Tag Archive for Oakland A’s

Spring’s Young Over-Achievers!

Spring training leaves A's manager Bob Melvin with a lot to contemplate

Spring training leaves A’s manager Bob Melvin with a lot to contemplate

Well, we’re a little over three weeks into spring training now, and we’ve had the chance to get a good look at a number of the A’s most promising young hitters. There are 13 hitters who are likely to start the season in the A’s minor league system who’ve gotten into anywhere between 4 and 21 major league spring training games thus far – and most of them have performed pretty well!

However, only 3 of the 13 still remain in major league camp – outfielder Shane Peterson along with infielders Andy Parrino and Eric Sogard. They aren’t the only ones to make their mark though. Catcher David Freitas, infielders Jefry Marte, Grant Green and Darwin Perez as well as outfielder Michael Choice all hit the ball well during their time with the major league team.

Below is a list of the 13 players who we’re likely to see starting the year at Sacramento, Midland or Stockton who got at least 10 at-bats in major league games this spring, followed by a profile of a few particular over-achievers…

 

Shane Peterson (OF-1B) 18-for-42 / 6 2B / 1 HR / .429 AVG / .489 OBP / .690 SLG

Michael Choice (OF) 13-for-42 / 2 2B / 1 HR / .310 AVG / .333 OBP / .476 SLG

Eric Sogard (IF) 16-for-31 / 7 2B / 0 HR / .516 AVG / .559 OBP / .742 SLG

Andy Parrino (IF) 12-for-31 / 5 2B / 1 HR / .387 AVG / .457 OBP / .645 SLG

Michael Taylor (OF) 5-for-23 / 2 2B / 0 HR / .217 AVG / .250 OBP / .304 SLG

Grant Green (IF-OF) 9-for-22 / 5 2B / 0 HR / .409 AVG / .409 OBP / .636 SLG

Scott Moore (IF-OF) 4-for-20 / 0 2B / 1 HR / .200 AVG / .304 OBP / .350 SLG

David Freitas (C) 8-for-17 / 1 2B / 1 HR / .471 AVG / .471 OBP / .706 SLG

Luke Montz (C) 1-for-17 / 0 2B / 1 HR / .059 AVG / .105 OBP / .235 SLG

Addison Russell (SS) 4-for-16 / 1 2B / 0 HR / .250 AVG / .294 OBP / .313 SLG

Darwin Perez (IF) 5-for-15 / 1 2B / 0 HR / .333 AVG / .412 OBP / .400 SLG

Jefry Marte (3B) 4-for-10 / 2 2B / 0 HR / .400 AVG / .455 OBP / .600 SLG

Miles Head (3B) 1-for-10 / 0 2B / 0 HR / .100 AVG / .091 OBP / .100 SLG

 

ERIC SOGARD

esEric+Sogard+Oakland+Athletics+Photo+Day+-UWwbavIYEwlWith Hiro Nakajima and Jed Lowrie added to the roster in the off-season and Adam Rosales both out of options and carrying a guaranteed contract, Sogard’s likely to start the season bouncing around Sacramento’s infield. But his spring performance has certainly helped to keep his name in play anyway. In his first 31 at-bats, Sogard is hitting over .500 and leads the team with 7 doubles. He also has just 1 strikeout. And with that kind of performance at the plate, if another infielder is needed in Oakland at some point, Sogard’s name should be quick to come to mind.

 

SHANE PETERSON

sphi-res-7054450_display_imageAt 25, Peterson has yet to see time in the majors. But let’s not forget that he was a 2nd-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 2008 before coming over to the A’s in the Matt Holliday deal. With five outfielders already on the A’s roster, there doesn’t appear to be much room for Peterson. But after posting an impressive .460 OBP last season between Sacramento and Midland, he’s definitely opened some eyes this spring by batting .429 in 42 at-bats while bashing 6 doubles. He’s likely to start the season 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.

 

DAVID FREITAS

dfhi-res-7054388_display_imageNo 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-17 this spring, hitting .471 with a home run, a double and just 1 strikeout. Freitas has never played above Double-A though, and he’s likely to start the season at either Midland or Sacramento. 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.

 

ANDY PARRINO

apAndy+Parrino+San+Diego+Padres+Photo+Day+r2YPnsacmu2lParrino came to the A’s this off-season along with LHP Andrew Werner in the Tyson Ross trade. And much like Sogard, Parrino is another infielder whose chances of making the roster are greatly hindered by the presence of Lowrie, Nakajima and Rosales. He’s likely to start the season playing shortstop at Sacramento, though the A’s have been giving him some time in the outfield this spring as well. But Parrino has put himself on the map with his consistent hot-hitting this spring, going 12-for-31 and hitting .387 with 5 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.

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Spring Training Update – 3/18/13

 

A’s Farm’s update on the third week of spring training and the A’s big round of roster cuts…

 

A’s Spring Training Stats

Grant Green Stats

Michael Taylor Stats

Michael Choice Stats

David Freitas Stats

Scott Moore Stats

Darwin Perez Stats

Brian Gordon Stats

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2013

Last year's top prospect Jarrod Parker - who will be the next to make it big?

