A’s Pitching Prospects Start the Season Strong

The first full week of the MiLB season is in the books and the different leagues are handling out the first round of player and pitcher of the week accolades. The Oakland Athletics pitching prospects took home Pitcher of the Week awards in three different leagues.

Coming into the season the A’s had the 7th ranked Top Farm system by MLB Pipeline. The pitching prospects are led by A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo. However, Puk went under the knife to have Tommy John Surgery last week and Luzardo has had a very strong showing in his first two starts of the season.

Here is how the A’s prospects fared in the weekly awards (April 5th-15th):

California League, Pitcher of the Week: Parker Dunshee, Stockton Ports. Dunshee had 2 starts and only gave up 3 hits while striking out 14 batters. He won his second start at San Jose on April 12th and has yet to give up a run.

Midwest League, Pitcher of the Week: Bryce Conley, Beloit Snappers. Conley has tossed 10 scoreless and hitless innings to start the 2018 season. Conley tossed the first 6 innings of Beloit’s combined no hitter with Ty Damron and Josh Reagan finishing it off.

Pacific Coast League, Pitcher of the Week: James Naile, Nashville Sounds. Naile went 3-0 and has pitched 17 2/3 scoreless innings in 3 starts to begin the 2018 season. Naile has allowed 15 hits, only 2 walks and stuck out 15 batters.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Oakland’s pitching prospects. The Stockton Ports starting pitching combined for 39.2 IP, 21 H, 2 ER, 9 BB, 59 K in the first 8 games. Bobby Wahl, Jeremy Bliech and Lou Trivino have each pitched in 3 games out of the bullpen for Nashville and have not given up a run. Jake Sachez, currently with Midland, has not given up a run in 3.1 IP with Midland and Nashville combined.


Card of the Week: Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate

Now that I just completed a stretch of working 16 days in a row, I can get back to some semblance of routine. This week’s Card of the Week is the 2014 Topps Pro Debut Printing Plate of Bruce Maxwell. Bruce is currently the Oakland Athletics No. 28 Prospect on MLB.com. This card features Bruce’s time on the Beloit Snappers. This is the 3rd printing plate I own. The great thing about printing plates is that they are a true 1/1.

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 - Front

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 – Front

Bruce was drafted in the 2nd round of the June 2012 Draft. This past year he was with the Midland RockHounds and helped them to their 2nd straight Texas League Championship. Bruce spent part of the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Stockton Ports where I got to see him play. He was also named to the 2014 California League All-Star team.

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 - Back

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 – Back

Click to see the previous Card of the Week entries.

Post-Draft Top 20 Prospects

Now that the signing deadline for the 2014 June Draft has passed the Top 20 Prospects have been updated by MLB.com. There are many new faces on the Oakland Athletics list as well and a few that have moved up the ranks based on their performance so far this season.

New to the list are 2014 Draft Picks Matt Chapman (No. 4), Brett Graves (No. 13) and Daniel Gossett (No. 14).  Also new to the list are Ryon Healy (No. 18) and Jaycob Brugman (No. 20). Aaron Shipman (No. 19) makes a return to the list for the first time since 2012 with his breakout season under the radar in Stockton.

Notable jumps on the list are Bruce Maxwell who moves from No. 14 to No. 10. Chad Pinder makes the jump from No. 15 to No. 6. Seth Streich makes the biggest jump moving from No. 18 to No. 8 with his All-Star season with the Stockton Ports.

Off the list are B.J. Boyd, Dylan Covey, Chris Kohler, Miles Head, Arnold Leon and Dustin Driver. Boyd and Covey are having strong seasons, so they are not far off the list. Meanwhile Kohler and Head have been battling injuries and could possibly make a return to the list in the next season or so as they return to form.

1. Daniel Robertson
2. Matthew Olson
3. Renato Nunez
4. Matt Chapman
5. Dillon Overton
6. Chad Pinder
7. Raul Alcantara
8. Seth Streich
9. Max Muncy
10. Bruce Maxwell
11. Bobby Wahl
12. Nolan Sanburn
13. Brett Graves
14. Daniel Gossett
15. Tucker Healy
16. Michael Ynoa
17. Billy Burns
18. Ryon Healy
19. Aaron Shipman
20. Jaycob Brugman

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.

Top 20 Prospects – Updated July 2014

Following the blockbuster trade that sent the Oakland Athletics top 2 prospects, Addison Russell and Billy McKinney (along with Dan Straily) to the Chicago Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel the Top 20 Prospect list needed to be updated. Here is the updated list as compiled by MLB.com.

