Three Oakland A’s prospects combined to throw a no-hitter for the Single-A Beloit Snappers on Thursday. Bryce Conley started and went the first six innings against the Burlington Bees (Angels affiliate!), and relievers Ty Damron and Josh Reagan combined for the final three frames of the 2-0 victory. Three batters reached base, all via walks, and only once did a Burlington runner even get as far as third base.
None of the pitchers involved are on the serious prospect radar at this moment, but they all have time to break out. Conley (22nd round) and Reagan (15th round) are products of the 2017 draft, and in particular the lefty Reagan put himself on my deep-deep sleeper list with an impressive pro debut last summer (20⅓ ip, 21 Ks, 2 BB, in Low-A Vermont’s bullpen). Damron, also a lefty, came out of the 2016 draft (15th round) and spent most of last year in Beloit’s pen, minus a stint on the disabled list. All three of them are pitching at age 23 this season.
The box score:
Although Reagan was the name I found most interesting entering the year, Conley’s performance has been the most impressive so far. His first outing of the year also resulted in a hitless effort, as he went four sparkling frames against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers). This time around against Burlington, he was perfect until issuing a walk in the 6th. His overall line for the season so far:
Conley, 2018: 10 ip, 0 runs, 0 hits, 8 Ks, 2 BB
The sample is tiny, in a pitcher’s league in which two of the team’s first five games were postponed due to unfavorable weather — once for extreme cold, and once for snow. But still, those numbers have to catch your eye for now.
The Snappers are no strangers to no-hitters. They pulled one off just last August, with Zack Erwin and Joseph Camacho combining to do the honors. They also fell victim to one themselves in 2016, against the Clinton LumberKings (Mariners). In terms of being on the winning side, this is the sixth no-hitter in Snappers franchise history, dating back to 1982, though only their second as an A’s affiliate. It’s also the first in all of pro baseball this season.
Elsewhere in the organization, Triple-A Nashville tossed a no-no last year. Meanwhile, the A’s themselves had a scare against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels on Sunday — they waited until the 7th to get a hit, but ultimately preserved their title as the MLB team with the longest active streak of not being no-hit (now at 4,234 games, if I counted right, dating back to 1991).
Congratulations Snappers, on making history once again!
As long as we’re talking about Beloit, let’s look at the rest of the roster. Thursday’s key hitters are also the team’s overall standouts so far:
- The game’s two runs were scored by the Snappers’ two top prospects, outfielder Austin Beck and shortstop Nick Allen. In the 1st inning Allen doubled and Beck drove him in, and in the 4th Beck tripled and scored on a groundout. We shouldn’t expect too much from the 19-year-old’s in their first full pro season, but they’re two of the key prizes of the 2017 draft class and it’s nice to see them making big plays already.
- San Mateo native and outfielder Mickey McDonald (2017, 18th round) is 9-for-18 to start the year, with 3 BB, 4 Ks, a double, and a stolen base. He went 2-for-3 on Thursday.
- Shout out to Skyler Weber (2016, 18th round), who caught the no-hitter on Thursday.
And some notable pitchers:
- Dakota Chalmers made his season debut on Tuesday, but it looked like more of the same from the wild flamethrower: 5 Ks, 6 BB, out of 16 batters faced. He uncorked more wild pitches (2) than hits allowed (1).
- Jean Ruiz followed up his impressive Opening Day outing with a stinker on Wednesday, and is now averaging a run per inning.
- From the 2017 draft: Lefty reliever Logan Salow (6th round) has struck out 6-of-14 batters so far; lefty starter Jared Poche (9th round) only threw one pro game last summer due to injury but was sharp in his 2018 debut on Wednesday (4⅔ ip, 1 run, 6 Ks, 2 BB); and righty Michael Danielak (19th round) started his first game of the year after putting in strong work in Low-A Vermont’s bullpen last year.
Full slate of action.
Triple-A Nashville: LIVE, Trevor Cahill vs. Iowa
Double-A Midland: LIVE, Corey Walter vs. Springfield
High-A Stockton: 7:00 p.m., Parker Dunshee vs. San Jose
Single-A Beloit: Won 2-0, Bryce Conley vs. Burlington
This was presumably Cahill’s final tuneup before joining Oakland’s rotation next week (5⅓ ip, 3 runs, 7 Ks, 4 BB, 1 hit). Dunshee looks to extend Stockton’s string of incredible starting pitching — through seven starts entering Thursday, the rotation’s line is now up to 0.52 ERA, 34⅔ ip, 47 Ks, 8 BB, 20 hits.