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An SB Nation blog for Oakland Athletics fans



Updated: 2018-02-23T13:09:55-08:00

 



CPL #27: Skye Bolt searches for his breakout

2018-02-23T13:09:55-08:00

The outfielder has the tools but needs to put them all together. For the third time in the last four ballots, our Community Prospect List adds a former 4th-round draft pick. Here’s the current list, including their winning margins (the difference between his % of the vote, and the % of the runner-up): A.J. Puk, LHP (+62%) Franklin Barreto, SS (+56%) Jorge Mateo, SS (+22%) Dustin Fowler, OF (+24%) Sean Murphy, C (+0%) Jesus Luzardo, LHP (+37%) Austin Beck, OF (+14%) James Kaprielian, RHP (+2%) Lazaro Armenteros, OF (+41%) Grant Holmes, RHP (+18%) Sheldon Neuse, 3B (+68%) Greg Deichmann, OF (+17%) Logan Shore, RHP (+2%) Kevin Merrell, SS (+8%) Renato Nunez, DH (+7%) Daulton Jefferies, RHP (+9%) Nick Allen, SS (+24%) Ramon Laureano, OF (+44%) Tyler Ramirez, OF (+33%) Dakota Chalmers, RHP (+2%) Nolan Blackwood, RHP (+6%) Dalton Sawyer, LHP (+1%) Casey Meisner, RHP (+22%) B.J. Boyd, OF (+15%) Lou Trivino, RHP (+23%) Will Toffey, 3B (+6%) Skye Bolt, OF (+5%) In the last post we looked back at the recent history of Oakland A’s 4th-round picks, including CPL members Will Toffey (2017) and B.J. Boyd (2012). That particular round has often been one last chance for the A’s to unearth a true upper-draft talent that has slipped for one reason or other. In 2015 that meant betting on the big, untapped tools of outfielder Skye Bolt. Entering the draft, MLB Pipeline gave Bolt above-average grades in speed, arm, and fielding, with decent power to boot. The whole package earned him the No. 67 spot on Pipeline’s pre-draft board, which equates with a late-2nd-round pick (Oakland took 2nd-rounder Mikey White 63rd overall that year). However, a lackluster college career dropped him down to the 4th, where he eventually signed over-slot for mid-3rd-round money. In other words, the A’s gambled on undeveloped raw tools to maximize potential ceiling, which is a shrewd risk to take at that point in the draft. So how has the project gone since then? Bolt is still a work in progress and he’s been slowed by some minor nagging injuries, but by no means has he flamed out yet. He’s at least managed average batting lines up through High-A last year, with an emphasis on strong walk rates. He finally found some power last summer in hitter-friendly Stockton. And he’s done all of that while playing almost exclusively in CF, where there’s no reason to expect he can’t stick long-term. He figures to test out the upper minors this year in Double-A Midland. One question for Bolt is how long he will continue switch-hitting. Even before his draft there was talk of whether he should convert to strictly lefty, and last year not a single one of his 15 homers came as a righty. One way or other, he has the chance to be an impact player if ever puts it all together, more so than most guys you’ll see this low on the CPL. The Skye is truly limit. Here is the process: Five candidates will be listed on the ballot. The voting will take place in the comments section. I will start with a comment listing all five players, and then I will respond to that with five new comments in the style of “Vote: Player Name” for each candidate. Please do not reply directly to the official “Vote” comments, so that the ballot can stay together in one group. Choose your ONE favorite by Rec’ing the comment with his name. Please only vote for one. The player who receives the most Rec’s earns the next spot on the CPL, while the remaining four players move on to the next ballot where they are joined by a new nominee. In the comments, below the official voting, the community will nominate players to be put onto the ballot for the next round. Similar to the ballot, I will start with a comment calling for nominations, which can then be made as a response to my comment. The format for your comment should be “Nomination: Player Name”. After the first nomination for a player has been put in, all other votes for that player will come from Rec’ing his comment. The player with the most Rec’s earns the nomination. If a prospe[...]



