All-Time Banner Island Ballpark Second Base Winner: Jemile Weeks

#3 Jemile Weeks (3)After being drafted in the first round of the First-Year Player draft (twelfth overall) in 2008 by the Oakland Athletics, Weeks made a name for himself in the A’s farm system. The infielder spent 50 games with Stockton in 2009 when he hit .299 with a .385 OBP and 31 RBI.

Following his time with the Ports, Weeks worked his way through the Athletics’ farm system and appeared in his first Major League game on June 7, 2001. After six seasons with the Athletics organization, Weeks was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he spent the majority of the 2014 season with their Triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides. With just a month left in the regular season, Weeks was traded to the Boston Red Sox where he posted an impressive .308 batting average and a .406 OBP in his 14 games.

While with Stockton, Weeks quickly became a fan-favorite, and the Ports hosted a bobblehead night honoring the infielder in 2012. Of his time with the Ports, Weeks said, “I just appreciate all the support I received while I was there.  I play the game not only for success and to be great, but I also play it for the fans.”

Ports’ Arizona Fall League Wrap-Up

With the Arizona Fall League wrapping up this past weekend, the presence of the Stockton Ports was certainly felt. Position players Daniel Robertson, Matt Olson, and Boog Powell, in addition to pitcher Austin House, all represented the A’s portion of the Mesa Solar Sox.

The Solar Sox finished the season with an impressive 15-14 record in large part due to solid contributions from the Ports. In a league mainly made up of Double-A and Triple-A prospects, four of the A’s up and coming players were Single-A representatives.IMG_4963

Highlights of the Ports play in the AFL was capped off by number one and two Oakland A’s prospects Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson being selected as All-Stars to conclude an already impressive year of baseball.

The highlights, however, did not stop there. Hot-hitting Boog Powell helped set the table for the Solar Sox while Austin House, the shut down closer for the Ports in 2014, also provided solid contributions.

Ports AFL Breakdown:

Matt Olson, 1B

.257, 4 HR, 8 RBI, .435 OBP

In 11 games of action in the AFL, Olson continued his power surge after leading the California League, as well as all of Class-A, in home runs during the 2014 regular season. At one point Olson was tied for the league lead. His batting average and on base percentage mirrored his numbers with the Ports, a trend the A’s can be hopeful he continues next year in Double-A Midland.

Daniel Robertson, SS

.301, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .398 OBP

Robertson did not miss a beat in his AFL debut after an extremely successful season with the Ports. With former A’s top prospect Addison Russell being traded to the Chicago Cubs, Robertson became the organization’s top prospect and continues to prove why the A’s hold the young prospect in such high regards. Once teammates, Robertson and Russell were back playing with one another on the Solar Sox, with Robertson outperforming Russell in nearly every offensive category.

Boog Powell, CF

.300, 2 HR, 10 RBI, .402 OBP

While Powell’s strong performance in the AFL should not come as a surprise, it should be noted that the A’s #20 overall prospect’s transition into Fall League play may have been smoother than expected. After being named a Midwest League All-Star in 2014, Powell was promoted to StocktonIMG_9517 and was off the charts in offensive production hitting .377 in just 14 games. Unfortunately, Powell was suspended for 50 games and missed the majority of the second half of the season, which makes his AFL performance look even more impressive.

Austin House,

4.76 ERA, 8 K, 11.1 IP, 1.59 WHIP

As the Ports closer during the 2014 season, House proved his worth to the organization by shutting down opposing hitters with a total of 79 strikeouts and a team high of 19 saves. While House’s numbers might not have mirrored the success he had with the Ports, he was able to hang in with the top prospects in the country and provide a solid contribution to the Solar Sox.

Get to Know the Ports’ Emcee, Matt!

The 2014 season marked Matt’s second year with the team and first as the Ports’ on-field emcee. Matt, a Tracy, CA native, started as a member of the Splash Squad in 2013 and is currently attending University of the Pacific. Matt took a few minutes to sit down with the Ports to answer a few questions about the 2014 season and what he’s looking forward to in 2015!

  1. What was your most memorable moment during the 2014 season?

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    Matt talks with outfielder Bobby Crocker during a post-game interview.

My most memorable moment was the great game on opening night, which ended up going 18 innings.

  1. What is your favorite part of working with the Ports?

I love working with the ports because of the great atmosphere. Good people, good stadium, and you can’t ask for a better place to work than a ballpark.

  1. During your first year as an emcee, did you have any funny moments or mishaps?

During my first year I had a few funny mistakes, the most memorable has to be calling Bobby Crocker, Bobby Crocky during a post game interview. It was so funny, because I had talked to him and interviewed him many times before.

