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RHP Joel Seddon has found his groove for Double-A Midland

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The Oakland A's have watched several of their starting pitching prospects force their way into the limelight this year. Some have made their MLB debuts, others have jumped from the lower levels to the upper minors without missing a beat, and the 2015 and 2016 draft classes are full of intriguing names. All of that has left Joel Seddon without any attention at all, and while that made sense a couple months ago it's now time to put him back on the radar.

Seddon was an 11th-round pick in 2014, so this is still just the second full pro season for the 24-year-old. By the 11th round you're basically hoping to get lucky on a lotto ticket, so it was interesting to see the A's move the right-hander all the way up to High-A Stockton to begin 2015. It was a downright surprise to see him join the rotation in May, considering that he wasn't even a starter in college. What's more, he did well in that new role even in the hitter-friendly Cal League, posting a 3.59 ERA in 14 starts with nearly five strikeouts per walk. He was still a lotto ticket in the low minors, but at least the first couple numbers were a match so far.

Unfortunately, the ride didn't continue from there without its share of bumps. Seddon's fast-track continued with an assignment at Double-A Midland to begin 2016, but in his first three games he allowed eight runs, then five runs, then six, all without making it out of the 4th inning in any of those outings. After five starts his ERA was 11.64, and by mid-June he was at 7.48 and finishing five frames in only half his games. Things weren't looking good for him in the upper minors.

But then, on June 24, Seddon went eight scoreless innings against San Antonio, allowing just one hit along the way. It proved to be the turning point of his season, and he started posting a string of 6-7 inning quality starts. In 11 games, starting with that June gem, he's allowed more than a pair of runs just once and has posted the following numbers overall:

Seddon, last 11: 1.76 ERA, 66⅓ ip, 43 Ks, 19 BB, 2 HR, 47 hits

That's a heck of a hot streak, and it's enough to ease any concerns I may have had about the early-season struggles of one of my favorite sleeper prospects. He won't always maintain such a low hit rate, but he's got room to spare on that ERA while still being a useful pitcher. Here's what Seddon himself had to say after that San Antonio game, via Michael Avallone of

"I really dug myself an early hole with bad mechanics," he said. "During my side sessions, I've been working on keeping my shoulder squarer to the plate and also focusing on my glove-side fastball. If I can locate that, all of my other pitches fall in line and can be really effective."

Looking at Seddon's numbers, I would normally assume he must be a groundball pitcher. The low strikeout and walk rates mean lots of contact, and the low homer rate suggests the ball probably isn't in the air that much. However, it turns out he leans more toward fly balls, from last year in Stockton to this year's slump to the ensuing run of success. His poor start to 2016 lines up with his highest rates of flies and liners, so it's probably best to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible, but it's okay if it goes in the air sometimes too. Here's what Seddon has to say about his arsenal and approach, again via Avallone:

"My fastball and changeup were huge pluses, and my slider and curve were pretty solid. The biggest thing was getting ahead of the hitters and pitching to contact. Just trying to get through each batter in three pitches or less and that seemed to work."

None of this will be enough to make Seddon crack our Community Prospect List Top 30 next winter, but that's okay. That's not the kind of prospect he is. He arrived as a mid-round reliever and is trying to make it as an innings-eating starter, and there's nothing glamorous about any of that. If he makes it to Triple-A next year, which seems entirely possible to me given the second half he's having, then he'll be just one step (or maybe a couple injuries) away from a shot in Oakland's rotation.

There are still a hundred ways it could go up in smoke before Seddon ever reaches the bigs, but he's made it a lot further than many 11th-rounders ever do and his most recent work happens to be his best. I've stuck with him this long, and I have no reason to bet against him now. It wouldn't even be close to the craziest story to come out of the A's farm in recent years.

Roster moves!

All of the A's affiliates have experienced a little shakeup in August, as the big club has dipped into the farm for some replacements. Midland has lost more than it's gained, but of course that's a good thing when it's the result of top names moving up the ladder.

Early in the month they saw their closer Bobby Wahl move up to Triple-A, and he was replaced by fellow righty Kris Hall. We talked about Hall a bit last year, mostly because of his awesome name, and I even saw him pitch at spring training this year. Unfortunately, he still hasn't found any semblance of control (30 BB in 31 ip), and until he does the 25-year-old will be org filler.