Elephant Rumblings: A’s Spring Season Begins, Chapman Gets Cortisone Shot

2018-02-23T08:55:02-08:00

A’s Coverage: Chapman receives cortisone shot, expects to hit again in a few days... Puk among trio of A’s dark-horse candidates... Mengden to start A’s rotation battle in opener... Oakland Athletics 2018 top-50 prospects: Austin Beck, OF... Former Giants top prospect hopes to revitalize career with A’s... MLB News: Pirates land Corey Dickerson for Daniel Hudson, minor leaguer... Angels’ Shohei Ohtani to make spring debut as pitcher Saturday... Rays top pitching prospect Honeywell has torn UCL, headed for Tommy John surgery... Miami-Dade County wins first battle over ex-Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in lawsuit... Rangers sign Jesse Chavez... Baseball Interest Stories: How a youth coach in Colombia rebuilt a once-successful relief pitcher... Baseball as a Business, a Historical Perspective... Today in Baseball History: 1964 - Charlie Finley gives in to American League pressure and signs a four-year lease with the municipal government to keep the A’s in Kansas City. Finley wanted two years. His exasperated AL colleagues vote 9-1 that KC’s offer is reasonable. Finley will move the team out of KC as soon as the lease expires after the 1967 season. 2013 - The famous “bloody sock” worn by P Curt Schilling in Game 2 of the 2004 World Series is sold at auction for $92,613. Schilling had loaned the item to the Hall of Fame, but had used it as collateral against a loan to set up his video game company, 38 Studios, which went bankrupt last year. Schilling defaulted on payments, prompting the bank to sell it in order to recover some of its loss. Best of Twitter: Sounds like a good weekend all around for the Piscotty family... Stephen Piscotty says his mom, Gretchen, is here at least through the weekend to see him and to see his brother, Austin, whose St Mary’s team is playing at ASU.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 23, 2018 [...]



Tim Lincecum and the A’s rotation depth

2018-02-21T07:45:01-08:00

Why he makes so much sense for a team with a young rotation. Coming into the offseason, everyone including the A’s brass knew the starting rotation was in need of some help. Aside from a few long relievers who will help indirectly, the A’s haven’t actually done anything to help their starting staff. It’s not indefensible, as per usual the available options are expensive or riddled with question marks, even if some of those options may well end up succeeding. The offseason isn’t over yet, and the A’s still have a chance to make a move. What’s left on the free agent marketplace is uninspiring, with the possible exception of one guy: Tim Lincecum. Lincecum could be terrible and might actually be likely to be terrible, if his last stint in the bigs is any indicator. But there’s reason to believe he might be a different guy after spending time at Driveline Mechanics, a training facility that’s tangibly aided numerous pitchers who have trained there before. Reports on Lincecum’s showcase were positive, with his velocity back in a range where he could actually be effective. Whether or not he can sustain that for actual big league innings remains to be seen, but his performance puts him firmly in the range of enticing. The only thing missing from the reports of his showcase is the A’s presence. It’s not stated explicitly that the A’s didn’t send a scout and it’d be baffling if they didn’t. No matter. Lincecum is still interesting. Tim Lincecum is a no brainer I think of Tim Lincecum a lot like I think about Jonathan Lucroy or Rich Hill - essentially no risk. The parallels between 2015 Hill and 2018 Lincecum are obvious. Both are up in age, both are comeback stories, and both have changed arsenals. Hill’s previous season success made him a safer bet with closer big league success, but both are far from a sure thing. Like Hill, Lincecum is essentially a guarantee to not to sink the team on his own. The worst case scenario if the A’s do sign him is that Lincecum is bad, and the A’s end up giving a few starts that end up with a Raul Alcantara running out a game’s non-existent clock. Lincecum would be taking starts instead of a Daniel Gossett or a Paul Blackburn, starts that could very well end up being short and miserable anyway. Lincecum wouldn’t really be taking starts away from Gossett or Blackburn, he’d just be changing their cadence. If Lincecum comes back guns blazing, his best case scenario is probably Rich Hill esque. Quality pitching in a condensed period. As a 33 year old coming off a year in which he didn’t pitch professionally, whoever employs Lincecum is best suited to give him some rest and not try and force the rigors of an entire season onto his shoulders. That best case scenario is 15-20ish #3 like starts, which is certainly more upside than the backend of the rotation has now. Gossett and Blackburn are still very much necessary with Lincecum, and their quality may be enhanced by him taking some of the load off of their arms. The inning limitations is true for most of the staff. There’s not a single pitcher who has eclipsed 200 innings before and most haven’t come close. Almost everyone on the A’s starting staff was injured at one point or another last season and while a rotation starts with five guys, it’s an all hands on deck situation. The question is the timing of when each hand will actually be pressed into action. Signing Tim Lincecum, or any other starter of that nature wouldn’t displace Blackburn or Gossett or Triggs or whoever, it’d just push their arrival to a bit later in the year. Keep in mind that even in the A’s best years, they’ve given starts to guys like Brad Mills and Josh Lindblom. Lincecum is a much better bet than those guys, even if he has a chance at failure. It’s not all roses of course. Bad starts are bad starts, and the A’s Wild Card hopes are on razor thin margins to start. But if the A’s sign Lincecum and he’s bad, they’d be able to cut him with l[...]