With the draft taking up a lot of our attention over the past few weeks, it’s been about a month since we last did an around-the-horn round-up of all the A’s affiliates. So it seems like a good time to take a look at who the prospects are who’ve really been leading the way for their teams this season. Of course, Ryon Healy and Jaycob Brugman have been wielding big bats both before and after their promotions to Nashville, while Matt Chapman and Tyler Marincov have been lighting up the scoreboard for Midland lately. Joe Bennie’s been a big surprise at the plate for Stockton, and Beloit’s pitching staff has certainly been a pleasant surprise for the Snappers. In addition, there are plenty of new prospects who are starting to make their mark in Vermont and Arizona. You can always stay up to date on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system on my Athletics Farm site and you can get the latest on who’s leading the way in the A’s organization right here on Athletics Nation…
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SEASON’S TOP PERFORMERS:
(through games of 7/3/16)
1B Ryon Healy (Nashville/Midland – AAA/AA)
(13 HR / 30 BB / 70 K / .326 AVG / .384 OBP / .562 SLG / .946 OPS)
OF Tyler Marincov (Midland/Stockton – AA/A+)
(14 HR / 30 BB / 73 K / .280 AVG / .356 OBP / .483 SLG / .839 OPS)
3B Matt Chapman (Midland – AA)
(20 HR / 39 BB / 104 K / .234 AVG / .329 OBP / .491 SLG / .821 OPS)
OF Jaycob Brugman (Nashville/Midland – AAA/AA)
(8 HR / 30 BB / 72 K / .281 AVG / .345 OBP / .464 SLG / .808 OPS)
2B Joe Bennie (Stockton – A+)
(7 HR / 33 BB / 86 K / .293 AVG / .365 OBP / .437 SLG / .802 OPS)
1B Chris Iriart (Beloit – A)
(9 HR / 21 BB / 54 K / .240 AVG / .335 OBP / .447 SLG / .782 OPS)
LHP Evan Manarino (Beloit – A)
(90 2/3 IP / 82 H / 22 ER / 14 BB / 75 K / 2.18 ERA / 1.06 WHIP)
RHP Corey Walter (Midland – AA)
(65 IP / 58 H / 16 ER / 10 BB / 37 K / 2.22 ERA / 1.05 WHIP)
RHP Angel Duno (Beloit – A)
(67 IP / 66 H / 17 ER / 9 BB / 44 K / 2.28 ERA / 1.12 WHIP)
RHP Kyle Friedrichs (Beloit/Stockton – A/A+)
(90 IP / 82 H / 25 ER / 8 BB / 74 K / 2.50 ERA / 1.00 WHIP)
RHP Zach Neal (Nashville – AAA)
(51 2/3 IP / 47 H / 15 ER / 6 BB / 26 K / 2.61 ERA / 1.03 WHIP)
LHP Dillon Overton (Nashville – AAA)
(83 2/3 IP / 85 H / 28 ER / 22 BB / 72 K / 3.01 ERA / 1.28 WHIP)
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NASHVILLE SOUNDS (47-37)
Pacific Coast League – Triple-A
After going on quite a tear for much of May and June, the Sounds have come back down to earth a bit lately and are currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak. But first baseman Ryon Healy, who was recently named to the All-Star Futures Game squad, and outfielder Jaycob Brugman have continued to be the key drivers of the Sounds offense. Healy stills leads all A’s minor league regulars in hits, runs, RBIs, doubles, total bases and slugging percentage, and Brugman is in the top 5 in each of those categories. Max Muncy’s been productive when he hasn’t been at the Nashville airport, and catcher Bruce Maxwell’s been coming on strong lately. The backstop’s on-base percentage is up to a healthy .354 to go along with a respectable .409 slugging percentage. After a sluggish start, shortstop Chad Pinder, who’s been named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team – along with Nashville reliever Patrick Schuster – has boosted his slugging percentage up to .423, and right fielder Matt Olson is second in the system in walks with 43 and has now notched 20 doubles to go along with his 8 home runs. The one position player who’s taken the biggest dip over the past month has been third baseman Renato Nunez. He’s gone 3 for 20 with no walks over his last 5 games and his slash line is now down to .240/.287/.420 to go along with his 17 errors. Nashville’s starting rotation is starting to get a little crowded with some the arms who’ve recently returned from Oakland. LHP Dillon Overton’s 3.01 ERA is the fourth best in the PCL, while Zach Neal’s 2.51 ERA would be the league’s best if he had a few more innings under his belt, and RHP Chris Smith’s 90 strikeouts are good for third best in the league. Unfortunately, RHP Jesse Hahn has been struggling with his command of late, and he’s now walked a total of 23 batters in 39 innings for the Sounds this season. RHP Nick Tepesch, recently acquired off waivers from the Dodgers, allowed 5 runs over 6 innings of work to take the loss in his Nashville debut. And in roster news, with catcher Bryan Anderson on the disabled list and catcher Matt McBride rejoining the A’s to replace the injured Josh Phegley, catcher Carson Blair was called up from Midland on Sunday to join Maxwell as the Sounds’ second receiver. Meanwhile, Colin Walsh remains on the disabled list with a hamstring issue.
