A’S CATCHERS WIELDING HOT BATS
Eleven days from Opening Night and what do we know? There’s an abundance of quality infielders and catchers. Our starting pitching depth will be tested right out of the gate. Josh Reddick looks healthy. Both Michael Taylor (.320, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 10 RBI) and Sam Fuld (.304, 13 runs, 3 triples), a couple of Stanford products, have taken advantage of Craig Gentry’s absence to make strong bids for breaking camp on the 25-man roster. And Jesse Chavez is giving every indication he’s ready to shine this season….
The A’s catching trio of Stephen Vogt, Derek Norris and John Jaso has terrorized the Cactus League this spring, combining to hit .355 (33-93) with eight doubles, one triple, four homers and 28 RBI thus far. Norris ranks second on the team to Brandon Moss (.433) in batting this spring with a .407 average to go along with two homers and nine RBI. Vogt is close behind with a .394 average and owns the third best on-base percentage behind Daric Barton (.533) and Norris (.467) with a .459 figure, plus a homer and eight RBI, while Jaso has a homer and nine RBI to go with his .258 average. Would we actually consider carrying three catchers this season? Stay tuned….
While there’s no denying their talent and resumes, can you name another Major League team that could have a pitcher who won 14 games last year (A.J. Griffin), a pitcher who had 12 victories and a 19-start unbeaten streak last season (Jarrod Parker) and one of the premier set-up men in the American League (Ryan Cook) on the shelf, and still have ample arms to be one of the better pitching staffs in baseball? You certainly can’t deny the talent, potential and resumes of Parker, Griffin and Cook, but with that said, the vibe in the A’s Phoenix Muni clubhouse remains upbeat and business as usual. From the manager on down, no signs of panic whatsoever. It helps to have quality arms the likes of Tommy Milone, Jesse Chavez, Evan Scribner, Drew Pomeranz and Josh Lindblom to summon as their replacements….
Eric “The Face” Sogard hasn’t even gotten to Opening Day and he’s already had a great season. First, he rode Nerd Nation to an improbable runner-up finish in the Face of MLB online contest, blowing by the likes of Buster Posey and Jose Bautista and nearly upsetting the Mets’ David Wright in the championship round. Then last night, the vertically-challenged infielder received another big honor, as his old high school retired the No. 9 jersey he made famous at nearby Thunderbird High School in Phoenix. Sogie is the first baseball player in that school’s history to have his number retired….