Last year’s top prospect Jarrod Parker – who will be the next to make it big?

With the first A’s players set to report to spring training camp just days from now, it’s time to present A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2013. We’ve combined a total of eight different A’s prospect lists to come up with a consensus list that reflects the broadest base of wisdom where A’s prospects are concerned.

You can find the prospect lists that we used to compile our consensus list at the very end of this piece. Some of the eight lists we’ve selected are better known and some are lesser known, but they’ve all been selected because they represent intelligent and informed opinions about the A’s system. For the purposes of this list, we’ve looked at the top ten picks from each list and assigned points to each player as follows: 10 points for each first place finish, 9 points for second, 8 for third, all the way on down to 1 point for each tenth place finish.

It’s important to note that most prospect lists were compiled before pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock were dealt away. A few folks have updated their lists since then, but most have not. So rather than have the pair included on some older lists and not on some of the newer ones, we’ve chosen to use the original prospect lists that included them both for the sake of comparison.

Now that that’s clear, the other thing that’s clear is that the list breaks into a few clear groupings. The top group of vote-getters was comprised of young shortstop Addison Russell, right-handed hurler Dan Straily, outfielder Michael Choice and right-hander A.J. Cole, who was dealt back to the Nationals in the John Jaso trade – these four players were included in the top half of most lists. The next group was comprised of pitching prospects Sonny Gray and Brad Peacock along with hitting prospects Grant Green and Miles Head – and these four players were included in the bottom half of most lists.

After that, the selections start to get a little more unpredictable, with infielders Daniel Robertson and Renato Nunez clearly being the most popular vote-getters amongst the next group of players. And since Cole and Peacock are no longer with the organization, we’ve decided to include the next top two vote-getters – Nolan Sanburn at #11 and Chris Bostick at #12 – as bonus additions to the list.

So without any further ado, let’s take a look at A’s Farm’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List for 2013…

 

A’S FARM’S CONSENSUS TOP 10 PROSPECT LIST (+2)

#1 – Addison Russell (SS) – 78 points / 8 lists

#2 – Dan Straily (SP) – 64 points / 8 lists

#3 – Michael Choice (OF) – 63 points / 8 lists

#4 – A.J. Cole (SP) – 61 points / 8 lists *

#5 – Sonny Gray (SP) – 41 points / 8 lists

#6 – Brad Peacock (SP) – 39 points / 8 lists *

#7 – Grant Green (IF-OF) – 32 points / 7 lists

#8 – Miles Head (3B) – 25 points / 8 lists

#9 – Daniel Robertson (SS-3B) – 18 points / 7 lists

#10 – Renato Nunez (3B) – 10 points / 4 lists

————————————————————

#11 – Nolan Sanburn (SP) – 3 points / 2 lists

#12 – Chris Bostick (2B-SS) – 3 points / 1 list

————————————————————

* No longer with organization

 

arfPCk2bFI2#1 ADDISON RUSSELL

(78 points / 8 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop

Age On Opening Day: 19

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

Making the top spot on 7 of our 8 lists, the A’s top pick in last year’s draft was not only the star of the A’s 2012 draft class but was also the star of the team’s entire minor league system. And it didn’t take long for Russell to quickly become a favorite amongst A’s fans who had their eyes on the future. The Florida native earned it by tearing through three levels of minor league ball at the age of 18, and he’s currently expected to start 2013 with the Stockton Ports in the High-A California League at the age of 19. In 217 at-bats in the Arizona League, the NY-Penn League and the Midwest League in 2012, Russell had 10 doubles, 9 triples, 7 home runs and 16 stolen bases with an impressive .369/.432/.594 slash line. He didn’t disappoint in the field either, showing nice range and a good arm. The bottom line is that Russell is very young, very talented and very hard-working, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t rise as quickly as his performance demands.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Stockton Ports (A)

 

dsstraily-dan3#2 DAN STRAILY

(64 points / 8 lists)

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 24

Drafted 2009 – 24th Round

The former 24th-round draft pick started the season as a bit of an unknown quantity in the A’s system and didn’t make anyone’s top 10 list prior to the 2012 season. But Straily put himself on the map rather quickly last year and didn’t let up, starting the season at Double-A Midland and ending it in Oakland. The Oregon native led all A’s minor leaguers in strikeouts (190), ERA (2.78) and WHIP (1.00) in 152 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, and posted a 3.89 ERA in 7 late-season starts with the A’s. With five starters ahead of him on the team’s current depth chart, Straily’s expected to spend the early part of the season at Sacramento. But like most #6 starters, it likely won’t be long before his services are needed, and we can probably expect to be seeing the right-hander back at the big league level again before long in 2013.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Sacramento River Cats (AAA)

