Welp never mind, didn’t see this before I finished writing this post:
Bad injury news down-on-the-farm for the #Athletics: promising reliever Jake Sanchez is out for the year with a right ulnar stress fracture
— Melissa Lockard (@oakclubhouse) July 17, 2017
Here’s the rest of the article, lightly edited:
The Oakland A’s thinned out their bullpen on Sunday by trading away Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. With the rebuild approaching full tilt, opportunities could emerge for new names to step up over the next couple months of non-contending baseball. What other Triple-A relief prospects might be in line for MLB auditions?
One name sticks out above the rest right now, and that is right-hander Jake Sanchez . The 27-year-old former starter is in his second season as a fireballing reliever , after posting a 2.27 FIP in Double-A last year as Midland’s closer. He hasn’t missed a beat since moving up to Triple-A in late May: Sanchez, AAA: 1.47 ERA, 18⅓ ip, 19 Ks, 4 BB, 0 HR, 2.49 FIP That’s not to say that he needs to be in Oakland tomorrow; he’s only made 14 appearances for Nashville this year, so more time there wouldn’t hurt. But sometime between now and the end of September a spot will open up with the big club, whether because of an injury or another trade or simply rosters expanding in the season’s final month. Whether that opportunity comes in late August or next week, Sanchez would be my top pick to take the next turn in the A’s pen, even though there are other “safer” options on Nashville’s roster who have MLB experience under their belts.
Some other names:
- RHP Tucker Healy made our Community Prospect List last winter. His hallmark in 2016 had been a big strikeout rate, but that disappeared this year as he’s allowed more contact. He succeeded anyway through April and May (1.74 ERA), but he’s struggled in June and July (5.09) and the latter mark is more in line with his peripheral stats. One big difference — his strand rate (LOB%) dropped from an unsustainably high 91.2% in the good months down to a more normal 67.5% in the bad months. His overall numbers are still alright, but his 5.01 FIP suggests that maybe he’s not the top choice just yet.
- RHP Lou Trivino and RHP Kyle Finnegan were both called up from Double-A Midland after strong showings for the RockHounds, but they’ve each pitched even less for Nashville than Sanchez. So far Trivino has been hit hard and Finnegan has walked nearly a batter per inning, so they both need some more work before we consider a timeline for bringing them up.
- RHP Josh Smith is still around. He’s pitched 18 games for the A’s this year, with a 6.75 ERA and 4.48 FIP. He’s got experience, but it’s not particularly good experience.
- LHP Felix Doubront and LHP Patrick Schuster are the next lefties in line, with Daniel Coulombe standing as the only southpaw in Oakland’s pen. Both are likely filler at this point, but at least have MLB experience (Doubront more than Schuster).
- RHP Chris Bassitt is still on a rehab assignment as he completes his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He was knocked around in his latest outing for Nashville (2 ip, 4 runs, 5 hits).
Out of the whole group, I’d personally be most interested in seeing Sanchez next. He’s the top performer, and might be the top chance at revealing a hidden gem for next year. After that, perhaps the lefty Doubront, who is racking up strikeouts in his own return from Tommy John and somehow still hasn’t turned 30 years old yet. We’ll see what the A’s decide next time a job opens up!
Other top prospects
- RHP Frankie Montas, now in the rotation, has put together back-to-back scoreless starts. Each lasted four innings, with a combined line of: 8 ip, 10 Ks, 2 BB, 3 hits.
- LF Renato Nunez represented the Sounds in the Triple-A All-Star Game, and he wound up winning MVP honors with a big home run. That combines the two things we know about Renato — he hits dingers (leads the PCL with 24), and he tends to hit them in the biggest moments on the biggest stages. The thing still to improve: his .308 OBP, which is holding his wRC+ down to 108.
- 3B/SS/CF Yairo Munoz in 14 games in July: .321/.345/.464, 108 wRC+, 2 HR, 10.3% Ks. Progress as the 22-year-old adjusts to his new level of competition!
- IF Franklin Barreto and 1B/OF Matt Olson are still in Nashville, just waiting for the next opportunity amid Oakland’s youth movement.
Triple-A Nashville: LIVE, Corey Walter vs. Iowa
Double-A Midland: LIVE, Dustin Hurlbutt vs. San Antonio
High-A Stockton: 7:05 p.m. Brandon Bailey vs. Rancho Cucamonga
Single-A Beloit: Lost 5-2, Seth Martinez vs. Great Lakes
Low-A Vermont: LIVE, Oscar Tovar vs. Hudson Valley
For Nashville, Walter hasn’t pitched since getting blown up in consecutive outings on June 30 and July 5.