Tag Archive for Coco Crisp

A’s Farmhands Who Could Play A Role For Oakland In 2016

Billy Burns: Who will be the next A's farmhand to break through with Oakland?

Billy Burns: Who will be the next A’s farmhand to break through for Oakland?

With the 2015 season turning out to be such a big disappointment for the A’s, the team’s plans heading into this offseason are probably just about as unclear as they’ve been in quite some time. General manager Billy Beane and the A’s front office could choose to head in many different directions and there are very few players currently on the roster who are certain to still be around come 2016.

The only two players with multi-million-dollar guaranteed contracts for next season are also two of this season’s biggest disappointments – outfielder Coco Crisp and designated hitter Billy Butler. Reliever Sean Doolittle also has a guaranteed contract for next season but, with this season’s injury, there are still some question marks surrounding his reliability at this point. And there are three players currently on the 40-man roster – first baseman Ike Davis and outfielders Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry – whom it seems the A’s would be highly unlikely to offer arbitration to in the offseason.

So there certainly could be quite a few openings on the A’s roster heading into next season. And, though the A’s minor league system may not be rich in top prospects at the moment, there are plenty of players at the upper levels of the system who could potentially play useful roles for Oakland in 2016. So let’s take a look at some of the most likely suspects to be appearing in the green and gold next year…

 

mmMuncy, Max3Max Muncy (1B-3B)

Muncy has had 82 at-bats with the A’s this season, almost all against right-handed pitching. And while he may not have hit up a storm in his brief time in Oakland, he’s been a solid minor league hitter since being drafted in the 5th round back in 2012, particularly when it comes to his ability to get on base. The 25-year-old has a career minor league on-base percentage of .379 and has posted a .351 OBP in 179 at-bats for Nashville this season. Since it seems unlikely that the A’s will offer first baseman Ike Davis arbitration this offseason, that could leave an opening for the lefty-hitting Muncy to potentially share time with Mark Canha at first base next year. If the A’s decide to give Canha more playing time in the outfield, that could also open up more opportunities for Muncy at first. And if the A’s decide to move Brett Lawrie, either to second base or to another team in an offseason trade, Muncy also has experience at third base and could potentially form a platoon at the hot corner with righty-swinging Danny Valencia. Whatever happens in the offseason, it seems likely that there could be an opening on the A’s roster for a left-handed hitter with a track record of getting on base and who can play both first and third.

 

js519295bJake Smolinski (OF)

In just 35 at-bats with the A’s this season, Smolinski has shown the potential to be a productive righty-hitting platoon outfielder for Oakland. The former 2nd-round draft pick also put up an impressive .349/.402/.628 slash line in 86 at-bats at Nashville this season and appeared in 59 major league games for Texas between 2014 and 2015. With no clear left fielder in the picture for the A’s next season, it’s possible that Smolinski could vie with Coco Crisp for playing time in left or also serve as a possible platoon partner for lefty-swinging Josh Reddick in right. And with the A’s unlikely to offer fellow right-handed hitter Craig Gentry arbitration in the offseason and a lack of other respectable outfield options currently on the roster, there could be room for a right-handed hitter with a little bit of pop in the A’s outfield picture next year.

 

jwWendle, Joey3Joey Wendle (2B)

After coming over from Cleveland for Brandon Moss in the offseason, Wendle has spent this year as the starting second baseman for Triple-A Nashville. The left-handed hitter currently leads all A’s minor leaguers in hits with 151, in extra-base hits with 52 and in doubles with 37. His .428 slugging percentage is nothing to sneeze at either, and folks in Nashville have been raving about Wendle’s abilities in the field. The problems start when you catch a glimpse of his 19 walks, 100 strikeouts and .318 on-base percentage. Still, second base has been a weak spot in the A’s lineup. Last spring, before the injuries started to pile up, the plan was to have Ben Zobrist start out as the team’s primary second baseman, with Eric Sogard moving into the utility infielder role. And if the A’s decide they’d like someone with a little more pop at second base this season, they could try to slide Sogard into a back-up role once again while giving Wendle a real shot to start the season at second.