 

mcmichaelchoiceoaklandathleticsphotodaynwngr_fbjvxl3#3 MICHAEL CHOICE

(63 points / 8 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 23

Drafted 2010 – 1st Round

Big things were expected this 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 believe in Choice though and currently plan on having him play center field for Sacramento in 2013 and letting him show what he’s capable of doing at Triple-A.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Sacramento River Cats (AAA)

 

#4 A.J. COLE

(61 points / 8 lists)

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 21

Drafted 2010 – 4th Round

When he was acquired from the Nationals last year in the Gio Gonzalez deal, Cole was considered a highly prized prospect. But the big right-hander got off to a horrific start with High-A Stockton, going 0-7 with a 7.82 ERA in 8 starts, before being demoted to Class-A Burlington. He quickly turned it around in the Midwest League though, striking out 102 in 95 2/3 innings while posting a much more impressive 2.07 ERA. Cole’s rough start may have planted enough seeds of doubt in the minds of the A’s front office though that the team was willing to ship him back to Washington as part of the deal to get their mitts on catcher John Jaso.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Potomac Nationals (A-Washington)

 

sgsonnygray_large1#5 SONNY GRAY

(41 points / 8 lists)

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’s expected to begin the season as the A’s top pitching prospect right behind fellow right-hander Dan Straily.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Sacramento River Cats (AAA)

 

bp140238660_display_image#6 BRAD PEACOCK

(39 points / 8 lists)

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2006 – 41st Round

Peacock came over from the Nationals last year as one of the three young pitchers the A’s received in the Gio Gonzalez deal. He ended up kicking off the season in Sacramento and was looking like he might be just about ready for the big leagues when he hit a horrible stretch for about a month and a half in the summer. Peacock was getting knocked around badly just about every time out, and the word was that his fastball command had completely deserted him. The right-hander seemed to get it back together again during the last month or so of the season, but he still finished the year with an ERA of 6.01 in 134 2/3 innings. Most of that damage to his ERA occurred during that rough month and a half in the summer, but it obviously was enough to make the A’s a little more comfortable including him in the package of players they shipped to the Astros in the Jed Lowrie trade.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA-Houston)

 

#7 GRANT GREEN

(32 points / 7 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Infielder/Outfielder

Age On Opening Day: 25

Drafted 2009 – 1st Round

The fourth 1st-round draft pick to appear on our list, 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 hasn’t felt totally comfortable with Green at any position in the field, but his newfound versatility could aid his chances of eventually making the roster. 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 figures to start 2013 there again, waiting for an opening to finally find his way on to the big league roster.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Sacramento River Cats (AAA)

 

mh542535_10150896496846662_1633034326_n#8 MILES HEAD

(25 points / 8 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 21

Drafted 2009 – 26th Round

Head was acquired, along with Josh Reddick and minor league pitcher Raul Alcantara, from Boston last year in the deal that sent Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox. The big third baseman had an unbelievable first half at High-A Stockton, bashing 23 doubles and 18 home runs in just 267 at-bats while posting a truly impressive slash line of .382/.433/.715. The Georgia native spent the second half at Double-A Midland, where he put up a much more mortal .272/.338/.404 slash line in 234 at-bats. Head will likely get the chance to master the Texas League again in 2013. He played all but a handful of games at third base last year, and the team hopes that Head will stick at third, but it’s still quite possible that he could end up at first base before all is said and done.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Midland RockHounds (AA)

 

drdanielrobertson_mlb_display_image#9 DANIEL ROBERTSON

(18 points / 7 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop/Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 19

Drafted 2012 – 1st Round

Robertson was the A’s second overall draft pick last year, right behind fellow shortstop Addison Russell. And like Russell, Robertson got off to a solid start in rookie ball, posting a .297/.405/.554 slash line in 101 at-bats. He was pushed to third base while he and Russell were both on the squad but, once Robertson got to Class-A Vermont, he spent most of his time back at shortstop. Robertson had a little more trouble at the plate in the NY-Penn League though, putting up a .181/.238/.234 slash line and striking out about once every three at-bats. Robertson should start the season there again, where his innate talent will undoubtedly allow the 19-year-old to figure things out over the course of the year and do whatever he needs to do to get ready to advance to the next level.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Vermont Lake Monsters (A)

 

rnnc3bac3b1ez-renato3#10 RENATO NUNEZ

(10 points / 4 lists)

Right-Handed Hitting Third Baseman

Age On Opening Day: 19

Undrafted – Signed as International Free Agent

The A’s invested heavily in Nunez when the team reportedly gave the young Venezuelan slugger $2.2 million to sign back in 2010. And there’s no question that Nunez seems to have a pretty special bat. Last year in rookie ball, he put up a .325/.403/.550 slash line with 18 doubles in 160 at-bats. But in the field, Nunez made 7 errors in just 30 games at third base, botching 1 in every 10 chances at the hot corner. He’ll move up the chain as fast as his bat can carry him, but the A’s will obviously have to figure out how and where to make sense of him in the field.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Vermont Lake Monsters (A)

 

nsresized_99261-5csanburn3colbw_47-15782_t728#11 NOLAN SANBURN

(3 points / 2 lists)

