The Padres and A's. These two teams have begot comparisons to each other the whole offseason over both teams interesting winters. As it has been stated multiple times both teams employed a lot of turnover and brings out a radically different team to the 2015 regular season. Now while I could go on and on about how these two teams have made their different moves and what they are trying to go for that has been done by now. The Padres are sacrificing the future to try to win now while the A's are trying to find a balance. Now because of this the narrative of the game will most likely be these approaches and seeing who looks to have the better team (as if such an assertion can be proved in Spring Training) . I say SCREW THAT! Let's have some fun with this shall we?
Let's see the Padres. Their useless Spring Training record so far is 7-6. They also happen to be splitting their team into two today. Do you know what that means? Weakened Team! So let's see who we're going to be seeing play today:
In the new arrivals we have Myers, Middlebrooks, Neives, Barmes, and whoever they add into the game that was not listed. Sadly former A Derek Norris will not be facing off against us today. Maybe that is as the better or else he might hit two home runs and give a well needed supply of salt to our spring training diet. (As if Moss's performance did not provide enough). Most of the rest of the team have been with the Padres for a while and are pretty young. Myers has gathered a lot of the headlines due to him being the centerpiece of his trade over this winter, and for that reason we won't cover him. Instead let's meet the people we never even heard of. Due to their lack of status and their playing in a completely different league most of these people won't be relevant to the 2015 A's. But it doesn't mean it's not good to know~
Medica is a mid level 1B prospect. I don't know much about him but he's still 27 and has only had limited times in the minors. He's smoking the ball a .556/.600/.833 line. He's a right handed hitter and hails from the Bay Area as well (San Jose). His defense is alright and he has a career OPS+ of 109 in 338 Plate Appearances. I give him my un-coveted Player To Watch award. (I am now imagining a vs. LHP lineup featuring Canha and Medica. I don't know why but this peaks my interest~ )
Barnes is a 36 year old shortstop who is somehow still able to post good defensive stats. His hitting has been more of a concern and with a .369 OPS this spring the Padres probably don't feel more confident in it.
Spangenberg is a 2B prospect who got a cup of orange flavored soda in the big leagues last year. HE did well with a 120 OPS+ in 65 Plate Appearances and a .2 WAR. This Spring has been different with a .596 OPS. Still it's a small sample size but there is some potential. Also he is traditionally a third baseman but has been used as a second baseman half the time this spring. Create your own narratives using that. Bonus points for every reference to Olivera, Gyorko, Trades between the A's and Padres and Billy Beane ruining this team by trading someone for a bag of balls and Stephan Curry.
Nieves is a journeyman catcher who has bounced around all over. He's 37 and has had 10 at bas so far. No hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly. I'm not expecting much
Oh look it's Abraham Almonte! We remember Almonte, right? He was the guy who made the weird dive on a Fuld hit where Fuld almost got an inside the park homerun. Good times.
Starting for the Padres is Despaigne who came out of nowhere to post a 3.36 era in 2014 as a 27 year old. Of course since it was Petco in 2014 that meant a 0.3 bWAR. His spring has included 4.2 Inning with no runs scoring. So let's see if the A's can break that.
After looking through the Padres' split squad lineup I notice a lack of AAA players who have no chance of playing in the big league squad. Everyone as least as some chance to make it on their team. Maybe things have changed in San Diego after all.
As for Oakland, this is the team that we're rolling out:
Pretty good. There are some players you might want to keep an eye on:
Crisp returns to the lineup and continues to navigate Left Field. There might not be much to really look for in him right now, but seeing him stay healthy would be very nice as a healthy Coco is a very good thing to have.
Lawrie is relatively guaranteed to have a spot on the roster but his performance this spring has been lack luster. So far he's 2 for 20, with a line of .100/.100/.100. If you're the type of person who frets about spring training stats you might want to watch Lawrie to see if he can bring up those numbers. (He can, it's just a matter of when).
There is also top prospect Matt Olson who has shown up with promise. His .214/.33/.393 line isn't the best but he has reportedly looked good in camp and is at the very least playing about his suggested minor league level. He may provide a bit of entertainment as well as hope for the future before Beane decides there is too much hope and ships him off for Mike Trout or someone.
Andy Parrino and Eric Sogard:
Parrino and Sogard are both players to watch as both of them are fighting for the coveted versatile middle infielder spot, the most desirable of the 25 roles on the 25 man roster. So far it's more of a battle of who wants it less than who wants it more. With Parrino's .192/.281/.308 and Sogard's .280/.308/.360 neither of them have been lighting up the game. With that said Sogard probably has the edge going into this game. This is the perfect time for one of them to step it up and improve their numbers. Maybe Ladendorf will get a chance if he's brought into the game later.
Bryan Anderson also has a glimmer of a chance. His .278/.350/.333 line isn't that good either however he is the teams 3rd best catcher and if Vogt is used as an outfielder he could be a useful addition. He also hits left so he can be platooned with Phegley.
Note: I was looking at BREF to get an idea of our general players stats and I saw this: http://prntscr.com/6hz23x I know this isn't accurate even the Utility section but it does give a moment of pause. Don't worry all of our outfielders are in the ulitiy section (although I don't know why. Reddick is there too and he only really plays Right Field.)
And because what type of game pre-summary wouldn't be complete without your keys the game, here's your keys to the game!
1. Hit the ball hard: The more balls that are hit hard the more hits and homeruns we get! The more hits and homeruns we get the more runs we get.
2. Pitch well: Make sure to make our pitches and to not flail around out of the strikezone. Hit it constantly the best pitches on the corners and victory is in sight.
3. Defend with a D: A+ Defense makes it so balls hit in the field won't go for hits in the field. If the opponent is limited our chances of winning are higher.
4. Stop regurgitating obvious things and stating them as all-important fact when everyone could have already figured them o- OH GOSH DARN IT.
And with that I'll hand off this game thread to all of you and the comments. Let's hope for a good game of baseball today filled with all of the fun things that Spring Training can provide. Feel free to predict who will be the MVP of the game so we can all laugh when we're all laughably wrong. I'll put my money on Dollar Dollar Mills because baseball. How about you?
Let's Go A's!