Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spring Update: At least it's "baseball"

Teasing us with filthy, falsified charades of baseball games, the spring schedule has commenced and luckily is dwindling rapidly towards the beginning of the actual 2014 campaign come March 31st. The Athletics have fared somewhat well during their stint versus fellow ballclubs through the previous couple weeks, preventing any significant injuries aside from Craig Gentry, who has to debut amongst other spring opposition, and Ryan Cook, whose April eligibility is in some jeopardy despite just recently completing his most recent bullpen. Scott Kazmir shall debut tomorrow as every other available rotation candidate has participated and debuted thus far. Jesse Chavez, AJ Griffin, and Jarrod Parker have all held their own in their initial couple outings while Sonny Gray, Dan Straily, and Tomaso Milone considerably struggled in their few innings. Does this mean anything? Not really, as Dan Straily is essentially entrenched in the 5th starting position no matter what Milone could do and Jesse Chavez shall be a bullpen resident as he's out of options and had a sensational season through 2013 while avoiding arbitration for $750K this offseason. Meanwhile, some pivotal positional designations have been defined, with John Jaso now permanently a catching exclusive option as opposed to any possible DH distribution which likely slots Vogt in Sacramento, and Alberto Callaspo's first base experiment now being verified officially as he'll debut at 1B on Friday according to Jane Lee. 

Evan Scribner and Fernando Abad have started in their first outings, with Joe Savery set to debut. However, barring injury, Abad shall be the only individual upon the 25 man roster, as the chip acquired for John Wooten from Washington this offseason, of this group as he additionally is out of options and likely to outplay Savery this spring. Scribner, without options as well, is unlikely to be spared from a journey through waivers. Raul Alcantara has been outstanding in initial couple bouts while Michael Ynoa has struggled, however is healthy for his first legitimate MLB camp which bodes extraordinarily well for his Stockton attempt upon the arrival of April. The remaining bullpen assets have been essentially adequate, with no hope of accumulating any statistical markets that bear any relevance towards their 2014 prospects. 

The sensation through the proceedings thus far has been Billy Burns, who has scurried for seven swiped bags and absolutely dominated spring arsenals en route to the inheritance of the title of the 2014 interpretation of Eric Sogard. Weeding through the inevitable and incredibly saddening Rickey Henderson comparisons, Burns' athleticism shall undoubtedly carry him forth to Sacramento to complement Michael Taylor, Shane Peterson and Jake Goebbert, serving as the only individual to possibly have his major league prospects affected by his preliminary performance with either Cespedes, Reddick or Crisp succumbing to injury likely to spark intriguing debates regarding Burns opening day eligibility. However unlikely, with Taylor's lack of options and Shane Peterson another 40 man asset, he still shall merit some conversation with eyepopping intangibles upon the basepaths. Lowrie, Cespedes, Moss, Punto, Reddick and Fuld have all been consistent through their ~15-20 plate appearances against March rosters. We'll talk about these boys in April. 

Addison Russell has represented the prospect contingent adequately thus far, with all mini camp participants having appeared upon a roster with the exception of Bobby Wahl, Dylan Covey, Kyle Finnegan, Renato Nuñez, Chris Kohler, Jeremy Barfield, and Dustin Driver. Daniel Robertson and Billy McKinney have just begun to debut within contests with Jeff Urlaub being the only non-roster and non-NRI arm to have performed within a game situation, appearing twice. As the spring progresses, these pieces shall gradually shift towards the MiLB preseason, which commences on March 11th in Papago.

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