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Yes, I'm going to prematurely kickstart the 2005 version of a favorite game here at AN. For those of you new to the site, have patience with AN's version of Marco Polo.

I bring it up becase I have one question for you...and it relates to our sparkplug Scoot.

Who do you think will be this season's Marco Scutaro? Let me define what I mean by this.

Scutaro came from relative obscurity last season to become a huge contributor to our season. Yes, he's probably lost his job to the Ellinter combination, but for the 2005 version of Scutaro we're looking for the following criteria.

  • It can't be a prospect (so Dan Johnson, Street and Swisher are NOT candidates).
  • It has to be someone who no one is expecting to see much from right now (so Kendall, Haren, Cruz and Calero are NOT candidates).
So, as I see it, acquisitions or under-the-radar prospects like Tyler Johnson, Tim Harikkala, Seth Etherton, Mike Rouse, Adam Morrissey, Matt Watson and Jason Perry would be candidates.

I would actually guess Jack Cust if the A's weren't looking for solid outfield defense and already had the designated hitter position nailed down. It may sound like a long shot, but Cust has long been a desired target of Beane and company. And he's proven he can rake in the minors. But it will probably take several injuries in order for Cust to win the Marco! Award for 2005.

As it is, the way Beane has talked about Etherton, I wouldn't be surprised to see him surprise a few and make a positive impact on the Athletics in 2005.

Another one might be Jeremy Brown, and he would rate as a HUGE surprise if he wound up making an impact on the A's in 2005. But I doubt he'll see any time with Kendall, Melhuse and possibly even Baker in the way. He would've fallen into the top prospect category a season ago and wouldn't qualify as a surprise, but now he'd be coming out of nowhere.

Marco!