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Renato Nunez is in Nashville–for what could be a limited time only

May 10, 2016
Hugh Atkins

Hugh Atkins

Baseball fans in middle Tennessee have a great option for good baseball this summer. The Nashville Sounds, Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, have a really good team and they are loaded with fine young players. It’s worth a trip to Nashville to see Oakland’s third baseman of the future, Renato Nunez, alone.

According to the 2016 Sporting News Baseball Yearbook, Nunez is one of four of Oakland’s top ten prospects playing in Nashville this season. Shortstop, Chad Pinder is rated as Oakland’s third-best prospect; first baseman/outfielder, Matt Olson is eighth; starting pitcher, Dillon Overton is ninth; and Nunez, rounds out the list at number 10.

Nashville started the season with Oakland’s number-two prospect on their roster. Left-hander, Sean Manaea, quickly went 2-0 with a 1.50 earned run average in his first three starts so the Athletics called him up to the big club.

2013 Topps Renato Nunez

© T.C.G.

Of all of the prospects on the Nashville roster, Nunez is off to the best start. After a hot homestand that ended May 9, he is leading the team in hitting at .290 and in runs batted in with 16, and is tied with Max Muncy for the team lead in home runs with five.

Oakland signed Nunez as a non-drafted free agent out of Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela when he was just 16 years old. The 6’ 1” right-handed hitter has shown power at every stop on his minor league tour. He hit 19 homers for Beloit in 2013 and followed that with 29 home runs for Stockton in 2014. At Double-A Midland last year, Nunez slammed 18 homers in just 93 games.

Nunez has a nice, compact swing that packs plenty of punch. And from what I’ve seen of him, he is patient at the plate. He is willing to take what the pitcher gives him and drive the ball to any part of the park.

Pinder is off to a bit of a slow start at the Triple-A level; he’s hitting .200 with a homer and nine RBIs. But Pinder was Oakland’s Minor League Player of the Year last year after hitting .317 with 15 home runs, and 86 RBIs for Midland, so fans in Nashville likely are going to see more production from him as the season goes forward.

Olson also is off to a slow start in Music City. He’s hitting just .167 with three homers and 10 RBIs; he also is striking out at an alarming rate. But two seasons ago, he slammed 37 home runs, so the potential is there for him to start driving the ball over the wall.

Overton, a 24-year-old lefty, has made five starts and his record stands at 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA; he also has given up 41 hits in 32 ⅔ innings. But Overton has 41 strikeouts with just five walks, so he is showing early signs of developing into a dominant starting pitcher.

Following minor league baseball really is all about watching the prospects. But if you like to see good baseball, the Sounds are delivering on that front, as well. A month into the season, they have been very competitive and easily could be better than their 14-17 record through games of May 9 indicates. And, of course, the Sounds play their home games in beautiful First Tennessee Park, so going to the games is a great all-around experience for the fans.

Chad Pinder, Matt Olson, and Dillon Overton may be a ways away from following Sean Manaea to Oakland; but if you want to get a glimpse of Renato Nunez, you might want to get down to First Tennessee Park during the next couple of homestands or you just might miss your chance.

(All statistics and biographical information in this article are from nashville.sounds.milb.com and Inside Pitch, the Official Game Day Publication of the Nashville Sounds.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2016 10:41 pm

    The only problem with Nunez is that he is making a ton of errors at the 3rd base position. Should be interesting to see what happens when he finally comes to Oakland.

    Like

    • May 11, 2016 12:27 pm

      Thanks for the comments, Gary, and you are correct, sir, he is making too many errors–another one last night in Iowa. He does appear to have good range and a strong arm; he makes some really good plays, at times. With a swing like his, Oakland–or some other team–will find a spot for him somewhere. And for what it’s worth, I’ve met his parents; he comes from a great family.

      Like

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