Down On The Farm: Second-Half Stars

Christian Petersen

As we all know, just like the ponies, some players start out hot and some players finish strong. And a number of prospects have really been surging in the second half for the A's. You can keep tabs on the ups and downs of all the A's top prospects and minor league teams on my Athletics Farm blog and get lots more details on the last week of A's minor league action and the organization's second-half stars right here on Athletics Nation...


SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

(Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Record This Week: 5-2

Record This Season: 72-57

Top Cats:

1B-3B Daric Barton (7 HR / 83 BB / 52 K / .297 AVG / .425 OBP / .433 SLG / .858 OPS)

OF Michael Choice (14 HR / 62 BB / 112 K / .300 AVG / .387 OBP / .447 SLG / .834 OPS)

OF Michael Taylor (16 HR / 45 BB / 82 K / .283 AVG / .363 OBP / .481 SLG / .844 OPS)

RHP Bruce Billings (134 2/3 IP / 119 H / 58 ER / 40 BB / 125 K / 3.88 ERA / 1.18 WHIP)

RHP Brian Gordon (57 IP / 58 H / 25 ER / 9 BB / 62 K / 3.95 ERA / 1.18 WHIP / 18 SV)

RHP Evan Scribner (40 1/3 IP / 31 H / 10 ER / 9 BB / 51 K / 2.23 ERA / 0.99 WHIP)

Daric Barton, who's been primarily playing at third base over the past few weeks, has turned out to be the River Cats' most consistent hitter in the second half and leads all A's full-season minor leaguers with an OBP of .425. Outfielder Michael Choice has been coming on strong of late and is currently batting an even .300 and is second in hits amongst all A's minor leaguers with 139 so far on the season. But the River Cats have been winning a lot lately thanks to their pitching staff. With RHP Sonny Gray now making his mark in the major leagues, RHP Bruce Billings has been the second-half superstar of Sacramento's starting staff and his 13 wins lead all A's minor leaguers. LHP Carlos Hernandez, who had been dominating at Midland, was recently added to the River Cats rotation and pitched well in his debut. And with RHP Dan Otero now in the A's bullpen, RHP Brian Gordon has taken over as the second-half closer in Sacramento and is second in saves among all A's minor leaguers with 18.


MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

(Double-A Texas League)

Record This Week: 4-2

Record This Season: 55-71

Top Hounds:

OF Conner Crumbliss (9 HR / 62 BB / 43 K / .291 AVG / .422 OBP / .453 SLG / .875 OPS)

3B Tyler Ladendorf (5 HR / 23 BB / 38 K / .271 AVG / .352 OBP / .421 SLG / .773 OPS)

SS Dusty Coleman (3 HR / 50 BB / 142 K / .266 AVG / .344 OBP / .397 SLG / .741 OPS)

RHP Murphy Smith (129 1/3 IP / 142 H / 53 ER / 38 BB / 85 K / 3.69 ERA / 1.39 WHIP)

RHP Sean Murphy (122 1/3 IP / 116 H / 52 ER / 45 BB / 108 K / 3.83 ERA / 1.32 WHIP)

RHP Zach Neal (151 IP / 153 H / 70 ER / 34 BB / 90 K / 4.17 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

With the promotions of first baseman Anthony Aliotti and outfielder Jake Goebbert to Sacramento, outfielder Conner Crumbliss has been the RockHounds' most consistent hitter in the second half, getting on base just over 42% of the time. Third baseman Tyler Ladendorf has also come on strong in the second half, trailing only Crumbliss in OBP and SLG among current RockHounds regulars. Meanwhile, on the mound, RHPs Murphy Smith, Sean Murphy and Zach Neal have formed the core of Midland's starting staff all season. Neal has walked just 34 in 151 innings, while Murphy has struck out 108 over 122 1/3 innings. On the other side of the coin, RHP Drew Granier, who was dominant at Stockton, has struggled since his promotion to the Texas League, posting a 5.93 ERA in his first 11 starts for the RockHounds.


STOCKTON PORTS

(High-A California League)

Record This Week: 4-2

Record This Season: 65-61

Top Ports:

SS Addison Russell (15 HR / 51 BB / 106 K / .276 AVG / .368 OBP / .510 SLG / .878 OPS)

OF Bobby Crocker (10 HR / 26 BB / 138 K / .282 AVG / .344 OBP / .464 SLG / .809 OPS)

1B-3B Tony Thompson (17 HR / 42 BB / 85 K / .262 AVG / .333 OBP / .452 SLG / .785 OPS)

RHP Tanner Peters (148 1/3 IP / 150 H / 66 ER / 24 BB / 144 K / 4.00 ERA / 1.17 WHIP)

RHP Raul Alcantara (60 IP / 52 H / 22 ER / 11 BB / 51 K / 3.30 ERA / 1.05 WHIP)

RHP Seth Frankoff (68 1/3 IP / 43 H / 16 ER / 20 BB / 84 K / 2.11 ERA / 0.92 WHIP)

With first baseman Max Muncy's promotion to Midland, shortstop Addison Russell has been Stockton's best hitter in the second half, raising his average to .276 and totaling 29 doubles, 9 triples and 15 home runs. And Russell's .510 SLG is now tops amongst all A's full-season minor leaguers. First baseman Tony Thompson has also been swinging a hot bat of late and totaled 3 home runs and 13 RBIs in just 2 games on Friday and Saturday. RHP Tanner Peters has been the Ports' top starter in the second half and currently leads all A's minor leaguers in strikeouts with 144. RHP Raul Alcantara has also been solid since his promotion from Beloit, striking out 51 while walking just 11 in 60 innings, and his 12 wins are second only to Sacramento's Bruce Billings amongst all A's minor leaguers.


