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A’s Farm Report: Murphy, Barreto & Ramirez Among System’s Top Hitters

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Now that we’re coming to the end of April, it seems like a good time to take a look at who some of the top hitters have been in the A’s minor league system so far this season. Catcher Sean Murphy, infielder Franklin Barreto and outfielder Tyler Ramirez have clearly been a few of the top-performing hitting prospects in the early going, but you can find a rundown of a few of the top hitters for each of the A’s minor league affiliates below. 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 the A’s top minor league hitters right here on Athletics Nation


Pacific Coast League – Triple-A


2B Franklin Barreto (42 AB / 3 HR / 5 BB / 12 K / .333 AVG / .408 OBP / .643 SLG)

CF Dustin Fowler (92 AB / 2 HR / 4 BB / 12 K / .283 AVG / .309 OBP / .413 SLG)

C Beau Taylor (36 AB / 0 HR / 10 BB / 7 K / .333 AVG / .489 OBP / .417 SLG)

Overall, the bats have been pretty cold in Nashville, at least until the past week or so. The good news is that top hitting prospect Franklin Barreto has really been heating up lately. The 22-year-old is 9 for 19 over his last 5 games. He’s already hit 3 home runs in his first 42 at-bats and leads the team with a .642 slugging percentage while playing almost exclusively at second base for the Sounds. Center fielder Dustin Fowler’s been getting into gear lately too. The 23-year-old had 3 multi-hit games last week to raise his batting average to .283. He’s been spending a lot of time hitting out of the #2 spot in the lineup and leads the team with 5 stolen bases – and he’s yet to be caught. With Dustin Garneau 4 for 37 on the season, Beau Taylor’s been doing most of the catching for Nashville. And the 28-year-old minor league veteran has made the most of the opportunity, putting up an impressive .489 on-base percentage for the Sounds. But with Josh Phegley joining the roster as the third catcher, we’ll see how the playing time plays out behind the plate. As for two of the team’s other top hitting prospects – infielders Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse – they’re both hitting well below the Mendoza line.


Texas League – Double-A


C Sean Murphy (81 AB / 3 HR / 2 BB / 17 K / .346 AVG / .384 OBP / .605 SLG)

OF Tyler Ramirez (85 AB / 2 HR / 13 BB / 26 K / .318 AVG / .412 OBP / .506 SLG)

SS-3B Eli White (89 AB / 3 HR / 8 BB / 24 K / .292 AVG / .357 OBP / .472 SLG)

The RockHounds have been the hottest hitting A’s affiliate in the early going. And A’s top catching prospect Sean Murphy may be the top-performing hitting prospect in the system so far this season. He leads the system in hits, runs, doubles, extra-base hits and total bases. The 23-year-old backstop has tallied 12 doubles and 3 home runs while compiling a robust .605 slugging percentage for the RockHounds. Outfielder Tyler Ramirez has done nothing but hit since the A’s drafted him in the 7th round in 2016, and he just seems to keep getting better every step of the way. The 23-year-old has been getting on base and showing a little pop, putting up a .412 on-base percentage and a .506 slugging percentage for the RockHounds. One of the biggest surprises at Midland this year may be infielder Eli White. With Richie Martin starting the season on the disabled list, White got a chance to start the season at his natural position of shortstop. And since Martin’s return, he’s been seeing some time at third base. But he’s been a pretty steady presence in the #2 hole in the Hounds’ lineup this season. And the 23-year-old’s been doing it all – he leads the team with 5 stolen bases and is tied for the team lead in home runs with 3. As for Mr. Martin, he’s put up a .585 OPS and has yet to collect an extra-base hit. And outfielder Skye Bolt was struggling so badly at Double-A that he’s already been sent back to Stockton.


California League – High-A


3B Will Toffey (32 AB / 0 HR / 11 BB / 9 K / .281 AVG / .465 OBP / .344 SLG)

C Jonah Heim (81 AB / 2 HR / 11 BB / 18 K / .272 AVG / .366 OBP / .395 SLG)

OF Dairon Blanco (83 AB / 1 HR / 10 BB / 21 K / .277 AVG / .354 OBP / .373 SLG)

Until their recent road trip to Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore, the Ports hadn’t been producing much offense and had primarily been relying on their impressive pitching staff. But after putting up 38 runs over their last 6 games, some of Stockton’s hitters’ numbers are starting to look a little healthier. One hitter who didn’t need the road trip to pump up his numbers is third baseman Will Toffey, who went on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury a little over a week ago. Despite that, last year’s 4th-round draft pick still managed to draw 11 walks in his first 11 games and boasts a .465 on-base percentage. Catcher Jonah Heim, whom the A’s acquired from Tampa Bay in the offseason, has probably been the Ports’ most consistent hitter this season. The former 4th-round draft pick is currently tied for the team lead in home runs and boasts the best slugging percentage among Stockton regulars. 25-year-old Cuban import Dairon Blanco has been showing some promise in the early going. He’s put up a .354 on-base percentage and stolen 3 bases while primarily playing left field for the Ports. At the other end of the spectrum, catcher Collin Theroux has gone 2 for 26 with 16 strikeouts so far this season for Stockton.


Midwest League – Class-A


C Jordan Devencenzi (34 AB / 0 HR / 4 BB / 1 K / .441 AVG / .500 OBP / .471 SLG)

OF Mickey McDonald (58 AB / 0 HR / 5 BB / 12 K / .379 AVG / .429 OBP / .448 SLG)

2B Trace Loehr (57 AB / 1 HR / 9 BB / 10 K / .333 AVG / .424 OBP / .439 SLG)

As is usually the case in the Midwest League in the early going, most of Beloit’s bats have been pretty cold, but there have been some exceptions. Catcher Jordan Devencenzi currently boasts the best batting average (.441) and on-base percentage (.500) in the A’s system. The northern California native, who was the A’s 26th-round draft pick in 2015 out of the University of Nevada-Reno, has shown a knack for getting on base, compiling a .377 on-base percentage over 112 games in his minor league career. Another northern California native, San Mateo’s Mickey McDonald, has also been hitting up a storm for the Snappers. Last year’s 18th-round draft pick for the A’s leads his team in hits and doubles while batting. 379 with a .429 on-base percentage for Beloit. And back for his third season with the Snappers, 22-year-old second baseman Trace Loehr finally seems to be figuring out the Midwest League. Besides Devencenzi and McDonald, 2014’s 6th-round draft pick for the A’s has been Beloit’s most dependable batter in the early going, leading the team in walks while putting up a .424 on-base percentage for the Snappers. As for the team’s top two teenage prospects, center fielder Austin Beck has compiled a slash line of .278/.293/.389, while shortstop Nick Allen is currently slashing .217/.289/.290.

Visit Athletics Farm for updates on the A’s minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.