Tag:AL West
Posted on: February 13, 2009 2:54 am
Edited on: February 13, 2009 2:58 am

2009 AL West Preview

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
2008 Record:
100-62, 1st Place in AL West, Lost in ALDS to Boston
BP's 2009 Projection: 92-70, 1st Place in AL West

Key Additions:

Key Departures:

Up until a day ago, I would have said the Angels offseason was a complete failure. However, the Bobby Abreu signing changed that. Abreu brings this ballclub another player in the lineup that can be feared. Abreu usually hits for high average and is a career .315 hitter with runners in scoring position. He isn't that good of a defender, but his offense should surely make up for it. Abreu doesn't have quite the power numbers that Mark Teixeira had, but he should be a fine replacement in a lineup that desperately needed him. I applaud GM Tony Reagins for moving on past the contract that was given out to Gary Matthews. As for Fuentes, he's not as good as Rodriguez, but he's still a very good closer that can get the job done. Looking at the loss of Garland, this may or may not hurt the Angels. Garland is a good pitcher, but he just wasn't very good for the team a year ago. I have my doubts as to whether or not Dustin Moseley will last and ultimately I think the job may end up going to Nick Adenhart. However, if both of them fail, Kelvim Escobar should be back from injury by June. Escobar was one of the American League's top pitchers two seasons ago and his return should help the Halos on either offense or defense.

Projected Lineup:

  1. 3B Chone Figgins (S)
  2. LF Bobby Abreu (L)
  3. RF Vladimir Guerrero (R)
  4. CF Torii Hunter (R)
  5. 1B Kendry Morales (R)
  6. C Mike Napoli (R)
  7. DH Juan Rivera (R)
  8. 2B Howie Kendrick (R)
  9. SS Erick Aybar (S)

The addition of Abreu made this lineup so much better off than it was before. Manager Mike Scioscia is contemplating batting Abreu second as he is a high on base type player. Guerrero would then be able to provide Abreu protection in the lineup as well. The other alternative would be to have a player with a lesser on base percentage, such as Howie Kendrick, bat second and have Abreu hit 3rd behind him. Either way, this lineup should hold up against their AL West opponents. Whether or not it's good enough to win in the postseason is another topic. I'm assuming the Angels will just give Mike Napoli the starting catchers job, though he may once again platoon at the position with Jeff Mathis. Napoli isn't a good defensive catcher, but he broke out at the plater last season hitting over 20 home runs in less than 400 at bats. That's pretty impressive. Meanwhile, Mathis is known as a defensive catcher, but needs to start hitting to get any playing time.

Projected Bench:

As mentioned just above, Mathis and Napoli will battle it out for the starting catchers job, with the most likely scenario being another platoon. Maicer Izturis once again is the teams utility player that will serve as the main backup for the middle infielders and third base. Rob Quinlan will be back again as the backup on the corners, but likely might only find playing time against left handed pitchers. Meanwhile, Gary Matthews becomes the teams fourth outfielder and late inning defensive replacement for either Guerrero or Abreu. It's still up in the air whether or not Reggie Willits will be with the team after the team has signed Abreu. They may opt to go with only four reserves and add another bullpen pitcher.

Projected Rotation:

  1. RHP John Lackey
  2. RHP Ervin Santana
  3. LHP Joe Saunders
  4. RHP Jered Weaver
  5. RHP Dustin Moseley

Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders had breakout seasons last year which was the primary reason the Angels were able to win 100 games. Santana finally was able to win on the road, while Saunders just exceeded all expectations. However, that leaves things a little difficult when projecting the success of the team in 2009. Will Santana and Saunders continue to dominate? While both will be good ballplayers, a slight decline should be expected. Meanwhile, Weaver remains a capable 4th pitcher in the rotation. The 5th spot in the rotation will be a spring training battle between Dustin Moseley, Nick Adenhart, and Shane Loux. Moseley is the favorite for the spot entering spring, but Adenhart is the better talent. The only thing that concerns me with the Angels pitching staff is the lack of depth in the minors. Who do the Angels turn to if one of these players goes down.

Projected Bullpen:

Not bad.....Shields has been one of the best setup men in the league since he first came up in 2002, while Oliver is proving to be a capable one as well (though he is getting older). I doubt Justin Speier will be as bad as he was a year ago, but then again I doubt Arredondo or Loux will be as good as they were. Fuentes is an adequate replacement for Rodriguez, though he probably doesn't scare opposing hitters half as much.

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects

  1. RHP Nick Adenhart
  2. RHP Jordan Walden
  3. OF Peter Bourjos
  4. LHP Trevor Reckling
  5. RHP Sean O'Sullivan
  6. RHP Kevin Jepsen
  7. C Hank Conger
  8. 1B Mark Trumbo
  9. RHP Anthony Ortega
  10. RHP Mason Tobin

Spring Position Battle(s):

5th Starting Pitcher - Dustin Moseley vs. Nick Adenhart
Last Few Bullpen Spots - Take Your Pick Among several players


Oakland Athletics
2008 Record:
75-86, 3rd Place in the AL West
BP's 2009 Projection: 84-78, 2nd Place in the AL West


Key Additions:

Key Departures:

As usual, the offseason just doesn't start until A's GM Billy Beane makes a blockbuster trade. Only this time, it's different as the A's were the team adding the superstar instead of unloading them. After a season in which the A's offense finished last in the American League in runs, team OPS, batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, strikeouts, and extra base hits, the A's needed to go out and get some bats. The found them in Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi. Both Holliday and Giambi are high on base percentage players with the capability to drive plenty of balls out of the park. Couple those two with a healthy Eric Chavez back in the lineup, and the teams offense went from the worst in the league to something that looks respectable. The signing of Russ Springer and the trade for Michael Wuertz have remained under the radar, but both should help a young A's bullpen. The A's didn't really lose any impact players this offseason either. Huston Street was expenable with the emergence of Joey Devine and Brad Ziegler last season, while Carlos Gonzalez's plate approach didn't fit Billy Beane's "moneyball" philosophy. Greg Smith was decent, but the A's are stacked in the minors with pitching talent and Andrew Brown was cut only after he had to have season ending surgery on his arm.

