4:07 AM EDT, Mon July 25, 2016
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Athletics Nation 8 hours ago

RHP Nolan Blackwood is Oakland A's first 2016 draft pick to reach Single-A Beloit

The Oakland A's 2016 draft class is settling in at short-season Low-A Vermont, but the first hatchling has already fought his way up to full-season ball. Right-handed pitcher Nolan Blackwood, the A's 14th-round pick, is already in the bullpen for the Single-A Beloit Snappers. Blackwood is a pure reliever, having pitched out of the pen all three years at Memphis, so we're not talking about the next up-and-coming starter here. But the 21-year-old is a submariner, and that alone gets my attention. Much like a knuckleballer or a guy who pitches with both arms, the submarine style just makes...
Athletics Nation 9 hours ago

Game #99: Superstars Jesse Hahn and Billy Butler lead A's to victory

The A's are really playing their best baseball since the first half of 2014, and they're being lead by their rotation, something that was the team's biggest weakness like two weeks ago. Also: Jake Smolinski, Ryon Healy, and Billy Butler. Imagine telling yourself that three months ago. Today Butler and Hahn were specifically the heroes – a guy who was just in AAA, and a guy who probably deserved to be there with him. It's fitting we're exactly four years on from the magical Yankees series in 2012, because this felt similarly. Maybe/probably it's too late to make a move, but god, watchable...
Athletics Nation 14 hours ago

Oakland A’s go shorthanded on infield to call up Jesse Hahn, option Arismendy Alcantara

The Oakland A’s have optioned utility player Arismendy Alcantara to Triple-A Nashville to activate Sunday’s starting pitcher, Jesse Hahn. The A’s will again play without an obvious backup in the middle infield to play behind second baseman Jed Lowrie and shortstop Marcus Semien. Hahn is starting in place of Rich Hill, who remains unavailable due to a blister. Hill last started on July 17, and the latest date to take full advantage of the 10-day maximum for backdating a placement on the disabled list is July 28. Bruce Maxwell will make his first major league start while Josh Reddick...
Athletics Nation Jul 23, 2016

Game #98: Smolinski Ties, Healy Walks Off in Graveman Complete Game Win

WALK IT OFF AGAIN! You guys!!!! In case you missed it, in front of a packed fireworks crowd of 30,000+, Kendall Graveman pitched a complete game and was in line for a loss until the ninth inning. Trailing 3-1, facing a pitcher who was 21-21 in save opportunities, Davis walked, Smolinski tied the game at 3, and Healy walked it off again, turning a loss into a win for Graveman, and sending the A's OUT OF THE BASEMENT with another dramatic walk-off win in the ninth. I'll be right back as I grab some more exclamation marks to complete the recap. What a great ninth!
Athletics Nation Jul 23, 2016

RHP Heath Fillmyer debuts for Double-A Midland

Back in 2014, while playing for Division-II junior college Mercer, shortstop Heath Fillmyer moved to the mound to become a full-time pitcher. His instant success earned him a 5th-round draft selection from the Oakland A's that summer, and he set about developing his game in the pro ranks. Just two years later, the 22-year-old has already reached the upper minors, making his debut start for the Double-A Midland RockHounds on Thursday. His final line included 5 ip, 2 runs, 4 Ks, 1 BB. It's been a quick rise for the right-handed Fillmyer, though of course this is the same organization that...
Athletics Nation Jul 23, 2016

Bruce Maxwell called up by Oakland A's, will make MLB debut Saturday

The Oakland A's have officially called up catcher Bruce Maxwell from Triple-A Nashville. The 25-year-old is expected make his MLB debut on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. There were a pair corresponding moves: to make room on the 25-man roster fellow catcher Stephen Vogt was placed on the family medical leave list, and to make room on the 40-man roster injured reliever Fernando Rodriguez was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Maxwell was drafted by the A's in the 2nd round in 2012, and he's worked his way slowly but...
Athletics Nation Jul 23, 2016

Bruce Maxwell: A Welcome Addition, But One Day Too Soon?

