2011 Year In Review: AZL A's Hitters

Our "2011 Year In Review" series continues with a look at the hitters on the Oakland A's Arizona Summer League affiliate.

AZL A's Offense At A Glance
Team BA: .266 (ninth out of 13 teams)
Runs Scored: 289 (10th out of 13 teams)
Team OPS: 734 (10th out of 13 teams)
Team Stolen Bases: 37 (last in the league)
Team Slugging Percentage: .396 (ninth out of 13 teams)

Note: this article covers all hitters who had at least 100 at-bats for the AZL A's this season.

The A's Arizona Rookie League affiliate hovered around the .500 mark all season, but finished the year slightly under .500 at 27-29. Their offense was inconsistent for much of the season and finished in the bottom third of all AZL teams.

The AZL A's may have found themselves dead last in most offensive categories if it wasn't for the contributions of Kelvin Rojas. The Arizona Rookie League post-season All-Star was the league leader in batting for players with at least 2.7 plate appearances for every league game played. Rojas batted an incredible .588 in 34 plate appearances versus left-handed pitchers and hit .473 away from the A's home of Phoenix Municipal Stadium. He also hit .400 or better each month except August, when he hit .350. This effort was a dramatic improvement over Rojas' first foray into the Arizona Rookie League, when he hit .216 in 16 games. The Dominican outfielder is currently participating in the A's US Instructional League and is a candidate to jump to full-season ball next year.

A pair of sluggers also contributed to the AZL A's cause offensively. First baseman Miguel Marte and catcher Reynaldo Mateo each hit six homeruns, good for a tie for sixth-place in the AZL. Marte's 879 OPS was good for second-best on the team behind Rojas. The now 22-year-old Marte hit .299 with a .368 OBP. He hit equally well against righties and lefties and put together his best power month in August. Marte was repeating the AZL and should have an opportunity to jump to the New York-Penn League next season.

Mateo was making his US debut in 2011. The right-handed hitting catcher batted .266 with an 845 OPS. He also fared well against both righties and lefties and did his best work with runners in scoring position (1012 OPS). Mateo will turn 23 during the 2012 season. He could see time in the New York-Penn League next season.

Middle infielder Jensi Peralta put together a strong season in his second year in the Arizona Rookie League. The former amateur free agent signing out of Venezuela was one of the team's most consistent players. In 123 at-bats, he hit .301/.377.463. The right-handed hitting Peralta hit both righties and lefties well. Peralta hit only .223 in 2010 for the AZL A's. He will turn 21 during the 2012 season and could see time in the New York-Penn League next season.

One player who the A's will be looking to make a Peralta-like turnaround in 2012 is Wilfredo Solano. Solano was the most highly touted player on the AZL A's Opening Day roster. The A's top international free agent signing in 2009, Solano raised a lot of expectations when he walked 30 times in 45 games for the DSL A's in 2010 and then showed power and athleticism during the A's 2010 fall Instructional League. Solano raised his average from .179 in 2010 to .244 in 2011, but his saw his plate patience crumble dramatically, as he walked only eight times in 45 games. The good news is that Solano did walk six times in August. He also collected six more extra-base hits in 2011 than he did in 2010. The 18-year-old is very talented and will be a long-term project for the A's. He is currently at the A's Instructional League camp. Solano could repeat the AZL next season, but he will only be 19 throughout the entire year.

A's 2011 22nd round pick Rhett Stafford put together a decent first season for the AZL A's. The Marshall alum posted a .265/.360/.430 line in 151 at-bats in Arizona. He was especially good in the season's final month, batting .317 with a 1024 OPS in 17 August games. Stafford was an outfielder in college and during the 2011 season, but he has been working out with the catchers at Instructs.

Dayton Alexander was the A's highest-round 2011 draft choice to see significant playing time in the AZL this season. The athletic outfielder from Hawaii hit .243 with a 625 OPS in his first pro season. The A's see the Feather River College alum as a future top-of-the-order hitter and he showed some plate discipline in his first season. Alexander was a raw prospect coming out of junior college, so the A's will likely move slowly with him. Alexander will turn 21 in February.

Infielder Luis Baez made the jump from the A's Dominican Academy to the US in 2011. The Dominican native hit .230 with a 622 OPS in 152 at-bats for the AZL A's this season. Baez connected on a career-high three triples to go along with his seven doubles and two homeruns. The 20-year-old will likely get another crack at the Arizona Rookie League next season.

Although he signed too late in the summer to garner 100 at-bats, Chris Bostick made a big impact on the AZL A's in a short period of time. The middle infielder batted .442 with a 1136 OPS in 52 late season at-bats. Bostick, the A's 44th-round pick this season, was the only high school draft pick signed by Oakland in 2011. The Rochester, New York, native flashed power (six doubles, one triple and one homer) and speed (four stolen bases in four chances) in his brief time with the team. The right-handed hitter is at the A's US Instructional League camp. He won't turn 19 until the end of March. Bostick will most likely play for either the A's short-season affiliate or the AZL squad in 2012, although if he continues to play at an elite level during Instructs and spring training, Oakland could choose to push him to the Midwest League.

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