Projected Lineup:

  1. CF Ryan Sweeney (S)
  2. DH Jack Cust (L)
  3. 1B Jason Giambi (L)
  4. LF Matt Holliday (R)
  5. 3B Eric Chavez (L)
  6. C Kurt Suzuki (R)
  7. SS Bobby Crosby (R)
  8. RF Travis Buck (L)
  9. 2B Mark Ellis (R)

The A's lineup is pretty interesting as it stands right now. I imagine it will change throughout the year. My guess is that at some point Travis Buck will eventually switch back to batting leadoff for the team. The 2-5 spots in this lineup are all on base machines and Suzuki's high average should follow up nicely in the sixth hole. The one thing A's fans should be watching this year is if they get any production from Bobby Crosby in the lineup. If Crosby struggles early on, I wouldn't be surprised to see Cliff Pennington replace him as the everyday shortstop. Meanwhile, A's fans need to watch the health of the players on the team. The A's used the disabled list a record 25 times last season, which only beat the previous record that was set the season before. Mark Ellis is questionable for opening day after undergoing an offseason shoulder surgery, while Chavez has missed the last season and a half with various injuries of his own. Travis Buck has been injured at various points throughout the past two seasons, while Ryan Sweeney had a minor injury as well last year that limited him to under 400 at bats on the year. Meanwhile, Bobby Crosby was one of the A's healthiest players a year ago, but his history suggests that he could go down at any point.

Projected Bench:

I'm not actually sure if Barton will be on the opening day roster or not. The A's have the option of sending him down to AAA Sacramento or platooning him with Travis Buck (with Giambi at DH and Cust in right field instead). I'm not sure if playing Barton in a platoon would be relatively healthy for Barton's production. In most cases, people platoon left handed batters because they can't hit left handed pitching well, but Barton is a different case. He couldn't hit the righties last year. At age 23, Barton can hardly be considered a bust, but if the A's aren't going to give him regular at bats, it might be best that he regains his confidence in AAA. As for Rajai Davis, he will stay on the team as a defensive replacement and pinch runner (as he did a year ago). It is possible that Jack Hannahan will find a spot on the bench this year as well, but everything I've read suggests the A's are going to go with seven bullpen pitchers. The only way Hannahan would be on the bench in that scenario would mean Barton was in AAA.

Projected Rotation:

  1. RHP Justin Duchscherer
  2. LHP Dana Eveland
  3. RHP Sean Gallagher
  4. LHP Dallas Braden
  5. LHP Gio Gonzalez

Justin Duchscherer was practically unstoppable last season and was one of the American League's best pitchers. However, Duchscherer has had health issues the past few seasons (including last year) which might leave the A's staff without a true veteran leader. Only Duchscherer and Eveland are expected to be guaranteed a spot out of spring training, while Gallagher, Braden, and Gonzalez remain the favorites to take over the other spots. The A's have a lot of young pitchers with high upside, but none have broken through at the big league level yet. Beane's general consensus this offseason was that the pitchers would probably pitch better if they had more offensive support and less pressure to throw a shutout. In the minors, the A's have a quartet of young pitchers waiting for the future in Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, and James Simmons, but none are expected to get the call early unless they are lights out this spring. If the A's are out of contention at the trade deadline, it wouldn't surprise me if Duchscherer is traded for prospects as the future of A's pitching waits for 2010.

Projected Bullpen:

The only one that's not a lock for the pen here is Josh Outman, but with the team still looking for lefty relief help outside of Blevins, Outman is the best internal option the A's have at this point. Also, as Outman is a starting pitcher he can eat up innnings for the A's in a long relief role if any of the A's young starters get bounced early. A's head coach Bob Geren has said that he'll enter 2009 with a closer by committee, but those never seem to work out. My guess is that Joey Devine will eventually become the everyday closer at some point during the season with Brad Ziegler setting him up. The A's bullpen was the second best in the American League a year ago and it improved with the addition of Springer and Wuertz. Look for this to be the A's strongest unit in 2009.

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects:

  1. LHP Brett Anderson
  2. RHP Trevor Cahill
  3. RHP Michel Inoa
  4. OF Aaron Cunningham
  5. SS Adrian Cardenas
  6. 1B Chris Carter
  7. LHP Gio Gonzalez
  8. RHP Vin Mazzaro
  9. 2B Jemile Weeks
  10. RHP James Simmons

Spring Position Battle(s):

Starting Rotation - Spots 3-5
Daric Barton vs. Travis Buck
Last Bullpen Spot



Seattle Mariners
2008 Record:
61-101, Last Place in AL West
BP's 2009 Projection: 69-93, Last Place in AL West


Key Additions:


Key Departures:

There has been a lot of talk recently about the Mariners signing Ken Griffey Jr., yet nothing has yet to be signed. I expect the team to either bring back Junior or add Garret Anderson as spring training gets going. However, it's been a dismal offseason for the Mariners. They lost their best run producer in Raul Ibanez to free agency, while their new GM Jack Zduriencik traded J.J. Putz away for a slough of players, including outfielder Franklin Gutierrez. The team is in rebuilding mode after they saw a 118 million dollar payroll rack up 101 losses for the team a year ago. Both Adrian Beltre and Erick Bedard are in the last year of their deals and the team could look to move both at the deadline if they decide not to resign them.

Projected Lineup:

  1. RF Ichiro Suzuki (L)
  2. 2B Jose Lopez (R)
  3. 3B Adrian Beltre (R)
  4. 1B Russell Branyan (L)
  5. CF Franklin Gutierrez (R
  6. DH Jeff Clement (S)
  7. C Kenji Johjima (R)
  8. SS Yuniesky Betancourt (R)
  9. LF Endy Chavez (L)

Well...This is the current lineup. If the Mariners go out and sign Ken Griffey Jr. or Garret Anderson, you can expect Endy Chavez to head to the bench as the teams fourth outfielder and then the team would probably demote Wladimir Balentien back to AAA Tacoma. Griffey would probably help more than Anderson considering Anderson would be just another free swinger on a team that has plenty. Aside from Ichiro at the top of the lineup, the Mariners don't really have too many threats. Beltre knows how to hit a few out of the park, but he isn't really that patient of a hitter and with the lack of protection he'll be receiving, it doesn't look like he's in for a good year. Jeff Clement could emerge as one of the Mariners most productive hitters this seasons as he is expected to be the teams everday designated hitter. Meanwhile, Kenji Johjima needs to turn around his 2008 performance if he wants to remain the starting catcher on this team.

