Well, with the major league trading deadline now passed, it's time to take a look around and see how things are shaping up in the A's system in the second half. Most of the team's top hitting prospects are currently tearing up the California League in Stockton, while a couple of recent arrivals have been impressing on the mound for Sacramento. 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...
SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS
With the recent departures of Tommy Milone and Dan Straily and with Josh Lindblom on the disabled list, the River Cats rotation was starting to look a little thin in the second half. But the A's acquired former Blue Jays 1st-round pick Deck McGuire, who's already tossed 8 scoreless innings for Sacramento. And Drew Pomeranz has also pitched well, posting a 3.41 ERA while striking out 33 over 29 innings of work. A trio of relievers has been pitching exceptionally well in the second half for the Cats. RHP Paul Smyth has lowered his ERA to 2.59, while LHP Joe Savery has lowered his to 2.23 and RHP Jeremy McBryde has been the most impressive, posting a 2.21 ERA while allowing just 30 hits over 53 innings in relief. Outfielder Shane Peterson has been Sacramento's best hitter in the second half, raising his slash line to .316/.387/.459. Speedster Billy Burns joined the River Cats' outfield this week and went 2 for 13 with 2 stolen bases in his first 3 games. Meanwhile, infielder Jake Elmore was claimed off waivers by Cincinnati, while the A's signed former Angels minor league catcher Luis Martinez and assigned him to Sacramento and released catcher Luis Exposito.
Outfielder Kent Matthes has become the RockHounds hottest hitter of late. He's hit 7 home runs in his last 9 games while going 14 for 34. With the loss of Billy Burns to Sacramento, outfielder Kenny Wilson was reassigned to Midland and outfielder Chad Oberacker returned to the RockHounds from Stockton. Jeremy Barfield has yet to regain his power stroke since abandoning the pitching experiment and returning to the outfield, hitting just 1 home run over his first 22 games. Bruce Maxwell was promoted to Midland in the past couple of weeks and has yet to get uncorked at the plate, posting a .167/.268/.194 slash line over his first 10 games. RHPs Nate Long and Chris Jensen continue to be the most solid members of the team's starting rotation. Jensen has surrendered a miniscule 3 home runs in 134 1/3 innings on the mound, while Long has struck out 103 in 119 2/3 innings and put up an impressive 3.16 ERA for Midland.
First baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Renato Nunez have both been on a serious power tear in the second half. Olson currently boasts 32 home runs, while Nunez has 27, putting the duo at #1 and #2 in the California League home run race. Two other members of the Ports' infield, shortstop Daniel Robertson and second baseman Chad Pinder, have also continued to hit well in the second half, with Robertson leading the team in both hits and doubles and Pinder posting a .302/.354/.525 slash line for the season. With catcher Bruce Maxwell heading to the RockHounds, catcher Beau Taylor returned to Stockton and has gone 12 for 31 in his first 8 games back in the California League. Meanwhile, on the mound, the biggest news has to do with the organization's best starting pitcher this season, RHP Seth Streich. Streich exited a game in the middle of an at-bat and has since been placed on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Another Stockton starter, RHP Yeiper Castillo, was released after being completely ineffective in 8 appearances. As replacements, the team signed former Giants 1st-round draft pick Tim Alderson and promoted RHP Dylan Covey from the Snappers. Alderson has looked good, striking out 15 in his first 16 1/3 innings, while Covey has struggled, posting a 9.35 ERA over his first 2 starts. RHP Bobby Wahl was promoted from Beloit and tossed 1 scoreless inning in his first appearance for the Ports.
With the promotions of Beloit outfielders Herschel Powell and Jaycob Brugman to Stockton, outfielder Tyler Marincov has become the Snappers' hottest hitter in the second half. Marincov's turned on the power of late and now has 28 doubles and 16 homers while posting a .261/.348/.500 slash line on the season. The team released infielder B.A. Vollmuth after struggling for the second straight season, and infielder Michael Soto was reassigned to Beloit to take his place on the Snappers' roster. 1st-round draft pick Matt Chapman has hit 3 home runs and put up a .257/.312/.416 slash line over his first 28 games for the Snappers. The A's signed RHP Bobby Wagman out of the independent Frontier League and he allowed just 1 run over 7 innings in his first start for Beloit. Struggling starter Hunter Adkins has been shifted to the bullpen after putting up a 6.00 ERA in 7 games for the Snappers. But this year's 22nd-round draft pick, RHP Brendan McCurry has been impressive out of the bullpen, allowing just 1 run while striking out 22 in 16 innings of relief for Beloit.
VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS
Outfielder Justin Higley had been Vermont's hottest hitter early on. But with his promotion to Beloit, others have had to step up to take his place. One player who's really done that is this year's 27th-round draft pick, outfielder J.P. Sportman, who's posted a .367/.407/.571 slash line since joining the Lake Monsters. 19-year-old shortstop Yairo Munoz currently leads the team in hits, runs, doubles, triples and total bases. Meanwhile, on the mound, RHP A.J. Burke has been the team's best starter, walking just 7 batters while striking out 39 over 47 1/3 innings. 2nd-round draft pick Daniel Gossett has walked 1 and struck out 10 while putting up a 2.57 ERA in his first 14 innings, and 3rd-round draft pick Brett Graves has walked 1 and struck out 9 while posting a 3.52 ERA in his first 7 2/3 innings of work.
The biggest story of the summer down in Arizona has been the return of last year's 2nd-round draft pick Dillon Overton from Tommy John surgery. So far, Overton has walked just 3 and struck out 31 while posting a 1.64 ERA in his first 22 innings back on the mound. This year's 8th-round pick, 18-year-old Branden Kelliher, has struck out 25 while putting up a 2.84 ERA over his first 19 innings with the A's. Meanwhile, 29th-rounder Cody Stull has struck out 22 in just 13 1/3 innings in relief. Outfielder Robert Martinez has been the team's best hitter, putting up a .267/.413/.523 slash line on the season. 5'7" speedster Rodolfo Penalo was promoted from the Dominican League, where he'd already stolen 29 bases this year. But, so far, he's been thrown out in 4 of his first 5 stolen base attempts in Arizona.
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.