OaklandClubhouse’s 2016 Minor League Pitcher of the Year:
Stats: 153.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 151 K, 41 BB, 8 HRA
Coming into this season, few knew what to expect from Daniel Gossett. The Oakland A’s 2014 second-round pick suffered through a disappointing first full professional season in 2015, posting a 4.73 ERA in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League. Gossett’s velocity was down all season compared to his collegiate levels and he didn’t appear to have the same confidence he had shown as the Friday night starter for Clemson. That all changed in 2016. Armed with a fastball with life and a new cut-fastball, Gossett was a completely different pitcher in 2016.
Thanks to a strong showing in spring training, Gossett jumped to High-A to start the season despite his struggles in 2015. He got off to a fast start with the Stockton Ports, allowing four earned runs and striking out 22 over his first three starts (17 innings). In his fourth start of the year, Gossett left the game after just two innings with numbness in his throwing arm. What appeared to be a serious injury turned out to be a minor circulation issue and he was able to return to the mound 10 days later. That would be the only blip on the radar for Gossett during the year. Gossett would make five more starts for the Ports before earning a promotion to Double-A Midland. He would leave the Cal League with a 3.33 ERA and a 53:13 K:BB.
http://www.scout.com/mlb/athletics/story/1710860-oaklandclubhouse-s-2016... Gossett found even better results after his promotion to Midland. He was a model of consistency in his 16 starts with the RockHounds, allowing more than three earned runs only once. That outing was his first start in Double-A, when he allowed four earned runs in seven innings. He struck-out seven and didn’t walk a batter in that start. Gossett posted a 2.49 ERA in 94 innings with the RockHounds, striking out 94 and walking 25 during that stretch. He earned a late-season promotion to Triple-A and he allowed just three earned runs in 13.2 innings over two starts for the Nashville Sounds. He also made one post-season start for Nashville, allowing two runs in 5.2 innings.
Gossett led all A’s minor leaguers in strike-outs by 26 and finished 23rd amongst all minor leaguers (only 10 behind the fourth-most). He tied for 14th amongst all qualified minor leaguers in ERA. Even in 2015, Gossett’s breaking ball and change-up were above-average offerings. With his fastball velocity back up to the 91-94 MPH range (touching 96) and his new cut-fastball, Gossett has four legitimate weapons now with which to attack hitters. He is a tough competitor and has shown creativity in terms of pitch selection and placement. Gossett is a sleeper pick to make an impact with the A’s in 2017.
Daniel Mengden: In his first full season as a member of the A’s organization, Mengden zoomed up the ladder from Double-A to the big leagues in a little more than two months time. The right-hander’s time in the minor leagues was limited by his big league stint and by a pitch count limit later in the year. However, he dominated during his 17 minor league starts in 2016. Mendgen posted a 1.46 ERA and a 95:29 K:BB in 98.1 innings for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Opposing batters hit just .197 against him and he allowed only four homeruns. Mengden did battle command issues occasionally and those command issues hurt him more during his big league stint. However, he showed swing-and-miss stuff at the major-league level (70 Ks in 69 big league innings thus far), leaving plenty of optimism for how good he can be moving forward.
Evan Manarino: Among starters with more than 100 minor league innings pitched, Manarino led all A’s minor leaguers with a 1.98 mark. The lefty earned a post-season All-Star nod in the Midwest League, where he had a 2.15 ERA in 121.2 innings. Manarino then posted a 1.27 ERA in 28.1 innings with the Stockton Ports. Manarino doesn’t throw hard, but he mixes his pitches well and challenges hitters. He walked only 28 in 150 innings and gave-up just one homerun.
James Naile: Naile had an adventurous first full professional season, pitching at all four of the A’s full-season levels. All told, Naile led A’s minor leaguers with 156.2 innings pitched. He posted a 3.39 ERA and a 125:38 K:BB. Naile earned a post-season Rawlings Gold Glove award as the top fielding pitcher in the minor leagues. A groundball pitcher, he allowed only nine homeruns and posted a 2.11 GO/AO. Naile doesn’t break 91 MPH that often, but he throws four pitches that all move well and he is a fierce competitor. He showed no fear at the upper levels.
Heath Fillmyer: Like Gossett, Fillmyer suffered through a rough 2015 season with Low-A Beloit. The hard-throwing right-hander had a strong second half of the season with the Snappers and that carried over into his 2016 season with Stockton and Midland. In 95 innings with the Ports, Fillmyer posted a 3.60 ERA and he had an 89:31 K:BB. Fillmyer followed that up with a brilliant eight start stint with the RockHounds, posting a 2.54 ERA and a 29:8 K:BB in 39 innings. Fillmyer is still relatively new to pitching, having made the switch from shortstop to the mound in junior college. He has a plus fastball and his change-up and breaking ball have improved leaps and bounds over the past 12 months. Fillmyer is one of the hardest workers in the A’s system, ranking near the top for preparation. He has the elements to be a big leaguer for a long time.