 

Tyler Ladendorf (2B)

Ladendorf had just 10 at-bats with the A’s earlier this season before heading to Nashville and then missing most of the season after undergoing ankle surgery. After primarily being known for his defense, the former 2nd-round draft pick had a breakthrough offensive season at Sacramento last year, posting a .297/.376/.407 slash line while playing at second base and shortstop as well as in the outfield. Ladendorf’s been back in action at Nashville since earlier this month and has already played four different positions while putting up similar numbers for the Sounds. While his versatility makes him valuable, his best position is probably second base. So, while Ladendorf could be quite useful in a utlity role, backing up at a variety of different positions, he could also serve as a possible right-handed platoon partner for either Eric Sogard or Joey Wendle at second base next season.

 

rrRavelo, Rangel2Rangel Ravelo (1B)

Ravelo missed most of the season after undergoing wrist surgery, but he returned to action with Double-A Midland in July before joining Triple-A Nashville in August. Before his injury, the plan had been to have the 23-year-old Cuban spend time at both first base and third base at Nashville but, since returning from his injury, he’s appeared exclusively at first base and also as a designated hitter. Like a right-handed version of Muncy, Ravelo’s always shown the ability to get on base, and he has a career minor league on-base percentage of .371 and a .353 OBP this season at Nashville. It’s possible that Muncy and Ravelo could form a potential first base platoon at some point. But since Ravelo has only appeared in two games at third base since 2012, it’s probably going to be difficult to count on him possibly being able to fill much of a role at third base at this stage of the game. And with only 17 career games at the Triple-A level at this point, it would probably take a mighty impressive spring for Ravelo to factor into the A’s plans to start the 2016 season. But with Ike Davis unlikely to be offered arbitration by the A’s in the offseason, depending on how everything else shakes out, there could be some opportunities at first base for the A’s before next season is through.

 

rdDull, Ryan4Ryan Dull (RP)

Dull started the season with Double-A Midland before moving up to Triple-A Nashville in July, and the right-hander hasn’t missed a beat since advancing a level. Between both levels, the 25-year-old has allowed just 4 runs while notching 68 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings of work this season. At a listed height of just 5’10”, the former 32nd-round draft pick doesn’t fit the profile of the big, intimidating, flame-throwing reliever. He’s also not currently on the A’s 40-man roster. And while Dull’s been nearly unhittable against righties, he’s been considerably less impressive against lefties. But with the effectiveness that he’s shown throughout his minor league career, along with a solid fastball, slider and changeup, and the team’s current lack of quality relievers at the major league level, it’s hard to imagine that Dull wouldn’t at least be given a very long look by the A’s in spring training in 2016.

 

 

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Friday, July 31st: Sean Manaea Tosses 7 Shutout Innings in Midland Debut while Daniel Mengden Impresses Again in Stockton Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Seth Manaea (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds LHP Sean Manaea (7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks     0

Midland RockHounds  4

WP – Manaea 1-1 / 2.57

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Sean Manaea

(7 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 9 K / Win)

Former 1st-round draft pick Sean Manaea, who was recently acquired from Kansas City in the Ben Zobrist trade, couldn’t have made a much better impression in his debut for Midland on Friday. The big lefty allowed just 3 hits while walking none and striking out 9 over 7 shutout innings to earn the win for the RockHounds. The 23-year-old threw a total of 87 pitches, 62 of them for strikes, while RHP Tucker Healy pitched a perfect 8th and 9th to complete the 3-hit shutout for Midland. Outfielder Jaycob Brugman singled, tripled and drove in 2 runs, while first baseman Ryon Healy singled, doubled and scored a run, and outfielder Chad Oberacker had a pair of hits and a walk and drove in a run for the RockHounds. Meanwhile, with Manaea’s addition to the roster, RHP Tim Atherton was placed on the disabled list for Midland.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Thursday, July 30th: Brad Mills Is Solid Again in Sounds Loss as Brent Morel Joins Nashville, Dayan Viciedo Is Released and All Six A’s Affiliates Fall

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Brad Mills (7 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Nashville Sounds Pitcher Brad Mills (7 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

 

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE  (Triple-A)

