The position player rosters for each of the A’s minor league affiliates have remained remarkably stable so far this year, with very few hitters moving around the system too much during the first quarter of the minor league season. But the same certainly hasn’t been true for the A’s minor league pitching staffs. Lots of pitching prospects have been on the move in the early going, and some high-profile moves are in the works at the moment involving Parker Dunshee, Jharel Cotton and James Kaprielian. I’ve got updates on all of those moves as well as the latest on A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo below.
But first, I wanted to be sure to share some news about our A’s Farm podcasts. If you haven’t already heard, our minor league podcasts are now a part of A’s Cast on the A’s official TuneIn channel, available both on the web and on the TuneIn app. So you can now hear our weekly podcasts focusing on the A’s farm system right where you can also find podcasts featuring Chris Townsend, Ken Korach, Vince Cotroneo, Bob Melvin, David Forst, Dave Kaval and more.
You can find our most recent podcasts featuring former Stockton manager and current Player Development Supervisor Rick Magnante and former Sacramento and Nashville manager and current minor league infield and baserunning instructor Steve Scarsone & Stockton Skipper Webster Garrison right here – A’s Cast. And next weekend’s new episode is set to include A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens, along with Stockton play-by-play man Zack Bayrouty and outfield prospect Lazaro Armenteros. Of course, you can always find our daily updates on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system on our Athletics Farm site.
But what about all those minor league pitching prospects on the move? Well, as I’m sure you all know by now, RHP Edwin Jackson was shipped to Toronto over the weekend while RHP Daniel Mengden rejoined the A’s. When Jackson originally joined the starting staff at Triple-A Las Vegas, RHP Tanner Anderson was bumped to the bullpen. But with Jackson and Mengden now gone, Anderson returned to the Triple-A rotation on Sunday. That still leaves another open spot on the Las Vegas starting staff though, and I’ve been told that Midland RHP Parker Dunshee, who compiled an ERA of 1.89 over his first six starts this season, will be taking a spot on the Las Vegas roster this week. And it’ll be exciting to finally find out what Dunshee will be capable of doing at the Triple-A level.
RHP Joel Seddon has already been reassigned to the RockHounds from Stockton to take Dunshee’s spot in Midland. Unfortunately, Grant Holmes remains on the injured list there with a sore shoulder and now hasn’t thrown a pitch in almost four weeks. And with Seddon’s departure from Stockton and first baseman Alfonso Rivas recently landing on the injured list for the Ports, there are currently only 23 active players on the Ports roster, with RHP Wyatt Marks and LHP Jared Poche both remaining on the injured list there. And with that in mind, I’ve been told that RHP James Kaprielian has left extended spring training in Arizona and is on his way to Stockton and that another familiar name, RHP Jharel Cotton, is set to join him there in Stockton this week.
Kaprielian, who’s battled numerous injuries and setbacks, hasn’t thrown in an official game in two and a half years since undergoing Tommy John surgery. And a scout from another organization who saw Kaprielian throw in Arizona this month told me that he was throwing between 88-92 mph, that he didn’t think his stuff looked all that sharp and that he still had a long way to go to regain his prior form. So it sounds like we probably shouldn’t be holding too many unrealistic expectations for Mr, Kaprielian right out of the gate. Apparently, the longest he’s been stretched out to has been three innings so, as with Daulton Jefferies, we probably shouldn’t expect to be seeing too much more out of him than that. And it seems sensible to think that Cotton, who underwent Tommy John surgery last April, will probably be limited to outings of a similar length as well. But it is good to know that both Cotton and Kaprielian will finally be getting out of Arizona and into real minor league games soon.
Like Cotton, LHP A.J. Puk has been making good progress in extended spring training as well. It’s possible that he could end up in Stockton at some point over the next month or so too, but it’s also possible that the A’s could wait and have him make a few appearances in the Arizona League once that league gets started in late June before sending him out to Stockton. LHP Jesus Luzardo has been long tossing and progressing in his throwing program and, if everything continues to go well and there are no setbacks, it looks like he might possibly be ready to join a minor league team at some point during the second half of June – fingers crossed!
Out in Beloit, RHP Joe DeMers landed on the injured list a little over a week ago, while RHP Reid Birlingmair returned from the injured list to take DeMers’ spot in the Snappers rotation. Beloit RHP Calvin Coker was reassigned to the Vermont roster, and 20-year-old Venzuelan RHP Angello Infante was sent to Beloit from extended spring training to make his Midwest League debut.
Meanwhile, a couple of position players on the A’s injured list started rehab assignments with Triple-A Las Vegas last week. Mark Canha went 1 for 8 with a double in his first two rehab games, while Nick Martini went 3 for 9 with three walks in his first three rehab appearances with the Aviators.
Visit Athletics Farm for updates on the A’s minor league teams and all the top prospects down on the farm.