Friday, March 28, 2014
Miscellaneous Oakland updates
Returning to preseason contests today is Nick Punto, the major league veteran and utility specialist whom Oakland acquired this offseason for the 2014 campaign with an additional 2015 vesting option, following a hamstring tweak in Phoenix. While not in any immediate danger, his absence would've likely permitted Stephen Vogt onto the roster momentarily as a positional replacement as opposed to Jake Elmore, with Alberto Callaspo already servicing as a backup switch hitting middle infielder. Punto, after his recent crusade with Los Angeles, is quite notable for his gritty performances with head first 1B slides and bunt singles galore and ought to be utilized as a second base asset versus lefties and a fitting injury replacement. Primarily receiving acclaim for his defensive exploits, Punto amassed a cumulative 7.6 UZR between SS, 2B and 3B throughout the 2013 stint with 10 DRS and a 1.5 dWAR produced. Accumulating a 1.8 fWAR and bWAR, Punto compiled a .255/.328/.327 slash with a 9.9% BB%/20.0% K% split, .071 ISO, and somewhat mediocre 90 wRC+ in a less than desirable offensive performance, despite faring more successfully versus southpaws (.293 BABIP against RHP, .375 against LHP) during the previous season. After an admirable spring outing with Oakland, he'll promise to serve as the A's most elderly representative throughout this calendar year, hopefully inheriting some of his success as Los Angeles' good luck charm.
Recently claimed by Texas, Chris Gimenez now exits the organization and shall take refuge in Arlington. A plate discipline oriented Gilroy native, Gimenez was poised to be transported to Sacramento after being out of options following his acquisition this winter in correspodance to Pedro Figueroa's release. However, Gimenez now heads east from his native California to compete versus competition in what is likely to be a shuttle between Arlington and Round Rock. Ryan Ortiz now shall likely service as Stephen Vogt's initial Sacramento replacement now, after Luke Montz has been restricted from his backstop duties due to shoulder surgery:
"Chris Gimenez, the offseason acquisition from Tampa Bay to complement Vogt as another outcast Durham Bull, arrives as a Gilroy native and another discipline oriented backstop. Rather than Vogt however, Gimenez' speciality is his defensive expertise as his mediocre production shall not approach Vogt's outstanding and thunderous offensive intangibles, making Gimenez the prototypical reserve backstop. Hitting .225/.352/.309 between his 379 PAs within Durham and Tampa, Gimenez would produce a cumulative 58:64 BB/K (15.2% BB%, 16.8% K%) while corresponding that with a subpar .081 ISO and 93 wRC+. Gimenez additionally thrived off a platoon role, while generating a 27:16 BB/K output in his 127 plate appearances against southpaws. While out of options and extremely unlikely to make the ballclub, Gimenez is unlikely to be claimed off waivers. With Taylor and Gimenez expected to be disposed of entering the 2014 campaign and Sam Fuld promising to snatch one of their spots, Oakland ought to enter the season with a roster vacancy that will be available for the first non-roster asset that addresses a requirement"
Announced by the man himself, Trey Barham, the Virginian and southpaw bullpen fixture for Stockton and Midland over the previous few campaigns, has been released from the organization. Barham, similarly to Brett Hunter, was entering his 7th and innevatibly final stint under Athletics ownership just as Ryan Doolittle and Jeremy Barfield shall. For Barham, the offspeed specialist and TJS recipient, he'll be made to navigate for another ballclub as he succumbs to the Rockhound bullpen logjam erected by the numerous MiLB free agent and trade acquisitions this offseason such as Jeremy McBryde, Deryk Hooker, Manaurys Correa, Chris Jensen, Jose Flores, Matt Buschmann and Phil Humber. I wrote about Barham as a feature within Midland's bullpen preview earlier this month:
"The Athletics' consistent Virginian southpaw, Barham has remained a stealthy contributor throughout his Athletics tenure and professional ascent, similarly to fellow lefty, Jeff Urlaub. The previously anonymous 265h round acquisition from VMI, Barham has featured predominantly as a reliever exclusively between his 198 career appearances, with only a mere 15 outings within the rotation accumulated and seven of those occurring whilst partaking in his rehabilitation stint within the AZL during the 2013 campaign. The hulking 6'0", 210 pound asset was forcibly made to attend Papago due to having undergone TJS during the offseason and squandering an opportunity for a more successful attempt at Sacramento after a 9 2/3 IP, 18 H, 15 R (2 HR), 8 BB (2 IBB), 6 K try following his 2012 Rivercats debut. He would trek through the rookie league facility and Banner Island until now what is expected to be another reacclimation to Midland and Sacramento in his final season under Oakland ownership prior to free agency. Despite statistics that aren't necessarily eyecatching, Barham's unwavering composure and consistency have vaulted him upwards towards the upper reaches of the Athletics MiLB bullpen candidacy and squarely place him within the top tier of left handed arms within the system.
His stint with Oakland began through Vancouver and ran past Kane County between the 2009 season to amass 105 2/3 IP within 48 appearances with a 77:28 K/BB and two dingers permitted for a FIP south of 3.00 despite his mediocre strikeout percentages. Once again, Barham burst upward to Stockton, where the lefty starred as one the Ports most reliable relieving cogs through 68 1/3 IP and 59 cumulative outings with a 19.4% K%, 6.6% BB%, 3.48 FIP and a 2.32 GB/FB to propel him past another affiliate to Midland. Unfortunately, his 2011 campaign with the Rockhounds was his first genuine lackluster year with a 10.4% BB% and a career worst 4.22 FIP which convinced Oakland to retain him within Texas for another attempt. Barham adjusted instanteously however, marching through to Sacramento where he was stymied significantly before his corresponding 2012 was halted to his elbow ailment. Now, Norfolk native shall emerge within Oakland's premier affiliates once more to attempt for the last instance to reach the majors with the Athletics. The 28 year old possesses two and four seam fastball variations in a 89-92 MPH range with additional secondary array of a changeup, slider and curveball in which utilizes for his absurd groundball percentages and now shall have to grapple with an treacherous path to don the A's insignia. In all likelihood, Barham will have to latch onto another organization for the 2015 campaign should he wish to progress and rise to his major league aspirations"