Projected Bench:

Burke is going to be the teams third catcher and will probably never see the light of day in a game. He is just on the roster in case of an injury to either Kenji Johjima or Jeff Clement (as you can't move the DH to a position). Ronny Cedeno was acquired as depth in the deal that sent Aaron Heilman to the Chicago Cubs. As for Mike Morse, he will be used in a number of spots as he can play both infield and outfield positions. I expect Morse to take over the role Willie Bloomquist had for the team a year ago. Looking at Balentien, the Mariners have plenty of options. If they add Grifffey or Anderson, they can send him back down to AAA to get some everyday at bats. If neither of those two is added, the team can platoon him with Endy Chavez in left. Balentien has talent, but he just hasn't converted it into anything at the major league level.

Projected Rotation:

  1. RHP Felix Hernandez
  2. LHP Erik Bedard
  3. RHP Brandon Morrow
  4. RHP Carlos Silva
  5. LHP Jarrod Washburn

The Mariners front three in their rotation is the best in the American League West. Hernandez has been a consistent workhorse year after year and seems to be improving every year as well. Meanwhlie, Bedard is the top of the rotation pitcher he's always been, though like usual, injuries have stopped him from reaching his full potential. Speaking of potential, Brandon Morrow has plenty of it. This kid might actually be the best pitcher in this rotation. To this day, I still think it's funny an overhwelming majority of Mariners fans told me he wouldn't be ready to pitch in the big leagues in 2008. Rowland-Smith is probably a better option to start in the rotation instead of Washburn or Silva, but it's the contracts of those two players that will keep them in the rotation in the long run. However, both Washburn and Erick Bedard are good candidates to be traded at the July trade deadline.

Projected Bullpen:

The closer job is up for grabs this spring. The Mariners website suggests that Mark Lowe has the inside track on it, but I think Miguel Batista has a good chance at beating him out in spring training. The bullpen should be decent in 2009. There is nobody overpowering in it, but then again, there is no one that is terrible either. Garrett Olson has said he would be open to converting to a reliever if it works out best for the team, and I think it will happen as Olson is highly unlikely to make the team as a starter unless Bedard or Washburn is dealt.

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects:

  1. OF Greg Halman
  2. OF Michael Saunders
  3. RHP Phillip Aumont
  4. MI Carlos Triunfel
  5. RHP Juan Ramirez
  6. C Adam Moore
  7. 3B Mario Martinez
  8. 3B Jharmidy DeJesus
  9. OF Dennis Raben
  10. RHP Michael Pineda

Position Battle(s):

Designated Hitter
5th Starter


Texas Rangers
2008 Record:
79-83, 2nd Place in the AL West
BP's 2009 Projection: 81-81, 3rd Place in the AL West


Key Additions:

Key Departures:

You know the Rangers had a bad offseason when Andruw Jones was their key signing. I had to go back two seasons to even find a picture of an Andruw Jones highlight and it looks like he broke his back hitting the ball in the process. Maybe that's why he's been bad the past year and a half? Plain and simple, the Rangers didn't accomplish anything this past offseason. They moved Laird to the Tigers for Moscoso, a move which had to be done, but it actually made the team worse (in the short run). Had the Rangers decided to trade Jarrod Saltalamachhia for pitching, they would be in much better shape, but 2009 is looking to be much like 2008...Great hitting and no pitching to speak of. On the bright side of things, the Rangers do get a healthy Brandon McCarthy back this season and have young stars in AA waiting for 2010 when they will get their first full season in the big leageus.


Projected Lineup:

  1. 2B Ian Kinsler
  2. 3B Michael Young
  3. CF Josh Hamilton
  4. DH Hank Blalock
  5. RF Nelson Cruz
  6. LF David Murphy
  7. 1B Chris Davis
  8. C Jarrod Saltalamachhia
  9. SS Elvis Andrus

Initially looking at this lineup (without checking numbers), I was surprised when I saw Nelson Cruz playing right field and batting 5th. I had always assumed Marlon Byrd would get the bulk of the at bats as he's been very good since acquired two seasons ago. However, once I started to look closer at the numbers, this started to make sense. In a little over 100 at bats last season, Cruz had an OPS+ of 170. During the minor league season, Cruz batted a ridiculous .342/.429/.695 with 37 homers and 99 RBI in 380 at bats. The man obviously seems ready to take over in the big leagues. Meanwhile, looking at the rest of the Rangers lineup, it wouldn't surprise me if Elvis Andrus eventually moved up to the leadoff spot. This kid is a great talent swinging the bat and harnesses a ton of speed making him the perfect guy to set the table. Ian Kinsler isn't really a true leadoff hitter. Also, the Rangers will get a full season of Chris Davis at first base, which means Rangers fans better bring their gloves if they are going to be sitting in the bleachers.

Projected Bench:

Jones would have to put up a ridiculous spring in order to work his way into the starting lineup, though many have said Jones' has looked a lot better after losing 30 pounds in the offseason. Vizquel provides the Rangers depth in the infield and should help young Andrus develop along the way. Meanwhile, I'm not sure if their is going to be enough at bats for Marlon Byrd to be happy this year. The Rangers outfield is starting to get crowded which means a trade could happen during spring. As for Taylor Teagarden, he has the chance to overtake Salty as the everyday catcher, but it might take a while for him to do it.

Projected Rotation:

  1. RHP Kevin Millwood
  2. RHP Vincente Padilla
  3. RHP Brandon McCarthy
  4. RHP Matt Harrison
  5. RHP Scott Feldman

Uggh....And that's pretty much all I have to say about that. There is a small chance Millwood and Padilla put together a strong season, but it's highly unlikely. McCarthy should be the Rangers best pitcher in 2009 (if he can stay healthy). The team just better make sure Millwood doesn't reach his 180 innings for his option to kick in and they need to be careful as to when they call up youngsters Neftali Feliz and Derrick Holland.

Projected Bullpen:

Another "make-shift" bullpen is in the works for the Rangers. Half of these guys are non-roster invites, but I figure they will still make the team. Guardado might be a bargain for the Rangers if he can perform as well as he did a year ago. Meanwhile, I expect C.J. Wilson to bounce back in some way, shape, or form. He isn't as bad as he pitched a year ago.

