Not so long ago, any numbers generated by somebody at Double-A Midland had to be taken with a skeptical eye. Adam Piatt, of all people, earned Minor League Player of the Year honors playing there.
The A’s top pick in last year’s draft finally is on the stat sheet at Single-A Stockton. Jemile Weeks made his debut for the Ports in Stockton’s 10-5 over Bakersfield. It wasn’t a great night for the second baseman, as he collected just one hit in six at-bats. But his lone hit did drive in two runs to give the Ports a nice start to a seven-game road trip, their longest of the season.
More encouraging news out of Stockton. Tyson Ross, the Cal product who followed Weeks on the A’s draft list last season, retired the final 11 of the final 12 he faced. His overall line needs to be better, but he continues to work on being more effecient and getting his pitch-count up. The A’s are being careful with him.
Last for Stockton: A very good night for Frank Martinez. The shortstop doubled twice and had three RBI.
— “Vin Mazzaro, white courtesy telephone. Vin Mazzaro, white courtesy telephone.” You half expect a public address announcement to go out, given how this kid is pitching lately. Mazzaro lowered his ERA to 2.38 in his third straight outstanding outing. By the way, talked with A’s assistant general manager Davd Forst this week, and Mazzaro would have to be called up right around the June 15-20 period to avoid becoming a Super2 guy and becoming eligible for arbitration an extra year earlier.
— Another promising pitching prospect did his thing in the second game of a doubleheader. Nice to see that James Simmons is gaining some consistency.
— Highlight of the night was Graham Godfrey. Dynamite stuff while fanning 11 in a 9-4 win over Northwest Arkansas. Godfrey has 28 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings during May.
— Adrian Cardenas, who recently was sent back to down from Triple-A Sacramento, continues to smoke Double-A pitching. He’ll get another opportunity in Triple-A at some point.
Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm for the A’s affiliates:
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).
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.
— 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?
— 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.
— 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.