Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Oakland Athletics

news

Athletics Pipeline

Puk, Luzardo among top 10 LHP prospects

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- As part of a renewed effort to restock their farm system, the A's have reeled in several hotshot prospects through a series of trades in recent years, albeit at the cost of a few fan favorites.

One such deal unfolded last July, when the A's shipped veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals in a trade that brought them three players: right-hander Blake Treinen, infielder Sheldon Neuse, and headliner Jesus Luzardo.

OAKLAND -- As part of a renewed effort to restock their farm system, the A's have reeled in several hotshot prospects through a series of trades in recent years, albeit at the cost of a few fan favorites.

One such deal unfolded last July, when the A's shipped veteran relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the Nationals in a trade that brought them three players: right-hander Blake Treinen, infielder Sheldon Neuse, and headliner Jesus Luzardo.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

Luzardo, just 20 years old, has been selected, along with A's 2016 first-round Draft pick A.J. Puk, as one of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects by MLB Pipeline. Puk is ranked second, only behind San Diego's MacKenzie Gore, while Luzardo came in at No. 8.

Though Luzardo has yet to even pitch at the Class A level, he brings an exciting level of potential to an A's organization that's suddenly brimming with young talent. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2016, Luzardo made his professional debut last June and managed 48 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings while posting a tidy 1.66 ERA.

All the while, Puk was impressing enough on the Class A Advanced Stockton stage to warrant a promotion to Double-A, where he compiled a 4.78 ERA in 13 starts.

Luzardo is expected to jump a level this year, as he continues his chase to the big league stage. Should he make it, he would be the first MLB player born in Peru. The pitcher was raised in Florida, considered first-round talent as a high schooler until an elbow injury dropped his stock. Washington selected him in the third round in 2016.

Puk went sixth overall in the same Draft class, marking the A's highest pick since they took another lefty, Mark Mulder, with their second selection in 1998. Puk, who will be back in big league camp this year, split the 2017 season between Class-A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland in 2017, combining to go 6-10 with a 4.03 ERA.

Puk averaged more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings and yielded just three home runs in 125 innings of work. He was the A's lone representative at the All-Star Futures Game in Miami.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

 

Oakland Athletics

Prospect Puk pleased with 2017 progress

Lefty offers evaluation while representing A's at Rookie Career Development Program
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Lefty A.J. Puk didn't disappoint in his first full professional season, and the pitcher's development on and off the mound continued into the offseason, as he represented Oakland at Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program this month.

Puk was one of 20 prospects from MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list to participate in the annual event, which includes seminars designed to help future big league players with off-field issues such as media training and finances. Three other A's prospects were also in attendance: Jorge Mateo, Lou Trivino and Kyle Finnegan.

OAKLAND -- Lefty A.J. Puk didn't disappoint in his first full professional season, and the pitcher's development on and off the mound continued into the offseason, as he represented Oakland at Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program this month.

Puk was one of 20 prospects from MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list to participate in the annual event, which includes seminars designed to help future big league players with off-field issues such as media training and finances. Three other A's prospects were also in attendance: Jorge Mateo, Lou Trivino and Kyle Finnegan.

Puk, the A's first-round pick in the 2016 Draft, split his time between Class A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland in 2017, going 6-10 with a 4.03 ERA en route to being named A's pitching prospect of the year by MLB Pipeline. He posted a 3.69 ERA in 14 games (11 starts) for Stockton before earning a midseason promotion and recording a 4.36 ERA with Midland.

Video: Top Prospects: A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics

The left-hander averaged more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings and yielded just three home runs in 125 innings of work.

"It was a good year, just learning my routine and what works for me, and working on developing all my pitches," Puk said. "I started throwing a curveball again, and toward the end of the year, everything started to come together again mechanically. I felt good. Overall, just working on being consistent every start."

The 6-foot-7 Puk began relearning the curveball early last year, expanding a repertoire that also includes a fireball fastball, slider, cutter and changeup.

"My changeup, I'd say, last year was probably my second pitch," Puk said. "I enjoyed throwing that more than my slider. I could throw it in any count I wanted and have control of it. The curveball is coming along. Beginning of the year, it was a little inconsistent, then toward the end, it was getting there. I was able to throw it for strikes when I needed, change speeds."

