The Oakland A’s continued their September call-ups on Saturday, promoting pitcher Daniel Mengden from Triple-A Nashville. The right-hander will start against the Red Sox on Saturday.
This will be Mengden’s second stint in Oakland this year. The 23-year-old made his MLB debut in June and ended up starting nine games, with mixed results. He was excellent in his first four outings (2.81 ERA), but then got shelled in his next five (9.00) — though there were some extenuating circumstances during that rough patch, like wretched defense behind him and getting hit in the chest by a line drive. Bob Melvin had this to say, via Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle:
“He really got our attention early on and we felt like when we sent him down he was just a little bit tired. They cut down on his workload and he’s been pitching great ever since.”
Melvin is right. In seven starts since returning to Nashville, Mengden posted a 2.10 ERA with a line of 30 ip, 28 Ks, 7 BB, 1 HR. The difference was that he was capped at five innings in each of those games, only once reaching 90 pitches. His overall numbers:
Mengden, AAA: 13 starts, 1.79 ERA, 75⅓ ip, 67 Ks, 17 BB, 4 HR, 3.43 FIP
Mengden, MLB: 9 starts, 5.73 ERA, 48⅔ ip, 49 Ks, 26 BB, 5 HR, 4.32 FIP
Although I would have been fine with letting Mengden finish out his season in Triple-A and come back strong in 2017, you’ve gotta be excited to see him again. In case you’ve forgotten, here are three reasons he is worth watching even in a meaningless game.
Once Mengden records his first four outs today, he will officially hit MLB rookie status and will graduate from prospect status. That means he will not be part of our Community Prospect List this winter. (Maybe I shouldn’t say that with such certainty one day after Oakland’s starter exited after only three outs ...)
Welcome back, Daniel!
Here are a few injury updates regarding the rest of the pitching staff:
Triggs has been a pleasant surprise over the last month, emerging as a starting pitcher just like no one expected. Unfortunately, he only lasted one inning last night before leaving the game. The diagnosis is back tightness, via Slusser.
Triggs first felt back issue a few weeks ago but it responded to treatment. Grabbed again when going after foul ball in first.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 3, 2016
The good news, relatively speaking, is that he doesn’t have an arm injury and it might just be a minor thing, though there is still no timetable for his return. For more details, check out Slusser’s writeup at the Chronicle.
With yet another starter going down, let’s take an updated look through Oakland’s rotation depth chart, beginning with what it looked like entering the season:
Sonny Gray (multiple DL stints, ERAitis when healthy) Rich Hill (multiple DL stints, then traded) Chris Bassitt (Tommy John surgery)
1. Kendall Graveman
Felix Doubront (Tommy John surgery) Jesse Hahn (hit DL, banished to minors when healthy) Eric Surkamp (lol, waived) Sean Manaea (one DL stint, left last start with back problem) Henderson Alvarez (still not back from 2015 surgery)
2. Daniel Mengden
Dillon Overton (healthy! but highest HR rate in MLB history) Andrew Triggs (one DL stint, left last start with back problem)
3. Ross Detwiler
4. Zach Neal
5. Jharel Cotton?
5a. Raul Alcantara?
5b. (Hahn actually goes here now)
5c. Maybe you? What’re you up to next week?
Go home, 2016, you’re drunk.
Doo was activated from the DL on Friday. He last pitched for the A’s on June 25.
Doolittle says he was throwing 89-91 before rehab stint extended and now back to 93-94, mechanics clicking. Feels strong.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 2, 2016
For more on his extended recovery, including quotes from the man himself, check out Slusser’s writeup at the Chronicle.
Doolittle, 2016: 35 games, 2.93 ERA, 30⅔ ip, 35 Ks, 8 BB, 5 HR, 12-for-13 sv/hlds
Hahn was also activated from the DL on Friday, but he did not rejoin the team. Instead, he went back to the minors, after a rough season in which he never really got going.
Melvin says Hahn needs more time in minors after rough last start. Sounds like other Triple A starters would get call-up first.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) September 2, 2016
Melvin hints they may try to take a look at some other younger pitchers in next few weeks, unsure if/when Hahn will be back this season.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 2, 2016
Those “other Triple A starters” likely include Jharel Cotton and Raul Alcantara (in addition to Mengden, of course). Both are on the 40-man roster already, so they could be called up at any time unless the team wants them to make postseason starts for Nashville.
Hahn, 2016 MLB: 9 starts, 6.02 ERA, 46⅓ ip, 23 Ks, 19 BB, 8 HR, 5.63 FIP
A few more quick updates:
Sonny threw out to 105 feet today, but until he gets on mound, no way of knowing how realistic it is for him to pitch again this season.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 3, 2016
Manaea is set to play catch today to test sore back. Doesn't know timetable beyond that ...— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) September 2, 2016
Phegley is out of hospital but not expected to play again this season, Melvin says.— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) September 3, 2016
Bassitt threw for second time today since starting TJ rehab. He's just happy to get a little activity going.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) September 2, 2016