Down on the farm: Short-season teams get going

A's top pick Matt Chapman has made it all the way to Beloit - USA TODAY Sports

With the A's top draft picks slowly trickling into the system, the organization's two short-season teams - the Vermont Lake Monsters and the Arizona League A's - have begun play over the past couple of weeks. Many of the team's top picks from this month's amateur draft made their debuts this week, and top pick Matt Chapman has already begun play with Beloit in the Midwest League. Meanwhile, three of the team's top ten picks made their debuts with Vermont this week, and a pair of the team's top pitching prospects premiered in Arizona along with last year's top pitching pick, Dillon Overton, who appears to be on the road to recovery a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. You can keep tabs on all the A's top prospects and minor league teams on my Athletics Farm site and get lots more details on all the latest down on the farm right here on Athletics Nation...


(Pacific Coast League - Triple-A)

Record This Week: 4-2

Record This Season: 48-35

Top Cats:

OF Shane Peterson (5 HR / 38 BB / 83 K / .309 AVG / .384 OBP / .426 SLG / .809 OPS)

1B Daric Barton (2 HR / 17 BB / 9 K / .287 AVG / .380 OBP / .418 SLG / .798 OPS)

SS Andy Parrino (5 HR / 32 BB / 65 K / .290 AVG / .370 OBP / .399 SLG / .768 OPS)

RHP Arnold Leon (85 IP / 91 H / 43 ER / 28 BB / 63 K / 4.55 ERA / 1.40 WHIP)

RHP Dan Straily (56 1/3 IP / 47 H / 30 ER / 23 BB / 61 K / 4.79 ERA / 1.24 WHIP)

RHP Matt Buschmann (59 1/3 IP / 69 H / 32 ER / 22 BB / 56 K / 4.85 ERA / 1.53 WHIP)

Lots of changes have taken place at Sacramento over the past few weeks and most of the team's top hitters are no longer on the field for the River Cats. Hot-hitting infielder Tyler Ladendorf was suspended for 50 games after a second positive test for a "drug of abuse" - best guess is it was most likely an "herb of abuse." Outfielders Jake Goebbert and Michael Taylor were traded to the Padres and White Sox, while Stephen Vogt and Nate Freiman have been recalled by the A's. But that was good news for first baseman Anthony Aliotti and outfielder Josh Whitaker, who were promoted from Midland. Vogt's recall made Ryan Ortiz the River Cats' starting catcher. Ryan Lipkin was promoted to be the backup, but he soon went on the disabled list - as he's wont to do - and the Cats have now added minor league free agent catcher Luis Exposito to be the new backup backstop. With all the recent departures, center fielder Shane Peterson remains as Sacramento's most solid hitter, leading the current Cats in almost all offensive categories. On the mound, RHP Zach Neal returned to the rotation from the RockHounds, while RHP Marcus Walden was sent to Midland. RHP Dan Straily has been inconsistent with Sacramento, turning in 4 solid starts and 5 shaky ones. He's been putting up impressive strikeout numbers, but the 8 home runs he's given up have undermined his efforts. Rehabbing LHP Eric O'Flaherty has now made 6 appearances in relief for the River Cats. He allowed a pair of runs in 2 of them and the other 4 were scoreless.


(Texas League - Double-A)

Record This Week: 1-4

Record This Season: 43-37

Top Hounds:

1B Max Muncy (3 HR / 41 BB / 46 K / .276 AVG / .382 OBP / .413 SLG / .796 OPS)

2B Hiro Nakajima (1 HR / 14 BB / 16 K / .265 AVG / .365 OBP / .316 SLG / .682 OPS)

SS Dusty Coleman (8 HR / 23 BB / 116 K / .240 AVG / .310 OBP / .399 SLG / .709 OPS)

RHP Shawn Haviland (79 1/3 IP / 76 H / 29 ER / 27 BB / 43 K / 3.29 ERA / 1.30 WHIP)

RHP Drew Granier (79 1/3 IP / 77 H / 29 ER / 41 BB / 52 K / 3.29 ERA / 1.49 WHIP)

RHP Nate Long (82 1/3 IP / 73 H / 32 ER / 28 BB / 60 K / 3.50 ERA / 1.23 WHIP)

With first baseman Anthony Aliotti and outfielder Josh Whitaker promoted to the River Cats, first baseman Max Muncy is clearly the best hitter left on the RockHounds roster, and his 18 doubles and 41 walks lead the team. Shortstop Addison Russell returned from the disabled list and a brief stint at Stockton and has gone 6 for 31 in his first 8 games back at Midland. Second baseman Hiro Nakajima was also recently activated and has gone 6 for 19 in his first 5 games back. Outfielder D'Arby Myers, who missed 2 months after breaking his wrist in April, returned this week and went 4 for 10 in his first 3 games back in action, while outfielder Billy Burns notched in 40th stolen base this week to further extend his league-leading total. RHP Zach Neal was sent back up to Sacramento, while RHP Sean Murphy returned to the RockHounds starting rotation. RHP Marcus Walden also joined the club from Sacramento and was assigned to Midland's bullpen. Meanwhile, Murphy joined RHPs Shawn Haviland, Drew Granier, Nate Long and Chris Jensen in a solid starting rotation for the RockHounds.


