January 10, 2013
BP subscriber AndersonAdams1 asks this question about the 2013 Oakland A's, "What's your prediction on Grant Green this year? I believe I read he'll be in competition with Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore for the starting 2B job in spring but he played plenty of outfield last year as well. What would you say his odds are on making the opening day roster? Thanks for all your hard work!
Thanks for the question, Anderson! Here's what we know so far ...
After a strong rookie season in 2011 (.303 BA, .340 OBP, 26 2B, 8 3B, 22 SB), Weeks appeared to be locked into the second base job in Oakland for the next several years. But he was struggling last season with a .220 batting average and on-base percentage of just over .300 when he was sent to the minors in late August. The 25 year-old went 15-for-45 with six walks in ten Triple-A games before getting called back to Oakland in September, where he played sparingly.
Sizemore, a former second base prospect who was never given much of a shot while with the Tigers, was acquired in May 2011 and eventually took over as Oakland's starting third baseman later that season. He impressed them enough (.778 OPS, 11 HR, 52 RBI in 93 games) that he was penciled into the starting job in 2012. But he blew out his knee in Spring Training, missed the entire 2012 season, and now the A's have announced that he'll be moving back to second base in 2013.
A former 1st Round draft pick out of USC, Green remained at shortstop during his first full pro season in 2010 where he made 37 errors in 120 games for Hi-A Modesto. In 2011, he started the season as Double-A Midland's shortstop, where he continued to struggle (21 errors in 79 games), before the A's finally did the inevitable and moved him to another position -- center field. Instead of keeping him there, however, the A's appear to be getting Green ready for an all-out super-utility role after he played games at 2B, 3B, SS, CF, and LF in 2012 with Triple-A Sacramento.
First off, I'm going to go ahead and eliminate Green from the battle, or at least make him an extreme long shot. His inability to catch ground balls cleanly probably hinder his ability to move to another infield spot full-time. While the 25 year-old does have some offensive potential, I don't think he's shown enough where the A's are willing to overlook his limitations as a defender. If the A's believed enough in the total package, he wouldn't have played six positions in 2012 and they would have already decided what his regular position would be in the majors since he is getting closer. If he breaks in as a utilityman at some point in 2013, he'll have to earn regular starts by hitting the baseball very hard on a consistent basis. Then he'll have to catch the baseball consistently for them to trust him out on the field regularly. It's not impossible, but Green's path to a big league starting job in Oakland is not very clear. My prediction: big league call-up in July, where he'll serve as a super-utilityman but will fail to produce with any consistency at the plate as he struggles with a part-time role for the first time in his career.