With two of the A's top hitting prospects - third basemen Renato Nunez and Matt Chapman - both returning to action and making their season debuts this week, it seems like a good time to take a quick look at how some of the organization's top hitting prospects have been doing now that we're a month into the minor league season. You can always stay up to date on all the daily action in the A's minor league system on my Athletics Farm site and you can see how the A's top minor league hitters have been doing right here on Athletics Nation...
SEASON'S TOP PERFORMERS:
OF Chad Oberacker (Midland - AA)
3 HR / 13 BB / 23 K / .364 AVG / .434 OBP / .596 SLG / 1.030 OPS
1B Sandber Pimentel (Beloit - A)
4 HR / 13 BB / 28 K / .330 AVG / .418 OBP / .553 SLG / .971 OPS
1B Matt Olson (Midland - AA)
6 HR / 29 BB / 29 K / .258 AVG / .425 OBP / .526 SLG / .951 OPS
2B Joey Wendle (Nashville - AAA)
4 HR / 4 BB / 27 K / .281 AVG / .325 OBP / .535 SLG / .860 OPS
2B Colin Walsh (Nashville - AAA)
2 HR / 19 BB / 26 K / .282 AVG / .389 OBP / .436 SLG / .826 OPS
SS Andy Parrino (Nashville - AAA)
4 HR / 16 BB / 37 K / .269 AVG / .372 OBP / .452 SLG / .824 OPS
OF Brett Vertigan (Stockton/Beloit - A+/A)
1 HR / 22 BB / 17 K / .314 AVG / .430 OBP / .390 SLG / .820 OPS
OF Tyler Marincov (Stockton - A+)
3 HR / 9 BB / 28 K / .294 AVG / .354 OBP / .454 SLG / .808 OPS
SP Tim Atherton (Midland/Stockton - AA/A+)
34 IP / 23 H / 7 ER / 10 BB / 39 K / 1.85 ERA / 0.97 WHIP
SP Dillon Overton (Stockton - A+)
25 1/3 IP / 21 H / 6 ER / 8 BB / 21 K / 2.13 ERA / 1.14 WHIP
RP Ryan Dull (Midland - AA)
15 1/3 IP / 9 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 17 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.78 WHIP
RP Ryan Cook (Nashville - AAA)
7 2/3 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.65 WHIP
NASHVILLE SOUNDS (12-18)
Pacific Coast League - Triple-A
With Max Muncy and Billy Burns now up with the big club, second baseman Joey Wendle is the top young hitting prospect at Nashville. The 25-year-old is actually one of just two position players under the age of 27 currently on the Sounds' roster, and Wendle has been the team's most productive hitter so far this season. He leads all A's minor leaguers in total bases (61) and extra-base hits (18), is tied for the lead in doubles (11), triples (3) and RBIs (20), and is third in the system in slugging percentage (.535). The only fly in the ointment is the fact that Wendle has drawn just 4 walks while striking out 27 times in 114 at-bats. His double-play partner, shortstop Andy Parrino, has also been hitting well of late and is currently tied for the team lead in home runs and walks, with 4 and 16 respectively, and is second only to Wendle in slugging percentage among Sounds regulars. First baseman Nate Freiman has gone 1 for 18 in 5 games, while center fielder Craig Gentry has gone 4 for 15 with 3 walks in his first 4 games. Of course, the big news at Nashville this week was Jarrod Parker's major elbow injury during his second start for the Sounds. In better news, rehabbing LHP Sean Nolin has thrown 3 scoreless innings in 2 relief appearances thus far, while LHP Barry Zito tossed 7 shutout innings to earn his first 1st win for the Sounds on Sunday. RHP Kendall Graveman also earned his 1st win with 7 shutout innings on Wednesday, and RHP Arnold Leon allowed just 1 run and struck out 9 in 6 innings of work on Saturday. Nashville lost some key bullpen pieces this week when RHPs Fernando Rodriguez and Angel Castro were called up by the A's, RHP Kevin Whelan was placed on the disabled list, and RHP Chad Smith was traded to the Angels. Of course, RHPs Ryan Cook and R.J. Alvarez have since returned to the team. Outfielder Alex Hassan was designated for assignment one more time this week, and outfielder Matt Carson returned to the A's in a trade with the Dodgers to replace him on the Sounds' roster.
MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (15-15)
Texas League - Double-A
One of the organization's top hitting prospects, third baseman Renato Nunez, returned to action for the RockHounds this week after being sidelined with nagging injuries since the spring. Nunez went 6 for 23 with 5 walks, 4 strikeouts and 1 error in his first 6 games for Midland. The team's two other most promising hitting prospects, first baseman Matt Olson and shortstop Chad Pinder, have both been performing well over the first month of the minor league season, especially considering the challenging hitting conditions in Midland. Olson continues to lead all A's minor leaguers in home runs with 6 and walks with 29, while Pinder is second only to Olson in home runs among A's minor leaguers with 5 while posting a slash line of .250/.345/.442. Outfielder Chad Oberacker still leads the A's system in batting average (.364), on-base percentage (.434) and slugging percentage (.596), while second baseman Colin Walsh is tied with Joey Wendle for the lead in doubles with 11 and has compiled the third most walks in the system with 19. Catcher Carson Blair, signed as a minor league free agent, has been coming on strong lately with an increase in playing time and currently boasts a .293/.425/.552 slash line in just 58 at-bats. The RockHounds scored 23 runs in their victory over Frisco on Saturday, with utility infielder Wade Kirkland leading the way with a grand slam, a triple and 7 RBIs. While Midland's starting rotation has been a little shaky, the bullpen continues to be a strong suit. RHP Ryan Dull has now been unscored upon in 15 1/3 innings this season, while RHP Tucker Healy has struck out 16 in his first 13 innings for the RockHounds.
STOCKTON PORTS (14-17)
California League - High-A
The A's #1 draft pick last year, third baseman Matt Chapman, returned to action for Stockton this week after injuring his knee just before the start of spring training. Chapman went 1 for 14 with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts in his first 4 games for the Ports. The team's other top hitting prospect, shortstop Franklin Barreto, has been heating up a bit lately after struggling at the plate to start the season. The 19-year-old had a .171/.205/.243 slash line in April but has posted a more impressive .345/.412/.483 line through the first ten days of May. But it's 2013's 8th-round draft pick, outfielder Tyler Marincov, who's been the team's best hitter so far this season, and he leads all Ports regulars in hits (35), total bases (54) and batting average (.294). Outfielder Justin Higley is the team's current home run leader with 4, while first baseman John Nogowski leads the team in doubles (9) and on-base percentage (.358), and outfielder J.P. Sportman boasts the Ports' best slugging percentage (.472). Sportman landed on the disabled list this week, while Taiwanese infielder Chih Fang Pan was released by the organization. Two players were promoted from the Snappers to take their place on the Ports roster - infielder Melvin Mercedes and outfielder Brett Vertigan, who'd been one of Beloit's best hitters. Vertigan has gotten off to a hot start with his new team, going 6 for 13 with a home run, a double and 3 stolen bases in his first 3 games for Stockton. And with Chapman's return this week, third baseman Jose Brizuela was sent to Beloit. Meanwhile, LHP Dillon Overton had one of his most solid starts for Stockton this week, allowing just 1 run while striking out 5 in 5 innings of work on Sunday, and Overton has now struck out 21 in 25 1/3 innings while posting an ERA of 2.13 on the season. LHP Matt Stalcup joined Stockton's bullpen from extended spring training this week and allowed 6 runs in 2 2/3 innings over his first 2 appearances for the Ports.
BELOIT SNAPPERS (13-17)
Midwest League - Class-A
Beloit's best hitter so far has been a 20-year-old Dominican first baseman whom most A's fans had never heard of prior to this season - Sandber Pimentel. But Pimentel currently boasts the second-best batting average (.330) and slugging percentage (.553) among all A's minor leaguers while slugging 9 doubles and 4 home runs for the Snappers. The most well known hitting prospect on the team may be 20-year-old shortstop Yairo Munoz, who's gotten off to a bit of a slow start, compiling a .260/.289/.346 slash line so far this season. Outfielder Brett Vertigan had been a highly productive leadoff hitter for Beloit with a .421 on-base percentage before his promotion to the Ports. Outfielder Joe Bennie has also been productive at the plate and is currently second on the team in home runs, walks, stolen bases and slugging percentage. Meanwhile on the mound, 2nd-rounder Daniel Gossett allowed 1 run and struck out 7 in his start on Tuesday, while 3rd-rounder Brett Graves gave up 1 run in 6 innings on Wednesday. 4th-rounder Jordan Schwartz had another rough outing on Thursday, surrendering 4 runs in just 3 2/3 innings to take his 4th loss, and 5th-rounder Heath Fillmyer landed on the disabled list this week.
You can check out my site - Athletics Farm - for updates on the A's minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.