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects

  1. RHP Neftali Feliz
  2. LHP Derrick Holland
  3. 1B Justin Smoak
  4. SS Elvis Andrus
  5. LHP Martin Perez
  6. C Taylor Teagarden
  7. OF Engel Beltre
  8. RHP Michael Main
  9. OF Julio Borbon
  10. C Max Ramirez

Position Battle(s):

Shortstop - Elvis Andrus vs. Omar Vizquel
Catcher - Jarrod Saltalamachhia vs. Taylor Teagarden
Bullpen - A handful of players

Posted on: November 11, 2008 2:25 am

Pure Optimism in Oakland

You know the major league baseball offseason just hasn't started until Billy Beane has made a blockbuster trade.

Yet this time around, there is a different feeling. The A's are no longer selling. The trade on Monday for Matt Holliday was a breath of fresh air for A's fans everywhere. After years of watching superstars leave their team, A's fans know that this offseason is different.

After the 2001 season, the A's lost former MVP Jason Giambi, closer Jason Isringhausen, and outfielder Johnny Damon. Two seasons later, following the 2003 season, A's fans saw Miguel Tejada leave via free agency to the Baltimore Orioles and Keith Foulke leave to win a world series with the Red Sox. Again after the 2004 season, Beane traded all-star pitchers Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder away in seperate deals and also saw Jermaine Dye leave for Chicago. After 2006, Barry Zito left to join the San Francisco Giants throughout the year last season, the A's witnessed Billy Beane trade away Dan Haren, Rich Harden, Joe Blanton, Mark Kotsay, and fan favorite Nick Swisher.

But now the A's are on the other side of the deal. They are buyers for once.

The trades made by Billy Beane over the past year were set up to replenish his farm system and to allow him financial flexibility. In 2007, the A's had an opening day payroll of around 80 million. By midseason of 2008, Beane had cut that number in half. Now, that added payroll flexibility in the end will allow the A's to attempt to compete. If he chooses to spend it, Beane has around 40 million dollars to work with. Actually, the inclusion of Huston Street in the deal will likely make it around 45 million after Street is done with arbitration. With that extra cash, there have been talks that Beane will attempt to work out an extension with Holliday. On top of that, the A's have also been linked to names like Rafael Furcal of the Dodgers. Surround quality players with strong pitching and a good farm system and the A's could be contenders for years to come.

In Holliday, the A's are getting a two time all-star that is coming off of three really strong seasons in the National League and has been a franchise player since he was called up in 2004. Holliday fits the Oakland philosophy. He hits for a high average, has a high on base percentage, and has the power to send plenty of baseballs over the fence. While it's likely that Holliday's numbers are sure to decrease outside of Coors field, no one really knows how much of an effect it will be. He is a quality right handed power bat on a team that is loaded with lefties.

Billy Beane will undoubtedly get criticized for this deal from people everywhere. The critics of Billy Beane will look at the players the A's gave up and say "wow, why on earth did you give up that much." Most of these are the same critics that slam Beane for once trading players such as Mark Teahen, Carlos Pena, Aaron Harang, Joe Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Ryan Ludwig and others. However, many of those critics don't realize how much better Beane's teams have gotten throughout those trades. They got all-star caliber players in return, such as Damon, Ted Lilly, Jose Guillen, Dye, and others. Sure, Beane might have traded away some prospects that turned out to be good major leaguers, but isn't that a testiment to how well this A's organization drafts and develops its players in the farm system? After all, the team keeps refueling and competing year in and year out with homegrown talent.

The A's gave up three really good talents in order to acquire Holliday in Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith, and Huston Street. Gonzalez was the prize piece the A's picked up a year ago from the Arizona Diamondbacks when they traded Dan Haren. His swing is a thing of beauty, but his approach at the plate has never matched the A's "moneyball" philosophy built on strong on base percentage. Gonzalez projects to be a solid player once he matures and a lot of scouts have compared him to a younger version of Garret Anderson. Meanwhile, Greg Smith was also acquired in the Arizona deal as a throw in and flourished for the A's in the rotation last year. He has quality stuff, but he was expendable as the A's have a TON of quality pitching prospects in the minor leagues. However, it should be noted that Smith had surgery this offseason on his elbow as well. Lastly, Huston Street is a player that has fallen out of favor in Oakland. He has been in and out of injuries the past few seasons and finally lost his closers job last year to Brad Ziegler halfway through the year. However, I still believe Street can be an effective closer in this league, but he is no longer needed in Oakland as the team is prepared to hand the 9th inning duties to Joey Devine going forward. This trade benefited both teams involved and was a win-win scenario for both teams.

Remember, it was just a year ago that people were criticizing Beane for the package he got back for Dan Haren. According to most "experts" at the time, Beane got only one solid player (Gonzalez), an average pitcher (Brett Anderson) and a bunch of throw ins. In essence since two of the people from that deal are heading to the Rockies as part of that deal, Beane managed to land Holliday, Anderson, Dana Eveland, Aaron Cunningham, and the A's organizational player of 2007, Chris Carter for Dan Haren and Huston Street. Like it or not, but the A's are better off than they were a year ago because of these trades.

Sure, the A's finished 24 games out of first place this past season, but that was also with the team setting a new record for DL use which also had their other big bat in the lineup (Eric Chavez) sidelined for the year. It was a season that featured many rookies making their major league debuts as well. There are several things that can happen in an offseason to change your place in the standings. You can make improvements yourself and you can also watch your opponents make mistakes and lose players. The A's young players are going to continue to develop and now the team has vastly improved their offense. Meanwhile, the Angels may or may not get Mark Teixeira, Garret Anderson or Francisco Rodriguez back this offseason as they all have become free agents. We will have to wait and see what the offseason brings. However, there is a sense of pure optimism from this A's fan and I know I'm not the only one.
Posted on: July 20, 2008 12:04 am
Edited on: July 22, 2008 5:46 pm

Billy Beane is in a World of His Own

For A's GM Billy Beane, Greatness is All That Matters

With the Oakland Athletics in contention for a playoff spot this year, Billy Beane shocked all of us a week ago when he decided to trade Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Chicago Cubs. So a week later, it came as no surprise when A's fans learned that Beane had made yet another trade, sending pitcher Joe Blanton to the Philadelphia Phillies for more prospects.

"Is he crazy?"

