The Oakland Athletics have the pitching talent to win ballgames. We know that much already. What the A’s don’t have, at least on the major league level, is the offense to help support that strong starting pitching.
When the Athletics decided to tear apart their team by trading away favorites Dan Haren and Nick Swisher following the 2007 season, fans knew the team was entering a rebuilding phase. Some called it a youth movement led by general manager Billy Beane, and some criticized the fallout that usually comes with a rebuilding process. For Oakland, a team that advanced to the ALCS in 2006, losing seasons in ’07, ’08, and ’09 hit the team’s small fan-base pretty hard.
Oakland acquired some much needed pitching during those seasons, but while the team now features youngster Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Gio Gonzalez, the Athletics haven’t been able to match that type of talent on the offensive side. So it’s to no one’s surprise that the Athletics have been searching for players that will ultimately help the team offensively in the years to come.
Over the past few seasons, Oakland has drafted some pretty decent hitters in an attempt to reverse their offensive woes. Grant Green and Michael Choice come to mind, and since I’ve already covered Green in the past, I’ll talk more about Choice, who has been putting up solid numbers for Oakland’s Single-A affiliate.
Choice, Oakland’s first round pick during the 2010 draft, was definitely worthy of a first-round pick. Choice figures to be a prominent figure in Oakland’s future outfield corp, and is the type of player Oakland needs in order to succeed in the future. He’s got power, and he’s a player who will drive in his share of runs offensively.
In 95 games this season for Single-A Stockton, Choice has a slash line of .293/.385/.575 with 27 HR and 70 RBIs. The Athletics currently have no players with at least 20 home runs on the year. Over his past 10 games, Choice is hitting an even better .400/.478/.700 with three homers and five RBIs.
He’s hit lefties better this season, putting together a slash line of .329/.462/.603 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 73 at-bats. He’s no slouch against righties, however, as evidenced by his .284/.366/.569 slash line and 22 HR and 55 RBIs in 306 at-bats.
And at 21-years old, Choice definitely has a long and promising career ahead of him. It’s only a matter of time before he joins the A’s and the big-leagues, but once he does, watch out everybody. This kid is good.