New to the list is Tucker Healy at No. 18 who is having a breakout year pitching at three levels with the Stockton Ports (High A), Midland RockHounds (AA) and currently with the Sacramento River Cats (AAA). Arnold Leon returns to the list at No. 19 as he is hiving a strong year posting a 9-2 record with a 4.47 ERA in 17 games for the River Cats.

This list will be changing over the next few months as Draft Pick from the 2014 June Draft are evaluated and other prospects have their seasons re-evalutaed.

1. Daniel Robertson
2. Raul Alcantara
3. Matthew Olson
4. Renato Nunez
5. Bobby Wahl
6. Dillon Overton
7. Billy Burns
8. Nolan Sanburn
9. Michael Ynoa
10. B.J. Boyd
11. Dylan Covey
12. Chris Kohler
13. Max Muncy
14. Bruce Maxwell
15. Chad Pinder
16. Seth Streich
17. Miles Head
18. Tucker Healy
19. Arnold Leon
20. Dustin Driver

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.

Athletics Farmhand Boog Powell Suspended for 50 Games

On Wednesday MLB announced that Oakland Athletics prospect Herschel “Boog” Powell was suspended for 50 games for violating MLB’s policy on banned substances.

Powell was recently promoted to the High A Stockton Ports after an amazing first half where he batted .335 with 7 doubles and 17 RBIs in 69 games for the Beloit Snappers. He was selected to the 2014 Midwest League All-Star game where he earned MVP honors.

In just 11 games with the Ports, Powell was tearing up the California League batting .396 and 10 RBIs. He was slated to take over the full-time center field role with the Ports after the recent blockbuster trade that sent Billy McKinney along with Addison Russell and Dan Straily to the Chicago Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

“Boog” Powell is not related to former Baltimore Oriole outfielder Boog Powell. However, the former Oriole was a favorite of the young Powell’s father.


Aaron Shipman is Flying Under the Radar for the Ports

With all of the big name prospects on the Stockton Ports this season there is one player who is quietly making a name for himself. That player is Aaron Shipman. Aaron was a 3rd round draft pick in the 2010 June Draft out of Brooks County High School in Quitman, GA.

It took Aaron a while to get going in his professional career. He spent all of the 2012 and most of the 2013 seasons in the Midwest League, but Aaron finally arrived with the Ports in 2014. The 22 year-old is putting together the kind of season the Oakland Athletics’s scouts envisioned when they drafted him. In 48 games Aaron is batting .301 with 5 doubles, 6 triples and 12 stolen bases in 14 tries. In his last 10 games Aaron is hitting .344 with 2 stolen bases and 6 runs scored.

With all of the attention focused on Oakland’s Top Prospect with the Ports this season, Aaron has been able to post solid numbers without outside pressure. After the recent trade that included Oakland’s top outfield prospect Billy McKinney, Aaron will definitely continue to see regular playing time.

Powell Comes Up Big in Cal League Debut

On Monday night it took 10 innings, but the Stockton Ports came up victorious over the Lancaster JetHawks. In the game 2 players were making their California League debut, starting pitcher Jake Sanchez and outfielder Herschel “Boog” Powell.

Jake came to the Oakland Athletics organization in the trade with the Chicago White Sox for Sacramento RiverCats outfielder Michael Taylor. He went 6 innings giving up 3 runs, 2 earned, while striking out 5.

Boog Powell was promoted to the Stockton Ports from the Beloit Snappers and he arrived in Southern California earlier in the day on Monday. On the night Boog went 3 for 5, knocking in the go ahead run in the 10th inning.

Before his promotion, Boog was batting .335 with 7 2B, 4 3B and a .452 OBP in 69 games with Beloit. He was a 2014 Midwest League All-Star and earned MVP honors in the game.

Boog Powell Earns MVP Honors at Midwest League All-Star Game

Beloit Snappers outfielder, Herschel “Boog” Powell was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 Midwest League All-Star game. The Western Division defeated the Eastern Division by a score of 7-0 in the 50th Midwest League All-Star Game.

Boog Powell led the charge as he went 1-3 with a 2-run double in the 6th inning, plating Juan Herrera (Peoria Chiefs) and C.J. McElroy (Peoria Chiefs). In addition Boog walked twice, scored 3 runs and stole 2 bases. He currently leads the Midwest League in batting with a .338 average. and On-Base Percentage at .450. It looks like it will not be long before the former 20th round pick of the Oakland Athletics during the 2012 June Draft will be making his way up to the Stockton Ports.