At the same time, after losing 31-year-old utilityman Josh Rodriguez up to Nashville, the Hounds added 25-year-old utilityman Joe Bennie. Both of these guys are probably org filler and it's unlikely we'll talk about either one again. Bennie (2013, 28th round) plays 2B and the corner outfield and has a bit of power and on-base ability, but if he doesn't hurry up and break out soon in the upper minors then his most interesting fact will be that his younger brother, Robert, was also drafted by the A's (2016, 24th round).

Finally, the big move was top prospect Matt Chapman going up to Triple-A. We'll talk more about him in our Nashville update tomorrow. He was replaced by outfielder James Harris from High-A Stockton. However, the celebration has been short-lived for Harris, who started out 4-for-9 in Double-A but exited his third game (Aug. 19) after scoring all the way from first base on a teammate's hit. He hasn't played since, and Christopher Hadorn of the Midland Reporter-Telegram tells me that he's out with a "mild left hamstring strain." The injury so far hasn't required Harris to go on the DL.

The final Double-A stats of the promoted:

Chapman, AA: .244/.335/.521, 29 HR, 11.7% BB, 29.2% Ks, 141 wRC+
Wahl, AA: 33 games, 2.21 ERA, 40⅔ ip, 48 Ks, 17 BB, 3 HR, 3.08 FIP

Playoff chase

The RockHounds look like a great bet for the postseason once again. They lead the second-half division standings by six games over San Antonio, with a dozen left to play. Corpus Christi won the first-half title and has therefore already punched its ticket to the playoffs, so if Midland makes it then the Hooks would be their opening-round opponent just like they were last year. The Hounds are looking for their third straight league championship, though now they'll have to do it without their top performer in Chapman.

Season stats

Hitters (thru 128 games)

Name Pos Avg/OBP/SLG HR BB% K% wRC+
James Harris OF 4-for-9 0 0 3 191
Tyler Marincov OF .274/.341/.410 9 9.2% 20.2% 116
Franklin Barreto SS .280/.341/.411 10 7.4% 17.7% 117
J.P. Sportman OF .261/.307/.358 3 5.4% 16.6% 90
Yairo Munoz SS .235/.279/.345 7 5.2% 17.2% 78

Those are raw numbers for Harris (not rates), and of course that wRC+ doesn't mean anything yet. Barreto and Marincov have each slowed down a bit, but that doesn't change the fact that they both posted comfortably above-average campaigns in the upper minors. Of course, that success means different things for each -- for Barreto it keeps him on his top-prospect track, and for Marincov it just keeps him relevant at all in the system. You have to imagine Munoz will repeat Double-A next year, which would be fine since he's still just 21 years old (the age of a 2016 college draft pick).


Daniel Gossett R 15 2.59 87 84 24 3 2.54
Heath Fillmyer R 7 2.91 34 26 7 3 3.39
Joel Seddon R 25 4.59 131⅓ 71 46 12 4.50
... Bullpen ...
Corey Walter R 28 2.25 96 51 14 2 2.96
Kyle Finnegan R 27 2.19 37 37 18 3 3.75
Trey Cochran-Gill R 37 3.17 65⅓ 51 25 5 4.02
Sam Bragg R 32 4.32 58⅓ 60 18 8 3.91

I added Finnegan to the list, for now. He was the 6th-round pick in 2013, but he just converted to the bullpen this year after flaming out as a starter. He's showing some early strikeout potential, so let's see what he can do with it (he'll have to cut down those walks, though). Meanwhile, Bragg's numbers if you remove just his first two games of the season, when the team was trying to make him a starter: 2.33 ERA, 54 ip, 59 Ks, 13 BB, 3 HR. That's why he's still on this list.

Wednesday's games

All five affiliates are in action.

Triple-A Nashville: 5:05 p.m., Chris Jensen vs. Memphis
Double-A Midland: 5:05 p.m., Daniel Gossett vs. Corpus Christi
High-A Stockton: 7:05 p.m., Evan Manarino vs. Inland Emprie
Single-A Beloit: 5:00 p.m., Brendan Butler vs. Clinton
Low-A Vermont: 4:05 p.m., Heath Bowers vs. Lowell

Gossett and Manarino are the guys to watch on this slate.

Link to box scores