Puk, who will be back in big league camp for a second consecutive year, will continue work to sharpen his command and secondary offerings. There's no questioning his top-of-the-rotation ceiling, and Puk projects to be big league-ready by 2019.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

 

Oakland Athletics, A.J. Puk

A's add 3 players to 40-man roster

Laureano, acquired from Houston, among those protected from Rule 5 Draft
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The A's made a series of moves ahead of Monday's 40-man roster deadline, adding right-handers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino, along with outfielder Ramon Laureano, who was acquired in a trade with the Astros earlier in the day.

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman and left-hander Sam Moll were designated for assignment, while right-hander Bobby Wahl was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville to clear roster space.

OAKLAND -- The A's made a series of moves ahead of Monday's 40-man roster deadline, adding right-handers Heath Fillmyer and Lou Trivino, along with outfielder Ramon Laureano, who was acquired in a trade with the Astros earlier in the day.

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman and left-hander Sam Moll were designated for assignment, while right-hander Bobby Wahl was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville to clear roster space.

The A's have subsequently protected Fillmyer, Trivino and Laureano from next month's Rule 5 Draft, which permits clubs to select eligible players from other organizations who aren't on their team's 40-man roster.

Hot Stove Tracker

Ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the A's No. 20 prospect, Fillmyer worked 149 2/3 innings across 29 starts for Double-A Midland in 2017, posting a 3.49 ERA to move his career ERA in the Minors to 3.79. The 23-year-old is on track to pitch at the Triple-A level next year, bringing him that much closer to entering the mix for a big league rotation job. He was a fifth-round Draft pick of the A's in 2014.

Trivino, meanwhile, turned heads with an impressive showing, finishing with a combined 3.03 ERA between Midland and Nashville. The 26-year-old, drafted by the A's in the 11th round in 2013, struck out 65 batters in 68 1/3 innings, flashing a fastball that can touch 100 mph.

Newcomer Laureano, who came to the A's in a deal that sent Minor League right-hander Brandon Bailey to Houston, spent all of 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi. He hit .227 with 11 home runs, 55 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 123 games. He appeared in 95 games in right field and 31 in center.

Video: HOU@STL: Laureano brings home Kemmer with a single

The addition of Laureano further crowded Oakland's depth chart, easing the decision to take Brugman off its 40-man roster. Brugman made his Major League debut with the A's this year and fared well at the plate, batting .266 with three home runs in 48 games. However, his defense was lacking in center field, and the A's have since collected a plethora of options for the same position.

Moll also debuted with Oakland this year, struggling to the tune of a 10.80 ERA and .406 opponents average in 11 relief outings.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast.

 

Oakland Athletics

A's could tweak 40-man roster for Rule 5 Draft

Deadline is Monday for protecting players from being selected by other teams next month
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The A's will be tasked with more 40-man roster housekeeping in the coming days should they want to protect any players from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

The A's 40-man roster is full, meaning any addition would have to be countered with a subtraction, making for a potentially tough assignment ahead of Monday's deadline.

OAKLAND -- The A's will be tasked with more 40-man roster housekeeping in the coming days should they want to protect any players from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

The A's 40-man roster is full, meaning any addition would have to be countered with a subtraction, making for a potentially tough assignment ahead of Monday's deadline.

The Rule 5 Draft, scheduled for Dec. 14 to cap the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., allows teams to select players from other organizations who aren't on their club's 40-man roster. Teams invest $100,000 to select a player, who must remain on the Major League roster for the entire season or be offered back to their previous club for $50,000.

Players drafted or signed at age 18 or younger are eligible after five Minor League seasons. Those drafted or signed at an older age are eligible after four Minor League seasons. Translation: Any player not on the 40-man roster who signed in 2013 at 18 years or younger or in '14 at 19 years or older is a candidate this year.

Unlike last year, when the A's protected five players -- Franklin Barreto, Yairo Munoz, Jaycob Brugman, Paul Blackburn and Bobby Wahl -- there aren't any must-haves this go-round. Still, there are players in their system worthy of consideration for protection.

RHP Heath Fillmyer: Ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the A's No. 19 prospect, Fillmyer worked 149 2/3 innings across 29 starts for Double-A Midland in 2017, posting a 3.49 ERA to move his career ERA in the Minors to 3.78. The 23-year-old is on track to pitch at the Triple-A level next year, bringing him that much closer to entering the mix for a big league rotation job. He was a fifth-round pick of the A's in the 2014 Draft.

