Oakland A's MLN: Who's Hot?

There are a number of players working on hot streaks both at the plate and on the mound in the Oakland A's system. We take a look at some of those players inside...

Alexander Valdez: There was perhaps no colder hitter in the A's system during the month of April than Valdez, and there may not be a hotter hitter than Valdez during the month of May. The infielder had another huge weekend, going seven-for-15 with two doubles, a homerun and six RBIs. He is batting .422 with nine extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in 16 games this May after batting only .058 with no extra-base hits in 15 games in April. Valdez is currently working on a 13-game hitting streak, the longest in the California League thus far this season. His two-run homerun off of former first-round pick Phillippe Aumont on Sunday was the deciding factor in the Stockton Ports' 9-7 win at High Desert. The Ports have won four straight, including three in a row against first-place High Desert.

Gregorio Petit: Since returning from the big leagues, Petit has been on fire. He has hit safely in all eight games and is 14-for-32 (.437 BA) with three doubles, four RBIs, five walks and six runs scored. He is now batting .301 for the River Cats this season.

Ben Hornbeck: Hornbeck is continuing to breeze through the Midwest League. The left-hander won his fourth game in as many decisions for Kane County this season on Sunday, allowing one run on three hits and one walk. He struck-out a season-high 10 batters in seven innings of work. Hornbeck has a 1.24 ERA and 47 strike-outs against only 10 walks in 36.1 innings. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any outing this season. Hornbeck was a 32nd round pick by Oakland last season out of Kansas State.

Joel Galarraga: Galarraga has had no trouble adjusting to US baseball. The Cuban native and Mexican League veteran made his US baseball regular season in early May and has been one of the River Cats' top hitters ever since. In 13 games, Galarraga is batting .357 with six RBIs and a .449 OBP. He had a walk-off triple in extra-innings in the River Cats' win on Sunday. Galarraga is splitting his time between catcher and DH, having caught six games out of the 13 he has played.

Sam Demel: Demel has been quietly dominant for the Midland Rockhounds as the team's closer this season. In 14.1 innings, Demel has allowed only seven hits for a .137 BAA. His ERA is at 0.63 and he has six saves. The hard-throwing right-hander has struck-out 15 and walked five thus far this season. He helped the Rockhounds complete a 3-0 shut-out on Sunday.

Vince Mazzaro: Mazzaro has been brilliant during his last two starts. After tossing eight shut-out, one-hit innings on May 12th, Mazzaro followed up that effort on May 17th with another solid outing. He allowed one run in 5.2 innings on three hits and two walks. Mazzaro has a 3.16 ERA in 42.2 innings with a 32/15 K/BB ratio. He has really excelled at Raley Field, posting a 2.70 ERA in 26.2 innings.

Franklin Hernandez: Hernandez is following up a break-through campaign with the A's Rookie League team last season with a solid campaign for Low-A Kane County. The 22-year-old is batting .295 on the season and .324 over his last 10 games for the Cougars. The right-hander had two doubles over the weekend and has a .465 SLG for the season. For the month of May, he is batting .306 with an 893 OPS.

Jay Marshall: If the A's decide to add a lefty to their bullpen, they may turn to old friend Jay Marshall, who was with the team for the entire 2007 season. Marshall has not allowed a run in his last nine outings, stretching back to April 27th. He has a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings this season with 10 strike-outs and two walks. Lefties are batting only .176 against him.

Michael Richard: Like his Ports' teammate Valdez, Richard is hot after a slow start to his season. With five hits in 12 at-bats this weekend, Richard raised his average to .258 on the season and .340 for the month of May. He has walked more than he has struck-out in May (12 walks against 11 strike-outs) and he has a .484 OBP. He has moved up in the Ports' order to the lead-off spot after spending much of the early part of May hitting ninth. Richard currently has a five-game hitting streak.

Grant Desme: Desme has been up-and-down for Kane County this season, but he is currently in a bit of a groove. He had four hits in 14 at-bats this weekend, three of them going for extra-bases. The A's 2007 2nd round pick has six homers in 35 games and is 10-for-10 in stolen bases.

Anthony Recker: Recker had a big weekend for Double-A Midland. In nine at-bats, Recker had five hits and scored four runs. He hit two homers and drove-in four, while walking three times. He is batting .315 in 15 games since being demoted from Triple-A.

Jeremy Barfield: Barfield has been an offensive spark for the Kane County Cougars over the last 10 games. He is batting .400 with four homers and 13 RBIs over that span. Barfield has three consecutive games with at least one RBI.

Michael Benacka: Benacka has riding a 5.1 innings scoreless streak out of the Rockhounds' bullpen and has allowed only four runs in 21.1 innings (1.69 ERA) this season. The right-hander has 24 strike-outs and only eight walks.

