Arizona Fall League roundup: A's prospects playing for championship

Arizona Fall League roundup: A's prospects playing for championship

Sometimes it pays to tie in sports. Rarely does it ever in baseball, but that's exactly the case for the Mesa Solar Sox, which includes seven A's prospects in the Arizona Fall League. 

Despite ending the regular season of the AFL on Thursday with a 6-6 tie against the Scottsdale Scorpions, the Solar Sox (16-15-1) won the East Division title when the Salt River Rafters (15-15-1) lost to the Surprise Saguaros before the Solar Sox's game ended. 

Mesa will play Surprise in the AFL championship game on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium. 

In the final game of the AFL regular season, A's top prospect Franklin Barreto stayed hot at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two singles and a run scored in the tie. Over the final week, the shortstop finally found his way at the plate. 

Barreto hit .368 (7-for-19) and scored four runs in four games. His shaky defense did continue Thursday though with a throwing error, his seventh error of the fall. 

Barreto's bat coming around isn't surprising. But Frankie Montas allowing an earned run in the AFL certainly is. After 16 straight scoreless innings, an earned run finally crossed home plate on the big right-hander on Nov. 14 against the Glendale Desert Dogs. 

The issue in Montas' first real trouble on the mound this fall, was his command. Montas issued four walks in 2.2 innings pitched, upping his total to eight free bases in six appearances out of the bullpen.

Montas now owns a 0.53 ERA over 17 innings in the AFL.


-- A's starting pitching prospect Dylan Covey leads the Solar Sox in wins with a perfect 4-0 record. Covey is also second on the team in innings pitched with 24.2 and third in strikeouts (17). 

-- The Solar Sox have two pitchers who have not allowed an earned run. After those two, three straight A's prospects are at the top for ERA with Montas, Trey Cochran-Gill (1.84) and Sam Bragg (1.98). 

-- Bragg has only walked one batter in 13.2 innings pitched. Two others on the team have only walked one batter, but the two combined have thrown 8.2 innings.

-- Thanks to his last few games, Barreto leads the team in hits (23). He is also tied for third in runs scored (15), but defensively Barreto leads the team in errors by three more than the next guy, A's prospect Yairo Munoz. 

Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers


Now officially in the fold, Lucroy ready to work with young A's pitchers

The Oakland A's made it official: They finally got their man behind the plate. 

Oakland officially announced the signing of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy on Monday. Lucroy's deal is reportedly worth $6.5 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Lucroy joined his new teammates for the first time in Arizona on Monday, and told reporters that he is especially excited to work with the club's young, promising pitching staff. The three returning leaders in innings pitched (Kendall Graveman, Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton) are all 27-years-old or younger, and 22-year-old top prospect A.J. Puk is pushing for a rotation spot after allowing just one run in three appearances this spring. 

"I'm looking forward to working with these guys and trying to help them get better and get better myself along the way," Lucroy told reporters. "I think that's what it's all about; taking what they do best and try to simplify their approach ... Really, just doing anything I can with them to get hitters out."

Manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he thinks Lucroy's experience will prove beneficial to his young staff.

"If we can't go out and get ourselves a [starting pitcher], that's the next best thing," Melvin told reporters on Monday. "So, he's got a lot of experience, and a great reputation for being a teriffic leader behind the plate."

Lucroy, 31, slashed .265/.345/.371 in 481 plate appearances with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies last season, hitting six home runs with 40 RBI, his lowest marks in those categories since his rookie season in 2010.

In order to accomodate Lucroy's signing the, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment. Labourt was acquired off of waivers on Mar. 4, and Labourt's arrival prompted the eventual release of Brandon Moss one month into his Oakland reunion.

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues


Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9.