Alex Hassan to Join Oakland Athletics

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The most recent chapter in the never ending story of the Oakland Athletics acquiring outfield talent from the Boston Red Sox is their acquisition of Alex Hassan.

Alex Hassan, 26, only has 9 major league plate appearances to his credit but has worked his way through the Boston farm system and picked up a .297 batting average and a .397 on base percentage. It is clear why Oakland likes him with numbers like that. Hassan, in six minor league seasons, has also picked up 42 home runs and 267 RBI’s in 2,208 plate appearances.

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Those numbers look pretty good for a team that will be filled with players at the end of arbitration in 2016 and commanding more money than Oakland can/wants to spend. The number that should concern Oakland is his strike out totals. In the minors, Alex Hassan struck out 309 times, or  17% of his plate appearances. By contrast, Coco Crisp strikes out 12% of the time and Josh Reddick hovers around 19%. In his three major league games, Hassan struck out five times on nine plate appearances.

While those numbers should concern Oakland, they should not worry Oakland and with more time facing major league pitchers and some work with the team’s coaching staff, Hassan could be a valuable right handed batter in a lineup that desperately needs righties.

What does this mean for the team in the immediate future? That remains to be seen. Until Billy Beane starts making his big moves or announcing the arbitration contracts it’s impossible to predict what direction he’ll take the team in 2015. By picking up minor league talent on waivers, and through some free agent signing, Beane is slowly replenishing a farm system that was looking pretty thin without giving up any major league talent. This could indicate that he’s planning on keeping everyone in tact for 2015 and preparing for their future departure or it could mean that next week he’s going to dump everybody on the team and give 25 minor leaguers “the call to the show”. We just don’t know.

Although it’s too early to tell for sure, the claiming of Alex Hassan off of waiver leads me to believe that Beane is planning for the future beyond 2015 when all of his stars get too expensive which, in turn, would mean he’s keeping the team pretty much in tact. Like all A’s analysts who try to decipher a Beane plan, I’ve been wrong before.

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