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher

Age On Opening Day: 21

Drafted 2012 – 2nd Round

The A’s fifth overall draft pick last year, Sanburn was the first pitcher selected by the A’s in the 2012 draft. A hard-throwing right-hander out of the University of Arkansas, Sanburn didn’t sign right away but got off to a good start last year while making it into 7 games with Class-A Vermont. Sanburn posted a 3.86 ERA while maintaining a 3:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and the A’s hope that the 21-year-old has what it takes to move up the ladder quickly.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Beloit Snappers (A)

 

cbC.-Bostick2#12 CHRIS BOSTICK

(3 points / 1 list)

Right-Handed Hitting Second Baseman/Shortstop

Age On Opening Day: 20

Drafted 2011 – 44th Round

Bostick was hardly high on anyone’s radar when he was drafted in the 44th-round in 2011, but lots of folks seem to think he does a lot of things the right way – and baseball people like that. Bostick spent most of last season playing second base at Class-A Vermont but also spent a little time at shortstop. His .251/.325/.369 slash line wasn’t remarkable, but he was still just 19 last season. And if Bostick keeps playing the game the right way, he’ll continue to be given the chance to go out there and play and see how far his talents will take him.

Likely To Start 2013 With: Beloit Snappers (A)

 

Last Year’s Consensus Top 10 Prospect List

 

Baseball America’s Top A’s Prospects

Jonathan Mayo’s Top A’s Prospects

John Sickels’ Top A’s Prospects

Oakland Clubhouse’s Top A’s Prospects

Bleacher Report’s Top A’s Prospects

MLB Dirt’s Top A’s Prospects

Bullpen Banter’s Top A’s Prospects

Prospect 361’s Top A’s Prospects 

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

A’s Deal Pitchers of the Future for Catcher of the Present

John Jaso: Along with the hirsute Derek Norris, the A's could boast the most bearded catching tandem in the major leagues in 2013

John Jaso: Along with the hirsute Derek Norris, the A’s could boast the most bearded catching tandem in the major leagues.

It was announced on Wednesday that the A’s had acquired catcher John Jaso from the Seattle Mariners as part of a three-team deal that sent A’s minor league pitchers A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen, along with a player to be named later, to the Washington Nationals, who sent first baseman-outfielder Michael Morse to the Mariners. As a result of the trade, catcher George Kottaras, who had just signed a $1 million deal with the A’s earlier in the week, was designated for assignment. Kottaras, and his contract, will presumably be traded by the A’s sometime within the next ten days.

The left-handed hitting Kottaras became expendable with the arrival of Jaso, who also bats left-handed. Kottaras and the right-handed hitting Derek Norris were expected to split the A’s catching duties fairly evenly in 2013. But with Jaso, who hits right-handers far better than he handles left-handers, now in the fold, the arrangement is likely to become much more of a strict platoon, with Jaso getting most of the starts against right-handed pitchers and Norris getting most of the starts against left-handers – who represent no more than a quarter of all major league starters. This will give the 23-year-old Norris the chance to develop at his own pace, without the pressure of having to carry too much of the load right away.

Many A’s fans had been clamoring for an upgrade behind the plate, and this deal gives them just that. But some hard-core A’s followers were upset that the team gave up so much promising young pitching talent in the trade. The loss of Cole, who came over just last year in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Nationals (to whom he now returns), particularly rankled many fans. The 21-year-old right-hander was considered one of the A’s top three pitching prospects, along with Brad Peacock and Sonny Gray, while Blake Treinen was the A’s 7th-round draft pick in 2011.

A.J. Cole: Back from whence ye came

A.J. Cole: Back from whence ye came!

The 24-year-old Treinen was a little inconsistent at High-A Stockton last year. While he had a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, he posted an ERA of 4.37 and gave up a little over 10 hits per 9 innings while barely managing 100 innings between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Meanwhile, Cole had a disastrous start to his season at Stockton, going winless in 8 starts while compiling an astronomical ERA of 7.82. But after being sent down to Class-A Burlington in the Midwest League, he bounced back to post an impressive 2.07 ERA while striking out 102 in 95 2/3 innings. And his late-season turnaround gave many A’s fans great hope for his future.

The bottom line though is that neither of these two pitchers has ever thrown a pitch above A ball. And while they may one day develop into quality pitchers, they both still have a long way to go. The 29-year-old Jaso may not be an All-Star, but he is a major leaguer, and at least the A’s feel they know what they’re getting with him. The team clearly preferred a major league catcher in the hand to two minor leaguers in the bush leagues!

As for Jaso’s past performance, since he’ll really only be expected to carry the load against right-handed pitchers, the fact that he’s never shown any ability to hit left-handers is irrelevant. All that really matters is what he can do against righties. And last year, Jaso carried an impressive .302/.419/.508 slash line against right-handers. That’s compared to Kottaras’s .207/.335/.434 slash line against righties last year. Though neither Jaso nor Kottaras is likely to win any Gold Gloves, it’s a clear upgrade at the plate from the catching position for the A’s.