  1. What are you most looking forward to in the 2015 season?

I’m looking forward to getting back to the ballpark and seeing another Ports playoff push.

  1. Who was your favorite player on the 2014 team?
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Matt with Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell) on 90′s Night.

My favorite player on the 2014 team was Bruce Maxwell.

  1. How was the transition from promo squad to emcee?

My transition from promo squad to emcee was an exciting one! I was a little nervous for the responsibility at first, but it only took a few games to get comfortable. Also, I was glad I was able to be there for every game.

  1. What was your favorite promotion of 2014? (giveaway, theme night, etc.)

My favorite promotion of the 2014 season was 90′s night.

  1. What would your walk-up song be?

My walk up song would be “You Can’t Stop Me” by Andy Mineo.

 

All-Time Banner Island Ballpark First Base Winner: Matt Olson

IMG_1817When it comes to successful first basemen in Banner Island Ballpark history, few match the season that 2014 Stockton Ports slugger Matt Olson displayed. At just 20 years old, the Georgia native established his presence early on as a power hitter and experienced a season few players his age are able to accomplish.

Olson was a first-round (47th overall pick) selection by the Oakland A’s in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Parkview High School in Liburn, Georgia. After putting up solid numbers in 2013 with the Beloit Snappers, Olson took off in 2014 with the Ports. The 6 foot 4 inch lefty not only left his imprint in the A’s organization, but all of Minor League Baseball.

By season’s end, Olson finished with a .262 batting average, 37 home runs, 97 RBI, a .404 OBP and an eye-popping 117 walks in 138 games played. Olson’s 37 home runs led the California League and helped him win the Joe Bauman Award, which honors the regular season home run leader in the domestic-based leagues.

Alumni Update: Catching up with Lou Bronzan ’48 & ’49

dockingblog1. What is your favorite memory from your time with the Ports?

It was great fun playing at Billy Hebert field as it was so well kept up and I was fortunate to have played with Vince DiMaggio who was player-manager in 1948.

2. What accomplishments from your days with the Ports are you most proud of?

In 1948 against Modesto, in the bottom of the ninth with no outs, the bases loaded and a 3-0 count on the batter, I retired three in a row to complete a victory of 1-0 in which Vince DiMaggio hit the winning home run.

3. What favorite memory do you have about your teammates? Your manager, coaches?

I really enjoyed playing alongside of Harry Clements who was a local player. Vince DiMaggio was my favorite manager and also a great player who was as great defensively as anyone.

4. How involved were you and your teammates in the community?

Having grown up in Lathrop, I had a long career in baseball at the local level playing at University of Pacific, the Ports, The New Frog Inn (Stockton semi-pro), and the Lodi Wine Guild.  As a result I got the opportunity to play with many local players and attend many community events over the years.

5. What was your favorite ballpark in the Cal League to play in?

Billy Hebert was the best.

6. Who was the toughest opponent you faced?

I don’t remember any person in particular as being difficult to get out.

7. What was Stockton like when you were with the Ports? How much has the city changed?

It seems like it was already a big city having grown up in Lathrop. It is still a large city that has always been a hot bed for sports.

8. Have you followed the Ports at all since you were on the team?

Yes, I pay attention and attend a couple of games each year.

9. What has been your biggest success in your career following your time with Stockton?

Ending up as a coach, teacher, and eventually Principal of Liberty High School in Brentwood.

10. During your time with Stockton, was there a major league baseball player that you looked up to?

Modeled your playing after? Probably the three DiMaggio brothers.

11. What are you doing now after baseball?

I am retired.

12. If you could give any piece of advice to current Ports players, what would it be?

Keep playing the game of baseball – it is a wonderful game.

13. Did you attend college, if so which one?

I graduated from College of the Pacific (now called University of Pacific).

14. Name a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

I was actually a pretty good hitting pitcher who had a number of pinch hit opportunities when I wasn’t starting.

Olson and Robertson Named Fall League All-Stars

Founded in 1992, the Arizona Fall League has served as a breeding ground for baseball’s top minor league prospects to showcase their skills in front of several Major League Baseball scouts.

The league is composed of six teams, each represented by prospects from five Major League ball clubs. Known as a prestigious league, the Arizona Fall IMG_5332League is usually represented by the game’s top Double-A and Triple- A prospects.

With one look at the Mesa Solar Sox (the Oakland A’s AFL affiliate), the Stockton Ports are represented by four players, a trend not typically seen at this level. Of these four players, two players specifically, have left quite the impression; these two players are Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson.

