The Single-A Beloit Snappers are largely made up of players from the Oakland A's 2015 draft class, which means that this year marks their first foray into full-season professional ball. There's not room for the team to look at all 30-odd draftees at once, but now that we're a couple months into the season, injuries to some players as well as the ineffectiveness of others have opened the door for some new faces.
Over the span of the last two weeks, dating back to May 25, a total of eight players have been removed from the roster for various reasons, six of whom were from last year's draft. In their places are seven new players, five of whom were drafted last summer. I know that doesn't add up, with more players leaving than returning, but it's the low minors so just go with it. Here's a rundown of all the moves. (Click here for more info on the entire 2015 draft class.)
Out: Bolt and Iriart to the DL
Here are the fates of the departed eight. All except Miller and Fagan were drafted in 2015. The number in parentheses is the round in which they were drafted:
|Promoted to High-A
|Demoted or Released
OF Skye Bolt (4)
1B Chris Iriart (12)
LHP Andrew Tomasovich (21)
|RHP Kyle Friedrichs (7)
RHP Corey Miller
|OF Steven Pallares (10)
RHP Xavier Altamirano (27)
LHP Mike Fagan
The biggest news there is the first column. First we have Skye Bolt -- he briefly hit the disabled list in early May after pulling a hamstring, but he returned to the lineup on May 17. He went 5-for-47 since then, though, and now he's landed back on the DL again. No word on why, but if you feel like speculating for now then the smart money is that he re-tweaked the hammy. Here's Josh Flickinger, the Snappers beat writer for the Beloit Daily News:
@athleticsnation I wasn't around much the last homestand,but pretty certain it was the hamstring. Has really struggled since coming off DL.— Josh Flickinger (@jflick1215) June 7, 2016
Next up is Chris Iriart, currently the team's top hitter. A picture is worth a thousand words on this one:
From the Snappers game recap:
Rodriguez's hit-by-pitch caught the helmet of Iriart, who was on the ground in pain for a few minutes following the pitch. Trainers came to help him, but Iriart was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power. Ryan Howell pinch-ran for him and played first base for the rest of the game.
(Rodriguez, by the way, is Dereck Rodriguez, the son of former MVP catcher Ivan Rodriguez.)
That doesn't necessarily tell us much about the specifics of the injury -- is Iriart just getting a week off to clear his head and let his eyeball open back up, or is he concussed and out indefinitely, or something in between? All we know is the nature of the injury: ball to face, player to DL. As for Andrew Tomasovich, who coincidentally posted that picture, there's no word on his injury. He has a 7.90 ERA with more walks than Ks.
Kyle Friedrichs was promoted to High-A Stockton to replace Daniel Gossett, who had been moved up to Double-A. Friedrichs has made a pair of starts with his new team, one good and one bad. Meanwhile, the team seems to have made a straight swap in the bullpen, with Corey Miller (2014, 10th round) moving up to Stockton and Rob Huber (2014, 26th round) coming down to Beloit.
Finally, there were a few struggling players who it seems just didn't make the cut. Outfielder Steven Pallares displayed wonderful plate discipline (28 BB, 20 Ks), but he just wasn't hitting at all (.132, 1 HR). Right-hander Xavier Altamirano started the season well but his shaky peripherals caught up with him; in 26 innings, he posted a 4.85 ERA with 18 Ks and 11 walks. Both players were sent to Extended Spring Training in late May, so they're still in the organization, and perhaps we'll see them later on when the short-season affiliates begin play. The same can't be said for Mike Fagan (2014, 9th round), who was released on June 3; he hadn't pitched very often or very well this year.
