Minor League Notebook: Sacramento Rivercats (AAA)

Bobby Lee gives a first-hand account of the Sacramento Rivercats game versus Edmonton on June 6.

Questions or Comments on this piece? Email Bobby Lee at bobby@visage.cx.

A disappointing day in the life of an A's optimist. Expecting to see the 2006 A's, I saw players struggling vs a soft tossing lefty. In all likelyhood, I went on a bad day for top prospects Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher, and Mark Teahen, but even if I tried, I don't think I could find a positive on their days. Dan Johnson was impressive, Matt Watson too. Sloppy play and poor plate presence cost the RiverCats Sunday's game.

Adam Morrissey - 1 for 5, 2 k's. Morrissey looked like a nice little leadoff hitter. He took some close pitches, including a called 3rd strike, but there was plenty of that all around on Sunday. He reminded me a little of Jose Vidro, a switch hitting second-basemen who hits for average and slight power. Of course, Morrissey probably will never come close to being a Vidro-type player, but he may be given a chance to start at second for Oakland next year.

Matt Watson - 3 for 3. Two hard singles on the ground and a blooper that fell in front of the center fielder. Watson looked like he had an idea when he was up at the plate and in the outfield. Watson may also get a shot to play in Oakland next year, although as a 5th outfielder type.

Graham Koonce - 1 for 3, double, gidp. Not much to say about Koonce that wasn't known before I went. He's obviously incredibly strong. His double was off the opposite field wall. Huge swing. He may see time in Oakland next year, maybe somewhere else this year if the A's trade him.

Nick Swisher - 0 for 3, run, walk, k. Swisher was not impressive at all. He hit a pop-up in the first that was as high as I've ever seen a ball hit, maybe that counts for something. But besides that, Swisher looked pretty weak. It seemed obvious that he has trouble with off-speed pitches. Worked the count pretty well, but that was to be expected. Took a strike three. In center, he was pretty slow, but got the balls he should have been expected to. There is too many questions on Swisher to speculate where he'll be next year.

Dan Johnson - 4 for 4, rbi, 2 doubles. Johnson was very, very impressive. Johnson had 3 hits off of a left handed starter. He reminded me of Aubrey Huff. He took outside pitches and lofted them to the opposite field for two singles. When he got inside pitches, he crushed them both for doubles to right. Hopefully, the A's will be able to find room for Johnson next year.

Mark Teahen - 0 for 4, k. Teahen was similar to Swisher. Took a strike three, struggled with off-speed stuff. In Teahen's defense though, he was facing a lefty. It was very clear that Teahen is not ready for major league baseball. Teahen could be trade bait, or he could soon see a position change seeing as how the A's are pretty set at third.

Joe Blanton - 5 and 1/3 innings, 6 earned, 7 hits, 4 walks, 4 k's. Blanton was another prospect that was very unimpressive. He was all over the place with every pitch. I didn't see him throw a slider, which is supposed to be a solid pitch for him. His fastball hovered at 90 all game long and was very flat. After the first inning, where he allowed 3 hits, a walk and 2 runs, he pitched pretty well. His control was off all game long, but he was able to miss some bats. Blanton was tagged for 3 earned in the 5th, but it was after a ball was blooped into right field and missed by three players when it should have been caught. A good sign was that the only times Blanton hit 93 MPH was his final three fastballs, pitches 104, 105, and 106. Blanton may see time in Oakland this year and may be a regular starter on the A's next year.

Just an off day is probably what happened, but I left less than satisfied with the A's near future. There are still adjustments to be made by those who are supposed to be the A's top prospects.

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