With the first month of the minor league season now complete, it’s a good time to take a look at the A’s minor league leaders in a few key hitting and pitching categories. And it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the names of top prospects like Franklin Barreto, A.J. Puk and Logan Shore high atop our list of A’s minor league leaders.
A minimum of 60 at-bats is required for the hitting categories and a minimum of 20 innings is required for the ERA and WHIP categories for pitchers. Players from all four of the A’s full-season affiliates - Nashville, Midland, Stockton and Beloit - are included, and the stats are complete through games of Sunday, April 30. Some of these names you may expect to see atop the lists, while others might come as a bit of a surprise!
1) OF B.J. Boyd (Midland) .372
2) SS Franklin Barreto (Nashville) .349
3) 2B Nate Mondou (Beloit) .338
After turning in five mostly modest seasons since the A’s drafted him in the 4th round in 2012, RockHounds outfielder B.J. Boyd seems to have turned a corner this year at Midland, a place that most A’s hitting prospects go to die! And the 23-year-old Bay Area native has been remarkably consistent, notching hits in 16 of his 19 games so far this season. Boyd’s yet to homer, but he has hit 7 doubles for the Hounds. Meanwhile, Sounds shortstop Franklin Barreto’s been a lot streakier for Nashville but, so far, his hot streaks have far outweighed his cold ones. He started the season by going 8 for his first 14, then endured a difficult 5-for-32 stretch before going on a 12-for-25 tear. The 21-year-old leads the Sounds with 29 hits, while Beloit second baseman Nate Mondou leads the Snappers with 23.
1) OF Brett Vertigan (Midland) .432
1) OF B.J. Boyd (Midland) .432
3) 2B Nate Mondou (Beloit) .407
Much like Boyd, after turning in five modest seasons in the A’s system, RockHounds outfielder Brett Vertigan has been on fire in the early going for Midland. The 26-year-old has managed to reach base in 17 of his 19 games so far this season, collecting 24 hits and 13 walks while also leading the Hounds in doubles with 8. As for Boyd, he’s improved his walk rate a bit from an average of 1 every 14 plate appearances last season to 1 every 11 this year. And since failing to reach base on opening day, Beloit second baseman Nate Mondou, who was last year’s 13th-round draft pick for the A’s, has managed to maintain a 17-game on-base streak while also tallying 2 triples and pilfering a pair of bases for the Snappers.
1) SS Franklin Barreto (Nashville) .566
2) OF JaVon Shelby (Beloit) .486
3) 3B-OF Renato Nunez (Nashville) .481
One of the most pleasant surprises where Sounds shortstop Franklin Barreto is concerned this season has been the power he’s been flashing in the early going. After posting a .422 slugging percentage with 11 home runs all of last season, Barreto’s put up an impressive .566 slugging percentage and belted 4 home runs in his first 21 games of 2017. He has a total of 8 extra-base hits on the season and also leads the team in total bases. Beloit’s JaVon Shelby, who’s shifted from third base to center field, has also been a pleasant surprise this season. After struggling for short-season Vermont in 2016, last year’s 5th-round draft pick for the A’s has notched 4 home runs and 4 doubles for the Snappers while also leading the team in walks. And while he may have gotten off to a slow start this season and has had some trouble with getting on base and with his strikeout rate, Nashville’s Renato Nunez has still been displaying his trademark power for the Sounds, and his 6 doubles and 4 home runs both tie him for the team lead.
1) LHP Dalton Sawyer (Beloit) 0.87
2) LHP Evan Manarino (Stockton) 1.57
3) RHP Paul Blackburn (Nashville) 1.64
One of the most pleasant surprises on the pitching front this season has to be the performance of Beloit’s Dalton Sawyer. Last year’s 9th-round draft pick for the A’s has proven to be an intimidating opponent for Midwest League hitters, allowing just 2 runs over his first 20 2/3 innings for the Snappers. Meanwhile, after turning in a solid season in 2016, Ports pitcher Evan Manarino has kicked things up a notch this year, posting an impressive 1.57 ERA over his first 6 appearances. And he’s so far proven to be the most effective pitcher on an outstanding Stockton staff that also includes top prospects like A.J. Puk and Logan Shore. Another pleasant surprise this season has been Nashville’s Paul Blackburn, who was acquired from Seattle in the offseason in return for infielder Danny Valencia. The former 1st-round compensation pick has been the Sounds best, and most consistent, starter so far this year, turning in 4 solid starts while allowing just 4 earned runs over his first 22 innings this season.
1) LHP Dalton Sawyer (Beloit) 0.73
2) RHP Brendan Butler (Beloit) 0.79
3) LHP Evan Manarino (Stockton) 0.86
In addition to surrendering just 2 runs so far this season, Beloit’s Sawyer hasn’t allowed opposing teams much of a chance to even threaten to score off him. The 23-year-old has given up just 10 hits without allowing a home run over his first 20 2/3 innings this season. He’s also walked just 5 while striking out 22 for the Snappers. His teammate, Beloit’s Brendan Butler, has also proven to be extremely hard to hit, giving up just 14 hits without allowing a home run over his first 24 innings of work for the Snappers. Meanwhile, Stockton’s Manarino has shown impressive control, walking just 1 batter while striking out 22 over his first 23 innings this season. He’s also allowed just 1 home run in the friendly confines of Stockton.
1) LHP A.J. Puk (Stockton) 31
1) RHP Brendan Butler (Beloit) 31
3) RHP Logan Shore (Stockton) 28
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the A’s top pick in last year’s draft, 6-foot-7 southpaw A.J. Puk, is currently tied for the lead in strikeouts among A’s minor league pitchers. Puk has fanned 31 batters for Stockton in just 17 1/3 innings so far this season – that’s 16.1 K/9. And it’s perhaps even more heartening to know that, while whiffing 31, he’s issued just 6 free passes. Perhaps a little more surprising is the fact that Beloit’s Butler is tied with Puk for the system’s strikeout lead. The soon-to-be-24-year-old 30th-round draft pick from 2015 has struck out 31 while walking just 5 in 24 innings for the Snappers. Meanwhile, Puk’s Ports teammate, Logan Shore, has also been doing a good job of fooling California League hitters. With an uptick in velocity since his senior season in college, last year’s 2nd-round pick for the A’s has struck out 28 and walked just 3 while failing to allow a home run in his first 22 1/3 innings for Stockton.
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