Opening night, June 20, 2014: A's hosted the Angels. In a very touching pre-game moment, both teams lined-up facing home plate and had a moment of silence for the passing of the beloved Bob Welch, who passed away suddenly on June 9th. Catcher Luke Montz shared a few brief but touching words about the man everyone knew as "Welchie." Also, in his honor, the number "35" is in the grass behind home plate, and his jersey, matching that which the team wears that game, hangs in the dugout each night. Welchie is still part of this team.
SEASON RECAP (THUS FAR)
The standard schedule of the Arizona Rookie League is four games on; one day off, with the four games equaling one "set." After the first two sets of games (eight total), the A's have won three and lost five. At this time, however, the records can't be taken too seriously; there is so much flow in the rosters; newly drafted players who debut and then move on to another level; rehabbing veterans who do the same. That being said, the team stats are detailed in their own section below.
Two notes of interest: First, as has been stated many times, the AZL is a non-revenue generating league, so there is no budget to spend. While at certain stadiums, namely the Brewers in Maryvale, and the Angels in Tempe, the national anthem is played before the game, and the players' names are often displayed on the scoreboard. However, on the A's June 21st visit to Tempe Diablo Stadium, there was a public address announcer who not only introduced each player, but who also played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the 7th inning stretch.
This was the 2nd game of the season, and the Angels beat the A's 13-4. Maybe the Halos will continue this production throughout the season.
Second: after each Arizona Diamondbacks win at home (Chase Field), they play a song by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, called "D-Backs Swing". I don't recall ever hearing this played after AZL games, but it was played after the AZL D-backs beat the A's on Friday, June 27th.
Nice to see little efforts being made to give the players in the Fire League a taste of playing at the next level, where there are more in attendance than their teammates, the flies, the ants and… me.
There have been many young men taking their first step on a US field as a professional thus far this season. This includes newly drafted players, as well as those promoted from the Dominical Summer league:
JUNE 20 debuts
JUNE 21 debuts
JUNE 22 debuts
JUNE 23 debuts
JUNE 25 debuts
RHP Jesus Rivas - DSL/ VT
JUNE 27 debut
RHP Branden Kelliher – 11th round
JUNE 28 debuts
STATS: 56 GAMES IN AZL SEASON
EIGHT GAMES PLAYED for most teams.
AZL A's record of 3-5 – last in the East Division, but not the worst in the league. There are three teams with a 2-6 record: Reds, Padres and White Sox.
The A's opponent for tonight, AZL Rangers are undefeated at 6-0; the AZL Brewers, led by Jacob Gatewood have a record of 6-2.
Of the 13 AZL teams, the A's rank as below:
Runs: Rank – 8th; total 44
Hits: Rank – 8th; total 69
2Bs: Rank – 3rd; total 17
3Bs: Rank – 8th; total 4
HRs: Rank – 1st; total 7
RBI: Rank – 7th; total 33
TB: Rank – 3rd; total 115
BB: Rank – 9th; total 28
SO: Rank – 4th; total 65
SB: Rank – 11th; total 6
OBP: Rank – 10th; .316
SLG: Rank – 4th; .401
BA: Rank – 9th; .340
OPS: Rank – 9th; 716
Seongmin Kim: June 26th - 1st of the season
Robert Martinez: 2 - June 22nd, June 23nd
Jose Brizuela: June 25th (inside the park)
Edwin Diaz: June 25th
Dusty Brown: June 22nd
Max Kuhn: June 25th
A notable performance that was a full year in the making: After having Tommy John surgery last summer, LHP Dillon Overton, Oakland's 2nd round pick in the 2013 draft, made his pro debut in Arizona. On June 23rd, when the 22-year-old took the mound for the first time in his professional career, it was as if Christmas had come early. Overton's parents and fiancée were at Papago for the game against the Giants. But if you were in attendance for this game, you were a supporter of Overton's, even if your colors were orange and black.
The line on Dillon Overton's performance facing 10 batters: 3 IP, 2H, 1 R(E), 0 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR.
No sign of nerves; just confidence and control. As he returned for each inning, his command improved, his confidence remained strong, and, in a word, he was impressive.
FROM VERMONT: LHP Alex Nolasco and RHP Jesus Rivas
TO BELOIT: 3B Matt Chapman and RHP Joel Seddon
TO BELOIT: RHP Brendan McCurry
TO VERMONT: RHP Corey Miller, LHP Michael Fagan, 3B Jose Brizuela and Daniel Gossett, A's 2014 2nd round pick, who was in Arizona but made his debut in Vermont on June 26th
ON THE ROSTER
Catchers: Dusty Brown, Josh Miller and Luke Montz
HERE, BUT NOT YET ACTIVERHP Dakota Freese, RHP Dustin Driver, INF A.J. Kubala, LHP Chris Kohler
RHP Derek DeYoung, who is out for the season, is progressing through the Tommy John recovery process, and is in good spirits. C Nick Rickles, also out for the season, is progressing from right shoulder surgery.