Time spent in the Instructional League can often be the most valuable of a young player's career. "Instructs" is designed to provide A's prospects with lots of one-on-one coaching. The A's Instructs team will take on the Instructs clubs from the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-week long season. Games will take place at the respective teams' minor league complexes.
The daily schedule for the Instructional League is generally filled with early morning meetings, plenty of conditioning and drills and then games. It can be grueling, but it also plays an important role in helping young players build a foundation for the rest of their playing careers.
"Is it a grind?" A's minor league hitting coordinator Todd Steverson recently said in an interview with OaklandClubhouse."Absolutely. Early in the morning, and it's hot. You're sweating, but you know what? Hey, you've got to come out and perform. Nothing is given to you for free in this game. You put the work in and you hope you get something out of it. We try to make it as fun as we can for the kids, but the bottom line is that Instructional League is a good time to grasp a reality of the craft. That's what we are here for.
"There are many great players that we have had in the Oakland A's organization go through the Instructional League program. I hope they understand that it is an honor [to be invited] more than it is just a grind."
The A's 2012 and 2011 draft classes are well represented on this year's 2012 Instructs roster. Oakland's top picks in 2011 (Sonny Gray) and 2012 (Addison Russell) will both be in attendance, as well as the A's two supplemental first-round picks in 2012 (Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson) and the A's second-overall pick in 2011 (B.A. Vollmuth).
Pitchers Raul Alcantara and A.J. Cole, both acquired in high-profile off-season trades before the start of the 2012 season, will be attending their first A's Instructional League camps. Catcher David Freitas, acquired by the A's during the season for major league catcher Kurt Suzuki, will also be given the opportunity to get to know the A's coaching staff better.
Some of Oakland's most recent high-profile international amateur free agent signings will also be in attendance. Renato Nunez, Vicmal De La Cruz, Jose Torres and Shawn Duinkerk will be attending their second US Instructional League camps after finishing their first full seasons playing in the United States. Wilfredo Solano will be attending his third US Instructs camp. Michael Ynoa will be participating in Instructs as a healthy pitcher for the first time in several years. Ynoa threw a career-high 30.2 innings this season and made it to the short-season A-ball level for the first time.
Former position players Daniel Petitti and Jensi Peralta will continue their transitions to the mound. Petitti spent most of the 2012 regular season as a pitcher and opened a lot of eyes by striking out 29 in 15.2 innings for the A's Rookie League team. Peralta was a shortstop for his entire career until late this season when he switched to the mound. The native of Venezuela made his pitching debut for the AZL A's on August 29.
Petitti, 24, is the oldest player on the A's Instructs roster. Duinkerk, 18, is the youngest.
Below is the complete A's 2012 Instructs roster, as of September 1.
Pitchers – 23
Raul Alcantara (acquired via trade -- Boston)
Jose Azor (international free agent)
Dakota Bacus (2012 draftee)
A.J. Cole (acquired via trade -- Washington)
Ryan Dull (2012 draftee)
Omar Duran (international free agent)
Sonny Gray (2011 draftee)
Blake Hassebrock (2010 draftee)
Tyler Hollstegge (2012 draftee)
Austin House (2012 draftee)
Ian Krol (2009 draftee)
Cody Kurz (2012 draftee)
Greg Paulino (international free agent)
Jensi Peralta (international free agent)
Tanner Peters (2011 draftee)
Daniel Petitti (2010 draftee)
Stuart Pudenz (2012 draftee)
Nolan Sanburn (2012 draftee)
Lee Sosa (2012 draftee)
Seth Streich (2012 draftee)
Jose Torres (international free agent)
Tyler Vail (2010 draftee)
Michael Ynoa (international free agent)
Infielders – 10
Chris Bostick (2011 draftee)
Yordy Cabrera (2010 draftee)
Melvin Mercedes (2012 draftee)
Max Muncy (2012 draftee)
Renato Nunez (international free agent)
Matt Olson (2012 draftee)
Daniel Robertson (2012 draftee)
Addison Russell (2012 draftee)
Wilfredo Solano (international free agent)
B.A. Vollmuth (2011 draftee)
Outfielders – 7
B.J. Boyd (2012 draftee)
Bobby Crocker (2011 draftee)
Vicmal De La Cruz (international free agent)
Shawn Duinkerk (international free agent)
Matt Hillsinger (2012 draftee)
Aaron Shipman (2010 draftee)
John Wooten (2012 draftee)