Saturday was not a good day for the Oakland A's minor league affiliates, but the worst news came from the High-A Stockton Ports. Right-handed pitcher Daniel Gossett, who has been one of the standouts of the entire system so far this year, exited his start in the third inning with an apparent injury. His line to that point included 2 ip, 3 runs, 4 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HR. Here's the word on the street:
Gossett is leaving the game. 66ers guy has commented that Daniel has been fidgety the whole game. Hope everything is ok.— Kim ~CopperStateAs⚾️ (@Cu_As) April 24, 2016
@CaliKusiolek Well, that's what I initially thought he was referring to, but there was a tone of discomfort he alluded to that worried me.— Kim ~CopperStateAs⚾️ (@Cu_As) April 24, 2016
#Athletics prospect Daniel Gossett pulls himself in 3rd inning of Ports game vs Inland Empire with unknown injury.— Steve Wendt (@steve_wendt) April 24, 2016
No word on what might be wrong, or how serious it might be, or whether Gossett will miss any time. This could be anything from terrible news (forearm tightness?) to a minor issue (blister?) to nothing at all (tummy ache? realized he left the stove on at home?). Let's not freak out yet, because there is nothing to be gained from that.
Hearing @stocktonports RHP Daniel Gossett, who left yesterday's game with arm discomfort, is feeling better today & is considered day-to-day— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) April 25, 2016
Hearing Gossett's problem is more a trapezius muscle issue than an arm issue. Driver exited today's game after experiencing some elbow pain.— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) April 25, 2016
In the meantime, there are three games to catch up on, from Thu-Sat. Stockton dropped two of three to Inland Empire, with the finale coming up on Sunday.
Thursday featured Casey Meisner on the hill, searching for his command after walking more batters than he struck out in his first two outings. He was better this time, but still not great, finishing with a line of 5 ip, 3 runs, 6 Ks, 3 BB, 6 hits. He doesn't turn 21 until May and would have been a junior in college this season, so let's remember that he's still way ahead of the game in terms of development -- the A's will draft college pitchers this summer whom we will get super excited about even though they are the same age as (or older than) Meisner, who is already in High-A. We already knew that Meisner was going to be a project, and this is what a project looks like at times on the way to (hopefully) hitting upside. On offense, it was Tyler Marincov with a homer and Sandber Pimentel with a pair of hits in a losing effort (3-2).
Friday brought Zack Erwin to the hill. The lefty was generally successful, with a line of 5 ip, 1 run, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 4 hits, but it took him 92 pitches to make it through that outing. Erwin has been keeping runs off the board, but for a control/command-oriented guy I'd like to see more efficiency as he (theoretically) pounds the zone and induces weak contact. It hasn't even been a full year since he was drafted, though, and he's only got 55 professional innings, so none of this is to say I'm worried at all. But that's what I'm looking for out of him in his upcoming starts: the ability to eat more innings. On offense, Seth Brown finally hit his first homer, while James Harris added three hits including the walk-off single in the 9th for a 3-2 victory.
On Saturday, Gossett's departure overshadowed a 12-hit outburst by the offense. As usual, Harris was at the forefront, with his second straight three-hit day (and second straight with a stolen base). B.J. Boyd picked up a pair of hits as well (including a triple) to raise his average to .315, but for a speed-and-contact guy repeating High-A I'd like to see the 22-year-old cut down on his strikeouts (23.8% of PAs) before I get excited about the good stuff. Same goes for 24-year-old Marincov and his 28% strikeout rate.
Key hitting prospects: Season numbers
James Harris: .387/.420/.533, 1 HR, 4 BB, 13 Ks, 6 SB (81 PAs)
Sandber Pimentel: .229/.386/.286, 0 HR, 7 BB, 14 Ks (44 PAs)
Mikey White: .214/.290/.321, 0 HR, 5 BB, 14 Ks (62 PAs)
Seth Brown: .179/.292/.286, 1 HR, 9 BB, 12 Ks (65 PAs)
Keep doing your thing, James Harris. I wonder how long he would need to continue hitting like this before getting a call up to Double-A? There isn't a lot of CF depth in the system, so it would be nice if he could move up the ladder quickly. He played a few games for Single-A Beloit last year and, outside of a few stray games in Nashville at the end of the season, he hasn't played above High-A yet. As for Brown, his strong K/BB numbers give me optimism that he isn't getting blown away and that he could come around at some point.
Key pitching prospects: Season numbers
Daniel Gossett: 4 starts, 3.32 ERA, 19 ip, 26 Ks, 5 BB, 2 HR
Heath Fillmyer: 3 games, 2.12 ERA, 17 ip, 9 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HR
Casey Meisner: 3 starts, 4.80 ERA, 15, ip, 12 Ks, 10 BB, 1 HR
Zack Erwin: 3 starts, 1.23 ERA, 14⅔ ip, 13 Ks, 6 BB, 0 HR
Brett Graves: 3 starts, 6.75 ERA, 14⅔ ip, 12 Ks, 8 BB, 2 HR
Interesting note I found about Graves, from Keith Law in March (Insider required). Law agrees that Graves doesn't seem like a starter, despite good velocity, partly because the fastball/slider arsenal might not be enough:
[Graves] has a long enough arm path that repeating it 100 times in a start is probably too much to ask. Put him in the bullpen as a two-pitch guy - he threw one pitch at 91 that had some cut, so perhaps that's the weapon he saves for lefties - and let him roar.
We'll get our next look at Graves on Sunday, coming off his best start of the young season last time out.
Three of the games have already begun!
Triple-A Nashville: LIVE, Jesse Hahn vs. New Orleans
Double-A Midland: LIVE, Chris Jensen vs. San Antonio
High-A Stockton: 2:09 p.m., Brett Graves vs. Inland Empire
Single-A Beloit: LIVE, Kyle Friedrichs vs. Burlington
Hopefully this will be Hahn's final tuneup start in Nashville, as I think we've all seen enough of Eric Surkamp in the rotation after his Sunday start in Toronto. Look for Dustin Driver in piggyback relief of Friedrichs.
Check back tomorrow for the Down On The Farm report by Athletics Farm!