The A’s will call up two of their top pitching prospects to make their major-league debuts in their upcoming series against the Angels.
Right-hander Raul Alcantara will start Monday’s opener against Los Angeles, while right-hander Jharel Cotton is scheduled to start Wednesday. Both are coming from Triple-A Nashville and arrive in Oakland with a certain level of anticipation.
Alcantara’s has been building for a while. The 23-year-old has been in the A’s system since 2012, but his progress was interrupted by Tommy John surgery in 2014. He began this season at Double-A Midland but after being promoted to Triple A was 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA in eight starts for Nashville.
“He’s created this opportunity for himself,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He worked very hard from some injuries that he’s had to battle through and put himself in a position to where it’s his time. Excited about watching him tomorrow.”
Alcantara was acquired from Boston in the trade that also brought Josh Reddick to the A’s. Ironically, the A’s acquired Cotton last month in the deal that sent Reddick to the Dodgers.
Cotton, 24, made a quick impression by coming within one out of a perfect game in his second start for Nashville, settling for a one-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts. In his six starts with Nashville, Cotton is 3-1 with a 2.82 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP.
“He hasn’t done anything to suggest that he’s not ready to pitch here based on what we’ve seen and what our guys have seen in development,” Melvin said. “Another guy whose time is right to be here and see what we have going forward.”
Alcantara and Cotton are filling the rotation spots of Sean Manaea and Andrew Triggs,both of whom recently joined a long list of injured A’s starting pitchers. Melvin said the two call-ups may well remain in the depleted rotation for the rest of the season.
“I would hope they pitch their way into that,” Melvin said. “But yeah, at this point, that’s the way it’s looking.”
The A’s already have stated they intend to use September to evaluate players in their organization for next year and beyond. One prospect who likely won’t be making his way to Oakland, though, is infielder Matt Chapman, despite some impressive numbers in the minors.
Chapman, recently promoted to Triple A, hit three home runs Saturday for Nashville and has 36 on the season between Double A and Triple A. He is batting .194 in 17 Triple-A games, though, and Melvin said the A’s see no reason to rush Chapman to the majors.
“We know this guy’s going to be a huge part of our future,” Melvin said. “Whether or not it’s this year, I doubt it.”