Oakland A's MLN: April's Best Performances

The first month of the 2007 season is in the books. We take a look at the top five offensive and pitching performances in the Oakland A's system for the month of April.

Top Position Players

Luke Appert, UT, Stockton
Appert cooled off a bit at the end of the month, but he still finished the month as the league's leading hitter. He had a hitting streak of 17 games and spent much of the month batting above .500. Appert has driven-in 16, hit three homeruns and has walked more than he has struck out (13 BB/12 K). He hit .543 with runners on-base for the month.

Hiram Bocachica, OF, Sacramento
Bocachica has owned PCL pitching since joining the River Cats in 2005. That trend has continued into 2007, as Bocachica was outstanding in the month of April. Bocachica has the highest slugging percentage and on-base percentage on the team. He finished the month by collecting three hits, including a triple, against Las Vegas in the River Cats' come-from-behind win. Bocachica drove-in two insurance runs in the top of the 11th.

Kevin Melillo, 2B, Sacramento
Melillo finished the month red-hot, with 11 hits in his last 21 at-bats. He sports an impressive 15:16 BB:K ratio and has scored a team-high 18 runs. Melillo is also leading the team with 16 RBI. He finished the month with a four-game streak of games where he collected at least one extra-base hit and at least one RBI. He had the game-winning RBI on April 30 in the top of the 11th.

J.J. Furmaniak, UT, Sacramento
Furmaniak has done a little bit of everything for the River Cats this season. He has played all over the infield and has seen time in the corner outfield spots, as well. Although Furmaniak's average doesn't jump off of the page, he has shown impressive power, hitting four homeruns. He also leads the team in walks (16) and stolen bases (10).

Anthony Recker, C, Stockton
Recker was slowed by a flu bug early in the month, but his bat picked up as his health returned. He is second on the team in homers with three and in on-base percentage at .380. Recker hit safely in eight out of the last 10 games of the month, during which time he hit .303 with three homers.

Top Pitchers

Dallas Braden, SP, Midland/Sacramento/Oakland
Minors: 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 20 K, 4 BB in 18 IP; Majors: 1-1, 5.23 ERA, 11 K, 4 BB in 10.1 IP
Braden's final start in April was a poor one, but the rest of his starts this month were outstanding. The left-hander dominated in three starts in the minor leagues and continued that success in his first major league start. He was the first A's pitcher to win his major league debut since Aaron Harang did so back in 2002. Although his second major league outing wasn't great, Braden showed that he can pitch in the big leagues. He could be back in Oakland as soon as May 10.

Colby Lewis, SP, Sacramento
2-1, 2.05 ERA, 30 K, 7 BB in 30.2 IP
Lewis has been dazzling for the River Cats this season. He has struck out nearly a batter an inning and has given up only 23 hits. Lewis is averaging a little more than six innings an outing, best on the team. He held opposing hitters to a .207 BAA during the month. In each of his last three starts, Lewis allowed only three hits.

Vince Mazzaro, SP, Stockton
3-1, 2.25 ERA, 20 K, 14 BB in 32 IP
Last season, Mazzaro struggled with the number of hits he gave up, but this April he limited opposing batters to a .188 BAA. He is leading the team in innings pitched and in wins. Mazzaro has averaged better than six innings a start and in one start, he had a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

James Heuser, SP, Kane County
0-1, 2.89 ERA, 24 K, 9 BB in 18.2 IP
Heuser doesn't have a win yet, but that really hasn't been his fault. The left-hander has had his strikeout stuff working most of the season. He limited opposing batters to a .154 BAA in April.

Jeff Gray, RP, Midland/Sacramento
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 SV, 14 K, 2 BB in 13.1 IP
Gray has thrown the most innings of any A's minor league pitcher without allowing an earned run thus far this season. The hard-throwing right-hander earned a promotion to Triple-A just before the end of the month and he converted a save in his first outing. Gray has shown improved control this season.

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