Oakland A's MLN: A's Sign Two

We have news and notes from around the Oakland A's organization for November 26.

A’s Add Vertugo, Fuller on MiLB Deals

The Oakland A’s continue to round-out their minor league free agent class, signing two more pitchers to deals. Left-handers Ryan Verdugo and Jim Fuller join a free agent class that includes Brad Mills, Pat Venditte, Kevin Whelan, Angel Castro, Rudy Owens, Ryan Doolittle, Carson Blair and Alden Carrithers. Verdugo and Fuller have both been given invitations to big league spring training.

Verdugo joins the A’s from the Boston Red Sox organization. He spent the second-half of the 2014 season with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he had a 3.45 ERA in 28.2 innings. Before that, Verdugo was with Triple-A Omaha in the Kansas City organization. He had a 4.24 ERA in 46.2 innings for the Storm Chasers in 2014.

The LSU alum was an eighth round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2008. He was exclusively a reliever until the 2011 season, when Verdugo moved into the starting rotation and posted a 4.35 ERA in 130.1 innings for Double-A Richmond. He struck-out more than a batter an inning that season, but he walked 63. During that off-season, Verdugo was traded along with Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals for outfielder Melky Cabrera.

With Kansas City, Verdugo remained in a starter’s role. He spent nearly the entire season with Triple-A Omaha in 2012, posting a 3.75 ERA in 136.2 innings. His K:BB was 118:67, but he allowed just a .227 BAA. Verdugo made his major league debut that season, allowing six runs in 1.2 innings.

Verdugo began his 2013 season on the disabled list and was limited to 75.2 innings, mostly in Triple-A. He struggled, posting a career-worst 5.16 ERA in 61 innings at the Triple-A level. Verdugo rebounded with Omaha at the start of the 2014 season and was sold to the Red Sox on July 18.

The left-hander has been a strike-out pitcher throughout his career. His fastball sits in the high-80s, low-90s, and he also has a slider, change-up and cutter. Verdugo obviously has plenty of experience as both a starter and as a reliever, so he could fill a couple of roles for the A’s in Triple-A in 2015. He joins Mills and Owens as the only left-handers in the A’s minor league system with significant experience starting at the Triple-A level.

Fuller is also left-handed, but he hasn’t started a game above the A-ball level. For the past two seasons, Fuller has been used exclusively as a reliever. He is likely to remain in the bullpen in 2015.

A 21st-round pick of the New York Mets in 2008, Fuller was a starter his first three seasons as a pro. He missed the entire 2011 season with a torn labrum and had to rebuild his arm strength after that. He was a minor league Rule 5 pick-up by the Minnesota Twins before the 2013 season and he spent the last two seasons pitching in the Twins’ system as a reliever after pitching almost exclusively as a starter for the Mets.

The Southern Connecticut State alum spent last season at the Double-A level in the Twins’ organization. He had a 2.41 ERA and a 68:30 K:BB in 56 innings for the RockCats. Lefties hit .214 against Fuller last season.

At 5’10’’, Fuller isn’t imposing, but his fastball sits in the low-90s and it gets a lot of movement. He also has a big, bending curveball and slider.

News and Notes

- Through 37.2 innings, Arnold Leon has 44 strike-outs and nine walks for Culiacan of the Mexican Winter League. His ERA is 2.15 and he has allowed just five runs over his last 23 innings pitched.

- Outfielder Kent Matthes made his Venezuelan Winter League debut on November 23. He 0-for-4 with a run scored.

- Former A’s prospects Omar Duran and Jefry Marte have signed minor league contracts with the Detroit Tigers. Both players were part of the Texas League champion Midland RockHounds squad in 2014.

- Reliever Jorge De Leon, who the A’s claimed off of waivers earlier this off-season, has appeared in three games for Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. He has allowed an unearned run in three innings of work.

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