On the 4th of July the Oakland Athletics set off not one, but two sets of fireworks. The first came in the bottom of the 12th inning when Nick Punto drove a ball to left field that ultimately allowed Derek Norris to score all the way from first base for a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The second set of fireworks came around 7:50 p.m. when the Athletics traded No. 1 and No. 2 prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney with Dan Straily and a player-to-be-named later to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. This is a bold move that highlights the front office’s commitment to the major league team to win.
This season Samardzija is 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 108 innings. Don’t let the win/loss record fool you, Samardzija is coming from the Cubs who own a record of 38-46 and have a team batting average of .236.
Jason Hammel is currently 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA. He has thrown 108.2 innings and has struck out 104 batters. Both pitchers help to bolster one of the best starting rotations in the Majors.
The Chicago Cubs get 3 players who will be a big part of their future. Addison Russell is one of the top prospects in the MLB. Eventhough he has spent most of the season on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury he is on track to be Major League ready by late-2015. With the Midland RockHounds Addison is batting .333 with 3 doubles and a home run in 13 games.
Billy McKinney was the Athletics first round draft choice in the 2013 June draft. He has spent all season with the Stockton Ports where he was batting .241 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 75 games. Over his past 10 games Billy was starting to put it together as he was batting .314 with 3 doubles and a home run.
Dan Straily struggled with the Athletics early this season going 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 7 starts. Since joining the AAA Sacramento River Cats, Straily has turned his season around posting a record of 4-3 with a 4.71 ERA and striking out 67 in 63 innings pitched. Straily earned PCL Pitcher of the Week honors on May 26, 2014.
Good luck to all the players on their new teams!
On Wednesday, the All-Star rosters for the Midwest League All-Star Game were announced. Among the representatives for the Western Division are 4 Beloit Snappers. The Midwest League All-Star Game will take place on June 17th at Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan WhiteCaps.
Outfielder Boog Powell was named to the starting lineup for the Western Division. Boog is batting .350 with 2 home run, 14 RBIs and 11 stolen bases to go along with his .462 OBP. He was drafted in the 20th round of the 2012 June Draft.
Shortstop Luis Baez made the All-Star team after beginning the season with a .256 average 17 doubles and 16 RBIs. Baez was signed by the Oakland Athletics as a non-drafted free agent in April 2008.
2 Snapper pitchers made the All-Star roster. Andres Avila has been string out of the pen this season posting a 3.04 ERA while notching 7 saves and striking out 21 batters. Andres was signed by the Oakland Athletics as a non-drafted free agent in April 2010.
Kyle Finnegan is the other pitcher from the Snappers who made the team. He is 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 11 starts. On May 16th Kyle pitched a complete game shut out against the Clinton LumberKings. Kyle was drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 June Draft.
For a complete list of the Midwest League All-Stars click here: 2014 Midwest League All-Stars
Here is the list of the Top 20 Prospects of Oakland Athletics as compiled by MLB.com. To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility. Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club. Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.
1. Addison Russell
2. Michael Ynoa
3. Renato Nunez
4, Daniel Robertson
5. Matthew Olson
6. Raul Alcantara
7. Billy McKinney
8. Miles Head
9. Nolan Sanburn
10. B.J. Boyd
11. Arnold Leon
12. Drew Granier
13. Dillon Overton
14. Vicmal De La Cruz
15. Max Muncy
16. Anthony Aliotti
17. Blake Hasebrock
18. Chad Pinder
19. Dylan Covey
20. Bruce Maxwell
After the Winter Meetings and trades made by the Athletics organization this is how the Top 20 Prospect list shapes up. Off the list are #2 Prospect Michael Choice and #17 Prospect Chris Bostick who were both traded to the Texas Rangers for Chris Gentry. Back on the list is Catcher Bruce Maxwell and new to the list is Dylan Covey who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 Draft.
The Beloit Snappers were defeated on Saturday night by the Quad Cities River Bandits by the score of 3 to 1. Andres Avila (7-4, 5.01 ERA) took the loss in his 1st start in the postseason. The Snappers could only muster 1 run on 4 hits against the River Bandits. The lone Snapper run came on a home run by Ryan Mathews in the top of the 4th.
The best of 3 series continues on Sunday when the Snappers return home to Pohlman Field to face off against the River Bandits. Kyle Finnegan will start for the Snappers. Kyle was 1-1 with a 9.82 in 2 starts for the Snappers. Kyle spent most of the season with the Vermont Lake Monsters where he was 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 starts. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 6th round of the 2013 draft. Kyle will be opposed by Zach Morton (0-1, 1.45 ERA). Game time is 6:30 p.m. central.
The Vermont Lake Monsters (33-42) will wrap us the season at home facing off against the Staten Island Yankees (33-41). Ronald Herrera (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will pitch for the Lake Monsters. Herrera spent most of the 2013 season with the AZL Athletics. He was called up to the Lake Monsters after the AZL season ended. With the AZL Athletics Ronald was 6-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 games, 9 of which were starts.
Billy McKinney has been a spark plug since joining the Lake Monsters. At the plate Billy is 12 for 31 (.387 avg) with 1 home run and 6 RBI in 8 games. Billy McKinney was the #1 draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in this year’s draft.
The 2013 #1 Draft Pick of the Oakland Athletics Billy McKinney will be joining the Vermont Lake Monsters for their final 9 games of the season. Billy had been playing with the AZL Athletics where he was batting .320 with 2 home runs and 20 RBIs.
Billy just turned 19 on August 23rd and becomes the first player in Lake Monsters history to be born after Vermont’s first game in the New York-Penn League on June 14, 1994.
Billy McKinney was drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 Draft, 24th overall, by the Oakland Athletics out of Plano West High School in Texas. Billy signed with the Athletics on June 14, 2013. His 1st professional game was the AZL Athetics on June 20, 2013 where he went 3 for 6 against the AZL Giants.
Ryan Huck of the Vermont Lake Monsters went 1 for 1 and drove in 2 runs en route to being named the MVP of the 2013 New York-Penn League All Star Game. Ryan hit a sacrifice fly in the Bottom of the 6th inning to give the AL a 2-1 lead. The NL answered in the Top of the 8th with 2 runs of their own. Ryan Huck led off the bottom of the 9th with a line drive smash that cleared the left-center field wall tying the game at 3-3. The AL went on to win in the bottom of the 9th on a ground ball to 3rd base by the score of 4-3.
Ryan Huck is a first base prospect of the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Oakland Athletics short-season A-ball affiliate. Ryan was drafted by the Athletics in the 27th round of the 2013 first-year player draft out of Western Kentucky University. He is quickly making a name for himself. Ryan batted .475 in 10 games with the AZL Athletics before being added to the Vermont Lake Monsters roster. With the Lake Monsters Ryan is batting .279 with 3 home runs and 14 RBIs in 25 games.