2012 Minor League Report: Sacramento Rivercats
By Sean Davis
As has been the case over the years, the Sacramento Rivercats find themselves in first place in the Southern division of the Pacific Coast League with a 55-37 record. It goes without saying that the Rivercats roster is riddled with familiar names, many of whom have spent time in Oakland at some point. But there are also a few prospects who are getting their last bit of seasoning in the minors before making the ultimate jump to the Major Leagues. Manny Ramirez also spent a good deal of time there as well, before he got antsy and requested his release.
Some of the most notable names in Sacramento include Opening Day starting 3B Josh Donaldson, Anthony Recker, Eric Sogard and Kila Ka’aihue who were also on the Opening Day roster, and familiar names like Adam Rosales, Tyson Ross, Graham Godfrey and Michael Taylor. Oh and some guy named Daric Barton.
The numbers that stand out the most from this lot are those of Josh Donaldson, who is grooming himself as the ultimate Quadruple A player. He hit about a .150 in Oakland as the 3B there after Scott Sizemore blew out his knee in Spring Training, in Sacramento though it’s an entirely different story. Donaldson is putting up ridiculous numbers in his 27 games there with a .382/.433/.718 line, that equates to an astounding 1.152 OPS. If he can do that for even a week in Oakland it would change his entire career trajectory.
Eric Sogard has also torn the cover off the ball, his .339/.443/.473 line has to be pleasing to the A’s. I believe Sogard can be a useful utility man in Oakland, but if he is relied upon to start there could be problems.
Kila Ka’aihue has also hit well in his time since being designated for assignment, he is hitting .317/.457/.587 in Sacramento as he tries to make his case to return to the Athletics.
Adam Rosales is hitting .296/.347/.483 and will probably continue to ride the Capital Corridor train from Sacramento to Oakland and back throughout the season as the need for roster depth dictates.
Graham Godfrey started the Triple A All Star Game last night for the PCL, and he is having a dazzling season in Sacramento with an 8-0 record and an ERA of 2.88 in 13 starts. With the rotation health issues the A’s have had, I’d be surprised if he didn’t find his way back to the Oakland rotation at some point.
Then there’s Daric Barton, the most debated figure in the Oakland Athletics organization in recent memory. Barton well, he’s being Daric Barton down there. He’s hitting .239/.410/.431, same old high OBP low SLG Barton we all worship or can’t stand. Some things never change. At this point who knows if or when he’ll be back in Oakland.
As for the prospects of the Rivercats, most notably Grant Green, Michael Taylor, Brad Peacock, and Daniel Straily, it’s something of a mixed bag.
Grant Green has played all around the diamond, from outfield to 3B to his original SS position, and he’s had what I would classify as a solid season. He’s hitting .290/.334/.441 and if he continues to produce I would imagine his arrival in Oakland will come at the first opportunity that comes along (Say a Brandon Inge or Cliff Pennington DL stint).
Michael Taylor has big power potential if you look at his frame, but unlike Ryan Sweeney he’s actually shown the ability to hit the ball 400 feet. While he’s not hitting for much power in Sacramento with just 6 homers in 76 games, he is hitting .302/.405/.451 so not all hope is lost.
Brad Peacock is having what can be categorized as a terrible horrible no good very bad season with the Rivercats. He does have a .500 record at 6-6, but his ERA is 7.12, and his WHIP 1.75. But his FIP is just 3.91 and his BABIP is .383 so perhaps it’s not as bad as it seems. He still may be stuck in Sacramento though for 2012.
AJ Griffin has been extremely impressive since his surprise call up, and Daniel Straily may very well be the next in line to get such a call up should it be necessary. He’s made 4 starts since being promoted to Sacramento and has a 3-1 record with a 1.04 ERA. If Bartolo Colon is dealt at the deadline, Straily may be the one to take his place.
The Rivercats are on track to make some more noise in the Triple A playoffs, provided the A’s don’t pluck away all their best players.