In 2013, it seemed destined that the Ports’ shortstop and current Chicago Cubs rookie Addison Russell would be the future middle infielder for the Oakland Athletics. After a midsummer trade in 2014 involving former Ports Billy McKinney, Dan Strailey, and Russell being traded to the Cubs for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, that outlook quickly changed.
After the trade, Daniel Robertson quickly took over the A’s number one overall prospect spot, a position he thrived on. Robertson finished the season hitting .310 with 15 home runs and 60 RBI and appeared to be the next shortstop of the future for the A’s.
The Athletics, however, had different plans. Once again another big
trade occurred that had A’s fans all over the country surprised. All-Star third baseman and former Stockton Ports star Josh Donaldson was dealt to the Blue Jays for four players including current Ports shortstop Franklin Barreto.
After the trade, Robertson was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays along with teammate and 2014 Port Boog Powell for Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar, making Barreto the next shortstop the A’s had big plans for.
At just 19 years old, Franklin Barreto was arguably the key piece to trading Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays, a player deemed as “untouchable” around Oakland A’s inner circles.
At only 5’9″, Barreto was on international scouts’ radars before signing in July of 2012 with the Blue Jays organization at only 17 years old. In Barreto’s first full season of Minor League Baseball, the shortstop put up a slash line of .311/.384/.481 playing in the Northwest League for the Vancouver Canadians. In 328 plate appearances, Barreto also put up solid power numbers with a total of six home runs and 61 runs batted in.
Known as a natural hitter by scouts all around Major League Baseball, Barreto has a knack for getting on base and even complimented his high on base percentage with a total of 29 stolen bases in 2014.
Barreto has also proven to have a solid glove in the infield, with many executives believing he could serve his role as either a shortstop or a second baseman for the A’s. While many see the young star as a player with raw talent, Barreto is still very young with a possible MLB arrival by 2017.
His inexperience in professional baseball certainly showed at the beginning of the 2015 season. While Barreto at times was able to make amazing plays in the infield, the young prospect struggled to be consistent and committed unnecessary errors, which quickly changed as Barreto has continued to show improvement with his glove and was one of the Ports’ best infielders at the half-way point of the season. However, just as his fielding was progressing, a bruised wrist sidelined Barreto in late July and during the entire month of August.
Barreto’s bat was another piece to his game that was slow to come around this season as he spent most of the first month batting below .200. He turned this around in during the month of May when he had three-hit games and a two home run and 5 RBI night on May 18th against the Modesto Nuts. While Barreto ended the first half of the season batting .271, he excelled in the second half with an astounding .367, as he batted .444 following his return from the Disabled List in September.
With another season under his belt, the young infielder will be looking to stay healthy in 2016 and continue to work on his fundamentals as he may have a promotion to Double-A Midland where he can be an asset to the back-to-back Texas League Champions.
2015 was certainly an exciting ride for Ports fans. What started out as a team that struggled early on, ultimately ended with a thrilling run to the playoffs and a clinching of the second-half championship in the North Division with an overall record of 72-66.
As impressive as 2015 may have been, just the year before in 2014, the Ports had one of the best regular season teams in franchise history. Led by a plethora of top prospects, the Ports finished 85-55 and clinched a second-half championship as well. Although the result ended in a first round playoff loss, fans were treated all season long to impressive on-field play, including remarkable performances from stars Matt Olson and Renato Nunez.
Known as the “Bash Brothers 2.0”, Olson and Nunez led the power surge for the Ports that season and finished with a combined total of 66 home runs, the most in MiLB that season as well as all-time in the Ports’ record books. Olson finished just shy of the Ports’ all-time regular season home run record set by Chris Carter at 39, with two short at 37. Olson finished with 97 RBI that season as well as a total of 117 walks.
Nunez, on the other hand, got off to a bit of a slow start in the first half of the season but then turned it around and had one of the hottest second-halves in all of Minor League Baseball. By year’s end, Nunez finished with a .279 average to compliment his 29 home runs and 96 RBI.
For a lot of players in the A’s organization, making the transition from the hitter-friendly California League to the pitching-friendly Texas League can prove to be a difficult challenge. Olson and Nunez, however, proved otherwise.
