Pitchers and catchers for the Oakland Athletics will report to Mesa, Arizona Tuesday for the start of Spring Training. Position players are due to report on February 19 although many will be in camp early. The A’s are in the middle of a rebuild and are coming off of a tough season where they lost 100 games for the first time since 1979.
They will enter the 2023 season looking for improved results and will bring an intriguing group into the spring. Oakland will be bringing a group of 29 pitchers to camp and six catchers including top prospect Tyler Soderstrom.
Below are some quick thoughts on each of the pitchers and catchers who are reporting Tuesday. We will follow with the rest of the position players later this week.
(An asterisk denotes that the player is a non-roster invitee and is not on the 40-man roster.)
Shea Langeliers - Acquired from Atlanta in the Matt Olson trade, Langeliers made his major league debut in 2022 appearing in 40 games over the final two months of the season. Reviews were mixed, but Langeliers comes into this season penciled in to takeover as the primary catcher following the trade of Sean Murphy to Atlanta. While defense is his calling card, Langeliers has shown good power in the minors.
Manny Piña - Acquired as part of the Murphy trade, Piña is expected to slot in behind Langeliers as the primary backup. Piña agreed to a two-year deal with Atlanta prior to the 2022 season, but saw action in just five games before undergoing season-ending surgery on his wrist. He is regarded as a good defensive catcher that can handle a pitching staff.
Kyle McCann* - McCann was a fourth round pick of the A’s in the 2019 MLB Draft. He spent most of the 2022 season at Double A where he produced a 102 wRC+ before seeing a cup of coffee at Triple A.
Yohel Pozo* - Pozo inked a minor league deal with Oakland in December after spending the past eight seasons in the Rangers organization. He made his major league debut in August of 2021 with the Rangers and ironically had two hits, including a homer, in his first game against the A’s.
Tyler Soderstrom* - All eyes will be on Soderstrom as he comes to spring camp with the A’s. Soderstrom is a Top 100 prospect and it will be interesting to see how much time he sees behind the plate rather than first base. He advanced three levels in 2022 ending the season with a brief stint at Triple A. Expect him to start the season there again in 2023, but could hit his way into the picture in Oakland at some point this season.
Daniel Susac* - Oakland’s first round pick in 2022, Susac will get his first taste of big league camp this spring.
Domingo Acevedo RHP - Was a workhorse in 2022 appearing in 70 games while logging 67 2/3 innings. Expected to slot back into the 2023 bullpen and will called upon again to soak up innings particularly against right-handers who managed to hit just .201 against him with a .258 wOBA.
Paul Blackburn RHP - Blackburn put together a solid if unspectacular season for the A’s in 2022 posting a 4.28 ERA and a 4.21 FIP while making 21 starts and logging 111 1/3 innings. He was shut down last August due to a tear in his flexor tendon sheath in his pitching hand. David Forst said earlier this offseason that he expects Blackburn to be ready to go by the time camp opens. He could be one of the favorites to start on Opening Day.
Jasseel De La Cruz* RHP - Oakland added De La Cruz in December on a minor league deal. A former prospect of Atlanta, De La Cruz has a big arm and a lengthy injury history. He spent some time on the Braves’ 40-man roster, but the last two seasons have been a struggle.
Jake Fishman* LHP - Fishman was another minor league addition in December for the Athletics. He spent the last two seasons with Miami and appeared in seven games for the Marlins where he allowed five runs in 11 innings.
Shintaro Fujinami RHP - One of the notable signings from the offseason, Fujinami is expected to begin the season in the rotation where he will bring a big arm and a fastball that reportedly touches triple digits. He’s also worked out of the bullpen at times in Japan and will be transitioning from a six-man rotation.
Rico Garcia* RHP - Garcia signed a Minor league deal with the A’s in November after spending the 2022 season with Baltimore. He missed all of the 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but made it back to the majors in 2022 appearing in six games while tossing eight innings for the Orioles. He’s struggled in limited opportunities at the big league level, but has put together decent numbers in the minors and could provide some depth out of the bullpen.
J.T. Ginn* RHP - Oakland acquired Ginn from the Mets last March in the Chris Bassitt trade. Forearm issues limited Ginn to appearing in just 10 games at Double A where he posted a 6.11 ERA albeit with a 4.07 FIP while averaging 10.44 strikeouts per nine innings. Ginn is still an intriguing prospect that could move quickly if he can stay healthy.
Deolis Guerra* RHP - Guerra is a familiar face who appeared in 53 games while posting a 4.11 ERA and a 3.96 FIP in 65 2/3 innings in 2021 with the A’s. He felt some elbow discomfort during 2022 spring training and later underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season. Oakland non-tendered him, but opted to bring him back on a minor league deal.
Hogan Harris LHP - Harris was the A’s third round pick in 2018. After missing all of the 2021 season, Harris advanced three levels in 2022 and pitched well before struggling with the home run ball during a brief stop at Triple A. He has worked mostly as a starter in the minors, but a transition to the bullpen might not be out of the question.
Daulton Jefferies* RHP - Jefferies is listed as a non-roster invite, but he will still be recovering from Tommy John surgery which he underwent last September.