This past season, A’s number one prospect Daniel Robertson hit .310 along with 15 home runs and 60 RBI. Robertson also finished with an impressive .402 on base percentage. His partner in crime, first baseman Matt Olson, finished as the Class-A home run king with a total of 37, to complement his 97 RBI and .402 on base percentage.

While the Arizona Fall League can ultimately be the biggest test of a young prospect’s career, both Robertson and Olson are relishing in the opportunity. Robertson is currently leading the league with a .444 average and has also posted 9 RBI and 10 runs to add to his impressive .556 on base percentage.

Olson has continued the power surge by posting 4 home runs, good for a share of first place at one point during the season, along with 8 RBI and on OBP of .462.

IMG_9858Both A’s prospects were recently named to the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star roster, an impressive feat considering they are competing against some of MLB’s top prospects, including Byron Buxton (MLB #1 overall prospect) and 2013 Port Addison Russell.

While both players eye a transition to Double-A Midland in 2015, solid fall performances could prove for a shorter than expected Minor League career as both players could be back in the Bay Area sooner than later.

Community Corner: Pink Night Edition

In 2014 the Stockton Ports, alongside St. Joseph’s Medical Center, held their eighth annual Pink Night at Banner Island Ballpark. Festivities included post-game fireworks, a special Pink Night player jersey auction, a memorabilia raffle, and Pink Night t-shirt sales. Proceeds from the auction, raffle, and t-shirt sales, in addition to $1 from every ticket sold, benefited St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Breast Health Services.

IMG_1222The Ports were honored to welcome breast cancer survivors and their families to the park for a pre-game ice cream social in the Jackson Rancheria Back Porch and pre-game parade around the field. Survivors also acted as Jr. Ports for the evening and joined the team on the field during the National Anthem.

Since its inaugural year in 2007, the Ports have donated nearly $50,000 to St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Breast Health Services. In 2014, Ports fans made Pink Night a huge success with a total of $7,855 donated to St. Joseph’s, the largest donation to date.

“Pink Night 2014 was a smashing success! The over $7,000 that was raised will bring high-quality breast cancer screening equipment and services to underserved women in our community, and will provide low cost clinical breast exams, mammograms, and diagnostic follow up for women with or without medical insurance,” said Jenny Copello, Development Associate of St. Joseph’s Medical Foundation.

IMG_1375“The evening also brought awareness to the cause. Our Medical Center booth had breast models on display to show people what to feel for when they are conducting a self breast exam. Events like Pink Night allow us to educate the public and emphasize the importance of early detection. We are so grateful for our partnership with the Stockton Ports to coordinate this fun, educational, and philanthropic event!”

For more information on how you can donate to St. Joseph’s Medical Center, please contact Kellie Ryan at 209-644-1953 or kryan@stocktonports.com.

Stockton Ports Shine in A’s Organizational All-Stars

With Major League Baseball’s Annual Organizational All-Star lists revealed earlier this week, the 2014 Stockton Ports roster has surely left an imprint within the Oakland Athletics organization.

Out of the twelve players named to the list, nine were represented by Ports players. This included almost the entire Ports infield, consisting of first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Chad Pinder, shortstop Daniel Robertson, and third baseman Renato Nunez.

The selections of Robertson, Olson, and Nunez should come as no surprise as all three players represented numbers one through three on the A’s top prospects list.

IMG_1142

Olson led the California League in home runs, ending the season with 37.

As the top prospect in the A’s organization, Robertson showed his versatility at the shortstop position and was a natural behind the plate, having hit .310 and led the Cal League with 170 hits at just 20 years of age.

Olson and Nunez paved the way for the Ports’ power as Olson led all of Class A with 37 home runs and completed the season with 97 RBI. Olson’s plate discipline also played a role in the slugger’s success as he finished with a total of 117 walks.

Renato Nunez, while starting off slow, finished the season as one of the Cal League’s hottest hitters smashing 20 home runs in 64 games. Nunez capped off the year with 29 total home runs and 96 RBI.  Ports second baseman Chad Pinder also showed signs of power by belting 13 home runs and 55 total RBI in just 94 games.

While the Ports infield took most of the spotlight throughout the season, the Ports outfield also represented a bright spot.

Outfielders Jaycob Brugman and Boog Powell landed on the list, as well as utility player Tyler Marincov. Starting out the 2014 MiLB season, all three outfielders were with the Class A Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League.

Powell, currently ranked as the Athletics #20 overall prospect, led the organization with a .343 batting average to go along with a .908 OPS. Powell was also named the Midwest League All-Star MVP before being promoted to Stockton.

