Opening Day is in three weeks and
I still haven’t set a date for my fantasy draft I have yet to cover Spring Training! I’ve got to admit, I don’t put much stock in spring ball – as long as no one gets injured, I’m happy. That being said, the A’s have made some moves since my last review so an update is required. I’ll release my last preseason review once the Opening Day roster is released.
Every player I’ve chosen below has (1) a good if not better shot at making the 25-man roster this season and (2) an above-average expectation of above-average performance.
Jharel Cotton, RHP (#4 on my top 50)
Cotton’s spot in the rotation was his to lose ever since his strong showing last September. This spring he’s given up 3 runs over 7 innings, a statline the A’s hope he’ll be able to reproduce many times over the course of a long season. He threw a combined 165 innings last year and there is no indication that he will be under any innings limit for the 2017 campaign – barring any injuries or setbacks, Cotton is here to stay.
Matt Olson, RF/1B (#10)
Hot take: Matt Olson will be in the majors by the beginning of June. What do I have to back this up? Not a whole lot. I’m tempted to say the guy is a winner but then I run the risk of comparisons to a low-level Mets minor leaguer. His last full year at AAA was a bit of a disappointment but I’m confident he’ll put it together. You can always pray, right?
Jaycob Brugman, OF (#15)
Could Jaycob Brugman, the 17th-round pick out of BYU, be the A’s answer to their center field woes? He’s overachieved at every level, raked this spring, and plays better-than-average defense. He doesn’t have much left to prove at AAA and I don’t think the A’s plan on keeping him there long. With Davis on a one-year contract and Jake Smolinski being mediocre at best expect Brugman to get the call sooner rather than later.
Franklin Barreto, SS/2B (#1)
The consensus #1 prospect in the A’s organization and #30 on Prospects1500’s overall rankings, Franklin Barreto continues to impress. He’s collected 8 hits (all singles) in 20 plate appearances this spring while playing mostly second base; with SS promised to Marcus Semien and CF to Rajai Davis, 2B will be his best shot to crack the Oakland infield. The depth chart at the position is deep and Barreto only just turned 21 so don’t expect him to touch the 25-man until later in the season.
Daniel Gossett, RHP (#7)
Disclaimer: I have no idea what to do with Daniel Gossett. I ranked him pretty high on my top 50 based on his meteoric rise through the minors and in his one emergency start this spring he threw two scoreless innings; HOWEVER, and this is a big however, he’s only ever started three games above the AA level. He may be back there to begin the year but if I had to bet he’ll be given a shot to start before July.
Matt Chapman, 3B (#6)
The final piece to Oakland’s future infield, Chapman has shown flashes of excellence this spring, homering in his first at bat and tripling in his next. Though I still think Renato Nunez finishes the year with more MLB playing time, Chapman should be drafted over him in dynasty formats. Expect him to spend most of the year at AAA working on his hitting tools and cutting down the strikeouts.
The law firm of Pinder, Wendle, & Schrock will be sending at least one of their partners to the bigs this year. Though each are good enough players in their own right, there isn’t much of a future for them in Oakland beyond a utility role, especially with Barreto knocking on the door. Raul Alcantara will be out of options and must be added to the 25-man roster or waived before the beginning of the season – if he makes the roster, he’ll be the long-relief guy. Bruce Maxwell is currently third on the depth chart behind Vogt and Phegley, so unless the A’s decide to go with three catchers he’ll be starting the year back at AAA.
Got a gripe? Make sure to comment below and tell me what I got wrong.
Featured image courtesy of: http://www.mesaaz.gov/things-to-do/hohokam-stadium