38 Oakland A's Prospects Heading To Instructs

On September 21, 38 Oakland A's minor league prospects will be heading to Phoenix to take part in the A's annual Instructional League. We have the details on who will be participating inside…

The minor league season might be over, but the off-season schedule is just beginning for a group of A's prospects who will be taking part in the A's annual Instructional League camp. Thirty-eight prospects will take part in a 19-game schedule that will run over the course of one month from September 21 through October 21.

The Instructional Leagues are generally an opportunity for the A's instructors to give their younger or less polished prospects one-on-one coaching that they aren't able to receive during the regular season. Players often credit the work they do in "instructs" for success they have the following season.

Midwest League MVP Jeff Baisley won the A's MVP for the Instructional League in the fall of 2005 and he pointed to that experience as a big part of his improvement in 2006.

"It was great to be down there and to work even more on all of the stuff that they taught you [during the season]. I think the work we did there carried over into this season," Baisley told OaklandClubhouse in early August.

Baisley will be returning to "instructs" this season, as one of seven infielders on the A's squad. He will be joined by the A's top draft pick in 2005, shortstop Cliff Pennington. Pennington missed more than half of the season with leg injuries, so he will be using the Instructional Leagues as a chance to get more playing time under his belt and to continue the hot hitting he displayed at the end of the season with the A's Rookie League club.

Right-hander Trevor Cahill will also be getting some extended work in "instructs" after only appearing in four games for the A's Rookie League team this season. Cahill, who was the A's top draft pick in 2006, signed late and then was delayed by a minor injury which limited his innings during the regular season.

Last year, Vince Mazzaro arrived at the A's Instructional League as a mystery after being selected in the third round of the 2005 draft. The right-hander signed too late to participate in the minor league regular season, but he was so impressive during "instructs" that he was sent to low-A Kane County at the start of the 2006 season despite not playing for short-season Arizona or Vancouver. Mazzaro won nine games for the Cougars in 24 starts this season. He will be returning to the Instructional Leagues this fall.

The A's Instructional League pitching staff is also highlighted by Midwest League All-Stars Jared Lansford and Jason Ray. Both right-handers pitched well for Kane County, but struggled at High-A Stockton after in-season promotions and will be looking to regain their Midwest League form at "instructs."

Left-hander Ben Jukich, a 2006 13th round pick, will be heading to the desert looking to build off of a strong performance in his first professional season. Jukich struck out 40 batters in 41.2 innings at low-A Kane County and then he starred in the playoffs in the starting rotation for the Cougars.

Right-hander Scott Moore, another 2006 draft pick, will also be participating in the Instructional Leagues after a strong rookie season. The reliever allowed only three earned runs in 21 innings split between short-season Vancouver and low-A Kane County. He also struck out 30 batters while walking only five.

The A's infield at the Instructional Leagues will be crowded at the shortstop position. In addition to Pennington, the A's are sending three other natural shortstops to camp: Mike Affronti, Justin Sellers and Christian Vitters. Second baseman Isaac Omura, fresh off of a breakout season at the plate for Kane County, will join Baisley and first baseman Greg Dowling as the other non-shortstop infielders on the roster.

The A's Instructional League outfield will be heavy on talent and speed. Chad Boyd, Jermaine Mitchell, Larry Cobb, Matt Sulentic and Toddric Johnson all had strong 2006 seasons at the plate. They will be joined by Lorenzo Macias and Angel Sierra, two young speedsters with a lot of raw talent who are in need of a lot of polish.

Behind the plate, the A's will be led by Anthony Recker, who had a big season at the plate as the Cougars' starting catcher. Recker will be joined by Julio Rivera and Matt Singleton – both of whom shuttled between Stockton and Arizona this season – and 2006 draft pick Jake Smith, who was the Johnny Bench Award winner for best collegiate catcher this season.

Stockton manager Todd Steverson will serve as the A's Instructional League team manager and he will be joined by pitching coach Don Schulze, hitting coordinator Greg Sparks, pitching coordinator Ron Romanick and instructors Ron Plaza, Juan Navarette and Tim Garland.

Below is the complete roster for camp:

Instructional League Roster

Pitchers
Name Pos B/T HT WT DOB 2006 Club
Andrew Bailey RHP R/R 6'3 220 05/31/84 Vancouver
Kevin Bunch RHP R/R 6'5 215 11/4/86 Arizona/Vancouver
Trevor Cahill RHP R/R 6'3 190 03/01/88 Arizona
Scott Deal RHP R/R 6'4 190 12/11/86 Vancouver
Inoel Deaza RHP R/R 6'2 210 10/05/86 Vancouver
Branden Dewing LHP L/L 6'0 165 1/1/84 Vancouver/Kane County
Jason Fernandez RHP R/R 6'2 175 1/8/85 Vancouver
Jeff Gray RHP R/R 6'3 205 11/19/81 Stockton
John Herrera RHP R/R 6'6 195 03/08/83 Kane County
Ben Jukich LHP L/L 6'4 190 10/17/82 Vancouver/Kane County
Jared Lansford RHP R/R 6'2 185 10/22/85 Kane County/Stockton
Chad Lee RHP R/R 6'4 200 12/20/85 Vancouver
Ron Madej LHP L/L 6'1 200 05/23/83 Kane County
Leonardo Martinez LHP L/L 6'0 215 12/05/86 Arizona
Vince Mazzaro RHP R/R 6'2 190 09/27/86 Kane County
Scott Moore RHP R/R 6'2 245 12/4/83 Vancouver/Kane County
Jason Ray RHP R/R 5'11 185 7/14/84 Kane County/Stockton
Henry Rodriguez RHP R/R 6'0 195 2/25/87 Arizona
Edgar Tejada RHP R/R 6'3 190 04/03/87 Arizona
Ryan Webb RHP R/R 6'6 205 02/05/86 Stockton

Catchers
Name Pos B/T HT WT DOB 2006 Club
Anthony Recker C R/R 6'2 225 08/29/83 Kane County
Julio Rivera C R/R 5'11 180 07/20/87 Arizona/Stockton
Matt Singleton C R/R 6'3 185 01/25/83 Arizona/Stockton
Jake Smith C R/R 6'2 215 06/05/83 Vancouver

Infielders
Name Pos B/T HT WT DOB 2006 Club
Mike Affronti SS R/R 6'1 190 02/13/84 Vancouver
Jeff Baisley 3B R/R 6'3 210 12/19/82 Kane County
Greg Dowling 1B R/R 6'3 220 11/15/83 Vancouver
Isaac Omura 2B L/R 5'10 175 1/21/84 Kane County
Cliff Pennington SS S/R 5'11 185 06/15/84 Stockton
Justin Sellers SS R/R 5'10 160 02/01/86 Kane County
Christian Vitters SS L/R 6'3 205 06/24/85 Vancouver

Outfielders
Name Pos B/T HT WT DOB 2006 Club
Chad Boyd OF L/L 5'10 195 06/12/85 Kane County
Larry Cobb OF R/R 5'9 175 07/10/85 Vancouver/Sacramento
Toddric Johnson OF L/L 6'1 165 12/17/84 Vancouver/Kane County
Lorenzo Macias OF R/R 6'2 190 08/17/85 Arizona/Vancouver
Jermaine Mitchell OF L/L 6'1 200 11/02/84 Vancouver
Angel Sierra OF S/R 6'0 150 08/02/88 Arizona
Matt Sulentic OF L/R 5'10 170 10/06/87 Vancouver/Kane County

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