The Oakland A’s are reportedly ready to take the next step in their youth movement, as they will call up infield prospect Chad Pinder on Wednesday according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. There is long-term space in the infield now that second baseman Jed Lowrie is officially out for the season after foot surgery. Pinder’s promotion is not yet official, and Slusser notes the possibility that it could still take a couple more days before we see the new guy in green and gold.
Pinder was the A’s 2nd-round draft pick in 2013. He won his league’s MVP award last year in Double-A, and entering this season he ranked No. 5 on our Community Prospect List (behind only Manaea, Barreto, Olson, and Chapman). This is one of the top prospects in the A’s system.
All that said, he still has plenty to prove. He’s played for Triple-A Nashville for all of this season, posting a .735 OPS (93 wRC+) with 14 homers in 107 games. Those numbers aren’t disastrous for a player’s first attempt at Triple-A, especially in an extreme pitcher’s park, but you’d like to see more from a 24-year-old whom you hope is MLB-ready. His 29 errors at shortstop this year also suggest that his future might be at either 3B (where is strong arm can play well) or 2B (where his range/mobility won’t be tested as hard), or even as a versatile super-sub with pop in his bat.
Pinder, AAA: .258/.310/.425, 14 HR, 25 BB, 108 Ks, 93 wRC+
Given that 2B is the open position right now, with Marcus Semien entrenched at SS and Ryon Healy getting his shakes at 3B, it’s probably a good bet that we’ll see Pinder at the keystone more than anything. But really, A’s fans should know by now not to think of the roster in terms of strict, traditional roles, but rather a fluid mass that expands and contracts to fill the given space as needed.
Slusser has more on the specific short-term details, as well as a guess at the corresponding move:
The most likely scenario with Pinder callup is Marcus Semien heading on paternity leave. So it's possible timing is a little up in the air.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 16, 2016
There will also need to be another move to add Pinder to the 40-man roster. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that one, but one likely guess could be Lowrie going on the 60-day DL.
Finally, Melissa Lockard of Oakland Clubhouse offers another piece to the puzzle, noting that 3B Matt Chapman has been promoted to Triple-A. She offers this analysis:
This would suggest that Chad Pinder is likely to stay in Oakland for awhile, as there aren't many innings for Chapman, Pinder, Nunez, etc.— Melissa Lockard (@oakclubhouse) August 16, 2016
Story will be updated if more details come to light.