At least, that is the main question that is being floated around the baseball community right now. And the answer to it--well--is rather complicated. In most cases, making a trade like the two deals that Beane made last week could mean the end of your job if you were the GM of any other team. In fact, we've seen it before with Beane's protegé Paul DePodesta when Depodesta took over as the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I want to be great for a long time. Not have a nice, little month and make it interesting. If we have assets, ultimately, we have to turn them into more assets. This is the way we have to run the business. For us, as a small-market team, the turnover is a lot greater."
- A's GM Billy Beane

DePodesta traded Paul LoDuca, Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota to the Florida Marlins for Brad Penny and Hee Seop Choi. And while the move didn't benefit the Dodgers immediately that season, it has paid off huge dividends for the team in the years that followed. Unfortunately for DePodesta, he was greatly criticized for the move and was run out of town by the Los Angeles media. That's just how it works. New Dodger GM Ned Colletti has made terrible signings like Andruw Jones, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, and Randy Wolf, yet because Colletti didn't trade away the core of the team, he hasn't faced nearly the same amount of criticism that DePodesta did while being in the same city.

However, in a city like Oakland, where Billy Beane has made it to the postseason in five of the past eight seasons, all anyone can ever do is trust his reputation. As most Oakland fans would say.....

"In Billy We Trust!"

Despite losing all-star pitchers such as Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, Dan Haren, Jason Isringhausen and Keith Foulke and losing solid position players like Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Jermaine Dye, Johnny Damon, Ramon Hernandez, Ray Durham, Carlos Pena, Jose Guillen, Milton Bradley, and Nick Swisher the A's still compete. Even as a small market team Billy Beane defies the odds. Since 2000, only the Yankees in the American League and the Cardinals in the National League, have made it to the playoffs more than Beane's Oakland A's teams.

"I want to be great for a long time. Not have a nice, little month and make it interesting. If we have assets, ultimately, we have to turn them into more assets. This is the way we have to run the business. For us, as a small-market team, the turnover is a lot greater," Beane said a few days ago after pulling the trigger on the Joe Blanton deal.

And such is the way Billy Beane has been able to keep the A's contenders. We saw this principle applied last offseason when Beane traded All-Star pitcher Dan Haren to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, and two other minor leaguers. By trading away one player, Haren, Beane managed to find two quality pitchers to fill his rotation, a future superstar outfielder in Carlos Gonzalez, and some other solid minor leaguers to give the team some organizational depth.

The philosophy has kept the A's winning ballgames year in and year out, but it has grown tiresome to many of the fans who come to the ballpark because of the team has no player loyalty whatsoever. Many casual A's fans can't name a single player on their team anymore. Others, can only name a few stars like Huston Street, Bobby Crosby, and Eric Chavez. But with Chavez sidelined for most of the year, and Street and Crosby likely to be traded before the July 31st trade deadline, the A's attendance will surely drop off even lower than it already is. With the A's set to move to Fremont in 2011, no one will care about this team anymore. At least, not in the east bay area.

Billy Beane's trades of Rich Harden and Joe Blanton were meant to stock up the farm system with great prospects for the years to come. They weren't meant to keep the A's in the playoff race this season. As Beane has been quoted saying in the past, "You're not a contender unless you're in first."

While most teams would be looking to add players to make a run at the playoffs if they were in the A's position, Billy Beane decided that most likely outcome for the roster that he has now, would result in the team missing the playoffs. So instead having faith in the club he has now, Beane is constantly looking to the future.

As Beane said earlier, he wants his team to be great. Not just good for a short period of time. Beane is trying to make the A's what they were at the turn of the century. A team filled with superstars like Giambi, Chavez, Tejada, Dye, Hudson, Mulder and Zito. He wants his team to be like the team in 2001 that won 102 ballgames or the team in 2002 that won 104. You don't see that anymore in baseball. Now that the A's will have money with a new ballpark, Beane will be able to keep the future superstars around for a long time. And while everyone in Oakland is mad that Beane is looking to the future when the present team is exceeding expectations, Beane is taking the right step for the long term success of the ballclub.

Looking back at the trades, at least the Oakland fans can be happy with what they got back in return. While Rich Harden can be the best pitcher in baseball, his injury history has prevented him from doing that yet. The A's only had him locked up for two more seasons and would have been paying him a decent amount of money to pitch next season. If he would have had one more injury, the A's wouldn't have gotten anything in return and been stuck eating his contract.

Sean Gallagher is solid right hander that, like most Cubs pitching prospects, hasn't been handled right in their farm system. He has number two pitcher upside and can rack up a decent amount of strikeouts. Eric Patterson has been very good in the minors and with everyday playing time, he should develop nicely at second base for the team. Matt Murton is another underrated outfielder. Murton has a career .290 batting average, but the biggest knock on him was his lack of power. He'll make a solid 4th outfielder for the A's in years to come. As for Josh Donaldson, the former second round pick has struggled in the minors so far, but the A's needed organizational depth at catcher after Jeremy Brown retired and Landon Powell's constant injury problems.

The Joe Blanton deal might actually help the A's in the short run as Blanton was having a terrible season so far. The A's have to be happy with their return after trading a guy that is a 12 game loser and has era of around five. All that while playing one of baseball's best pitchers parks. However, Blanton is an innings eater that should help the Phillies bullpen and is a sure upgrade over Adam Eaton.

The A's have chosen to start Dallas Braden in Blanton's spot for the short term, but if Braden struggles, the A's might consider calling up top pitching prospect Gio Gonzalez to fill the void. Gonzalez has been lights out this past month for AAA Sacramento.

The prospects the A's got back from the Phillies are pretty solid too. Adrian Cardenas is one of the best second base prospects in the game and pretty much guarantees that Mark Ellis won't be with the team next season as the A's also signed first round pick Jemile Weeks. Left hander Josh Outman is a great pitching prospect and the A's will likely turn him back into a starter, where he has had the most success at in the minors. As for Matthew Spencer, he probably has no chance of making the A's roster anytime soon. The A's are overloaded at the outfield position in their minor league system and their are plenty of internal options that would be ahead of him on the depth chart. It would take Spencer a lot of commitment to move up the depth charts.

While some A's fans can be mad at Billy Beane for not making a run at the postseason this year, he is the reason the A's stood a chance this year in the first place. Billy Beane might be the most hated person in Oakland right now. He is in a world of his own right now. However, if Beane's moves pay off in the near future, he will be further cementing his legacy as the greatest GM in the game.

"In Billy We Trust!"

That's all Oakland fans can do.
Posted on: June 30, 2008 1:40 am

American League Midseason Report Cards

The half way point of the season is here and it's time to grade the performance of each team. How well has your team done this season?

