With all the issues in the A's bullpen weighing on everyone's mind lately, it seems like a good time to take a quick look at how some of the organization's top minor league relievers have been doing so far this 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 relievers have been doing right here on Athletics Nation...
SEASON'S TOP PERFORMERS:
OF Chad Oberacker (Midland - AA)
4 HR / 14 BB / 25 K / .341 AVG / .406 OBP / .561 SLG / .967 OPS
1B Sandber Pimentel (Beloit - A)
4 HR / 16 BB / 33 K / .289 AVG / .390 OBP / .474 SLG / .863 OPS
1B Matt Olson (Midland - AA)
6 HR / 33 BB / 37 K / .233 AVG / .391 OBP / .458 SLG / .849 OPS
2B Colin Walsh (Midland - AA)
3 HR / 26 BB / 30 K / .276 AVG / .404 OBP / .441 SLG / .845 OPS
OF Brett Vertigan (Stockton/Beloit - A+/A)
1 HR / 23 BB / 22 K / .315 AVG / .416 OBP / .423 SLG / .839 OPS
SS Andy Parrino (Nashville - AAA)
4 HR / 20 BB / 40 K / .285 AVG / .384 OBP / .446 SLG / .830 OPS
SP Tim Atherton (Midland/Stockton - AA/A+)
39 IP / 24 H / 7 ER / 10 BB / 40 K / 1.62 ERA / 0.87 WHIP
SP Kendall Graveman (Nashville - AAA)
24 1/3 IP / 20 H / 5 ER / 9 BB / 14 K / 1.85 ERA / 1.19 WHIP
SP Dillon Overton (Stockton - A+)
30 1/3 IP / 25 H / 7 ER / 8 BB / 26 K / 2.08 ERA / 1.09 WHIP
RP Ryan Dull (Midland - AA)
18 1/3 IP / 10 H / 0 ER / 4 BB / 22 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.76 WHIP
RP Trevor Bayless (Stockton/Beloit - A+/A)
12 2/3 IP / 10 H / 1 ER / 7 BB / 18 K / 0.71 ERA / 1.34 WHIP
RP Pat Venditte (Nashville - AAA)
24 2/3 IP / 11 H / 3 ER / 11 BB / 23 K / 1.09 ERA / 0.89 WHIP
NASHVILLE SOUNDS (14-23)
Pacific Coast League - Triple-A
One of the most frequently talked about relievers currently in the A's system is switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. Of course, a guy who throws with both arms is obviously going to attract a lot of attention, but Venditte's not just a novelty. He's been one of the most effective relievers for Triple-A Nashville so far this season. Venditte has allowed just 11 hits and 3 runs while striking out 23 in 24 2/3 innings of work for the Sounds. The only fly in the ointment would be his 11 walks. The 29-year-old has been particularly effective against left-handers though. He has allowed just 2 hits and 2 walks in 11 innings versus lefties. Another familiar name who's been effective for the Sounds is RHP Ryan Cook. He coughed up a lead in the 9th this week, but outside of that one outing, he hasn't allowed a run in 10 other appearances for Nashville this season. RHP Seth Frankoff and LHP Jim Fuller were both promoted from Midland less than a month into the season. Since joining the Sounds, the righty Frankoff has had 2 rough outings and 5 scoreless appearances, while the lefty Fuller has yet to be scored upon in 8 innings of relief. Rehabbing LHP Sean Nolin was activated off the disabled list and officially optioned to Nashville late in the week, but he failed to give up a run while striking out 6 in his 6 innings of rehab work for the Sounds, and Nolin could end up factoring into the A's pitching picture before long. RHP Kendall Graveman allowed just 2 unearned runs over 7 innings to earn his 2nd win on Sunday. But after turning in 7 shutout innings the previous weekend, LHP Barry Zito gave up 4 runs over 6 1/3 innings in his last start on Saturday. Shortstop Andy Parrino has been one of the team's hottest hitters lately and currently leads the team in walks with 20 and is tied for the team's home-run lead with 4. Second baseman Joey Wendle has cooled off a bit of late but continues to lead all A's minor leaguers in extra-base hits with 19. Veteran infielder Ryan Roberts has hit well since joining the organization as a minor league free agent in April, posting a .301/.378/.397 slash line for the Sounds. On Sunday, outfielder Matt Carson hit his first home run since joining the team a little over a week ago. Outfielder Alex Hassan, who'd been designated for assignment, was released this week, while third-string catcher Blake Forsythe, who'd had 15 at-bats this season, was traded to the Phillies for cash, and first baseman Nate Freiman landed on the disabled list this weekend with a right groin strain.
MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (19-17)
Texas League - Double-A
The organization's top-performing reliever so far this season has been RHP Ryan Dull at Midland. The team's 32nd-round draft pick in 2012 has yet to give up a run through mid-May, allowing just 10 hits while walking 4 and striking out 22 in 18 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. RHP Tucker Healy has struck out 20 in 15 innings while posting a 2.40 ERA. RHP Andres Avila had allowed no earned runs in 13 2/3 innings at Stockton but has given up 5 runs in 6 innings since joining the RockHounds. After getting off to rocky starts, RHPs Ryan Doolittle and Bobby Wahl have been rounding into shape lately. Doolittle has been unscored upon in his last 7 innings of work, and Wahl has allowed 1 run in his last 7 frames while striking out 8. RHP Tim Atherton continues to have one of the best seasons of any starting pitcher in the A's system this year, and he allowed just 1 hit over 5 scoreless innings on Thursday. RHP Jake Sanchez turned in his best start yet for Midland when he tossed 7 scoreless innings for the Hounds on Friday. First baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Colin Walsh and outfielder Chad Oberacker continue to be the RockHounds most productive hitters with Olson still leading all A's minor leaguers in home runs and walks, while Oberacker is the organizational leader in batting average and slugging percentage. And since returning to action a couple of weeks ago, third baseman Renato Nunez has just 1 double with no home runs while drawing 10 walks and putting up a .182/.333/.205 slash line for the RockHounds.
STOCKTON PORTS (16-21)
California League - High-A
RHP Trevor Bayless tossed 6 scoreless innings for the Snappers before joining Stockton, where he's allowed just 1 run in 6 2/3 innings of relief for the Ports. Overall, the 23-year-old has allowed just 1 run while striking out 18 in 12 2/3 innings for the two teams. Last year's 22nd-round draft pick for the A's, RHP Brendan McCurry, has also been solid for Stockton, striking out 27 in 19 1/3 innings while posting a 2.79 ERA for the Ports. A familiar face rejoined the team this weekend when the organization re-signed LHP Omar Duran, who'd been cut loose by Detroit, and assigned him to Stockton. The 25-year-old Dominican lefty had toiled in the A's system for seven seasons before signing with the Tigers as a minor league free agent in the offseason. Duran posted a 2.54 ERA while striking out 79 in 60 1/3 innings between Stockton and Midland last season. Rehabbing A's LHP Sean Doolittle made two relief appearances out of the Ports bullpen this week. And in 2 innings of work, Doolittle allowed 4 runs on 2 home runs, 2 singles and a double while walking none and striking out 2. LHP Dillon Overton had one of his best outings so far this season for Stockton on Saturday, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits while walking none and striking out 5 over 5 innings of work to pick up his 1st win and lower his ERA to 2.08 over 30 1/3 innings for the Ports. RHP Kyle Finnegan was almost perfect over 6 innings on Thursday, allowing just 1 hit while walking none and striking out 6 to earn the victory. And after weathering a couple of rough starts, RHP Lou Trivino allowed just 1 run on 1 hit while walking 1 and striking out 6 in 6 innings of work on Sunday. Outfielder Brett Vertigan has been the team's hottest hitter since his promotion from the Snappers about a week and a half ago, going 14 for 38 with 5 extra-base hits and 4 stolen bases. And after going 1 for 18 in his first 5 games back in action, third baseman Matt Chapman has gone 5 for 16 with 2 home runs in his last 4 games. A's infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Stockton on Tuesday when the team will be in Bakersfield.
BELOIT SNAPPERS (15-22)
Midwest League - Class-A
22-year-old Venezuelan RHP Carlos Navas has struck out 21 batters in 16 innings of relief with an ERA of 2.25 for the Snappers, and 23-year-old RHP Rob Huber has an ERA of 3.18 and has struck out 20 in 17 innings while leading the team in saves this season with 3. The A's 9th-round draft pick last year, LHP Mike Fagan, was returned to extended spring training in Arizona this week after posting a 9.22 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Snappers, and RHP Joey Wagman was sent to Beloit from Stockton on Sunday. Last year's 2nd-rounder, RHP Daniel Gossett, and last year's 3rd-rounder, RHP Brett Graves, both had two starts for the Snappers this week. Gossett allowed 4 earned runs and struck out 5 over 10 1/3 innings, while Graves gave up 4 runs and struck out 8 in 10 innings of work for Beloit. Last year's 4th-rounder, RHP Jordan Schwartz, continued his struggles, allowing 5 earned runs in just 3 innings of work to raise his ERA to 8.69 after 7 starts for the Snappers. 2013's 7th-round draft pick for the A's, RHP Dustin Driver, is set to make his debut for Beloit this week. First baseman Sandber Pimentel continues to wield the big bat for team and leads all current Snappers in home runs, doubles, total bases, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
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.