Three A’s to Watch
Scouting three Oakland A’s stars for 2015.
After the bitter disappointment of last season’s Wild Card Game flameout, the Oakland Athletics come back for 2015 with a whole new look. Gone are Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Derek Norris, and other fan favorites.
In their place, the A’s have gone young, loading up on prospects and twenty-somethings who, if all goes well, will jell with a few key vets to recharge—rather than rebuild—what has been a fantastic three-year run for the green and gold. Here are a few A’s to keep an eye on.
1. Ben Zobrist
Call him the perfect A’s player: Unknown to most casual fans, Zobrist, the 33-year-old utility man, grades out as one of the most valuable players in the league in the eyes of analysts, thanks to things that don’t always show up in traditional stats—durability, defensive versatility, staying out of double plays, and so forth.
2. Brett Lawrie
Few baseball insiders doubt that Lawrie, the infielder poised to fill Josh Donaldson’s shoes at third, has the goods. His problem has been staying on the field. But if, as Lawrie claims, the move from Toronto’s artificial turf to the Coliseum’s natural grass is easier on his joints, the A’s may have unearthed another gem.
3. Stephen Vogt
The catching duties fall to Vogt in 2015. While he’s never made an Opening Day lineup in Oakland, Vogt’s proven what he can do with the bat, hitting .324 and .364 at Triple-A the past two years, and in a handful of clutch moments in the Bigs. Without many true sluggers in the lineup, the A’s will lean heavily on Vogt.
The Main Man:
The face of the A’s franchise doesn’t belong to a player. It’s Billy Beane. The Moneyball man initiated nine trades this off-season, and if things aren’t going exactly to plan—or maybe even if they are—you can bet he won’t be shy about pulling the trigger on even more.