Zach Jackson RHP - Jackson emerged as a dependable bullpen arm for Oakland in 2022 posting a 3.00 ERA and a 2.78 FIP to go along with a 33.2% strikeout rate in 48 innings. An elevated walk rate is about the only issue for Jackson who issued 33 free passes, but only allowed 28 hits.
Dany Jimenez RHP - Jimenez also put up solid numbers out of the pen for the A’s in 2022 posting a 3.41 ERA and a 3.46 FIP in 34 appearances.
James Kaprielian RHP - Kaprielian underwent surgery on his shoulder this offseason to clean up his A/C joint but is expected to be ready when camp opens. He made 26 starts while logging 134 innings in 2022 and if healthy, should have an inside track for one of the spots in the Opening Day rotation.
Adrian Martinez RHP - Martinez will be among the group of pitchers competing for a spot in the rotation although he may be viewed as a long shot. Martinez was knocked around to a 6.24 ERA and a 5.35 FIP in 12 starts at the major league level as a rookie in 2022. He will provide depth and could transition to the bullpen if needed.
Trevor May - RHP - May agreed to a one-year deal with Oakland in December after an injury plagued season with the Mets in 2022. He should slot into the back end of the bullpen and could emerge as the team’s closer.
Luis Medina - RHP - Medina came over from the Yankees in the Frankie Montas trade. He struggled at Double A after the trade, but possesses a big arm with some command questions. At 23-years old, it will be good to see how he looks during the spring. His future may be as a high-leverage reliever, but Oakland is planning to utilize him as a starter for now.
Mason Miller* RHP - One of the most intriguing names on this list, Miller logged just 14 innings in 2022 due to a strained rotator cuff that required a PRP injection. He turned heads once he returned with a fastball that regularly topped 100 mph and a six-game stint in the Arizona Fall League where he struck out 20 in 16 2/3 innings.
Sam Moll LHP - Moll put together a solid season in 2022 posting a 2.91 ERA in 43 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. His 4.22 FIP suggests that he may have been fortunate, but Moll averaged more than a strikeout per inning and did a decent job of keeping the ball in the yard by allowing just five home runs. With A.J. Puk now in Miami, Moll is Oakland’s top returning lefty reliever.
Kyle Muller LHP - Part of the return from the Murphy trade, Muller will compete for a spot in the rotation this spring. He made three starts for Atlanta in 2022, but made huge strides with his command at Triple A while upping his strikeout rate. He doesn’t have much left to prove in the minors and needs a consistent opportunity at the big league level.
Adam Oller RHP - Oller struggled during his rookie season posting 6+ ERA and FIP in 74 1/3 innings. He is in the group along with Martinez that could be on the periphery of the rotation battle, but with so much depth there already, a move to the bullpen as a multi-inning option might be in order.
Drew Rucinski RHP - Rucinski spent the last four seasons pitching in Korea where he was a workhorse logging at least 177 innings in all four seasons. With he trade of Cole Irvin, the A’s will be hoping that Rucinski can be a stabilizing force for the rotation and eat some innings along the way.
Norge Ruiz* RHP - Ruiz appeared in 14 games for the A’s out of the bullpen in 2022 but struggled allowing 15 earned runs in just 19 innings. He was outrighted to Triple A after the season, but will be in camp on a non-roster invite. He will turn 29 in March and has put up good numbers at Triple A, so he could figure in somewhere as bullpen depth.
JP Sears LHP - Sears also came over from the Yankees in the Montas trade. He made 10 appearances (9 starts) after the deal posting a 4.69 ERA in 48 innings. He will be part of the spring competition for the rotation, but could also transition into a swingman role out of the bullpen.
Chad Smith RHP - Oakland acquired Smith in a trade with the Rockies in December for minor leaguer Jeff Criswell. He made his major league debut for Colorado in 2022 appearing in 15 games but struggled allowing 15 runs in 18 innings. He did strike out 23 batters in those 18 innings. He will be part of the mix for one of the final bullpen spots.
Kirby Snead LHP - Snead struggled out of the bullpen for the A’s in 2022 with a 5.84 ERA and a 4.61 FIP. He appeared in 46 games out of the pen. His case will be aided due to Oakland not having a lot of left-handed relief options.
Trey Supak* RHP - Supak missed all of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He appeared in four games in 2022 including three starts at Double A where he struck out eight and walked five in just 5 2/3 innings. At this point, he looks like nothing more than a depth option.
Freddy Tarnok RHP - Came over from Atlanta in the Murphy trade, Tarnok appeared in one game for the Braves while splitting the 2022 season between Double A and Triple A. He is probably a little behind the group of Muller, Waldichuk and Sears, but could be an option at some point for the rotation or the bullpen in 2023.
Ken Waldichuk LHP - Waldichuk was acquired from the Yankees in the Montas trade. He made seven appearances with Oakland after the trade and was up and down, but finished the season on a good note with a seven scoreless inning performance against the Angels. He will be part of the spring competition for the rotation and should get an opportunity at some point.
Garrett Williams* LHP - Williams signed a minor league deal with Oakland in December after spending the last two seasons with the Cardinals where he posted good strikeout numbers, but also struggled with command. He looks like more left-handed pitching depth at the moment, but we will see if he can turn any heads during the spring.