Pitchers and catchers reported to spring camp earlier this week for the Oakland Athletics and position players are scheduled to follow this weekend. While the A’s are in the middle of a rebuild, they will bring some intriguing young position players to camp. While most are probably headed back to the minors, it will still be good to see how they perform this spring.
Below are some quick thoughts on every infielder and outfielder who will be reporting. If you missed our look at pitchers and catchers, then you can find it here.
(An asterisk denotes that the player is a non-roster invitee and is not on the 40-man roster.)
Jesus Aguilar, 1B/DH - The Athletics signed Aguilar to a one-year deal at the end of January in hopes that he can bounce back and provide some punch for the middle of the lineup. He posted a career-worst 86 wRC+ in 129 games with the Marlins and the Orioles last season. He is regarded as a good clubhouse veteran and should see time at first base and DH.
Nick Allen, SS - Made his major league debut with the A’s in 2022 appearing in 100 games and finished the season as the starter at shortstop. Allen is great defensively and was +8 in Outs Above Average last season. However, the offense is lacking as he put up a .207/.256/.291 line with a 61 wRC+. The question for Allen is whether he will hit enough to hold onto the job.
Jonah Bride, 2B/3B - A 23rd round pick in the 2018 Draft, Bride made his major league debut last June and finished the season on the active roster. He saw action at first, second and third and was mostly adequate defensively. However, he struggled at the plate producing a 70 wRC+ in 187 plate appearances.
Seth Brown, 1B/OF - Listed as an infielder here, but there is a good chance that the majority of Brown’s playing time in 2023 comes in an outfield corner. Brown supplied a much-needed offensive boost slugging 25 home runs while putting up a 117 wRC+. He isn’t great defensively and is perhaps best suited for left field.
Ernie Clement* 2B/3B - Oakland claimed Clement off waivers from Cleveland last September and then designated him for assignment in December. He is another infielder in the mold of Bride who has some versatility, but has often struggled at the plate. He was 1-for-18 in six games with the A’s and hit just .200/.264/.221 in 161 plate appearances with the Guardians.
Kevin Cron* 1B/DH - Cron signed a minor league deal with Oakland in November after spending the last two seasons playing overseas. He is another 1B/DH type that has also seen some time at third and in the corner outfield. Cron last played in the majors in 2020 with Arizona and has a 67 wRC+ in 98 career plate appearances at the major league level. He spent last season in the KBO where he hit .222/.255/.420 with 11 home runs in 259 plate appearances.
Logan Davidson* SS - Oakland’s first round pick from 2019, Davidson has spent the last two seasons at Double A where he has failed to find his footing at the plate. He did connect on 14 home runs last season, but struck out 134 times in 484 plate appearances.
Aledmys Diaz, UTIL - Diaz agreed to a two-year deal with Oakland in December. The 32-year old is the definition of a utility player as he saw action at every position but catcher and center field. He spent the last four seasons in Houston and has produced at a slightly below league average rate at the plate for the last three seasons.
Jordan Diaz, 2B - One of the more intriguing players that Oakland will bring to camp, Diaz made his major league debut in 2022 and saw action in 15 games mostly at second base. He has hit at virtually every spot during his trip through the minors and produced a 120 wRC+ and 15 homers at Double A. He added four more homers and a 129 wRC+ in a brief stay at Triple A. Given the A’s need for offense, Diaz should be given every opportunity this spring to hit his way onto the Opening Day roster.
Dermis Garcia, 1B - Signed as a free agent last March, Garcia appears to be the biggest loser with the addition of Aguilar. He’s 25-years old and has hit well throughout his stint in the minors. Appeared in 39 games with Oakland last season, but struggled to make contact striking out 55 times in 125 plate appearances.
Zack Gelof* 2B/3B - Another intriguing young infielder, Gelof was Oakland’s second round pick in the 2021 Draft. He was hampered by a shoulder injury before ending the season in the Arizona Fall League. He saw a nine-game stint in Triple A and is probably slated to begin there, but could hit his way into the picture at some point this season.
Tony Kemp, 2B/OF - Kemp avoided arbitration with the A’s this offseason agreeing to a one-year deal and will enter free agency next season. He has been a reliable performer for Oakland, but was unable to duplicate the season at the plate that he had in 2021. Given the many outfield options that Oakland has, Kemp will likely see most of his time at second base.
Max Muncy* SS - Muncy was Oakland’s first round pick in the 2021 Draft and is another young and talented infielder. He split last season between Low and High A while slugging 19 home runs between the two levels. He struggled with strikeouts with a K% hovering right around 30%. Muncy is still a little way away from the majors, but it will be interesting to get a look at him this spring.
Ryan Noda, 1B/OF - Plucked from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft, Noda will need to remain on the 26-man roster for the full season or else be offered back to Los Angeles. Given Oakland’s offensive needs, Noda should get a chance to contribute as he slugged 25 home runs with 20 stolen bases and a 120 wRC+ at Oklahoma City last season.
