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Oakland A’s spring training 2017: Third round of cuts thins squad to 48

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s optioned four players to Triple-A on Monday morning. They began spring training with 70 players in MLB camp, but this new round of cuts brings that number down to 48 — of course, it needs to be 25 by Opening Day. Here are the four players optioned on Monday (number in parentheses is their ranking on our Community Prospect List):

  • RHP Paul Blackburn (#26)
  • RHP Bobby Wahl (#24)
  • IF Yairo Munoz (#20)
  • OF Jaycob Brugman (#18)

Also see: 1st round of cuts | 2nd round of cuts

All four of these players were added to the A’s 40-man roster this winter, which is why they’re being “optioned” rather than “reassigned” like most of the guys in the previous rounds of cuts. That means they’ll all use their first option year in 2017, unless they make it back to Oakland by late April (cutoff is 20 games in minors).

Brugman could be the first of the four to make it to the bigs, since he plays at the A’s thinnest position (outfield, esp CF) and has the most Triple-A experience of the group. He went 5-for-16 this spring, with a triple, 3 BB, 4 Ks, and an .859 OPS. Have I mentioned he’s my favorite?

The two pitchers will get their first full exposure to Triple-A this year. Wahl made a brief debut in Nashville last season, but most of his campaign was spent as the closer in Double-A Midland. His upper-90s fastball is one of the best individual tools in the entire A’s system, and he struck out 10 batters this spring in 5⅓ innings. Meanwhile, Blackburn, acquired for Danny Valencia, spent all of 2016 as a pitch-to-contact starter in Double-A.

Either pitcher could feasibly reach Oakland this season with a strong enough showing in Nashville, with Blackburn in particular serving as part of the A’s quickly diminishing rotation depth.

Finally, Munoz was in the Top 10 of our CPL a year ago, but 2016 was almost a completely lost year between injuries and poor performance in Double-A. He went to the Arizona Fall League and didn’t hit there either. He’s only 22 years old, though, so there’s still plenty of time for him to catch up with the aggressive assignments he’s been given. He’s on the 40-man roster purely for Rule 5 draft protection, not because there’s any real chance of him playing in Oakland this year.

We’re still early enough in the spring cuts that none of these guys were ever serious candidates to make the Opening Day roster, but at least we’ve reached the point of optioning several legit prospects off the 40-man. If any more players are sent down after Monday’s game, then I’ll update this post.

There are now 48 players in MLB camp, though that doesn’t necessarily mean much for game purposes because extras are often borrowed from minor league camp. For example, on Saturday the 9th inning was pitched by Logan Shore and the walk-off hit was notched by Max Schrock, a pair of minor league top prospects who are “assigned to [the] Oakland Athletics” according to the team’s transaction logs (along with 16 more prospects) but don’t count toward that total of 48.

Here’s the full spring training squad. Players in italics are non-roster invitees. Players in strikethrough have been reassigned to minor league camp. Players with **asterisks will miss the start of the season to injury.

Pitchers Hitters
Starters

**Sonny Gray (R)
Sean Manaea (L)
Kendall Graveman (R)
Andrew Triggs (R)
Jharel Cotton (R)
**Daniel Mengden (R)
Raul Alcantara (R)
Jesse Hahn (R)
Frankie Montas (R)
**Chris Bassitt (R)
Paul Blackburn (R)
Ross Detwiler (L)
**Felix Doubront (L)
Daniel Gossett (R)
Heath Fillmyer (R)
A.J. Puk (L)


Relievers

Ryan Madson (R)
Sean Doolittle (L)
Ryan Dull (R)
Liam Hendriks (R)
Santiago Casilla (R)
John Axford (R)
Daniel Coulombe (L)
Bobby Wahl (R)
Michael Brady (R)
Simon Castro (R)
Tucker Healy (R)
Aaron Kurcz (R)
Zach Neal (R)
Chris Smith (R)
Josh Smith (R)
Tyler Sturdevant (R)
Cesar Valdez (R)
Trey Cochran-Gill (R)
Catchers

Stephen Vogt (L)
Josh Phegley (R)
Bruce Maxwell (L)
Ryan Lavarnway (R)
Matt McBride (R)
Sean Murphy (R)


Infielders

Ryon Healy (R)
Trevor Plouffe (R)
Yonder Alonso (L)
Mark Canha (R)
Matt Olson (L)
Renato Nunez (R)
Jed Lowrie (S)
Adam Rosales (R)
Joey Wendle (L)
Chad Pinder (R)
Marcus Semien (R)
Franklin Barreto (R)
Yairo Munoz (R)
Matt Chapman (R)
Jermaine Curtis (R)
Max Muncy (L)
Rangel Ravelo (R)
Josh Rodriguez (R)
Richie Martin (R)
Max Schrock (L)


Outfielders

Khris Davis (R)
Rajai Davis (R)
Matt Joyce (L)
Jake Smolinski (R)
Jaycob Brugman (L)
Alejandro De Aza (L)
Jaff Decker (L)
Andrew Lambo (L)
Chris Parmelee (L)
Kenny Wilson (R)