RHP Casey Meisner: A third-round selection of the Mets in the 2013 Draft, the 6-foot-7 Meisner came to the A's in the 2015 trade for reliever Tyler Clippard and has since spent the majority of his time with Class A Advanced Stockton. Following a disappointing 2016 season with the Ports, Meisner graduated to Midland this year at midseason as he attempted to rebuild his prospect stock, compiling a 4.12 ERA in 12 starts for the RockHounds. He's ranked as the A's No. 25 prospect.

RHP Lou Trivino: Trivino turned heads with an impressive 2017 showing, turning in a combined 3.03 ERA between Midland and Triple-A Nashville. The 26-year-old struck out 65 batters in 68 1/3 innings, flashing a fastball that can touch 100 mph. Trivino was drafted by the A's in the 11th round in 2013.

RHP Jake Sanchez: Sanchez, 28, is yet another fireballing relief pitcher in the A's system, but a midseason injury this year could leave him as one of the odd men out. Sanchez suffered a right ulnar stress fracture in July, prematurely ending what was shaping into a promising season. The right-hander posted a 1.37 ERA across 26 1/3 innings between Midland and Nashville, including a 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. If not for the injury, Sanchez would have likely been a candidate to join the A's bullpen in the second half. At the same time, the injury could play in their favor next month, should other teams be unwilling to risk a Rule 5 Draft pick on him.

OF B.J. Boyd: A fourth-round selection by the A's in the 2012 Draft, Boyd enjoyed his best professional season yet in 2017, hitting .323 with a .366 on-base percentage for Midland. He also stole 16 bases, upping his Minor League total to 81 in 605 games. The speedy Boyd offers the A's the kind of athleticism they continually talk of adding to their big league roster. Oakland currently has a slew of center-field options, but Boyd can also play left.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

 

Oakland Athletics

A's acquire Pagan from Seattle for Healy

Oakland also acquires talented young shortstop Campos
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- In dire need of relief help this winter, the A's began the process of reshaping their bullpen by consummating a trade that sent Ryon Healy to the Mariners on Wednesday evening.

In return, the A's acquired right-hander Emilio Pagan, who enjoyed a nice rookie season as part of Seattle's relief corps, along with Minor League shortstop Alexander Campos.

OAKLAND -- In dire need of relief help this winter, the A's began the process of reshaping their bullpen by consummating a trade that sent Ryon Healy to the Mariners on Wednesday evening.

In return, the A's acquired right-hander Emilio Pagan, who enjoyed a nice rookie season as part of Seattle's relief corps, along with Minor League shortstop Alexander Campos.

Healy's departure is hardly surprising, despite his steady offensive production over the course of 221 games with Oakland. For months, he has been viewed as expendable as the A's seek to give more DH at-bats to Khris Davis. This makes it all the more likely that this plan will take shape, which means the A's are bound to acquire an outfielder this offseason.

Hot Stove Tracker

Healy, who started 77 games at DH in 2017, was essentially without a position. Oakland's corner-infield spots are occupied by first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman, teammates he grew up with in the Minors.

"We've obviously talked a lot since the end of the season about adding to the bullpen," A's general manager David Forst said. "At the same time, with the emergence of Matt and Matt on the corners, we felt like maybe Ryon was going to be someone that we might have to move in order to add to that depth.

"Seattle expressed an early interest in [Healy], right after the season. We've been talking to them for the last month, and Pagan was a guy we had asked for in the past. Once it was clear he could be part of this deal, then we spent the last week or so trying to work it out."

Tweet from @Athletics: Transaction: A's acquire RHP Emilio Pagan and minor league INF Alexander Campos from Seattle for DH/INF Ryon Healy. Pagan posted a 3.22 ERA in 34 games with the Mariners last year, including a 56-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Campos #15 prospect w/ SEA. pic.twitter.com/FHrQI0GZyl

Healy, 25, was long considered part of a youthful core that's shaping into a future contender, bursting onto the scene midway through the 2016 season, hitting 13 homers in just 72 games. In his first full big league season this year, he upped that total to 25 home runs in 149 games, batting .271 with 78 RBIs. However, his on-base percentage dipped from .337 to .302, ninth-lowest in the American League among qualified candidates.

Pagan made his Major League debut on May 3 and turned in a 3.22 ERA in 34 relief appearances over four stints with Seattle, holding opponents to a .212 average. The 26-year-old, who relies on a fastball-slider combo, struck out 56 batters in 50 1/3 innings, walking only eight, and Forst envisions him being a strong setup option for manager Bob Melvin.

The A's will continue to seek additional bullpen help, specifically from the left side to complement Pagan and Co.

"This was a guy that we thought could be an important part of our bullpen for a long time," Forst said.

