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Oakland A’s prospect watch: Greg Deichmann back from DL, hits first High-A homers

It’s been a lost season for last summer’s 2nd-round draft pick.

The Oakland A’s drafted outfielder Greg Deichmann in the 2nd round last summer, making him the No. 43 pick overall. His carrying tool was his power, and he wasted no time showing it off in his pro debut. The slugger launched eight homers in 46 games for Low-A Vermont after his draft, and that first impression earned him the No. 12 spot on our Community Prospect List last winter.

Unfortunately, 2018 has been a lost season for Deichmann. He got off to a slow start for High-A Stockton, and after just two weeks he landed on the disabled list with a wrist injury. That kept him out for over three months, including a lengthy rehab assignment in Rookie Ball, and he didn’t return to the Ports until July 28.

Even then, though, it took nearly three more weeks before the 23-year-old hit his first dinger for Stockton. On the bright side, he hit another one the next day and a third a few days later, but his numbers since his return don’t yet jump off the page. In 20 games, and 81 plate appearances (not counting Thursday):

Deichmann, since return: .208/.247/.390, 66 wRC+, 3 HR, 4.9% BB, 35.8% Ks

There’s not a lot to like about that line. He’s not finding hits nor getting on base, he’s striking out way too much, and he’s not delivering enough power to make up for any of it.

None of this means the book is closed on Deichmann, though. A lost season is just that — a lost season. He missed half of it to injury, to a body part that can sometimes be especially tough on hitters (much less sluggers). The important thing is that he’s at least back on the field, and assuming his health holds up we can look forward to seeing him give it all another try next summer.

Related: Infielder Kevin Merrell, who was drafted 10 spots ahead of Deichmann last year but also missed much of this season to injury, recently began a rehab assignment in Rookie Ball.

Milburn tosses another shutout

Now that most of Stockton’s best prospects have moved up to Double-A Midland, it’s time for some sleepers to emerge. One of the best has been starting pitcher Matt Milburn, who’s gotten attention in our last two High-A updates.

Milburn tossed a shutout in late June, and overall he reeled off nine quality starts in 11 tries. He finally hit a wall on Aug. 16, surrendering seven runs in a disaster outing against the best offense in the league, but he got back on track in a big way his next time out against the worst offense in the league. The 25-year-old tossed another shutout, this time a one-hitter. In other words, he was one hit away from a perfect game, retiring 27-of-28 batters including three strikeouts.

Milburn, last 13 gms: 2.36 ERA, 87⅔ ip, 61 Ks, 7 BB, 4 HR, 91 hits

Since Stockton became an A’s affiliate in 2005, only one pitcher ever threw a complete game shutout — Kevin Deaton, back in 2007. Milburn now has two this year, while no one else in the entire Cal League has even thrown a complete game at all (much less a scoreless one).

The real challenge will begin when Milburn moves to the upper minors, but for now he’s proven just about everything he can in High-A.

Rest of the roster

Starting pitcher Wyatt Marks is off to a nice start since moving up from Single-A Beloit. He’s made three starts for Stockton and two have been quality, including a 10-strikeout effort his last time out.

8/03: 6⅔ ip, 0 runs, 5 Ks, 4 BB, 3 hits
8/10: 4⅓ ip, 3 runs, 6 Ks, 5 BB, 5 hits, 1 HR
8/17: 6 ip, 1 run, 10 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits

Total: 2.12 ERA, 17 ip, 21 Ks, 10 BB, 1 HR, 3.78 FIP

A bit high on the walks, but otherwise it’s a nice first impression for the right-hander.

Meanwhile, in the lineup, slugger Sandber Pimentel is back after a brief DL stint. His first game back was Milburn’s shutout, and his two-run double provided the only scoring on the day.

Friday’s games

Full slate of action, plus a double-dip in Beloit.

Triple-A Nashville: LIVE, Jesus Luzardo vs. Memphis
Double-A Midland: LIVE, Parker Dunshee vs. Corpus Christi
High-A Stockton: 7:00 p.m., Wyatt Marks vs. Visalia
Single-A Beloit (1): Lost 10-0, Jean Ruiz vs. Peoria
Single-A Beloit (2): Soon?, Mitchell Jordan vs. Peoria
Low-A Vermont: LIVE, Rafael Kelly vs. Lowell

Hell of a pitching slate, with an exciting name at each of the three top affiliates. Beloit’s nightcap was scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. but will get underway soon; the 10-0 loss was a continuation of a previously suspended game.

Link to box scores