For both players, their impact was certainly not as high as many would have expected in the early stages of the 2015 season playing for the Midland RockHounds. For a large part of the season, Olson could not seem to replicate the success he had in Stockton the year prior and was down in all areas. However, he continued to move forward and by season’s end, finished with 17 home runs, 75 RBI, and again surpassed 100 walks by finishing with 105, a feat that an organization like Oakland, continues to value in their players.
Olson continued to be a threat at the plate all season long and fought through early inconsistencies to finish as one of the best offensive players on the squad.
Nunez had a much different path during the 2015 season with Midland. As opposed to Olson’s 133 games played in 2015, injuries early on in the season kept the Venezuelan born prospect out for several games and he ended up playing in just 93 total games. Nunez, however, was able to capitalize by putting up remarkable numbers.
During those 93 games, Nunez put up 18 home runs, 61 RBI and finished with a .278 batting average and continued to be a hot bat for the RockHounds during the playoffs.
The duo’s success they shared in Stockton ultimately carried over in Midland as the RockHounds finished as the 2015 Texas League Champions, their second title in as many years.
As both Olson and Nunez are almost certainly destined to begin 2016 with Triple-A Nashville, both players will be taking another big step towards reaching their final destination in Oakland.
With the A’s currently in a rebuilding mode and a look towards the future, both players certainly have a chance to not only make some noise at the Triple-A level, but the big league level as well next year.
El Concilio Food Basket Collection
The Ports front office is currently collecting food donations for El Concilio’s food basket collection. Members of the Ports front office, along with Splash, will be in attendance at the basket distribution on Saturday, December 19th.
CHiPs Toy Drive
The Ports are also collecting new, unwrapped toys for the CHP’s annual toy drive. Fans may drop off their donations at the ballpark for the distribution which will be held on Friday, December 18th.
The Ports front office has two speaking engagements planned at retirement communities and local Lions clubs to further promote the program in December.
Baseball by the Books
The program will kick-off on January 13th for schools in San Joaquin County. In December, the Ports will announce the bookmark design contest winner.
The Ports donated four Field Box ticket vouchers for the 2016 season to 18 local non-profit organizations for raffles, auctions, and door prizes.
Organizations who have received donations in October include but are not limited to: Boys and Girls Club of Manteca and Lathrop, District 8 Little League, Family Resource and Referral Center, Healings in Motion, Linden Athletic Boosters, and Second Harvest Food Bank.
11/7 – Go Foundation/United Way Bowling Tournament
The Ports purchased a lane for front office members to attend the event. Additionally, the Ports donated memorabilia and a suite as raffle items.
11/24 – Hospice of San Joaquin Tree Lighting at Delta College
Splash was a guest of honor at this year’s tree lighting in Stockton. The Po rts donated tickets to the child who was selected as this year’s program cover designer.
11/26 – Run & Walk Against Hunger at Banner Island Ballpark
In conjunction with the holiday, members of the Ports front office assisted with the yearly event, benefiting the Emergency Food Bank. Splash was also on-site to greet the runners at the finish line.
Jessica Due: Office Manager
1. What is your first baseball memory?
My father was a catcher in a local league and I remember going to his games when I was a kid.
2. If you were stuck on a deserted island, who would you want on the island with you?
My family. They’re the best people in the world and we make each other laugh even when times are tough.
3. If you could pick a super-power, what would it be? What would your name be?
To fly. So I could travel everywhere fast and not have to worry about winding roads. I’d make my name Buffy, to honor my favorite super-heroine. It has nothing to do with flying, but that’s what my name would be anyway.
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I love California. I’ve lived here my whole life and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Living within such close proximity to the coast, the mountains, and big cities is fabulous.
5. Do you have any hidden talents?
I write poetry/lyrics. I’ve been writing since I was 10. I am also skilled in origami. Not really, but wouldn’t that be cool?
6. If you had one million dollars, what are the first three things you would do with it?
Pay off my debt, give to my family/friends, and give to animal shelters/women’s shelters.
7. If you could trade places with one fictional character, who would it be?
Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
8. If you didn’t work in sports, what would you want to do?
Be a professional actor.
