I have drawn up brief notes on each player invited to A's major league spring camp, beginning today with the position players, and rated their chances of getting on the "25-man" as "Definite", "Probable", "In the mix", "Questionable", or "Doubtful."
A player is Doubtful if there is practically no chance that player makes the opening day roster. I would guess the team would make a trade to acquire a better player than allow him to remain on the roster for very long in case injury forces the issue.
A player is Questionable if there is a chance that a breakout improvement in the player's tools could allow the team to consider that player. On the flipside, a player is Probable if there is a significant chance that a significant drop in the player's skills could cause the team to drop that player in favor of another.
Players are In the mix if there is an open competition for a spot with no clear frontrunner. Right now, I only consider the backup bench infielder spot as a wide-open competition, though Eric Sogard is the incumbent.
Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley will be the two catchers that will start the year. There is still some concern about Stephen Vogt's recovery from the foot injury that prevented him from catching at the end of 2014, but Vogt is catching bullpens and caught in the second intrasquad game, played on Sunday.
|21||Stephen Vogt||Definite||27||L||1B-LF-RF||MLB||Long end of the catching platoon.|
|19||Josh Phegley||Definite||26||R||AAA||Short end of the catching platoon. Acquired in Jeff Samardzija trade.|
|45||Bryan Anderson||Doubtful||28||L||AAA||Has the hair you wish A.J. Griffin still had.|
|5||Luke Carlin||Doubtful||34||S||AAA||Has had several unremrakable cups of coffee. Was a 10th round pick in '02.|
|67||Carson Blair||Doubtful||25||L||AA||Drafted by Boston out of high school in '08 in the 35th round.|
|66||Bruce Maxwell||Doubtful||24||L||A+||Oakland's 2nd round pick in '12. Threw out 37% of baserunners, but still hasn't hit.|
Ike Davis figures to get most of the playing time at first base, though he was practicing in the outfield this offseason. Rule 5 guy Mark Canha is the probable candidate to take the short side of the platoon when Billy Butler is the designated hitter against left-handed pitching. Canha could also be an alternative to Sam Fuld in the outfield when facing lefties.
|17||Ike Davis||Definite||28||L||LF-RF||MLB||Long end of the first base platoon, has always hit righties well.|
|16||Billy Butler||Definite||28||R||MLB||Will mostly DH, occasionally play first base. Last year a down year, but stays healthy.|
|20||Mark Canha||Probable||26||R||3B-LF-RF||AAA||Acquired in Rule 5 draft-and-trade deal with COL. A better Nate Freiman?|
|35||Nate Freiman||Questionable||28||R||AAA||Might be in if Mark Canha is not. Can he find the power his big body suggests?|
|7||Rangel Ravelo||Doubtful||23||R||AA||Acquired in Jeff Samardzija trade. Does not strike out. Might be tried at third base.|
|50||Max Muncy||Doubtful||24||L||3B||AA||Oakland's 5th round pick in '12. Power disappeared in AA, walks plenty.|
|77||Matt Olson||Doubtful||21||L||A+||Oakland's supp. 1st rd pick in '12. Huge power, we'll see if it continues in AA.|
Ben Zobrist all but has second base locked up, and if he is playing another position, there are lots of choices. Marcus Semien and even Brett Lawrie may get time at second base. Eric Sogard appears to be relegated to a bench utility infielder role, and he may be up against Tyler Ladendorf, just added to the 40-man roster, or Andy Parrino, just off the 40-man.
|18||Ben Zobrist||Definite||34||S||All but C||MLB||Swiss Army knife acquired from TB for Robertson and Powell.|
|28||Eric Sogard||In the mix||29||L||SS-3B||MLB||Fakes it outside of 2B. Other pieces may make a RHB infielder more useful.|
|52||Joe Wendle||Questionable||25||L||AA||Acquired in Brandon Moss trade. A's say everything above average. Nothing stands out.|
Brett Lawrie is the everyday starter every day he can get on the field. The others that can play third base that might make the opening day roster are Mark Canha, Marcus Semien, Eric Sogard, Tyler Ladendorf, or Andy Parrino. Ben Zobrist too I suppose.
|15||Brett Lawrie||Definite||25||R||2B||MLB||"High energy" is a phrase you'll hear a lot. So will "if he stays healthy."|
|57||Renato Nunez||Doubtful||21||R||A+||#4 community prospect. Tweener: doesn't have bat for 1B, fielding questionable for 3B.|
|38||Alden Carrithers||Doubtful||30||L||LF-2B||AAA||Career minor leaguer, always walks more than Ks. May be shorter than Jose Altuve.|
|--||Niuman Romero||Doubtful||30||S||SS-2B||AA||Has developed excellent plate discipline late in minors career. Still no power. Good glove. Was #75 before Barry Zito arrived.|
Marcus Semien has been all but handed the starting shortstop job. The primary alternatives, Tyler Ladendorf and Andy Parrino, are not better, though Ladendorf has taken to hitting left-handed pitching very well of late. Eric Sogard may get time at shortstop if an injury forces a re-shuffling of the defensive alignment.
|10||Marcus Semien||Definite||24||R||2B-3B||AAA||Probably starting shortstop, but will move around the diamond.|
|25||Tyler Ladendorf||In the mix||27||R||3B-2B||AAA||Possible RHB alternative to Eric Sogard on the bench. Destroying LHP lately.|
|12||Andy Parrino||In the mix||29||S||3B-2B||AAA||Great glove, light hitting. Another possible alternative to Eric Sogard.|
Coco Crisp is dealing with pinkeye at the moment, and will be eased into games. The A's say he won't need a lot of time to get ready. If Crisp must be a center fielder, he should platoon with Craig Gentry. We are unlikely to see Billy Burns until September, unless his bat comes alive in Nashville. Sam Fuld may also get some time up the middle.
|4||Coco Crisp||Definite||35||S||MLB||Seemed to lose a step in 2014, but no indications from A's he'll be moved to LF.|
|3||Craig Gentry||Definite||31||R||LF-RF||MLB||Speedster should only face LHP. Back from concussion.|
|1||Billy Burns||Questionable||25||S||LF||AA||Speedster still needs to develop bat in minors. Once scored from second on a sac fly.|
|7||Jason Pridie||Doubtful||31||L||RF-LF||AAA||Defense-first light-hitting outfielder.|
Josh Reddick will play Gold Glove right field until he breaks something else running into a wall. Sam Fuld will get the bulk of time in left field, unless Ben Zobrist is in left field for some reason. Alex Hassan is the newest arrival, claimed by the A's for a second time this offseason. If Gentry gets hurt again Hassan may find himself up in the big leagues. We may occasionally see a Fuld-Crisp-Gentry setup against left-handed pitching if Reddick's bat isn't up to par.
|22||Josh Reddick||Definite||28||L||MLB||2012 Gold Glove winner needs to stay healthy. All-Star if he can hit, too.|
|23||Sam Fuld||Probable||33||L||CF||MLB||Super Sam returns, where we hope his impressive 2014 defense wasn't just a fluke.|
|--||Alex Hassan||Questionable||27||R||1B||AAA||Could be another option against LHP. Walks a lot. Strikes out even more.|
On Tuesday, I'll give you the rundown on the 34 pitchers in spring camp. Until then, I'll ask this: Are there any more open roster spots than backup infielder?