You can feel it in the air… Spring training is almost here!
The Big Clubs will, of course, get most of the attention and the press, but I follow the Ports, and here’s what’s shaking in the Athletics System right now for the Stockton team. The ubiquitous lists of “GIVEN Teams top Prospects” are making the rounds, and when it comes to Oakland, there’s a great deal of agreement as to who is ON the list, with argument over WHERE on the list they belong.
In any case, some of last seasons Ports are moving up the ladder, lead by Matt Olson, the hard hitting 1st Baseman and 3rd Baseman Renato Nunez. Outfielder Chad Pinder are all expected to start the year in Midland. Pitcher Raul Alcantara, who flashed moments of brilliance in 2013 before being sidelined, turned out to need Tommy John surgery. he is expected to start in the Rookie leagues, to see if he can completely recover. If he does, it’s likely we could see him at Banner Island later in the season.
Expected in Stockton this season are 3rd Baseman Matt Chapman, a power hitting 1st Rounder from 2014, who made it up to Beloit last season. Franklin Baretto is a 19 year old Shortstop, in the mold of Addison Russell, who the A’s expect to start in Stockton in the hopes that the Venezuelan native has what it takes to be the Short Stop of the future as quickly as possible.
For me though, the most intriguing possibility for Stockton is Pitcher Dillon Overton. He is expected to start he season in Beloit , but the hopes are very high on the University of Oklahoma (BOOMER SOONER!) product. He did have Tommy John surgery last year, but a left hander who can get it going should move up quickly. And while the California League isn’t exactly the best place to see the best pitchers have to offer, it is a big step in learning to face big league hitting. Assuming that at some point in the season we see him here in Stockton, I’ll have to wear my OU hat for at least the games he pitches!
Spring is almost here… hurrah!