Oakland A's Minor League Player of the Month – April
Tyler Ladendorf, Sacramento River Cats
Stats: .368/.482/.485 with eight doubles, 15:13 BB:K
The season began inauspiciously for Ladendorf, but the middle infielder's fortunes picked up in a hurry once the season officially began. Slated to play for Double-A Midland at the end of spring, Ladendorf didn't leave Arizona with his RockHounds' teammates immediately because he had to have wisdom teeth removed. He wound-up never reporting to Midland, as the A's changed his assignment to Sacramento when it was learned that Jake Elmore would require a DL stint. The assignment may have been considered temporary at the time, but Ladendorf has made a strong case for remaining with the River Cats even after Elmore returns.
Always considered once of the better defensive infielders in the A's system, Ladendorf extended his value to the batter's box in April while continuing to play above-average defense at second base and shortstop. He led all A's minor leaguers with a .368 average and a .482 OBP in April. Ladendorf has never been an overly patient hitter, but he walked 15 times in 22 games, while striking out just 13 times. Although he didn't homer, Ladendorf doubled eight times and scored 12 runs despite batting near the bottom of the order for much of the month. He has been a sparkplug wherever he has hit in the line-up. Earlier this week, Ladendorf had back-to-back games during which he scored both of Sacramento's runs and then drove-in all of the River Cats' runs. He has been particularly effective at Raley Field, posting a .422/.544/.578 line in 45 at-bats.
Elmore began his major-league rehab assignment last Thursday, but he hasn't appeared in a game since Saturday. When he does return to the River Cats' active roster, the A's will have a decision to make about whose roster spot Elmore takes. The A's already sent infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima to Double-A Midland, which could be an indication that Ladendorf is set to stay with Sacramento even after Elmore's return.
Boog Powell, Beloit (.348/.455/.457 in 25 games): It was a rough month for the Beloit Snappers, but their lead-off hitter was one of the toughest outs in the league. Powell posted an 18:15 K:BB and he stole six bases in eight chances. Powell also connected on his first professional homer, used his speed to collect two triples and scored 15 runs. Powell has been particularly hot of late. Over his last 10 games, he has a .533 OBP and 13 walks to go along with 12 hits.
Jake Goebbert, Sacramento (.303/.398/.579 with four homers in 21 games): Goebbert has been a force for Sacramento this season, leading the team in homeruns and triples through May 1. Goebbert had an 11:12 BB:K in April and he drove-in 17 runs in 21 games. He also played solid defense in left field. Goebbert has been particularly effective away from Raley Field, posting a .412/.459/.912 line during away games in April.
Chad Pinder, Stockton (.340/.375/.660 with seven homers in 25 games): Pinder was the A's third overall pick last season, but the Virginia Tech alum had a disappointing pro debut, so it was a surprise when the A's assigned him to High-A Stockton rather than Low-A Beloit. It has become clear that the A's knew what they were doing with the assignment, as Pinder has blistered Cal League pitching thus far. Although he has work to do on his plate discipline (22:5 K:BB in April), he has sprayed line-drives all over the field. He leads all A's minor leaguers in homeruns and slugging percentage and is third in average behind Ladendorf and Powell. Pinder is doing all of this while playing a position (second base) he didn't play much of in college.
Alden Carrithers, Sacramento (.338/.473/.437 in 21 games): They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and Carrithers has made the most of his first chance to shine in the A's organization. The minor league free agent signing has been an everyday fixture for the River Cats, playing mostly third base. Carrithers had 16 walks and just 11 strike-outs in April and he hit .320 versus righties and .360 versus lefties.
Bruce Maxwell, Stockton (.330/.364/.447 in 22 games; three homers and just 14 strike-outs in 94 at-bats); Josh Whitaker, Midland (.322/.379/.542 with three homers in 59 at-bats); Max Muncy, Midland (.289/.426/.400 in 25 games; 22:14 BB:K); Daniel Robertson, Stockton (.307/.407/.446 in 24 games; 14:12 BB:K)