Preview: #1 Picks Green, Gray and Choice Good To Go for River Cats in 2013

Michael Choice is ready to show the River Cats what he can do!

Michael Choice is ready to show the River Cats what he can do!

The opening day roster for the Sacramento River Cats, the A’s Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League, was announced on Monday. And the team will include a remarkable five 1st-round draft picks – Sonny Gray, Michael Choice, Grant Green, Jemile Weeks and James Simmons.

Along with Weeks and Green, the River Cats’ infield will also include Andy Parrino, Scott Moore and Josh Horton. Michael Choice, Michael Taylor, Conner Crumbliss and Shane Peterson will man the outfield, with Peterson possibly seeing some time at first base as well, while Luke Montz and David Freitas will be behind the plate.

The River Cats’ starting rotation will include Sonny Gray, Andrew Werner, Jesse Chavez, Bruce Billings and Justin Thomas. Left-handers Hideki Okajima, Jordan Norberto and Pedro Figueroa will join right-handers James Simmons, Mike Ekstrom, Dan Otero, Brian Gordon, Nate Long and Travis Banwart in the River Cats’ bullpen.

You’ll find the Sacramento River Cats’ complete roster, along with profiles of some of the team’s top players, below…

 

mcmichaelchoiceoaklandathleticsphotodaynwngr_fbjvxl3MICHAEL CHOICE

Right-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2010 – 1st Round

Big things were expected last year from the A’s 2010 1st-round draft pick after Choice hit 30 home runs at High-A Stockton in 2011. But the right-handed slugger got off to a slow start in the first half at Double-A Midland, showing very little of the power that had garnered him so much attention in the first place. Then just when it looked like he might have been starting to come around, Choice suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch, and that was the end of the outfielder’s season. He finished with 10 home runs and a .287/.356/.423 slash line in 359 at-bats. The A’s still have high hopes for Choice though. And he’ll be playing center field for Sacramento in 2013, so he should have the chance to show everyone just what he’s capable of doing at Triple-A.

 

sgsonnygray_large1SONNY GRAY

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2011 – 1st Round

Just like Michael Choice, Gray was a former A’s 1st-round draft pick whom the team was expecting big things from at Double-A Midland in 2012. And just like Choice, Gray got off to a bit of a shaky start. But the right-hander looked better as the season wore on and he seemed to gain greater command of his stuff. Gray finished up at Midland with a 4.14 ERA in 26 starts before getting one final start at Sacramento, where he’ll begin the season as one of the A’s top pitching prospects.

 

Oakland Athletics Photo DayGRANT GREEN

Right-Handed Hitting Infielder

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2009 – 1st Round

Another former 1st-round draft pick who’ll be at Sacramento this year, Green was originally selected by the A’s in 2009 as a shortstop but has since been tried at almost every other position on the diamond. Last year, Green started off playing center field before moving over to left. But he spent most of the second half bouncing around the infield, with 19 games at shortstop, 19 games at second base and 11 games at third base. The organization hadn’t felt totally comfortable with Green at any position in the field but now feels he may have finally found a home at second base. Unfortunately, Jemile Weeks will be manning that position for the River Cats, so Green could end up seeing a great deal of time at third base this season. The southern California native had a bounce-back year at the plate in 2013 after seeing his numbers drop off a bit at Double-A Midland in 2011. Green finished 2012 with 15 home runs and a slash line of .296/.338/.458 in 524 at-bats at Sacramento. And he’ll be starting the year with the River Cats again, waiting for an opening to finally find his way on to the big league roster.

 

sphi-res-7054450_display_imageSHANE PETERSON

Left-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2008 – 2nd Round

At 25, Peterson has yet to see time in the majors. But he was a 2nd-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 2008 before coming over to the A’s in the Matt Holliday deal. After posting an impressive .460 OBP last season between Sacramento and Midland, he definitely opened some eyes this spring by batting .408 in 49 at-bats while bashing 7 doubles. He should see plenty of time in the Sacramento outfield, along with Michael Choice and Michael Taylor. But Peterson can also play first base, and he’ll undoubtedly see some time there as well, which could help offer him another route to the big leagues.

 

apAndy+Parrino+San+Diego+Padres+Photo+Day+r2YPnsacmu2lANDY PARRINO

Switch-Hitting Infielder

Age On Opening Day: 27

Drafted 2007 – 26th Round

Parrino came to the A’s this off-season along with LHP Andrew Werner in the Tyson Ross trade. He’s likely to start the season at shortstop for Sacramento, though he’s also played both second and third base and the A’s gave him some time in the outfield this spring as well. Parrino put himself on the map with his consistent hitting this spring, going 14-for-38 and hitting .368 with 6 doubles and a home run. And if the shortstop spot proves troublesome for the A’s this season, Parrino could end up earning a shot.

 

dfhi-res-7054388_display_imageDAVID FREITAS

Right-Handed Hitting Catcher

Age On Opening Day: 24

Drafted 2010 – 15th Round

No one seemed to pay too much attention to Freitas when he came over from the Nationals last summer in the Kurt Suzuki deal. But they’re certainly noticing him now after he went 8-for-18 this spring, hitting .444 with a home run, a double and just 2 strikeouts. The northern California native has never played above Double-A. But at this point, with the departure of Max Stassi, Freitas appears to be the most promising young catcher in the A’s minor league system.

 

–SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS 2013 ROSTER–

–HITTERS–

Luke Montz C

David Freitas C

Jemile Weeks 2B

Andy Parrino SS

Grant Green 2B-3B

Josh Horton 3B-SS-2B

Scott Moore 1B-3B-DH

Shane Peterson OF-1B

Conner Crumbliss OF-2B

Michael Choice OF

Michael Taylor OF

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Sonny Gray RHP

Andrew Werner LHP

Jesse Chavez RHP

Bruce Billings RHP

Justin Thomas LHP

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

James Simmons RHP

Mike Ekstrom RHP

Dan Otero RHP

Brian Gordon RHP

Nate Long RHP

Travis Banwart RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Hideki Okajima LHP

Jordan Norberto LHP

Pedro Figueroa LHP

 

 

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