American League East

Baltimore Orioles
41-39, 4th Place in the AL East
Grade: A -

The Orioles made the right moves during the off-season by trading both Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada. Those two trades brought the team some quality players in return that the team can build upon. While many people wrote the Orioles off this season--some going as far as predicting the team would have 100 losses--the O's have remained competitive all year long. The only step left for GM Andy MacPhail is to continue the firesale and trade off the remaining veterans for prospects. With the team having a top 3 relief pitching staff, there will be quite a bit of demand for veteran relievers like Chad Bradford, Jamie Walker, and George Sherrill. Trading them would make the team much better in the long run.

Boston Red Sox
50-34, 2nd Place in the AL East
Grade: A

The Red Sox have played very well this season. Despite the fact that David Ortiz started out slow, Curt Schilling is done for the year, and multiple players have spent time on the DL, they still have one of the best records in baseball. However, because they play in baseball's best division, they are finding themselves in the middle of what should be a three team race for the American League East. With regards to that, I give the team an "A" for overall performance. However, because Schilling is out with injury, I don't trust anyone on their team other than Josh Beckett to start in the playoffs. Despite Tim Wakefield having his best season since 2002, he has never been a good postseason pitcher. The young guys--Lester, Buchholz, & Masterson--have only one playoff start between them and lack longevity in the regular season. Meanwhile, Daisuke's walk totals are increasing and his performance in the postseason last year was terrible. It will be interesting to see if the team pursues a veteran starter at the deadline.

New York Yankees
44-38, 3rd Place in the AL East
Grade: B

The Yankees haven't exactly been playing their best ball, yet they haven't played bad baseball either. The team has consistently remained around .500 and have just recently made a run above it. In my opinion, the Yankees can't get much worse, but they have the potential to be much better than they are playing. With Joba finally making the transition to the rotation, if the Yankees can add one more starter, they'll be right in the thick of it. The teams offense is potent, especially with the return of Jason Giambi to the lineup and the bullpen has been holding its own so far. The Yankees were my prediction to win the division and I still think they will do it.

Tampa Bay Rays
49-32, 1st Place in the AL East
Grade: A

Wow. Who would have thought the Tampa Bay Rays would have been in first place in the American League East at the halfway point? I certainly didn't. This team has been loaded with talent, but it never fully developed until now. The off-season trade of Delmon Young for Matt Garza has payed dividends as well and given the team a formidable front three of Scott Kazmir, Garza, and James Shields. In addition, Evan Longoria is showing that he will be a true superstar in this league for years to come. What the team really needs going forward is one more bat, perhaps in right field or DH, to solidify the lineup. Other than that, the Rays will stay competitive until the very end. You can be assured of that.

Toronto Blue Jays
40-43, Last Place in the AL East
Grade: D

Everyone's favorite preseason pick is in last place in the division right now. The Blue Jays haven't played bad baseball, but they just haven't been given a commitment to winning by their management. The early season release of Frank Thomas (who is hitting .319 with the A's) is a perfect example. The team has the pitching staff to be a good team and they could make a 2nd half run, but it might be too little too late in the toughest division in baseball. If the team wants to remain competitive, they need to make a trade for an impact bat. You can't expect to win too many games with Matt Stairs, Brad Wilkerson, Kevin Mench, and Shannon Stewart in your lineup. It just doesn't happen.

American League Central

Chicago White Sox
45-35, 1st Place in the AL Central
Grade: A

Maybe we were a bit too harsh on GM Kenny Williams this offseason as many of his signings have proven to work out great. The additions of Octavio Dotel and Scott Linebrink have shored up the bullpen problems the team has been having for years. Meanwhile, Carlos Quentin is among the league leaders in home runs this season, while Alexei Ramirez is batting over .300 and has shored up the the 2nd base spot for the team. Even the decision to keep Joe Crede is looking brilliant now. The only move that isn't looking great is the Nick Swisher deal as Ryan Sweeney is outperforming him in Oakland. However, Swisher is batting .302 with 5 homers and 18 RBI in the month of June so he might be on the verge of turning it around.

Cleveland Indians
37-45, Tied for Last Place in AL the Central
Grade: F

I don't understand how a team this talented could perform so poorly all year long. The Indians aren't even putting themselves anywhere close to contention which is making the decision to trade C.C. Sabathia easier by the day. The more and more I see of Travis Hafner, the uglier that 6 year extension is looking that he signed a year ago as well. The only two Indians ballplayers that are performing are Grady Sizemore and Casey Blake and Blake is as good as gone at the seasons end. The Indians better hope that Sabathia brings them back players that will help them in the immediate future, because the Indians window of opportunity is closing.

Detroit Tigers
41-40, 3rd Place in the AL Central
Grade: C

Well, it isn't what we expected, but to be a game above .500 and only 4.5 back of the division leaders at the halfway sign is good for the Tigers who started the season off poorly. The pitching staff is starting to come around--though Dontrelle Willis may be done as a pro--and the team should get better in the bullpen when Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney start to come around. It wouldn't surprise me if the Tigers overtook the White Sox in the American League Central by the end of the year. Then again, it also wouldn't surprise me if the team remained mediocre for the rest of the season. Much like the Yankees, the offense will be there for this team. EVERYTHING relies on the pitching staff down the stretch. I would suggest the team making a trade, but after the deals with Florida and Atlanta, they can't have much left in their farm system.

Kansas City Royals
37-45, Tied for Last Place in the AL Central
Grade: D

We knew the Royals were going to be bad to start the year, so the fact that they have a higher grade than the Indians is because the Indians failed to meet anywhere close to their expectations. However, I still don't understand how many of these players on the Royals have jobs. I mean, how long is it going to be until Tony Pena, who has a .142 batting average and an OPS of -2 (yeah...negative two) is sent down? I mean, he can't be in their for his defense either as he has the 2nd worse. Their other alternative, Angel Berroa, was recently traded away to the Dodgers which made no sense at all. At least Berroa could hit the ball out of the infield. This team has some talented players, but they are nowhere near turning into a good ballclub.

Minnesota Twins
45-37, 2nd Place in the AL Central
Grade: B+

The Twins lost both Johan Santana and Torii Hunter this offseason and are still in contention. How you may ask? For one, Hunter has always been overrated and is just an average ballplayer. Secondly, Joe Mauer has been able to stay healthy this season which has given the offense a spark. And third, the bullpen (as usual) has been outstanding. The Twins really don't deserve to be where they are with the performance of the offense (as a whole) and the poor starting pitching they've had. However, they'd remained in the hunt the entire time and had tons of success against the National League this season. I gave them a B+ because of their record, however, I think both the White Sox and Tigers will finish ahead of them by the end of the year.

