A’s number three ranked prospect Holmes has tough debut in San Jose

Holmes 2

by Charlie O. Mallonee

After the Josh Reddick – Rich Hill trade to the Dodgers for three minor league pitchers, there was a reordering of the top 30 prospects in the Oakland Athletics farm system. One of those pitchers is now the A’s number three ranked prospect.

20-year old Grant Holmes is 6-foot-1, 215 pound, right-handed pitcher that was selected in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2014 Free Agent Draft by the Dodgers. Holmes went right from playing high school baseball to playing professional ball for the Dodgers with their rookie teams in Arizona and Ogden, Utah.He spent the 2015 season in the Midwest League and was pitching for the Dodgers high Class A California League affiliate in Ranch Cucamonga when the trade occurred.

Holmes has an above average fastball that he throws in the 93-95 mph range on a consistent basis. He also has a plus-curveball that can be thrown with slider velocity when it is at its best. The curve still lacks the consistency that it will need at the next level.

Holmes has a workable change up that he is using more as the talent of the opposing hitters improves. His control is rated as a bit below average. Scouts feel his control “regressed” some in 2015. Not enough to no longer consider Holmes a top prospect, but he does need to learn “to trust his stuff”.

Even though Holmes is the youngest player who will require the most time and development to make it to the major leagues, he ultimately could be the crown jewel of this trade. In 2019 or 2020, we could be talking about how the Reddick-Hill trade of 2016 paid off for the A’s with the acquisition of starting pitcher Grant Holmes.

Holmes made his first appearance for the A’s Class A Stockton Ports on Friday night versus the San Jose Giants. It was not the type of start Holmes wanted to have for his new organization.

Holmes worked just 4.0 innings giving up six runs (four earned) on eight hits. He had one strike out and walked one batter. He did not give up a home run in the game.

Holmes threw 72 pitches (52 strikes) to the 23 batters he faced. He induced eight hitters to groundout and two to flyout.

The Giants hit back-to-back singles off Holmes in the first inning.Holmes then walked a batter to load the bases. The next San Jose batter was hit by the pitch to force in a run. A sacrifice fly made it a 2-0 game after the first inning.

San Jose scored single runs in the second and third innings off Holmes. A error by the Ports left fielder in the fourth inning allowed to unearned runs to score giving the Giants a 6-1 lead and the night for Holmes was over.

Holmes was charged with the loss. His overall record for the season is now 8-5 with 4.20 ERA.

Sports Radio Service will continue to monitor Holmes play and bring you updates as warranted.

Top pitching prospect from Reddick trade makes first start for Nashville

 

Nashville Logoby Charlie O. Mallonee

Right-hand pitcher Jharel Cotton was traded to the Oakland Athletics as a part of the trade deadline deal that sent outfielder Josh Reddick and pitcher Rich Hill to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cotton – who is on the 40-man roster- was assigned to to the A’s Triple-A affiliate in Nashville.

Cotton made his first start for Nashville on Thursday night in Colorado Springs where the ball flies just like it does at Coors Field due to the altitude. It is certainly not a pitcher friendly park.

Cotton – who has an above average four-seam fastball and change up – took the mound and worked six strong innings. He gave up just one run (earned) on six hits. Cotton struck out five Sky Sox batters and walked just one. He did allow one home run.

Cotton faced 24 batters in his six innings of work. He induced the opposing hitters into four groundouts and seven flyouts. Cotton threw 95 pitches (60 strikes).

When Cotton exited the game at the end of six innings, the Sounds led the Sky Sox 4-1. The Sounds would hang on to win the game 5-4. Cotton was credited with the win and his record improves to 9-5 on the season with a 4.70 ERA.

In the reordering of the A’s top prospects after the trades, Cotton is considered to be the 16th best prospect out of Oakland’s top 30 farm hands. With the A’s struggling to find pitchers to fill the back end of the starting rotation, Cotton could be a candidate to join the big club for a tryout start. If he continues to have success, Cotton certainly would a September call up candidate when the rosters can be expanded.

Third baseman Renato Nunez – rated the A’s sixth best prospect – played a big part in the Sounds victory last night in Colorado Springs. Nunez hit a two-run double (17) in the top of the second inning to give Nashville a 2-0 lead.

Nunez struck again in the top of the fourth inning when he hit a two-run home run off starting pitcher Hiram Burgos. It was the 18th home run of the season for Nunez. The four RBI in the game increased his total to 61 for the season.

