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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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A’s minor league recap: Stockton falls to 0-8

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

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Cliff Pennington’s hustle allowed the RiverCats to escape with a 7-6 10-inning win over Portland (Padres). The shortstop beat out a potential inning-ending double play grounder that allowed the winning run to score. Pennington’s scrappiness also showed earlier in the game as he drew three walks and scored twice. He has a .414 on-base percentage through eight games.
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A’s minor league recap: Oakland’s system rated No. 1

More praise rained down on the A’s organization Wednesday when The Hardball Times rated Oakland’s farm system as the most valuable in all of baseball. THT’s Victor Wang developed a formula for assessing value to each team’s minor league system and, after crunching the numbers, the A’s overall depth won out.

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A’s minor league recap: Cunningham injures shoulder

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

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

The bad news from Sacramento isn’t that the River Cats dropped three of four to Tacoma (Mariners) following Sunday’s 6-3 defeat, it was the loss of outfielder Aaron Cunningham, who is out with a separated right shoulder.

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A’s minor league recap (Friday’s games)

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

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

Right-hander Ryan Webb (4th round, ’04) had a decent Triple-A debut, picking up the win in the River Cats’ 5-4 victory over Tacoma (Mariners). Webb’s line: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K’s. Jeff Gray, who pitched in five games for Oakland after a September call-up, got the save.

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A’s minor league recap for Opening Night

Other than Vin Mazzaro’s dazzling performance, there wasn’t a lot of positive news coming out of Opening Night for the A’s minor league affiliates.

All four A’s farm teams that played on Thursday night lost, including Triple-A Sacramento, which wasted Mazzaro’s eye-opening start.

Here’s a brief look at how the A’s minor leaguers fared:

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Here’s where the A’s top prospects will begin the season

Here’s a quick look at which affiliates the A’s top prospects have been assigned to for the start of the minor league season, which begins Thursday night for most:

SACRAMENTO (TRIPLE-A)

Aaron Cunningham, OF
Gio Gonzalez, LHP
Daric Barton, 1B
Sean Doolittle, 1B/OF
Vin Mazzaro, RHP
James Simmons, RHP
Henry Rodriguez, RHP
Jared Lansford, RHP
Cliff Pennington, SS
Anthony Recker, C
Gregorio Petit, SS

MIDLAND (Double-A)

Adrian Cardenas, SS
Chris Carter, 1B
Corey Brown, OF
John Donaldson, C
Sam Demel, RHP
Javier Herrera OF
Arnold Leon, RHP
Josh Horton, SS
Corey Wimberly 2B
Danny Putnam, OF

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Tyson Ross, RHP
Craig Italiano, RHP
Daniel Thomas, RHP
Matt Spencer, OF

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Brett Hunter, RHP
Jason Christian, SS
Petey Paramore, C
Dusty Coleman, SS
Pedro Figueroa, LHP

Extended spring training (many will head to Vancouver for short-season rookie league)

Jemile Weeks, 2B
Andrew Carignan, RHP
Rashun Dixon, OF
Michael Ynoa, RHP
Fautino De Los Santos, RHP
Jeremy Barfield, OF
Nino Leyja, SS
Matt Sulentic, OF

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No Holliday for A’s tonight

Not a ton to report from tonight’s pre-game happenings at Angel Stadium. The major news: Matt Holliday is not playing because he’s sick. So Travis Buck is starting in left field and Jack Cust is back in right field. Jason Giambi is once again DH, with Nomar Garciaparra getting another start at first and batting cleanup in Holliday’s place.

Holliday was not at the ballpark as of about 5:45 tonight, but Geren was hopeful he might be able to play tomorrow after getting some rest.

–Thought I’d include both teams’ lineups tonight. For the A’s:

Sweeney CF; Cabrera SS; Giambi DH; Garciaparra 1B; Chavez 3B; Cust RF; Suzuki C; Buck LF; Ellis 2B; Cahill P

For the Angels: Figgins 3B; Kendrick 2B; Abreu RF; Guerrero DH; Hunter CF; Morales 1B; Rivera LF; Mathis C; Aybar SS; Moseley P

–I noticed the rosters have been posted for most of the A’s minor league teams, so check them out.

Click here for Triple-A Sacramento, here for Double-A Midland, here for high Single-A Stockton and here for low Single-A Kane County.

A couple of things that caught my eye: The starting infield you’re likely to see on any given night in Sacramento could have been an A’s starting infield last season (Daric Barton, Cliff Pennington, Gregorio Petit and Jack Hannahan among that bunch). Midland’s infield includes a couple of top-tier prospects in first baseman Chris Carter and middle infielder Adrian Cardenas. …

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Young A’s infielders get look

Not that there’s any positives for the A’s in having Eric Chavez and Mark Ellis hurt, but with two infield starters out, it’s giving the young guys some playing time. Today’s lineup has Adrian Cardenas starting at second and Cliff Pennington at short (not to mention Sean Doolittle at first base). Cardenas, a middle infielder who came over from Philadelphia in the Joe Blanton trade, is a guy I was curious to see coming into the spring. The A’s are big on him as a hitter. He played primarily second base with the Phillies, but the A’s had him play shortstop in the Arizona Fall League. I would assume he’ll get time at both positions in exhibitions. Bob Geren said a scout described Cardenas as an Ellis-type: Not flashy but he’ll make all the plays he’s supposed to.

I’ve written a bit about Corey Wimberly, the speedy second baseman obtained from Colorado for Matt Murton. Wimberly got a look at shortstop yesterday. He made a nice play, diving to stop a ball up the middle, and throwing behind a runner at third to nail him. With his speed, Wimberly seems like a natural leadoff candidate. But he’s 25 and hasn’t advanced past Double-A, so he’s not what you’d call a young prospect.

When it comes to the A’s infield, I get the feeling a lot of you are wondering if there’s a stud shortstop coming up. One thing I can say: If the A’s don’t sign Orlando Cabrera, there’s no one in the system that’s going to unseat Bobby Crosby this season.

Today’s lineup against Cleveland:

Buck RF
Sweeney CF
Holliday LF
Chavez DH
Powell C
Hannahan 3B
Pennington SS
Doolittle 1B
Cardenas 2B

Braden P