Iowa Cubs               5

Nashville Sounds  4

LP – Coke 0-2 / 11.37

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Brad Mills

(7 IP / 4 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 5 K)

LHP Brad Mills turned in his third straight quality start for the Sounds, allowing just 1 run while striking out 5 over 7 innings of work, and he left the game with a 2-run lead on Thursday. But RHP Brock Huntzinger gave up 2 runs, 1 earned, in the 8th inning to allow Iowa to tie the game. And it remained tied until the top of the 12th, when LHP Phil Coke surrendered 2 runs to suffer his 2nd loss for the Sounds. First baseman Nate Frieman collected 3 hits, including a double, and drove in a run, while outfielder Jason Pridie drew 3 walks and singled in a run, and Nashville’s new third baseman, Brent Morel, singled and doubled in a run for the Sounds. The A’s signed Morel, a former 3rd-round draft pick for the White Sox who’s appeared in 220 major league games, to a minor league contract after he was given his release by the Pirates earlier in the week. In order to make room for him on the Sounds roster, the A’s released another recent minor league free agent signee, Dayan Viciedo, who struggled at Nashville, posting a .221/.282/.336 slash line in just 30 games for the Sounds.

Click here for more on Midland, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Tuesday, July 28th: Parker Frazier Earns 3rd Straight Win for Hounds while Coco Crisp Hits 2 HRs in Rehab Appearance for Stockton

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Parker Frazier (6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds RHP Parker Frazier (6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  6

Frisco RoughRiders       1

WP – Frazier 3-0 / 0.34

HR – Rickles (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Pitcher Parker Frazier

(6 IP / 5 H / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / Win)

RHP Parker Frazier, who was acquired from the Arizona organization earlier in the month, turned in his third straight quality start on Tuesday, allowing just 1 unearned run while striking out 5 over 6 innings of work to earn his 3rd win for Midland. And Frazier has now failed to allow an earned run in 20 2/3 innings over his last 3 starts for the RockHounds. Catcher Nick Rickles singled and slugged a 2-run homer, while first baseman Rangel Ravelo singled, doubled and drove in a pair, and outfielder Chad Oberacker collected 2 hits and 2 walks, stole 2 bases and scored 3 times in the win. Meanwhile, Midland’s saves leader, RHP Ryan Dull, was promoted to Nashville and Stockton’s saves leader, RHP Brendan McCurry, was reassigned to the RockHounds.

Click here for more on Nashville, Stockton, Beloit, Vermont & AZL A’s…

Monday, July 27th: Matt Olson’s 2 HRs Help Hounds Win while Barry Zito Struggles in Sounds Loss and Yairo Munoz & Trent Gilbert Make Debuts for Ports

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Matt Olson (2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Matt Olson (2 Home Runs / 5 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  12

Frisco RoughRiders         9

WP – Joseph 7-4 / 4.20

HR – Olson 2 (12), Walsh (12), Ravelo (2)

Farmhand Of The Game:

First Baseman Matt Olson

(2 Home Runs / 5 RBI)

First baseman Matt Olson has definitely been heating up again as we approach the final month of the minor league season. On Monday, he hit a pair of home runs, a 2-run shot to give his team the lead in the top of the 4th as well as a 3-run drive in the 5th, to give Olson a total of 4 home runs over his last 5 games. Designated hitter Rangel Ravelo doubled and hit a 2-run homer, while second baseman Colin Walsh homered in the 1st and singled in a run in the 8th, and shortstop Chad Pinder and outfielder Chad Oberacker had a pair of hits apiece for the Hounds. Starter Jonathan Joseph allowed 5 runs over 5 1/3 innings of work to pick up his 7th win, while LHP Omar Duran was charged with 4 runs in just 1/3 of an inning in relief, and RHP Ryan Dull got the final two outs in the 9th to notch his 12th save for Midland.