Pagan's penchant for the strikeout can be traced to the early stages of his professional career; he amassed 305 of them in 257 1/3 Minor League innings. He was originally drafted by Seattle in the 10th round in 2013.

The right-handed-hitting Campos, meanwhile, came to the Mariners' organization out of Venezuela in 2016. He hit .290 with two home runs and 26 RBIs in 59 games for Seattle's affiliate in the Dominican Summer League, adding 41 walks for a .413 on-base percentage.

Just 17 years old, Pagan is expected to stick at shortstop, per Forst, who noted the A's originally eyed him during talks with Seattle that preceded August's Yonder Alonso trade.

"He's an outstanding athlete," Forst said. "He performed very well in the DSL. He walked more than he struck out and has a really good feel for the bat, but the athleticism is what kind of jumps out at you. Just an exciting prospect who was one of the higher-ranked guys coming out of that 2016 signing class."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast.

 

Oakland Athletics, Ryon Healy, Emilio Pagan

Prospect Mateo's 'high ceiling' a boon to A's

Shortstop has displayed impressive speed, versatility in Minors
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Athleticism has been lacking in the A's organization, an attribute that is often associated with the majority of successful ballclubs. To that end, Oakland has carefully curated trades to address these needs.

No deal illustrated this better than July's blockbuster swap with the Yankees. By sacrificing two-plus seasons of Sonny Gray, the A's got themselves a pretty package, reeling in prospects James Kaprielian, Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo.

OAKLAND -- Athleticism has been lacking in the A's organization, an attribute that is often associated with the majority of successful ballclubs. To that end, Oakland has carefully curated trades to address these needs.

No deal illustrated this better than July's blockbuster swap with the Yankees. By sacrificing two-plus seasons of Sonny Gray, the A's got themselves a pretty package, reeling in prospects James Kaprielian, Dustin Fowler and Jorge Mateo.

Hype has long followed the right-handed Kaprielian, even as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery. Fowler was also part of a touted group of Baby Bombers prospects, while Mateo for some time reigned as the top Yankees prospect. Then the struggles came, and a two-week suspension for violating team policy, and Mateo seemingly fell out of favor while another shortstop, Gleyber Torres, took over the No. 1 spot.

Now Mateo finds himself in a new organization -- he's ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the A's No. 4 prospect -- and is proving himself still to be an elite prospect.

The shortstop position in Oakland is occupied by Marcus Semien, who is under club control through 2020, but Semien's long-term future with the club is uncertain, allowing Mateo time to potentially force his way into the big league picture.

Only middle infielder Franklin Barreto, left-hander A.J. Puk and Fowler rank higher on the A's prospect list than Mateo, who could also be considered an outfield option down the line.

"I think you keep him at short for a while," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You look as the closer he gets here, is there a need somewhere else? He's probably athletic enough to play anywhere. I think [the front office] is happy with what they saw at shortstop.

"Really, the athleticism in the organization picks up with guys like him and Fowler and certainly [Matt] Chapman and guys like that."

All eyes have been on Mateo since he signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, his value seen through his excellent speed and versatility in the field, with a cannon of an arm.

There have been questions about his bat, but Mateo made a good first impression at the plate upon joining the A's system, hitting .292 with four home runs, 16 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs in 30 games for Double-A Midland. He has 234 stolen bases in 452 Minor League games.

The A's expect Mateo, who is still just 22, to begin the 2018 season at Triple-A Nashville. He is currently clocking time for Toros del Este of the Dominican Winter League, where he has three homers and 10 stolen bases in 17 games while slashing .260/.270/.425.

A's offseason leagues stats

Tweet from @TorosdelEste: Gozen el 2do HR de Jorge Mateo ahora desde la Transmisi��n original.@MLBPipeline @Athletics pic.twitter.com/EPe2Cefydx

"He took a huge leap forward this year, just moving from A ball to Double-A," A's general manager David Forst said. "Mateo has a ton of talent and a really high ceiling.

"We're excited about Mateo as one of the guys we're looking forward to seeing in spring next year. We'll see how quickly he moves up."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast.

 

Oakland Athletics, Jorge Mateo

Prospect Neuse chosen for AFL Fall Stars

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- A's infield prospect Sheldon Neuse has been selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game on Saturday.

The 12th annual showcase, to be played at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., features top prospects from the AFL as selected by a panel that includes scouting and farm directors from every organization.

OAKLAND -- A's infield prospect Sheldon Neuse has been selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game on Saturday.

