Five breakout candidates for the 2015 Oakland Athletics

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Mar 4, 2015; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Tyler Ladendorf (25) flies out during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants during a spring training baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Ladendorf
Ladendorf is the only player on this list who has yet to make it to the big leagues, but I think this will be his big year. The 26-year-old utility player had a .376 OBP in AAA last year before being suspended for recreational drugs. Now that he’s past his suspension, he is a long-shot to make the opening day roster, and is probably destined for AAA to start the year.

However, with the A’s question marks in the outfield due to Reddick’s injury, I’d like to see Ladendorf make the opening day roster if Reddick isn’t ready. Ladendorf can play all over the field, and he can demolish left-handed pitching (.395 batting average against lefties last year).

Ideally he can be used in a platoon situation, possibly with Eric Sogard at second base, and Ben Zobrist could shift to right field, at least temporarily. And when Coco gets hurt (sorry, but everyone knows it will happen) Zobrist can play left, Reddick can play right, and Sogard/Ladendorf could be a solid second base platoon.

My prediction for him is that he starts the year in AAA, plays well and gets called up when Coco or someone else gets hurt. Once he makes it to the big leagues, he continues playing well and sticks around in a platoon/utility role. He’ll hit around .270 (in the .320s against lefties) and play solid defense all around the field. Even though he doesn’t have much power, his value as a utility player will make a significant impact on the team.

Next: Who is in the Outfield?

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