Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!
Last Thursday, Martin Gallegos at MLB sized up the state of competition for spots on the A’s starting rotation. Plenty remains to be seen this spring before the A’s settle on their opening day rotation, but developments over the weekend may have shaped the direction of things.
Perhaps most significantly, James Kaprielian looked fit in his spring debut against the Padres yesterday. He struck out five in just 1⅔ innings and topped out at 97mph with his fastball. Kap has been questionable due to shoulder surgery over the offseason, but presumably he’ll have a rotation spot on opening day if healthy.
In that scenario, the A’s more experienced arms—Kaprielian, Paul Blackburn, Shintaro Fujinami, and Drew Rucinski—would likely make the Opening Day rotation, leaving Adam Oller, Ken Waldichuk, and Kyle Muller to compete for the fifth spot. Among those younger prospects, training camp performance will likely weigh more heavily as a determinant of who rounds out the rotation.
Oller has boosted his prospects with strong performances in Spring Training, while Muller has been middling, and Waldichuk, who presumably held an edge as the A’s number two prospect, has consistently struggled so far.
Adrián Martínez and JP Sears have also been in the rotation conversation, but Martínez was optioned to Triple-A on Saturday, and Sears, who struck out six in five full innings pitched against the Giants yesterday, seems more likely to play swingman out of the bullpen to start the season.
There has also been some discussion of the possibility the A’s could go with a six-man rotation, and whatever happens, the Opening Day rotation will not be set in stone as the season continues. But at the moment, a Blackburn/Fuji/Rucinski/Kap/Oller Opening Day rotation feels like a distinct possibility on to me. How about you?
- Willis: JJ Bleday, Lawrence Butler among A’s latest roster cuts
- Willis: A’s fall to Giants, beat Padres in split squad action
- Willis: Oakland A’s Community Prospect List No. 23
- Kawahara: A’s Tony Kemp eyes ‘complete’ season after 2022 swing changes ($)
- Gallegos: Q&A: No. 11 prospect Butler talks childhood, Michael Harris, ‘New Oakland’
MLB News & Interest:
- Borek: Canada tops Great Britain as teams set Classic record for runs
- Toribio: Israel rallies late to stun Nicaragua
- Clair: Japan cruises to perfect Pool B record; Australia controls own fate
- Monagon: Italy wins, advances (with Cuba) after 5-way tie
- Adler: The wild 5-team tiebreaker, explained
- Buchanan: How — and why — Arizona and Corbin Carroll struck a record-breaking extension ($)
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
OF JJ Bleday, IFs Dermis Garcia, Jordan Diaz, Jonah Bride & LHP Hogan Harris optioned to LV, OF Lawrence Butler optioned to MID, IF Ernie Clement released, C Yohel Pozo, 1B-OF Trenton Brooks, LHP Garrett Williams & RHP Jasseel De La Cruz sent to MiLB camp…https://t.co/joKXkyUAPy— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) March 12, 2023
Esteury giving Pache a run for his money in the great wide open.
brb watching this @RuizEsteury catch five more times pic.twitter.com/XnoPJrDMcE— Oakland A's (@Athletics) March 12, 2023
Meanwhile, Pache is hitting like his career depends on it.
Cristian Pache keeps up his hot spring with an RBI triple pic.twitter.com/7yDJT00An3— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) March 12, 2023
I like his chances.
Lawrence Butler this spring— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) March 13, 2023
11-for-20, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR
Hope we'll be seeing him in Oakland in 2023
Family reunion on the diamond.
Cool moment in Scottsdale. Carter Aldrete enters at first base for the Giants and is greeted by his uncle, A’s first-base coach Mike Aldrete. pic.twitter.com/RgHTNHQosH— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) March 12, 2023