OaklandClubhouse Pitcher of the Month: April
Evan Manarino, LHP, Stockton Ports
23 IP, 1.57 ERA, 18 H, 1 BB, 22 K, 0.83 WHIP
Manarino doesn't have flashy stuff, but the left-hander continues to pitch like an ace. A year after posting a 1.98 ERA in 150 innings for the A's two A-ball squads, Manarino is back at it in 2017, dominating Cal League hitters like a high-profile prospect. He walked a batter in his first appearance this season and hasn't repeated the feat in five outings since then. Cal League batters are hitting just .205 against him and left-handers have two hits in 12 at-bats. In Manarino's last outing of the month, he worked five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five. For the month, Manarino threw 302 pitches – 215 for strikes (71%).
There are a number of Ports pitchers who are worthy of a promotion to Double-A Midland, and Manarino is right at the top of that list. In 51 innings in the Cal League dating back to last year, Manarino has allowed just eight earned runs on 41 hits. He has a 40:9 K:BB over that stretch and he hasn't given up a homerun.
Paul Blackburn, RHP, Nashville Sounds: 22 IP, 1.64 ERA, 15 H, 7 BB, 19 K, 1.00 WHIP
Blackburn entered the season as the only member of the Sounds' roster who hadn't had any Triple-A experience prior to the 2017 campaign. Thus far, he has been the ace of the Nashville staff despite the lack of experience. For the month of April, the 23-year-old led the Nashville staff in innings pitched and ERA. PCL batters are hitting just .195 against him and 60% of balls put into play against him have been on the ground.
Dalton Sawyer, LHP, Beloit Snappers: 20.2 IP, 0.87 ERA, 10 H, 5 BB, 22 K, 0.73 WHIP
After a mediocre season debut during which he walked four and allowed two runs in 3.2 innings, Sawyer has been lights out for Beloit. The left-hander has walked just one over his last four appearances (17 innings) and he hasn't allowed an earned run since that opening outing, as well. Sawyer had a five-inning, no-hit appearance on April 23, during which he struck-out eight. Opposing batters are hitting .149 against Sawyer and lefties have yet to collect a hit in 12 plate appearances against him.
Brendan Butler, RHP, Beloit Snappers: 24 IP, 1.88 ERA, 14 H, 5 BB, 31 K, 0.79 WHIP
Butler opened eyes last season when he posted a 2.84 ERA in 92 innings for Vermont and Beloit, and he is continuing to impress this season. Butler is tied with A's 2016 top pick A.J. Puk for the organization lead in strike-outs with 31. He didn't allow an earned run in four of his six appearances in April and had a 4.1 inning, no-hit outing on April 11, during which he struck-out nine.
Logan Shore, RHP, Stockton Ports: 22.1 IP, 2.01 ERA, 21 H, 3 BB, 28 K, 1.07 WHIP
Shore, the A's second-round pick in 2016, came to pro ball with a reputation for having an advanced feel for pitching, and he has lived up to that billing thus far with the Ports. He has been efficient and effective, walking only three and generating groundballs on 58% of balls put into play against him. Shore has also gotten plenty of swings-and-misses, with a 31% K-rate in April. Odds are he doesn't finish the season in Stockton.
Brett Graves, RHP, Stockton Ports: 21 IP, 3.00 ERA, 16 H, 2 BB, 24 K, 0.86 WHIP
Graves was the front-runner for the Pitcher of the Month award until he hit a bump in the road in his third inning of work on Friday night. Graves allowed five runs in the frame, which included a strike-out reaching base on a wild pitch, a walk and a three-run homerun. That inning aside, Graves has been brilliant for the Ports. In his other 20 innings, he has allowed two runs on 13 hits and one walk. For the month of April, Cal League batters hit .200 versus Graves and he has a 29% K-rate.
Corey Walter, RHP, Midland RockHounds/Nashville Sounds: 21.2 IP, 2.08 ERA, 19 H, 5 BB, 17 K, 1.11 WHIP, 2.21 GO/AO; Lou Trivino, RHP, Midland RockHounds: 10.2 IP, 0.84 ERA, 5 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 0.84 WHIP; James Naile, RHP, Midland RockHounds: 23 IP, 3.13 ERA, 19 H, 8 BB, 20 K, 1.17 WHIP; Carlos Navas, RHP, Stockton Ports: 8.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 1 BB (intentional), 9 K, 0.36 WHIP; Andrew Tomasovich, LHP, Beloit Snappers: 9 IP, 0.00 ERA, 4 H, 0 BB, 13 K, 0.44 WHIP