The A’s have at least 23 players participating in various winter leagues across the Western hemisphere with several of the performances looking to have an impact on the 40 man roster. 39 of those 40 spots are already filled, assuming Keith Foulke, Emil Brown and Frank Thomas don’t re-sign. After that, there are 12 players currently on the 40 man roster that are fighting to maintain their status versus at least 5 players already in the organization who need to be added to the 40 man roster in the next few days or the A’s risk losing them through minor league free agency or the Rule 5 draft.
Here’s a list of whose playing winter ball.
Brett Hunter (Replacing Sam Demel, shut down due to a tired arm)
The highlighted names are the players currently on the 40 man roster. The italicized names are players not on the 40 man roster and will either be declared minor league free agents (Garcia, Guzman) or be exposed to the Rule 5 draft (Kilby, Recker) in the next few days.
Here’s the list of players currently on the 40 man roster (and not mentioned above) that I think need to look over their shoulder.
My opinion of the current 40 man structure is worth a separate post, but I feel compelled to ask a question before moving on: Do the A’s really need to carry 11 outfielders on the 40 man roster?
Mexican Winter League
Paul Thomas man crush Arnold Leon hasn’t exactly dominated in the MWL but he’s only allowed runs in 1 of his 8 appearances and has pitched a lot over the past 6 months.
Jose Garcia’s numbers aren’t much to look at, but they are a sign he’s healthy for the first time since 2006. And what did he do in 2006? He pitched himself from High-A to the Florida Marlins in less than 6 months. Garcia turns 24 in January and he needs to be added to the 40 man roster or he’ll be declared a minor league free agent.
Brad Kilby had a rough start and then got hit in the head by a line drive, so he hasn’t pitched in a few days. The injury isn’t serious but it’ll probably be another week or so before he’s back on the mound. Kilby is another pitcher who needs to be added to the 40 man roster or he’ll be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Look at his AAA numbers; someone is going to give him a shot to be their LOOGY next year. Why should the A’s give up a cheap arm that’s had success in the upper levels of the minor leagues?
Anthony Recker is a very strong guy. His physicality should serve him well as a bouncer in a few years.
Pedro Figueroa. Meh.
Frank Martinez is an organizational soldier that the A’s will plug in wherever they have an infield hole in their minor league farm system. He hasn’t done enough to make
Venezuelan Baseball League
Jeff Baisley has struggled thus far in winter ball and has had problems staying healthy his last two minor league seasons. But he is healthy now and the more I look at the 40 man roster, the more I think there simply isn’t enough room for both Baisley and Hannahan. The A’s (read: Billy Beane) continues to believe that Eric Chavez is physically capable of manning the hot corner in 2009 and beyond. Hannahan has the glove to play 3B but his lefty bat proved woeful when exposed over the course of a full season. Baisley has shown some pop and a solid glove and his fondness for LH pitching makes him an ideal compliment for Chavez. Personally, I think Baisley can become another Olmedo Saenz.
Gregorio Petit is hitting 353/404/549 but his 5/14 BB/K rate in 51 at bats is at least a caution flag. He’s got the glove, range and arm to compete for the A’s starting SS job
Jesus Silva. Less than meh.
Raul Padron is thus far best known as the A’s minor league catcher who got handed a 50 game suspension for using a performance enhancing substance. Do you see anything that’ll change his claim to fame? Me neither.
Jesus Guzman is a rather polarizing figure for a guy the A’s picked up as a minor league free agent about a year ago. His AA numbers and infield versatility (2B, 3B, SS… well, not so much the last one) scream keeper and worthy of a spot on the 40 man roster. His AAA numbers and age (he turned 24 in June) give one pause. A 382/485/691 line with a 9/9 BB/K rate tilts the balance back toward keeper. The A’s are thin at 3B, especially if Eric Chavez’s shoulder looks more like hamburger than filet mignon after his most recent surgery. If Jeff Baisley is the guy who’s likely to make a competent big league back-up, then Guzman is the one with the tools to maybe be a starter. I am certain there isn’t enough room on
Javier Herrera. Guess who still has no clue of the strike zone? 1 more minor league option left in 2009, is his athleticism enough to warrant a spot on the 40 man roster?
Rajai Davis is an interesting player. He really doesn’t have the bat to start, although he’s shown a little ability to maybe hit LHP. He can steal a base, play a decent bit of CF and seems willing to accept a bench role.
Andrew Bailey has struck out 10 in 6.2 IP. 1 ER, 10 hits and no walks makes for a solid AFL stint. On a side note, for anyone who wonders why folks like myself are so willing to offer up Vincent Mazzaro in trade discussions… keep in mind that this time last year Bailey was regarded in the same way Mazzaro is now.
Andrew Carignan has been dominant… no, over-powering… hmm… over-poweringly dominant in his last 3 appearances. 3 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 8 strike-outs!
Jeff Gray hasn’t allowed a run in 7 IP thus far. It’s the type of performance he needed to stay on
Jared Lansford would prefer that I did not talk about his Oct. 25 outing when he gave up 4 ER without recording an out. And you all know how compassionate I am.
Adrian Cardenas. I know the scouts love him and he projects well but seriously… where’s the power?
Josh Donaldson. The short term move to 1B hasn’t done anything to boost his offensive production.
Sean Doolittle is a guy who’s going to draw a mixed opinion from the scouting community. He seems to be doing all right in the outfield and a .603 slugging percentage doesn’t bring frowns, but 16 strike outs in 73 at bats is something to keep an eye on. One thing is for certain, this isn’t the hitter the A’s drafted a year and a half ago.
Corey Brown continues to display power potential, a dash of speed and serious contact issues.
Brett Hunter. Kicked ass in his debut. Ass kicked in the encore.
Chris Carter must be too busy trying to get lei’d.
Sam Demel. Tired arm.
Just a quick footnote, Henry Rodriguez and Carlos Gonzales plan on playing Winter Ball, they just haven’t signed with any team yet. All written stats are as of the night of Nov. 1.