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Down On The Farm: The Playoff Picture

Arnold Leon - Sacramento's fate is in his hands
Arnold Leon - Sacramento's fate is in his hands
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With the regular season ending on Monday for most of the A's affiliates, we know that Midland and Stockton will definitely be playing in the postseason, but the outcome of Monday's game in Sacramento will determine whether the River Cats get to keep playing or get to go home. 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...


Much like the A's, the River Cats led their division for much of the year. But they hit a bit of a slide late in the season and have put themselves in a position where they now need to win their final game on Monday to make it into the PCL playoffs. If they win, they'll be heading to Las Vegas to begin postseason play on Tuesday. And if they don't, they'll be heading home. RHP Arnold Leon is scheduled to start Monday's game at Raley Field against Reno. Leon has a 10-7 record with a 5.12 ERA for Sacramento this season. Meanwhile, RHP Josh Lindblom returned from the disabled on Sunday after missing two months with a foot fracture, and RHPs Tim Atherton and Blake Hassebrock were added to the Sacramento staff from Stockton. RHP Matt Buschmann had an up-and-down week for the River Cats, tossing a complete-game 3-hit shutout on Tuesday and then giving up 7 runs in an important start on Sunday. First baseman Daric Barton had a big week as he pushes for a September call-up, going 6 for 17 with 7 walks, 2 home runs and 7 RBIs over his last 5 games. Recently-acquired catcher Bryan Anderson has also been hot since joining the River Cats on Monday, going 8 for 21 with 4 extra-base hits in his first 5 games for Sacramento. Infielder Tyler Ladendorf was placed on the disabled list on Sunday and outfielder Zeke DeVoss was reassigned to Sacramento from Stockton. A's shortstop Jed Lowrie went 2 for 9 in his first two rehab games with the River Cats, and outfielder Billy Burns celebrated his 25th birthday on Saturday.


The RockHounds are set to begin a best-of-five Texas League playoff series in Frisco on Wednesday. Top starters Chris Jensen and Nate Long should play key roles in the series. RHP Shawn Haviland allowed just 3 hits in 8 shutout innings to earn his 7th win for Midland last Monday, while RHP Kyle Finnegan was promoted from Beloit to start the team's final regular season game this Monday. And with third baseman Jefry Marte returning to the disabled list after re-aggravating a left oblique strain on Sunday, Max Muncy may end up playing third base throughout much of Midland's playoff series. Muncy leads the Hounds in both hits and walks, while shortstop Dusty Coleman leads the team in home runs, doubles, total bases, RBIs and runs scored. Meanwhile, RockHounds starters Drew Granier and Tanner Peters were both named to the A's Arizona Fall League squad earlier this week.


Stockton is set to begin a best-of-three California League playoff series on the road this Wednesday, with games #2 and #3 (if needed) set to take place in Stockton on Thursday and Friday. And the Ports have been hot heading into the postseason, having won their last six games through Sunday. The team's offense, in particular has been hitting on all cylinders lately. The Ports put up 11 runs on Thursday and topped that with 17 runs on Friday. Outfielder Tyler Marincov's clubbed 2 home runs in Thursday's game, while infielder Wade Kirkland hit a grand slam on Friday, and infielder Ryon Healy hit a game-winning homer in extra innings on Saturday. Outfielder Herschel "Boog" Powell returned from his 50-game suspension on Saturday and went 2 for 9 in his first two games back in action. Outfielder Zeke DeVoss and RHPs Tim Atherton and Blake Hassebrock were reassigned from Stockton to Sacramento, while the Ports bullpen lost RHP Nolan Sanburn due to the Adam Dunn deal, but RHP Brendan McCurry was promoted from Beloit to bolster the Ports bullpen. After spending two weeks on the disabled list, RHP Jake Sanchez returned to the mound on Sunday and allowed 1 run in 4 innings of work, while RHP Dylan Covey allowed just 1 hit over 7 shutout innings to earn his 3rd win for Stockton on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Ports shortstop Daniel Robertson, first baseman Matt Olson, outfielder Boog Powell and RHP Austin House were all named to the A's Arizona Fall League team, the Mesa Solar Sox, where former A's prospect Addison Russell will also be a member of the squad.


With the team stuck in last place, an unexpected visitor arrived in Beloit this weekend when first baseman Nate Freiman showed up to play for the Snappers on Saturday and Sunday. Freiman went 4 for 9 with 2 doubles and a home run in two games this weekend. Meanwhile, second baseman Chih Fang Pan and RHPs Junior Mendez and Tyler Vail were all placed on the disabled, while RHP Kyle Finnegan was promoted to Midland and RHP Brendan McCurry was reassigned to Stockton. Outfielder B.J. Boyd played in more games for Beloit this season than any other player and, after the final weekend of the season, Boyd had put up a .224/.299/.318 slash line with 15 doubles, 5 triples, 6 home runs, 15 stolen bases, 48 walks and 93 strikeouts in 459 at-bats, while 1st-round draft pick Matt Chapman headed into the season's final game with a .237/.282/.389 slash line with 8 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs, 7 walks and 46 strikeouts in 190 at-bats for the Snappers.


With Vermont mired in last place, it was a pretty slow final week for the Lake Monsters. 19-year-old shortstop Yairo Munoz leads the team in hits, runs, doubles, triples, home runs, total bases, stolen bases and errors, while outfielder J.P. Sportman boasts the best batting average at .310 and second baseman Joe Bennie sports the best on-base percentage at .369. On the mound, RHP A.J. Burke has been the team's best starter, striking out 57 while walking just 13 and posting a 3.89 ERA over 71 2/3 innings of work. Meanwhile, this year's 2nd-round draft pick Daniel Gossett has walked 1 and struck out 25 while putting up a 2.25 ERA over 24 innings, and last year's 2nd-round pick Dillon Overton has walked 1 and struck out 22 with a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings for the Lake Monsters.


The Arizona League A's finished off their season on Thursday, and catcher Luke Montz was definitely the big star of the finale, slugging 3 home runs in the game. The team finished the season with a 27-28 record overall. 20-year-old Puerto Rican outfielder Robert Martinez led the team in walks, RBIs and total bases and tied Montz for the team's home run lead with 5, while outfielder Vicmal De La Cruz led the team in doubles and runs, and infielder Trace Loehr led the team in hits with 39. RHPs Carlos Navas and Jesus Zambrano were the team's top starters. Navas has an ERA of 3.30 while striking out 61 in 71 innings and Zambrano struck out 63 while posting a 4.33 ERA over 70 2/3 innings of work for the A's.

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.