads all A's minor league league starters with a 2.00 ERA, Zach Neal leads the RockHounds with 38 strikeouts, and Sean Murphy leads all A's minor league starters with a 1.20 WHIP. Struggling starter Josh Bowman was sent down to Stockton this week, while the A's signed 29-year-old right-hander Erik Arnesen, who spent 7 years in the Nationals' system and had most recently been pitching in the independent Atlantic League, and assigned him to Midland.

Top Hounds:

1B Anthony Aliotti (7 HR / 32 BB / 35 K / .373 AVG / .472 OBP / .590 SLG / 1.062 OPS)

OF Jake Goebbert (6 HR / 10 BB / 38 K / .275 AVG / .323 OBP / .443 SLG / .766 OPS)

OF Chad Oberacker (1 HR / 17 BB / 35 K / .261 AVG / .330 OBP / .418 SLG / .748 OPS)

RHP Murphy Smith (54 IP / 52 H / 12 ER / 2 HR / 15 BB / 33 K / 2.00 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

RHP Zach Neal (53 2/3 IP / 53 H / 16 ER / 4 HR / 13 BB / 38 K / 2.68 ERA / 1.23 WHIP)

RHP Sean Murphy (29 IP / 24 H / 7 ER / 0 HR / 10 BB / 25 K / 2.17 ERA / 1.17 WHIP)


STOCKTON PORTS

(High-A California League)

Record This Week: 3-3

Record This Season: 21-22

Top prospect Addison Russell was the top story at Stockton this week, as he really started showing a little pop. The shortstop hit 2 home runs, 2 doubles and a triple this week to raise his slugging percentage to a respectable .429. He also went 8 for 25 to lift his batting average back over 200. Meanwhile, outfielder Rashun Dixon homered in his first game after his arrival from Beloit. And first baseman Max Muncy continues to lead all Ports' regulars in hits, runs, walks, home runs, total bases and on-base percentage. RHP Drew Granier has been the one reliable member of Stockton's starting rotation, maintaining a nifty 2.28 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League while leading all A's minor leaguers in strikeouts with 63 in 51 1/3 innings. His fellow righty, Tanner Peters, came through with an impressive performance for the Ports this week, allowing just 1 run while walking none and striking out 10 in 8 innings to earn his 3rd win. Former 1st-round draft pick James Simmons was sent down from Sacramento this week and made his first start for Stockton on Saturday, allowing just 1 hit over 4 scoreless innings. The Ports' pitching staff should also be getting a bit of a boost with the return of righty Josh Bowman, who was demoted from Midland. In other pitching news for the Ports this week, Seth Frankoff was put on the disabled list and Max Perlman was given his release.

Top Ports:

1B Max Muncy (9 HR / 33 BB / 32 K / .264 AVG / .396 OBP / .472 SLG / .868 OPS)

C Ryan Delgado (4 HR / 6 BB / 18 K / .250 AVG / .321 OBP / .474 SLG / .795 OPS)

SS Addison Russell (5 HR / 22 BB / 42 K / .206 AVG / .322 OBP / .429 SLG / .751 OPS)

RHP Drew Granier (51 1/3 IP / 39 H / 13 ER / 2 HR / 27 BB / 63 K / 2.28 ERA / 1.29 WHIP)

LHP Jake Brown (32 1/3 IP / 33 H / 15 ER / 3 HR / 1 BB / 31 K / 4.18 ERA / 1.05 WHIP)

RHP Jose Macias (24 1/3 IP / 17 H / 7 ER / 1 HR / 4 BB / 20 K / 2.59 ERA / 0.86 WHIP / 2 SV)


BELOIT SNAPPERS

(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 5-3

Record This Season: 24-18

The Snappers have been busy lately. In order to make up for a number of April rainouts, the team has played 14 games over the past 12 days. They've been playing well though, and the Snappers' pitching staff has been leading the way. Seven members of the staff currently boast ERA's under 3.20 while three have ERAs under 2.00. Former top prospect Michael Ynoa has a miniscule ERA of just 1.44 after 25 innings, while Dakota Bacus is the team's strikeout king with 36 in 36 innings, and Raul Alcantara leads all A's minor leaguers in wins with 5. Meanwhile, some of the A's top young hitting prospects continue to provide the big bats for Beloit. First baseman Matt Olson leads the team in walks, doubles and RBIs, while third baseman Renato Nunez leads in home runs and total bases, and shortstop Daniel Robertson leads all Snappers' regulars in batting average. But a somewhat overlooked hitter has been coming on strong lately. Outfielder John Wooten, who was drafted by the A's in the 37th-round last year, currently leads the team in both hits and runs and is tied with Nunez for the team lead in total bases.

Top Snappers:

3B Renato Nunez (9 HR / 10 BB / 42 K / .266 AVG / .325 OBP / .518 SLG / .842 OPS)

OF John Wooten (7 HR / 13 BB / 33 K / .287 AVG / .344 OBP / .480 SLG / .824 OPS)

1B Matt Olson (5 HR / 21 BB / 48 K / .260 AVG / .351 OBP / .460 SLG / .811 OPS)

RHP Michael Ynoa (25 IP / 20 H / 4 ER / 1 HR / 7 BB / 25 K / 1.44 ERA / 1.08 WHIP)

RHP Derek De Young (33 2/3 IP / 31 H / 9 ER / 1 HR / 16 BB / 28 K / 2.41 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

RHP Dakota Bacus (36 IP / 38 H / 12 ER / 1 HR / 9 BB / 36 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.31 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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