The Oakland Athletics have announced a change to their 40 man roster today, adding Tyler Ladendorf to the roster this morning. Ladendorf, 26, has played in various teams within the Athletics farm system since 2009.
If you don’t follow the minor leagues but this name still sounds familiar to you, it may be due to his 50 game suspension in 2014 for testing positive for a “drug of abuse.” He’s served his sentence and looks to be getting a major chance at the major league level. Of course, simply being placed on the 40 man rotation doesn’t mean he’ll be playing at the coliseum any time soon but it will give him the chance to show coaches what he’s made of at spring training.
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Jason Burke speculated several months ago that Tyler Ladendorf could be an eventual replacement for Eric Sogard although, considering Jed Lowrie is likely to leave, that game plan may have shifted to test him at shortstop. In his shortened 2014 season, Ladendorf spent 38 games at the shortstop position where he racked up 7 errors with a .964 fielding percentage. For comparison, Jed Lowrie had a fielding percentage of .974 in 90 more games.
Tyler Ladendorf had a slightly better season at second base with the same number of games resulting in 2 errors and a .990 fielding percentage. If his shortstop numbers don’t pan out to be big league ready, it’s possible that the Athletics will keep him at second and move Eric Sogard over to shortstop. The important thing, of course, is that Ladendorf needs to show up to spring training and make a huge impression so that the Athletics actually have options to play with. His batting average in 2014 was .297 with 21 extra base hits in 78 games. If he can bring those numbers to the big leagues with an above average defensive ability, he could be the exact addition the Athletics need to tighten up their infield and contend again in 2015.
So far, Billy Beane has been making small moves, claiming men off of waivers and making this sole roster move. Anyone that claims to understand Beane’s off-season strategy already is a liar but there’s little in off-season baseball more exciting than seeing what Billy is cooking up.