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Show me Doolittle

Here’s one of the issues with blogs. I’ve put out a couple of calls to Keith Lieppman, the A’s director of player development over the past couple of weeks, hoping to discuss some of the team’s prospects. I haven’t heard back, which frankly doesn’t surprise me, because you mention the word “blog” in a message, and there’s the immediate concern of credibility. I had a decent relationship with Lieppman over the years but it’s probably been half a decade since I talked to him with any sort of regularity. I do expect to hear from him at some point.

Anyway, I’ll keep trying.  In the meantime, feed us what you’ve seen of Sean Doolittle. His stats at Triple-A Sacramento have caught my eye (and maybe because I’ve been used to watching such terrible offense at the big-league level for so long). Twenty-two hits, nine of them for extra-bases (including four home runs) and a team-high 14 RBI. Not bad. Hard to imagine Doolittle seeing the light of day with the big club this season, though, because he plays right field, and the A’s aren’t lacking for outfielders. But he’s only 22, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds and trending upward. He started last year at Stockton. Keep an eye on him.

Other news from the River Cats and the A’s other affiliates:

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

— Fading prospect Daric Barton has only 12 hits, but 10 of them have driven in runs. He’s tied with Doolittle for the team’s RBI lead.

— Ryan Webb earned his team-high fourth win in the team’s 7-4 win over Triple-A Colorado Springs in the opener of a scheduled doubleheader.

— Adrian Cardenas was 1-for-7 in his first two games after being promoted from Double-A.

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

—Danny Putnam, a former Stanford star who’s destined to be remembered (or not) as one of the A’s more all-time minor leaguers, had three more hits Sunday in a 6-5 win over San Antonio. Check out Putnam’s numbers. Again, he’s an outfielder. And he’s going to be 27 at the end of the year. If he makes it, look for it to be elsewhere.

SINGLE-A STOCKTON

— Matt Spencer has an 11-game hitting streak, one bright spot for a Ports team that fell to 6-18 by losing 5-3 to Bakersfield on Sunday. Spencer has had a nice start, and yep, he’s an outfielder.

BTW, here’s a date you might want to circle on your calendar.

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A’s minor league recap: Hot-hitting Cardenas promoted to Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

The big news Friday was the arrival of infielder Adrian Cardenas from Double-A Midland, who earned a promotion after tearing up Texas League with a .372 average and a league-leading 13 extra-base hits in 19 games. The hot-hitting Cardenas, Oakland’s No. 5 prospect according to Baseball America, will likely split time between second base and shortstop with Cliff Pennington.
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A’s minor league recap: RiverCats promote Chen, Galarraga

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Injuries to the A’s Mark Ellis and Nomar Garciaparra led to promotions to Oakland for River Cats infielder Eric Patterson and reliever Kevin Cameron. Sacramento restocked its roster by adding 25-year-old second baseman Yung-Chi Chen, the ex-Mariners prospect who was at Double-A Midland, and 27-year-old catcher Joel Galarraga, signed from the Mexican League in January, who was at extended spring training.

Sacramento was off Wednesday, but Galarraga started Thursday night and caught Vin Mazzarro, who came into the game with a 0-0 record and a 1.35 ERA. Sacramento made room behind the plate for Galarraga by sending slumping Anthony Recker (.156 batting average in 14 games) to Midland.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

Adrian Cardenas continued his torrid hitting by collecting three hits and five RBI in the RockHounds’ 16-9 win over Corpus Christi (Astros) on Wednesday. Cardenas, who moved back to playing second base to make room for Josh Horton at shortstop, is hitting .355.

Chris Carter is in a bit of a Holliday-esque home run slump, but the first baseman collected two more RBI and his 21 runs driven in are second in the Texas League. Horton, limited to DH duties because of a sore throwing shoulder, had three hits and is batting .339.

Meanwhile, a lot of attention at the game was paid to Corpus Christi catcher Koby Clemens’ dad, Roger, who was in attendance. In fact, Clemens threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Thursday night.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Three of the A’s four affiliates are in first place. Then there’s the Ports. Stockton fell to 4-16 after Wednesday’s 11-8 loss to Visalia (Diamondbacks).

More bad news came in the form of an injury to ex-Cal and Bishop O’Dowd High pitcher Tyson Ross, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Ross had a 4.40 ERA in three starts.

The Ports’ struggling offense got a boost from the promotion of David Thomas (14th round, ’08 draft) from Kane County. Thomas was hitting .360 and was tied for the Midwest League lead in homers with four.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Kane County filled the hole left by David Thomas by adding 20-year-old outfielder Jeremy Barfield (8th round, ’08) from extended spring training. Barfield’s father, Jesse, was a former major league outfielder and his brother, Josh, is currently in the Indians’ minor league system after spending most of the last three years in the majors.

Jeremy Barfield is beginning his first full season in pro ball after batting .271 with three homers and 41 RBI last summer at Short-A Vancouver.

The Cougars fell 2-1 to Lansing (Blue Jays) on Wednesday but remain in first place.

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Monday’s minor-league rundown

News from the farm:

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

One pleasant thing to report: Vin Mazzaro, the talented 21-year-old pitching prospect, has an 0.75 ERA in his past two starts. Something not-so-pleasant: Daric Barton, who is fast turning into Kelvin Moore and other memorable busts, is in a 3-for-27 (.111) slump.