(California League - High-A)

Record This Week: 4-3

Record This Season: 45-36

Top Ports:

1B Matt Olson (23 HR / 68 BB / 72 K / .252 AVG / .399 OBP / .541 SLG / .940 OPS)

SS Daniel Robertson (10 HR / 45 BB / 52 K / .291 AVG / .397 OBP / .446 SLG / .844 OPS)

3B Renato Nunez (16 HR / 22 BB / 65 K / .282 AVG / .349 OBP / .533 SLG / .882 OPS)

RHP Seth Streich (86 IP / 78 H / 28 ER / 17 BB / 88 K / 2.93 ERA / 1.10 WHIP)

RHP Tim Atherton (80 1/3 IP / 88 H / 45 ER / 24 BB / 67 K / 5.04 ERA / 1.39 WHIP)

RHP Nolan Sanburn (44 1/3 IP / 44 H / 15 ER / 18 BB / 44 K / 3.05 ERA / 1.40 WHIP / 3 SV)

First baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Renato Nunez have been on fire in June. Both have posted multiple multi-homer games over the past week and a half, and Olson leads all A's minor leaguers in home runs with 23, while Nunez is second with 16. And shortstop Daniel Robertson has been doing his job getting on base in front of them. He leads the team in hits and is second in both walks and runs. And the Ports lineup got even stronger this week with the addition of Midwest League All-Star Game MVP and Beloit's best hitter, outfielder Herschel "Boog" Powell, who leads all A's minor leaguers in batting average and on-base percentage and went 10 for 28 with 4 extra-base hits and 7 RBIs in his first week with Stockton. Outfielder Dusty Robinson was released to make room for Powell on the Ports roster. Meanwhile, RHP Hunter Adkins was shipped out to Beloit, with RHP Jake Sanchez, acquired in the Michael Taylor trade, and RHP Yeiper Castillo, signed as a minor league free agent, joining Stockton's starting rotation. Sanchez got off to an impressive start, allowing just 2 runs while striking out 14 over his first 2 starts, while Castillo struggled, surrendering 8 runs in his first 2 appearances. RHP Seth Streich continues to be the most impressive starting pitcher in the A's system. He's managed to maintain an ERA under 3.00 while pitching in the free-swinging California League and still leads all A's minor leaguers in strikeouts with 88 in 86 innings of work. Streich and RHP Tim Atherton have been the only reliable members of Stockton's starting rotation throughout the season, while RHP Nolan Sanburn has been solid out of the bullpen for the Ports.


(Midwest League - Class-A)

Record This Week: 0-6

Record This Season: 32-48

Top Snappers:

OF Jaycob Brugman (7 HR / 35 BB / 60 K / .280 AVG / .380 OBP / .480 SLG / .860 OPS)

OF Tyler Marincov (9 HR / 32 BB / 76 K / .226 AVG / .317 OBP / .406 SLG / .723 OPS)

3B Matt Chapman (1 HR / 1 BB / 4 K / .250 AVG / .280 OBP / .375 SLG / .655 OPS)

RHP Kyle Finnegan (87 2/3 IP / 71 H / 31 ER / 33 BB / 43 K / 3.18 ERA / 1.19 WHIP)

RHP Dylan Covey (81 1/3 IP / 82 H / 45 ER / 21 BB / 50 K / 4.98 ERA / 1.27 WHIP)

RHP Lou Trivino (80 1/3 IP / 96 H / 50 ER / 28 BB / 53 K / 5.60 ERA / 1.54 WHIP)

Beloit lost its best hitter, leadoff man Herschel "Boog" Powell this week, and promptly went 0-6. With Powell's departure, outfielders Jaycob Brugman and Tyler Marincov are the biggest threats remaining in the Snappers lineup. The A's 1st-round draft pick, third baseman Matt Chapman, just joined Beloit this week after spending a few days in Arizona and hit his 1st professional home run for the Snappers on Sunday. In his first 6 games in the Midwest League, Chapman has gone 6 for 24 with a home run, a stolen base and 3 RBIs. Chapman's arrival was more bad news for former third base prospect B.A. Vollmuth, who had already been moved over to first base a month before and has posted a .189/.270/.313 slash line in his second consecutive uninspiring season. With RHP Ronald Herrera's trade to San Diego in the Kyle Blanks deal, RHP Kyle Finnegan is clearly the best starting pitcher at Beloit. RHP Hunter Adkins has recently joined the Snappers starting rotation from Stockton, while RHP Dylan Covey was placed on the disabled list this week. RHP Bobby Wahl has been moved to the bullpen, while utility infielder Sam Roberts has been converted to a full-time pitcher. Relievers Stuart Pudenz and Brent Powers were released this week, while 11th-round pick, RHP Joel Seddon, and 22nd-round pick, RHP Brendan McCurry, joined the Snappers and both have tossed 2 scoreless innings out of Beloit's bullpen.


