The new minor league seasons means lots of firsts in the Oakland A’s farm system, especially new prospects making their pro debuts and younger names arriving in full-season ball for the first time. A few such players stood out on Wednesday.
Low-A Stockton (win 8-3)
The Stockton Ports had a fun day on offense, collecting 11 hits and nine walks while stealing seven bases.
Leading the charge was Lawrence Butler (6th round, 2018, out of high school), who is making his full-season debut this year. Every inning that Stockton scored, the rally began with a walk by Butler, four times in total — thrice he was the first runner, and once he was the second runner of the frame. He also stole three bags.
Among other top names in the lineup (from our Community Prospect List Top 30), outfielder Lazaro Armenteros and catcher Tyler Soderstrom each notched a pair of singles, and Armenteros stole a base and notably didn’t strike out at all. Outfielder Brayan Buelvas singled and walked, and shortstop Robert Puason walked twice and stole home.
But the most impressive performance of the day might have been on the pitching side. We haven’t talked much about Jose Dicochea, drafted out of high school in the 8th round in 2019, partly because he’d barely even pitched in the pros yet. Let’s catch up.
The right-hander’s scouting report at the time of his draft included velocity of 91-94 mph that touched 96-97, with a decent breaking ball, per Brian Sakowski of Perfect Game USA. He tossed a postseason no-hitter in high school. Check out some video of him here and here.
So how did his Low-A debut go?
- Dicochea: 2⅔ ip, 0 runs, 6 Ks, 1 BB, 2 hits
Well that’ll get your attention. He faced a dozen batters, so he struck out half of them.
The evening ended with a standout from the bullpen, as right-hander Jose Mora tossed two scoreless while striking out half of his eight batters.
High-A Lansing (lose 3-1)
The Lansing Lugnuts had a quiet day on offense, or at least eight of them did.
New prospect William Simoneit made his pro debut, after signing out of college last summer as an undrafted free agent. At 24 already he’s off to a late start, but he has power and defensive versatility, sort of a Seth Brown sleeper profile.
In the 8th inning, with the Lugnuts facing a possible shutout, Simoneit announced himself with a homer to straightaway center. He also singled earlier in the game.
On the downside, Simoneit and top prospect 3B Jordan Diaz (No. 17 CPL) both made defensive errors.
Double-A Midland (lose 9-6)
The Midland RockHounds dropped their second straight game to open the season, but they at least showed signs of life after just three hits the previous day.
Most of their scoring came in the 3rd inning, including an RBI single by infielder Logan Davidson and then a three-run double by outfielder Tyler Ramirez. In the 9th, infielder Jeremy Eierman added a solo homer, a particularly encouraging sight from a hitter who definitely has power but needs to show he can make enough contact to use it. Davidson and Eierman are part of the club’s three-headed shortstop tandem.
The pitching side was mostly a bummer, with some sleepers getting knocked around. Starter Brady Feigl (5th round, 2018) and lefty reliever Zack Erwin (Lawrie trade) each allowed three runs, and Jesús Zambrano and Aaron Brown (free agent signing) each got scored on too.
The action continues Thursday, including the season opener for Triple-A Las Vegas!