Stockton Notebook: Weathering The Changes

The month of May got off to a rough start when the Stockton Ports went on a six-game losing streak. Since that streak ended, the Ports have been back on the winning track. We catch-up with the Oakland A's High-A affiliate.

Team Overview

After a season-high six-game losing streak, the Stockton Ports have reeled off five wins over their last seven games. Through Wednesday, the Ports sat one game above the .500 mark (23-22) and 6.5 games behind first-place San Jose.

With back-to-back games scoring in double-digits earlier this week, the Ports have moved into third place in the California League in runs scored with 248 (5.5 runs per game). The Ports lead the league in homeruns by a healthy margin (63, 14 more than the second-place team) and are fourth in slugging percentage (.425) and team OPS (754). Stockton has been a station-to-station club, for the most part, with only 30 stolen bases, last in the league. Stockton is third in the league in strike-outs and third in walks.

First baseman Max Muncy has cooled since his red-hot start to the season, but he still has the 10th-best OPS in the Cal League with an 881 mark. He leads the league in walks (35) and is fifth in the league in OBP (.408).

The Ports' staff is fourth in the league in team ERA with a 4.31 mark. They are second only to San Jose in strike-outs (423) and have walked the fourth-most batters (160). The Ports have allowed 41 homeruns, tied for fourth-most, as well.

Starter Drew Granier is third in the Cal League in ERA with a 2.28 mark through nine starts. He also leads the league in strike-outs with 63. Fellow Stockton starter Tanner Peters is 10th in the league in strike-outs with 48.

On Thursday, Stockton begins a quick four-game roadtrip in Bakersfield. They then make the drive back up north on Sunday night in time for a three-game series with Inland Empire in Stockton starting on Monday.


Comings and Goings

There has been plenty of movement on the Stockton roster over the past few weeks. Right-hander Pedro Vidal spent 11 days on the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats' roster and he returned to the Ports on Thursday. He made only two appearances for the River Cats during that time. For Stockton, he has an 0.92 ERA in 19.2 innings.

While Vidal was away, right-hander Brett Hunter took his place in the Ports' bullpen. Hunter began the year in extended spring training and he made his 2013 debut on May 12. In three appearances for the Ports, Hunter allowed a run on three hits in four innings. He struck-out seven and walked one. On Thursday, Hunter was promoted to Double-A Midland, where he spent all of last season.

Right-hander James Simmons was sent down from Triple-A Sacramento to move into Stockton's rotation. He tossed four scoreless innings in his first start for the Ports.

At the start of the month, catcher Ryan Ortiz was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento, taking Luke Montz's spot on the River Cats' roster. Philip Pohl was sent to Stockton to take Ortiz's place. The Ports also added outfielder Rashun Dixon, who joined the team on May 14 from Low-A Beloit. This week the team also added starter Josh Bowman, who was sent down to Stockton from Double-A Midland. Bowman was the Ports' top starter in 2012.

Dixon took the spot of outfielder Josh Whitaker on the Ports' roster. Whitaker had an 851 OPS and a team-leading 28 RBI in 30 games with the Ports before his promotion. He appeared in five games with the RockHounds before landing on the DL with a fractured left wrist.

Reliever Seth Frankoff was placed on the seven-day DL on May 17, while David Mota came off of the DL earlier in the month.

Two pitchers were released from the A's organization off of the Ports' roster this month. Right-hander Max Perlman was released on May 15 and right-hander Sergio Perez was released on May 20. Perlman was the A's 35th-round pick in 2011 out of Harvard. The 6'7'' reliever had a 5.06 ERA in four appearances this season. Perez was signed as a minor league free agent this spring. He began the year with Midland but landed on the disabled list during the first week of the season and was sent to Stockton after a stint in extended spring training. Perez allowed 12 runs in eight innings with the Ports.


Who's Hot

It has been a slow start to the season for OF Myrio Richard, who is repeating the High-A level for a third year. Richard has swung the bat well lately, however. He has three homers over the past seven games and has three doubles over that stretch, as well. Over his last 10 games, Richard's OPS is 893.

Since joining the Ports, Rashun Dixon has been a three true outcomes kind of player. In 21 at-bats, Dixon has five hits (including a homer and a double), nine walks and 12 strike-outs.

Max Muncy hasn't hit for the same amount of power as he did early in the season, but he is still hitting at a respectable clip. Over his last 10 games, he is batting .295 with five walks. For the season, Muncy has a 35:32 BB:K ratio and nine homeruns. Eight of those homers came in April.

Philip Pohl has given the Ports a boost since joining the team from extended spring training. He has appeared in 10 games for Stockton and is batting .361/.442/.528. Pohl has three doubles and a homer. The homer came on Tuesday and it was a game-tying shot in the bottom of the 16th inning. The Ports would win the game in 17th inning. Pohl has a five-game hitting streak.

Infielder Tony Thompson had two homers and seven RBI in one inning on Monday and has three homers and 10 RBI in his last three games played. Thompson also threw two scoreless innings in relief in the Ports' extra-innings win. He has seven homers and 25 RBI this season.

Shortstop Addison Russell is starting to heat up for Stockton. He has a 909 OPS over his last 10 games and he has connected on four of his six homeruns during that stretch. Russell has a four-game hitting streak, during which he has two doubles, two homers and five RBI.

Going into his start on Thursday, Drew Granier is carrying a 1.37 ERA in four May starts. The Louisiana native has 28 strike-outs in 26.1 innings this month and he has yet to allow a homerun.

RHP Jose Macias has yet to allow an earned run in May. In 14.2 innings, the reliever has allowed just five hits and one walk while striking out 15.

Former starter Blake Hassebrock was moved to the bullpen at the start of May, and thus far the change of scenery has been beneficial. The right-hander has appeared in five games as a reliever and he has allowed only one run on seven hits in nine innings. He has walked one and he has struck-out seven. Hassebrock walked 17 in 20.2 innings as a starter and he had a 6.53 ERA.

After posting a 7.30 ERA in five April starts, Tanner Peters has turned things around in May. In four starts, he has a 2.81 ERA and a 24:6 K:BB ratio in 25.2 innings. On May 15, he had an eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance.

Another Ports' pitcher who has seen a May turnaround is right-hander T.J. Walz. Walz had a 6.75 ERA in 12 April innings. He walked nine in April. In May, Walz has a 2.84 ERA and a 15:4 K:BB in 12.2 innings.


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