(NY-Penn League - Class-A Short-Season)

Record This Week: 1-6

Record This Season: 7-10

Top Monsters:

OF Justin Higley (4 HR / 4 BB / 23 K / .279 AVG / .315 OBP / .603 SLG / .918 OPS)

2B Joe Bennie (0 HR / 9 BB / 13 K / .317 AVG / .394 OBP / .367 SLG / .761 OPS)

3B-SS Yairo Munoz (0 HR / 1 BB / 12 K / .309 AVG / .316 OBP / .400 SLG / .716 OPS)

RHP A.J. Burke (18 1/3 IP / 16 H / 4 ER / 3 BB / 18 K / 1.96 ERA / 1.04 WHIP)

LHP Jerad Grundy (16 IP / 13 H / 5 ER / 4 BB / 11 K / 2.81 ERA / 1.06 WHIP)

RHP Joe Michaud (24 IP / 25 H / 9 ER / 1 BB / 18 K / 3.38 ERA / 1.08 WHIP)

With two and a half weeks of play under their belt, the Lake Monsters' biggest slugger so far has been outfielder Justin Higley, who might have been the best hitter not to make it out of Arizona last year. His biggest single moment so far this season was probably when he hit a rare inside-the-park grand slam to provide the margin of victory for Vermont. Second baseman Joe Bennie has done a great job of getting on base, while infielder Yairo Munoz has been hitting well but has already made 8 errors in the field. The A's 16th-round draft pick, third baseman Jose Brizuela, joined the Lake Monsters this week and went 0 for 9 with a pair of strikeouts in his first 2 games for Vermont. Three starting pitchers have been standouts so far, RHPs A.J. Burke and Joe Michaud along with last year's 10th-round pick, LHP Jerad Grundy. Three top pitchers from this year's draft joined Vermont this week, 2nd-rounder Daniel Gossett out of Clemson, 9th-rounder Mike Fagan out of Princeton and 10th-rounder Corey Miller out of Pepperdine. Gossett allowed 1 run in 2 innings of work, while Fagan pitched 1 2/3 perfect frames, and Miller tossed 3 scoreless innings for the Lake Monsters.


(Arizona League - Rookie Short-Season)

Record This Season: 3-5

Top AZL A's:

C Seongmin Kim (1 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .462 AVG / .563 OBP / .923 SLG / 1.486 OPS)

OF Robert Martinez (2 HR / 3 BB / 6 K / .450 AVG / .522 OBP / .900 SLG / 1.422 OPS)

SS-2B Edwin Diaz (1 HR / 2 BB / 6 K / .368 AVG / .455 OBP / .579 SLG / 1.033 OPS)

RHP Jesus Zambrano (10 IP / 8 H / 5 ER / 1 BB / 15 K / 4.50 ERA / 0.90 WHIP)

LHP Dillon Overton (3 IP / 2 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 4 K / 3.00 ERA / 0.67 WHIP)

RHP Branden Kelliher (2 IP / 1 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 4 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.50 WHIP)

The AZL A's began play in the desert just a week and a half ago, and so far the international contingent has provided the real standouts. The team's best players have been a 17-year-old Venezuelan pitcher, a Korean catcher and a pair of Puerto Rican position players. Teenage hurler Jesus Zambrano has really impressed by striking out 15 batters while walking just 1 over his first 10 innings of work. Another youngster also impressed this week - this year's 8th round-pick, 18-year-old Branden Kelliher, who just graduated from high school earlier this month, struck out 4 in 2 scoreless innings in his professional debut. Another bit of big news on the bump this week was the return of last year's 2nd-round pick, LHP Dillon Overton, to the mound almost exactly 12 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Overton allowed 1 run on 2 hits while walking none and striking out 4 over 3 innings in his first appearance for the A's. This year's 4th-round pick, RHP Jordan Schwartz, also made his debut this week, giving up 1 run on 3 hits while walking none and striking out 4 in 2 innings of work. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Korean catcher Seongmin Kim has been one of the team's best hitters, notching 3 singles, a double, a triple, a home run and 3 walks in just his first 4 games. And a pair of Puerto Rican position players have been wileding big bats as well. 18-year-old infielder Edwin Diaz has been doing a great job of getting on base and showing more than a little pop, while 20-year-old outfielder Robert Martinez has been one of the team's biggest sluggers, posting 3 doubles and 2 home runs and driving in 7 runs over his first 6 games. A couple of catchers have also been rehabbing in the desert. Backstops Dusty Brown and Luke Montz have been getting in a little game action while they work their way back into shape and could soon be seen at either Sacramento or Midland.

You can check out my blog - Athletics Farm - for updates on the A's minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.

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