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Monday, May 4th: Jaycob Brugman Brings in Winning Run in 11th for Hounds while Nate Freiman & Renato Nunez Return to Action for Sounds & Hounds

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (Triple / Double / GWRBI)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Jaycob Brugman (Triple / Double / GWRBI)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Midland RockHounds  4

San Antonio Missions    3

WP – Doolittle 1-0 / 6.75

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Jaycob Brugman

(Triple / Double / GWRBI)

With one on, one out and the game tied in the top of the 11th, outfielder Jaycob Brugman provided the big hit by tripling in the winning run for the RockHounds and snapping Midland’s 4-game losing streak on Monday. Brugman also doubled earlier in the game, while first baseman Ryon Healy doubled in the 11th and came across to score the winning run. Outfielder Chad Oberacker had a pair of singles and a walk, and third baseman Renato Nunez returned to action after battling nagging injuries this spring and went 0 for 3 with a pair of walks and made a throwing error at third in his season debut for Midland. Starter Jake Sanchez allowed 3 runs over 5 innings of work, while RHPs Bobby Wahl, Ryan Dull and Ryan Doolittle each tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, with Doolittle picking up his 1st win for the RockHounds.

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Sunday, May 3rd: Ports Fall despite Tyler Marincov’s Big Day while Sounds Lose Jarrod Parker’s First Rehab Start for Nashville

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Tyler Marincov (3 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Outfielder Tyler Marincov (3 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

San Jose Giants  8

Stockton Ports   7

LP – Wagman 0-1 / 18.00

HR – Marincov (3)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Tyler Marincov

(3 for 5 / Home Run / 3 RBIs)

With two on, two outs and Stockton up by a run in the bottom of the 5th, right fielder Tyler Marincov smacked a 3-run homer to give the Ports a 4-run lead. Marincov also had a pair of singles in the game and has now gone 8 for 12 over his last three games to raise his average to a healthy .333. Center fielder B.J. Boyd and first John Nogowski both singled, doubled and drove in a run, while third baseman Jose Brizuela doubled in a run and walked, and left fielder Coco Crisp went 1 for 3 with a walk and drove in a run in his first rehab appearance for the Ports. Starter Kyle Finnegan had a solid outing for Stockton on Sunday, allowing 2 runs over 5 1/3 innings, and he left the game with a 3-run lead. But RHP Joey Wagman gave up 6 runs in 3 innings of relief and ended up taking the loss in the first appearance for the Ports. Meanwhile, Stockton’s most dependable bullpen arm, RHP Andres Avila, was reassigned to the RockHounds.

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Wednesday, April 29th: Midland Wins behind Ryon Healy’s Big Bat while Yairo Munoz Belts 3-Run HR in Beloit Victory and Dillon Overton Is Solid in Stockton Loss

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter Ryon Healy (3 for 4 / Double / 4 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds DH Ryon Healy (3 for 4 / Double / 4 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Corpus Christi Hooks     10

Midland RockHounds  11

WP – T.Healy 1-0 / 0.00

Farmhand Of The Game:

Designated Hitter Ryon Healy

(3 for 4 / Double / 4 RBIs)

With the game tied and the bases loaded in the bottom on the 7th inning on Wednesday, designated hitter Ryon Healy doubled to clear the bases and give the RockHounds a 3-run margin, all of which they would need with the Hooks coming back to put 2 runs on the board in the top of the 9th. Healy also had 2 singles and drove in another run earlier in the game. Second baseman Colin Walsh collected a pair of singles and a double as well while driving in 2 runs. Outfielder Josh Whitaker tripled, doubled, walked and scored twice, while shortstop Chad Pinder had 2 hits and drove in a run, and third baseman Wade Kirkland singled and drove in a pair. Starter Jake Sanchez had a rough outing for the RockHounds, allowing 8 runs on 11 hits over 5 innings of work, while RHP Tucker Healy earned the win with 2 shutout innings in relief. RHP Seth Frankoff tossed a scoreless 8th, and RHP Bobby Wahl picked up his 3rd save despite giving up 2 runs in the 9th for the RockHounds. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s winning pitcher for Midland, RHP Joey Wagman, was reassigned to Stockton.

Click here for more on Stockton & Beloit…

A’s Release More Minor League Hurlers on Wednesday

Murphy Smith: One of the latest minor league hurlers to be released by the A's.

Murphy Smith: One of the latest minor league hurlers to be released by the A’s.