Jaso has a particular knack for getting on base – last year he walked an average of once every 6 plate appearances against right-handers while batting over .300 against them. He also has a knack for hitting doubles – last year Jaso doubled once every 15 ½ at-bats while Kottaras doubled just once every 28 ½ at-bats. So if nothing else, the A’s should expect to see Jaso standing on first base and second base a lot more than they saw Kottaras at those two locations!

The main conclusion that can be drawn from this deal though is that A’s general manager Billy Beane wants to win now! If he can unload part of the A’s pitching future to make an upgrade to the major league roster, he’s not going to hesitate to do it. If the A’s had finished in last place last year, it might be another matter and this deal might not have happened. But the A’s were the A.L. West champions last year, and you better believe that Billy Beane wants to turn them into the two-time A.L. West champions.

Beane clearly stated as much in a post-trade conference call with reporters when he said, “We’re shifting all of our focus on the major league club and trying to take as much advantage as we can of the opportunity we have.” In other words, “Win now!” – which, after having endured some years of rebuilding, ought to be a welcome rallying cry for most A’s fans!

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm to keep up with all the news down on the farm!

Is the A’s Roster Set? And the River Cats Roster Too?

Will Hiro have A's fans smiling too?

Will Hiro have A’s fans smiling too?

On Monday, we unofficially learned that shortstop Stephen Drew had agreed to a deal with the Red Sox and would not be returning to the A’s, and we also unofficially learned that the A’s would be filling the hole at shortstop by signing Japanese import Hiroyuki Nakajima. It was announced on Tuesday, after our last A’s Off-Season Transactions Update, not only that the Nakajima signing was official but also that, to clear room on the roster for their new shortstop, the A’s had traded outfielder Collin Cowgill to the Mets for Double-A third baseman Jefry Marte.

With the A’s new shortstop in the fold, it looks like their work is essentially done for the off-season and that the major league roster, barring any unforeseen (yet inevitable) injuries, is pretty much set. But it also seems that the Triple-A roster at Sacramento may be pretty much set at this point too. This really shows a remarkable level of certainty for an organization that’s typically had any number of question marks remaining at this time of year.

Below you’ll find a complete listing of the anticipated A’s and River Cats opening day rosters, barring any unexpected deals or injuries, as of this point in time almost 3 ½ months before opening day. Any changes should be minor, especially where the major league roster is concerned. I’d expect any changes to most likely come from potential moves involving some of the minor league pitchers or infielders. Following the roster lists below, we’ll go around the horn and discuss where things stand at every position for both the A’s and the River Cats…

 

Brandon Moss

Brandon Moss

2013 OAKLAND A’S

–CATCHERS–

Derek Norris C

George Kottaras C

–INFIELDERS–

Brandon Moss 1B

Chris Carter 1B

Jemile Weeks 2B

Hiroyuki Nakajima SS

Josh Donaldson 3B

Adam Rosales IF 

Yoenis Cespedes

Yoenis Cespedes

–OUTFIELDERS–

Yoenis Cespedes OF

Josh Reddick OF

Coco Crisp OF

Seth Smith OF

Chris Young OF

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Brett Anderson LHP

Jarrod Parker RHP

Tom Milone LHP

A.J. Griffin RHP

Dan Straily RHP

Grant Balfour

Grant Balfour

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Grant Balfour RHP

Ryan Cook RHP

Pat Neshek RHP

Chris Resop RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Sean Doolittle LHP

Jerry Blevins LHP

Travis Blackley LHP

–SUSPENDED FOR 5 GAMES–

Bartolo Colon

 

2013 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

Michael Choice

Michael Choice

–HITTERS–

Luke Montz C

Steven Hill C

Daric Barton IF

Scott Sizemore IF

Andy Parrino IF

Eric Sogard IF

Stephen Parker IF

Scott Moore IF-OF

Grant Green IF-OF

Shane Peterson OF

Michael Choice OF

Michael Taylor OF

–STARTING PITCHERS–

Brad Peacock RHP

Sonny Gray RHP

Andrew Werner LHP

(+2 of the following 4 in the rotation with 1 in the bullpen & 1 traded or released)

Garrett Olson LHP

Jesse Chavez RHP

Bruce Billings RHP

Travis Banwart RHP

James Simmons

James Simmons

–RIGHT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Evan Scribner RHP

Arnold Leon RHP

James Simmons RHP

Mike Ekstrom RHP

–LEFT-HANDED RELIEVERS–

Jordan Norberto LHP

Pedro Figueroa LHP

Justin Thomas LHP

 

2013 OAKLAND A’S

Derek Norris: Catcher of the future or lumberjack in training?

Derek Norris: Catcher of the future or lumberjack in training?

