Did you miss the Arizona League Fall Stars Game on Saturday? Well, I watch it every year and this years was pretty exciting. I root for the East’s Mesa Solar Sox where the Oakland A’s prospects play (surprise, surprise – right?). The Eastern team ended up losing by the score of 8-3 to the West but let’s take a look at the three Athletics’ prospects performances.
Meet A’s prospects Sean Manaea, Renato Nunez and Chad Pinder
The A’s number three overall prospect Sean Manaea, who came over to the Athletics’ organization from the Kansas City Royals in the Ben Zobrist trade, started the game for the East. He completely dazzled with his mid-90’s fastball. A lefty, the southpaw has an almost unhittable fastball that looks even faster than it is due to the extension and downhill plane in his delivery. With a little work on his secondary pitches, you’ll see Manaea in the middle of the A’s rotation quite soon.
Manaea, 23, pitched two innings in the Fall Stars game, allowing just one base runner on a walk to Jurickson Profar. He had one strike out in the first inning and came out to strike out the side in the second inning. Four K’s in two innings? This kid is a strikeout machine. Although A’s VP of baseball operations Billy Beane has said he does NOT want to rush Manaea to the big leagues, I personally can’t wait to see his first start in the bigs and I will be there for his first start at home, that is for sure. If you haven’t seen him pitch, I assure you – you want to!
The number six prospect in the organization is Renato Nunez. Nunez is a corner infielder who spends most of his time at the hot corner but also plays a little at first base. He needs a little defensive work, however, Nunez, who unfortunately went 0-2 in the Fall Stars Game, hit 29 home runs at High Class-A Stockton in 2014 and 18 last season at Double-A Midland. Like a lot of young hitters he can be inconsistent with his approach at the plate but his above average power makes up for it. Plus, with a little more time in the minors consistency in his approach at the plate will come, he is only 21 afterall.
Chad Pinder, the A’s number seven prospect, went 1-4 in the Fall Stars Game with a triple. Yeah, I did say triple. That’s pretty exciting. Pinder, 23, is another infielder yet he has the versatility to play at short, third and second. He doesn’t have a lot of power but he’s built for hitting line drives to any part of the field. His above average arm strength makes him perfect for the left side of the infield, however, his versatility to also play well at second will help him on his path to the Major Leagues.
So now you know a little bit about some of the A’s top prospects who you may find playing for the Double-A Midland Rock Hounds or the Triple-A Nashville Sounds – and don’t be too surprised to see them on the A’s sometime soon!