Hot on the heels of the releases of minor league hurlers Drew Granier, Deck McGuire, Brandon “€œBranch”€ Kloess and Dakota Freese earlier this week, the A’s also released RHPs Murphy Smith and Paul Smyth on Wednesday.

After being moved to the bullpen last year, Smith posted a 4.73 ERA in 85 2/3 innings at Double-A Midland. Smyth, despite posting a 3.05 ERA in 59 relief innings at Triple-A Sacramento last year, was told earlier in the week that he would likely be sent back to Double-A this season. The reliever then requested his release and it was eventually granted by the organization on Wednesday.

In other news, it looks like RHP Nate Long, who was one of Midland’s top starters last year, will open the season on the disabled list or at extended spring training in Arizona. That means that, in addition to Zach Neal and Chris Jensen, Midland’s starting rotation is likely to include 3 of the following 4 hurlers: Chris Lamb, Jake Sanchez, Tim Atherton and Tanner Peters. Meanwhile, with Smith and Smyth’€™s release, the top candidates for Midland’s bullpen now appear to be Jeff Urlaub, Seth Frankoff, Tucker Healy, Ryan Dull, Ryan Doolittle, Kris Hall, Jonathan Joseph and Andres Avila.

As we mentioned yesterday, the Triple-A Nashville rotation appears to be set for the moment with RHPs Chris Bassitt, Arnold Leon and Matt Buschmann as well as LHPs Brad Mills and Rudy Owens. And there are currently 10 arms available for 8 slots in the Nashville bullpen: Ryan Cook, Eury De La Rosa, Fernando Rodriguez, Pat Venditte, Brock Huntzinger, Kevin Whelan, Ryan Verdugo, Jim Fuller, Chad Smith and Angel Castro.

As we reported yesterday, there are whispers that the A’s have been talking to other teams about recently-demoted RHP Ryan Cook. And with the recent news that outfielder Coco Crisp may miss as much as the first two months of the season due to elbow surgery, it certainly wouldn’€™t be surprising to see the A’s package a couple of experienced bullpen arms like Cook and possibly Fernando Rodriguez for someone who could help provide the team with a little more depth in the outfield.

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Oakland A’s & Nashville Sounds 2015 Roster Outlook

It was another busy offseason for A's GM Billy Beane

A’s GM Billy Beane was a busy boy this winter

For the moment, as we sit here perched on the precipice of February, let’s go out on a limb and assume that the majority of the A’s offseason work is now finally done – which is never an entirely safe bet with general manager Billy Beane at the helm. But considering the massive amount of roster turnover and the vast number of new players the team has acquired, the shape of the A’s major league roster actually appears to be fairly clear at this point. While little has changed in the A’s outfield, the rest of the roster will look plenty different from the team that took the field to start 2014…

 

2015 OAKLAND A’S

While last year’s team started out with the tandem of John Jaso and Derek Norris behind the plate, the 2015 model figures to count on a catching platoon of fan-favorite Stephen Vogt and newly-acquired Josh Phegley, who arrived from the White Sox as part of the Jeff Samardzija trade.

The A’s 2015 starting infield looks to be entirely different from 2014, with Eric Sogard likely to be the only returning infielder on the roster, but this time in a utility role. 25-year-old Brett Lawrie will take over for Josh Donaldson at the hot corner, while Berkeley native Marcus Semien has been annointed as the team’s new shortstop. He’ll be mentored up the middle by former All-Star Ben Zobrist, who is set to be the team’s primary second baseman. Slugger Ike Davis should be stationed at first base against right-handers with free-agent catch Billy Butler as the designated hitter, while Butler should take over at first against lefties with Rule-5 pick Mark Canha serving in the DH spot as a sort of new-fangled Nate Freiman. With Zobrist taking over at second, last year’s primary second baseman and the almost-face-of-MLB, Eric Sogard, will likely serve in a utility role, backing up Zobrist at second, Semien at short and Lawrie at third. Sogard has experience at all three positions in both the majors and the minors.

Brett Lawrie: Can he make A's fans forget Josh Donaldson?

Brett Lawrie: Can he make A’s fans forget Josh Donaldson?

