Athletics

Arizona Fall League roundup: Seven A's in action

Arizona Fall League roundup: Seven A's in action

The Arizona Fall League hosts six teams featuring many of baseball's top prospects beginning in early October. This year seven players from the A's farm system are representing Oakland on the Mesa Solar Sox, which also consists of prospects from the Blue Jays, Cubs, Indians and Marlins. 

Below are the seven A's prospects on the Solar Sox, managed by former A's 10th-round draft pick Ryan Christenson, and their stats through a maximum possible total of 11 games. 

[STIGLICH: A's coach plays part in Schwarber's World Series comeback]

A's Prospects

RHP Sam Bragg
4 G, 0-0, 1.29 ERA, 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO

RHP Trey Cochran-Gill
5 G, 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

RHP Dylan Covey
3 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 3.75 ERA, 12.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 BB, 10 SO

RHP Frankie Montas
3 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 8.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO

IF Franklin Barreto
10 G, .244/.262/.268, 10 H, 1 2B, 7 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 11 SO, 2 SB

IF Yairo Munoz
11 GP, .216/.268/.216, 8 H, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 10 SO, 1 SB

IF Max Shrock
8 G, .303/.343/.455, 10 H, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO

***

-- The A's drafted Solar Sox manager Ryan Christenson in the 10th round in 1995 out of Pepperdine University. The center fielder played six years in the bigs, four with the A's, where he hit .237/.319/.348 with 13 home runs. 

-- Infielder Franklin Barreto is tied for the team lead in at-bats with 41. He is also tied for the lead in strikeouts with 11.

-- Infielder Yairo Munez leads the team in games played. 

-- RHP Frankie Montas is one of four pitchers on the team yet to allow an earned run. 

-- RHP Sam Bragg is right behind Montas in the team lead with his 1.29 ERA. 

-- RHP Dylan Covey leads the staff with games started and innings pitched. He is also tied at the top with wins and second in strikeouts on the hill.

-- Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber spent two games with the Solar Sox before flying to Cleveland for the World Series.

Many reasons why Bob Melvin was right choice for AL Manager of the Year

Many reasons why Bob Melvin was right choice for AL Manager of the Year

Bob Melvin is Manager of the Year in the American League. Not only recognized by The Sporting News a few weeks back, but now, on the grandest stage by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Melvin clearly deserves this honor on his own merits, but it’s even more impressive that he won what could have been a popularity contest. Considering Alex Cora and the season had by his Boston Red Sox. Or Aaron Boone with the Yankees, who wasn’t even named as a finalist. Both of those first-year skippers run huge payroll teams in huge media markets, and obviously lived up to some expectations.

But for Melvin, he took an emerging 2017 A’s group and raised the bar by 22 wins. That was despite enduring a completely broken-down starting rotation and a franchise that began Opening Day with the lowest payroll in all of baseball.

For reference: No team in the last 30 years of Major League Baseball has started the first game with the lowest payroll and gone on to the playoffs. Until the A's did in 2018.

Knowing some of the inner workings of this team without giving too much away, I can tell you that Melvin has a tremendous grasp on his club, both when they are surging and when they are struggling.

After Melvin won this award, analysts will try to point to tangible things such as in-game decision-making when it comes to quantifying how he managed his group so well. And yes, the A's did lead all of baseball in one-run wins.  

But for me, it’s all that you can’t see that makes Melvin the runaway winner for Manager of the Year.

For example, he facilitated the transition of one-time left fielder Khris Davis into an everyday designated hitter, and saw him hit more homers than ever.

Melvin guided Jed Lowrie through a career season where trade talks and the potential of a young prospect taking over at any minute could not have been higher.

Melvin established a back-end of the bullpen that fashioned Lou Trevino and Blake Trienen into one of the best setup/closer tandems in the game.

And last but not least, Melvin helped evolve players like Matt Olson and Matt Chapman during their first full MLB seasons into bonafide leaders on and off the field.

In short, the A’s are lucky to have Bob Melvin in the dugout. And even luckier that his recent contract extension will keep the Bay Area native at the helm for multiple years past the 2019 season.

A's Bob Melvin stays humble after winning AL Manager of the Year Award

A's Bob Melvin stays humble after winning AL Manager of the Year Award

Winning Manager of the Year honors isn't something Bob Melvin is a stranger to -- he's done it three times.

On Tuesday, the BBWAA announced the 57-year-old would take home the American League award after the Oakland A's finished a 2018 campaign that boasted a 97-65 record with an appearance in the AL Wild Card Game.

Despite being accustomed to the congratulatory wishes, Bo Mel remained humble.

"I said earlier -- it just means I've been around for a while, and I'm getting older to be able to be in a position to get it a third time, but it always feels good," Melvin said on NBC Sports Bay Area's "The Happy Hour," with a smile. "It's always a group effort -- our team this year was incredible."

The A's improved by 22 games from last season, and Melvin made sure credit was served to everyone, from the front office to coaches and, of course, the players.

"We are starting to see the fruits of some of these great trades that were made over the years," Melvin said.

And as far as the low payroll the A's are synonymous with -- don't worry. He addressed that as well.

"To be able to succeed with as low as a payroll as we had just means you have young players who are going to play really well -- and we did," Melvin said with a laugh.

He's not wrong.

Second baseman Jed Lowrie and closer Blake Treinen earned All-Star selections in 2018, and first baseman Matt Olson took home a Gold Glove Award and Matt Chapman earned a Platinum Glove Award for his defensive capabilities on the hot corner.

"To be able to do what they did and look at the Khris Davises and Marcus Semiens and Jed Lowries -- everyone on our team contributed," Melvin said.

Melvin earned 18 first-place votes from the BBWAA, beating out World Series champion manager Alex Cora, who came in second, by 11.