9. What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
That is a tough question since I’ve been to about 100 concerts in my life so far. I’d say at the top of the list is Bruno Mars. What an extraordinary performer!
10. If you could take a road trip with any three people, who would it be?
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joss Whedon, and Neil Patrick Harris.
11. If you could try out any job for a day, what would it be?
12. Who was your favorite singer/band of the 90’s?
Oh boy, I’m going to have to say Hanson. “Mmmbop” is a classic. Yes, I still follow their music and yes, they are still writing and performing today and fabulous.
13. What is your karaoke song?
Honestly, I don’t karaoke. If I had to though, I’d say anything by Taylor Swift because her songs are just fun.
14. What was the last song to play on your iPod/phone?
“Sam Hall” by Johnny Cash.
15. If you were a professional athlete, what sport would you play?
In honor of Russell’s success during his rookie season, the Ports decided to throw it back to 2013 with the A’s former top prospect’s Q&A during his time in Stockton. Here’s what he had to say:
Favorite TV Show: Duck Dynasty
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump
Favorite Food: Italian
Hobbies: Fishing, bowling
Favorite thing about your hometown: Bonfires and the beach, redneck parade
Person who taught you the most: My father
Best Baseball Moment (as of 2013): Grand slam for team USA in the Gold Medal game against Team Canada
One thing I can’t live without: Phone
On the road, I like to: Crank music
Pet Peeve: People that nag
The 2016 Silver Sluggers programs is starting out strong with the early-bird special ending on October 1st and the Ports hoping to have their highest participation to-date this coming year. Additionally the Ports will be teaming up with Del Webb Woodbridge again next year, as they bring out nearly 200 members every season. The Ports have also been in contact with Del Web Glenbrooke in Elk Grove and will be holding a Silver Sluggers informational presentation there in January, complete with a visit from Splash.
Baseball by the Books
Beginning in January, the Ports front office and mascot, Splash, will visit around 40 schools to host assemblies on the importance of reading. Additionally, every student who completes the program will receive two ticket vouchers to join the Ports on a reading day, and the Ports will allow schools to select a month to attend, making their vouchers valid for two games, plus an alternate Friday game in June. There will also be a Teacher of the Month award ceremony pre-game, in which the teacher with the highest reading participation for each month will be honored on the field. Students had an opportunity to submit a design of this year’s bookmarks, and the winner will be revealed in December.
CHiPs Toy Drive
Again in 2015, the Ports will collect new toys for the CHP’s annual toy drive. The Ports will accept collections at the office and will encourage Season Ticket Holders to bring an item to donate for the annual holiday party. The toy distribution will be held on Friday, December 18th.
El Concilio Food Basket Collection
The Ports will be assisting El Concilio both leading up to their drive on Saturday, December 19th and during it helping with basket distribution. The team will be collecting non-perishable goods at the office and will donate them to El Concilio for their yearly holiday distribution. Additionally, select members of the Ports front office will be volunteering that morning, and Splash will be in attendance to greet fans.
The Ports donated four Field Box ticket vouchers for the 2016 season to 33 local non-profit organizations for raffles, auctions, and door prizes.
Organizations who have received donations in October include but are not limited to: Banta School PFA; Boy Scouts; Boys and Girls Club of Tracy; Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Holy Rosary Catholic School; John Muir Elementary School; March of Dimes; Make a Wish Foundation; Stockton Shelter for the Homeless.
Splash made his way to a few events in the San Joaquin area prior to his yearly spa trip. Events included:
10/4 – Kaiser Permanente Home Run for Health at Banner Island Ballpark
10/17 – Woodbridge Winery Chili Cook-Off
In October, not only did Splash make the rounds, but members of the Ports front office stopped by the following events:
10/21 – Community Medical Centers Grand Opening
10/21 – Manteca High School Guest Speakers Presentation
10/22 – Commons on Thornton Grand Re-Opening
10/22 – Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Open House
Upcoming events include the Hospice of San Joaquin’s Tree Lightings and the annual Run and Walk Against Hunger on Thanksgiving at Banner Island Ballpark.
For more information on the Ports’ Community Relations efforts, please contact Community Relations Manager Kellie Ryan at 209-644-1953 or email@example.com.
