Now that August is upon us, it’s time to take a look at which A’s minor league hitters really turned up the heat at the minor league level in July. It should come as no surprise that a couple of Las Vegas hitters, Mark Payton and Seth Brown, led the way, but a couple of Stockton infielders, Jonah Bride and Trace Loehr, really made their mark during the month as well.
And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out a couple of our most recent A’s Farm podcasts with A’s Special Assistant Grady Fuson and A’s Assistant Director of Player Development Ed Sprague. We got Fuson’s candid insights on some of the A’s top prospects. And we talked with Sprague about some of the team’s youngest prospects currently playing in the Arizona League. On the Sprague podcast, we also talked with infielder Franklin Barreto, got A’s manager Bob Melvin’s thoughts on Barreto, and also got some updates on pitching prospects A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo from A’s GM David Forst. You can hear them both right here – A’s Cast – just look for the episodes titled “The Farm.” And, of course, you can always find daily updates on the A’s top prospects and all the daily action in the A’s minor league system on Athletics Farm.
--LAS VEGAS AVIATORS--
OF Mark Payton (82 AB/11 HR/.378 AVG/.440 OBP/.902 SLG)
1B-OF Seth Brown (93 AB/9 HR/.344 AVG/.425 OBP/.731 SLG)
Just about everyone in the Las Vegas lineup has been hitting the cover off the ball all season long in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, but Payton took things to another level in July. The 27-year-old minor league Rule-5 pickup pounded out 11 home runs in 82 at-bats while slugging .902 to lift his slugging percentage on the season to .655, good for third best in the PCL. Brown has also been bashing the ball all season, but he turned in his best month of the season in July by bashing 9 home runs while getting on base at a .425 clip. And Brown’s 29 home runs and 59 extra-base hits on the season are both bests among all A’s minor leaguers. Second baseman Corban Joseph turned in another strong month by putting up a 1.041 OPS. And catcher Sean Murphy was impressive in his return to action in July, hitting 6 home runs in his first 4 games for Las Vegas before re-injuring his knee.
OF-1B Chase Calabuig (93 AB/1 HR/.269 AVG/.349 OBP/.387 SLG)
2B Nate Mondou (102 AB/2 HR/.275 AVG/.330 OBP/.363 SLG)
The Texas League isn’t exactly known as a hitter’s league, but the RockHounds offense really under-performed in July. Calabuig was the team’s top hitter last month, notching 6 doubles, drawing 11 walks, driving in 16 runs and putting up a .349 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Mondou, who’d been struggling at the plate most of the season, turned in a productive month by batting .275 and driving in 13 runs for the RockHounds. Outfielder Dairon Blanco was having a decent month for Midland, compiling an on-base percentage of .367, before being dealt to Kansas City.
3B Jonah Bride (112 AB/4 HR/.357 AVG/.425 OBP/.563 SLG)
2B Trace Loehr (101 AB/2 HR/.327 AVG/.400 OBP/.505 SLG)
Probably the biggest surprise in the Ports’ lineup in the second half has been the performance of third baseman Jonah Bride. After batting .143 in April, last year’s 23rd-round draft pick slowly began to turn things around in May and June, but he turned in a truly impressive performance in July, collecting 13 extra-base hits while slugging .563 for Stockton. Loehr, who’d spent parts of the past three seasons in Beloit, also started out slowly this season but began heating up over the summer. His power and plate discipline both improved last month as he drew 11 walks and collected 12 extra-base hits while batting .327. And his improvement at the plate came at a good time as he earned a promotion to Las Vegas when the Triple-A team was in need of a couple of position players, and he ended up hitting a game-winning, three-run homer in his Triple-A debut last week.
OF Devin Foyle (88 AB/3 HR/.307 AVG/.392 OBP/.477 SLG)
OF Nick Osborne (58 AB/3 HR/.276 AVG/.353 OBP/.500 SLG)
After starting off slowly, last year’s 17th-round draft pick for the A’s, outfielder Devin Foyle, has been heating up over the course of his first season with the Snappers. Foyle was Beloit’s best hitter in July, boasting a .392 on-base percentage for the month. His 6 home runs on the season tie him for the team and he also boasts the best batting average and slugging percentage among all current Snappers. Osborne was obviously happy to return to Beloit from Vermont on July 10. After his return, the 22-year-old put up a slugging percentage of .500 over 16 July games for the Snappers.
--VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS--
3B Jordan Diaz (114 AB/3 HR/.246 AVG/.306 OBP/.404 SLG)
C Kyle McCann (91 AB/3 HR/.209 AVG/.308 OBP/.341 SLG)
The New York-Penn League isn’t usually known for producing a lot of offense, but the Lake Monsters lineup has been particularly unproductive this season, ranking at the bottom of the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. 18-year-old Colombian third baseman Jordan Diaz has been the brightest spot in Vermont’s lineup all season long. Though his performance dipped a bit in July, he still turned in the best numbers among Vermont batters. And on the season, he leads the league in both hits and RBIs while boasting the most extra-base hits and the best slugging percentage on the Lake Monsters squad. This year’s 4th-round draft pick for the A’s, catcher Kyle McCann, has been the second-best hitter in the light-hitting Lake Monsters lineup this season. Known primarily for his power and plate discipline in college, the 21-year-old backstop drew 13 walks and hit 3 home runs for Vermont in July.
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