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MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS (40-40)
Texas League – Double-A
Before their loss on Sunday, the RockHounds had been riding a four-game winning streak. Third baseman Matt Chapman and outfielder Tyler Marincov have been the big boppers for Midland. Chapman’s .491 slugging percentage and Marincov’s .481 mark trail only Ryon Healy among regulars in the A’s minor league system, and Marincov’s 14 home runs are second only to Chapman’s 20 among A’s minor leaguers. After struggling for a bit, Chapman has started swinging the bat much better again and he’s now hit 3 home runs in his last 4 games to extend his league-leading total to 20 (in 78 games). Meanwhile, Marincov has gone 5 for 11 with a home run in his last 3 games to help power the Hounds’ recent winning steak. Catcher Beau Taylor (.388 OBP) and first baseman Viosergy Rosa (.375 OBP) have been doing a great job getting on base for Midland. And while he’s been hitting a bit better since spending a little time in the leadoff spot, infielder Franklin Barreto’s slash line is still a rather unimpressive .243/.306/.370, while fellow infielder Yairo Munoz’s is a disappointing .226/.274/.327. With RHP Dylan Covey still on the disabled list with an oblique strain, RHP Raul Alcantara sidelined with a sore shoulder and RHP Chris Jensen called up to fill a hole in the Nashville rotation, a number of unexpected arms have been pressed in starting roles for the RockHounds. RHP Corey Walter has been outstanding after coming out of the bullpen, posting a 2.22 ERA after 12 starts, while jourmeyman RHP Ben Bracewell has allowed a total of 3 runs over 3 recent starts. RHP Daniel Gossett now has a 3.38 ERA while striking out 32 in 32 innings of work for Midland. RHP Joel Seddon, whose season got off to a disastrous start, was recently named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week and has now failed to allow a run over his last 18 innings for the RockHounds. And reliever Bobby Wahl has also been on a bit of a roll lately. He failed to allow a run in all 9 of his appearances in June.
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STOCKTON PORTS (30-51)
California League – High-A
After losing a heartbreaker in a walk-off in the bottom of the 9th on Sunday, Stockton is currently in the midst of a seven game losing streak. But second baseman Joe Bennie has been the best news in the batters’ box for the Ports. His 24 doubles, 56 RBIs, 136 total bases and .437 slugging percentage are all tops among current Stockton regulars. Outfielder James Harris’s .381 on-base percentage leads the team, as do his 97 hits, 3 triples, 15 stolen bases and 54 runs. First baseman Sandber Pimentel’s 11 home runs still lead the squad, and outfielder B.J. Boyd’s .379 on-base percentage is second only to Harris’s top mark in Stockton. But after getting off to a good start, last year’s top draft pick for the A’s, shortstop Richie Martin, has cooled off a bit lately. He has 1 hit in his last 13 at-bats and his slash line now stands at .238/.315/.292, while last year’s 2nd-round pick, infielder Mikey White, has an even more unimpressive .219/.289/.287 line. After getting over a disastrous first start, RHP Kyle Friedrichs has been the standout on Stockton’s pitching staff. And after Sunday’s performance, he’s now allowed just 2 runs while walking 1 and striking out 17 in 19 innings over his last 3 starts for the Ports. RHP Heath Fillmyer has also done a solid job for Stockton, striking out 83 over 85 innings while posting a 3.71 ERA. RHP Brett Graves continues to struggle with 5.49 ERA, while LHP Zack Erwin’s is even worse at 5.89. And RHP Casey Meisner, who’s now made his last 4 appearances out of the bullpen, has a 4.72 ERA to go along with an 0-12 record for Stockton.