As mentioned, there aren’t a lot of new faces in the A’s outfield in 2015. Josh Reddick returns as the team’s rifle-armed right fielder, while Coco Crisp will man center field, as long as his health allows – and A’s fans better hope and pray that’s a lot – and Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry should share duties in left field. Of course, the 2015 version of the A’s does possess similar versatility to last year’s model. If needed, Zobrist is perfectly capable of playing in the outfield, with Sogard slotting in at second. Canha can also do time in the outfield if needed and, like Sogard, Semien has played all over the infield with the exception of first base.

As far as the team’s starting rotation goes, only two members seem to be certain locks – veteran lefty Scott Kazmir and young righty Sonny Gray. General manager Billy Beane did mention in a conference call with reporters that returning lefty Drew Pomeranz and newly-acquired right-handers Jesse Hahn and Kendall Graveman may have “the inside track” for the remaining rotation spots. So assuming the GM’s opinion counts for something, one would have to assume that’s the group that’s most likely to make up the team’s starting five, though new acquisitions Chris Bassitt and Sean Nolin will surely be in on the competition as well and much will clearly depend on how spring training plays out.

It appears that the team may prefer to have Jesse Chavez back in the bullpen as a reliable long man and occasional spot starter if needed. And with Sean Doolittle set to miss the start of the season with shoulder issues, former Nationals closer Tyler Clippard is likely the leading candidate to take over Doolittle’s spot as the last man on the mound for the A’s. Fernando Abad and Eric O’Flaherty are set to be the team’s lefties out of the ‘pen, with Dan Otero and Ryan Cook available from the right side. That leaves one last bullpen spot available while Doolittle’s doing time on the DL. Since he’s out of options, it might be safe to give Evan Scribner the edge, though lefty Eury De La Rosa (acquired from Arizona) and righty R.J. Alvarez (picked up from the Padres) could also be distinct possibilities.

Of course, the team is counting on Doolittle to return at some point. And let’s not forget that A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker are both working their way back from Tommy John surgery with midseason returns quite possible for the pair.

 

2015 NASHVILLE SOUNDS

With all the young players the team acquired in trades, and plenty of minor league free agent signees as well, there will be a bit of a roster crunch at the top levels of the A’s farm system in 2015. And it’s going to be particularly difficult for many players to make the move up from Midland, with the possible exception of first baseman Max Muncy with the team’s top prospect, Matt Olson, set to take over at first for Midland in 2015. As things now stand, it appears that there are about 16 position players competing for what is typically 12 roster spots and 23 pitchers competing for what is typically 13 spots on the pitching staff at the A’s Triple-A affiliate. So let’s take a look at some of the players most likely to find themselves playing in Nashville as the PCL team begins its first season as the A’s top affiliate.

The team has two very experienced minor league catchers who’ve had the chance to get their feet wet in the majors and who’ll be waiting in the wings at Nashville in 2015. 28-year-old, lefty-swinging Bryan Anderson has caught 755 minor league games and has appeared in the majors with the Cardinals and the White Sox and even managed to get one at-bat with the A’s last year, while 34-year-old switch-hitter Luke Carlin has been behind the plate for 773 minor league games and has made appearances with San Diego, Arizona and Cleveland.

One of the A’s most exciting minor leaguers, speed-burner Billy Burns, should have the chance to run around the bases and tear up the turf in center field for Nashville in 2015. He’ll likely be flanked by a pair of minor league veterans – 29-year-old Matt Angle and 31-year-old Jason Pridie, who’s appeared with the Twins, the Mets, the Phillies, the Orioles and the Rockies – along with Josh Whitaker, who split last season between Sacramento and Midland.

Nashville’s infield should be anchored up the middle by shortstop Andy Parrino, newly-acquired second baseman Joe Wendle, and Tyler Ladendorf, who split time last season between second base and shortstop and can also play a little in the outfield. The corners could be a little crowded with Alden Carrithers returning at third base, newly-acquired Rangel Ravelo set to see time at third and first, Nate Freiman likely to play first and DH, as is Max Muncy, and Anthony Aliotti, who spent time at first as well as in the outfield for Sacramento last season, is also in the mix.

