Oakland A's MLN: Winter Update And Releases

Valdez has shined this winter.

The winter league seasons are heading into the post-season. We have updates on some of the Oakland A's farmhands actively participating in winter baseball, as well as news on two farmhands released from the A's system inside...

Winter League Update

Many of the winter leagues have headed into their post-season tournaments. Below is an update on a few of the Oakland A's farmhands participating in winter baseball:

Jake Fox: Fox was a regular player for the Tigres del Licey during the second half of the regular season. Through 20 games, he batted .284 with a homer, 13 RBIs and a 716 OPS. Fox was acquired by the A's from the Chicago Cubs on December 3rd.

Aaron Cunningham: Cunningham was one of the top hitters in the Venezuelan Winter League during a 13-game stint with the Caribes de Anzotegui in late November-early December when he hit .340 with three homers, eight RBIs and a 977 OPS. Cunningham was sidelined on December 6th with a strained muscle in his abdomen and didn't appear in another game.

Henry Rodriguez: It has been an eventful few weeks for Rodriguez in his native Venezuela. The A's reliever was traded from his longtime VWL team, Zuila, to the Leones del Caracas, the team of many current and former A's farmhands. Rodriguez earned his first victory for Caracas on December 20th, against his old team. He struggled with Zuila to start the winter season, allowing seven runs in 3.1 innings, but pitched better in three appearances with Caracas, allowing a run on four hits and three walks in three innings. He struck-out six.

Gregorio Petit: Petit was a mainstay for Caracas throughout the season as the team's regular shortstop. He has been described in the Venezuelan media by Caracas manager (and former A's hitting coach) Dave Hudgens as the team's defensive captain. At the plate, Petit hit .251 with 25 RBIs and a 639 OPS in 43 games. Petit's Caracas teammate and former A's farmhand Raul Padron finished tied for seventh in the VWL in homeruns. He is a minor league free agent.

Alexander Valdez: The A's infield prospect is having a standout winter season. The switch-hitter batted .308 with an 831 OPS in 40 games for the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. He is a leading candidate to win the league's Rookie of the Year award.

Cedrick Bowers: Bowers was signed by the A's to a minor league free agent contract earlier this month. He has spent the off-season with the Navegantes del Magallanes of the VWL. Bowers has a 5.06 ERA in 21.1 innings for the Navegantes. He has made five starts and seven relief appearances.

Fernando Hernandez: Hernandez was also signed as a minor league free agent by Oakland in early December. The reliever has pitched this off-season with the Tiburones de La Guaira. In 29 innings spread over 23 appearances, he had a 3.41 ERA and 18 strike-outs against 12 walks.

Arnold Leon: After a rough start for his Mexican Winter League team, Leon has pitched well of late. In nine December outings, he has allowed only one run in 13.2 innings. His last appearance was on December 22nd and was a season-long 4.2 inning outing.

Steve Sharpe: Sharpe was a swingman for the Caribes de Anzoategui this winter, appearing in 12 games, seven as a starter. He had a 4.23 ERA and one save in 44.2 innings. Sharpe struck-out 38 and walked 18.

Matt Wright: Wright, another A's minor league free agent signing this off-season, had a strong campaign with the Tigres del Licey. He appeared in nine games, starting six, and posted a 2.27 ERA in 31.2 innings. He struck-out 19 and walked 11.

Cobb, Roquet Released

The A's have released two minor leaguers from their farm system: infielder Larry Cobb and reliever Rocky Roquet. Both are now minor league free agents.

Cobb was the co-MVP of the Kane County Cougars in 2008, but he saw his season cut short in 2009 when he was suspended for testing positive for an amphetamine. He was handed a 50-game suspension and wasn't returned to active status even after the 50 games were up. In 31 games with Sacramento and Stockton, Cobb hit .226 with three homers and a 667 OPS. He was a 27th round pick of the A's in 2006 out of the College of Charleston. Cobb hit .273 with 13 homers and 70 RBIs for the Cougars in 2008 and was a midseason and post-season All-Star in the Midwest League. In 2006, he hit .292 and was seventh in the Northwest League in batting for the Vancouver Canadians.

Roquet was released after one season in the A's organization. He had been acquired by the A's from the Chicago Cubs before the start of the 2009 campaign. Roquet spent the entire season with the Midland Rockhounds, with whom he posted a 5.37 ERA in 58.2 innings. He struck-out 46 and walked 26. Roquet was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cubs in 2006 out of Cal Poly. He was an AFL Rising Star in 2008 and a Midwest League All-Star in 2007. Roquet was a non-roster invitee to the Cubs' major league spring training camp in 2009.

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