Good evening, Athletics Nation! Hopefully, you had a nice weekend and are ready for a long week of
work listening to A's spring training feeds. Michael Taylor, Stephen Vogt and Sam Fuld are tearing up the Cactus League and the A's have beaten the Giants twice already, so things are going well down in Arizona.
Here is what the Internet has had to say about our Oakland A's this month:
- Peter Gammons writes about Oakland's "new, new thing" and shows that he is one of the only national writers who actually understands Moneyball. He cites the A's depth, versatility and platoon splits as some of the undervalued strengths of the team, so he is only about one year behind Athletics Nation in terms of understanding this current squad. (Note: That still means he's ahead of the curve on a national level.) He also loves Billy Burns, about as much as we do; that is both comforting, because Gammons is smart, and discouraging, because last time he loved an Oakland youngster he was predicting an AL MVP for Bobby Crosby.
- John Hickey of the San Jose Mercury News suggests that the Athletics may steal more bases this year. He also notes that basestealing is about more than just speed. Key quote from Billy Beane: "I never said I hated stolen bases. I hate the caught stealing."
- Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that Sam Fuld is impressing management this spring and that he could have an outside shot at making the Major League roster, especially if Craig Gentry's balky back isn't ready to go. Fuld can opt out of his contract if he isn't on the major league roster on March 31.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tells us that Daric Barton left the game on Saturday with a strained left hamstring. He suffered the injury while running out a fly ball. She later reported on Twitter that it was a mild, Grade 1 strain, and that he would miss a few days as the team takes an understandably cautious approach this early in the spring.
- We all know that John Jaso is a poor defensive catcher, but now we have another stat to go along with his abysmal caught-stealing percentage. Baseball Prospectus ranked the best and worst pitch-framers over the last six years (2008-2013), and Jaso shows up as the 10th-worst in the majors on a per-pitch basis. A few unsurprising names who rank worse: Jesus Montero (no longer catching), Kenji Johjima (I remember being able to visibly tell that Johjima was bad at this), Ryan Doumit (can't DH for the Braves) and Carlos Santana (expected to play other positions this year). Jaso was second-worst in the majors last year on a per-pitch basis behind only Doumit, who has been the worst in baseball in five of the last six seasons.
- More from SuSlu, with the first round of cuts from Oakland's camp. They include: catcher Bruce Maxwell (link), pitchers Michael Ynoa and Raul Alcantara (link), outfielder Shane Peterson, and non-roster-invitee pitchers Jose Flores, Jeremy McBride and Andrew Werner (link). Click here for the complete list of 2014 NRIs; will one of those names come out of nowhere to help the A's this year? (Brandon Moss was an NRI in 2012, and didn't even make the team out of spring.)
- SuSlu with the link-roundup hat trick, bringing us an account of the first annual Jim Johnson Talent Show. Jake Elmore (a recently signed infielder who you may or may not have heard of) won the show with a singing medley (big surprise for a guy who is almost named after a Blues Brother). Stephen Vogt took second with an imitation of Chris Farley, which is now the only thing I'll be able to think about when I see him play. Finally, Addison Russell took third with a dance routine that included a standing backflip. Nice to know he can do it. Now never do it again. And, to make sure you click the link, there are lyrics to a song by pitcher Andrew Werner called "Hashtag Eric Sogard." There is no video of this event, but I would pay almost any amount of money in order to procure one.
If you have any more A's links, then dump away in the comments!