Jace Peterson, 3B - Peterson agreed to a two-year deal with Oakland in December after putting together a career-best season with Milwaukee last year. Peterson was just below league average with the bat producing a 96 wRC+, but was excellent defensively and finished with a career-best 2.2 fWAR. He figures to see most of his action at third, but has also played second and the corner outfield spots.
Pablo Reyes* 3B/OF - Reyes signed a minor league deal with the A’s in November. He spent the last two seasons with Milwaukee including a six-game stint in the majors last year. Reyes put up a 110 wRC+ at Triple A in 2022 and could serve as a depth piece in the minors.
Kevin Smith, 3B - Acquired from Toronto in the Matt Chapman trade, the initial hope was that he would be able to take over the third base job. However, he struggled mightily hitting just .180/.216/.302 with a 48 wRC+ while striking out just under 28% of the time. Smith found himself back in Triple A where he was better, but still not to the previous level that he had shown while with the Blue Jays. Smith will turn 27 in July and needs a big spring to show that he can be part of the team’s future going forward.
Tyler Wade* 2B - Wade signed a minor league deal with Oakland in December after spending the 2022 season with the Angels. He got off to a good start with Los Angeles in April, but then fizzled badly.
JJ Bleday - Acquired last week from the Marlins in exchange for A.J. Puk, Bleday was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 Draft by Miami. Bleday reached the majors in 2022 after hitting 20 home runs while posting a 123 wRC+ at Triple A. However, he struggled in the majors hitting just .167/.277/.309 with a 72 wRC+ in 238 plate appearances. Bleday is 25 years old and will be one of the more watched players in camp. Oakland’s outfield situation is crowded at the moment, but Bleday has options remaining and could begin the season at Triple A if he doesn’t win a job this spring.
Trenton Brooks* - Brooks signed as a minor league free agent after spending seven years in Cleveland’s organization. He put together a solid season in 2022 at Triple A where he hit .273/.367/.464 with 11 home runs and a 121 wRC+.
Lawrence Butler - Butler is another prospect that will get some reps during the spring. He is already on the 40-man roster despite not having seen any action above High A, so he could move quickly. He put up a good season at the plate in 2022 hitting .270/.357/.468 with a 129 wRC+ to go along with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases.
Conner Capel - Capel was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals last September and put up a good showing in a 13 game sample. Oakland’s outfield situation appears to be crowded, but as we have pointed out several times on this list, the possibility is there for a player to hit his way into the lineup.
Denzel Clarke* - Another young outfield prospect who will get a look this spring, Clarke split the 2022 season between Low and High A. He tore up Low A to the tune of a 147 wRC+ in 42 games. His average fell to .209 after the promotion to High A, but he still produced a 102 wRC+ in 187 plate appearances despite a strikeout rate of 36.2%. Clarke is an interesting power and speed combo, but will need to cut down on the strikeouts. He will turn 23 in May so there is still plenty of time.
Ramon Laureano - Laureano’s 2022 season was delayed as he finished off a suspension for PEDs and then had a hard time getting on track at the plate after posting a career-worst 96 wRC+. With a normal offseason and spring, he should be a bounce back candidate in 2023 and could be a trade target for a lot of teams if he returns to form. He appears ticketed to be the Opening Day right fielder.
Cristian Pache - To say this is a big spring for Cristian Pache would be an understatement. Pache was part of the principle return in the Matt Olson trade and is a Gold Glove caliber outfielder in center that just hasn’t been able to keep his head above water at the plate in the majors. While 332 plate appearances isn’t that big of a sample, his career 26 wRC+ isn’t workable. Pache is out of options so he will need to make the club or could be traded or exposed to waivers.
Brent Rooker - Oakland claimed Rooker off of waivers from the Royals in November. He split the 2022 season between San Diego and Kansas City and hit 28 home runs at Triple A between the two organizations. He could get a look, but appears to be depth just due to the amount of options already on the roster.
Esteury Ruiz - Acquired in the big three team trade that sent Sean Murphy to Atlanta, there will be a lot of eyes on Ruiz this spring. Ruiz tore up Triple A in 2022 between San Diego and Milwaukee. He however, struggled at the plate in a very limited sample at the major league level. Oakland figures to give him every opportunity to win the center field job this spring as there doesn’t appear to be much reason to send him back to the minors.
Cal Stevenson - Acquired from the Rays in July in exchange for Christian Bethancourt, Stevenson hit well in Triple A last season, but struggled during his brief time in the majors. He has the ability to play center and has options remaining, so could serve as valuable depth at Triple A.
Cody Thomas* - Thomas appeared in 10 games for Oakland last season, but was designated for assignment in December to make room for Trevor May. He was outrighted to Triple A and will be in spring camp as a non-roster player. Thomas tore up Triple A in 59 games in 2021 posting a 142 wRC+ but was limited to just 26 games total last season.