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A’s Farm Report: Top-Performing Minor League Hitters of 2018 – Murphy, Garcia, White & Bolt

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Sean Murphy
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Last week, we took a look at the A’s top-performing minor league pitchers of 2018. And this week, it’s time to turn out attention to some of the team’s top-performing minor league hitter this season. For the purposes of this piece, we’re only examining hitters with at last 250 at-bats this season and are excluding any players who are currently on the A’s roster. All statistics are complete through games of Sunday, September 2. And remember, we’re not ranking top prospects here, just taking a look at some of the top performers on the field. 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 a look at the A’s top-performing minor league hitters right here…

Catcher Sean Murphy

Midland RockHounds (AA) / Nashville Sounds (AAA) / AZL A’s (Rk)

(268 AB / 8 HR / 25 BB / 50 K / .287 AVG / .359 OBP / .493 SLG)

Though his season was cut short by about a month and a half due to hamate bone surgery, Murphy has still managed to turn in one of the best performances by an A’s minor league position player this season. 2016’s 3rd-round draft pick for the A’s has always been known for his strong throwing arm and his solid work behind the plate, but he started out the season swinging a blazing hot bat that never really cooled off much. The 23-year-old went on the disabled list on July 9 after the hamate bone injury emerged. He did a brief rehab stint with the AZL A’s at the end of August and just appeared in his first two games for Nashville this weekend. Murphy has posted an impressive .287/.359/.493 slash line while compiling 27 doubles in 72 games this season, and he should spend next year as the starting catcher at Triple-A, just waiting for the opportunity to claim the everyday catching job for Oakland.

Outfielder Anthony Garcia

Nashville Sounds (AAA)

(476 AB / 25 HR / 65 BB / 106 K / .254 AVG / .358 OBP / .481 SLG)

The A’s signed the slugging outfielder as a minor league free agent in the offseason, and he’s proven to be the biggest bopper in the A’s minor league system this season. The 26-year-old has served as the Sounds’ cleanup hitter for most of the year, and he’s collected more home runs, extra-base hits, walks and RBIs than anyone else in the A’s system. His .481 slugging percentage is also best among all A’s minor leaguers with at least 300 at-bats. Given the A’s proclivities, it’s kind of surprising that a guy leading the system in both home runs and walks hasn’t seen any time with the green and gold this season. He wasn’t added to the A’s major league roster after Sept. 1 and he’ll be a minor league free agent again in the offseason. So, despite his impressive performance for the Sounds this season, it’s probably going to be one and done for the powerful Mr. Garcia.

Second Baseman/Shortstop Eli White

Midland RockHounds (AA)

(504 AB / 9 HR / 62 BB / 116 K / .306 AVG / .388 OBP / .450 SLG)

One of the most pleasant surprises this season has been the impressive performance of infielder Eli White. 2016’s 11th-round draft pick has been one of the best hitters in the A’s minor league system this year. The 24-year-old leads all A’s minor leaguers in hits and runs, while also drawing the second-most walks, notching 30 doubles, swiping 18 bases and boasting the best batting average and on-base percentage of any player with at least 300 at-bats in the system. White’s been a dynamic force in the leadoff spot for the RockHounds, and his on-base percentage also leads the entire Texas League. He’s mainly split time between second base and shortstop for Midland, and he’s also seen a little time at third and in center field as well. But one thing’s for certain; wherever he’s played this season, White has done nothing but hit. And he and Richie Martin should be joining Jorge Mateo and Sheldon Neuse in the Triple-A infield mix next season.

Outfielder Skye Bolt

Midland RockHounds (AA) / Stockton Ports (A+)

(451 AB / 19 HR / 57 BB / 122 K / .257 AVG / .344 OBP / .472 SLG)

Bolt has managed to rather quietly put together one of the best seasons among position players in the A’s minor league system this year. After getting off to a dreadful start with Double-A Midland, he was shipped back to Stockton before the end of April, where he immediately began hitting up a storm for the Ports. The 24-year-old eventually earned his way back to Midland and got off to a good enough start his second time around with the RockHounds. But Bolt has been heading into the homestretch on a tear, posting an impressive 1.125 OPS in August. His 19 home runs are the second most in the A’s system behind Garcia. And he combines speed with power, having swiped 18 bases this season. His 122 strikeouts are a little concerning, but he’s continued to improve his power numbers. And Bolt’s 52 extra-base hits and .472 slugging percentage hold out hope that he could power his way to greater success at the next level next year.

Honorable Mention:

SS-2B Richie Martin, OF Tyler Ramirez, 1B Seth Brown

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