OaklandClubhouse.com’s A’s Minor League Player of the Year
Consensus Pick: Matt Olson
The A’s had four deserving candidates for the minor league player of the year award, and arguments could easily be made in favor of the other three considered (Daniel Robertson, Renato Nunez and Shane Peterson). However, Olson got the nod from both the OaklandClubhouse readership and staff.
Olson was best power hitter in the A’s system this season, posting a .543 SLG and hitting a system-best 37 homeruns. He also led the A’s system in walks (117) and finished second in on-base percentage (.404). Olson showed a lot of maturity this season, continuing to stick with his approach at the plate even when faced with the frustration of opposing teams playing a defensive shift against him and when dealing with the temptation to try to crush homeruns every at-bat as he chased Chris Carter’s Stockton franchise homerun record.
In a long season, Olson was a player the Ports could count on, day-in and day-out. He played in 138 games and was an asset to the Ports with the glove at first base.
The other three candidates had memorable seasons, as well. Robertson led the A’s system in hits and was a team leader both on the field and off. Nunez had a huge second half, hitting for both power and average, while Peterson carried a Sacramento team that struggled at times offensively.
OaklandClubhouse.com’s A’s Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year
Community Pick: Seth Streich
Staff Pick: Nate Long
There was a split between the OaklandClubhouse community and staff as to who earned the system’s starting pitcher award this season. Both Streich and Long were deserving candidates. The forum community went with Streich, while the staff went with Long.
Streich had a standout year for Stockton, earning post-season Cal League All-Star honors. He struck-out more than a batter an inning while walking just 1.74 per nine innings. Streich kept the ball on the ground in a league where pitchers get punished for allowing flyballs. A season-ending shoulder injury was the only thing that kept Streich from dominating the Cal League.
Long took home the staff honors for his work leading a Midland staff that helped the RockHounds shock the entire Texas League by taking home the title. The right-hander started the year in the bullpen, but moved into a starting role when injuries struck the rotation.
Long threw a career-high 150 innings during the regular season and then added three more starts in the post-season. The RockHounds won his final two post-season starts, both of which came in the championship series. Long isn’t flashy, but he struck-out more than 7.5 batters per nine innings while walking 2.94 per nine. He was particularly good down-the-stretch for Midland even as he was exceeding his previous high innings-totals, posting a 2.39 ERA over his final 10 starts (including those three post-season outings).
Fellow Midland starter Chris Jensen and right-hander Zach Neal were the other two candidates for the award. Jensen was the other glue in the Midland rotation along with Long, tossing a team-high 160.1 regular season innings and earning post-season Texas League honors. The groundball pitcher allowed only three homeruns all season. Neal was an organization solider this year, pitching at three levels (A, Double-A and Triple-A), and pitching well wherever he went. He dominated for Stockton and Midland, and he posted the best starter ERA for Sacramento (4.07). Neal had a 124:20 K:BB and he led the system with 166 innings pitched.
OaklandClubhouse.com’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year
Consensus Pick: Austin House
House quietly dominated for Stockton this season and made a strong impression with a week-long cameo appearance on the Triple-A Sacramento roster. The right-hander saved 19 games, struck-out nearly 12 batters per nine innings and posted a 3.06 ERA in 61.2 innings. House pitched even better than that ERA would indicate – his FIP was 2.70. The Ports’ playoff run was short, but he had a dominant scoreless inning in his only post-season appearance.
The other three candidates – Seth Frankoff, Jeremy McBryde and Evan Scribner – all posted eye-opening numbers of their own. Frankoff had a 2.41 ERA with Midland and pitched well in Sacramento after a slow start. He struck-out more than a batter an inning and saved 16 games. McBryde held PCL batters to a .181 average and struck-out a batter an inning, while Scribner had a remarkable 8.00 K/BB for the River Cats.