Other Snappers in the All-Star Game
Pitcher Kyle Finnegan made the start for the Western Division and earned the win throwing one inning and striking out one batter. Reliever Andres Avila came in the pitch in the 9th inning of the game and recorded the final out of the game.

Third baseman Luis Baez came on in the 6th inning replacing Clint Coultier (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers) as DH. Baez went 1-2 on the night.

Play Resumes
The second half of the season begins on Thursday as the Beloit Snappers return home to Pohlman Field to face the Clinton LumberKings.

Vermont Lake Monsters Set to Open 2014 Season on Friday

On Friday, June 13, 2014 the Vermont Lake Monsters will open their 4th season as an Oakland Athletics affiliate. The season opener will take place on the road against the Lowell Spinners. The home opener will take place on Monday, June 16th against the Connecticut Tigers.

The Class A Short Season team will be managed by David Newhan. David, a one-time Oakland Athletics prospect, was drafted by the Athletics in the 17th round of the 1995 June Draft. He played parts of 8 seasons from 1999-2008 with 5 different teams. David was previously the hitting coach for the Lake Elsinore Storm, the San Diego Padres Class A High Affiliate.

New to the Lake Monsters is hitting coach Tommy Everidge. Tommy was drafted by the Athletics in the 10th round of the 2004 June Draft. His Major League career was brief, lasting only 29 games in 2009 for the Athletics.

Steve Connelly takes over as the pitching coach, replacing Craig Lefferts who was moved up to coach the Beloit Snappers. Steve was drafted by the Athletics in the 24th round of the 1995 June Draft. He pitched in 3 games for the Athletics in 1998.

Showoff Sunday: From the California League to the Major League, Part 1

The past 2 Showoff Sunday posts have been about former Major League players who are now coaches in the California League. Today we take the opposite approach and look at players in the California League that have made it to the Major Leagues. This is the first of 2 parts in this series.

I have only been collecting autographs in the California League since 2011 so not may have risen through the ranks. Here are some of the big names that have.

Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics
As many of my readers know, Straily is one of my favorites. I have many fond memories of him as a Stockton Ports. Not only watching him pitch, but being able to talk to him at time before games. Here are a couple of items I had autographed during his time on the Ports.

Dan Straily Autographed Cards

Dan Straily Autographed Cards

Dan Straily Autographed California League Game Used Ball

Dan Straily Autographed California League Game Used Ball

Dan Straily Autographed Ticket Stub

Dan Straily Autographed Ticket Stub

A.J. Griffin, Oakland Athletics
Griffin joined Stockton about 6 weeks into the 2011 season from the Burlington Bees, the Athletics Class A Full season affiliate before they moved to Beloit. He did so well that season he not only was moved up to AA Midland, but he pitched one game for the AAA Sacramento RiverCats.

A.J. Griffin Autographed Card

A.J. Griffin Autographed Card

A.J. Griffin Autographed Ticket Stub

A.J. Griffin Autographed Ticket Stub

Michael Choice, Texas Rangers
It pains me to list Michael Choice as a Texas Ranger. Choice was the 2010 No. 1 Draft Pick of the Oakland Athletics. There were high hopes for Choice to be a big part of Oakland’s future. However, a glut of outfielders and specific needs forced the Athletics to shop Choice this past off season. Fortunately, Michael Choice did make his Major League debut as an Oakland Athletic.

Michael Choice Autographed Card

Michael Choice Autographed Card

Michael Choice Autographed Ticket Stub

Michael Choice Autographed Ticket Stub

Grant Green, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Green was another No. 1 Draft Pick (2009) that the Athletics sent packing last year. Green was a highly touted prospect who never really settled into a position. His hitting was unquestioned, but the huge question mark was his defense. He didn’t really have a defensive home and that is why Oakland moved him last year.

Grant Green Autographed Card

Grant Green Autographed Card

C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I was surprised to find out that C.J. Cron made his major league debut this season. I had lost tabs on him and then I suddenly saw his name pop up in my Twitter feed. I remember watching him play for the Inland Empire 66ers in 2012, he was a legitimate threat back then. I was able to get these 3 cards signed by Cron.

C.J. Cron Autographed Cards

C.J. Cron Autographed Cards