MLB Pitcher Tommy Hanson Passes Away

On Monday, November 9, 2015 Major League pitcher, Tommy Hanson passed away. He was 29. On Sunday Tommy was rushed to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. He passed away from catastrophic organ failure. The exact reason that led to the failure is unknown at this time.

Tommy pitched for 5 years in the majors. From 2009-12 with the Atlanta Braves and with the LA Angels of Anaheim in 2013. In 121 starts he posted a 49-35 record with a 3.80 ERA.

After being granted free agency by the Angels, Tommy tried to latch on with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox in 2014, but did not make either club. In May 2015 Tommy signed with the San Francisco Giants. In 15 starts with the San Jose Giants and the Sacramento River Cats, Tommy went 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA.

I was fortunate enough to see Tommy pitch for the San Jose Giants in Stockton back on June 30, 2015. That night he pitched well, striking out 5 in 5 innings. The only blemish was giving up a solo home run to Branden Cogswell.

After he was done pitching Tommy was nice enough to stop on the ramp leading to the clubhouse and sign some autographs for a couple fans. That night he signed the 2 cards I brought with me. Thank you Tommy.

2011 and 2014 Topps cards autographed by Tommy Hanson

2011 and 2014 Topps cards autographed by Tommy Hanson

 

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Autographs from Nashville’s West Coast Road Trip

From May 21 through May 28th the Nashville Sounds went on a West Coast road trip that took them through Fresno and Sacramento.  Being in Stockton I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the Oakland Athletics AAA club play. My family and I went to 2 games: Sunday, May 24th in Fresno and Tuesday, May 26th in Sacramento. Between the 2 games I took 60 cards of current players (at the time) on the Nashville Sounds roster. In total I was able to get 30 cards, 4 8×10 photos and 1 MLB Baseball autographed. This was a huge success!

Anthony Aliotti was one of the best signers he signed for me a total of 9 cards, 6 on May 24th and 3 on May 26th. Of these cards only 2 were duplicates.

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015 (1 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015 (1 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015 (2 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015 (2 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015 (3 of 3)

Anthony Aliotti Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015 (3 of 3)

Joe Wendle the Athletics #13 Top Prospect signed 3 cards for me (May 24th) including a 2014 Bowman Chrome Black Refractor.

Joe Wendle Autographed Cards - May 24, 2015

Joe Wendle Autographed Cards – May 24, 2015

Ryan Roberts, an MLB journeyman, signed 4 cards for me on May 26th.

Ryan Roberts Autographed Cards - May 26, 2015

Ryan Roberts Autographed Cards – May 26, 2015

The very tall Nate Freiman was on the disabled list during this road trip, but still traveled with the team. Nate signed 3 cards on May 26th. Kent Matthes, former Colorado Rockies farmhand, stopped to sign 1 card for me on May 24th.

Nate Freiman and Kent Matthes Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015

Nate Freiman and Kent Matthes Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015

Catcher, Bryan Anderson, signed a total of 6 cards for me. 3 of them on May 24th and 3 on May 26th.

Bryan Anderson Autographed Cards - May 24 & 26, 2015

Bryan Anderson Autographed Cards – May 24 & 26, 2015

Reliever Ryan Cook was nice enough to autograph 2 cards for me. Former Cleveland Indians pitcher and current Sounds pitching coach Don Schulze signed 2 cards as well.

Ryan Cook and Don Schulze Autographed Cards - May 24, 2015

Ryan Cook and Don Schulze Autographed Cards – May 24, 2015

In a previous post I talked about rehab autographs. May 24th I was able to get Ben Zobrist, who was on rehab or the Athletics to sign a MLB Baseball.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

All in all the 2 games I attended were a lot of fun. I did get to see switch pitcher Pat Venditte pitch against the Fresno Grizzlies, one of the better highlights for me. I did get Venditte to autograph 2 8×10 photos for me and 1 for a friend. I also got reliever Seth Frankoff’s auto on an 8×10. Both of these player’s autos were acquired on May 24th. I will post photos of these 8x10s at a later date.

Hopefully it will not be too long before Nashville comes back around.

Rehab appearances and autographs

The relocation of the Oakland Athletics’s AAA club to Nashville has been a blessing for the Stockton Ports fans. As of June 5th there have been 7 players to make rehab appearances with the Stockton Ports.

The first came on opening night, Josh Reddick rehabbed with the Ports as they opened the season in San Bernadino against the Inland Empire 66ers. Jarrod Parker soon joined the Ports for a couple of rehab starts. This was during a road trip that took them through Visalia and Bakersfield to face the Rawhide and the Blaze. Unfortunately both Reddick’s and Parker’s rehab assignments were on the road.

Coco Crisp was the first home rehab assignment for the Stockton Ports. On May 3rd and 4th Crisp played for the Ports. On Sunday, May 3rd I was able to get a MLB ball and 2 cards signed by Crisp. On Monday, May 4th I was able to get one more card signed a 2015 Topps cards (not pictured).

Coco Crisp autographed ball and cards from rehab appearance with the Stockton Ports on May 3, 2015

Coco Crisp autographed ball and cards from rehab appearance with the Stockton Ports on May 3, 2015

On May 14th and 17th Oakland Athletics’s closer Sean Doolittle made his rehab appearances with the Ports. These were home games, May 14th was a Thursday day game so I couldn’t go due to work. On Sunday, May 17th, I got to see Doolittle pitch, but I was unable to get his autograph because he did not come out to the bullpen until the 3rd inning.