BELOIT SNAPPERS

(Class-A Midwest League)

Record This Week: 0-6

Record This Season: 67-58

Top Snappers:

2B Chris Bostick (13 HR / 46 BB / 103 K / .287 AVG / .358 OBP / .467 SLG / .825 OPS)

OF Ryan Mathews (12 HR / 41 BB / 85 K / .252 AVG / .333 OBP / .432 SLG / .765 OPS)

OF John Wooten (18 HR / 49 BB / 107 K / .254 AVG / .333 OBP / .427 SLG / .760 OPS)

RHP Dakota Bacus (115 1/3 IP / 121 H / 48 ER / 36 BB / 86 K / 3.75 ERA / 1.36 WHIP)

RHP Seth Streich (110 2/3 IP / 114 H / 47 ER / 41 BB / 82 K / 3.82 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

RHP Vince Voiro (92 IP / 100 H / 38 ER / 40 BB / 62 K / 3.72 ERA / 1.52 WHIP)

Many of the Snappers' hottest hitters have cooled off a bit in the second half, including first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Renato Nunez. Olson's average is now down to .215 while Nunez's has dropped to .266, and the pair have combined for over 250 strikeouts so far this season. Second baseman Chris Bostick remains the team's top hitter, while outfielders Ryan Mathews and John Wooten have been helping out as well. Outfielder Aaron Shipman has been coming on strong in the second half and currently sports an impressive .398 OBP. The Snappers' starting staff has been anchored all season by RHPs Dakota Bacus, Seth Streich, Vince Voiro and Derek De Young, though Streich is currently on the disabled list. The A's 4th-round draft pick this year, RHP Dylan Covey, has a 4.54 ERA over his first 7 starts for the Snappers, while one of last year's top picks, RHP Nolan Sanburn boasts a 1.80 ERA after 20 innings in relief.


VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS

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

Record This Week: 2-3

Record This Season: 28-31

Top Monsters:

1B Ryan Huck (3 HR / 19 BB / 27 K / .287 AVG / .400 OBP / .465 SLG / .865 OPS)

OF B.J. Boyd (6 HR / 27 BB / 50 K / .296 AVG / .388 OBP / .459 SLG / .847 OPS)

OF Herschel Powell (0 HR / 21 BB / 31 K / .291 AVG / .365 OBP / .360 SLG / .725 OPS)

LHP Brent Powers (58 2/3 IP / 53 H / 17 ER / 16 BB / 52 K / 2.61 ERA / 1.18 WHIP)

RHP Lou Trivino (48 1/3 IP / 43 H / 15 ER / 15 BB / 38 K / 2.79 ERA / 1.20 WHIP)

RHP Kyle Finnegan (45 IP / 38 H / 15 ER / 12 BB / 32 K / 3.00 ERA / 1.11 WHIP)

First baseman Ryan Huck has been one of the organization's best second-half hitters, and his .400 OBP and .465 SLG lead the Lake Monsters roster. Outfielder B.J. Boyd continues to look good, leading the team in hits, home runs and total bases. LHP Brent Powers has been the most impressive member of the team's starting staff this season, but RHP Lou Trivino has been the star of the second half. RHP Kyle Finnegan has been solid as well. RHPs Bobby Wahl and Sam Bragg both have ERA's under 2.00 pitching primarily out of the bullpen, while RHP Hunter Adkins hasn't been scored upon in his first 9 innings of work since being promoted from the Arizona League.


AZL A'S

(Rookie Short-Season Arizona League)

Record This Week: 2-3

Record This Season: 20-27

Top A's:

OF Justin Higley (5 HR / 17 BB / 46 K / .281 AVG / .376 OBP / .529 SLG / .905 OPS)

OF Billy McKinney (2 HR / 16 BB / 27 K / .308 AVG / .375 OBP / .397 SLG / .772 OPS)

OF Ben McQuown (0 HR / 17 BB / 26 K / .281 AVG / .398 OBP / .371 SLG / .769 OPS)

RHP Cristhian Perez (43 2/3 IP / 43 H / 19 ER / 5 BB / 36 K / 3.92 ERA / 1.10 WHIP)

RHP Ronald Herrera (58 2/3 IP / 64 H / 27 ER / 9 BB / 50 K / 4.14 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

RHP Carlos Navas (41 1/3 IP / 44 H / 20 ER / 10 BB / 20 K / 4.35 ERA / 1.31 WHIP)

Oakland's 13th-round draft pick, outfielder Justin Higley, has been the A's best second-half hitter in the Arizona League and he currently leads the team in doubles, triples, home runs and total bases. The team's top pick, outfielder Billy McKinney, continues to swing a sweet bat, hitting over .300, and he's gotten his walk total up and hit his first 2 home runs of the season in the second half. Catcher Kyle Wheeler has also come on strong of late and currently boasts a SLG over .500. Meanwhile, the team's starting staff has been anchored by three Venezuelan hurlers - RHPs Ronald Herrera, Cristhian Perez and Carlos Navas. Perez has walked just 5 in 43 2/3 innings, while Herrera has struck out 50 over 58 2/3 innings of work.


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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