You wanted something a little more substantial? Apparently 911 dispatchers feel the same way. OK, I think I can scare something up, because while Cindi was having an epic meltdown that made it challenging for Bob Melvin to keep focused on the Q&A session, I was with Alex Hall, Jeremy F. Koo, Athletics Farm, and about a dozen other bloggers, for BlogFest.
This year's BlogFest featured David Forst, Jesse Chavez, and Ike Davis answering hard-hitting questions written in mom's basement, rehearsed in the shower, and delivered out loud -- an unusual format for bloggers who are used to communicating through keyboard and emoticon.
David Forst was asked, by someone who looked a lot like me, about where some of the A's new prospects would be placed, and in a couple cases specifically at what positions Oakland saw them sticking if they progressed to the big leagues.
- Forst emphasized that the A's believe Franklin Barreto can stick at SS, though they acknowledge that his throwing needs some work. He said Barreto and Yairo Muñoz will both start at A-ball but that it is not yet clear which player will be assigned to which A-ball team.
- Rangel Ravelo will start at AAA and will probably see regular time at 3B, a position the A's have not at all given up on him playing at the big league level. Part of the reason is that 1B is crowded at Nashville, with Nate Freiman, Max Muncy, and Anthony Aliotti all potentially in the mix for 1B.
- Joey Wendle figures to be the AAA 2Bman, giving Jesse Chavez some time to figure out that his name isn't Matt Weldon (when told it was "Wendle" Chavez replied, "Well at least I got the first name right." He would like Cindi.
- Forst said the A's believe Marcus Semien can handle SS and that SS is absolutely, most definitely, unquestionably where he'll play. Of course what else are the A's going to say, but at least this is in some contrast to Mike Gallego's "endorsement" of Hiro Nakajima two FanFests ago, which went something like, "Yeah he can ... make some plays there ... I think ... probably maybe ... ish?"
- Where things get murky, and perhaps surprising, is with the young pitching. Forst referred to "possibly two spots open" in the rotation, suggesting that only Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jesse Hahn might enter spring training with a job to lose. If I were to read between all the lines I heard today and prior to today, I would now actually place Kendall Graveman #4 on the depth chart, Drew Pomeranz #5, Chris Bassitt and Jesse Chavez on the outside looking in, but with "four pitchers fighting for two spots".
Ike Davis has a quirky, laid-back personality that makes him personable, funny, and easy to talk to. He said he loves walks, that they feel like hits to him, and proudly noted that while he only had a .236 batting average last season he managed a .350 OBP. (If you're a stickler for facts, Davis actually batted .235 for Pittsburgh with a .343 OBP.)
Perhaps the most interesting, or new, tidbit is that Davis is keen to take reps in the outfield in order to increase his versatility. He played outfield for ASU and while he has not played there since he feels he can be perfectly adequate...ish? "I'm slow, but I can catch the ball and throw it back," he...boasted?
I pointed out to Davis that the metrics don't seem to be able to decide how good he is at 1B and asked for his own scouting report. He said he feels he is competent/average in almost every way, not especially strong or weak in any aspect of fielding the position. He did note that the recent trend in shifting sometimes made it confusing in Pittsburgh, where apparently he was often positioned in on the grass and well off the 1B line, limiting his range, leaving him too far from the bag to cover if he took even one step to his right.
Jesse Chavez is always open, straight-forward, and friendly, seeming to welcome any question like he would tell any hitter "Bring it on!" He said he felt great physically in August and September and felt his reduced workload (to put it mildly) mostly related to the acquisitions of Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, and then Jon Lester. He would have liked to be more of a factor in September, but emphasized that he felt his job was not to complain but rather to pitch when asked. He toed the line -- just not often the rubber.
Alex and Jeremy may chime in later with additional notes from BlogFest, but that's all the news from off the top of my head. Thoughts? Reactions? Interesting recipes involving prawns?