On Monday, two different A’s minor league affiliates threw no-hitters. Both were combined efforts featuring multiple pitchers, one by the High-A Stockton Ports and the other by one of the two Arizona Rookie League squads.
The Ports’ gem came against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, a Dodgers affiliate. The Quakes boast the best offense in the California League in terms of scoring thanks to their leads in homers and walks, though their batting average is one of the lowest in the league.
Three Stockton pitchers combined on this one. Bryce Conley went the first six innings, working around four walks but keeping the bats silent. His walks were all scattered in different innings, and one of them was later caught stealing. Eric Marinez came in next and struck out five of the six batters he faced, and Jake Bray issued a walk in the 9th inning before wrapping things up.
For Conley, this was the second time he was a part of a no-hitter. Back in April 2018, he started a no-no for the Single-A Beloit Snappers, again throwing the first six innings just like he did on Monday. The 24-year-old was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2017, and this was just his fourth game in High-A since being promoted earlier this month.
As for Marinez, this was yet another highlight amid a fascinating season. We took a closer look at the converted infielder in June when he was in Beloit, and since then he’s moved up to Stockton and joined the A’s Top 30 prospect list on MLB Pipeline. This was only his seventh game pitching in High-A, and so far he’s struck out 14 of the 39 batters he’s faced with only three walks.
The 26-year-old Bray has spent the last couple years in Stockton, after being acquired in exchange for Jaycob Brugman. His calling card is huge strikeout rates and he’s posting another one this year (12.1 K/9), though he’s struggled with too many walks and homers.
On the other side of the plate, the catcher was none other than MLB veteran Nick Hundley, playing in Stockton on rehab from knee and back injuries.
Bray, Conley, Mariñez, Hundley: LEGENDS! pic.twitter.com/2aL3teXHbB— Stockton Ports (@stocktonports) July 23, 2019
According to MILB’s site, this was the Ports’ first no-hitter since 1990, when they were an affiliate of the Brewers. However, that one was only a seven-inning game.
A couple hours before the Ports sealed their gem, one of the A’s Rookie League teams beat them to it. Oakland is fielding two teams in Arizona this season, one called Green and the other Gold, and here we’re talking about the latter.
Perhaps the best part of this no-hitter is that it came against the Giants affiliate, or at least one of them as they also have two squads in the AZL. Like with the High-A Quakes, the Giants Orange team is near the top of the league in scoring but only around the middle in batting average.
Once again, three pitchers combined for this achievement. Gerald Garcia went the first four innings, allowing just one walk which was later caught stealing. Zach Rafuse went the next three, and Jack Weisenburger finished it off by striking out four of the final six batters. The only other baserunner came in the 7th on a throwing error by shortstop Elvis Peralta, and the runner eventually stole his way to third base before being stranded.
All three of these right-handers are relatively new to the A’s farm. Garcia is a 17-year-old out of Nicaragua, playing in his first season in the system, and just his seventh game in the AZL. The other two were drafted out of college this summer, with Rafuse in the 35th round and Weisenburger in the 20th. This was just the second pro game for Weisenburger, and the seventh for Rafuse.
Like in the Stockton no-no, though, there was a big name behind the plate. Top prospect Sean Murphy caught the game, while he spends some time in the AZL rehabbing his knee (torn meniscus).
Congrats to all involved on these two no-hitters! They don’t put anyone on the prospect radar who wasn’t already there, but they’re still neat achievements that are worth taking a moment to appreciate.
Past minor league no-hitters: