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Craig Gentry: Oakland Athletics Run Machine

Craig Gentry has been playing solid baseball since coming off the D.L. earlier this season. Some have been deeming him “The best 4th outfielder in baseball.” That is quite the acclaim. Let’s just settle for this: He’s damn better than Seth Smith and Chris Young.

As I wrote about a couple of months ago, Craig Gentry is a key acquisition for the Oakland Athletics. He still only starts in the right situations, but man is he productive. Heading into May 3rd, Gentry is batting .317 with a .391 OBP through 47 Plate Appearances, 5 of which resulted in walks. Of his 41 official ABs, Craig Gentry has gotten a hit 13 times. Of the 18 times he’s been on base, he’s scored 10. 4 of his 13 hits have been for extra bases (3 doubles and a triple) leaving him with 9 singles. When he’s been on first, he’s stolen second 4 times.

Sorry for the stat overload, but here is what all of that means. About 29% of the times he’s been on first, he steals second. More than half of the time he is on base, he scores a run. He scores these runs nearly 1 in 4 ABs. That’s good for about 1 a game. The types of runs he scores don’t require a ball going over the fence. He just needs someone else to get a single, and his speed will take care of the rest.

What I am hoping is for Gentry to get some starts at DH, where he can bat 9th. Here is my projected lineup: Crisp, Lowrie, Donaldson, Moss, Cespedes, Norris, Reddick, Sogard and Gentry. The only reason Gentry is at 9 is so he and Coco are back-to-back. Imagine Gentry leading off an inning and getting on. Then Coco gets on. Heck, make Lowrie take a pitch and double steal. Runners on second and third with nobody out. Lowrie is a doubles machine. Donaldson has power. So do Moss and Cespedes. Ideally, it would be a quick way to have a big inning.

Utilizing Gentry and Crisp together like this is much better than Crisp and Sogard, who’s OBP is currently .314. Increase the odds of the runner ahead of Crisp getting on, coupled with Gentry’s speed and we have a duo that is bound to play with a pitcher’s mind. The addition of Craig Gentry to 2014 squad is certainly an upgrade, but it could also be a difference maker.


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  • whyme4

    Jason, I don’t always agree with you, but that idea of Gentry batting 9th ahead of Crisp is a good one. Wonder if Melvin has ever considered it.

    • Jason Burke

      Thank you!

  • MarshaHart

    Jason~ I am a Ranger fan & but also a fan of Gentry. I have started watching many of the A’s games as well now. I wish more would read your column~ you make a lot of sense. Totally agree with your assessment of Gentry~ he is more than an average 4th outfielder and the ability to play any position in the outfield & play it very well is quite an asset. Centerfield is where Gentry most excels but great to see him getting more playing time already. And hey don’t mind your “so called “stat overload~ I look at individual & overall team stats myself. =) I know the A’s outfield is stacked but hope Gentry does continue to start frequently & has consistent play. The more he plays the better he plays & the guy plays with a lot of passion ~he is not a quitter. In fact he can be quite a spark. His OBP is high & when he gets on base he is ready to run! (Which of course makes him an excellent lead off player) I love how he showed just that in the A’s /Rangers series. =) I live in Ranger country so I will always be a fan but am becoming an A’s fan as well. Great group of players. Thank you again for your writing.

  • CBlake

    Why isn’t Gentry a starting CF for someone? Good OBP, great steals, not much of a platoon split, great defense. I think the A’s got a steal when they signed him. Forget DH-ing him – put him at the top with Coco behind him.