Down On The Farm with Farhan

Yesterday we brought you a complete rundown of manager Bob Melvin’s bloggers-only press conference from last week at the Coliseum. Well, after the skipper did his duty, the A’s director of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi, joined us to address a number of player personnel queries. A trained economist in his 8th year with the A’s, Farhan is deeply involved in the critical analyses that the team does on players both inside and outside the organization, so his insights are invaluable. Rather than provide a complete rundown of every subject that Farhan took the time to touch on, below are his insights on some of the more intriguing young players to make their marks in the majors and minors for the A’s organization this year. Once again, A’s Farm, kicked off the questioning – this time by asking for Farhan’s take on one of the A’s top prospects whom folks are always eager to find out more about…


On the future of former 1st-round draft pick Grant Green

“If you look at what Grant did this year, he cut his strikeouts down a lot. And his numbers were up across the board. And I think that was more in line with what we were expecting out of him than what we saw from him last year. We’re just trying to figure out defensively maybe where he can be an asset to the team and where we can fit him into our defense. There’s two different levels of prospects – there’s guys at a lower level where you just want them to be where they’re most comfortable or where their value is maximized, and then you have older guys where you’re maybe starting to have to look at your big league depth chart and you’re starting to say, ‘Where can this guy play?’ And with Grant, he’s a guy who I think next year will have a chance to make the team. So right now I couldn’t tell you what position he’s going to play or how he fits in, but I think he’s really given us a lot of options, which is always a good thing.”


On the newfound success of former farmhands Chris Carter and Josh Donaldson

“You try to give guys as much rope as possible, because this transition from Triple-A to the big leagues is so tough. And if I guy has a good game when he comes up, he just kind of builds off that momentum and goes from there. But if he goes 0 for 4 with a couple of strikeouts, he can get in a downward spiral. And if you look at those guys and look at that first game after they came up, they started succeeding and then building off of that. And I don’t mean to reduce it to such a simple thing, but that’s how it is sometimes. Sometimes it’s a matter of just getting some level of confidence for these guys.”


On the rapid rise of right-hander Dan Straily

“I really think the year that he got on the radar for us as an organization was 2011 with the year that he had in the California League where, if you look at those numbers and adjust for the league and environment, that was a really impressive performance. And I think, before that, I would have said, ‘He’s kind of a good organizational guy.’ He had a good year in the Midwest League. But last year, to do what he did in the California League, he started showing some plus stuff, some plus velocity. He was a guy we started thinking could be a part of the plan going forward. Now look, he wasn’t in big league camp, so don’t give us too much credit. But he was a guy I would have said at the beginning of the year that I could see him spending most of the year in Double-A and if he had a similarly good year, move up to Triple-A, and then sort of really be on the radar. So a little bit like Parker, I think the most impressive thing about what he’s done is just the speed and sort of really forcing the issue – being so good in Double-A that we had to move him up, and being so good in Triple-A that, when the opportunity presented itself, we brought him up here. I wouldn’t say it was totally out of the blue, but obviously he’s totally blown by everyone’s expectations.”


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