Oakland A's MLN: July 2nd Signings

Lopez is a switch-hitting middle infielder.

The July 2nd international signing period officially opened on Tuesday and the Oakland A's reportedly came to terms with two high-profile prospects. We have videos of both players, as well as other news and notes from around the Oakland A's system inside.

A's Sign Two On July 2nd

According to several reports, the Oakland A's came to terms with two international amateur free agents on the first day of the international signing period. According to the Dominican Prospect League, the A's agreed to terms with Dominican shortstop Carlos Hiciano. The contract is reportedly worth $750,000. Ben Badler of BaseballAmerica.com and Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com both reported that the A's agreed to terms with Nicaragua middle infielder Jesus Lopez. The contract is reportedly worth $900,000.

The A's international signing pool for this year is a little more than $1.9 million. This is the first year that there is a cap for international signings. Teams can trade for additional pool space.

Kiley McDaniel, Scout.com's National Baseball Expert, ranked both Lopez and Hiciano in his top-10 for international amateur free agents for this signing period. Lopez was ranked seventh and Hiciano was ranked 10th. The complete rankings can be found here.

Lopez is a 5'11'', 160-pound switch-hitting middle infielder. McDaniel ranked Lopez as the top prospect coming from a country other than the baseball powerhouses of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

"Lopez has good actions but isn't a definite long-term shortstop, with second base being his likely home due to a lack of lateral quickness," McDaniel said. "He has a very fluid and direct cut from both sides of the plate, some projection to his power and feel to hit to all fields in games with advanced barrel control."

Scouting video of Lopez can be found here.

Hiciano is a well-built 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican. At 6'2'', 175, Hiciano may eventually grow to big for shortstop and could end up in centerfield or at a corner infield spot. He runs well and has excellent bat speed and power potential.

"Carlos Hiciano is a guy that stood out for me when I saw him in January in some early showcases in the Dominican Republic," McDaniel said. "He has a chance for five average or better tools including plus speed, above-average arm strength and good defensive actions.

"Hiciano hit pretty well in the games I saw but needs to make some adjustments to his swing like lowering his hands and he isn't a slam dunk to stick at shortstop going forward but there's a lot of tools to like here."

Scouting video of Hiciano can be found here.


Gray, Green and Choice Named To All-Star Team

The Sacramento River Cats will be well-represented at the upcoming Triple-A All-Star game. Sonny Gray, Grant Green and Michael Choice have all been named to the Pacific Coast League's team. The game will be in Reno on July 17.

Gray, the A's top pick in 2011, will be the PCL's starting pitcher, provided he is still in the minor leagues by then. There is a chance he could join the A's rotation later this week, either as a replacement for an injured Jarrod Parker or when the A's currently vacant fifth starter spot comes up again. Gray is 7-5 with a 3.02 ERA with a 98:32 K:BB in 95.1 innings. He has allowed only four homeruns this season, his first at the Triple-A level.

Choice, who was the A's top pick in 2010, will be in the starting outfield for the PCL. The UT-Arlington alum saw his 2012 season end early with a broken hand, but he still got off to a fast start with the River Cats. He is batting .286 with 11 homers and an 819 OPS in his first season at the Triple-A level.

Green will be a back-up infielder for the PCL. The A's 2009 top pick had a solid first season in Triple-A last year, but he has improved in every offensive category this season. The USC product is batting .320 with 11 homers and an 885 OPS through Monday. Green hit .296 with a 796 OPS for Sacramento last season.


Boyd Homers Twice In Vermont Double-Header

The Vermont Lake Monsters scored only three runs in two games in their double-header with Tri-City on Tuesday, and all three runs scored on B.J. Boyd's two homeruns. Boyd's two-run homer in game one gave the Lake Monsters a 2-1 win. In game two, he hit a solo homerun in Vermont's 2-1 loss.

Boyd is off to a very fast start for the Lake Monsters. In 15 games (54 at-bats), he is batting .407 with two homers and five walks. He has a 1069 OPS and seven RBI.

Lefty Brent Powers got the win in Game One by pitching six strong innings. He allowed just four hits and one run while striking out three. In three starts for Vermont, Powers has an 0.56 ERA and a 16:4 K:BB ratio.

Fellow southpaw Jose Torres allowed just two unearned runs in four innings in Game Two, but he was hung with the loss. Torres made the error that led to the two unearned runs. Lee Sosa and Derek Hansen combined to toss three scoreless innings. Boyd's solo homer was the only hit Vermont had in the loss.

2013 draft pick Ryan Huck has been promoted to short-season Vermont after hitting .475 with two homers and 11 RBI in 10 games with the Rookie League A's.


Beloit Hands Cedar Rapids Its First Loss Of Second Half

The Beloit Snappers broke the Cedar Rapids Kernels' 11-game winning streak with a 5-4 win on Tuesday night. The Snappers are now 10-2 in the second half after winning the first half division title.

The Snappers had 10 hits, including two each from Daniel Robertson and Renato Nunez. Nunez, Sam Roberts, Ryan Mathews, Chris Bostick and John Wooten all doubled for the Snappers.

Deyvi Jimenez had a strong start, allowing two runs in five innings. He struck-out six and walked none. Derek DeYoung and Austin House did the rest, combining to save the game. DeYoung allowed a run in three innings of work. He struck-out three and walked none. Austin House earned his fourth save with a perfect ninth inning.


River Cats' Bullpen Spins A Gem

Sacramento starter Sonny Gray was scratched from his scheduled start on Tuesday. The A's held him out in case starter Jarrod Parker has to miss his next start with a hamstring injury.

In Gray's place, the River Cats used a bullpen-by-committee approach. Led by "starter" Pedro Figueroa, four River Cats' relievers combined to throw a shutout. Figueroa tossed 2.1 scoreless innings and was followed by Chris Resop (2.2 scoreless), Evan Scribner (two scoreless) and Brian Gordon (two scoreless). Scribner had five strike-outs. Gordon recorded his sixth save.

The River Cats didn't manage much offense of their own, but Michael Taylor's deep two-run blast was enough to get them the win. It was Taylor's 10th homer of the season. The River Cats managed only five hits and none were by Grant Green, who saw his 11-game hitting streak come to an end.

A day after being hit on the foot with a pitch, Jemile Weeks wasn't in the River Cats' line-up.


Ports Comeback Falls Just Short

Down 5-0 early, the Stockton Ports clawed all the way back to tie the game at five in the ninth, only to lose the game in the bottom of the frame, 6-5.

The Visalia Rawhide won the game without recording a hit in the bottom of the ninth. Tom Belza walked to lead-off against Jonathan Joseph. Seth Frankoff came in and walked David Nick. Former A's prospect Sean Jamieson then dropped a sacrifice bunt, and Frankoff threw the ball away, allowing the winning run to score.

On offense, Antonio Lamas was the Ports' best player. Lamas homered twice in the game and drove in four runs. The homers were his eighth and ninth of the season. Addison Russell had two hits and a walk, while Max Muncy had a hit and two walks.


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