Oakland A's outfield prospect Jaycob Brugman was named Player of the Week in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League on Monday. In seven games from June 6-12, he went 14-for-30 with two homers for a .467/.485/.900 batting line, including 10 hits in just his last three games from Fri-Sun. Through 22 games since being promoted to Triple-A Nashville, the 24-year-old has a wRC+ mark of 144.
In a season that has seen several A's prospects take their turns in the spotlight, Bruggy is the latest to get hot. His path is virtually identical to that of Ryon Healy -- he had a decent season in Double-A Midland last year and finished slightly above average, then found himself repeating the level in 2016 before hitting enough to earn a promotion to Nashville. His overall numbers this year:
Brugman, AA: 176 PAs, .261/.335/.439, 5 HR, 9.1% BB, 18.8% Ks, 122 wRC+
Brugman, AAA: 110 PAs, .333/.358/.586, 3 HR, 5.5% BB, 19.1% Ks, 144 wRC+
Of course, we're talking about a small-sample hot streak here and the point isn't that he will keep doing this. Between those two batting lines, the first more accurately represents Bruggy's true talents, and in particular there is nothing in his history to suggest that he'll hit .333 long-term. But the point is that he moved up to a new level and responded with a serious hot streak, and not one that's just fueled by a bunch of lucky singles.
The most interesting part of Brugman's breakout might be his doubles. He's knocked 14 two-baggers already in 22 games for Nashville, which is only two off the team lead -- and the Sounds have played 64 games overall. He's not a big home run hitter, but he's got some power and all those doubles have helped raise his slugging substantially. And he's doing all that without really striking out any more than he did in Midland.
Brugman has long been one of our favorite sleeper prospects here at AN, but we're reaching a point where it's actually realistic to envision him in the A's lineup someday -- even someday later this year. Oakland's outfield is an absolute mess:
- Josh Reddick is on the DL, and could potentially be traded soon after he returns
- Coco Crisp isn't hitting (80 OPS+) or fielding (-6 DRS) and has been sub-replacement level overall, and also he'll definitely get hurt at some point
- Billy Burns is batting .245 with no walks or power
- Mark Canha is out for the year
- Chris Coghlan is back on the Cubs
- Jake Smolinski is a nice platoon guy against lefties
- Max Muncy played exactly one professional game in the outfield prior to 2016
Khris Davis is the one healthy, productive full-time player. Beyond him, CF is a pile of Jenga blocks waiting to collapse, and RF is being covered by two bench players in a makeshift platoon. It's really not difficult to see how Brugman could find his way up to Oakland sooner than later, especially given that he's played almost exclusively CF this season and has experience on the corners too. Even if he doesn't cut it as a starter, his ability to play all three spots makes him a perfect fourth outfielder.
Finally, as my dream of Bruggy in the bigs gets closer, I can't help but call on my favorite comp. Brugman was drafted in the 17th round in 2013, at No. 521 overall. Seven years earlier, in 2006, Josh Reddick was drafted in the 17th round, at No. 523 overall, virtually the same spot. Reddick smashed the ball in the minors and made it to MLB three years after being drafted, and if Brugman makes a debut later this summer then he'll have matched that pace.
The point of this comp isn't to say they're the same player, though there are a few similarities. The point is to remind ourselves that sometimes that sleeper prospect actually does pan out, and can even become a star. Most of the time he won't, but just as your GPA stops mattering pretty quickly after you finish school, your draft position matters less and less the further up the ladder you succeed. It's time to stop thinking about Bruggy as a fun late-round project to follow, and start looking at him as a 24-year-old who is playing well in Triple-A at a position of great need for the team.
Oh, and one more fun fact about that 17th round in 2006: With the very next pick after the Red Sox took Reddick, the Yankees selected All-Star closer David Robertson. Sometimes those late-round guys work out after all.
Arismendy joins Nashville, homers Monday
The A's acquired a new prospect on Thursday when they sent Chris Coghlan back to the Cubs for 24-year-old Arismendy Alcantara, who plays multiple positions but has been at 2B all of this year. He debuted on Saturday as a pinch-runner, then got starts at shortstop (Sun) and center field (Mon). Overall he went 1-for-7 with a homer, a sac fly, two walks, four Ks and a stolen base in 10 plate appearances. That's a pretty good representation of what to expect from him -- some good moments thanks to his power and speed, but also a lot of strikeouts, with the question being whether can keep the Ks low enough to be a productive hitter.
Alcantara walks ➡️ steals second ➡️ moves to 3rd on a fly out ➡️ scores on a groundout by Nunez. Memphis leads 4-2 as we head to the 9th.— Nashville Sounds (@nashvillesounds) June 14, 2016
All year the A's have had two pitchers named Alvarez on the disabled list: Henderson and R.J. But they lost R.J. this weekend on waivers, so at least that nomenclature logjam was cleared up. But now they have added another prominent Alcantara into the mix (along with Raul in Double-A), to go along with the two unrelated guys named Healy on Nashville's roster. A prospect has no name.
Hitters (thru 64 games)
One thing that's becoming clear is that Nashville is a pitcher's park within a hitter's league. Most of these guys are hitting better on the road, and Joey Wendle has one of the more extreme splits -- .544 OPS at home, .842 on the road, with power making up most of the difference. Of his last 17 games, 14 have been on the road at more hitter-friendly locales, and he's batting .342/.377/.589 with 12 extra-base hits over that span.
Dillon Overton, LHP: 12 games, 3.63 ERA, 69⅓ ip, 60 Ks, 20 BB, 2 HR
Patrick Schuster, LHP: 22 games, 1.50 ERA, 24 ip, 24 Ks, 9 BB, 0 HR
Tucker Healy, RHP: 21 games, 2.84 ERA, 25⅓ ip, 38 Ks, 12 BB, 1 HR
Andrew Triggs, RHP: 9 games, 3.48 ERA, 10⅓ ip, 15 Ks, 3 BB, 0 HR
J.B. Wendelken, RHP: 21 games, 4.57 ERA, 21⅔ ip, 37 Ks, 12 BB, 3 HR
With Sean Manaea going down with TJS-like symptoms, could Overton's debut be growing closer?
All four affiliates are in action.
Triple-A Nashville: 5:05 p.m., Angel Castro vs. Memphis
Double-A Midland: Lost 5-4, Joel Seddon vs. Frisco
High-A Stockton: 7:10 p.m., Matt Stalcup vs. Modesto
Single-A Beloit: 5:00 p.m., Kevin Johnson vs. Kane County
Not much to see in the pitching slate. Seddon was mediocre in his start (which is a step up for him) and Franklin Barreto homered in the loss.
Additionally, the Florida Gators beat Florida State on Monday to advance to the College World Series, which means that draftees A.J. Puk and Logan Shore should get to pitch again. The CWS starts on Saturday. Here is Nico's take on Puk's outing on Monday.