Brugman and Marincov had similar stories. Marincov may have only played 17 games in Stockton in 2014, but he was able to finish a full season with 18 home runs, 18 stolen bases and 77 RBI in a total of 127 regular season games.

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During his 20 games with the Ports, Lamb accumulated 100 strikeouts.

Jaycob Brugman spent the most time playing in Stockton in 2014 out of the three outfielders with a total of 50 games. Brugman was able to display his power in 2014 and finished the season with 21 total home runs and 72 RBI, along with a .280 average.

Pitchers Chris Lamb and Austin House also rounded out the list with Lamb representing the left-handed pitching prospects in the organization and House representing relievers. Lamb had similar stories to the outfielders on the list as he, too, began the season in Beloit. Lamb was perhaps had the strongest arm on the pitching staff, finishing 4-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 19 starts for the Ports and tied for first in the Athletics organization with 134 strikeouts.

Austin House was a shut-down reliever for the Ports in 2014, finishing with an astounding 82 strikeouts in just 61 2/3 innings pitched. House led the A’s minors with 19 saves to compliment his 3-4 record and 3.06 ERA in 50 appearances.

House, along with Matt Olson, Boog Powell, and Daniel Robertson, is representing the Mesa Solar Sox on their Arizona Fall League roster.

Offseason Update with Matt Olson

IMG_1139Early in the season, Ports first baseman Matt Olson established himself as a power-hitter with a great defensive skill set. Olson completed 2014 just three home runs shy of breaking the Ports’ all-time home run record during a single season, which was set by Chris Carter at 39 in 2008.

Carter is currently coming off of a 37 home run season with the Houston Astros, something Olson mirrored in 2014 with  37 home runs of his own, a feat that made him the Joe Bauman Class A leader in that very same offensive category.

Olson is currently ranked as the number two overall prospect in the Athletics organization, and number 98 overall in Major League Baseball’s top 100 prospect list.

Throughout the season, Olson proved to be an asset to the Ports in the batter’s box, with 97 RBI, and on the field, as the 6 foot 4 lefty helped complete a historic Ports’ triple play on July 10th and ended the season with a .993 fielding percentage at first base.

Following the end of the season, Olson had the opportunity to visit his native state of Georgia.  “It was good getting a few weeks at home to see friends and family.”

However, baseball was still on his mind. “[I] just stayed on top of the hitting and stayed in shape during my time off before the Fall League.”

The Baseball America and MiLB Post-Season All-Star is now gearing up for the Arizona Fall League with the Mesa Solar Sox. Olson will be joined by fellow 2014 Ports Austin House, Boog Powell, and Daniel Robertson.

When asked about his experience with the Ports, the 2014 California League home run king explained that “[he] had a blast with the Ports this year. [The] amazing group of guys made it fun going on the field every day.”

The Solar Sox will kick off their Fall season tonight, October 7th, as they take on the Glendale Desert Dogs.

Offseason Update with Boog Powell

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The outfielder hit .377 during his time with Stockton.

In Powell’s 14 games with Stockton, the Oakland A’s 20th overall prospect produced a .377 batting average with 11 RBI, two doubles, and a triple. Prior to joining the Ports, Powell served the majority of the season with the Class-A Beloit Snappers, hitting .335 with 17 RBI, which rightfully earned him a Midwest League All-Star nod.

While representing the Midwest League, Powell knocked in two runs with a double, scored three times, and had two stolen bases – one of which was at home. With a stellar All-Star Game performance, Powell was donned the Midwest League All-Star MVP.

Following the end of the 2014 season, Powell visited his native Southern California and spent time at the beach relaxing before the grind of fall instructional leagues began.

“The offseason has been good. I went home for a week, was at the beach every day, then drove out here to Arizona [where I’ve] been practicing at Instructs getting ready for Fall League,” said Powell of his offseason thus far.

Currently, Powell is at the Athletics’ Fall Instructional League in Arizona, alongside the familiar faces of outfielders Tyler Marincov and Jaycob Brugman, in addition to the Ports’ 2014 manager, Ryan Christenson.

Powell notes his most memorable moment of the 2014 season as his first game with the Ports, when he went 3-5 with a game-tying RBI single. The outfielder went on to score the go-ahead run in the 10th inning for an 8-7 win against the Lancaster JetHawks.

During the Arizona Fall League, which kicks off on Tuesday, October 7th, Powell will be representing the Athletics on the Mesa Solar Sox with fellow 2014 Ports Austin House, Matt Olson, and Daniel Robertson.

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