Oakland Athletics put Coco Crisp on the DL

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Coco Crisp has missed a lot of baseball in the past three seasons with the Oakland Athletics. In keeping with tradition, it looks like he’s going to miss the first 6-8 weeks of the 2015 season due to surgery to remove a bone spur and some chips from his right shoulder. While this may seem like a major blow to the team, ask yourself this; does Coco Crisp going on the disabled list carry as much weight as it did in previous seasons? The answer may very well be, no.

It has long been said that Coco Crisp is the engine of this team and where Coco goes, the A’s go but the next two months without Coco may, in fact, prove to be major opportunities for some up and coming players that may fill the void once Crisp, eventually, hangs his cleats.

Take Billy Burns, for example. In spring training he managed to grab the seventh best batting average in all of baseball and he did it with more at bats than any of the guys above him on the list. He hit .237 in the minors last year and .397 in spring training so even with an expected drop off in the regular season, we’re still looking at an improved Burns. He also managed a significantly higher OBP over his 2014 minor league games and improved his SLG, matching his 3B count from 2014 in 469 fewer at bats.

If Coco Crisp is going to be out until June, Burns is going to get a lot of opportunities to shine and if his spring training numbers take a huge dip he still may be better than he was in 2014.

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But wait, there’s more. With Josh Reddick expected to miss the first five games of the season, we’re sure to see Mark Canha get some playing time early in the season. Canha, who was a rule 5 draft pick this winter, tied for third in home runs among all the major leagues this spring and is tied for eighth among American League hitters in RBI’s, fourth for doubles, and sixth in hits. He had the second most strike outs of any player in baseball, which is of some concern, but with demonstrated power he could prove to be a huge cog in the Athletics questionable offense.

With a fair amount of experience in Left Field, we could very easily be looking at Canha in left on opening day with Burns in center and Gentry in right. Nobody wants to see Coco Crisp on the DL and it’ll be great for this team if he can come back after surgery and return to his old form but there is a pretty significant silver lining to this cloud and that is that two wildly successful spring trainings will be rewarded with legitimate big league experience.

Should be an interesting few weeks in Oakland.

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