As the season gets closer, we’re going around the league taking a look at which prospects have stood out during spring training and which have found they need some more seasoning. The next stop is the Oakland Athletics, which came into spring training knowing that few rookies had much of a chance to make an impact. In fact, one of the first columns of spring training in the Oakland Tribune highlighted the fact that the prospect pipeline in Oakland has slowed a bit with the next wave, led by Travis Barton, Kurt Suzuki and Travis Buck still about a year away.
Who’s Hot: Lefty reliever Jay Marshall, a Rule 5 pick, has flown a little bit under the radar in Oakland’s clubhouse, but his 2.92 ERA in 12 innings (12 hits, 3 BB, 5 Ks) gives him a chance of still making the roster.
Suzuki has shown every sign that he will be ready to step in when Jason Kendall’s contract expires at the end of the 2007 season. Suzuki has hit .400/.500/.538 in 16 at-bats while showing solid progress behind the plate.
“I think (Suzuki) is progressing enough to where he’s gaining some momentum where he’s one of those guys that can do that,” Leippman said. “He knows how to work with the pitchers. He’s made good adjustments with his career so far.”
Buck and Barton have also impressed, with Buck hitting .368/.457/.526 while Barton had an impressive line of .417/.548/.583. Neither is expected to make the team, especially with veteran Erubiel Durazo pushing Dan Johnson thanks to a strong spring, but both are showing every sign of not being that far away.
Who’s Not: Outfielder Ryan Goleski’s chances of making the roster as a Rule 5 pick have not been helped by his .150/.175/.186 spring, although he has gone 4-for-14 lately after starting the spring hitless in his first 14 at-bats.
“Before he got the two hits, it looked like he was putting too much pressure on himself,” Geren said. “Since then he seems much more relaxed. He’s going to be given a great shot at making the team. We just told him to be himself.”
The good news for Goleski is that he seems to have recovered from a hand injury the A’s didn’t discover until after they had acquired him in the Rule 5 draft.
Jason Windsor had a 6.48 ERA in eight innings, but the A’s are happy to see that he’s showing increased confidence.