Eric Patterson: Over the weekend, Patterson had six hits in 10 at-bats, with three RBIs, four walks and four stolen bases. Since returning to Sacramento from Oakland, Patterson has been seeing a lot of time in centerfield. He has a .403 OBP and 13 stolen bases this season for the River Cats.

Dusty Coleman: Coleman has slowed some since his torrid start to the season, but he is still putting up impressive numbers. Over his last four games, he is five-for-17 with four doubles. Coleman has a team-best .556 SLG and 936 OPS for Kane County this season. He also leads the team with 27 RBIs.

Christian Vitters: Vitters has hit safely in all six games he has played with Stockton since joining the team on May 12th. Over the weekend, he had four hits in 13 at-bats with a double, a triple and five RBIs. He has nine hits in 26 at-bats thus far this year (.346). Vitters began the season at extended spring training and joined the Ports after spending one day on the River Cats' roster (he did not appear in a game for Sacramento).

Jamie Richmond: Richmond has not allowed a run in the month of May (six appearances). The reliever has a 1.17 ERA for the season. He has struck-out 18 and walked only three in 23 innings for Kane County this season.

Eric Munson: Munson has given the River Cats a big boost since being activated from extended spring training. He has appeared in 23 games (17 behind the plate) and he is batting .286 with a 933 OPS. Over the weekend, Munson had five hits in 15 at-bats with three RBIs and two doubles.

Jeff Gray: Like Petit, Gray has thrived since returning from the big leagues. In two outings, he has tossed three scoreless innings, including two scoreless innings in the River Cats' extra-inning win on Sunday. He has allowed only one hit and no walks.

Toddric Johnson: Johnson put together a solid weekend, collecting multi-hit games in all three contests. He went seven-for-14 with two doubles and three RBIs. The outfielder has his average up to .295 for the Ports with a .356 OBP and 13 doubles in 34 games.

James Simmons: It has been a rough start to the season for the A's top pick in 2007, but Simmons put together his best outing of the season on Friday night. Simmons threw seven innings for the River Cats, allowing one run on three hits and one walk. Over his first seven outings this season, Simmons has allowed three runs or fewer in five of those outings, but he has allowed six runs in each of his other two outings. In addition, he has walked 16 batters in 34 innings, an unusually high number for Simmons, who usually has great command. The one-walk performance on Friday was his first one-walk performance since April 21st.

Kenneth Smalley: Smalley is working on a 14.2 scoreless inning streak. The right-hander has a 2.05 ERA and a 4-1 record for Kane County this season. He has allowed only 15 hits and he has struck-out 25 in 22 innings.

Graham Godfrey: Godfrey has been up-and-down in his first taste of Double-A baseball, but he put together a fine outing on Sunday. Godfrey tossed 6.1 scoreless innings in the Rockhounds' 3-0 win. He struck-out four and walked three while allowing six hits.

Jonathan Hunton: Hunton has not allowed an earned run in his last four outings and has lowered his ERA to 1.80 on the season. In 20 innings, Hunton has allowed only 14 hits and six walks while striking out 27. The 6'9'' right-hander has six saves for Stockton this season.

Matt Ray: Ray appeared in only one game this weekend, but he made it count, going 3-4 with an RBI for Kane County on Sunday. Ray is batting .317 in 11 games for the month of May and he has raised his average to .266 for the season. He is batting an even .400 with runners in scoring position this season.

Jason Fernandez: Over his last two starts, Fernandez has allowed only three runs in 14 innings. He has allowed 10 hits and two walks while striking out eight. Fernandez has a 3.67 ERA in 41.2 innings for Midland this season. He makes his eighth start tonight.

Derrick Gordon: Gordon recovered from two poor outings on May 2nd and May 6th to toss three scoreless frames for the Stockton Ports on Friday night, earning the win in relief. Gordon has a 2.92 ERA and 23 strike-outs in 24.2 innings this season. Lefties are batting .171 against the southpaw.

Travis Banwart: Banwart has been the stalwart of the Midland rotation this season. He has allowed three runs or fewer in all seven of his starts this season and has a 2.08 ERA in 39 innings. He has allowed only one homerun over that span.

Tyson Ross: Ross is still working with a limited pitch count after missing two weeks with a shoulder strain, but he put together an encouraging – if abbreviated – outing on Saturday. The A's 2008 2nd round pick tossed 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing only one walk and two hits. He was perhaps too dominant considering his pitch limit, as he struck-out seven, which cut into how deep his could pitch in the game. The seven strike-outs were a season-high for Ross.

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