The 12th annual showcase, to be played at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., features top prospects from the AFL as selected by a panel that includes scouting and farm directors from every organization.

Representing the Mesa Solar Sox this month, Neuse hit .304 in 12 games, swatting two home runs -- including a grand slam -- and collected 13 RBIs while splitting time between third base and shortstop. He's ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the A's No. 14 overall prospect.

Video: Neuse on being traded from the Nationals to the A's

The 22-year-old infielder hasn't stopped hitting since joining the A's system in July. One of three players the A's acquired from Washington in the Sean Doolittle/Ryan Madson deal, Neuse clocked seven home runs and had 22 RBIs in his 22 games with Class A Advanced Stockton, prompting a promotion to Double-A Midland.

Neuse responded by batting .373 and reaching base at a .427 clip for the RockHounds, which helped him earn an invite to the AFL.

The Fort Worth, Texas, native was a second-round Draft pick of the Nationals in 2016.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com.

 

Oakland Athletics, Sheldon Neuse

Athletics' Arizona Fall League overview

Right-hander Shore making up for lost innings in AFL
MLB.com

MESA, Ariz. -- Logan Shore's first full season went well, but he, like many others, missed some time with injury and is looking to make up innings in the Arizona Fall League.

Shore, the Athletics' second-round pick from the 2016 Draft, missed roughly two months after suffering a lat injury in mid-May, but he still appeared in 17 games (14 starts) and posted a 4.09 ERA with Class A Advanced Stockton.

MESA, Ariz. -- Logan Shore's first full season went well, but he, like many others, missed some time with injury and is looking to make up innings in the Arizona Fall League.

Shore, the Athletics' second-round pick from the 2016 Draft, missed roughly two months after suffering a lat injury in mid-May, but he still appeared in 17 games (14 starts) and posted a 4.09 ERA with Class A Advanced Stockton.

Those numbers may not jump off the page, but context is important as Shore was pitching in the California League, a notoriously hitter-friendly environment.

• Arizona Fall League roster & stats

"My game plan is to keep the fastball down and sink the ball and keep the ball down, slow the ball down with my changeup," the Athletics' No. 8 prospect said. "Really, the game plan was just to do that, and I did that all year. I had some pretty good success doing that."

After working around 88-92 mph in college, Shore saw his velocity tick up a bit over the past season as his fastball sat in the low 90s toward the end of the year. The 22-year-old also noticed that with the increase in velocity, he was able to keep the natural sinking action on his fastball, something that's very important for a pitcher without overpowering stuff.

In addition to adding a bit of velocity, Shore continued to showcase the command he illustrated at Florida, walking just under two batters per nine innings with the Ports.

"Just being able to command the ball is extremely important," Shore said. "That's the biggest thing for my game, being able to control the ball on both sides of the plate, up and down, with multiple pitches."

Athletics hitters in the Fall League:

Sean Murphy, C -- Murphy has what it takes to succeed as a catcher defensively. The 23-year-old is an athletic catcher with good blocking and receiving skills, as well as a 70-grade arm. The questions come when discussing Murphy's bat. The A's No. 11 prospect got off to a strong start in 2017, hitting .297 through 45 games with Stockton, but he struggled once he was promoted to Midland, batting just .209 in 53 games.

Sheldon Neuse, 3B -- Neuse, whom the A's acquired from the Nationals in mid-July as part of the Sean Doolitte and Ryan Madson trade, had a big season offensively, hitting .321 across three levels. Defensively, the organization's No. 14 prospect, a college shortstop, has moved over to third base as a pro and profiles as an average defender.

Video: Sheldon Nuese on being honored to play in Fall League

Tyler Ramirez, OF -- Ramirez' first full season couldn't have gone much better offensively. The seventh-round pick (2016) hit .301 through 76 games with Stockton before he was promoted to Double-A Midland where he continued to rake. Ramirez hit .308 in 58 games with Midland. He also walked 73 times in 134 games this season.

Athletics pitchers in the Fall League:

Nolan Blackwood, RHP -- Blackwood, a 14th-round pick in 2016, posted a 3.00 ERA across 44 games with Stockton in his first full season. The 22-year-old converted 19 of 20 save opportunities this season, and his sidearm motion had good success against right-handed hitters, who hit just .167 off of him.

