Oakland A's MLN: Simmons A Rising Star

Simmons is off to a strong start in the AFL.

It isn't the off-season for several members of the Oakland A's organization, who are busy playing in fall or winter leagues. We take a look at how those players are faring inside...

Stats as of October 31, 2012

James Simmons Named To Rising Star Roster

A's right-handed pitching prospect James Simmons was named to the West roster for the Arizona Fall League's annual Rising Stars game. Simmons, the A's top pick in 2007, has yet to allow a hit in eight relief appearances this fall. In 7.1 innings, Simmons has given up one run on three walks and he has struck-out six. Simmons has allowed only one baserunner over his past six appearances.

Simmons was the 26th overall pick in the 2007 draft out of UC-Riverside. The Southern California native debuted at the Double-A level with the Midland Rockhounds and posted a 3.94 ERA in 29.2 innings with Midland in 2007. He was a starter for the Rockhounds for the entire 2008 campaign and he made the Texas League's post-season All-Star team by posting a 3.51 ERA and a 120:32 K:BB ratio in 136 innings.

In 2009, Simmons made the jump to Triple-A. He had an up-and-down year with the Sacramento River Cats and finished with a 5.72 ERA. Simmons spent much of the final few weeks of that season on the disabled list, although he did recover in time to participate in the Arizona Fall League that off-season. Shoulder pain continued for Simmons into the 2010 season and he missed the entire year, eventually having surgery on his labrum.

Simmons returned to game action midway through the 2011 season. Although his command was good, Simmons' velocity was down last year with the Ports and he posted an uncharacteristically high 5.48 ERA despite his 36:6 K:BB ratio in 42.2 innings.

After a normal off-season without rehab, Simmons returned in 2012 with improved velocity and he produced much better results. In 63.1 innings as a reliever for Midland and Sacramento, Simmons had a 2.98 ERA to go along with a 50:22 K:BB ratio. Simmons has continued to see upticks in his velocity this fall at the AFL, according to A's minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and could be a factor for the A's out of the bullpen next season.

The Rising Stars game will be on Saturday at 5pm Pacific and will air on MLB Network and MLB.com.


Haviland's AFL Season Ends Early

For the second time during the Arizona Fall League season, the Oakland A's have lost a player due to injury. During the first game of the AFL schedule, prospect Miles Head injured his shoulder on a checked swing. The third baseman suffered a sublex of the left shoulder and was removed from the AFL roster. He won't need surgery but will need to rehab the shoulder this off-season.

On October 25, Shawn Haviland was removed from the Phoenix roster. Haviland's removal from the roster came five days after he made a start during which he allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in 1.2 innings pitched. He left that game with an injury in the second inning. Before that outing, he had made two starts for the Desert Dogs. In his first two outings, the right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks in seven innings and he struck-out seven.

According to A's Assistant GM David Forst, Haviland has a strained flexor tendon.


AFL Update

In addition to Simmons, the A's have three other prospects currently competing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, who were 6-10 and 3.5 games back of first place in the AFL West division before the scheduled games on November 1.

A's prospect Max Stassi has appeared in nine games for the Desert Dogs. The backstop has nine hits in 33 at-bats (.273 BA), four of which have gone for extra-bases. Stassi also has six RBI. The Yuba City, Calif., native has struck-out nine times and has walked twice.

Grant Green, the A's top pick in 2009, has 41 at-bats in 10 games with the Desert Dogs. Green, who has been playing second base for the Desert Dogs, has 12 hits, including two doubles. He has walked six times and has struck-out 10 times, and he has a .293/.383/.341 line.

Gary Daley, Jr. has tossed eight innings over seven relief appearances for the Desert Dogs. The right-hander has allowed 13 hits and seven walks, leading to six earned runs and a 6.75 ERA. Five of those six earned runs have come over Daley's last two appearances (two innings).

Brett Hunter has six appearances and 5.1 innings pitched for Phoenix. The hard-throwing right-hander has a 5.06 ERA, having allowed three earned runs. He has walked five and has struck-out three.


Winter League Update

Dominican Winter League

Bartolo Colon: A's free agent starter Bartolo Colon, who finished the 2012 season on the suspended list for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, is pitching for Aguilas Cibaenes this winter. Colon left his last start in the fifth inning was he was struck in the mouth with a line-drive. The injury required six stiches but there were no fractures. Before the injury, Colon had allowed three runs in 9.1 innings and he had walked none while striking out 10.

Shane Peterson: The A's outfield prospect suited up for Estrellas de Oriente at the start of the DWL season, but he was removed from the Estrellas roster after appearing in just four games. The left-hander didn't have a hit in nine at-bats. He walked once and scored a run and he struck-out three times.

Bruce Billings: Billings, the A's right-handed pitching prospect, has made three starts for the Estrellas thus far. He has allowed seven runs (two earned) in 10 innings with 11 hits and five walks allowed. Billings has struck-out 12 and has not allowed a homerun.

Mexican Winter League

Andres Avila: The A's right-handed pitching prospect has appeared in four games for the Caneros de los Mochis. He has allowed five runs on 15 hits in 9.2 innings. The native of Mexico has eight strike-outs and three walks.

Arnold Leon: Leon, also a native of Mexico, is off to a good start for the Tomateros de Culiacan. The right-handed pitching prospect has yet to allow a run in five innings pitched. He has walked one and has eight strike-outs and has allowed four hits and one hit by pitch.

Venezuelan Winter League

Carlos Hernandez: The A's left-handed pitching prospect has made two starts and two relief appearances for the Tigres de Aragua. Hernandez has allowed two earned runs in 11.1 innings. The Bay Area native has walked five and struck-out five and has given up 10 hits.

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