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

Tommy Everidge, last year’s Texas League RBI champ, drove in two runs to give the Rockhounds a quick lead, shortstop Adrian Cardenas erased a deficit with a two-run double, and pitcher Arnold Leon struck out Mark Ori to end an uprising in the ninth in a 7-4 win against Corpus Christi.

SINGLE-A STOCKTON

The Ports (4-14) will take their first two-game winning streak of the season into a three-game series against Visalia. One interesting item: Shane Keough, son of Matt, is hitting .209 in 17 games.

SINGLE-A KANE COUNTY

The Cougars hit three more homers Monday, pushing their Midwest League-leading total to 16, as Petey Paramore (solo), Grant Desme (two-run) and David Thomas (two-run) all went deep in a 10-6 win over Beloit. Kane County rallied from 5-1 down to win their sixth straight home game and capture its fifth straight series to start the season, a team record.

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A’s minor league recap: Kane County’s Figueroa dominant in win

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

As noted Friday, the RiverCats lost 5-1 to Portland (Padres) despite a strong start by Vin Mazzaro.

Sean Gallagher makes his first start for the RiverCats Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).

MIDLAND (Double-A)

The Rockhounds got three hits from Tommy Everidge, two hits from Chris Carter (.328) and a homer from Danny Putnam in their 9-3 victory over San Antonio (Padres).

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Catcher Raul Padron now has six RBI in just three games for the Ports, but that was about the only bright spot in Stockton’s 4-2 loss to Bakersfield (Rangers) on Friday.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Lefty Pedro Figueroa was dominant in the Cougars’ 8-1 win over Burlington (Royals). The 23-year-old threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits, no walks and striking out nine.

Kane County’s offense was boosted by home runs from Jason Christian, Grant Desme and catcher Juan Nunez.

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A’s minor league recap: Gallagher starts Saturday in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

The RiverCats added Sean Gallagher Thursday when the onetime Chicago Cub pitcher was optioned to Sacramento by the A’s. Gallagher will
join the starting rotation and make his first start in Sacramento on Saturday night against Las Vegas (Blue Jays).
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A’s recall Jack Hannahan

A’s official release:

OAKLAND – The Oakland A’s recalled infielder Jack Hannahan from Triple-A Sacramento, the club announced today.

Hannahan was batting .157 with two home runs and seven RBI in 13 games with Sacramento, where he appeared in 10 games at third base and two at second base. He also batted .208 with no home runs, four RBI and a team leading 12 walks in 26 games with the A’s this spring. The 29-year old left-handed hitter started a team leading 106 games at third base for the A’s last year and was one of the top fielding third basemen in the American League. Hannahan’s .9697 fielding percentage was second best in the AL to Alex Rodriguez (.9701). However, he batted .218, which was the lowest batting average in the majors.

Hannahan takes the roster spot of Sean Gallagher, who was optioned to Sacramento yesterday.

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On the farm

Today, we’re going to start something new on this blog.  We’ll be filing periodic minor-league updates that go beyond the daily updates that the minor-league teams provide. I’ve got calls out to Keith Lieppman and Billy Owens, both of whom are in the know regarding the A’s best prospects. No return calls yet, but as soon as I get some, I’ll update.

In the meantime, through the minor-league season’s first 10 days here’s what stands out.

TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO

— Vince Mazzaro, who lasted just eight total innings in his first two starts, went six while allowing a run on Monday and lowered his ERA to 1.93. Mazzaro, as everyone probably knows, is likely to be the first one tapped if the A’s need another starter.

— James Simmons, another highly rated prospect, had his best start of the year Tuesday in a 4-2 win at Portland. His overall stats so far aren’t overly impressive, but it’s early.

Daric Barton has been awful. And now he may be out a while. He didn’t play last night after being hit by a pitch on Monday. What’s happened to this guy? Remember when he was touted as a potential Albert Pujols?

DOUBLE-A MIDLAND

— The Rockhounds have lost two straight after closing their first 10-game stretch at 7-3.

— SS Adrian Cardenas, whom the A’s acquired from Philadelphia last season in the Joe Blanton deal, was hitting .360 through Tuesday and had hit safely in all but two games. He also was tied for the Texas League lead in hits.

— Chris Carter, whose 39 home runs at Single-A Stockton last season led the A’s organization, has gone deep only once so far, but his 14 RBI were tied for the league lead. I saw this guy last year. He’s a beast.

SINGLE-A STOCKTON

— Bad start for Cal product Tyson Ross, who struggled with arm issues last seaon. Ross lost his first two starts, and his 1.67 WHIP (baserunners per inning) is a red flag. Then again, the team behind him isn’t very good. The Ports are 1-12.

LOW-A KANE COUNTY

— First baseman Steve Kleen is hitting .385 out of the gate and also has eight RBI, contributing mightily to the Cougars’ 7-3 start.

— Kleen isn’t the only one tatooing the ball. SS Dusty Coleman (.342), and outfielder David Thomas (.317) all have been key contributors to Kane County’s .275 average as a team.

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A’s minor league recap: Mazzaro shines in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates the last couple of days:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Here’s the recap from Monday’s game, when Jack Hannahan and Chris Denorfia homered in the ‘Cats win. Daric Barton, hitting .158 in 12 games, left in the second inning after getting hit by a pitch.
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A’s minor league recap: The longball finally arrives

The A’s minor leaguers hadn’t flexed their muscles much over the first week and a half of the season, with their four affiliates hitting just five home runs over a total of 30 games. The power was on Friday night, though.
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