Good Addition From Weisbaden! I have been long awaiting the arrival of exciting young A’s prospects who can give us a glimpse of the real future and perhaps reason to think the future will be bright. Ryon Healy has injected life into the A’s, and at least the early returns suggest a "keeper" who could be part of the next contending A’s team. Bruce Maxwell, the pride of Weisbaden, Germany, is the next to audition for this role, as the catcher is being called up today and reportedly will be in the starting lineup. Seems just one day early to me. Why? Let’s look at how the weekend is...
Athletics Nation Jul 23, 2016

Oakland A's pitchers Sean Manaea and Kendall Graveman thriving with new pitch selections

Manaea changes his approach, while Graveman's ERA continues to sink. In 2016, Oakland A's starting pitchers have fit into one of three categories: injured, falling far short of expectations, or Rich Hill. There has been some slight overlap at times, with guys in the latter two categories also landing in the first one, but in general that's been the breakdown. There have been a bunch of enormous ERAs, sometimes switched out for different guys with enormous ERAs, and then every fifth day when moonlight hits the mound at just the right angle Rich Hill appears and strikes out a bunch of batters...
Athletics Nation Jul 23, 2016

Game #97: A's Walk It Off In 13, Win 1-0

Reprising his role from four years ago to this date, Coco Crisp walked the A's off the field with the game-winning single in the bottom of the thirteenth inning to score Ryon Healy, whose lead-off double was the only extra-base hit in the game. If you like low-scoring pitchers' duels, was this ever your jam! The A's even the series at 1 in another Friday night thriller in thirteen. I'll be back with all the details....
Athletics Nation Jul 23, 2016

Game Thread #97: Oakland Athletics vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2)

Okay, FINE! New thread. It's the bottom of the 13th inning and after stupendous pitching by the A's, kicked off by Manaea's eight gorgeous innings, we find ourselves still in a scoreless tie, because as luck would have it, the Rays pitched equally well. Twenty-five and a half innings without a run makes for not only a riveting game, but a snappy thirteen innings, to boot. I didn't want to ruin the pitching with a new thread, but it's time for drastic measures. LET'S GO OAK-LAND!
Athletics Nation Jul 22, 2016

Daniel Coulombe and the evolution of the Oakland A's bullpen

Last winter, the Oakland A's set about revamping their bullpen. They did so by spending big, both in terms of free agent dollars and trade capital, and they put together an impressive list of names. I fully supported the shopping spree, because fixing the relief corps was an absolute necessity but also because it had to happen immediately. The 2015 pen was so bad that, if they wanted any serious shot at competing in 2016, they needed to bite the bullet and pay extra for the deluxe version. There wasn't time to spend months picking through the waiver wire, looking for seven new gems through...
Athletics Nation Jul 22, 2016

Eyeball Scout: What’s Wrong With Sonny Gray?

A few games each year, the Eyeball Scout enjoys (or doesn’t enjoy, as the case may be) a game from the front row of section 117. This gives a view that probably mirrors the batter’s view of pitches as closely as any seat in the house. From that vantage point you can glean somewhat of a sense of what pitches are looking like to the hitter and you can practically read the name on the tag of C.B. Bucknor’s guide dog. It might be "Coin Flip" but I’m not certain. Anyhoo, I had the pleasure, and by "pleasure" I mean "misfortune," of being in the good seats for Sonny Gray’s start last...
Athletics Nation Jul 22, 2016

MLB Trade Deadline: Oakland A's Key Players and Odds

With the trade deadline approaching, which players may be on the block and what are their chances of being dealt? The 2016 MLB trade deadline is coming up on Aug. 1 and, as most are well aware, the Oakland A's are shaping up as sellers. A variety of veterans may be headed to other pastures for the stretch run of the season. Who will go? Athletics Nation is teaming up to figure that out. This article will highlight some of the more notable A's players who may be trade storylines. There are some facts and figures for each player, the odds each will be traded, and some commentary from our...
Athletics Nation Jul 22, 2016