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BELOIT SNAPPERS (38-42)
Midwest League – Class-A
The best thing about Beloit this season has been its impressive pitching staff. LHP Evan Manarino leads the squad with a 2.18 ERA and 75 strikeouts over 90 2/3 innings, while Angel Duno, who’s currently on the disabled list, sports a 2.28 ERA while walking just 9 over 67 innings. RHP Boomer Biegalski and RHP James Naile, who’s recently returned from the RockHounds, have been solid as well, and newcomer Dustin Hurlbutt has put up a 2.52 ERA while walking just 2 and striking out 22 in 25 innings of work for the Snappers. First baseman Chris Iriart, who’s been on the disabled list since being hit in the head with a pitch on June 2, had wielded Beloit’s biggest bat, and his 9 home runs and .447 slugging percentage still lead the team. But his replacement at first base, Ryan Howell, has done a good job of getting on base with 44 walks and a .368 on-base percentage. And Skye Bolt’s replacement in center field after he was sidelined with a hamstring issue, Mike Martin, has done a great job as well, with a .311 batting average and a .398 on-base percentage over his first 25 games. But speaking of Bolt, he has recently returned to action after missing about three weeks and he’s now gone 11 for 24 over his last 7 games for the Snappers.
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VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS (8-9)
New York-Penn League – Class-A Short-Season
The Lake Monsters are now 8-9 after their first 17 games this season. The team is loaded with a number this year’s top draft picks, including 3rd-round catcher Sean Murphy, 5th-round third baseman JaVon Shelby, 7th-round center fielder Tyler Ramirez, 11th-round shortstop Eli White, 12th-round outfielder Luke Persico and 13th-round second baseman Nate Mondou. Pitchers Will Gilbert (8th round), Dalton Sawyer (9th round) and RHP Nolan Blackwood (14th round) are also on the squad. And 1st-rounder AJ Puk and 2nd-rounder Logan Shore are expected to join the staff soon. Among the new arrivals, Murphy and Shelby have wielded two of the team’s biggest bats. Murphy has a solid .300/.400/.433 slash line after his first 9 games, while Shelby has notched a home run, 3 doubles and 3 stolen bases in his first 12 games. And a pair of 20-year-old Dominican prospects have been two of the team’s best hitters so far this season. First baseman Miguel Mercedes’ .379/.425/.591 slash line in 17 games is the best the team has to offer, while outfielder Luis Barrera’s 5 doubles, 8 walks and 12 runs lead the Lake Monsters and his .392 on-base percentage has served the team well at the top of the order. On the mound, RHPs Dakota Chalmers, Brendan Butler and Heath Bowers have been a solid trio atop Vermont’s starting rotation. After 4 appearances, Butler has a 0.90 ERA while Bowers sports an ERA of 1.35, while the 19-year-old Chalmers, last year’s 3rd-round draft pick for the A’s, has a 3.38 ERA while walking 5 and striking out 17 over 13 1/3 innings in his first 3 starts for the Lake Monsters.
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AZL A’s (7-4)
Arizona League – Rookie Short-Season
The AZL A’s currently lead their division with a 7-4 record after their first 11 games in the rookie Arizona League. A number of top young arms from this year’s draft are currently manning the team’s pitching staff, including high school RHP Skylar Szynski (4th round) and college RHPs Brandon Bailey (6th round) and Mitchell Jordan (10th round). Another interesting addition has been 32-year-old journeyman LHP Brandon Mann, who’s working himself back into shape after recently returning from his 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performing-enhancing drug. Mann struck out 7 over 5 shutout innings in his debut last week, while Bailey has allowed 1 earned run over his first 5 frames, and Jordan has allowed 1 run while striking out 7 over 6 innings of work. 31st-round RHP Sam Sheehan has yet to allow an earned run while striking out 9 in his first 7 frames out of the bullpen, and last year’s 5th-round pick, LHP Kevin Duchene, has given up 2 earned runs and struck out 9 over his first 10 innings in the desert. Szysnki had a rough time in his first start, surrendering 4 runs in just 1/3 of an inning of work as the A’s ended up allowing a whopping 15 runs in the 1st inning of a game last week. A solid group of bats that were drafted last month have been doing a good job carrying the A’s offense so far this summer. 21st-round outfielder Kyle Nowlin has been the best of the bunch, leading the team with 5 doubles and 9 walks while posting an impressive .303/.452/.545 sash line in his first 10 games. 27th-round outfielder Cole Gruber (.500 OBP) and 26th-round first baseman Charles Gould (.457 OBP) have been doing a great job getting on base, while 24th-round outfielder Robert Bennie (Joe’s brother) already has 5 extra-base hits to pair with a .500 slugging percentage, and 7th-round center fielder Tyler Ramirez also had 5 extra-base bits to go along with a .536 slugging percentage before being promoted to Vermont.
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