Oakland A's MLN: Notable Arms

With nearly two months of the 2012 regular season in the books, the sample sizes by which we can judge a player's performance for the season are become more significant. We take a look at some of the pitchers in the Oakland A's system who are making a name for themselves thus far this season.

Starting Pitchers

Dan Straily, Midland: Straily is leading all A's minor leaguers with 69 strike-outs in 52.1 innings for Midland this season. The right-hander had a career-best 15 strike-outs in his last start on Friday. Those 15 strike-outs came in only seven innings pitched. The strike-out totals are no fluke for Straily. He whiffed 149 batters in 148 innings in 2010 and 154 batters in 160.2 innings in 2011. Straily has also shown excellent command in 2011, walking only 17.

Drew Granier, Burlington: The A's 2011 32nd round pick has exceeded expectations ever since he turned pro. He posted a 1.75 ERA with 69 strike-outs in 51.1 innings for the A's two US short-season squads last year. This season, he is continuing that performance for Low-A Burlington. In 51.2 innings for the Bees, the right-hander has an organization-best 1.79 ERA and a solid 53:17 K:BB ratio. Granier has allowed only two homeruns and batters are hitting only .230 against him.

Murphy Smith, Midland: Smith had a solid 2011 campaign with High-A Stockton, but the right-hander struggled during the Arizona Fall League. He has recovered nicely from that Fall League performance this year. In 42.1 innings for the Rockhounds, Smith has a 2.76 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.

Sean Murphy, Burlington: Murphy struggled in a half season with Low-A Burlington in 2011, but he has been dominant for the Bees in 2012. The 6'6'' right-hander has 52 strike-outs in 50.1 innings and he has walked only 17. Batters are hitting only .197 against him and Murphy has a 1.97 ERA.

A.J. Griffin, Sacramento: Griffin recently earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento after dominating for Double-A Midland to start the year. In seven starts with the Rockhounds, Griffin had a 2.49 ERA and a 44:7 K:BB ratio in 43.1 innings. Griffin had his worst start of the season on Saturday night in Albuquerque (6 ER in 5 IP), but he still has 10 strike-outs and only three walks in 11 Triple-A innings thus far.

Bruce Billings, Sacramento: Billings began the year as a reliever for Double-A Midland, but he moved into the Sacramento rotation early in the season. In six starts for the River Cats, he has a 2.36 ERA and a 30:9 in 34.1 innings pitched. Opposing batters are hitting only .206 against him. Despite being a flyball pitcher, Billings has allowed only one homerun.

T.J. Walz, Stockton: Walz has been touched up a bit in his last two starts (9 ER in 11.1 IP), but he has been effective overall this season for High-A Stockton. In 47.2 innings, he has a 49:10 K:BB ratio and three homeruns allowed.

Brad Peacock, Sacramento: Although Peacock hasn't been quite as dominating with the River Cats as he was in the Washington Nationals' chain last season, the right-hander is still pitching well overall for Sacramento. He has 43 strike-outs in 45.1 innings pitched and he has allowed only two homeruns. His two worst starts came in the bandbox stadiums in Reno and Albuquerque. Peacock struggled with his command during spring training, but he hasn't walked more than three in any start this season and has 16 walks overall.

Relief Pitchers

Sean Doolittle, Midland: In his first season as a pitcher, the former first baseman has shined as a reliever. In 20.1 innings for High-A Stockton and, most recently, Double-A Midland, Doolittle has 38 strike-outs and a 0.89 ERA. The left-hander has walked only six and has yet to allow a homerun. Doolittle has given up only seven hits and he recorded his first professional save on Sunday.

Jake Brown, Stockton: Brown was hit hard during his first stint in the Cal League last season, but he has experienced a complete turnaround in 2012 with the Ports. The left-hander has a 28:3 K:BB ratio and a 2.53 ERA in 32 innings. Brown has served mostly as a long reliever, although he has made two starts.

Jim Miller, Sacramento: Miller was recalled by the A's on Sunday and it is easy to see why with the way he has been pitching for the River Cats. The right-hander has struck-out 12 and has walked only two in 12.1 innings with Sacramento. Both of those walks came in the same outing. Opposing hitters are batting only .229 against him.

Connor Hoehn, Stockton: In his second season with the Ports, Hoehn has been very difficult to hit. Opposing batters are hitting only .129 against him and he has allowed only one homerun in 19 innings pitched. Hoehn has also struck-out 22, although he has walked 11.

Evan Scribner, Sacramento: The former Padres' prospect is putting together a solid start to his career in the A's organization. Scribner has 28 strike-outs and has walked only seven in 25.2 innings and opposing batters are hitting only .198 against him. The only blemish on Scribner's record is the four homeruns he has allowed.

Ryan Doolittle, Stockton: Since turning pro, Doolittle has been one of the stingiest pitchers in the A's organization in terms of issuing walks. The right-hander has continued that stinginess this season. In 16.2 innings for Stockton and Burlington, he has walked only one batter and he has struck-out 20. He has a 1.62 ERA. For his career, Doolittle has walked only 16 in 128.2 innings pitched.

Max Perlman, Burlington: The 6'7'' right-hander has allowed only 23 base-runners in 26.2 innings pitched for the Bees this season. The Harvard alum has a 2.70 ERA and has a .191 BAA.

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