American League West

Los Angeles Angels
49-33, 1st Place in the AL West
Grade: A -

The Angels got exceptional performances from Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana while John Lackey was out, and now that he's back, the team has one of the most dangerous pitching staffs in the majors. However, the offense of the Halos has been a huge disappointment this season as the team is 2nd to last in the American League in team OPS. Only two players on the team have double digit home run numbers and one of them (Mike Napoli) is just a part time player. The Angels most obvious need for the second half is an impact bat, preferably at shortstop. The Angels should be able to keep pace in the west as the A's and Rangers aren't much of a real threat, but if they want to avoid another October disappointment, they'll have to make some changes.

Oakland Athletics
44-37. 2nd Place in the AL West
Grade: B+

If there is one thing I've learned over the years, it's not to doubt Billy Beane. He's the only guy that can make his team better the next season by trading his best pitcher and his best hitter. Many people had the A's predicted as the last place finishers in the west this season, but the A's have continued to succeed with their foundation of strong pitching. The team is on pace to set another record for most people on the disabled list in a season. Much like the division rival Angels, the A's offense has been terrible this season. However, I don't think it can get much worse than it already is. Daric Barton has struggled all year long, but the A's have no other options at the position now that Dan Johnson is gone and it's probably best to let Barton swing his way out of it. Carlos Gonzalez has finally arrived at the major league level and his swing is amazing. He is only 21 and you can tell that he'll be a great ballplayer in the future. The team has a lot of potential and was initially geared up to compete in 2010-2011. Anything they do now is just a bonus.

Texas Rangers
42-41, 3rd Place in the AL West
Grade: B

Nolan Ryan......."Take That!" At least, that's what I'd be saying if I were Rangers manager Ron Washington. After feeling the heat much of the first half, Ron Washington has the Rangers maintaining a respectable winning percentage. He is getting the most out of the players he has and it's turning into wins for the ballclub. Milton Bradley might just be the best offseason signing for the Rangers as he has continued to crush the ball. Now all the team needs to do is to finally get some decent pitchers to the big league level instead of trading their best talent away (i.e. Chris Young, Edinson Volquez, John Danks). If I were GM Jon Daniels, I know my team doesn't stand much of a chance at the postseason this year, so I'd look to see if I could trade Vincente Padilla (and his contract) to a contender.

Seattle Mariners
31-50, Last Place in the AL West
Grade: F

What a joke. I think I was the only person here to question how good the Seattle Mariners would be this season. I KNEW they weren't as good as everyone has been saying and they only proved me right by having the worst record in baseball. It's about time they fired Bill Bavasi as he did nothing good for the team. I don't even know what to say about the Mariners right now other than a firesale should be about to begin (with everyone except for Ichiro). The Mariners have a lot of rebuilding to do and now that Bavasi damaged the teams future, who knows how long it's going to take.

Posted on: June 24, 2008 9:53 pm

Justin Duchscherer is the Best Pitcher in the AL

Justin Duchscherer
Starting Pitcher
Oakland Athletics

Nickname: "Duke"
Season Stats: 12 GS, 8-4, 1.99 era, 0.97 WHIP, 51 SO, 18 BB in 77 IP

The numbers don't lie. The Duke has been the best pitcher in the American League this season. While his record isn't as good as Cliff Lee's Indians, Duchscherer has Lee beat by a half a run in era and by 10 points in WHIP. His three more losses are just a result of Oakland's poor offensive output. There is no doubt that Duchscherer will be the A's representative in the All-Star game this season, which means he'll be the first player since John Smoltz to make the team both as a reliever and as a starter. If Duchscherer continues to play as well as he has, he should be the all-star game starter for the American League.

In retrospect, after an injury plagued 2007 season, no one expected Duchscherer to succeed as much as he has for the A's this season. Everyone knew he was a great reliever, but not many people predicted this much success as a starter. The only reason he wasn't a starter when he first came up into the league is because the A's rotation featured Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Barry Zito, all of whom were considered the top 3 young pitchers in the league. Rounding out the rotation throughout the years were other solid players including Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, Cory Lidle, and A's ace Rich Harden. Duchscherer was never given much of a chance to win a rotation spot, but kept himself motivated enough to be an all-star reliever.

Now that he was given the chance by General Manager Billy Beane and Manager Bob Geren, Duchscherer has taken advantage of the spotlight. He is now amongst the best pitchers in the American League this season.

Terry Francona should reward Duchscherer with an All-Star Start.
Posted on: June 12, 2008 2:50 am

New England vs. National League in All-Star Game

The fan voting in the all-star game is ridiculous, especially if you're a fan of a team in the American League. Because of the huge markets in Boston and New York for the game of baseball, a deserving all-star player on your team could find himself off the roster. Checking the latest update, if the all-star game started today, the American League would field a starting team consisting of Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton, and Ichiro Suzuki.

For those playing the home game, that's 5 Red Sox players, 2 Yankees, 1 Texas Ranger, and 1 Seattle Mariner. And we haven't even gotten to the pitching staff yet! (which coincidentally, the Red Sox's manager gets to choose this year) Heck, the American League Central isn't even represented in the starting lineup.

Some people might argue that everyone still has a month to vote and that the current results could change....What they don't realize is that Red Sox and Yankees ballplayers are 1-2 in just about every category. Does anybody realize that Mike Lowell is 2nd in the 3rd basemen voting despite having a batting average just above .260? Many of these players, such as Varitek, Pedroia, Ichiro, and Ortiz don't even deserve to start just based on numbers alone. Others at their position have been outperforming them, but will probably miss out on the game. It's not fair to the fans of teams that aren't based in the New England area. In addition, it's not fair to the players as well as many of them have all-star incentive bonuses in their contracts. Should the fans really decide who deserves a bonus or should the play of the actual player? I think it's the latter.

By supporting fan voting, MLB wants you to ignore the strong season that Milton Bradley is having as the DH of the Texas Rangers. They want you to ignore the fact that Joe Mauer is batting .327 or that Kurt Suzuki has thrown out an AL leading 40% of all baserunners. They want you to look the other way when Michael Young or Justin Moneau step up to the plate. MLB wants you to forget about Carlos Quentin and his 16 homers and 54 RBI. No one wants to hear about Jose Guillen tearing the cover off of balls in Kansas City, Nick Markakis leading an upstart Baltimore team or B.J. Upton's ridiculous first half in Tampa Bay. After all, in the grand scheme of things, Joe Crede's 14 home runs, Jack Cust's league leading 48 walks, and Ian Kinsler's 17 steals (0 CS by the way) never existed.....right?

