The Arizona Fall League opener was today and some of the Oakland Athletics’ prospect shined with the Mesa Solar Sox. The Athletics have a total of seven prospects participating in Fall Ball with Mesa this season. Some of these names fans will recognize including infielders Chad Pinder and Renato Nunez and pitcher Sean Manaea. Additionally, Athletics’ minor league pitching coach Steve Connelly is the pitching coach for the Solar Sox.
For this afternoon’s game at Camelback Ranch Park in Glendale, three A’s made the starting lineup including Pinder at second, Nunez at third, and outfielder Jaycob Brugman, who played with Oakland’s Double-A team the Midland RockHounds, in left field. Pinder showed off his strong bat in today’s game with two home runs that drove in four RBI. Additionally, he only struck out once in five at bats.
Nunez did not do as well at the plate, but he did demonstrated some amazing fielding skills at third base. Interestingly enough, third base is his least successful position, but is the the position at which he has the most playing experience. It was nice to see that he was making good plays defensively at third in this game.
When it comes to Nunez’s bat, do not expect it to be quiet for long. He was quite successful offensively in Double-A this year with a .278/.332/.480 slash line and an .812 OPS. This is just the first game of the Fall League, so he still has plenty of time to heat up.
Some of the other Oakland prospects who may be seen playing for the Solar Sox this fall include pitchers Kris Hall, Aaron Kurcz, and Brendan McCurry. All seven prospects played either in Double-A or Triple-A this 2015 Minor League season. Additionally, Pinder, Nunez, and Manaea are three of the A’s top ten prospects while Brugman, Kurcz, and McCurry are within the Athletics’ top 30 prospects. This extra playing time with the Solar Sox will only help them all improve their skills.
If these prospects are able to impress this fall, the likelihood of them being invited to spring training in 2016 is high – especially for Pinder, Nunez and Manaea. Manaea is even expected to have a shot at earning a spot on the starting rotation if he does well. Let’s make sure to keep an eye on these seven players as they continue down the road toward their Major League Baseball career dreams.