Arizona League A's
Team Batting Average: .245 (8th out of 12 teams)
Team OBP: .315 (8th)
Team OPS: 659 (9th)
HRs: 17 (tied for 7th) Runs Scored: 276 (8th)
Note: Only players with at least 98 at-bats were covered in this article
The AZL A's finished the 2010 season with a winning record, but that was thanks in large part to their pitching staff, which finished second in the league in team ERA. Offensively, the AZL A's were in the bottom fourth of the league throughout the season. The struggles on offense were a reflection of the youth and inexperience of the team. Where in past years the A's may have sent a number of college draft picks to Arizona, the overwhelming majority of position players on the A's 2010 AZL squad were high school picks or products of the organization's Dominican Academy. Of the 10 players with 98 at-bats or more, all but two were 21 or younger during the season. Towards the end of the year, the AZL A's saw a quartet of 18/19-year-olds getting a bulk of the at-bats (2010 high school draft picks Rashad Ramsey, Aaron Shipman, Chad Lewis and Yordy Cabrera).
The team's best position players were both teenagers – outfielder Royce Consigli and shortstop Zhi-Fang Pan. Consigli posted a team-best 893 OPS, which was good for fourth-best in the AZL. Consigli was a 2009 30th round pick out of a high school in eastern Canada. He made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League in 2009 and struggled in 26 games, posting a 586 OPS. He had an impressive spring training, however, and was a completely different player by the time the 2010 AZL season began. In 41 games for the AZL A's, the left-handed hitter batted .340 with 31 RBIs. He had a .406 OBP and collected 12 doubles, four triples and his first professional homerun. Despite repeating the AZL in 2010, Consigli was still in the appropriate age range for the league, as he didn't turn 19 until after the season was over. Consigli was an AZL post-season All-Star, the A's only representative on the team. He may skip the short-season A level next year and go straight to the full-season Midwest League.
Pan made his US professional baseball debut after being signed out of Taiwan by the A's during the off-season. The switch-hitting middle infielder is the A's first amateur free agent signing from Taiwan. He took to US baseball quickly, playing solid defense up the middle and batting .331 with an 825 OPS in 43 games. He didn't homer, but he collected nine doubles and four triples. Pan hit for better average from the left-side (.387), but hit for more power as a right-handed hitter (.444 SLG and all but one of his extra-base hits). Pan had to miss the A's Instructional League with elbow soreness, but, assuming he is healthy, he will be a candidate for the Midwest League in 2011.
Ramon Soto and Diomendes Lopez split the majority of the at-bats at catcher. Soto was one of the veterans of the team, as he was 22 throughout most of the season and he played a handful of games at the High-A Stockton level early in the year. The Dominican native hit .275 with two homers and a 761 OPS in 102 at-bats for the AZL A's. He struggled with his plate discipline, however, walking only seven times against 27 strike-outs.
Lopez also made a brief appearance in Stockton, although he only appeared in one game. The 21-year-old right-handed hitter had 109 at-bats for the AZL A's and he batted .266 with a homer and a 754 OPS. Lopez struck-out a bit too much (39 in 36 games), but he walked 12 times and posted a .360 OBP. His performance was a big improvement over his 2009 showing with the AZL A's, when he hit .212 with a 582 OPS. He was particularly good against left-handed pitching, batting .318 with a 991 OPS and his only homer.
One of the best base-runners on the team was infielder Neudy Clime, who swiped a team-high nine bags in 10 chances. Clime, in his second year in the AZL, saw his numbers improve from a 2009 line of .244/.324/.268 to .278/.329/.376. He will need to recapture some of the plate discipline he had in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 when he walked 31 times against only 14 strike-outs, but he showed that he could handle the bat in 2010. Clime was especially good during the final month of the season, when he hit .347/.396/.469 in 49 at-bats.
Splitting time with Clime and Pan in the middle infield were Jonatan Santana and Jensi Peralta. After four seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the 22-year-old Santana finally made the jump to the US. He failed to distinguish himself with the bat, although he played solid defense. In 149 at-bats, Santana hit .228 with a 586 OPS. He struck-out 40 times, a total far too high for a player who had only eight extra-base hits (.289 SLG) and 11 walks.
Peralta was part of the A's 2008 international free agent signing class. The Venezuelan spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making the jump to the US in 2010. He also struggled at the plate, batting only .223 with a 544 OPS. Plate discipline was a big problem for Peralta, who had only four walks against 38 strike-outs. He also committed 15 errors in 32 games. All four of Peralta's walks came in August after he posted 27 strike-outs and no walks in June and July. Time is still on Peralta's side, however, as he only turned 19 in early July.
The player who struggled the most with plate discipline for the AZL A's in 2010 was first-baseman Miguel Marte, who struck-out 73 times against only four walks in a team-high 204 at-bats. Marte actually began the season in the DSL and he walked five times in 37 at-bats and posted an 886 OPS with two homers. He was overly aggressive once he arrived in the States, however, as he managed only a .230/.265/.333 line. He did collect a team-high four homers, but his slugging percentage was still way too low for a corner infielder. The powerfully built Marte has had better plate discipline in previous years, so the wild swinging tendencies may have been a one-year blip for Marte, who turned 21 on the last day of the season.
Yeudy Brazoban returned to the AZL for a second season after making his US debut in the league in 2009. Brazoban struggled for much of the season, batting only .204 with a 580 OPS. He did collect a career-best two homeruns, but he had a 25:4 K:BB ratio. He was successful in all four of his base-stealing attempts and is 29-for-35 in his career.
Like Brazoban, Elvis Garcia returned to the AZL A's after spending the entire 2009 season with the club. Garcia took a step backwards in 2010, however, going from a .258/.310/.348 line to a .197/.275/.273 line in 132 at-bats. Garcia did improve his K:BB ratio from 36:9 to 28:12. Garcia turned 21 at the beginning of November.