2007 Awards: Top River Cats And Rockhounds

Today marks the start of our 2007 OaklandClubhouse awards season. We begin by awarding the top performers for the A's Triple-A and Double-A affiliates in 2007.

SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

Barton led the River Cats in almost every offensive category.
The River Cats were the best team in the Oakland A's system this season, winning the PCL South division title during the regular season before going on to capture the PCL Championship and the Bricktown Showdown crown. With more than 190 transactions during the season, the River Cats' strong showing was a true team effort. There were a few stand-out performances for Sacramento, as well:

Top Position Player: Daric Barton, 1B
.293/.389/.438

Barton led the River Cats in games played (136), doubles (38), RBI (70), hits (151), runs scored (84) and walks (78). On a team that saw a veritable parade of players go in and out of the starting line-up, Barton was an everyday fixture and solid presence in the middle of the Sacramento line-up. His unconscious month of June (.454/.500/.657) helped propel Sacramento to a comfortable division lead and he helped guide the River Cats into the PCL finals by hitting four homeruns in five games and batting .550 in the PCL semi-final series. As the A's top prospect heading into the season, Barton was under tremendous pressure to perform and he came through with a solid season.

Other Players Considered: Jorge Piedra, Jeremy Brown, J.J. Furmaniak, Dee Brown
Piedra led the River Cats with a 958 OPS, which he compiled over 71 games. He drove-in 56 runs and reached base at a .415 clip. Jeremy Brown put together a solid season at the plate 833 OPS and 14 homers in 94 games, and improved his defense behind the plate, while also serving as one of the team's leaders. Furmaniak was the only River Cat to compile double-digits in homeruns (15) and stolen bases (21), which he accomplished in 106 games with Sacramento. He had multiple stints with Oakland. Dee Brown was a May acquisition from the Arizona Diamondbacks and he had an 884 OPS in 62 games with Sacramento before spending the last month of the year in the big leagues.

Top Pitcher: Dan Meyer, SP
Meyer parlayed good health into a solid season.
8-2, 3.28 ERA, 105 K in 115 IP

After two disappointing and injury-plagued seasons with Sacramento, Meyer finally turned in a solid season with the River Cats in his third try. He missed the first few weeks of the season while he was completing his rehab from off-season shoulder surgery, but once he joined Sacramento in late April he made every start on turn (with the exception of starts he missed while in the big leagues). Meyer missed out on qualifying for the league ERA title by only a couple of innings, but if he had qualified, Meyer would have ranked second in the PCL in ERA. The left-hander allowed opposing batters to hit only .243 off of him and he finished the season strong, posting a 1.64 ERA in seven starts after the All-Star break.

Other Pitchers Considered: Colby Lewis, Brad Ziegler, Brad Knox, Dallas Braden
Lewis was nearly unhittable while he was with Sacramento, posting a 1.88 ERA in 15 starts. He struck out 97 in 95.2 innings, and spent more than half of the season in the big leagues. Ziegler was a relief ace for Sacramento after being recalled from Double-A in late-May. He did not allow a homer with Sacramento, posted an ERA of 2.96 and was a big factor for the River Cats in the playoffs out of the bullpen. Knox was the workhorse for Sacramento, leading the team with 139 innings and winning nine games. Braden had only 11 starts for the River Cats, but he struck out 74 in 64 innings and had two complete games to lead the team.



MIDLAND ROCKHOUNDS

Robnett's Double-A effort earned him a late-season promotion to Sacramento.
It was a tale of two seasons for the Rockhounds, which had a .612 winning percentage in the first half and a .371 winning percentage in the second half. Midland lost a number of their top players to promotions by mid-season and suffered from a large number of injuries. Despite the poor second half, Midland barely missed out on a wild card berth for the playoffs. There were a few bright spots for the Rockhounds this season:

Top Position Player: Richie Robnett, OF
.267/.316/.465

Robnett got off to a slow start, posting a 774 OPS in April and a 561 OPS in May. However, he turned it up in June, posting an OPS of 808 and that continued into July (864 OPS) and August (852 OPS). He led the Rockhounds in games played (120), homeruns (18), RBI (74), hits (131) and doubles (39). He finished tied for seventh in the Texas League in homers and RBIs. Robnett also played solid defense in all three outfield positions for the Rockhounds. His 130 strikeouts were the only black mark on his otherwise productive season with Midland.

Others Players Considered: Landon Powell, Myron Leslie
Powell played in only 60 games for the Rockhounds but he made a big impact. The switch-hitting catcher had an 893 OPS and 11 homers for Midland and was on his way to his best season as a pro before tearing his ACL four games into his stint with Triple-A Sacramento. Powell was also the best defensive catcher in the Texas League while he was there. Leslie played through a bum knee for much of the year, but still managed to put up good numbers with a .288 BA and a .386 OBP. He hit .360 with a 915 OPS in August for Midland.

Top Pitcher: Brad Kilby, RP
Kilby jumped to Double-A after a strong start with Stockton.
3-3, 2.88 ERA, 69 K in 65.2 IP

It was a down year for the pitching staff in Midland, which finished second-to-last in the league with a 4.50 staff ERA. Kilby was solid for the Rockhounds all season out of the bullpen after being recalled from High-A in late April. The lefty led all Midland relievers with 65.2 innings pitched, 47 appearances and 69 strike outs. He also led the team with seven holds. Kilby was very strong after the All-Star break, posting a 2.57 ERA and striking out 40 in 35 innings while holding opposing batters to a .207 BAA.

Other Pitchers Considered: Mike Madsen, Bobby Cramer, Danny Borrell
Madsen wasn't with the Rockhounds long, but in his 11 starts, he managed to win five games and post a 2.76 ERA. Madsen had a complete game and struck out 69 in 65.1 innings with Midland. Cramer made 12 appearances for Midland, seven in the starting rotation, and he had a 1.89 ERA and five wins. The minor league free agent signee struck out 50 in 52.1 innings and walked only 10. Borrell, another minor league free agent signee, made 19 appearances for Midland, nine in the rotation. He had a 2.80 ERA and 73 strike outs in 64.1 innings.

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