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Oakland A’s prospect watch: Frankie Montas dominating Arizona Fall League

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Frankie Montas is finally pitching, and it’s spectacular.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s have seven prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League, and several others spread among the various international winter leagues. Let’s see how they’re doing!

Arizona Fall League

The AFL is through its first two weeks of games, and so far the standout of Oakland’s contingent has been pitcher Frankie Montas. The right-hander, acquired at the deadline in the Reddick/Hill deal, hadn’t yet pitched for the A’s organization as he recovered from long-term injury, but now we’re getting a glimpse of why they wanted him.

Montas has made a pair of appearances and thrown six scoreless innings, with no walks allowed. More importantly, he’s flashing the elite velocity that is his calling card — in his first game Kimberly Contreras of Oakland Clubhouse had him topping out at 102 mph (click thru for video!), and his next time out Jim Callis of MLB.com had sitting at 98-100. Both sources also mention his slider (88-90, top 92), as well as his pounding of the zone. From Callis:

"I missed a lot of time during the season," said Montas, a 23-year-old right-hander now with the Athletics. "This is going to help me get back to where I was and to work on what I need to work on to get better. I'm mostly getting innings and working on a changeup. I'm also trying to get my confidence back and throw more strikes."

As for the rest of the A’s pitchers (all RHP): Sam Bragg has dominated in a multi-inning relief role; Dylan Covey is back on the mound after an oblique injury ended his season in May (Contreras mentions he hit the mid-90s with his fastball); and Trey Cochran-Gill hasn’t gotten a lot of work so far.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone great for the hitters. Max Schrock has been the best of the trio, with a couple extra-base hits and only one strikeout in 25 plate appearances. Franklin Barreto had one big day to lead the team to victory, stealing home in the first inning (video at Oakland Clubhouse!) and finishing 4-for-4 with a walk, but otherwise he hasn’t done much. Yairo Munoz has been completely silent (.368 OPS).

Stats

Max Schrock, 2B: 6-for-23, 1 BB, 1 K, .711 OPS
Franklin Barreto, SS: 7-for-31, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 2 SB, .508 OPS
Yairo Munoz, SS: 4-for-26, 2 BB, 8 Ks, .368 OPS

Frankie Montas, RHP: 0.00 ERA, 6 ip, 6 Ks, 0 BB, 4 hits
Sam Bragg, RHP: 1.50 ERA, 6 ip, 7 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HR
Dylan Covey, RHP: 4.91 ERA, 7⅓ ip, 7 Ks, 2 BB
Trey Cochran-Gill, RHP: 4.91 ERA, 3⅔ ip, 3 Ks, 1 BB

* * *

International Winter Leagues

Remember last winter, when Rangel Ravelo destroyed the Venezuelan League and was named the top hitter? He’s doing it again. Through 67 plate appearances, his OPS isn’t as flashy (.879) but he’s already cracked three homers and drawn 13 walks to just three strikeouts. The 24-year-old had a subpar year in Triple-A (93 wRC+), but if he puts together another monster campaign in the LVBP then it becomes a bit easier to have patience and see if he can figure it out stateside next season.

Also in Venezuela, right-hander reliever Carlos Navas has posted a line of 6 ip, 1 run, 6 Ks, 0 BB. The 24-year-old, who got a quick turn in Triple-A at the end of the season, was eligible for free agency but already re-signed with the A’s (via Baseball America).

Over in Mexico, 2B Joey Wendle is doing his normal thing, with a low OBP but some extra-base pop to help make up for it. And in the Dominican Republic, OF Tyler Marincov is 2-for-8 with a pair of RBI through his first two games.

Click here for a full list of all the A’s players participating in winter leagues.