Phil Pohl, a member of the 2013 Stockton Ports, has recently been named the A’s bullpen catcher. During his time in Stockton, the catcher was a positive presence in the clubhouse, known for his optimistic personality.
Originally from Bakersfield California, Pohl grew up attending Bakersfield Blaze games, and even as a young child, baseball played a major role in his life. “My family used to go to a lot of Blaze games. My brother is a little bit older and played baseball so we grew up a baseball family so with the Blaze being in town we went to the games a lot” said Pohl.” Following his time in Bakersfield, the Pohl family moved to Cooperstown, New York, known as the home of the National baseball Hall of Fame, where he would attend Hall of Fame inductions on a regular basis. Pohl reminisced on Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken’s induction, remembering that “it was the biggest crowd [he’d] seen for an induction.” He also recalled that it was memorable because he had the opportunity to watch both players progress during their careers. “It was a madhouse in town that weekend. I’ll never forget it.”
After being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2008 First-Year Player Draft in the 44th round, Pohl turned down the opportunity to sign to continue his education and attend Clemson University. “I was a young senior coming out of high school. I was 17 years old and I thought at that point in my life it was better for me to go to college right out. Looking back I think I made the right decision.”
Known for his level-headedness, Pohl has a bright future ahead of him working in baseball, and the opportunity to return to the A’s organization as a bullpen catcher was a natural fit.
Although the A’s did not see any activity during the 2015 postseason, Ports fans still had something to cheer about. Six Ports alumni were represented during this season’s high-pressure playoffs, five as players and one as a manger. Former Ports included four members of the 2008 California League Championship team, Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Chris Carter, and Josh Donaldson, the former A’s top prospect, Addison Russell, and a Gold Glove Award Winner, Mike Matheny.
Brett Anderson, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Anderson, a member of the 2008 California League Championship team, proved to be a reliable starter for the Ports, with a 9-4 record and earning a Pitcher of the Week nod. Since his time with the Ports, Anderson has seen his fair-share of time on the Disabled List, some due to Tommy John surgery in 2011. Following the 2013 season, Anderson was traded to the Colorado Rockies and picked up by the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2015 season. While with the Dodgers, Anderson became a regular in their starting rotation with a 10-9 record and 3.69 ERA.
Trevor Cahill, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Another 2008 Stockton Port, Trevor Cahill, helped his team during this year’s postseason. The right-handed pitcher concluded his time with Stockton with a 5-4 record and 2.78 ERA. Since playing with Oakland, Cahill has spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and his most recent team, the Chicago Cubs. Cahill signed with the Cubs in August, claiming a 1-0 regular season record and 2.12 ERA in his 11 games.
Chris Carter, 1B, Houston Astros
As the Ports’ all-time season home run leader, Chris Carter made a name for himself in Stockton, where he played in both 2008 and 2011. During his time with the Ports, he accumulated a .262 average with 42 home runs, when he became known for his power-hitting. Prior to the 2013 season, Carter was traded to Houston’s organization, along with other former Port fan-favorite, Max Stassi, after two seasons fluctuating from Sacramento to Oakland, Carter claimed a starting role in Houston, although he ended the season with just below a .200 average in 2015.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
As a key member of the Ports’ 2008 California League Champions, Donaldson led the team in games at catcher that season with an astonishing .330 average. The potential 2015 AL MVP was sent to Toronto as part of the trade in which the Athletics received current number one prospect and 2015 Port Franklin Barreto. After three solid seasons with the A’s, Donaldson, known for his superior defensive skills at third base, found a new home in Toronto, where he .297 with 41 home runs.
Mike Matheny, Manager, St. Louis Cardinals
After being drafted by the Brewers in the eighth round, he joined the Ports in 1992. During his time with the Ports, he held a .989 fielding percentage in 104 games. In 333 plate appearances, he batted .219, with 46 RBIs and six homeruns. Matheny continued his career into the big leagues, accumulating four Rawlings Gold Glove Awards along the way.
