A's Set Their Arizona Fall League Roster
The Arizona Fall League's preliminary rosters were released on Tuesday. The Oakland A's will be sending four pitchers and three position players to the premier prospect showcase league.
For the first time in several years, the A's won't be sending their players to the Desert Dogs' roster. With the A's set to move their spring training and minor league facility from Phoenix to Mesa, the AFL has moved their Desert Dogs' franchise from Phoenix Muni to Camelback Ranch in Glendale. The A's will be sending their players to the Mesa Solar Sox roster. Mesa plays at HoHoKam Park, the A's future spring training home. The Angels, Tigers, Nationals and Cubs will also be sending their prospects to the Solar Sox's roster.
Below is a look at the A's 2013 Arizona Fall League contingent.
Ryan Dull: It has been a storybook first full professional season for Dull, who was the A's 32nd-round pick last season. The right-handed reliever has pitched at three levels this year. He began the season with Low-A Beloit and was promoted to High-A Stockton shortly after pitching in the Midwest League All-Star game. After dominating the California League in 15 appearances, Dull was promoted to Double-A Midland, where he has logged eight appearances for the RockHounds.
Dull has a remarkable 77:8 K:BB in 56.2 innings and he has allowed just three homeruns. He has 19 saves and a 2.54 ERA.
Omar Duran: For much of Duran's professional career, he has been an example of unfulfilled promise. Signed as an international amateur free agent before the 2008 season, Duran struggled with injuries and control problems for much of his first few years in the organization. He had a brief appearance with High-A Stockton in 2011, but he didn't gain his first significant experience in a full-season league until this season. Duran has been with High-A Stockton for most of the season, logging 31 appearances for the Ports. He also had a brief, four-appearance stint with short-season Vermont.
The hard-throwing Duran has still had trouble with his command at times this year, but he has also been dominating at times. He has 88 strike-outs in just 55.1 innings pitched and batters are hitting only .176 against him. Duran has walked 41, but since the All-Star break, he has walked 16 in 30.2 innings, a significant improvement over the first-half of the season.
Seth Frankoff: For much of the season, the Stockton Ports' bullpen has been light's out and Frankoff was a part of their success. The right-hander has been in Stockton all season. A starter for the first two years of his pro career, Frankoff moved into the bullpen midway through last season and has found success in that role ever since.
This season, Frankoff has been exclusively a reliever. In 72.2 innings, he has a 92: 23 K:BB and a 2.48 ERA. He has a career 8.8 K/9 and a 0.5 HR/9. His 4.00 K:BB this season is the best of his career.
Jeff Urlaub: Persistence has been the trademark of Urlaub's pitching career. A highly regarded pitcher coming out of high school, Urlaub suffered an elbow injury while at Arizona State that ended up requiring Tommy John surgery to correct. That injury led him down a path that took him to UNLV and Grand Canyon University before he was finally selected in the 30th round of the 2010 draft by the A's. Since then, Urlaub hasn't had the easiest path in pro ball. He dominated the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, but found himself back in short-season ball during the second half of the 2011 season despite a 3.93 ERA in 18.1 innings with Low-A Burlington during the first half. At the start of the 2012 season, Urlaub returned to Low-A and posted a 27:1 K:BB in 34.2 innings before earning a promotion to High-A Stockton. After a 31:8 K:BB in 30.1 innings with the Ports during the second half of 2012, Urlaub was rewarded with a promotion to Double-A at the start of the 2013 season.
The crafty left-hander has had a solid first season at the Double-A level. In 44.1 innings, he has a 3.86 ERA and a 38:18 K:BB with the Midland Rockhounds. Despite not possessing an overwhelming fastball, he has allowed just two homeruns and has held Texas League batters to a .259 average this season. A native of Scottsdale, he will be pitching in front of friends and family this fall.
David Freitas: It has been a strange year for Freitas, and it could get even stranger if the A's don't acquire another minor league catcher before the end of the month. Traded to the A's from Washington last August for Kurt Suzuki, Freitas had a promising debut in the A's system, posting a .333/.392/.524 line for Double-A Midland in 20 games. Freitas then hit well for the A's during a stint in big league spring training.
Freitas began the season on the Triple-A Sacramento roster, but he was sent back to Double-A a few weeks into the season when the A's acquired Stephen Vogt. Once back in Double-A, Freitas struggled to recapture his 2012 stroke. He hit just .214/.285/.362 with nine homers in 61 games. There was a three-week period during which he had only seven hits in more than 70 at-bats and all seven were homeruns. In late July, Freitas was promoted to Triple-A to take Vogt's place when he was sent to Oakland to replace John Jaso.
