The short season leagues begin in the coming week and that will probably lead to some roster shuffling among the full season affiliates. This week I've decided to try my hand at anticipating some of those moves. Its not just about identifying the guys who are performing well at a lower level, I need to make sure there's room for them in their new digs.
Oh, before I forget, Mark Ellis has begun his re-hab assignment tonight with the Stockton Ports. He's playing 2B, with Jemile Weeks serving as the DH. (Update: Ellis went 0-2 with a BB.)
I guess I should start with the obvious names... last word is the A's expect Rashun Dixon and Nino Leyja to play for the Vancouver Canadians when the NWL starts on June 20. Fautino de los Santos had a minor slow down in his recovery from 2008 TJ surgery, nothing to be alarmed about but it will delay him getting into games until July. No news seems to be good news regarding Inoa and his elbow; he probably won't see the Arizona Rookie League until mid-July at the earliest. The A's haven't signed any of their 2009 draft class.
I don't have any info on who's doing well in extended Spring Training, so I can't really predict who might be headed to Kane County if and when some space opens up. But I do have a good idea about who might be making the jump from Kane County to Stockton.
The Stockton Ports are currently carrying 23 active players on their roster, plus a re-habbing Mark Ellis. With only 10 position players on the team, it makes sense that Grant Desme and Dusty Coleman head west to seek their fame and fortune. Desme was Oakland's 2nd round pick back in 2007 out of Cal Poly but he's been hurt since before the A's drafted him. His numbers aren't superlative, and his 18/75 BB/K rate in 235 at bats is downright worrisome but the A's need to be aggressive in his promotions to try and get him caught up. He played mostly CF for the Cougars but has the arm for RF, which is probably where he'll see most of his time in Stockton.
I'm probably being too aggressive with the call on Coleman, but I have this hunch that Jemile Weeks is east bound and down before too long and the Ports would need another middle infielder. The safe play might be to demote Larry Cobb from AAA back to High-A, but I'd prefer to see upward movement in the prospect ranks whenever possible. If/when Weeks does leave for Midland I could see the organization move current Ports SS Michael Richard to the right side of the infield, making room for the top SS prospect currently signed and in the A's system.
Desme and Coleman aren't the only two that I see heading out to Stockton. Kenny Smalley and Mickey Storey have been down right dominant in the Cougars' rotation and bullpen, respectively. The Ports need all kind of help, and an infusion of talent from the mid-west would be exactly what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, adding all four players would require someone on the Ports roster (because Weeks is headed to Midland) to be waived or demoted. My guess is Nick Walters would be saying good-bye.
Midland also has 23 actives on the roster and with Adrian Cardenas seeing time at 3B they're forced to rely on Michael Affronti to man 2B when Cardenas is busy.
Let me be the first to acknowledge that Mr. Affronti is a much better baseball player than I am, but he's not much of a prospect.
So if Weeks is moving to Midland, does that mean Cardenas is headed back to Sacramento? Doubtful, I think. It makes more sense (to me, anyways) to keep Cardenas in a comfortable hitting environment while he adjusts to the defensive demands of 3B. Chris Carter might get a promotion to AAA, but as of now it strikes me as a coin flip chance. The 296/397/500 certainly supports a promotion but dropping from 39 HR to 9 HR by mid-June has got to be a little worrisome to management. It is obvious that Carter has made some adjustments to his approach this season; do the A's ask him to make another change and go for more power? And if they do that shouldn't they leave him in AA, in a league he already knows to help better another transition? Of course, getting a (presumably) successful half season in AAA would go a long way in determining if Carter could be ready for Oakland come next season.
So I'm actually going to flip a coin to make this call... Heads he stays in AA, Tails he gets promoted...
Tails it is! Carter's headed for Sac.