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Oakland A’s prospect watch: Low-A Vermont and AZL Rookie League begin short seasons

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Daulton Jefferies is officially back in game action after Tommy John surgery.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s full-season minor league affiliates are halfway through their 2018 campaigns already, but for the lowest reaches of the farm the summer is just beginning. Two short-season squads began play in June, with the Low-A Vermont Lake Monsters opening a week ago Friday and the Arizona Rookie League A’s last Monday.

Both of these clubs feature several members of the A’s 2018 draft class, as well as a couple other notable prospects. Perhaps the biggest name of all is Daulton Jefferies, who ranked No. 15 on our Community Prospect List last winter while he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He pitched on Tuesday in the AZL, marking his first appearance in a pro game since last April.

Here’s a closer look at each team.

Low-A Vermont

For now there are 11 new draftees on Vermont’s roster, but it will continue to evolve as the last players sign and everyone gets settled. The distinction between starting and relief pitchers is a rough estimate based on who’s thrown the longest outings so far, and it will likely change as the season progresses and everyone settles into their proper roles.

Low-A Vermont roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Jhenderson Hurtado (L)
Rafael Kelly (R)
Abdiel Mendoza (R)
Jose Mora (R)
Adam Reuss (R)

Relievers

Charlie Cerny (R)
Chase Cohen (R)
Clark Cota (R)
Brady Feigl (R)
Chris Kohler (L)
Jaimito Lebron (R)
Slater Lee (R)
Brandon Marsonek (L)
Jeferson Mejia (R)
Bryce Nightengale (R)
Oscar Tovar (R)
Brandon Withers
Catchers

Lana Akau (R)
Cooper Goldby (R)
Robert Mullen (R)
Jose Rivas (R)

Infielders

Aaron Arruda (R)
Marcos Brito (S)
Jeremy Eierman (R)
Javier Godard (R)
Jesus Lage (R)
Alfonso Rivas (L)
Max Schuemann (R)

Outfielders

Anthony Churlin (R)
Devin Foyle (S)
Jameson Hannah (L)
Jeramiah McCray (R)
Enrry Pantoja (R)
Payton Squier (L)
Noah Vaughan (L)

Who are these people? Here’s a rundown, including the draft year and round for each domestic player.

Old Draft 2018 Draft Int'l sign
2013
3. Chris Kohler, LHP
20. Lana Akau, C
2016
16. Anthony Churlin, OF
25. Jeramiah McCray, OF
2017
12. Aaron Arruda, 1B
16. Payton Squier, OF
24. Slater Lee, RHP
29. Adam Reuss, RHP
31. Brandon Withers, RHP
35. Cooper Goldby, C
Undrafted
Brandon Marsonek, LHP
2. Jameson Hannah, OF
3. Jeremy Eierman, SS
4. Alfonso Rivas, 1B
5. Brady Feigl, RHP
7. Charlie Cerny, RHP
9. Chase Cohen, RHP
10. Clark Cota, RHP
12. Noah Vaughan, OF
16. Bryce Nightengale, RHP
17. Devin Foyle, OF
20. Max Schuemann, 2B
Jhenderson Hurtado, LHP
Rafael Kelly, RHP
Abdiel Mendoza, RHP
Jose Mora, RHP
Jeferson Mejia, RHP
Oscar Tovar, RHP
Robert Mullen, C
Jose Rivas, C
Javier Godard, IF
Jesus Lage, IF
Marcos Brito, IF
Enrry Pantoja, OF

A few notes:

  • Click here to learn more about the top 2018 draft picks.
  • In the international column, Brito, Tovar, and Mendoza were in the conversation for the Community Prospect List last winter.
  • Mejia was acquired from the D’Backs for Adam Rosales in 2017.
  • The four players from the 2013 and 2016 drafts were all high school picks. Kohler made the CPL twice back in 2014-15 but has struggled to stay healthy.
  • Marsonek spent most of last season with High-A Stockton, and opened this year there as well.

Vermont is 5-4 so far to begin the season. Here are a few top performers in the early going:

Squier: 12-for-26, 4 XBH (1 HR), 4 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Rivas: 4-for-17, 3 XBH (1 HR), 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 SB
Churlin: 8-for-25, 3 XBH (1 HR), 3 BB, 9 Ks
Brito: 5-for-25, 0 XBH, 6 BB, 7 Ks, 1 SB
Hannah: 3-for-13, 1 XBH, 2 BB, 5 Ks

Godard is also in the homer column, and Arruda (the oldest position player on the roster at age 23) leads the team with 8 walks (alongside 7 Ks). On June 19 they played a doubleheader and earned a walk-off win in both games, on a walk by Lage and a single by Mullen.

