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Minor League Awards

OaklandClubhouse’s Oakland A’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month: June

Who were the top pitchers in the Oakland A’s system for the month of June?

Dalton Sawyer / Photo by Bill Seals
Dalton Sawyer continues to impress. / Photo by Bill Seals

OaklandClubhouse Pitcher of the Month: June

Dalton Sawyer, LHP, Beloit Snappers/Stockton Ports/Nashville Sounds

28.2 IP, 2.83 ERA, 24 H, 9 ER, 10 BB, 29 K, 1 HBP, 3 HRA

Sawyer was a nomad in June, beginning the month with Beloit, stopping in Nashville for a spot start and then joining the High-A Stockton Ports’ rotation. Through his travels, Sawyer was remarkably consistent. He allowed more than two runs in a start exactly once, and that was in a solid Triple-A debut where he allowed three runs over six innings against a tough Memphis Redbirds’ line-up. With Stockton, Sawyer allowed one hit in five innings in his first start and struck-out 10 in six innings in his most recent outing. He is currently on the Nashville roster in case the ever-changing Sounds’ rotation needs another spot start this week.

Sawyer, a ninth-round pick of the A’s last year out of Minnesota, was a senior sign, so he was old for his level with Beloit. However, he has shown he can compete at higher levels with his brief stints with Stockton and Nashville thus far. The left-hander is a three-pitch pitcher with a fastball that can touch 94 and sits comfortably in the 90-92 MPH range. He also features a slider and a change-up. Sawyer’s fastball command is excellent and he utilizes a slightly lowered arm slot to create deception. Sawyer has held his own against right-handed hitters this season, but he has dominated lefties. He will continue to develop as a starter, but with his dominance versus left-handers and a collegiate resume that includes time in the bullpen, Sawyer could emerge as a potential lefty bullpen weapon in the big leagues down-the-road.

Runner’s Up

Matthew Milburn, RHP, Beloit Snappers: 29 IP, 3.10 ERA, 0.828 WHIP, 39:6 K:BB: Milburn doesn’t receive a lot of press, but he is quietly putting up impressive strike-out numbers for Low-A Beloit. The A’s 29th-round pick last season already has 85 strike-outs in 79.2 innings for the Snappers this season. He gave up a lot of runs early in the season, but Milburn was very effective in June. He struck-out at least six batters in every outing and he allowed three runs or less in all but one start. Milburn had a 12-K, three-hit seven inning performance on June 23. The right-hander could be next-in-line for a promotion to Stockton.

Casey Meisner, RHP, Stockton Ports/ Midland RockHounds: 30.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 20 H, 10 ER, 3 HR, 32:9 K:BB: After nearly two full years with Stockton and more than two years at the A-ball level, Meisner finally received a promotion to Double-A at the end of June. He made his Texas League debut on June 30. Although his linescore in the game wasn’t pretty (four runs allowed in 4.1 innings), he pitched better than those numbers would indicate. Meisner was fabulous for Stockton in June, posting a 2.05 ERA and striking out 27 in 26.1 innings for the Ports. He was named a Cal League mid-season All-Star.

Dustin Hurlbutt, RHP, Stockton Ports/ Nashville Sounds: 30 IP, 3.00 ERA, 19 H, 10 ER, 3 HR, 1 HBP, 31:2 K:BB: Hurlbutt also made the jump from High-A to Double-A at the end of June (he made his Midland debut on July 1). In addition, he made a spot start with Nashville in June. Hurlbutt struggled in that start for the Sounds, which sullied his overall numbers for the month. He was spectacular with Stockton in June, posting a 1.67 ERA and a 28:0 K:BB in 27 innings. Hurlbutt allowed just 12 hits over those 27 frames.

Paul Blackburn, RHP, Nashville Sounds: 26 IP, 1.73 ERA, 15:11 K:BB, 1.15 WHIP: Blackburn’s June could hardly have gone better, and it culminated with the news that he was receiving his first call-up to the big leagues. Blackburn impressed in his July 1 MLB debut, allowing just an unearned run in six innings. With Nashville, Blackburn was steady Eddie in June, allowing two runs or less in each of his five outings. Blackburn will receive at least one more start with the A’s. If he continues to pitch like he did in his debut, he won’t be eligible for any more of these lists this season.

Zack Erwin, LHP, Beloit Snappers: 29.1 IP, 3.07 ERA, 26:8 K:BB, 1.237 WHIP: Erwin struggled last season while pitching through shoulder soreness that eventually required off-season surgery. Now healthy, he is looking more like the pitcher the A’s thought they were receiving in the Brett Lawrie deal with the White Sox. Erwin began his season in Extended Spring Training completing his rehab. He made his regular season debut on May 28 and has been increasing his pitch count in every outing. In June, Erwin held hitters to a .246 average and he posted a 1.22 GO/AO. He is holding left-handed hitters to a .158 average this season.

Also Considered

Heath Fillmyer, RHP, Midland RockHounds: 33 IP, 3.27 ERA, 28:16 K:BB; Grant Holmes, RHP, Midland RockHounds: 30 IP, 3.60 ERA, 28:6 K:BB; Angel Duno, RHP, Stockton Ports: 28.1 IP, 3.49 ERA, 29:2 K:BB; Brandon Bailey, RHP, Beloit Snappers: 22 IP, 3.27 ERA, 16 H, 31:16 K:BB; Seth Martinez, RHP, Beloit Snappers/Vermont Lake Monsters: 22 IP, 2.45 ERA, 25 H, 6 ER, 20:3 K:BB; Xavier Altamarino, RHP, Beloit Snappers: 24.2 IP, 1.46 ERA, 22:7 K:BB.

OaklandClubhouse’s Oakland A’s Minor League Player of the Month: June

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