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Elephant Rumblings: Checking in across the A’s minor league system

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Midland RockHounds v Amarillo Sod Poodles Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

It’s the weekend, Athletics Nation!

Well, the A’s continue to give us very few things to dig into as they quietly lost another game last night. As we head into the last week of June, the Athletics only have three wins so far this month. It’s been a hard road, but we can look forward to things to come with the future of the A’s as the minor league season reaches its halfway mark. Let’s take a tour of the minors and see how the next generations of Athletics are faring.

Single-A Stockton Ports

The Ports’ season is currently not too far off from the A’s. Their record is 25-41 with a grim -115 run differential as the Ports sit at the bottom of the California League North. The Ports do still beat the major league team with a collective .224 batting average and .686 OPS. Last year’s #1 pick for the A’s, Max Muncy, currently leads the team with 12 homers. Nearly half of Muncy’s 55 hits have been for extra bases, helping to net 44 RBI in 61 games played. Not too much stands out for Stockton pitching at first glance, though Kyle Verbitsky has 69 strikeouts in 63.1 innings pitched, and Blake Beers has a 1.13 WHIP over 39.2 innings.

High-A Lansing Lugnuts

The Lugnuts finished their first half with a 25-41 record, just like the Ports. While the record is similar, the Lansing squad has been a better hitting crew in general. Sitting in the middle of the pack for team-wide hitting stats, the Lugnuts have some trending hitters that should help their second half. 2020 first round pick Tyler Soderstrom has 11 home runs with a .743 OPS, and outfielder Lazaro Armenteros was slashing .245/.384/.510 until hitting the injured list on Friday. No pitcher who has started games for Lansing has earned more than 3 wins, and a concerning majority of those starters also have ERAs over 5.00.

Double-A Midland RockHounds

The RockHounds continue the trend of cellar dwelling but their prospects look better, sitting 30-37, they’re only 7 games back in a tight division. A good run over the next few series and the Hounds could blast past the .500 mark. Here is where we start seeing familiar faces, as current Athletic Jonah Bride’s 19 games with Midland were strong enough to keep him atop the teams leaderboard before his rapid promotions to MLB. 1B Jordan Diaz has been comfortable with a .888 OPS and 12 home runs in 60 games, and outfielder Max Schuemann is a dual threat with 18 stolen bases and a .969 OPS. Righty Jack Cushing leads the Midland rotation with a 6-1 record and a 3.19 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 59.1 innings.

Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators

The Aviators buck the trends of the rest of these teams (A’s included) sitting atop their division in the Pacific Coast League West with a 40-29 record. The team does have a humbling +9 run differential, so their 2.5 game lead over the Reno Aces must have them feeling trepidatious. The Aviators’ stats leaderboard is littered with players that have been back and forth from the Athletics. For the non-Allen, non-Bride, non-Neuse names on the list, Shea Langeliers has 13 homers and 38 walks in 60 games with a .277 average. Meanwhile, Vimael Machin has 79 hits in 61 games, garnering a .322 batting average. Concerning is the fact that no Aviators starter has an ERA below 3.90 aside from Jared Koenig who we have seen with the A’s this month.

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