Swingin’ A’s Mailbag: Kazmir, Doolittle, Olson and Robertson

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A few days ago we started an Ask.fm account, where we field questions from you, the fans. There have been so many great questions asked, that we figured we should just go ahead and start a mailbag column once or twice a week. We’ll pick about five questions that we think are great and feature them here, where we can expand upon our answers a little further. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

Will A’s trade Scott Kazmir? If so, will A’s wait until Parker and/or Griffin are able to join the rotation?

I think that they will definitely trade Kazmir. While the return of Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin would signify a great time to move the lefty, the A’s have the depth to move Kazmir when they see fit. The big decision for the front office to make is if he will improve his value by pitching in the first half, or diminish it.

Before the All-Star break, he had a 2.38 ERA, but after the Midsummer Classic, that ERA ballooned to a second half total of 5.42. 2014 saw Kazmir pitch his largest workload since 2007, so fatigue may have played a role. Whether or not he will be stronger in 2015 is a question, not just for the A’s, but potential trade partners as well. Keeping him until the trade deadline could help the A’s return, but it could also shrink the market.

Do you think the A’s will try bunting and stealing more next year? And if so who do you think will lead the A’s in steals?

With the additions of Ike Davis, Billy Butler and Brett Lawrie, I don’t see the A’s bunting and stealing more frequently. Bunting helped land Craig Gentry on the DL last season as well. I think the A’s have learned their lesson. Gentry will lead the team in steals with 25.

Because of Sean Doolittle being the face of the A’s in my opinion, I started thinking of the other Doolittle, his brother Ryan. Do you think he can make it to the majors and play with his brother? If yes, when?

Do I think Ryan Doolittle can make it to the majors? Absolutely. Will he play with his brother? You never know with the A’s. Oakland will have plenty of options to consider for the bullpen heading into 2015, and Ryan Doolittle may not be on that immediate list. Last season he was in Double-A Midland and held a 3.23 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. In the Arizona Fall League, Little Doo went 0-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings, striking out 11 and walking zero. The potential is there, but he will likely get a look in Triple-A Nashville next season, and may not see Oakland until September, if not 2016 or beyond.

Do you see anyone hitting over .300 next year or getting over a 100 rbis or runs?

If anyone has a shot to hit over .300 in 2015, it’s Butler. He’s a career .295 hitter, and has hit above .300 three times in his career. As for the run and rbi totals, i doubt it. There will probably be a slew of players in the 70-85 rbi range, but they haven’t had a player reach 100+ rbi since Frank Thomas in 2006. If there is one player that can though, it’s Josh Reddick. He has the ability to hit for both power and average (whether or not he will is a different question), and that is how a player reaches that milestone. Reddick had 85 rbi in 2012, but if he hits .260-.270 with about 20 home runs (lofty goals, admittedly) then there is a chance.

Coco Crisp is the only player that has the potential to reach 100+ runs in my opinion. He’ll need to rebound from a poor 2014 campaign, and he’ll need to be on base A LOT.

How do you predict Matt Olson and Daniel Robertson years as players when they come up? Which players do you think they will be like?

That is a great question! Matt Olson is a rare player. Last season in Stockton, he hit 37 home runs, batted .262 with 137 strikeouts and 117 walks. It’s that walk total, coupled with the power that makes him special. The best part? He’s only 20. It’s easy to find recent players that have hit about 30 home runs and had a ton of strikeouts in the California League (a notoriously hitter friendly league), but adding in those walks with that power gets me excited.

As a comparison, Paul Goldschmidt hit .314, with 35 homers in 2010. He also struck out 161 times and walked on only 57 occasions. Could Olson hit for a higher average and develop like Goldschmidt? Possibly, but those are lofty expectations. Another former A’s prospect may be a better comparison for Olson. In 2008, Chris Carter hit 39 homers, with a .259 batting average while striking out 156 times. He did walk 77 times however, so this may be the best comparison we’ll find. Hopefully the strikeout totals don’t mirror Carter’s later on in his career (like nowish).

It’s harder to find a comparable player to Robertson at this stage of his career. He’s 20, which means that his power numbers could increase over his 15 home run output last season, but again, that was in a hitter-friendly league. According to MLB Pipeline, “Robertson’s best tool is his bat. With a short stroke and an all-fields approach, Robertson makes consistent line-drive contact. His hitting acumen, bat speed and strength should give him high-producing power down the road.” To find someone comparable to Robertson, we’ll wait until he has some time in Double-A to see how well he develops.

That’s it for this edition of the Swingin’ A’s Mailbag! Keep the questions coming, and we’ll keep answering them! Submit your questions at ask.fm/swinginas

Next: A Chat with Chris Bassitt

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