Sam Bragg, RHP -- Bragg is back in the AFL after posting a 1.98 ERA in eight games with the Mesa Solar Sox in 2016. The former 18th-round pick (2013) just completed his second season with Double-A Midland, where he went 4-1 with a 3.03 ERA in 45 games. Bragg's strikeouts per nine innings dipped a bit this season (9.42 to 7.38), but he also reduced his walks per nine innings from 2.63 to 2.11.

Miguel Romero, RHP -- Romero, whom the A's signed out of Cuba prior to this year, was all over the place this season. His made his organization debut in June in the Dominican Summer League, then he worked his way to the Rookie-level Arizona League, spent some time with Class A Beloit and finished with Class A Advanced Stockton. While Romero's stuff allowed him to have success at the lower levels, he struggled with command once reaching Stockton as he walked nine and gave up four homers in 18 1/3 innings.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

 

Oakland Athletics

A's Neuse blasts grand slam in AFL victory

MLB.com

MESA, Ariz. -- After being dealt to the A's by the Nationals in early 2017, Sheldon Neuse put his raw power on display at Class A and Double-A. He did more of the same on Wednesday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League.

Neuse, Oakland's No. 14 prospect, went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and four RBIs as he led Mesa to a 9-4 win over Scottsdale.

MESA, Ariz. -- After being dealt to the A's by the Nationals in early 2017, Sheldon Neuse put his raw power on display at Class A and Double-A. He did more of the same on Wednesday afternoon in the Arizona Fall League.

Neuse, Oakland's No. 14 prospect, went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and four RBIs as he led Mesa to a 9-4 win over Scottsdale.

"I'm excited to be out here," Neuse said. "I'm blessed that they chose me to come out here. It's a really good group of guys and coaches."

Box score

With a short and simple swing from the right side of the plate, Neuse recorded his first hit of the Arizona Fall League in the second inning. On a 2-1 pitch from Scottsdale starter Albert Abreu -- the Yankees' No. 7 prospect -- Neuse shot a sharp line drive into left field for Mesa's first hit of the game.

Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, Neuse singled once more and was part of a three-run inning for the Solar Sox. David Bote connected on the first pitch he saw from Adam Hofacket to give Mesa a 5-4 lead.

Then, in the seventh, Neuse got his pitch. The result broke the game open for good.

"Bases loaded and one out, I was just looking for something I could drive, something that I could get extended through," Neuse said. "I saw the gaps and got a pitch and just didn't miss it."

Neuse displayed his power in his first full season in the Minor Leagues. He hit 16 home runs to go along with 40 RBIs across 119 games with Class A Hagerstown (Nationals), Class A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland.

Video: Top Prospects: Sheldon Neuse, 3B, Athletics

His Mesa teammate Daniel Johnson Jr. -- the Nats' No. 10 prospect -- also had a good day at the plate. He went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and was one of three runners on base when Neuse put the game out of reach in the seventh.

Johnson also made a nice diving catch in center field early in the game to keep a run off the board.

Athletics prospect Nolan Blackwood pitched in the ninth with two strikeouts to give Mesa its first win of the Arizona Fall League season.

"It's exciting to be able to play again," Neuse said. "I'm just looking forward to the rest of the season."

Eddie Poe is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

 

Oakland Athletics

Youth movement to continue for A's this winter

Rebuilding A's expected to be conservative with offseason deals
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The A's offseason is predominantly expected to be a continuation of a youth movement that started at midseason.

The team has a solid young core that includes Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chad Pinder, Ryon Healy and Franklin Barreto -- hitters that made it one of the best offensive teams in the American League in the second half.

OAKLAND -- The A's offseason is predominantly expected to be a continuation of a youth movement that started at midseason.

The team has a solid young core that includes Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chad Pinder, Ryon Healy and Franklin Barreto -- hitters that made it one of the best offensive teams in the American League in the second half.

With the rise of these prospects, it's easy to envision the A's contending sooner rather than later. But the club, having pledged to a full-bore rebuild this year, will likely be conservative in its approach to winter wheeling and dealing.

A's spent 2017 rebuilding on, off field

Biggest needs

1. Starting pitching: The A's rotation depth is largely depleted, leaving them in search of help, while buying time for prospects like A.J. Puk and Grant Holmes to join them. They've been known to target affordable veterans on the free-agent market, and adding at least one would complement a young group of options that includes Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Paul Blackburn, Jharel Cotton, Daniel Gossett, Daniel Mengden and Chris Bassitt.