Nunez certainly has the power numbers (17 doubles, 2 triples, 18 home runs) but the A’s would certainly like to see him raise his batting average the current .229. He has minor league career batting average of .267.

There was one other player of interest to Northern California fans playing in the game last night. Former Giant/Sacramento River Cat and Roseville resident, catcher Andrew Susac – who was traded to the Milwaukee organization – played for the Sky Sox and went 1-for-5.

Right-handed pitcher Grant Holmes – who was acquired as a part of the Reddick/Hill trade –  will make his first start for the A’s high Class-A team – Stockton Ports – in San Jose tonight. Sports Radio Service will report on that game in our Saturday edition.

 

 

Hill and Reddick go to the Dodgers in exchange for three pitching prospects

reddick-hill

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The A’s indicated on Sunday they might go for a contract extension with pitcher Rich Hill rather than trade him. Either that was a smoke screen or the extension talks did not go well because Hill is now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hill is currently on the disabled listed due to a blister on his middle finger of his pitching hand. Hill was placed on the DL retroactive to July 20 on July 30. He can be reinstated on August 4. Hill was 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA in 14 starts for the Athletics.

Reddick had also been the focus of contract extension talks as he will become a free agent at the end of the season. Those contract talks were not fruitful or did not look promising as Reddick is also a Dodger as of today.

Reddick was hitting .296 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 68 games for the A’s this season. Reddick spent May 20 to June 27 on the disabled list with a fractured thumb. He had been seen as a trade target by several teams as the trade deadline approached. The Dodgers remained at the top of the list of suitors for Reddick’s services.

As has been the Athletics style, they will receive prospects in return for Hill and Reddick. In this case, all three prospects are pitchers.

cotton

Jharel Cotton is a 24-year old right-hand pitcher who has been playing at the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City this season. He had appeared in 22 games (16 starts) with a record of 8-5. His 4.90 ERA is high but earned run averages tend to run high in the Pacific Coast League.

Cotton has an above average fastball.The speed of that fastball changes depending on whether he is starting or relieving. As a starter, he throws the fastball in the upper 80’s. As a reliever, he ups the speed of his number one pitch into the 90’s.

Cotton has a plus-change up that he uses frequently as an out pitch. He also throws a cutter and a curve but both are considered below average. He really needs to develop a third pitch.

At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Cotton’s size is more suited to being a relief pitcher rather than a starting pitcher in the major leagues. Cotton has been assigned to the A’s Triple-A team in Nashville.

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox

Frankie Montas is a hard throwing right-hander who has seen some time in the big leagues with the Chicago White Sox. He appeared in seven games (two starts) for the Sox in 2015. Montas was traded to the Dodgers in a three-team trade that sent Trayce Thompson to Los Angeles.

Montas had rib surgery in February and has been limited to 16.0 innings of work in 2016. There have been conflicting reports about when Montas will be able to pitch again. Some reports have him pitching again in September and others have him not returning to action until the Arizona Fall League gets underway.

Montas is 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds. His size may be a part of his power as a pitcher but it is also a concern about how it may impact his health in the long run.

Montas has an excellent fastball with some sink that he throws consistently in the 90’s and will ramp up to 102 mph on occasion. His number two pitch is a slider that he throws in the mid-80’s. Scouts say Montas needs to develop a third pitch.

Montas gets into trouble when he overthrows his pitches. His fastball straightens out and his slider flattens out which makes both pitches less effective.

The big question that has followed Montas is whether he is a starter or reliever. The early takes are that the A’s will work to make Montas a starter.

Holmes

The final piece of this trade is a youngster. Grant Holmes is just 20-years old and is already in his third year of professional baseball. The Dodgers drafted him in the first round of the 2014 draft with number 22 overall pick.

Holmes is a 6-foot-1, 215 pound, right-hand throwing pitcher. He has a fastball that runs up near 100 mph on a regular basis. Holmes also has a hard, sharp breaking curve ball. He also is working on what is considered a very promising change up.

Holmes is 8-4 with a 4.02 ERA for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga this season. He has appeared in 20 games (18 starts). Despite those impressive numbers as a starter, many experts see Holmes as a reliever by the time he reaches the big leagues.

The A’s have not announced what team Holmes will be assigned to in the organization.