A couple of days later on a road trip to Visalia second baseman Ben Zobrist joined the Ports for a couple of rehab games. On May 23rd Zobrist joined the Nashville Sounds, who happened to be on a West Coast road trip, for a couple for rehab games. I went to the game in Fresno against the Grizzlies and was able to get Zobrist to sign a ball for me.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Sunday, May 31st saw the 6th different Athletic to make a rehab appearance with the Ports. Pitcher Drew Pomeranz threw 2 scoreless innings that day. Most recently former Stockton Port and current Oakland Athletic starting pitcher A.J. Griffin made his first rehab appearance coming off of Tommy John Surgery. He threw 3 innings on June 2nd against the Lake Elsinore Storm and before the game Griffin was nice enough to sign a ball for me.

A.J. Griffin autographed baseball from rehab appearance with the Stockton Ports on June 2, 2015

A.J. Griffin autographed baseball from rehab appearance with the Stockton Ports on June 2, 2015

In addition to all of the prospects that Ports fans get to see on a regular basis, we have been treated to quite a few Oakland Athletics rehab assignments this season. I want to thank the Sacramento River Cats for not wanting to be an Athletics affiliate anymore. Without their desire to switch Ports fans may not get to see as many rehab assignments.

 

Goodbye Sacramento, Hello Nashville!

The Oakland Athletics have announced that they have reached an agreement on a 4-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League. This is the first AAA affiliate change for the Oakland Athletics since minor league baseball moved back to Sacramento in 2000.

The Nashville Sounds will be moving into their new ballpark, First Tennessee Park in the 2015 season and the Athletics farm hands will be the first to experience the new facility.

This change has come as no surprise as it was reported back in May the the River Cats could seek a new affiliate at the end of the 2014 season. Here is a link to our original story: River Cats. The Athletics leave behind an amazing legacy in Sacramento, one that will be difficult to duplicate. 11 division titles, including a stretch from 2007-12, 4 League titles and 2 Class titles (2007, 2008).

Now the Athletics will begin a new era of AAA baseball in Nashville where they will create a new legacy.

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.

Player Profile: Seth Frankoff

Seth Frankoff, relief pitcher
Sacramento River Cats

2014 Stats (through 7/15)
2-2, 4.31 ERA, 15 saves, 31 games, 39.2 IP, 50 strikeouts

Seth Frankoff was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 27th round of the 2010 June Draft. Since that time he has been making a slow, but steady climb through the Athletics’s farm system.

Seth began the 2014 season with the Midland RockHounds (AA). A couple of weeks into the season he established himself as the closer of the staff. Seth notched 15 saves in 27 games en route to a Texas League All-Star selection. In his All-Star appearance Seth pitched a scoreless 8th innings striking out one batter.

His success in the closer’s role during the first half of the season for the RockHounds, earned Seth a promotion to the Sacramento River Cats (AAA).

Since his promotion he has pitched in 4 games for the River Cats. He has struggled posting a 15.00 ERA in 6 innings. However if history is any indication, we will see Seth’s ERA drop over his next few outings.

During the 2014 Spring Training, Seth made one appearance with the Oakland Athletics. That came on March 6th where Seth pitched 1 inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He gave up 1 hit, struck out 1 batter and earned the win.

After the 2013 season, Seth was selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for the Mesa Solar Sox. In 12 games he posted a 1.42 ERA with 3 walks and 15 strikeouts.

2013 was a breakout season for Seth as he spent the entire year with the Stockton Ports (A Advanced). In 48 games he posted a 2.78 ERA with a record of 2-0 in 48 games. In 74.1 innings for the Ports, Seth struck out a career high 93 batters.

In 2012 Seth pitched the entire season with the Burlington Bees. This was where he made the conversion from being a starting pitcher to a relief pitcher. It was in this transition where Seth really found his place on the pitching staff. That season Seth started in 9 games and was 1-3 with a 9.17 ERA. After the transition he pitched in 27 games posting a 4-4 record. What was significant was that his ERA for the rest of the season was 2.51, giving him a 4.83 ERA on the season.

Seth’s first full season in profession baseball was 2011. He started the season with the Burlington Bees (A Full Season). He pitched in 5 games tallied a record of 0-1 with a 11.25 ERA. He came back in June with the Vermont Lake Monsters (A Short-Season). In 14 starts he was 6-3 with a 2.34 ERA and struck out 63 in 73 innings. Seth pitched 2 complete games that season both against the Connecticut Tigers. One was on June 23rd where he gave up only 1 run notching his first victory of the season. The other was a shutout that came on August 26th.

Seth earned the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week honors for 2 consecutive weeks on August 29 and September 6, 2011.

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 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!

Zach Neal Named California League Pitcher of the Week

On Monday, May 26, 2014 new Stockton Ports starting pitcher Zach Neal was named California League Pitcher of the Week for May 19-25. This is Zach’s first award of this type at any level. Prior to his stint with the Ports, this year Zach has pitched with AA Midland RockHounds and AAA Sacramento River Cats. He was recently sent from AAA Sacramento to A Advanced Stockton so that he could stay on rotation and make some quality starts. During the week Zach pitched in 1 game against the San Jose Giants. He threw 8.2 innings of shutout, 3 hit ball while striking out 11 batters and giving up no walks.

Side note:
Zach continued his dominant ways as he pitched on Tuesday (May 27th) in Stockton against the same San Jose Giants. He threw seven innings giving up only 1 run allowing 5 hits. He stuck out 8 batters and still did not walk any along the way. The Ports eventually lost in 10 innings 2-1.

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
2014
May 19-25: Pacific Coast League

2012
July 9-15: Pacific Coast League
June 4-10: Texas League
May 14-20: Texas League

2011
April 18-24: California League

2009
August 24-30: Northwest League