The Oakland A’s have officially called up infielder Chad Pinder from Triple-A Nashville, as was rumored on Tuesday. Now we know the corresponding move: utilityman Tyler Ladendorf has been placed on the disabled list. Pinder also needed to be added to the 40-man roster, and to make room Jed Lowrie was transferred to the 60-day DL.
The biggest part of this story is Pinder coming up. Click here to read more on the 24-year-old, who entered the year at No. 5 on our Community Prospect List (or click here for his full preseason scouting report). He has experience at both middle infield positions and could probably handle 3B as well, though with Marcus Semien at SS and Ryon Healy at the hot corner it seems likely we’ll see Pinder mostly at 2B (confirmed by Slusser). His 14 homers rank second among Nashville hitters, though his 92 wRC+ leaves something to be desired. Nevertheless, this is an exciting call-up for a rebuilding team looking toward the future. (Scroll down for more on Pinder.)
Ladendorf goes to the DL with a left wrist sprain, according to Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. Slusser also notes that the injury “is similar to the one that ended his season last year and it probably affected his hitting, esp lately.” The 28-year-old super-sub hasn’t made much noise this season, going 4-for-50 (all singles, just one walk) in limited playing time. That’s a negative-59 wRC+ mark, which I didn’t even realize was possible. He has mostly been used as a pinch-runner and late-inning defensive replacement (and his defense is legit), though he has made 13 starts (mostly at 2B).
Ladendorf has a sprained left wrist....and that makes 26 DL stints for A's players, a new team record. ummm, congrats?— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 17, 2016
Going back to Pinder for a moment, Athletics Farm did a recent interview with Nashville manager Steve Scarsone and the skipper had this to say (click here to read the full interview, it’s worth it):
I think Chad’s done a really good job of trying to continue to be a contributor on the team. You know, he probably doesn’t have all the upside of some of the guys we talked about earlier, but he might end up being the guy who stays up there longer because he has some consistency in his game and there’s really some substance there that has shown itself day in and day out. There’s a competitiveness, there’s a kind of intelligence about the game and obviously some ability.
Whether he’s going to be a shortstop in the big leagues, that’s yet to be seen. But in his time here and his experience here at shortstop, we’ve seen some improvement, we’ve seen some changes that have been implemented through all the work he’s been doing. He’s just kind of one of those guys who could become like a foundation of an infield or an outfield where you look up in a couple years and say, “Oh yeah, he’s supposed to be here.”
So I like what he’s done, he’s a great teammate and everybody really enjoys him. He plays hard, works hard and has fun doing it. And those are the guys you hope get a chance to have a little success at the major league level.
[On Pinder’s plentiful throwing errors] It’s a number of things. Some of it’s mechanics. We’ve worked on different things, from footwork all the way up. We’ve implemented some of the drills that Ron Washington presented to him and to myself during spring training, so we’ve continued on with those.
Sometimes he just doesn’t quite get in the right position to throw because of the way the play presents itself. Other times it’s kind of maybe trying to do too much, trying to be too quick and trying to catch up to the speed of the league a little bit.
... And a couple weeks before that, A’s special assistant Grady Fuson had this to say via A’s Farm:
I still think there’s some room to go with Chad. He’s had some defensive lapses in Triple-A that he did not show last year in Double-A. I think a lot of it’s throwing. I personally mentioned it to him when I was in there that he’s dropping down. He’s really such a beautiful thrower from a high ¾ spot – that’s gotten away from him a little bit.
He’s still driving the baseball, he’s still using the whole field. He still needs to take another step up as far as his pitch recognition – not that he’s a chaser or that he swings really out of the zone – just early in counts, what pitch he’s being aggressive on. To me, he’s still trying to go for too many pitches early in a count that aren’t the kind of pitches he can drive. And I think, over a period of time, that puts him behind in counts and changes the whole sequence that he’s going to get pitched.
But he’s another [24-year-old] in Triple-A getting his feet wet against experienced guys and hitting around .260 with a dozen homers and playing a solid everyday shortstop. So, as far as the path to the big leagues, he’s on time.
Welcome to Oakland, Chad! Get well soon, Tyler and Jed!