As far as the 2013 A’s go, catcher and first base are two positions that are pretty clearly set. Right-handed hitter Derek Norris and left-handed hitter George Kottaras will make up the A’s catching tandem. This likely won’t be a strict platoon though, as the A’s view Norris as their catcher of the future. I’d expect Norris to get between 350-400 at-bats, with Kottaras getting somewhere between 200-250 at-bats – of course, performance on the field could have a big effect on playing time behind the plate. The first base platoon of Brandon Moss and Chris Carter will remain in place in 2013. This should be a pretty strict left/right platoon, unless Moss regresses and Carter starts coming on strong, in which case the big right-hander could end up stealing some at-bats from Moss.

Second base may represent the biggest question mark on the A’s roster. Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore both stand a decent chance of claiming the starting job, while prospect Grant Green appears to be a long shot. It’s my feeling that, as long as he can show in the spring that he’s ready to put it together, the edge will go to former #1 draft pick Weeks. But if Weeks looks like he hasn’t learned anything, then Sizemore should be ready to step in – though we do have to remember that he is coming back from an injury that sidelined him for a solid year and will be competing at a position that he hasn’t played much over the past two years. Whichever one of these guys doesn’t claim the major league job will probably end up at Sacramento with Green. At this point, my guess is that Weeks opens the season with the A’s, while Sizemore ends up at Sacramento waiting for a chance to come back and take over in the event that Weeks or Donaldson struggles – but that could very easily change based on what happens in the spring.

Your 2013 starting shortstop will be Hiro Nakajima, with Adam Rosales likely serving as his backup – as well as the backup at second at third. If Nakajima proves to be more of a “zero” than a “Hiro,” then Rosales will step in and start getting more at-bats at short. Josh Donaldson will be the starting third baseman unless and until he proves that his second-half surge last season was just a fluke. If that happens, then Sizemore is the most likely candidate to step in at third.

Josh Reddick: The undisputed champion of the "Bernie Lean" dance competition

Josh Reddick: The undisputed champion of the ‘Bernie Lean’ dance competition

In the outfield, the A’s have five players (Cespedes, Reddick, Crisp, Smith and Young) to fill the three outfield spots as well as the designated hitter spot in the lineup. Those four positions should offer up about 2400 at-bats, which would mean there’s close to 500 at-bats to go around for each of them – that’s if they’re all healthy. Of course, they won’t all be healthy. I’d guess that at just about any point in the season, one of them will be dinged up enough to, if not warrant a stint on the DL, at least warrant a little time out of the lineup. So I wouldn’t spend too much time worrying about who plays where and when. I suspect it’ll work itself out one way or another and we’ll end up seeing plenty of all of them in the starting lineup.

As for the starting rotation, it’s important to remember that Bartolo Colon will be suspended for the first five games of the season and the A’s will play the first seven games of the season without a day off. That means that, barring injury, Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Tom Milone, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily will open the season as the A’s starting five. Of course, there’s a reasonable chance that one of those pitchers could have some nagging injury to start the season. In that case, Colon could be ready to step into the rotation after the first week. If, miracle of miracles, all five starting pitchers are fully healthy and functioning to start the season, then Colon could always kill time in the bullpen until one of them is sidelined with a balky elbow, shoulder, rib cage or back.

The A’s bullpen will be a crowded place though. Aside from Colon, there will be nine or ten legitimate contenders for the seven bullpen spots. On the right-handed side of things, Grant Balfour will be the closer and Ryan Cook will be the primary right-handed set-up man, while Pat Neshek will surely have a spot after signing a guaranteed contract, and Chris Resop is bound to get a spot after the A’s made a concerted effort to acquire him from the Pirates. That would push Evan Scribner to Sacramento.

On the left-handed side of things, Sean Doolittle and Jerry Blevins appear to be assured spots after their consistent performances throughout 2012, and Travis Blackley seems to be locked in as the long-man in the ‘pen. That would push Jordan Norberto and Pedro Figueroa to Sacramento. Of course, the odds that one of those seven relievers starts the season with some kind of injury is fairly high, which would open the door to one of those spots.

 

Daric Barton: Don't worry, A's fans - only in case of emergency!

Daric Barton: Don’t worry, A’s fans – only in case of emergency!

2013 SACRAMENTO RIVER CATS

If we make the preceding assumptions about the major league roster, and take into account the fact that the Triple-A roster rarely includes more than 12 hitters and rarely has any fewer than 13 pitchers, then the River Cats roster starts to fall pretty clearly into place.

The A’s acquired two experienced minor league catchers – 29-year-old Luke Montz and 27-year-old Steven Hill – who should share the catching duties at Sacramento this year. Meanwhile, veteran Daric Barton will be standing in at first base, waiting for his chance should anything happen with Moss or Carter.

If Jemile Weeks doesn’t make the roster in Oakland, then he’ll surely be the starting second baseman at Sacramento. But if Scott Sizemore is the one to get sent down, as I suspect, then I’d expect him to get the majority of the starts at second base in Sacramento, preparing himself in case Weeks again struggles. Andy Parrino, who was acquired from San Diego in the Tyson Ross trade, is bound to be Sacramento’s primary starting shortstop this year. I’d expect to see the versatile Eric Sogard getting most of his starts at third base this year, while also picking up a few other starts around the infield. When Sogard’s not starting at third, then fading prospect Stephen Parker is likely to get some starts at the hot corner as well.

