In search of more bang from second base, the A's call up a former first-rounder.
The Situation: The first-place Oakland Athletics have received lackluster production out of the second base position in 2013—.264/.339/.343 and just one home run through 89 games—and now look to Triple-A Sacramento for an offensive boost in the form of Grant Green. After a solid but unspectacular year in Sactown last summer, Green has broken out in his second tour through the hitter-friendly PCL, triple-slashing .318/.374/.500 through 81 games whiles launching 11 home runs and 25 doubles.
Background: After entering his junior year at USC as a potential top five draft pick in 2009, Green struggled at the plate and in the field, ultimately dropping to Oakland as the 13th overall selection that June. Since then, he’s slowly climbed through the minor league ranks, showing steady growth in his game, and particularly in his approach at the plate. After shuffling around the diamond through his first three full seasons, Green made the permanent move off of shortstop in 2013 and looks to have found a permanent home at the keystone.
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Royals right-hander Brooks Pounders took center stage yesterday, tossing a no-hitter for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Brooks Pounders, RHP, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): 9.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Pounders is not a major prospect, but the no-hitter is impressive. He’s a guy that could get a cup of coffee in the big leagues and end up as a swingman, or be a guy who frequently goes up and down.
Position Prospect of the Day: Grant Green, 2B, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. I spoke with a scout the other day about Green, and he said, “I know he is putting up better numbers this year playing in the PCL, and I’m not sure I believe in him as a successful everyday candidate”; .432/.468/.886 with 6 2B, 1 3B, and 4 HR in last 44 at-bats.
Jose Reyes’ ankle injury is causing all sorts of shuffling in the Toronto lineup. One positive side effect is Jose Bautista potentially gaining third-base eligibility, with two starts at the hot corner over the weekend. The speedy Rajai Davis also figures to receive more starts in the outfield as a result. At first glance, you might think the injury also opens significant playing time for Izturis, but that might not be the case.
MLBDepthCharts Mailbag: Questions on the A's 2B battle and the eventual role for Cubs pitcher Arodys Vizcaino
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 JemileWeeks 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!
The Puerto Rico Baseball League kicked off on Thursday, featuring a handful of top prospects from Puerto Rico that include the 1st overall pick in the 2012 draft, Carlos Correa. The 18 year-old went 0-for-4 in his debut, but here are a few players who had notable performances from the various leagues that were in action.
This weekend saw Trevor Bauer make his Triple-A debut, Dylan Bundy doing it again (with "it" being almost indescribable) and Tim Alderson regaining prospect status.
Tim Alderson, RHP, Pirates (Double-A Altoona)
Alderson was once a hot commodity. A first-round pick by the Giants in 2007, the six-foot-six right-hander burst onto the prospect scene by putting up a 2.79 ERA in the California League as a 19-year-old thanks to average velocity and fantastic command, but the velocity began to slip, and his career seemed to go downhill after a trade to the Pirates for Freddy Sanchez. After a six-plus ERA in 2010 and a move to the bullpen last year, he was all but off the radar. Except a funny thing happened this year, as Alderson changed his approach and took up an arm conditioning program that included long-tossing, and this spring his 85-88 mph suddenly jumped to 90-92. After dominating out of the Altoona pen, he moved to the rotation this month, and on Sunday he fired seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits and touching 93; at just 23, and after a Sunday promotion to Triple-A, he's suddenly a prospect again as a potential back-end rotation piece.
Shortstop is a huge weakness on many major-league teams, but is there about to be an infusion of talent through the pipeline?
I’m going to curb my desire to craft a cute narrative about the importance of the position. (As is often the case, I’m going to satisfy my desire of cuteness delivery by assembling cute prospect tiers.) If you read Baseball Prospectus, you are already ahead of the baseball knowledge curve, so I don’t need to get didactic about the inherent skill set required to play the position, or the overall value a quality shortstop brings to the table. If you really want to read my take on what it takes, you can always check out my “U Got the Look” series and read 12,000 words of meandering scouting patois presented with a perfectly striped bow of instability.
For this exercise, I turned a blind eye to the substance offered by the middle-class prospects at the position, focusing instead on those with high ceilings, those with flashy leather and questions with the stick, and those who find themselves the targets of positional deficiency whispers. The tiers are self-explanatory, but not comprehensive; it would take three more editions to include all the names in my notes, and frankly, you don’t want to read four articles discussing every shortstop prospect in the minors. Actually, I take that back. You probably do. Let me rephrase: I don’t have the sanity it would take to write four articles breaking down every shortstop in the minors. I have to monitor my sanity reserves; after all, I’m heading back to Arizona for a lengthy scouting trip. Give me strength. Let’s get started.
The A's top 2009 pick has questions to answer about his upside afield and at the plate.
Power-hitting shortstops are a valuable commodity, and power-hitting shortstops who provide solid defense are invaluable. Which brings us to Grant Green, who may or may not fit either of those descriptions.
Rated as the top prospect in the Oakland system by both Baseball America and ESPN's Keith Law, while Kevin Goldstein ranks him second, Green was drafted 13thoverall in the 2009 draft out of the University of Southern California. He put up an eye-opening .318/.363/.520 slash line in High-A Stockton last summer, but opinions are mixed on just how good he will be—and at which position.