Infielders Colin Walsh and Niuman Romero, who was signed as a minor league free agent, will also be battling for a spot on the Nashville roster, but it might be tough unless injuries, trades or releases unexpectedly open the door to a roster spot. Due to the roster crunch, Romero, who’s spent over 700 minor league games at shortstop and second base, may end up sharing middle infield duties with Chad Pinder at Midland, where there aren’t a lot of legitimate shortstop options with the departure of Daniel Robertson in the Ben Zobrist deal with Tampa Bay.

Billy Burns: Will he set a new land speed record in Nashville?

Billy Burns: Will he set a new land speed record in Nashville?

When it comes to the Sounds’ starting rotation, between all the new acquisitions, minor league free agent signees and returning players, there should be an abundance of starting pitchers available at the Triple-A level that will make it almost impossible, barring some unexpected injuries, for any starters to make the move up from Midland, including deserving candidates like Nate Long and Chris Jensen. It also means that some better known pitching prospects like former 1st-rounder Deck McGuire aren’t likely to have much of a shot at starting the season with the Sounds.

If, as speculated, Kazmir, Gray, Hahn, Pomeranz and Graveman end up comprising the A’s starting five, that would leave seven solid candidates for the Sounds’ starting rotation, six of whom will be in major league camp this spring. Three of them are currently on the A’s 40-man roster and would probably be first in line – new acquisitions Chris Bassitt and Sean Nolin along with returning righty Arnold Leon – while minor league free agent additions Brad Mills and Rudy Owens, both of whom have gotten a taste of life in the majors, and returning righty Matt Buschmann would all be solid options. Zach Neal, who was one of Sacramento’s most solid starters last season, may be at a bit of a disadvantage since he won’t be participating in the major league camp with the others. But depending on how everything shakes out, they all have a legitimate shot at starting the season in the Sounds’ starting rotation.

Thanks to multiple minor league free agent signings, the bullpen picture is even more crowded, with at least 16 pitchers competing for what will likely be 8 bullpen spots in Nashville. Two who were acquired in trades during the offseason, lefty Eury De La Rosa and righty R.J. Alvarez, are on the 40-man roster, as is righty Taylor Thompson, who was claimed off waivers. As long as they don’t make the major league roster, they should all be assured spots, as should righty Fernando Rodriguez, who posted a 1.97 ERA at Sacramento and allowed 1 run in 7 appearances for the A’s last season.

That leaves five veteran minor league free agent signees – righties Kevin Whelan and Brock Huntzinger, lefties Ryan Verdugo and Jim Fuller and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (yes, he throws with both arms!) – five returning players who spent all or part of last season at Sacramento – righties Angel Castro, Paul Smyth, Seth Frankoff and Tucker Healy, plus lefty Jeff Urlaub – and two solid pitching prospects who had strong seasons at Midland last year – righties Ryan Dull and Ryan Doolittle – all competing for the remaining four spots in the Sounds’ bullpen.

Of course, one never knows what unexpected injuries might sideline some arms to start the season but, regardless, a number of these names who don’t make the cut with the Sounds are bound to end up in the bullpen at Midland, where Nate Long, Chris Jensen, Sean Murphy and Drew Granier could all be returning to the RockHounds’ rotation this season, perhaps along with someone like Deck McGuire.

Speaking of the A’s Double-A affiliate, some of the team’s top prospects will be found in Midland’s infield this year, with Matt Olson at first, Renato Nunez at third, and Chad Pinder and Ryon Healy in the infield mix there as well. Top catching prospect Bruce Maxwell will be competing for a spot behind the plate with Blake Forsythe and Ryan Ortiz, as well as fellow backstops Beau Taylor and Carson Blair. Meanwhile, the outfield should primarily be comprised of returning RockHounds like Kent Matthes, Chad Oberacker and Conner Crumbliss, with the possible addition of Jaycob Brugman, who proved himself at both Beloit and Stockton last season.

But let’s clearly lay out the possible players on your 2015 Oakland A’s and Nashville Sounds opening day rosters right here (just click on each player’s name below to view their complete stats page)…