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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mid-May Minor League Update

AAA - Sacramento

Three of the A's top prospects are in Sacramento, but none of them look ready for the big leagues.  Chris Carter is doing the best so far, hitting .250/.343/.500.  Strikeouts remain a concern, as he's struck out 35 times in 116 at bats.  Michael Taylor is not off to a good start, putting up a .240/.290/.421 line so far.  Some (including myself) had hoped that either Carter or Taylor could help the big club's struggling offense, but neither look ready to fill that role.

The third top prospect in AAA is second baseman Adrian Cardenas.  He got a late start to the season and is hitting just .244/.295/.268 in his first 11 games.  Fellow second base prospect Eric Sogard, who the A's acquired along with Kevin Kouzmanoff, is also struggling, hitting .287/.347/.342.  The lack of power isn't surprising, but Sogard's going to have to hit for a higher average and walk more frequently if he wants to be a big league starter.

Jack Cust isn't exactly forcing his way back up to the majors either.  His .287/.460/.468 line looks decent, but his power is lacking and he continues to strike out at a steady clip, whiffing 27 times so far in 94 at bats.

On the pitching side, most of the promising players that have played in Sacramento this year have also played in Oakland, with Vin Mazzaro, Trevor Cahill, and Henry Rodriguez all spending time in the big leagues.  Of pitchers who have yet to see time with the A's, 24 year old reliever Sam Demel has been the most impressive, pitching 15 innings while giving up 2 earned runs, striking out 18 and walking only 4.  Clayton Mortensen's 4.66 ERA isn't pretty, but his K rate is over 7, his walk rate is under 3 and he's getting three times as many ground balls as flyballs.  Should injuries continue to wipeout A's starters, Mortensen seems capable of getting a few spot starts.

AA - Midland

Jemile Weeks continues to be the player to watch for the Rockhounds.  He's batting .304/.368/.490 so far.  His basestealing has been subpar, with 4 steals in 8 attempts, but he's been healthy which has been a concern for Weeks in the past.

Pedro Figueroa continues to pitch well, posting an ERA of 2.78 is six starts.  His peripherals are good, but not great; he's striking out 7.5 per nine and walking 3.3 per nine.  The Rockhound have a couple Grade C type relief prospects in Justin Souza, Jared Lansford, and Arnold Leon, but control problems have hampered all three.

High-A - Stockton

2009 1st rounder Grant Green has cooled off after a fast start and is hitting just .285/.319/.380.  He's also been caught stealing 4 times and has been successful just once.  His plate discipline leaves a lot to be desired as he's struck out 30 times and walked only 7 times.  Tyler Ladendorf, acquired in the Orlando Cabrera deal, is outperforming Grant Green at shortstop.  Ladendorf is hitting .325/.368/.425 and is 4 of 5 in steal attempts.  While Green is the better prospect, Ladendorf's more than organizational filler.

Low-A - Kane County

Max Stassi continues to hit well for Kane County, hitting .268/.341/.464.  That line is especially impressive considering the Midwest League's brutal hitting environment and the fact that this is his first pro season. 

Like Max Stassi, the A's drafted Ian Krol despite signability issues and were able to get a deal done.  Krol hasn't disappointed, putting up a 2.81 ERA with 25 Ks and 11 BBs in 32 innings.

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