After introducing Oakland Athletics position players yesterday, today we turn to the pitchers. 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.
Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir are the only two definites for the 25-man roster. Jesse Chavez is listed as probable, though he is only in the mix for the starting rotation. The out-of-options Chavez will otherwise end up as the long man in the bullpen.
Jesse Hahn should be the number three starter, though a lot of fantasy baseball articles suspect the A's will have him on an innings limit. After a Tommy John surgery in 2010 that caused his draft stock to fall, his 2014 campaign was the first time he ever exceeded 100 innings, finishing at 115⅔ after the Padres put him on an innings limit.
For Hahn, a 150-inning season would represent around a 30 percent increase, though I am not sure the A's will limit him to that. In 2012, Jarrod Parker jumped from 136⅓ innings to 202, just in the regular season. To be fair, the A's were in the midst of one of the most exciting finishes to a division race in memory, and so the team may have been willing to risk the marginal increase in injury risk associated with extra innings. The A's may simply give Hahn a few extra days off here or there, as the A's did with Sonny Gray last season.
In the mix for the last two rotation spots are Chavez, Drew Pomeranz, Kendall Graveman, Chris Bassitt, and Barry Zito. Sean Nolin had to shut down at the start of spring because he was not quite fully recovered from sports hernia surgery. As for Arnold Leon, there are questions about the extra workload he put in pitching in the Caribbean Series this winter.
|54||Sonny Gray||Definite||25||R||219||MLB||New dad! Sonny hopes to continue the success he had and has avoided injury so far.|
|26||Scott Kazmir||Definite||31||L||190 1/3||MLB||Can Kazmir keep his velocity up in his third campaign since coming back in 2013?|
|32||Jesse Hahn||Probable||25||R||115 2/3||MLB||Had TJS in 2010, was on an innings limit in SD in 2014. Would not count on getting 200 IP.|
|30||Jesse Chavez||Probable||31||R||146||MLB||Put on a little bit of weight this offseason. Could be long reliever too. Out of options.|
|13||Drew Pomeranz||In the mix||26||L||115 1/3||MLB||Wondering when the lack of a third pitch will catch up with Pomeranz.|
|31||Kendall Graveman||In the mix||24||R||166||A+||Zoomed through every level in 2014.|
|40||Chris Bassitt||In the mix||26||R||90 1/3||AA||Got five MLB starts in 2014. Prefers bullpen.|
|75||Barry Zito||In the mix||37||L||none||N/A||Worked with Scott Kazmir's trainer to increase FB velocity.|
|47||Sean Nolin||Questionable||25||L||121 1/3||AAA||Recovery from sports hernia surgery delaying his spring work.|
|68||Arnold Leon||Questionable||26||R||145||AAA||In addition to 2014 IP, played a lot of winter ball. Backed off in spring as a result.|
|49||Brad Mills||Doubtful||30||L||128||AAA||Dollar Bills Mills is back. 2nd best ERA in the PCL in '14 (min. 47 IP).|
|29||Rudy Owens||Doubtful||27||L||140 2/3||AAA||Wore #99 in Houston, famed for the league's only 99 vs. 99 showdown.|
|55||Matt Buschmann||Doubtful||31||R||143 1/3||AAA||4.52 ERA in Sacramento isn't terribly impressive. Organizational depth.|
|64||A.J. Griffin||Disabled List||27||R||TJS||MLB||Mid-season return expected.|
|11||Jarrod Parker||Disabled List||26||R||TJS||MLB||Mid-season return expected. It's his 2nd TJS, might go to bullpen.|
|70||Raul Alcantara||Disabled List||22||R||TJS||AA||Had TJS last May. Will be a late add to minor league roster if at all.|
Tyler Clippard is widely-tipped as the favorite to take over as closer until Sean Doolittle returns from the slight tear in his throwing shoulder. Ryan Cook and Eric O'Flaherty have an outside shot at winning the role. The A's lose Luke Gregerson from last year's bullpen, and in the mix to replace him are R.J. Alvarez, Chad Smith, Fernando Rodriguez, and Evan Scribner.
Alvarez seems to be the front-runner to replace Gregerson, given his age and fastball speed, though his command is the main question. He walked his first two batters in the weekend's intrasquad games, but then he struck out the next two. His Double-A statistics suggest he has been able to corral those issues, striking out 61 and walking just 13. In his September call-up with the Padres he struck out nine and walked five in eight innings.
Whether one or two bullpen spots are available depends on whether Jesse Chavez wins a spot in the rotation or is Oakland's long man in the pen. Jarrod Parker and Raul Alcantara have yet to be placed on the 60-day disabled list, so there is room for up to two players to be added to the 40-man roster. Off the roster reliever Fernando Rodriguez may benefit, as might everyone's favorite switch-pitcher, Pat Venditte.
|36||Tyler Clippard||Definite||30||R||70 1/3||MLB||Probably closer until Sean Doolittle returns. Acquired from WSH for Yunel Escobar|
|48||Ryan Cook||Definite||28||R||52 2/3||MLB||Says arm feels better than last year when dealing with injury.|
|56||Fernando Abad||Definite||29||L||57 1/3||MLB||A steal from WSH in '14, though BABIP played a factor in his success.|
|61||Dan Otero||Definite||30||R||86 2/3||MLB||A steal from SF in '13. High innings count a product of high GB% and low K%|
|39||Eric O'Flaherty||Definite||30||L||29 1/3||MLB||14 was late-season return from '13 TJS. Says arm feels better than last year.|
|37||R.J. Alvarez||In the mix||24||R||51 1/3||AAA||His name is Roy Emilio. The R.J. is for "Roy Jr." Mid-90s FB and good slider.|
|--||Chad Smith||In the mix||25||R||58 2/3||AAA||Went to USC with Ryan Cook. Not the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Edit: Also not the drummer.|
|33||Fernando Rodriguez||In the mix||31||R||54 2/3||AAA||No longer on 40-man, but A's are happy to have his mid-90s FB.|
|58||Evan Scribner||In the mix||29||R||58 2/3||AAA||Out of options, Scribner may be out of time as the next reliever in AAA.|
|44||Eury De La Rosa||Questionable||25||L||76||AAA||A's have three lefty relievers ahead of De La Rosa, but one's already injured.|
|74||Pat Venditte||Questionable||30||S||78 1/3||AAA||Everyone's favorite ambidextrous reliever.|
|73||Kevin Whelan||Doubtful||31||R||44 2/3||AAA||Signed a minor league deal in November. Closed for Toledo.|
|71||Angel Castro||Doubtful||32||R||113 1/3||AAA||A's traded int'l money to STL for Castro last August for org depth.|
|76||Brock Huntzinger||Doubtful||26||R||81||AAA||Signed a minor league deal in December. Low 90s FB, slider, changeup.|
|53||Ryan Verdugo||Doubtful||28||L||75 1/3||AAA||He's the fifth or sixth left-handed reliever in a bullpen that already has three.|
|72||Jim Fuller||Doubtful||28||L||56||AA||He's the fifth or sixth left-handed reliever in a bullpen that already has three.|
|62||Sean Doolittle||Disabled List||28||L||62 2/3||MLB||Has a slight tear of his left shoulder. Recovery seems good. No timetable yet.|
|60||Taylor Thompson||Disabled List||28||R||64 1/3||AAA||Claimed off waivers from CWS. Starined shoulder has him on 60-day DL. AAA on return.|