Several Oakland Athletics prospects were on the move on Monday, as the A’s continue with their traditional mid-season player movement.
The moves started at the top of the A’s minor league system, with catcher Beau Taylor and reliever Kyle Finnegan joining the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, while starter Ben Bracewell returned to Double-A Midland after making a spot start for the Sounds.
Taylor reaches Triple-A for the first time after spending significant parts of the last six seasons in Double-A. He began the year on the restricted list, but has hit well since being activated. In 68 at-bats for the RockHounds, Taylor hit .309/.385/.485 with seven extra-base hits. He was a Texas League post-season All-Star last year, when he hit .280/.383/.398.
Finnegan was scheduled to pitch in the Texas League All-Star game before the promotion changed those plans. The hard-throwing right-hander had a 3.00 ERA and a 27:7 K:BB in 30 innings for the RockHounds this season. He also converted eight-of-nine save chances. Finnegan joins Lou Trivino and Jake Sanchez as key members of the Midland bullpen promoted to Nashville.
Bracewell returns to the RockHounds’ pitching staff after allowing three unearned runs in four innings in a spot start for Nashville. It was Bracewell’s first appearance at the Triple-A level. He has a 6.30 ERA in 50 innings for Midland this season.
The RockHounds will be receiving some pitching reinforcements when they return from the All-Star break. Right-handers Dustin Hurlbutt and Casey Meisner are joining the RockHounds’ staff from High-A Stockton. Hurlbutt threw eight shutout innings for the Ports on Sunday night. Over his last three starts for Stockton, Hurlbutt allowed three runs on five hits in 21 innings. He didn’t walk a batter and he struck-out 22. Overall, Hurlbutt had a 3.23 ERA in 69.2 innings for Stockton this season. He also made one spot start for Nashville.
Meisner finally reaches Double-A after spending significant parts of the last three seasons in High-A. The right-hander, who was acquired in a trade in July 2015, has never pitched for any other A’s affiliate besides Stockton. Despite a tough April, Meisner leaves Stockton with a 3.98 ERA and an 80:20 K:BB in 74.2 innings. Over his last three starts, Meisner allowed two runs on eight hits in 21.2 innings. He was a Cal League mid-season All-Star.
Joining the Stockton Ports on Monday was second baseman Nate Mondou, who got the call from Low-A Beloit after an All-Star first half of the season. Mondou hit .296/.371/.385 with eight stolen bases and 31 walks in 66 games for the Snappers. Mondou has a five-game hitting streak and three of those five games have been multi-hit efforts. He recently started in the Midwest League All-Star game.
The Snappers added a pair of pitchers to their roster on Monday. Left-hander Ty Damron was activated off of the disabled list and right-hander Seth Martinez re-joined the Beloit staff after making one start for short-season Vermont. Between Vermont and Beloit this season, Martinez has a 2.13 ERA in 25.1 innings. Damron hasn’t pitched since the end of May. He has a 5.11 ERA and 40 strike-outs in 37 innings for the Snappers.
There were a whole host of changes to the Vermont Lake Monsters’ roster, as several members of the A’s 2017 draft class joined the short-season squad. Draft picks Kevin Merrell, Ryan Gridley, Aaron Arruda, Payton Squier, Will Toffey and Jack Meggs joined Vermont.
— The Nashville Sounds broke their four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Round Rock Express. Renato Nunez hit his 20th homer of the season and Matt McBride added his sixth of the year. Nunez is the first member of the A’s organization to reach 20 homeruns. Nunez’s career-high in homeruns is 29, which he accomplished in 2014 with the Stockton Ports. Ryan Lavarnway and Mark Canha each had two hits in the win. Paul Blackburn had another solid start, allowing two runs in 5.1 innings. He struck-out two and walked one. Jake Sanchez earned his third save with a scoreless ninth. His Triple-A ERA is now 0.69.
— A passed ball scored Luis Barrera in the top of the 12th and the Beloit Snappers held on for a 3-2 win over the Peoria Chiefs. Barrera, who hit a pinch-hit, game-winning homer on Sunday, was clutch again on Monday, scoring the winning run and collecting three hits. JaVon Shelby was the only other Snapper to reach base more than once. He had a hit and two walks. Brandon Bailey (four innings, 10 strike-outs), Seth Martinez (five innings, 8 strike-outs) and Sam Sheehan (three innings, five strike-outs) combined to hold the Chiefs to two runs on five hits and six walks in 12 innings. The Snappers’ trio struck-out 23 batters.
— Brendan Butler had a rare poor outing and the Stockton Ports fell to the San Jose Giants, 12-4, on Monday night. Butler allowed five runs on six hits in 2.2 innings. He struck-out six and walked three. The outing jumped his Stockton ERA from 2.16 to 4.19. Boomer Biegalski (three earned runs in 1.1 innings) and Joey Wagman (three runs in three innings) also struggled. Nate Mondou had a triple and two walks in his Stockton debut. He batted lead-off. Sandber Pimentel and Seth Brown each had two-hit games. One of Pimentel’s hits was a homer, his third in four games. Marcus Semien went 0-2 with an RBI in his latest rehab outing. He is 4-10 with three RBI in three rehab appearances. Semien also had a throwing error in the game.
— Several A’s draft picks made their pro debuts with the Vermont Lake Monsters on Monday, but Vermont dropped an 8-5 decision to the Tri-City ValleyCats. Kevin Merrell and Aaron Arruda each had two hits in their pro debuts. Merrell singled twice, while Arruda doubled twice and walked twice. Will Toffey had a hit and two walks in his pro debut, while Payton Squier doubled and Jack Meggs singled for their first pro hits. Ryan Gridley went 0-4 but drew a walk. 18-year-old Abdiel Mendoza allowed four runs in the first inning but recovered to throw 2.2 scoreless innings after that. Jose Mora allowed four runs in his two innings before Wandisson Charles (one-third of an inning) and John Gorman (two innings) blanked Tri-City the rest of the way. The game featured a 46 minute lightening delay.
— Former Cuban national team star Norge Ruiz made his pitching debut on US soil on Monday night for the AZL A’s in their 7-2 loss to the AZL Dodgers. The right-hander worked four innings and was charged with five runs on five hits and two walks. He struck-out four. All five runs against him came in the third inning. Austin Beck went 0-5 in his second pro game. Mickey McDonald had two hits and a walk. He is 6-9 with a walk over his first two pro games. Skyler Weber had two doubles. Josh Falk (one run allowed in one inning) and Slater Lee (one scoreless inning) made their professional pitching debuts. Fellow Cuban Miguel Romero also made his US pitching debut. He allowed one run in two innings of work.
— Up 4-0 in the sixth, the DSL A’s watched as the DSL Marlins scored seven unanswered runs en route to a 7-4 Marlins’ win. The A’s managed just five hits in the game, all singles. The A’s did steal six bases and they walked nine times. Five errors led to five unearned runs against the pitching staff. 18-year-old Angello Infante was brilliant in the start. He allowed just one hit in five scoreless innings. Infante struck-out four and walked two. He has a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings this season.
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The Oakland A's released several minor league pitchers this week.