Oakland A's MLN: Opening Series Review

Travis Buck has been hitting with authority.

The minor league season has four games in the books. We take a look at how the A's four affiliates have fared. We also look at who is hot and who is not in this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook...

Sacramento River Cats

Record: 1-3

Summary: The River Cats are off to a slow start despite their veteran line-up. The pitching staff, which was expected to star for Sacramento, has faltered thus far. Through four games, Sacramento has a team ERA of 7.64. The staff has walked 25 and struck out 21. The hitting has been good. The team is batting .298 and has scored four runs or more in each game.

Who's Hot:
Matt Watson: Despite an 0-3 on Sunday, Watson managed to hit .400 in the four-game series with Portland. Watson also launched three homeruns, including a grand-slam, and eight RBI. He reached base at a better than 47% clip and had a team-leading 15 total bases.

Jeremy Brown: Brown only played in two games, but made his presence felt in both, going 3-8 with his first two AAA homeruns and three RBI.

Doug Clark: Clark leads the team in batting in this early going, collecting seven hits in 13 at-bats for a .538 batting average. He also has a homerun and two stolen bases.

Chad Gaudin: Gaudin got the Opening Day nod and was nearly flawless, allowing only two hits and two walks in five scoreless innings. He struck out five.

Shane Komine: Komine has the team's only win with a solid AAA debut. Komine pitched six innings, allowing only two solo homeruns in the second.

Who's Not:

Dan Meyer: Meyer was lit-up in his first start, allowing six runs and nine hits in three innings of work. He walked one and didn't strike out a batter. He also allowed two homers.

Juan Dominguez: One of the A's newest acquisitions had a terrible first outing for the A's organization. He allowed six runs in 2.2 innings, including two homers and four walks. He also hit a batter.

Kazuhito Tadano: Tadano didn't fare much better than Dominguez. Pitching in relief, Tadano allowed five runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of work. He struck out two and walked four.

Daric Barton: Barton is hitting .267, but he doesn't have an extra-base hit in 15 at-bats. However, it is his defense that has been the biggest struggle thus far. He has been charged with three errors through the first four games.

Midland Rockhounds

Record: 1-3

Summary: The Rockhounds began their defense of their Texas League title at Frisco and went 2-2 in the series. Midland dropped two close games, won a blow-out and won a game that they controlled all game and allowed to get a little tighter at the end. The team's offense has been only average thus far with a .264 team batting average and only a .424 slugging percentage. The pitching has been better. Despite a 4.50 ERA, the team staff has been better than the ERA would indicate, as they have struck out 26 and have walked only seven.

Who's Hot:
Brad Ziegler: The California League leader in strikeouts in 2005 got off to a great start in AA with a solid performance on Sunday. Ziegler allowed only one run and three hits in seven innings to earn the win. He walked none and struck out five.

Eddie Cornejo: The Midland shortstop has played in three of the Rockhounds' four games and went 5-9 in the process. He also walked twice.

Brant Colamarino: Colamarino was red-hot at the start of last season and he is starting off the same way this year. In four games, Colamarino is 6-16 (.375) with a homer and three RBI. He has also walked three times.

Jason Perry: Perry went 6-18 (.333) in the team's first four games with three runs scored and a double.

Jared Burton: Burton was a workhorse out of the bullpen last season and he has jumped right back into that role in 2006. He has worked in three games this season, tossing three shut-out innings. Burton has struck out three and walked one. He has also allowed one hit.

Who's Not:
Danny Putnam: Putnam had one great game (3-4 with a homer, two doubles and five RBI), but has otherwise struggled. He has struck out seven times in 18 at-bats and is hitting .188 (although his slugging percentage is .500).

Brian Snyder: Snyder appears to be working through the rust of a year lay-off. Snyder is 0-10 with six strikeouts. He has reached base twice on walks.

Vasili Spanos: Spanos is only four for his first 14, although three of those hits have been for extra-bases (two doubles and a homerun). He has walked four times.

Matt Lynch: Lynch made one relief appearance and allowed five hits and three runs in two innings of work.