And on the pitching side:

Lebron: 4⅓ ip, 0 ER, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 1 hit
Lee: 5⅓ ip, 1 ER, 6 Ks, 2 BB, 3 hits
Hurtado: 5 ip, 2 ER, 7 Ks, 2 BB, 3 hits
Mora: 10 ip, 0 ER, 11 Ks, 6 BB, 6 hits

A couple of brief videos: Cohen, Cota

AZL Rookie League

I don’t normally follow the Rookie League very closely, but it’s at least worth a look at who is on the roster. This group at least features two members of the current CPL for now. Again, the starter/reliever distinction is more of a vague estimate than a rule.

AZL Rookie League roster
Pitchers Hitters
Starters

Ismael Aquino (R)
Osvaldo Berrios (R)
Angello Infante (R)
Daulton Jefferies (R)
Richard Morban (R)

Relievers

Reid Birlingmair (R)
Austin Briggs (L)
Caleb Evans (R)
Malik Jones (R)
Daniel Martinez (R)
Jorge Martinez (L)
Aiden McIntyre (R)
Jesus Monserratt (R)
Catchers

Cesarre Astorri (R)
Matt Cross (R)
Jorge Gordon (R)
John Jones (R)

Infielders

Jonah Bride (R)
Alexander Campos (R)
Jordan Diaz (R)
Gio Dingcong (R)
Justin Jones (L)
Alonzo Medina (R)
Joseph Pena (S)
Christopher Quintin (R)
Cobie Vance (R)
Yerdel Vargas (R)
Nick Ward (L)

Outfielders

Danny Bautista (R)
George Bell (R)
Lawrence Butler (L)
Chase Calabuig (L)
Yhoelnys Gonzalez (R)
Austin Piscotty (R)
Kevin Richards (R)
Rafael Rincones (S)

And the acquisition breakdown:

Old Draft 2018 Draft Int'l sign
2016
1. Daulton Jefferies, RHP
2017
20. Osvaldo Berrios, RHP
23. Malik Jones, RHP
32. Caleb Evans, RHP
34. Justin Jones, 2B
6. Lawrence Butler, OF
18. Cobie Vance, SS
19. Matt Cross, C
21. Daniel Martinez, RHP
22. Aiden McIntyre, RHP
23. Jonah Bride, 3B
27. Chase Calabuig, OF
28. Reid Birlingmair, RHP
29. Austin Briggs, LHP
30. Gio Dingcong, 1B
32. John Jones, C
33. Joseph Pena, SS
34. Nick Ward, 2B
38. Austin Piscotty, OF
Ismael Aquino, RHP
Angello Infante, RHP
Jorge Martinez, LHP
Richard Morban, RHP
Jesus Monserratt, RHP
Cesarre Astorri, C
Jorge Gordon, C
Alexander Campos, IF
Jordan Diaz, IF
Alonzo Medina, IF
Christopher Quintin, IF
Yerdel Vargas, IF
Danny Bautista, OF
George Bell, OF
Yhoelnys Gonzalez, OF
Kevin Richards, OF
Rafael Rincones, OF

A few notes:

  • The big name here is Jefferies, who officially returned to the mound last Tuesday for two scoreless frames and struck out 5-of-7 batters faced (video). He missed most of 2017 to Tommy John surgery but still ranked No. 15 on our CPL.
  • The other CPL member is Campos, who clocked in at No. 28 after being acquired for Ryon Healy last winter.
  • Butler was the only high schooler signed by the A’s in this year’s draft. Here’s a video of him at the plate.
  • Piscotty is Stephen’s brother.
  • Bell is the son of the former AL MVP of the same name, and Bautista is the son of the 12-year veteran outfielder of the same name.
  • The most expensive player in the international column was Vargas, who signed for $1.5 million in 2016.
  • Rincones was acquired from the Red Sox for Rajai Davis in 2017.
  • Astorri signed out of Italy.

The Baby A’s are off to a 4-1 start, led by the following top performers:

Ward: 5-for-10, 2 HR, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HBP
Vance: 3-for-5, 2 XBH, 2 BB, 0 Ks
Bell: 3-for-6, 1 XBH, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HBP
Calabuig: 4-for-10, 2 XBH, 3 BB, 1 K

And on the pitching side:

Infante: 5⅔ ip, 0 ER, 9 Ks, 0 BB, 2 hits
Jefferies: 2 ip, 0 ER, 5 Ks, 0 BB, 1 hit
Berrios: 3⅔ ip, 1 ER, 5 Ks, 1 BB, 6 hits

A reminder that Rookie League is a different world compared with the rest of the minors:

Good luck to all the A’s short-season minor leaguers this summer!