Craig Gentry: Oakland Athletics Run Machine
By Jason Burke
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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.