April was a tough month to say the least for our Oaklands Athletics. On the bright side they ended on a high note with yesterday’s walk-off win over the Reds. We now get to mercifully turn the page on one of the roughest months in A’s history and hope May treats the Green & Good kinder. The schedule doesn’t do them any favors, facing just two teams with losing records and one off day the whole month.
Here’s some things to keep an eye on over the next few weeks:
- Is this Brent Rooker for real? Once somewhat of an afterthought as far as even making the team, Rooker completely tore the ball off the cover in his first month with the A’s, capping off April by winning AL Player of the Week. The outfielder/DH is hitting .353/.465/.779 with 9 home runs, 3 ahead of the next closest on the team (Langeliers). He wasn’t just going up to the plate and hitting jacks either. The former 1st-round pick only has a .333 BABIP so he’s not getting especially lucky, and most encouraging of all is his nearly identical strikeout to walk ratio, drawing 14 walks compared to 16 K’s. It will be interesting to see how the league responds to Oakland’s new #3 hitter moving forward. Does he start getting pitched around more? Or do they adjust and find a fatal flaw in his game?
- Are the A’s going to continue to be aggressive with their pitching promotions? April saw the aggressive promotions of some of the A’s most highly rated arms in their system. Mason Miller is apparently here to stay after just one Triple-A start and we’ve seen flashes of brilliance from him. Luis Medina made his big league debut but that didn’t go great and he was sent back to Triple-A. Hogan Harris, who was a starter in the minors, made it into a game for the A’s out of the bullpen. We might see Medina or Harris here again, or perhaps they give someone like Colin Peluse or Colton Eastman a start here or there. Oakland could also look to bring up a young gun to help the bullpen, someone like Garret Acton (fast riser through the system) or Billy Sullivan (the return player for Cristian Pache). Could we even see Royber Salinas?
- Is the Tyler Soderstrom and Zack Gelof era nearly upon us? We’ve seen the A’s already promote their #4 prospect in second baseman Jordan Diaz and he’s had mixed success while playing exclusively at second base. How long until the team goes full youth movement on the position player side of things? Gelof and Soderstrom are the two best remaining young players in the minor’s for the A’s and they’re at the last stop on the minor league ladder. They are somewhat blocked at the big league level by other young players but I’m sure that if the club was ready for them they could make room. And then there’s outfielders JJ Bleday and Cody Thomas, who have both gotten off to good starts for the Aviators. With the A’s struggling through the worst year of their history the club may decide to really lean into the rebuild and get these guys to Oakland sooner than later.