Thearon W. Henderson
The A's are apparently taking a Moneyball approach to figuring out both first base and Michael Taylor's future.
The A's are hoping to essentially kill two birds with one stone this spring by teaching former top outfield prospect Michael Taylor how to play first base. This would give Oakland an option should Brandon Moss regress, and it also gives Taylor a chance to crack the major league roster for more than a tall latte each year.
The A's have enlisted the help of Scott Hatteberg, who famously made the shift himself from catcher to first base. As Alex Hall mentioned earlier, GM Billy Beane is trying to build a roster of versatile players. The main reason Chris Carter is now a Houston Astro is because of his inability to play a defensive position ending in "aseman," or "ielder."
By seeing if Taylor can hack it defensively at first base, this gives him a much better shot at making the roster — if not by Opening Night, then later in the year when someone in the infield cluster gets hurt.
As CSN Bay Area's Casey Pratt notes, it sounds like Taylor has the right mindset:
"I basically came to the conclusion at this point in my career that having as many hats in my closet is a positive thing," Taylor said. "I really looked at it and said if someone needs a first baseman whether it be here, Triple-A, or another ball club, I could be able to say I've played there before and have some experience and at least do a serviceable job."
Sacramento River Cats hitting coach Greg Sparks thinks the 6-foot-5 Taylor has what it takes to become a first baseman, but he's definitely still learning:
"He's very athletic, his feet move well. The plus thing that he has for a corner infielder is that he has great hands," Sparks said. "Taking it to the infield, it's just a quicker reaction time."