There’s not a whole lot to be happy about if you’re an A’s fan these days. For starters, Albert Pujols joined our division this winter and that means we’re likely going to sit in the realm of irrelevancy for the next few years as a result of the division shake-up.
Sure, our General manager Billy Beane is hard at work trying to get us ready for the future, but we’re not interested in the future are we? We’re interested in the here and now, huh?
Well, unfortunately for our poor souls, we’ll have to wait a while before the green-and-gold become competitive again. The team has a few players to get excited about, but even they’re not figured to make much of an impact on what should be a year of player development in 2012.
Recent trade acquisition Jarrod Parker, the centerpiece of the Trevor Cahill trade, joins my list of the five players I’m most excited about heading into the new year. While some may feel the Cahill trade favored Arizona more than it did Oakland, I’m really excited to see what Gray, a former 1st round draft pick from 2007, can do with the A’s organization.
He’s a front-of-the-line starter with a ton of potential and he should get a lot of attention from Oakland’s front office this spring. Parker currently ranks as the 17th best prospect on MLB.com’s 2011 prospects list.
Along with Parker, I’m really excited to see what 2012 has in store for former 1st round pick Grant Green. Green, who has his share of skeptics, had an off year in 2011, hitting for less power in Double-A Midland and a lower batting average. The short-stop, who was put into the outfield as well, hit .291/.343/.408 with 9 HR and 62 RBIs with the RockHounds.
Outfielder Michael Choice, another Oakland first-round pick, is probably the player I’m most excited about. He’s really got a good chance of becoming one of the brightest young outfielders in the game if he continues to excel in the minors. He gave the A’s organization flashes of his power this season with the Stockton Ports. He hit .285/.376/.542 with 30 HR and 82 RBIs this year with Oakland’s minor league affiliate.
He strikes out, but Choice is a player worth rooting for. He’s got big time potential, which is the reason why the power-starved A’s drafted him in the first place, isn’t it?
He’s got a lot of competition from Brandon Allen and Daric Barton for the position, so his playing time isn’t guaranteed. He could assume the role of designated-hitter assuming the A’s don’t bring back Hideki Matsui.
Either way, 2012 is a year Carter cannot afford to mess up. He hasn’t impressed many people during his short stints in the majors, but 2012 is Carter’s chance to show everyone the reason why he was regarded once as Oakland’s top-prospect.
Taylor, meanwhile, will look to find some playing time in Oakland’s newly emptied outfield. Josh Willingham and David DeJesus are no longer Athletics, so the outfield picture figures to an entirely new on in 2012.
Taylor, who struggled during his September call-up, could find himself with a greater opportunity for more at-bats this upcoming season. Oakland’s depleted outfield figures to benefit a guy like Taylor, who is looking to establish himself as an everyday major league player.