Stockton Ports

Record: 1-3

Summary: The Ports dropped their first three games before winning the second half of a double-header on Sunday. Stockton shut-out Modesto in the second game of the double-header, but before that hadn't given up less than five runs. They gave up 16 in a loss on Saturday. The offense hasn't been much better, as the Ports are hitting .219 as a team and have scored only eight runs in four games.

Who's Hot:
Travis Buck: Buck is hitting .333 (3-9) with a long homerun and a double. He has walked four times in as many games.

Gregorio Petit: The spunky second baseman is off to a solid start, hitting .357 (5-14) with a double and three RBI.

Landon Powell: Powell is back in action after a year away due to injury, but he has been hitting like he was never hurt. The burly catcher is 4-11 in three games (.364) with two doubles and an RBI.

Ryan Webb: Webb stopped the Ports' losing streak at three with an outstanding effort on Sunday. He threw 5.2 innings of shut-out baseball, scattering six hits and striking out two. The 20-year old was making his high-A debut.

Ryan Ford: Ford pitched two innings of relief on Opening Night and was masterful, striking out four and allowing only one hit.

Who's Not:
Cliff Pennington: The Ports' lead-off hitter didn't collect his first hit until the third game of the season and he is hitting .125 (2-16). He has struck out four times and has yet to draw a walk.

Richie Robnett: Robnett is 2-13 (.154) with two singles and one run scored. He has only struck out two times (a good sign for someone who whiffed 151 times last year) and he has one of the team's two stolen bases.

Matt Allegra: Allegra has had trouble making contact so far this year, going 0-8 with five strikeouts and one walk. He has the team's other stolen base.

Brad Sullivan: Sullivan had a very difficult debut on Saturday, allowing five runs in 1.1 innings and walking five. He uncorked two wild pitches and hit a batter.

Jeff Muessig: Muessig was one of the best Ports' relievers last year, but he is off to a bad start this season. He has thrown 3.2 innings in two outings, allowing six hits and four runs (three earned). He has struck out six and hasn't walked a batter, but he gave up a homerun.

Kane County Cougars

Record: 2-2

Summary: The Kane County Cougars began the season 2-0, but they have dropped their last two games to fall to 2-2. Kane County's hitting has yet to heat up, as the Cougars are hitting a meager .233 as a team. However, they have made their hits count. Despite only collecting 30 hits, they have scored 18 runs. On the mound, the Cougars have been inconsistent. The staff has a 4.75 ERA, but has allowed only 31 hits in 36 innings pitched.

Who's Hot:
Vince Mazzaro: Mazzaro won his professional debut with a solid five inning outing on Friday. The 19-year old allowed only four hits and two runs. He struck out two and walked none.

Steve Sharpe: Sharpe had a rough season in 2005, but he is off to a good start in 2006. He has earned two saves in as many chances, allowing only a walk in 1.1 innings pitched.

Craig Italiano: Okay, so Italiano's final line didn't look pretty, but most of the damage was done in the fifth when the 19-year old tired. He struck out eight in four plus innings of work, including three in the first. Italiano was wild (three walks and three wild pitches), but overwhelmed hitters at times.

Justin Sellers: The 20-year old shortstop is off to a fast start at the plate. Sellers is 5-13 with two runs scored and three RBI. He has also walked.

Mike Massaro: The Cougars' centerfielder has been a catalyst thus far this season. He has five hits in 14 at-bats (.357) with two doubles and three runs scored. He has also driven in two runs and has walked three times.

Who's Not:
Brad Kilby: Kilby has appeared in two games, allowing eight hits and seven runs (six earned) over 2.2 innings. He has walked two and struck out three.

Raul Padron: The Cougars' starting catcher is two for his first 11, although he has collected two RBI.

Jose Pineda: Pineda has struck out seven times in only 17 plate appearances. He has three hits in 15 official at-bats (.200) and two walks.

Steve Kleen: The lanky first baseman is hitting .167 through four games. He has scored three runs, but has only two total bases.

Jeff Baisley: The Cougars third baseman is still looking for his first Midwest League hit. He is 0-15 with one RBI and one walk. He has been making contact, however, striking out only once.

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