Since then, Freitas has a .275/.363/.400 line in 23 games. The A's recently re-acquired Suzuki, and there is a chance that Freitas could be teammates in Oakland with the man he was traded for just last season. If Derek Norris' broken toe lingers well past September 1st and the A's don't bring in another catcher, Freitas is the next in line to join the A's as their third catcher this September. Freitas will be one of three catchers on the Mesa roster.
Max Muncy: Like Dull, Muncy has had an impressive first full professional season. The A's fifth-round pick in 2012, Muncy was the first member of his draft class to reach a full-season level last season. Muncy more than held his own in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League last year, posting an 816 OPS and owning a 41:37 BB:K. Those numbers earned the Baylor alum a promotion to High-A Stockton at the start of his first pro year.
Muncy was a dominating force with the Ports for the first half of this season. In 93 games, he posted a .285/.400/.507 line with 21 homers and 76 RBI. He had a 64:68 BB:K and was leading the Cal League in several offensive categories before earning a promotion to Double-A. Muncy had a slow start with Midland, posting a 507 OPS in July, but he has picked it up in August, hitting .274/.354/.440. Overall, he has a .269/.377/.459 line with 23 homers, 94 RBI and 80 walks.
Muncy has one of the best batting eyes in the A's system and he is also an above-average defensive first-baseman. He is one of three first-basemen on the current Mesa roster.
Addison Russell: Of course, there isn't a member of the A's 2012 draft class who has opened more eyes than their first overall pick. Russell zoomed through three levels last season. Although he has played at only one level this year, his 2013 has been just as impressive as his 2012 campaign. Despite being the youngest position player in the Cal League for much of the season, Russell has been one of the best all-around players in the league this year. In 103 games, Russell has a .279/.372/.518 line with 17 homers, 17 stolen bases, 10 triples and 29 doubles for Stockton.
Perhaps more impressive than Russell's raw stats has been his maturity. The 19-year-old got off to a very slow start with Stockton and was hitting around the Mendoza line at the end of May. Many young players would have allowed that start to bury them, but Russell shook it off and put together a monster final three months of the season. He hit .333 in June, .344 in July and is batting .310 in August. His post All-Star break OPS is 997 and he has cut his K-rate by more than 5%.
Russell isn't just a good hitter. He has showed impressive range at shortstop and appears to be on-track to remain at that all-important defensive position as he nears ever closer to the big leagues. The Arizona Fall League will give Russell some at-bats against some advanced pitching and help him make up some at-bats that he lost this year to a minor back and a minor hand injury.
Other News and Notes
-- Addison Russell named to California League's post-season All-Star team and he was also named league's Rookie of the Year. Russell's 890 OPS is currently eighth-best in the Cal League.
-- Although both are currently on the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats' roster, Anthony Aliotti and Carlos Hernandez received Double-A honors on Tuesday. Both were named to the Texas League's post-season All-Star team for their efforts with the Midland RockHounds. Hernandez had a 2.18 ERA in 132 innings for Midland this season. His ERA is currently second in the Texas League. Aliotti hit a league-best .350 with a 993 OPS in 91 games with the RockHounds this season. His .452 OBP also leads the league.
-- Vermont outfielder Boog Powell's strong season came to a premature end on Monday night when he injured his shoulder. The A's 2012 20th-round pick hit .283 with 14 stolen bases in 59 games with the Lake Monsters this season.
-- Beloit first-baseman Matt Olson was named the Midwest League's Player of the Week for the week of August 19th. He hit five homeruns during the week, the most in minor league baseball last week. Olson also had a .379 batting average and had 12 RBI.
-- The Beloit Snappers finished off a four-game sweep of the Clinton LumberKings on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win. Andres Avila, Austin House and Tyler Vail combined for the shutout. Ryan Mathews had a double and his 13th homerun, and Chris Bostick reached base three times with two hits and a walk.
-- Sean Murphy allowed just one run in six innings on Tuesday night, but he was the tough-luck loser in Midland's 1-0 loss to San Antonio. Murphy struck-out five, walked two and allowed three hits. D'Arby Myers singled on the first pitch he saw in the game to extend his hitting streak to 30 games.
-- Josh Bowman twirled a complete-game gem for the Stockton Ports on Tuesday night in their 3-1 win over Bakersfield. Bowman scattered five hits and allowed just a solo homerun to earn his sixth win. He struck-out seven. Bruce Maxwell hit his fourth homerun and reached base four times, while Myrio Richard and Antonio Lamas added multi-hit games.
-- Brian Gordon set a Sacramento River Cats' record when he recorded his 21st save on Tuesday night. The River Cats defeated Fresno, 2-1. Travis Banwart earned the win, allowing a run on four hits in 5.2 innings. The win was his 10th of the year. Fernando Nieve and Hideki Okajima combined for 2.1 scoreless innings to bridge the gap to Gordon, who tossed a one-two-three ninth. Michael Choice reached base three times and Jemile Weeks and Hideki Nakajima each had doubles.