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

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.


Athletics Top 20 Prospects to be Updated soon

In the wake of the blockbuster trade sending Addison Russel, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily to the Chicago Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel there will be a new Top 20 Prospects list on As soon as this list is posted, I will publish it here. There are may changes forthcoming on the list as Addison and Billy were the Nos. 1 & 2 (respectively) Prospects in the Athletics organization.

Athletics Acquire Samardzija and Hammel from Cubs

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!

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

Dan Straily named PCL Pitcher of the Week

On Monday, May 26, 2014, Dan Straily was named the Pitcher of the Week of the Pacific Coast League for the week of May 19-25. During the week Straily won both of his starts allowing only one run in 14 innings pitched. In his first start against the El Paso Chihuahuas Straily struck out 8 batters. His next start was against the Las Vegas 51s where he struck out 7 and only allowed 3 hits.

After being optioned by the Oakland Athletics on May 16th, Straily has made 3 starts for the River Cats. He is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA and 20 strikeouts.

This is Dan Straily’s second PCL Pitcher of the Week award of his career. His first was in 2012 for the week of July 9-15. Straily has now earned pitcher of the week honors in the minors a total of 6 times.

Dan Straily’s Pitcher of the Week Honors
May 19-25: Pacific Coast League

July 9-15: Pacific Coast League
June 4-10: Texas League
May 14-20: Texas League

April 18-24: California League

August 24-30: Northwest League

Dan Straily Optioned to Sacramento

On Friday the Oakland Athletics announced that Dan Straily was optioned to the Sacramento River Cats. While the move comes as somewhat of a surprise, this is a temporary, but necessary move. Straily’s velocity is down a few MPH and his command is not where it should be. This season he started of strong in his first 2 starts, but Dan has struggled in his last 5 starts. Drew Pomeranz will take Straily’s place in the rotation.

His time in Sacramento will allow him to work on his velocity and command in lower pressure situations. The Athletics still consider Dan an important part of the rotation. He just needs a little time to work out some issues. Dan’s first start in Sacramento is projected to be on Monday, May 12th.

Spring Training Prospect Update 03/19/2014

So I’m a couple of days late for this update, but that’s okay. In Spring Training the Oakland Athletics are 10-8-5 heading into play today. Dan Straily will take the mound as the Athletics take on Danny Salazar and the Cleveland Indians at 1:05 at Goodyear Ballpark, the Indians’s Spring Training home. Here is how the Athletics prospects are progressing this Spring.

Position Players
Anthony Aliotti, 1st base: 0-3 in 3 games
Billy Burns, outfield: 14-52, 10 runs scored, 8 stolen bases in 18 games
Chris Giminez, catcher: 4-23, 3 walks in 19 games
Jose Martinez, 2nd base: 6-25, 3 RBI, 3 runs scored in 16 games
*Bruce Maxwell, catcher: 1-4, 1 2B in 4 games
Billy McKinney, outfield: 4-10, 1 2B, 2 RBI in 9 games
Luke Montz, catcher: 7-24, 2 HR, 5 RBI in 13 games
*Max Muncy, 1st base: 1-1, 1 run scored, 1 RBI in 1 game
Ryan Ortiz: 1-2 in 2 games
Shane Peterson, outfield/1st base: 2-12, 4 walks, 1 RBI in 10 games
Daniel Robertson, shortstop: 4-17, 1 RBI in 13 games
*Addison Russell, shortstop: 7-25, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1 stolen base in 12 games
Michael Taylor, outfield: 14-48, 3 5B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs in 20 games

*Raul Alcantara: 4 IP, 2 SO
*Ryan Dull: 67.50 ERA, 5 ER, 0.2 IP, 1 SO
*Seth Frankoff: 1 IP, 1 SO
Arnold Leon: 2.79 ERA, 9.2 IP, 7 SO
Zach Neal: 1 W, 3.2 IP, 6 SO
Drew Pomeranz: 0-1, 4.26 ERA, 6.1 IP, 11 SO
Paul Smyth: 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1 SO
*Jeff Urlaub: 1 W, 1.1 IP
*Michael Ynoa: 3 IP,9.00 ERA, 3 SO

*Reassigned to Minor League Camp.

Spring Training TTMs

Today I mailed my second batch of Spring Training TTMs. This batch consisted of 10 envelopes. Most are to current Oakland Athletics.  Two were sent to former Athletics who are current MLB coaches in other organizations. One was sent to a non-Athletics player. Here are the Spring Training TTMs I have sent out.

Batch #1 – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Ryan Cook
Sean Doolittle
Tommy Milone
Derek Norris
Jarrod Parker
Eric Sogard

Batch #2 – February 28, 2014
Jesse Chavez
Josh Donaldson
A. J. Griffin
Jed Lowrie
Josh Reddick
Evan Scribner
Dan Straily
Don Baylor, hitting coach for LA Angels of Anaheim
Steve Henderson, hitting coach for Philadelphia Phillies
Hector Santiago, pitcher for LA Angels of Anaheim

I will be posting updates as I receive these cards back. I am considering a third batch of Spring Training TTMs. Not sure for who, but will likely be mostly non-Athletics since I have already sent to most on the Athletics who are confirmed signers. If you have any suggestions please post them in a comment!

Dan Straily Rainbow Project: 2014 Topps – Purple

The last variation I have purchased lately of the 2014 Topps #58 Dan Straily is the Purple variation. This variation is exclusive to packs sold at Toys ‘R’ Us. These are along the same lines as the Red parallel found only at Target and the Blue parallel sold at WalMart.

2014 Topps Dan Straily #58 Purple Parallel

2014 Topps Dan Straily #58 Purple Parallel

I now have 5 of the 12 variations of the 2014 Topps #58 Dan Straily. The 12 variations exclude 1/1 parallels like printing plates and the platinum. To date I have yet to get the base card of Dan Straily.