Mengden Returns To Roots And Thrives
BEST PLAYER: After an all-star performance at Double-A Midland in 2015, third baseman Ryon Healy found himself repeating the Texas League this season. Rather than sulk, he proved he belonged at a higher level.
Healy, a 2013 third-round pick from Oregon, forced a quick promotion to Triple-A Nashville, where he hit .340/.387/.545 with 21 extra-base hits through 40 games.
"He has grit and determination,” farm director Keith Lieppman said. "He has the kind of mindset that you admire in a player. When he didn’t get invited to big league camp this year, he was really frustrated and angry. He came back with a chip on his shoulder that he was going to prove everybody wrong.”
Healy, 24, played mostly first base at Oregon, but he has developed into a serviceable third baseman. Advancement has been difficult, however, because the Athletics system is loaded with corner infielders.
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: If ever a player seemed like a fit for the A’s, it is righthander Daniel Mengden, with his quirky delivery and Rollie Fingers-style handlebar mustache. Oakland acquired Mengden, a 2014 fourth-round pick from Texas A&M, in the Scott Kazmir trade with the Astros last July.
Houston tried to alter Mengden’s unusual two-stop delivery, but the A’s allowed him to return to the form he used in college. He began this season at Midland and quickly advanced to Nashville, going a combined 5-1, 1.19 in 11 starts with 67 strikeouts and 22 walks in 68 innings.
Mengden quickly found himself in the majors, where he recorded a 2.81 ERA through four starts.
"He is focused and undaunted,” Lieppman said. "He battles back from trouble.”
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: After hitting .367 in the second half last season at high Class A Stockton, shortstop Franklin Barreto appeared poised to take off. But the adjustment to Double-A has been unkind for the system’s No. 1 prospect.
Barreto has struggled with the bat at Midland, hitting .243/.305/.366 with seven home runs and 16 steals through 74 games. He also plays about one-third of his games at second base when teammate Yairo Munoz plays shortstop. Barreto also spent time in the outfield in the Venezuelan League as the A’s attempt to find his best defensive fit.
A's Acquire Tommy La Stella From Angels In Exchange For Franklin Barreto
In Tommy La Stella, the A's upgraded their second base group with one of the game's best contact-makers.
The A’s acquired Barreto after the 2014 season as the key piece of the Josh Donaldson trade with the Blue Jays, who signed him for $1.45 million out of Venezuela in 2012.