Oakland A's Minor League Player of the Month – April
Seth Streich, Stockton Ports
Stats: 3-1, 2.36 ERA in 5 starts; 30:7 K:BB in 26.2 IP
Streich got off to a rocky start in 2013 before settling in to put together a strong season for the Beloit Snappers. In 2014, Streich has had no such early season struggles. In five April starts, Streich smothered Cal League hitters, holding them to a .198 average and allowing no homeruns.
A groundball pitcher, Streich had a 2.58 GO/AO in April. He also struck-out more than a batter an inning and maintained a better than 3:1 K:BB. Streich is the least experienced member of the Stockton Ports' rotation, but he has pitched like a veteran thus far.
Murphy Smith, Midland (0.42 ERA; 9 H in 21.1 IP; 16:4 K:BB): Before the season, A's minor league pitching coordinator Scott Emerson said the A's were moving Smith from the starting rotation to the bullpen to see if Smith's stuff would play better in the bullpen. Thus far, that conversion has been a huge success, as Smith has dominated Texas League hitters in a way he hasn't done in previous seasons. Smith has filled the strike-zone and has induced weak contact, holding opposing batters to a .136 BA. He also had a 1.10 GO/AO in April.
Tim Atherton, Stockton (3-0, 3.18 ERA in 5 starts; 29:8 K:BB in 28.1 IP): Atherton's April ended on a bit of a down note, as he landed on the DL. However, before being placed on the disabled list, Atherton was on quite a roll. Over his last three starts, Atherton allowed just four runs in 19.1 IP. He carried a perfect game into the eighth inning of his final start of the month and he recorded back-to-back games with 10 and then nine strike-outs.
Seth Frankoff assumed the closer role in Midland.
Seth Frankoff, Midland (1.54 ERA; 5 SV; 19:4 K:BB in 11.2 IP): The Midland bullpen has been outstanding this season, and Frankoff has become the go-to guy for the RockHounds in the ninth inning. Frankoff led the RockHounds in strike-outs in April despite not being a starting pitcher. He had a 3.25 GO/AO and batters hit only .200 against him.
Shawn Haviland, Stockton/Midland (1.74 ERA; 18:6 K:BB in 31 IP): Haviland missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery during the off-season between the 2012 and 2013 campaign. He hasn't missed a beat in his return, pitching well in three California League starts before earning a promotion to Double-A. In his return to Midland, Haviland didn't allow an earned run in 14.1 innings over his two April starts for the RockHounds.
Zach Neal, Midland/Sacramento: 2.79 ERA; 23:5 K:BB in 29 IP; Evan Scribner, Sacramento: 0.00 ERA; 4 SV; 10:2 K:BB in 7 IP; Kyle Finnegan, Beloit: 2.83 ERA in 28.2 IP; .231 BAA; Jeff Urlaub, Midland: 0.63 ERA; 11:5 K:BB in 14.1 IP; Paul Smyth, Sacramento: 1.86 ERA; 7:3 K:BB in 9.2 IP; Omar Duran, Stockton: 2.16 ERA; 11:2 K:BB in 8.1 IP