With the A’s reassigning seven players to their minor league camp this past weekend, including top prospect Matt Olson and second baseman Joe Wendle, it’s a good time to take a look at how some of the team’s top young hitting prospects have been faring so far this spring.
The A’s will be counting on youngsters like shortstop Marcus Semien, catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman/outfielder Mark Canha to play significant roles with the major league squad this year, while Josh Reddick’s oblique injury could potentially open up a roster spot for a guy like Billy Burns or Tyler Ladendorf. Meanwhile, prospects like Max Muncy, Joe Wendle and Matt Olson are set to start the season in the minors, where they’ll have the chance to hone their skills while they await the opportunity to crack the major league roster at some point in the near future.
Let’s take a look at how some of these players whom the A’s will be heavily counting on in the present and in the future have been faring so far this spring…
0 HR / .392 AVG / .439 OBP / .549 SLG
Burns has been one of the team’s top hitters so far this spring. Known for his blazing speed, his bat has come alive in the first few weeks of March, and Burns currently leads the team in hits, runs and stolen bases. He’s gone 20 for 51 with 3 triples and a pair of doubles while swiping 4 bases and posting a .439 OBP. Burns is slated to start the season in center field for Triple-A Nashville, but if Josh Reddick isn’t ready to go on opening day, the A’s could decide to keep Burns around if, for nothing else, to be able to utilize his speed off the bench.
1 HR / .286 AVG / .400 OBP / .536 SLG
Muncy was one of the team’s top hitters early this spring. He’s collected 5 extra-base hits and is tied for the team lead with 6 walks while posting an impressive .400 OBP. His plate discipline has always been one of the things that the A’s have loved about him, and his solid performance at the plate this spring has no doubt left a favorable impression on many. After spending all of last year at Double-A Midland, Muncy is ticketed for Triple-A Nashville this season, where he should see time at both first base and third base.
2 HR / .302 AVG / .362 OBP / .512 SLG
When he was acquired from the White Sox in the offseason in the Jeff Samardzija trade and pretty much anointed as the A’s new shortstop, no one was quite sure what to expect. Semien quickly made a good first impression by blasting a pair of home runs early on, but he’s also added 3 doubles and has been getting on base at a solid .362 clip. And it’s a good thing that Semien’s been such a steady presence in the lineup and in the field this spring since he appears to be the A’s plan A, B and C at shortstop this season.
1 HR / .319 AVG / .319 OBP / .468 SLG
Ladendorf has primarily been known as a glove man during his years in the A’s system, lending a reliable presence at second, short, third and occasionally in the outfield. But last season at Triple-A Sacramento, his bat began to heat up, and he’s carried that hot bat right into his first big league spring training camp this year. Ladendorf is currently 15 for 47 with a home run, a triple and a pair of doubles in 18 spring games and currently leads the team in RBIs with 11. He was originally slated for Triple-A Nashville, but if Josh Reddick is unable to go on opening day, Ladendorf’s ability to play all around the infield as well as in the outfield could make him a good addition to an A’s team that values versatility.
2 HR / .250 AVG / .270 OBP / .556 SLG
Another young player acquired in the Samaradzija deal this offseason, Phegley is scheduled to share time behind the plate with Stephen Vogt this year. The backstop came to the A’s with the reputation for having a little pop in his bat, and he’s lived up to that reputation this spring, knocking 7 extra-base hits and posting a healthy .556 slugging percentage. Hopefully Phegley can keep it up because, without Donladson or Cespedes around this season, the A’s will definitely be looking for a few new power sources from the right side this year.
2 HR / .240 AVG / .296 OBP / .480 SLG
Another potential right-handed power source for the A’s, Canha currently leads the team in extra-base hits with 8 but is also the A’s spring strikeout leader with 20. The Rule-5 pick is expected to get the chance to show what he can do with the A’s this year and should start out the season with his name on the lineup card whenever the A’s find themselves facing lefties, whether it’s at first base, DH or in one of the corner outfield spots.
0 HR / .286 AVG / .342 OBP / .371 SLG
When he was acquired from the Indians for Brandon Moss in the offseason, many people wondered what exactly the A’s saw in Wendle. But the second baseman has looked solid in the field and at the plate this spring. Before being reassigned to the minor league camp on Sunday, he was 10 for 35 with a pair of extra-base hits and a solid .342 OBP. Wendle is expected to start the season as the primary second baseman at Triple-A Nashville.
1 HR / .195 AVG / .283 OBP / .341 SLG
The A’s top prospect according to many, Olson led all A’s minor leaguers in home runs as well as walks last season. And in his first big league camp this year, the big first baseman impressed early on before beginning to struggle a bit against better pitching. Just a few days shy of 21, Olson smashed 3 doubles and a home run while drawing 5 walks before being sent down on Sunday. He’s ticketed for Double-A Midland this season but, if he keeps flashing the mix of power and plate discipline the A’s love, the future could be sooner rather than later for Olson.