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Athletics Nation - All Posts

An SB Nation blog for Oakland Athletics fans

Updated: 2018-03-21T10:00:02-07:00


Views from Arizona: Fowler, Neuse, Powell, other hitters


My analysis from a weekend of Cactus League baseball comes to an end with a look at some interesting young Oakland hitters. Monday I wrote about some of the more notable pitching performances from the past weekend of Oakland A’s spring training baseball. Today, I wrap up with a look at some hitters who caught my eye, two of which are battling for the Opening Day center field job. Dustin Fowler Fowler was my main focus entering the weekend, as the 23 year-old is just getting back into game action after his 2017 season was cut short. First and foremost, I wanted to see if Fowler’s knee was truly back to 100% after the injury. In his two games this weekend, I saw nothing that would indicate otherwise. He seemed to be moving just fine, and while I could tell he wasn’t doing anything that would unnecessarily stress his knee, if I hadn’t known about the injury prior to seeing him I wouldn’t even be able to tell he had it. Next, I wanted to see if Fowler could hold his own in center field. He only had two real opportunities that weren’t routine. On Friday, he ranged far into left center to make a running catch on a ball over his head. It was nothing spectacular, but he looked smooth and took a nice route. However, on Saturday, he froze on a hard line drive directly to him. He caught the ball, but didn’t have enough time to set his feet and make a strong throw home, allowing a runner on third to score with ease. Every outfielder says that the fly ball hit right at you is the hardest to judge, and Fowler did still make the catch, but his initial hesitation cost the A’s a run. With the bat, Fowler seemed a bit pull-happy. In his first two at-bats on Friday he hit fly balls to the warning track, one caught in center and one that bounced over the right-center field wall for a ground rule double. I didn’t see him hit a ball well to the opposite field on either day. However, his swing did look smooth overall, and he showed better plate discipline than I expected. My opinion on Fowler hasn’t changed - long term, I see him as a stronger fit in a corner than in center field, but while he is in his prime he could hold down center at an adequate level. I remain of the belief that he could use a bit more seasoning in Triple-A to begin 2018, but should still make an impact at the Major League level by June or so. Boog Powell Powell’s successful 2017 came with a .345 BABIP (.390 while in Oakland) and I think Billy Burns has taught A’s fans that even with speed, it is unwise to call a BABIP that high sustainable. However, I like everything that Powell brings to the table, and while he is best suited for a fourth outfielder role in the long run, I strongly believe he should open 2018 as the team’s primary center fielder against righties. Boog had a strong weekend on both sides of the ball. He played all three outfield spots and looked nearly flawless at each, making every play that came his way. He even turned a great double play in right field on Friday (that I unfortunately missed while I was in line for popcorn). Defensive metrics were fairly neutral on his performance in center field in 2017, but by the eye test he looks to be an above average defender at all three spots. Where Boog impressed me the most this weekend was at the plate. He showed no power and probably never will, but he is still able to drive the ball and has a line drive approach. Most impressive was his Sunday at-bat against Chicago White Sox flamethrower Michael Kopech. He fell behind 0-2 but battled back, eventually driving an opposite-field single to left to load the bases. He also stole a base on Friday, getting a good jump off of Cleveland righty Carlos Torres. I like his chances at winning the center field job to begin the year, and he could serve as a second leadoff hitter at the bottom of the order. Below is another shaky video of the Powell at-bat. Skip to 3:50 to see Matt Joyce’s grand slam! src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: ab[...]

Elephant Rumblings: A’s Lineup Ranked 10th Best in Baseball, Alex Cobb Finally Signs


A’s Coverage: Ranks A’s Lineup 10th Best in Baseball... Lee: Graveman gets Opening Day assignment... AN: Oakland A’s sign Brett Anderson to minor league deal... Moriarity: Down On The Farm with A’s Special Assistant Grady Fuson... Lockard: Oakland Athletics prospects make a strong impression in big league camp... Gallegos: Yusmeiro Petit finally finds job security after anxiety-filled journey... MLB News: ESPN: Alex Cobb agrees with Orioles on 4-year deal near $60M... MLBTR: Padres’ Alex Dickerson To Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Miss 2018 Season... Baseball Interest Stories: ESPN: Inside the mask: An umpire crew chief on mound visits, mad managers and having your call overturned... SI: How Giancarlo Stanton Negotiated His Way to the Yankees to Create Baseball’s Scariest Lineup... SBN: A Minor League Baseball team will be the Flying Chanclas, amazing nostalgia for Latinxs everywhere... BP: Will Tampa Bay’s Bullpen Day Catch-On Elsewhere? Calcaterra: The Marlins are using Jose Fernandez’s death to head off criticism of their teardown Today in Baseball History: 2006 - Second baseman Alfonso Soriano refuses to play the outfield for the Washington Nationals in what was supposed to be his first exhibition game with the team. General manager Jim Bowden says his biggest offseason acquisition could go on the disqualified list if he doesn’t agree to switch positions this week. 2011 - The perjury trial of Barry Bonds, officially named “USA vs. Bonds”, begins in San Francisco, CA with jury selection. The past few weeks have been spent arguing over what evidence would be admissible as the prosecution seeks to demonstrate that Bonds lied to a grand jury in 2003 during the BALCO investigation when he stated that he had never knowingly used steroids. Bonds also faces a charge of obstruction of justice. Best of Twitter: Game day staff changes... A’s make some major customer-service changes, add 500 part-time staff:— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 19, 2018 [...]