The Single-A Beloit Snappers are 11-11 so far this season, but at that low of a level in the minors the team's results just don't seem all that important anymore. The games are sloppy, and the teams are mostly made up of late-round college draft picks and former high school picks (or teenage int'l signees) getting their first tastes of full-season ball. The best way to approach Single-A* is to use it for identifying standout players who look like they can contribute at higher levels.
(Note: Technically, the level is called full-season Low-A ball, but I call it Single-A for simplicity. There is also the short-season Low-A ball Vermont Lake Monsters, who haven't started playing yet this year, and I refer to that as Low-A.)
We last looked at the Snappers over a week ago, and I'm not interested in running through play-by-play of any of the games. Instead, here's an update on a few of the guys I've been watching in the box scores.
Brett Siddall, OF: .347/.429/.500, 0 HR, 9 BB, 15 Ks (84 PAs)
The 21-year-old is off to a great start, as he's hit safely in 16 of his 20 games so far. The lefty hasn't homered yet, but he's leading the team in both extra-base hits (7 doubles, 2 triples) and OBP. We'll see what happens when that .431 BABIP comes back down a bit, but Siddall is already looking like a guy who could warrant a close look all year.
Skye Bolt, OF: .304/.395/.435, 1 HR, 9 BB, 12 Ks, 3 SB (81 PAs)
The A's 4th-round pick in last year's draft, Bolt comes with highly touted tools but a need to refine them. It was a mild surprise to see the switch-hitter start in Beloit rather than High-A Stockton, but he's proving himself well enough at the lower level. In addition to hitting for average, getting on base, avoiding strikeouts, and using his speed on the bases, Bolt also has three outfield assists in CF already.
Chris Iriart, 1B: .213/.289/.400, 4 HR, 7 BB, 23 Ks (90 PAs)
His hot start has already cooled down, as the strikeouts are starting to catch up with him. In his last seven games, he's 1-for-30 with a dozen Ks. Last year in Low-A Vermont he carried a 29.8% strikeout rate and that was the stat that took him off my immediate radar, and now that number is up to 25.6% in Beloit so far this year. The power is great but he'll need to start making more consistent contact if he ever wants it to show up in games.
Steven Pallares, OF: .158/.333/.211, 1 HR, 15 BB, 8 Ks (72 PAs)
The batting line doesn't look great, but I've got my eye on those BB/K numbers -- he's walking twice as much as he strikes out. I was attracted to Pallares last fall because of his plate discipline and his jack-of-all-trades profile, and at least I'm getting the first of those two things so far. Considering how much contact he makes to keep his K-rate so low, let's see what happens when that batting average starts creeping back up (.167 BABIP).
Other: Catcher Nick Collins is slowly showing signs of life, but his OPS is still just .526. However, judging catching prospects it's tough, and there's a lot more to it than just his stats at the plate ... A couple of young infielders aren't doing much, as 19-year-old Jesus Lopez (.409 OPS) and 20-year-old Trace Loehr (.470 OPS) have been completely dormant.
Angel Duno, RHP: 5 games, 1.96 ERA, 23 ip, 23 Ks, 1 BB, 1 HR
Duno finally allowed his first walk on Friday. His K/BB ratio (23) is higher than his age (22). He finished last year with 53 Ks and 4 BB, so this level of control is not new for him.
Boomer Biegalski, RHP: 5 games, 2.42 ERA, 22⅓ ip, 23 Ks, 7 BB, 2 HR
With Bubba Derby gone, Boomer takes the mantle of best-named pitcher from the 2015 draft haul. After a stinker in his first start, his last four outings have been excellent.
Evan Manarino, LHP: 5 games, 0.87 ERA, 20⅔ ip, 20 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HR
It's always tough to know what to make of it when a 25th-round draft pick starts hot. Is it a fluke, or has he taken a leap forward? All I know is that his K/BB numbers are sparkling so far. He's quickly jumping onto my radar.
A few more pitchers, in brief:
James Naile, RHP: 5 games, 3.27 ERA, 22 ip, 17 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HR
Kyle Friedrichs, RHP: 5 games, 2.08 ERA, 21⅔ ip, 13 Ks, 3 BB, 2 HR
Xavier Altamirano, RHP: 5 games, 2.30 ERA, 15⅔ ip, 10 Ks, 7 BB, 0 HR
Jesus Zambrano, RHP: 4 games, 7.30 ERA, 12⅓ ip, 5 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR
Finally, Dustin Driver is on the disabled list after exiting his last outing with elbow pain on April 24 (h/t A's Farm).
All four affiliates are in action.
Triple-A Nashville: 5:05 p.m., Dillon Overton vs. Round Rock
Double-A Midland: 5:00 p.m., Raul Alcantara vs. San Antonio
High-A Stockton: 7:05 p.m., Brett Graves vs. Modesto
Single-A Beloit: POSTPONED, rain
Okay, three affiliates are in action. But all three pitchers carry intrigue, with Overton off to a good start but Alcantara and Graves hoping to prove they belong as starters.