"Instructs" is a month-long camp designed to provide A's prospects with lots of one-on-one coaching. The A's Instructs team will take on the Instructs clubs from the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks in a 19-game schedule that runs from September 22nd through October 15th. Games will take place at the respective teams' minor league complexes.
The A's Instructional League rosters is dominated by three sets of players: 1) prospects rehabbing from injuries, 2) prospects from the A's 2011 draft class, and 3) international prospects who will be making their US debuts.
Among the first set of players are pitchers Ryan and Sean Doolittle, Pedro Figueroa and Arnold Leon. Leon and Figueroa are recovering from Tommy John surgery. Notably absent from this group is Michael Ynoa, who will report to the A's Dominican Instructs later in the fall.
Sean Doolittle will be continuing his switch from position player to pitcher during the Instructional League season. Doolittle missed virtually the entire last three seasons with knee and wrist injuries. According to A's Minor League Pitching Coordinator Gil Patterson, Doolittle will be working on developing a breaking ball and on a pick-off move during Instructs. Doolittle was reportedly clocked in the mid-90s during the final week of the A's Arizona Rookie League season. He was a star pitcher and first baseman for the University of Virginia before being drafted as a first baseman in 2007.
Also among the pitcher group is southpaw Ian Krol, who was the A's 2010 minor league pitcher of the year. Krol missed most of the season with a strained left elbow ligament and was then suspended for the final two months of the season after he sent out a vulgar Tweet.
On the position-player side of the ledger, catcher Max Stassi will be continuing to work his way back from right shoulder surgery, which he had early on during the 2011 season.
First-round pick Sonny Gray leads the list of 2011 A's draft picks heading to Instructs. Gray will be participating in the fall camp after a stellar pro debut with Double-A Midland during which he allowed only one run in 20 innings. The A's second overall pick (third round), B.A. Vollmuth, will also be in attendance. He only got in a handful of games at the end of the season after signing in mid-August, but made a strong impression with short-season Vermont. Pitchers Chris Lamb and Colin O'Connell, who both signed on the final day of the signing period, will be getting their first extended time in professional baseball during Instructs.
Six players will be making their US debuts during Instructs – Venezuelan pitcher Jose Torres, Korean catcher Seong-Min Kim, Venezuelan third baseman Renato Nunez, Dominican outfielder Vicmal De La Cruz and Aruban outfielder Shawn Duinkerk. All six players have been signed by the A's international scouting department over the past 16 months. De La Cruz was a Dominican Summer League All-Star and he hit .318 with an 891 OPS for the DSL A's. He is arguably the most exciting hitting prospect to emerge out of the A's Dominican Academy in a number of years.
Of the 50 players in camp, the youngest is Duinkerk, who turned 17 on August 18th.
Below is the complete A's fall Instructional League roster, as it stands on September 12.
Pitchers – 25