MLB couldn't be more wrong and it's about time for some change.

As a solution, I've come up with two different ideas. Either....

(1) MLB should have the players and coaches vote (as they do for Gold Glove Awards) or....
(2) MLB should create an all-star panel that makes the selections.

MLB has been looking for a way to make the all-star game more attractive and this might just be it. Because as things stand now, I have absolutely no incentive to watch the game. Will a deserving player on your team get snubbed thanks to fan voting? If you're not a fan of the Red Sox or Yankees, my guess is that they will.
Posted on: May 31, 2008 11:55 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2008 11:59 pm

Milton Bradley: The Key to the Rangers Success?

Laugh all you want, but Milton Bradley has proven to be one of the most feared hitters in the American League this season. While Josh Hamilton is getting most of the attention in Arlington these days, Bradley has been just as key to the Rangers success this past month. In fact, one could argue that Bradley has been the best free agent signing this offseason (considering the price he was signed for). Entering May, the Rangers were a pitiful 10-18 and there was already talk of 2nd year manager Ron Washington being fired by team president Nolan Ryan.

However, the strong play of Bradley coupled with the power of Josh Hamilton in the middle of that lineup and the teams improved starting pitching has helped the Rangers gain respectability. At 29-28, the Rangers were 19-10 in the month of May so far and are only 3 games back of the division leading Angels. In the month of May alone, Milton Bradley has hit .341 with five home runs and 19 RBI. On the season, Bradley is hitting .327/.435/.561 with 8 home runs, 31 RBI, 33 walks and 16 doubles. He leads the American League with a .996 OPS and is top 3 in the AL in slugging, on base percentage, batting average and doubles.

Now, the question we must ask ourselves is if this performance by Bradley is a fluke, or if we can expect it to continue throughout the season. Personally, I think he might be able to keep it up. If you recall, Bradley performed just as well in his time with the San Diego Padres last season and was the sole reason for their second half run. I think Milton Bradley is finally entering the prime of his career and is playing the type of baseball we expected from him when he first emerged as a star with the Indians back in 2002.

However, there are several limiting factors with Bradley. First, Bradley hasn't had the greatest track record in the clubhouse and one may wonder when will be the next time he blows up. In regards to this though, I think he's finally matured as a player. He hasn't had any problems since he left the Dodgers in 2006.

The other--and most important--limiting factor for Bradley has been his injury history. In his 8 seasons in the big leagues, Bradley has only played more than 140 games in a season only once and only more than 100 games only twice. Right now, Bradley is on pace to set career highs in just about every stat category, but an injury could prevent him from doing so. However, if Bradley can remain healthy all season long, the Rangers could become a darkhorse to win the American League West this season.

I know this might be difficult for some people to grasp, but the Angels just haven't been playing that good of baseball and the Athletics are more committed towards the future now that they are once again on pace to shatter their record of using the disabled list. Because of the play of Bradley and teammate Josh Hamilton, the Rangers now have the number one offense in the American League. If the pitching staff stays on par, don't sleep on the Rangers.....
Posted on: April 24, 2008 10:43 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2008 11:33 pm

Danny Who?

When Dan Haren was traded to the Diamondbacks this offseason, many people thought that it would be years before the A's started seeing any type of production from the players they got in return. Most people questioned what Billy Beane was thinking at the time and were skeptical of the players the A's got back in return. While Dan Haren (3-1, 3.03 era) has been great for the Diamondbacks this season, it doesn't compare to what he brought back to Oakland. The A's are doing better without Dan Haren as the players Haren brought back are contributing more to the team (while securing long term goals as well). The performance of these players have most A's fans saying....

Danny Who?.....

Here's an update on the players the A's got back for Haren:

LHP Dana Eveland - Oakland
4 GS, 2-1, 1.90 era, 1.18 WHIP, 18 SO in 23.2 IP
Before arriving in Oakland, Eveland had been a solid minor league pitcher that had trouble breaking through to the majors. After posting an era just above one this spring, Eveland was awarded the A's 5th starter spot in their rotation and has continued to pitch well. With an era under two, the A's couldn't have asked for anything more out of this young left hander.

LHP Greg Smith - Oakland
4 GS, 2-0, 2.88 era, 1.38 WHIP, 16 SO in 21 IP

Smith was originally beaten out by Eveland for the 5th starter spot in spring despite posting similar results. However, the injuries to Rich Harden and Justin Duchscherer gave Smith his first crack at the big leagues and he's pitched nicely. Smith has recorded 3 quality starts in his four outings. It will be interesting to see what the A's do when Rich Harden returns.

OF Carlos Gonzalez - AAA Sacramento
.348/.408/.522, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 11 R, in 69 AB

Gonzalez was the main player the A's wanted back from the Diamondbacks in the Haren deal. As shown by his numbers, he has great raw potential. The A's considered carrying him on their roster at the start of the year, but decided against it in order for him to work on his approach at the plate. I wouldn't be surprised if Gonzalez helps the club compete in late August and September.

OF Aaron Cunningham - AA Midland
Has not played yet - Broken left wrist

Cunningham broke his left wrist during spring training, but has solid potential. He'll report to AA midland when healthy. He had no chance of making it to the big league club this season, so the main concern is for him to get healthy and to start swinging the bat again.

LHP Brett Anderson - A+ Stockton
4 GS, 3-1, 2.66 era, 1.08 WHIP, 23 SO in 20.1 IP

Anderson was the "second best player" in the Haren deal that the A's got and so far he's been succeeding in the minor leagues. As he's only 19 years old, many people project Anderson to be one of the top left handed pitching prospects in the years to come. His control is phenomenal as he had a 125/21 K/BB ratio last season.

1B Chris Carter - A+ Stockton
.217/.333/.551, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 13 R in 69 AB

6 HR in 69 at bats.....That should say it all. Carter projects to have 30 home run potential by the time he hits the big leagues and those type of players are extremely hard to come by. He just needs to raise his average a bit and he'll be a solid major league ballplayer.

* Note: The link to Chris Carter that CBS put on this post is the Chris Carter in the Red Sox system and not the one in the A's organization.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com