In: Murray, Martin off to fast starts
Here are the newcomers, listed in order of their draft year and round:
Int'l: 1B Michael Soto
2014, 26th: RHP Rob Huber
2015, 16th: RHP Dustin Hurlbutt
2015, 26th: C Jordan Devencenzi
2015, 28th: RHP Marc Berube
2015, 32nd: RHP Michael Murray
2015, 33rd: OF Mike Martin
Two of these players came down from higher affiliates. We learned about Huber above, coming down from High-A Stockton. Jordan Devencenzi came down from Triple-A Nashville, where he'd been serving as an emergency short-term sub for Matt McBride while the latter was in Oakland filling in for Josh Phegley. (You can see how one guy getting hurt in the bigs can shake up lots of things in the minors!) Devencenzi only made it into one game for Nashville, catching two innings and walking in his lone plate appearance, and now he's settled back into a more appropriate minor league level.
Michael Murray was the first of all these players to join the team. The right-hander came up to take Friedrichs' spot in the rotation in late May when the latter moved up to Stockton. He's been quite good so far, making two starts and allowing just one earned run in 11⅓ innings, with 10 strikeouts and nary a walk. And that is everything I know about Michael Murray.
The rest of the group came up on Friday. Mike Martin replaced Bolt in CF, and he's gone 3-for-7 with a walk while hitting safely in both games he's started. Michael Soto, who played for Stockton last year but didn't hit much, appears to be taking Iriart's place in the lineup (though not at 1B, as he's been the DH in both his games). Dustin Hurlbutt and Marc Berube slot into the bullpen spots vacated by the injured Tomasovich and the departed Fagan. Hurlbutt has pitched once in long relief but Berube is yet to appear.
As you can see, we're getting into the late-round picks here. The odds are astronomically against all of these guys. But now they're on a full-season team so we'll at least see what they do with their opportunities. Ryan Dull was a 32nd-rounder, so there's always a chance.
Between the injuries and promotions, we lost a few of the key players we've been watching closely this year. Here are the remaining ones, and if any of the newcomers set themselves apart then we'll add them to the list next time.
Hitters (thru 56 games)
Brett Siddall, OF: .266/.352/.375, 121 wRC+, 2 HR, 10.5% BB, 15.2% Ks
Jesus Lopez, IF: .225/.273/.362, 88 wRC+, 2 HR, 6.6% BB, 23.7% Ks
Bolt (95 wRC+) and Iriart (134 wRC+, 9 HR) are on the shelf for now, so the lineup is a bit less interesting than normal. Martin and Devencenzi are off to promising starts at the plate, so let's see if they can make any noise.
Evan Manarino, LHP: 11 games, 1.46 ERA, 55⅓ ip, 49 Ks, 7 BB, 0 HR
Angel Duno, RHP: 11 games, 2.39 ERA, 60⅓ ip, 41 Ks, 8 BB, 2 HR
Boomer Biegalski, RHP: 12 games, 3.00 ERA, 63 ip, 52 Ks, 14 BB, 4 HR
James Naile, RHP: 10 games, 3.35 ERA, 53⅔ ip, 38 Ks, 13 BB, 1 HR
Jared Lyons, LHP: 17 games, 1.74 ERA, 20⅔ ip, 21 Ks, 6 BB, 0 HR
Lyons, the A's 9th-round pick last summer, is putting together a nice line out of the bullpen. Despite the loss of Friedrichs and his 1.25 ERA, the rotation hasn't skipped a beat with Murray.
All four affiliates are in action.
Triple-A Nashville: Won 13-4, Chris Smith vs. Omaha
Double-A Midland: 5:05 p.m., Daniel Gossett vs. Corpus Christi
High-A Stockton: 7:10 p.m., Heath Fillmyer vs. Visalia
Single-A Beloit: 5:00 p.m., Evan Manarino vs. Quad Cities
The Sounds dominated their game. Jaycob Brugman, Ryon Healy, and Matt McBride all homered and that trio combined for nine hits. Colin Walsh made his debut after returning to the organization, and ... wait for it ... he walked twice while going 1-for-3.
The rest of that pitching slate is made up of arguably the top starter on each team's staff.