Grant Green: Still looking for a home

Grant Green: Still looking for a home

Scott Moore, who has been the A’s most promising minor league free agent signing this off-season, can play third base, as well as first base, second base and the outfield, but will probably end up seeing a lot of at-bats as the designated hitter for the River Cats. Sacramento’s starting outfield should be made up of on-base machine Shane Peterson in left, top prospect Michael Choice in center and former top prospect Michael Taylor in right. That just leaves our old friend Grant Green, whom the organization could make the River Cats’ regular second baseman, but I’m guessing that, when it’s all said and done, they’ll end up utilizing his versatility and giving him starts all over the field – preparing him for his most likely future role with the A’s as a versatile utility man.

There are three pitchers who, as long as they’re healthy, are sure to make Sacramento’s starting rotation – top prospects Brad Peacock and Sonny Gray, along with left-hander Andrew Werner, who was acquired from San Diego in the Tyson Ross deal. The rest of the River Cats’ rotation will be filled out by two of the following four hurlers – right-handers Jesse Chavez, Bruce Billings and Travis Banwart, as well as major league veteran and minor league free agent signee Garrett Olson. Of the two who don’t make the rotation, one will likely end up as the long-man in the River Cats’ bullpen with the other either DL’d, traded or released.

Sacramento’s 2013 bullpen ought to boast an impressive array of arms who could be ready to step in and help at the major league level at a moment’s notice. If all the major league bullpen arms are healthy, then the River Cats’ ‘pen should include names like Evan Scribner, Arnold Leon, James Simmons and minor league free agent signee Mike Ekstrom from the right side and Jordan Norberto, Pedro Figueroa and minor league free agent signee Justin Thomas from the left side.

On the whole, it looks like a River Cats roster that ought to be more than ready to defend its division title and, hopefully, so should the 2013 A’s!

 

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Mr. Melvin Meets The Bloggers

Bob Melvin: Hit me with your best shot!

With Oakland right in the thick of a heated pennant race, A’s manager Bob Melvin took some time out just prior to a mid-September night game versus the dreaded Orioles to attend a bloggers-only press conference at the Coliseum. Melvin was his usual friendly and cordial self as he addressed an array of topics over the course of about 10 minutes and, upon his exit, even made a point of complimenting his interrogators on their rapid-fire questions. The first subjects, raised by A’s Farm, concerned a couple of players who’ve spent some time with both the A’s and the River Cats this year, and Melvin went on to offer his take on a variety of different subjects from there…

 

On third baseman Josh Donaldson’s improvement in his second stint with the A’s this year…

“Well, I think as far as Donaldson goes, it was just a matter of getting here and having some success. The ability’s always been there. If you look at the minor league numbers, he’s been able to hit and hit for power. He’s a great athlete – he can play multiple positions. I think it was just important – similar to a Chris Carter situation – that he came here and had some success. And he did early on, and he’s just been riding on that and more or less believes in himself as a big leaguer now.”

 

On second baseman Jemile Weeks’ struggles this season…

Jemile Weeks: Let’s see, am I supposed to be in Oakland or Sacramento today?

“As far as Jemile, you talk about sophomore slumps and so forth, and he’s a tough kid who can be hard on himself, and I think he got into a little bit of a slump where he couldn’t quite get out of it. You look up there – and you have some pride – and you look at your average after hitting .300 for basically a full season, then not being able to repeat that, you try a little too hard sometimes as opposed to just letting your ability take over. And I think it was just a little bit of a change of scenery – he went down there (to Sacramento) and instantly hit. And I don’t think this is going to effect where his career is going forward.”

 

On the adjustments Jemile Weeks needs to make…

“I think mainly just keeping the ball out of the air a little bit. I think, this year, he hit a couple of home runs early on. He will tell you that had nothing to do with swinging a little bigger. I think he just felt more comfortable with his swing that he could drive some balls. And last year, he just wasn’t trying to do too much. He was just putting it in play, and putting it in play on the ground. So it’s just a matter of finding a happy medium for him, and he will do that.”

 

On the special challenges of working with a younger team…

“Well, I think basically, with where we are in the season, we try to keep the distractions to a minimum and just – I know it’s very cliché – keep all our efforts focused on a particular day. We are playing some match-ups in the second half – whether it’s a Moss/Carter type of thing. And I think keeping them aware of when they’re playing is important so they know and can do their homework on potential pitchers they’re going to face – whether it’s Kottaras and Norris, and we’ve run a little bit of a platoon with Pennington and Rosales at second. So I think they benefit by knowing what days they’re playing. And then I think with younger players, you try to be consistent in giving them good feedback, because the one thing about being a younger player coming to the big league level that you always have to get over is that awe factor and ‘do I belong here in the big leagues?’ And we’ve, as an organization, put a lot of stock in our younger players and getting them to the big leagues. We put them in prominent roles, and I think we’ve done that across the board this year, whether it’s the pitching end of it, whether it’s the position player end of it, and we’ve been rewarded with good performances.”

