Welcome to AN’s Fireside Chat, where for just $125.00 you can sit and listen to the same platitudes and lies you will hear for free in the media. We’re still trying to figure out how to cram 300 eager fans into my kitchen, but nonetheless we are staking our profitability on our ability to make $50,000.00 on this event.
And you can take that to the bank — the same one, actually, that just laughed at our request for financing. We just hope that the group “Stoves Over Firesides” doesn’t succeed in derailing this chat entirely, but we’re simply going to ignore that for now.
Oh, that $125.00 is non-refundable. But worry not, it will only be canceled for a really good reason such as if Kris Willis wakes up with a tummy ache the morning of the chat. Then it just wouldn’t be right to proceed, you know?
Anyway, enough about this terrific event that no one in their right mind would care to attend. Pitchers and catchers, neither of whom are deluded or dishonest, report in just a few weeks and pretty soon we will have some real (bad) baseball to focus on.
Here are some “under the radar” players who might pleasantly surprise in 2024 even though you have barely heard of them...
The 28 year old has just 16 big league appearances, 9 of them starts, under his belt and he wasn’t terribly successful for the Pirates logging a 5.86 ERA. However, underlying metrics were kinder to Bido: 48 K in 50 IP and just 4 HR, along with a very respectable 21 BB.
Bido throws 93-96MPH with a fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup, and especially with Ken Waldichuk missing the start of the season you would expect Bido to get a long look as a starting pitcher or at least out of the bullpen.
This 2023 mid-season round table is a good read, and underscores how his strength is his upside while his calling card has been his lack of consistency. A consistent Bido could be the sleeper he was for years with Pittsburgh — the A’s hope he will wake up just in time for the 2024 season.
The #1 rule 5 pick no one guessed, Spence comes with pretty much the opposite tendencies as Bido: his stuff is not electric, but he commands it well. That stuff includes two excellent breaking balls to complement his 90-92 MPH sinker.
Spence learned the hard way how essential it is to keep his sinker down, as he had a sky high 20% “HR-fly ball” rate in 2023, surrendering 30 HR in 163 IP. But the 163 IP spoke to Spence’s durability, and a big drop in the HR rate could go a long way to making him a solid member of the rotation or bullpen. In this way he is a lot like JP Sears, who for all his HR tendencies (34, ouch) still wound up being Oakland’s most consistent SP overall.
Andujar has a bit of a Renato Nuñez-Ryon Healy-Jordan Diaz rap as a guy who creams the ball when he squares it up, but doesn’t care much for walks and won’t contribute a lot on defense.
Andujar’s best position is DH, but given how atrocious he is at 3B you might expect him to land in LF if the bat keeps him in the lineup. Flaws and all, that bat is potent and the A’s are hoping 2024 is Andujar’s breakout season.
For his career (298 games), Andujar has a 102 wRC+ with a slash line of .270/.302/.449. Due to his defensive limitations, he will need to hit more than that in order to provide value. But if he takes to LF, where he has been roughly an average defender so far, and if he takes a step forward at the plate, he could be a welcome addition to a lineup in need of welcome additions.
Why do the A’s hate Schuemann so? He is always being touted as “the next Chad Pinder” due to his defensive versatility, but he is much different from Pinder in that he actually knows the strike zone and brings plate discipline to the batter’s box.
It’s downright puzzling that Schuemann hasn’t gotten so much as a look given how bad the 2022 and 2023 A’s were. Now 26, all the right-handed 2B-SS-3B-LF-CF-RFer has done is to bat .276/.402/.430 last season (mostly at AAA) and .274/.403/.422 the year before (mostly at AA). He has averaged 33 SB a year for the last 3 seasons.
Now Schuemann isn’t even on the 40 man roster, but there is so much garbage on the 40 man (nothing personal Angel Felipe or Francisco Perez) that if the A’s want and need Schuemann they can easily make space for him.
Here’s hoping they finally see a need and finally give Schuemann a chance. He could be a pleasant surprise as someone who gives you a good at bat, has speed, and offers solid defense all over the diamond.
Who is your breakout candidate or prediction for 2024? Is it one of the above 4 players or someone else? Please Venmo your $125.00 to AN and then by all means weigh in!
Who will be the A’s "breakout" player in 2024?
This poll is closed
None of the above (explain in comments)