Ryon Healy Rose To Challenge Of New Position
Best Player: From the first day of spring training, Ryon Healy knew he was on a mission. He had a good season at Double-A Midland in 2015, but the glut of corner infielders at Triple-A forced him into the background. He simply took command of his situation and batted .338/.409/.628 with eight homers in 36 games to force his way to Nashville, where he hit .318/.362/.505 with six homers in 49 games to earn a trip to the Futures Game.
But that is only part of the story. Healy mostly played first base, but he worked intently to learn to play third so he would be prepared if the need were to come. Shortly after the Futures Game, the Athletics advanced him to the majors, as their everyday third baseman. He rose to the challenge and has more than held his own at the new position.
"His at-bats at the major league level, against good pitching, have been excellent,” farm director Keith Lieppman said. "His approach and plate discipline have been great. Everything that he’s built his foundation upon is being played out at the big league level.”
Best Pitcher: Everything about Daniel Mengden is quirky and different, from his handlebar moustache to his old-fashioned windup. Being different fits well into Oakland’s system, where the A’s have let Mengden thrive since acquiring him from Houston.
He powered through Double-A and Triple-A and spent a few weeks in Oakland before returning to Nashville. In the minors he was 10-2, 1.46, dominating the opposition. As the season concluded, the A’s were trying to limit his innings to avoid overworking the 23-year-old Texan, but he has made a huge impression.
"He’s really going to be a good pitcher in the future,” Lieppman said. "I think it was a good idea to send him back (to Nashville) so he can work in smaller doses.”
Keep An Eye On: Perhaps the most exciting surprise for the A’s this season has been the emergence of Jaycob Brugman, a lefty-hitting center fielder from Brigham Young who could soon compete for a job as the leadoff hitter in the majors. In 94 games for Nashville, he hit .295/.352/.438.
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Brugman, 24, was a 17th-round pick in 2013 who finally broke out in Triple-A. "He’s been under the radar, but he just keeps performing,” Lieppman said. "The organization takes notice.”