Midland Rockhounds: Texas League Championship


Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Amid all the scrutiny and worry that abounds the Oakland Athletics and their playoff hopes, their Double-A squad the Midland Rockhounds are playing to be Champions of the Texas League. Game 3 of the series is on Friday night. With the series tied at one apiece, Shawn Haviland will take the hill for Midland.

Haviland went 7-7 with a 3.87 ERA in the regular season. The 28-year old righty pitched four innings of three-run ball in his last outing against the Frisco RoughRiders (Texas) on September 6. Deryk Hooker came on in relief, pitching 2 2/3 and allowing one run while gaining the victory.

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Haviland’s opposition on Friday night will be Carlos Hernandez of the Tulsa Drillers (Rockies), a 27-year old lefty who was originally drafted in the 2006 draft by the A’s in the 35th round. Hernandez’s last start was on the fifth, where he pitched a complete game, allowing just three hits and zero runs while striking out five. Over his last ten starts, Hernandez is 5-3 with a 2.15 ERA. In that span he has faced Midland twice, totaling 12 1/3 innings, 13 hits allowed and just 1 earned run.

A couple of names that you may be familiar with that are currently manning the Rockhound squad are shortstop Daniel Robertson and third baseman Matt Chapman. Robertson is the player the A’s felt good enough about to ship super-prospect Addison Russell to Chicago.

Robertson spent all of his season in Advanced A Stockton, but when their season came to an end against Visalia (Diamondbacks), he was called upon to join the Midland team. Robertson lead the California league this season with 170 hits, including an 18-game hit streak that started on July 4th, the day the Russell was traded to the Cubs.

In his brief stint with the Rockhounds, Robertson has gone 2 for 12 (.167) in his first stint in Double-A ball. One of those hits was a long-ball. These numbers shouldn’t be used to judge how ready the 20-year old shortstop is to move on; not yet at least. This is his first taste of the next level, and he’s facing Championship-caliber players.

As for Matt Champman, he was the Athletics 1st round draft choice in this year’s draft. In eight at-bats this series, Chapman has yet to collect a hit. In the series against the RoughRiders however, Chapman went 4 for 10 (.400), including a 2-run homer.

Once drafted, Chapman started out in the Arizona Rookie League, playing a total of three games and hitting .429. He quickly advanced to Beloit (Low-A) where he played in 50 games and hit .237. The 21-year old third baseman is advancing quickly, but will likely see a start in Class-A Stockton in 2015. The A’s like to advance their prospects steadily, not rocket them to the majors.

The Midland Rockhounds will be at home Friday night at Security Bank Ballpark for first pitch at 5:00 pm PST.