Possible FA fits: Doug Fister, Andrew Cashner, Scott Feldman, Trevor Cahill

Gray areas

1. Bullpen: Bullpen collapses were all too routine for the A's this year. The midseason acquisitions of closer Blake Treinen and setup man Chris Hatcher helped shore up a group that lost veterans Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to a trade with Washington, but there's still work to be done to fix what was one of the club's weakest links -- a project that will continue in the offseason.

2. Center field: It wasn't long ago that the A's center-field situation was dire. Today, it remains fluid, but there are suddenly several options. Just how it plays out will present one of the more intriguing storylines entering Spring Training. Dustin Fowler, acquired in the Sonny Gray trade, is considered the favorite, if fully recovered from his knee surgery. But the A's also have Boog Powell, Pinder, Jake Smolinski and Mark Canha to consider, along with prospects Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

X-factors

1. Bring back Jed Lowrie? At this point, it seems all but certain the A's will exercise Lowrie's club option for 2018 following one of his most productive seasons yet. But will they turn around and deal this versatile asset? It was always assumed such a scenario would play out at the Trade Deadline this year, opening up a spot for top prospect Barreto, but Lowrie stayed put. Deciding what to do now will help clarify 2018 plans for Barreto.

2. Deal others? Lowrie isn't the only possible trade piece. The A's could consider trading Khris Davis or Healy in an effort to continue stockpiling young talent. Both players are expendable, and either would net a considerable return. Just something to consider.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

 

Oakland Athletics

Olson, Puk named A's Prospects of the Year

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Matt Olson finished with 24 home runs in his rookie season for the A's, making it easy to forget he spent the bulk of the 2017 campaign in the Minors.

"It's a number a lot of guys would take over 162," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

OAKLAND -- Matt Olson finished with 24 home runs in his rookie season for the A's, making it easy to forget he spent the bulk of the 2017 campaign in the Minors.

"It's a number a lot of guys would take over 162," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

The 25-year-old first baseman, who added 23 homers at the Triple-A level, teamed up with left-hander A.J. Puk to earn A's Prospects of the Year honors.

Tweet from @wboor: #Athletics Matt Olson joins Giancarlo Stanton (2010) as only players in past 30 years to hit 20 HR in @MLB and @MILB in same season.

Olson, anointed Player of the Year, played 79 of his games with Nashville, compared to 59 with Oakland, before his season was abruptly halted last week because of a hamstring injury -- putting an end to a remarkable run.

Athletics' Prospects of the Year

The young slugger homered nine times over his final 14 games and 16 times since Aug. 27, including a stretch of five consecutive games with a homer for an Oakland rookie record. He joined Giancarlo Stanton (2010) as only players in past 30 years to hit 20 or more homers in the Minors and Majors in same season.

"It's pretty remarkable," Melvin said. "It's exciting to think about what he could potentially do over a full season."

Video: MLB Tonight breaks down Matt Olson's swing

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.

Puk, the A's first-round pick of the 2016 Draft, split his time between Class-A Advanced Stockton and Double-A Midland during his first full professional season, combining to go 6-10 with a 4.03 ERA en route to being named Pitcher of the Year. He posted a 3.69 ERA in 14 games (11 starts) for Stockton before earning a midseason promotion and pitching to a 4.36 ERA with Midland.

The 6-foot-7 southpaw, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 2 prospect, collected 184 strikeouts in 125 innings. Puk, 22, is on pace to make his Major League debut in 2019, if not sooner.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

 

Oakland Athletics

Barreto leads A's young charge in Game 2 win

MLB.com

OAKLAND -- A's right fielder Chad Pinder doesn't mince words when he talks about Franklin Barreto's future with the organization.

After Oakland's 11-4 triumph for a doubleheader sweep over the Astros on Saturday, he has good reason. Barreto, the team's No. 1-ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, collected his first hits since his Sept. 1 recall, going 2-for-4.

Full Game Coverage

OAKLAND -- A's right fielder Chad Pinder doesn't mince words when he talks about Franklin Barreto's future with the organization.

After Oakland's 11-4 triumph for a doubleheader sweep over the Astros on Saturday, he has good reason. Barreto, the team's No. 1-ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, collected his first hits since his Sept. 1 recall, going 2-for-4.

Full Game Coverage

"He's an electric player," said Pinder, who homered twice in Game 2. "He's going to be an incredible player for a long time. He's one of the best people to play with, too. He's one guy that is very, very easy to root for. He's a special talent but also a special human being."

After strikeouts in the third and fifth innings, Barreto delivered a key triple in the seventh and legged out an infield single in the eighth to keep Oakland's rally alive. Without Barreto's two-out effort, the inning would have ended abruptly -- without any runs on the board. The A's went on to score six insurance runs, including a run on Barreto's single.