The Daily Bernie, 7/22/16: The calm before the storm

An eerily quiet Thursday could lead to a very hectic weekend, and the Cubs continue to keep tabs on Josh Reddick, among other news. Welcome back to the Daily Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more! With the August 1st trade deadline inching closer and closer, it seems as if the entire league is waiting for just a single domino to drop before the floodgates open. Per Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, an executive has called this time “the calm before the storm.” Could we finally see some major trades today? The Chicago Cubs have continued to show...
Athletics Nation Jul 22, 2016

Game #96: Sonny Stumbles Again, A's Lose to Rays 7-3

The A's once (and hopefully future) ace continued his very forgettable season and the A's bats could not get to Matt Moore and the Rays enough to overcome the poor outing by Gray. Heading into the 2016 season, the A's looked for a competitive rebound headlined by Sonny Gray as the staff ace.  Sporting a deep - albeit not star-studded - lineup and a rebuilt bullpen, the franchise hoped to see Gray - who placed 3rd in AL Cy Young voting in the A's otherwise lost 2015 season - be the lead starting pitcher in a rotation featuring mostly young arms and the lottery ticket Rich Hill. Plain and...
Athletics Nation Jul 21, 2016

Game #96: A's vs. Rays

After taking 2 out of 3 from good ball clubs (Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros), the Athletics hope to continue their streak of series wins vs. the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. The Athletics went into the All Star Break with a 38-51 record that was full of streaks, injuries and, ultimately, disappointment. After playing well in Houston prior to the break, where a 2-2 record in the 4 game set was two blown saves away from being an Athletics road sweep, the A's have come out of the break strongly with a 4-2 record against teams in the thick of the playoff hunt and have moved to 42-53. ...
Athletics Nation Jul 21, 2016

Jesse Hahn will start Sunday for the Oakland A's

With ace starter Rich Hill still nursing a blistered finger, and with no timetable for his return, the Oakland A's are moving forward with a substitute for his next turn in the rotation on Sunday. Jesse Hahn will start against the Tampa Bay Rays, reports Jane Lee and the rest of the insiders. It's been an odd season for Hahn. The questions entering 2016 revolved around whether he would be healthy enough to flash his undeniable talent, but instead the reverse has happened -- he stayed free of injuries, but isn't pitching all that well. His awful spring training landed him in Triple-A to...
Athletics Nation Jul 21, 2016

Catcher Bruce Maxwell is knocking on the Oakland A's door

With a bang bang of Maxwell's silver hammer, Bruce appears to be turning into The Hulk. Back in 2012, the Oakland A's spent a 2nd-round draft pick on a power-hitting catcher from a small college called Birmingham-Southern. They had just taken high school infielders Addison Russell, Daniel Robertson, and Matt Olson in the first round, but Bruce Maxwell presented a whole different kind of risk in that Division-III players aren't usually drafted that high. They knew they were getting a long-term project, but four years later their gamble might be ready to pay off as Maxwell is now knocking on...
Athletics Nation Jul 21, 2016

Sean Manaea threw his change-up more on Sunday, and that's a good thing

Sean Manaea's transition to the big leagues hasn't been as seamless as we'd all hoped. He's certainly shown flashes of the star we all expected, but mostly, he's been the guy with an ERA over five and a difficulty putting hitters away. On Sunday, Manaea showed a slightly different pitch selection than we've been accustomed to this year. Date Fastball Change Slider Pre-Sunday 60.36% 24.95% 14.69% Sunday 50.72% 34.78% 14.49% As we know from Kendall Graveman, Rich Hill, and about a billion other pitchers, sometimes, a turning point from bad to good can be as simple as...
Athletics Nation Jul 21, 2016

The Daily Bernie, 7/21/16: Trade market heating up

A top A’s official was at a division rival’s minor league game on Tuesday, and another division foe acquired a slugging first baseman on Wednesday, among other news. Welcome back to the Daily Bernie! It’s the best dance in the game, so let’s get rolling once more! With the trade deadline less than two weeks away, the market is finally heating up and rumors are coming closer and closer to reality. In a rather interesting move on Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Cubs acquired lefty Mark Montgomery and righty Jordan Pries from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for first base prospect...

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