If the Associated Press is wondering, Sacramento is north of Oakland while Stockton is not. Now that we've cleared that up, I'm on my way -- looking forward to seeing the April versions of Michael Taylor and Chris Carter, having seen the March versions 5 weeks ago.
When I saw Taylor in mid-March, what stood out was that his swing was long. It looked like he needed some specific mechanical tweaks and that while he was absolutely not ready for prime time out of spring training he might be able to get there with some good specific adjustments to his swing. Defensively, he looked raw so the additional AAA time has the added benefit of giving him added experience mastering his OF defense.
Carter looked good in spring training, driving the ball to right-center field in one AB and patiently walking in another. However, in the Cactus League the breaking balls don't break as well and teams tend to allow Matt Herges to pitch. But what intrigues me most about Carter is his defense. The least of Oakland's worries right now is 1B, while their biggest concerns are LF and DH. Yet Carter is Sacramento's 1Bman, and opinions differ as to whether his defensive ceiling there is closer to Prince Fielder, the artist formerly known as Prince, or the artist currently known as Shakira.
Meanwhile, I leave you with two notes about current A's major leaguers:
How can you not love Dallas Braden? Here's a guy whose fastball tops out at 88MPH, whose toes top out at 8, who completes his 3rd excellent start out of 3 by catching the camera and stroking his imaginary beard in apparently deep reflection, and who just keeps proving that the mental side of the game matters if you're the best "warrior" type the A's have had since Tim Hudson. I'm calling it now: Pepé for Comeback Digit of the Year, narrowly beating out the piggy who had roast beef and the one who went "wee wee wee" all the way home. Did I mention that only Braden's digits are eligible?
As for Rajai Davis, don't get me wrong: Some of his at bats -- ok, many of them -- have been horrid. The guy currently has a putrid .273 OBP, yet he has still been a net positive in my opinion. In 11 games, while rarely getting on base and playing for a team with little offensive firepower, he has scored 10 runs, stealing 6 bases in 6 tries, inducing two throwing errors and one balk. That's right, after 11 games Rajai has a .273 OBP and is on pace to score 147 runs and steal 88 bases. Imagine what will happen if he, you know, figures out a way to get on base more often than 3 of every 11 tries.
Baseballgirl has today's A's-O's game covered and I'll report, tomorrow night, on my observations from Sacramento. Onward,
south east west north!