Matheny just completed his fourth season with the St. Louis Cardinals and began his managing career in 2012. In 2013, Matheny became the first manager to take the Cardinals to the postseason in his inaugural season since 1946. In all four his seasons managing the Cardinals, Matheny has taken the team to the postseason, most notably in 2013 when he led his squad to the World Series.
Addison Russell, 2B, Chicago Cubs
Russell played an integral part of the Ports’ 2013 team, when he was chosen as the California League’s Rookie of the Year and a postseason All-Star, in addition to representing the US in the All-Star Futures Game that year. In what came as a shock to most A’s fans, Oakland’s 2012 number one draft pick was traded to the Chicago Cubs, alongside other Ports alumni Dan Straily and Billy McKinney, in the Jeff Samardzija deal. Russell became a go-to infielder for the Cubs in 2015 after making his MLB debut in late April. With a successful rookie season in the books, the 21-year old posted a .242 average during the regular season. However, an injury during the ALDS sidelined him for the remainder of the Cubs’ postseason run.
With seven Ports alumni playing in the Arizona Fall League this year, three members of the 2014 Ports squad will represent the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL Fall Stars game, which will take place this Saturday, November 7th in Scottsdale.
Infielder Chad Pinder is batting .346 with 7 RBI and 3 home runs for the Solar Sox and is currently ranked the A’s seventh top prospect. With an outstanding season in Double-A, Pinder has made a name for himself in the Minor Leagues, claiming his spot in the future of the Athletics’ middle infield with talent at both second base and shortstop. Pinder played a major role in Midland’s postseason run in 2015 with his .317 average, which was good enough to earn him the Player of the Year award for the Texas League. Pinder also helped lead the Ports to a winning record in 2014, as a member of one of the most memorable Stockton teams in recent team history.
Also on the 2014 Ports team was number six A’s prospect Renato Nunez. Nunez was a solid player in Stockton with a .279 average and 29 home runs and continued his success in Midland, posting a .278 average with 18 home runs. The Venezuelan native, who was selected by Ports fans as the team’s All-Time Third Baseman, is proving to be a bright prospect and was a key player in both the Ports’ and RockHounds’ playoff surges. While with Stockton, Nunez and teammate Matt Olson became known at the “Bash Brothers 2.0”, posting 66 home runs as a duo.
Although no longer in the A’s organization, Daniel Robertson, currently ranked the Rays’ fifth top prospect, had the chance to re-connect with a few of his former teammates during the Arizona Fall League playing for the Mesa Solar Sox where he is batting .216. After being drafted in the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft by the A’s, Robertson played two solid seasons for the organization, posting a .310 average with Stockton in 2014 and was a key factor to the team claiming the second-half division title. The prospect, however, was traded to Tampa Bay for Ben Zobrist prior to the 2015 season. Robertson ended the 2015 season with a .274 average with the Rays’ Double-A affiliate Montgomery Biscuits although he missed nearly two months due to a broken hamate bone.
Other Ports alumni in the 2015 Arizona Fall League include pitchers Kris Hall, Brendan McCurry, and Jeff Urlaub and outfielder Jacob Brugman.
Make sure to tune in to the AFL Fall Stars game this Saturday, November 7th at 5:00PM PST on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Stockton Ports 2015 catcher Jacob Nottingham has been named the MiLBY Fan Vote winner for Breakout Player of the Year.
Nottingham joined the Athletics organization as part of the Scott Kazmir deal in late July, when Nottingham and teammate Daniel Mengden walked across the field to join the Ports, which became known as the “Clubhouse Trade”.
The catcher started the season with the Astros’ Class-A affiliate, the Quad City River Bandits, before being promoted to the Advanced-A Lancaster JetHawks. While with the Bandits, he hit an astounding .326 and continued his success in Lancaster, posting a .324 average.
After joining the Ports, Nottingham became Rick Magnante’s go-to person behind the plate, helping to lead the Ports to a playoff run. While with Stockton, Nottingham hit .299 and ended the regular season with a .316 overall average. Additionally, Nottingham had 17 homeruns and 82 RBI, although he posted only one hit in fourteen at-bats during the Ports’ three playoff games.
While with the Astros organization, the catcher was ranked the number 22 prospect and climbed to the seventh top prospect (currently at number eight) after joining the Athletics.