As we head into the dog days of August, I thought I’d take a look at some of the current leaders among A’s minor leaguers in some key statistical categories. It should come as no surprise that A’s top pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo is among the leaders, but pitcher Parker Dunshee has been almost as impressive. And on the hitting side, infielder Eli White has been busy making his mark at Midland, while top catching prospect Sean Murphy is still leading in a key statistical category despite being sidelined due to hamate bone surgery. You can 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 late-season minor league leaders right here…
(based on a minimum of 125 at-bats & 50 innings pitched)
OF Dustin Fowler (Nashville Sounds - AAA) - .331
Believe it or not, center fielder Dustin Fowler, who hit just .231 in 59 games with the A’s this season before being sent back down to the Sounds last week, is currently boasting the best batting average among all A’s minor leaguers with at least 125 at-bats this season. It just goes to show you that if you’re not willing to take a walk, it’ll eventually catch up with you. And once major league pitchers realize that you’re not willing to take a walk, they’re not going to give you anything good to hit and will just let you flail away at second-rate offerings, as long as you’re willing. The 23-year-old drew just 7 free passes in 182 at-bats for the A’s and has walked just 9 times in 139 Triple-A at-bats this season. Fowler is undoubtedly a talented and toolsy player, but his lack of plate discipline has been troubling, and one has to hope that it won’t prove to be a fatal flaw.
2B-SS Eli White (Midland RockHounds – AA) - .405
One of the most pleasant surprises this season has been the impressive performance of infielder Eli White. The 24-year-old has been one of the best hitters in the A’s minor league system this year, slashing .320/.405/.471 for the RockHounds while playing in the pitcher-friendly Texas League. And he currently leads the Hounds in hits, walks, triples and runs while leading all A’s minor leaguers with 196 total bases in 107 games for Midland.
C Sean Murphy (Midland RockHounds – AA) - .506
Another pleasing development this season was the offensive performance of the A’s top catching prospect, Sean Murphy, before he was sidelined once it was determined that he needed to have hamate bone surgery. Always known for his strong throwing arm and solid defense, the development of his profile at the plate this year really made it look like the A’s might just have themselves a potential All-Star behind the plate in the coming years. Murphy put up 25 doubles and 8 home runs in just 65 games before the injury, and he should be poised to start next season as the top catcher with the A’s Triple-A affiliate.
OF Anthony Garcia (Nashville Sounds – AAA) – 19
Signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason, Garcia’s been a productive piece in the heart of the Sounds lineup this season. He’s hit 5 more home runs than anyone else in the system and his 57 walks tie him with Eli White for the most among A’s minor leaguers. And, given the team’s past proclivities, it’s a little surprising that a guy leading the system in home runs and walks hasn’t seen some time with the green and gold this year. Garcia also leads the Sounds with 24 doubles and 68 RBIs this season.
1B-OF Seth Brown (Midland RockHounds – AA) - 46
Seth Brown has filled a similar role for the RockHounds this season as Garcia has served for the Sounds, providing a powerful bat in the heart of the order for Midland. Brown has collected 11 home runs, 3 triples and an organization-leading 32 doubles in 107 games, and his 78 RBIs are also the most among A’s minor leaguers.
RHP Angel Duno (Stockton Ports – A+) – 1.83
The A’s decided to turn Duno from a starter into a reliever this season, and the plan seems to have worked out. After compiling a 5.40 ERA as a starter for Stockton last season, the 24-year-old Venezuelan righty has posted an impressive 1.83 ERA in 59 innings this year while working exclusively out of the Ports bullpen. Duno has also notched 58 strikeouts while walking 17 and allowing just 4 home runs in the homer-happy California League.
LHP Jesus Luzardo (Midland RockHounds/Stockton Ports – AA/A+) – 0.93
The A’s top pitching prospect has seemed almost unhittable at times this season and, in fact, he’s surrendered an average of just 6.2 hits per 9 innings while also striking out 10.7/9. Overall, Luzardo has allowed just 64 hits, walked 23 and struck out 111 while posting a 2.12 ERA over 93.1 innings for Midland and Stockton. The 20-year-old will finally get a chance to face more challenging competition when he makes his first start for Triple-A Nashville on Monday.
RHP Parker Dunshee (Stockton Ports/Midland RockHounds – A+/AA) – 133
Besides Luzardo, last year’s 7th-round draft pick for the A’s, Parker Dunshee, has been one of the most impressive pitchers in the A’s system this season. The 23-year-old has recorded 133 strikeouts, while walking just 24, in 121.2 innings for Stockton and Midland this year. He’s complied a solid ERA of just 2.66, and his 10 wins are the most among A’s minor leaguers. RHP Wyatt Marks’ 132 strikeouts trail Dunshee’s total by just one.
RHP Matt Milburn (Stockton Ports/Nashville Sounds – A+/AAA) – 7.57/1
You might consider Milburn, who was the A’s 29th-round draft pick back in 2016, a bit of a control specialist. The 25-year-old has issued just 14 walks while notching 106 strikeouts over 125 innings in 19 starts for Stockton and 2 starts for Nashville this season.
RHP Miguel Romero (Stockton/Midland) / RHP Angel Duno (Stockton) / RHP Seth Martinez (Beloit) – 13
24-year-old Cuban righty Romero got off to an amazing start this season, putting up a 1.84 ERA and compiling 13 saves as Stockton’s closer before being promoted to Double-A Midland, where it’s been a different story. Romero has allowed 17 earned runs in just 17.2 innings for the RockHounds. Duno, who started the season serving as a setup man to Romero and then took over as Stockton’s closer, has been equally impressive in both roles. Meanwhile, Martinez has been solid as the Snappers’ closer this season. The 23-year-old, who was the A’s 17th-round draft pick back in 2016, has put up a 2.90 ERA while converting 13 of 15 save opportunities for the Snappers.
Visit Athletics Farm for updates on the A’s minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.