Early Impressions So Far...


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Gio Gonzalez has impressed everyone thus far in spring training...(Photo Credit: Scout.com)

The Oakland A’s have gone 5-6 so far this spring, and within those first 11 games, there have been some really good moments, and some not so good moments. There have been some standouts, and some who had better get a move on, or they might find themselves without a job come April.

Standouts

  • Gio Gonzalez—The A’s southpaw has yet to allow a run this spring, and he’s also recorded a whopping 10 strikeouts in five innings pitched. Gonzalez, who finished last season 15-9 with an impressive 3.29 ERA, has looked golden so far this spring.
  • Grant GreenGreen, the A’s first round pick in 2009′s draft, has been stellar in each of his nine plate appearances this spring. He’s hitting .444/.545/.444 this spring. Last year, Green hit .318 with 20 HR and 87 RBIs with Stockton.
  • Kevin KouzmanoffKouzmanoff, who had a down year in his first season as an Athletic in 2010, is off to a hot-start this spring. In 12 at-bats this spring, ‘Kouz’ has hit .500/.533/.750 with a home run and six RBIs. He’s definitely out to prove himself this season, and hopefully his numbers will improve as a result.
  • Bobby CramerCramer, 31, is quietly having himself an impressive spring so far. He’s currently in the running for Oakland’s No.5 starter gig, and with a 1.29 ERA through three appearances (1 start) he’s definitely proving his worth out there on the field. He’s got some competition in Josh Outman, Brandon McCarthy, and Tyson Ross, but he’s looked good so far.
  • Andy LaRoche—LaRoche, who was brought on board by Billy Beane, is definitely making quite a first impression with his new club. He’s been quite versatile this spring, playing practically every infield position, and he’s also flashed some power as well. In 18 at-bats this spring, LaRoche has hit .333/.478/.889 with three home runs and five RBIs. Who knows? If he keeps playing like this, he certainly has a shot at making the team.
  • Coco CrispCrisp is also having himself a pretty productive spring (aside from that DUI incident), hitting .412 with a home run and 7 RBIs. As long as he stays healthy, Crisp should start the season as Oakland’s lead-off hitter and starting center-fielder.

Not Worried Group

These players are good players, and so there’s really no real reason to be worried about their slow start this spring.

  • Trevor CahillComing off a season where he won 18 games, Trevor Cahill has a lot of expectations heading into the 2011 season. This spring, however, Cahill has hardly looked like the same guy he was last year. In 6.2 innings of work this spring, Cahill has allowed six-earned runs (8.10 ERA). I’m not worried, however, as this is spring training and there’s still plenty of time left for Cahill to get in gear.
  • Dallas Braden—Mr. Perfecto hasn’t been perfect this spring, as evidenced by his 11.25 ERA. Then again, he’s only pitched four innings thus far, and he’s much better than his spring numbers. Last spring, Braden went 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA. He ended up going 11-14 with a 3.50 ERA in the regular season last year. So, don’t worry.
  • Brett Anderson—It really doesn’t worry me that three-fifths of Oakland’s rotation lands in this column. Anderson is much better than his numbers this spring (1-1, 7.20 ERA), and he should—if healthy—have himself a very productive season in 2011.
  • Hideki Matsui—Matsui, 36, is no longer the same ‘Godzilla’ he was back in New York, but he’s still a respectable hitter in any lineup. His spring numbers are nothing impressive (1-for-11 this spring), but he should be okay going forward. He’ll be Oakland’s DH, and he should, for the most part, serve as a better DH than Jack Cust this year.  Go, go, Godzilla.

Not Impressed…

Here’s the bunch who have failed to impress me thus far.

  • Michael Taylor—He’s one of Oakland’s top hitting prospects, and while he hasn’t played that bad this spring, hit .185 batting average is not a pretty sight. He has recorded two homers, which for a team like Oakland is great, but until he prove that he’s ready for the show, he’ll start the season with Triple-A Sacramento.
  • Connor Jackson—He’s been injured for a while now, and for the most part, hasn’t really proven he’s capable of staying healthy for Oakland. This spring, he’s battling for a bench-role, but with guys like Andy LaRoche playing well, Jackson had better not take his job-security for granted. He’ll likely serve as one of the team’s backup outfielders, but with a .050/.136/.050 line through seven games (20 at-bats), it’ll be difficult to convince Oakland that he’s even a capable backup.

So what do you think? Who has impressed you most thus far? Who hasn’t? Hit the comment box below!



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