 

On traditional bullpen roles…

“It’s always a Catch-22, because you want to get the hot hand out there, you want to get the guys that are the best match-ups. Yet relievers are a little different breed. When that phone rings, the guy wants to have a pretty good idea when he’s coming in the game. If we have to change the role for a period of time, I think we’re more apt to do that than just consistently trying to match up. It’s a little different with call-ups when you have more options. But I think if you look at our late guys, our plus-game guys, they know when they’re coming in the game, and that I think is a comfort to them…confidence-wise for them, it helps them to prepare and feel good about what they’re doing, even though just looking at it statistically, it can be more of a match-up thing. So I think it’s a double-edged sword as far as that goes. I do like defining roles, but I’m not afraid to change them if we need to change them.”

 

On team chemistry and when it started to click…

“I don’t know if there was a particular time. I felt good about the players we had in spring training. And when you look at a big league roster, a 25-man roster, I think ours was more like 32 – we were bringing guys back and forth depending on how they were playing at a certain time. And I think, once we kind of defined what roles certain guys had…I think the timing might have been middle to late June…I think we’ve been pretty consistent, especially offensively. And once we started to play better offensively, hit some home runs and so forth, the team started to find an identity within itself. We always felt like we were a scrappy-type team, a team that played well and focused later on in games and played hard and that type of thing. But I think once we started to hit the ball out of the ballpark, we kind of gained a lot more confidence because of that. And we have the guys here to do that now.”

 

Josh Reddick: Who needs an MVP when I’ve got one of these!

On the team’s MVP this year…

“It’s a tough one. You know, the guys that we count on the most are Coco, Reddick and Cespedes. And I think at different parts of the season, they would each be considered the MVP at the time. I couldn’t put my finger on just one. But from an offensive standpoint, those three probably stand out the most.”

 

On the team’s perspective down the stretch…

“We’re trying not to look at the finish line. We’re trying to take it more day-to-day, and let’s count ‘em up at the end. We know the schedule – we know we’re playing a lot of games on the road. We’ve been fortunate enough to win some games on the road. But if you start thinking about this match-up, that match-up, who’s pitching in this series, those are just distractions you don’t need, especially for a younger group. So we’re trying to remain in the moment and put all our focus on today’s game.  I know it’s very cliché, but I think it really has worked for us to this point this year, and that’s the way we’ll remain doing it.”

 

On how his past managerial experiences have prepared him for the challenges of this job…

“Well, first of all, I don’t think you ever get comfortable and say ‘Okay, I’ve had all the experiences, and this is the way I’m going to do things.’ I try to learn from our players. And it’s more about me acclimating to the players than the players acclimating to me. I have to work the personnel that we have in the fashion that we’re best-suited to do it. If we’ve got a bunch of guys that run, you’re not going to sit around and play for a three-run homer. If we have a bunch of guys that hit home runs, you’re not going to run into outs. And this team has kind of morphed into that type of team. We were running quite a bit early on, but we’re not running quite as much now because we don’t want to run into outs because we’re hitting some balls out of the ballpark. I think keeping guys accountable more so now, and communicating. There are certain times you don’t want to communicate, whether it’s your mood or whatever, but you have to stay consistent in what you’re doing as a manager. I like to be a positive guy, especially with the whole group. I will take guys individually if there’s something I want to do on the negative side. But I think it’s staying consistent, whether you’re winning or losing, and staying consistent in my approach to the players – that’s probably the thing that stands out the most for me.”

 

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After Bob Melvin’s press conference, long-time A’s broadcaster Ray Fosse took some time to chat on the field during batting practice and offered up some interesting takes on the A’s current manager…

 

Ray Fosse: I love Bob Melvin this much!

Fosse on Bob Melvin…

“Bob Melvin’s the greatest manager. He deserves so much credit. Nothing against the other guys, but Collin Cowgill, I just interviewed him, and he knows him from being with the Diamondbacks, and he said, ‘I’d run through that wall for the man.’ And when your players are willing to sacrifice their bodies to do whatever…Brandon Inge, when he dove for the ball and separated his shoulder, he comes in the next inning and hits a double down the line, and then he goes on the disabled list. He comes back, he does the same thing here, hits a double, drives in two runs, and then has surgery. But when he was out here, he said, ‘I’d take a bullet for the man right now. If there’s a fight, I’m defending him.’ And that’s the respect these guys have for that man.”

 

Fosse on respect…

“For the first time in the years that we’ve had the (World Series championship) reunions, when the players came in on the cars and they had the red carpet out to the mound, did you notice that every current player was lined up? Never has that been done before. Bob Melvin said, ‘We need to respect the guys who won the championships. I want my team out there shaking their hands as these guys walk by.’ Gene Tenace came on the air and he said, ‘I won’t get a chance to see Bob Melvin, but please tell him that’s the classiest act I’ve ever seen to show respect for a team of the past.’ And it was – I still get goose bumps thinking about what they did.”

 

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