Video: HOU@OAK: Barreto races into third with a triple

"I knew there it was a hit they were going to be able to make a play on," Barreto said through a team interpreter. "I just got out of the box and did my best to get to first on time."

Barreto said he changed his approach at the plate to succeed against an Astros team destined for the postseason.

"The first two at-bats felt a little rushed and uncomfortable at the plate," Barreto said. "Kind of let the at-bats come to me and get better pitches to hit. That's exactly what I did."

Video: HOU@OAK: Melvin discusses the doubleheader sweep

Barreto knows his playing time might come sporadically, but he's ready whenever A's manager Bob Melvin calls on him, like he did Saturday along with a handful of other rookies. Melvin planned to overhaul the lineup with an eye toward the future -- keeping some veterans out for the nightcap.

"We've been playing together for two years and it's great to be around them and do this, and get good results," Barreto said. "It's always exciting to be around these guys."

Added Pinder: "He should know that every single person in this clubhouse has the upmost confidence in him. He's a huge piece of the puzzle going forward."

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

 

Oakland Athletics, Franklin Barreto

Nunez leads next wave of Oakland's callups

No. 22 prospect is joined on roster by Mengden, Alcantara, Wendle
MLB.com

OAKLAND -- The A's added four September callups to the mix Tuesday, bringing in power-hitting prospect Renato Nunez, pitchers Daniel Mengden and Raul Alcantara, and infielder Joey Wendle ahead of their contest against the Angels.

Nunez, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 22 prospect, belted 32 home runs with Triple-A Nashville this year, good for a second-place tie among all Minor League players.

Full Game Coverage

OAKLAND -- The A's added four September callups to the mix Tuesday, bringing in power-hitting prospect Renato Nunez, pitchers Daniel Mengden and Raul Alcantara, and infielder Joey Wendle ahead of their contest against the Angels.

Nunez, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 22 prospect, belted 32 home runs with Triple-A Nashville this year, good for a second-place tie among all Minor League players.

Full Game Coverage

Signed by the A's out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old for $2.2 million in 2010, Nunez was primarily groomed as a third baseman, before adding first base and left field to his now-diversified repertoire. Whether he gets playing time with the A's at any of these positions this month remains to be seen; he could get designated hitter at-bats.

"Just a reward for him being here is significant, because he deserves to be here," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We're a little muddled as far as where those at-bats will come from. But we have to get him in there at some point in time.

"Certainly Renato is a guy who has been impactful down there at every classification he's been. We're excited about where our future's going, and to get guys up here and to get guys here and get them experience at the big league level is important."

Nunez came up with young A's Matt Chapman, Ryon Healy, Chad Pinder, Matt Olson and Bruce Maxwell, enjoying division titles and developing a winning mindset at every Minor League classification: Class A Advanced Stockton, Double-A Midland and Nashville.

All have since graduated to the Majors, and Nunez hopes to stick, too -- though he's at risk of leaving the organization this winter, since the A's must keep him on their 25-man roster next season or be forced to expose him to waivers.

"I'm pretty happy to be here with my friends, my teammates I've had my whole career," Nunez said. "I'm here to try to help the team win. That's what I'm here for. Keep working and try to do something to help my team win."

Video: OAK@CLE: Mengden hit by liner, remains in the game

Mengden, meanwhile, will immediately enter the rotation, taking the spot of a struggling Chris Smith, who has been moved to the bullpen. The right-handed Mengden, who is penciled in to start the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Astros, made two starts with the A's during a short stint earlier this summer. He was placed on the Minor League disabled list shortly thereafter with a right oblique strain and went 0-3 with a 6.09 ERA in five starts with the Sounds following his return.

Mengden, who came to the A's in the 2015 Scott Kazmir trade with Houston, also made 14 starts for Oakland last year, pitching to a 6.50 ERA.

"One of the younger guys we got in trades, and should be significant in the future for us," Melvin said, "so we'll give him a shot."

Melvin's overworked bullpen will welcome Alcantara, who began the season in Oakland's rotation before being designated for assignment. He posted a 2.67 ERA in 18 games, including three starts with Nashville, missing two months with a right elbow strain. Right-hander Paul Blackburn (right hand contusion) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Alcantara on the 40-man roster.

Wendle, the A's No. 23 prospect, is back for a second September with the A's, after hitting .285 with eight home runs in 118 games with Nashville.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

 

Oakland Athletics