Oakland A's MLN: Power Ball

The Oakland A's system hasn't exactly been known for producing power hitters in recent years, but that has been changing over the past couple of seasons. A few of those power-hitting prospects are putting their strength on display in fall and winter league action...

Grant Desme, Chris Carter and Corey Brown are the only three Oakland A's prospects to pass the 30 homer total in one season over the past two years. All three players are showing their homerun power while playing fall and winter baseball.

Desme has been one of the hottest hitters in the Arizona Fall League since the start of league play. The A's outfield prospect has hit three homeruns in only six games. He also has two doubles, seven RBIs and is batting .423. Desme put together a fine regular season in 2009, as he hit an organization-best 31 homers and stole 40 bases. It was Desme's first full professional season. The A's 2007 second round pick missed virtually all of the 2008 season with wrist and shoulder injuries.

Carter has mashed 67 regular season homeruns over the past two minor league seasons and has added another 10 in the post-season. He is currently adding to his impressive homer totals with Guasave of the Mexican Winter League. In seven games with Guasave, Carter is batting only .214, but he has four homeruns and one double and sports a .679 SLG. In 28 at-bats, Carter has struck-out 14 times. He has also walked twice and is seven-for-14 when he makes contact.

Brown hit 30 homeruns in 2008, but managed only nine in 2009. That wasn't because he slumped at the plate. Rather, it was because he was limited to only 66 games thanks to a balky knee. Brown posted a solid .488 SLG for the Double-A Midland Rockhounds and he hit a ninth-inning, game-tying two-run homerun in Game Four of the Texas League Championship Series to help the Rockhounds win the title. Brown is off to a good start with Phoenix. He has already homered once and has a .286 average in 21 at-bats.

Catcher Raul Padron hasn't been known as a big power hitter during his six seasons in the A's chain, but the Venezuelan native has homered in consecutive games for Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League. In 24 at-bats, Padron is batting .292 with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs.

Other News and Notes

* A's 2008 first-round pick Jemile Weeks got off to a good start at the AFL, but he is 0-for-his-last-10 and is batting .158 in four games.

* Relief prospect Justin Friend became the first pitcher in the AFL to record two wins when he notched a win on Monday for Phoenix. Friend has allowed one earned run in 3.1 innings and he has four strike-outs. The right-hander had a 3.71 ERA in 70.1 innings in the A's system this season.

* Fellow A's relief prospect Mickey Storey is cruising through the AFL through his first three appearances. In four innings, he has allowed only a hit and a walk and he has struck-out six. Storey had a 1.22 ERA and 71 strike-outs in 51.2 innings for four A's affiliates this season.

* A's 2007 third-round pick Sam Demel is still looking to get on track at the AFL. After working a scoreless inning in his debut, he has been touched for three runs on six hits in 1.1 innings over his last two outings. Demel had 14 saves and a 2.19 ERA this season for Midland and Triple-A Sacramento.

* A's 2007 first-round pick James Simmons had a strong first start with Phoenix. A repeat performer at the AFL (he previously participated in 2007), Simmons tossed three scoreless innings in his 2009 debut. He allowed two hits and two walks and he struck-out two.

* A's pitching prospect Arnold Leon is struggling for Culiacan in Mexico. He has allowed five runs over his last two outings, stretching over 1.2 innings. In five innings this winter, Leon has given up 11 hits and six earned runs. He had a 3.51 ERA for Midland in 2009.

* The Vancouver Canadians, Oakland's short-season A affiliate, announced a new General Manager for the 2010 season. Jason Takefman will replace Andrew Seymour in the position. Takefman has been working in the Vancouver organization since 2006. J.C. Fraser has been promoted to Assistant GM.

* Former A's pitching coach Rick Peterson has joined former A's manager Ken Macha in Milwaukee for the 2010 season.

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