The Oakland A's US Instructional League is winding down, with the final day of camp coming on Saturday. According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, camp has gone well. The organization isn't keep statistics for the games being played in camp, as they are more focused on individual skill development than results. The A's will hand out awards for top performers in Instructs later this week, bu Lieppman shared some of the notable performers.
According to Lieppman, outfielder Rashun Dixon has been the "leading hitter for most of the program."
"Dixon has made a nice adjustment with the bat," Lieppman said.
The 19-year-old hit only .214 with a 581 OPS in 57 games with the Vancouver Canadians this season, but he posted an 853 OPS with the A's Rookie League team last season and much is expected in the future from the five-tool prospect from Mississippi.
Lieppman also had praise for another one of the A's youngest prospects, catcher Max Stassi, who was taken in the fourth round by Oakland in this year's draft and signed an above-slot deal with the A's on deadline day. Stassi has received praise for his bat in his limited professional experience (he hit .286 in 49 at-bats with Vancouver this season), but Lieppman has been impressed with the 18-year-old's work behind the plate.
"Stassi has looked exceptionally adept at receiving and throwing. A very impressive defender for a high school player," Lieppman said.
Lieppman also mentioned that fellow 2009 top-10 round draft picks Stephen Parker (5th round) and Ian Krol (7th round) have performed well in camp.
"Parker continues to show an improved swing from the time he signed," Lieppman said.
"[While] Krol has shown maturity and good stuff as a high school player in this camp."
Utilityman Conner Crumbliss, who put together an impressive first pro season by hitting .290 with an 831 OPS in 71 games for Vancouver and Kane County, has impressed the A's coaching staff with his hustle and determination both at the plate and in the field, according to Lieppman.
Injuries have been a factor in camp. Outfielder Jeremy Barfield left camp this week, as he is dealing with minor injuries in both knees. Barfield told OaklandClubhouse.com earlier this month that he is planning on having a minor knee procedure this off-season. Outfielder Chris Berroa was also sent home early with an injury. He was struck in the face with a fly ball and lost a tooth. Catcher Josh Leyland, a 16th round pick by Oakland this season, had his camp cut short by a leg injury that he sustained during the Rookie ball season that lingered into Instructs.
Lieppman indicated that top pitching prospect Michael Ynoa is progressing well from a strained right elbow that kept him out of the A's Rookie League season. Ynoa is expected to pitch in game action during the A's Dominican Instructional League that takes place later this month.
In large part because of injuries, shortstop Tyler Ladendorf has seen time at a number of different positions during Instructs, namely shortstop, second base, right-field and left-field. Ladendorf was acquired by the A's from the Minnesota Twins organization for Orlando Cabrera in late July. A 2008 second-round pick, Ladendorf hit only .231 in 35 games with Kane County after the trade, but he finished strong, batting .391 with a 982 OPS in six September games. Ladendorf is very athletic, having stolen 31 bases and hit 16 homeruns in only 53 games during his final season at Howard Community College.
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