Sam Fuld, Billy Burns: Here’s Your Chance

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With the disabled list assignments to Oakland Athletics outfielders Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld and Billy Burns now have their chance to Wally Pipp the veterans.

In my previous article I stated speed never goes in a slump and I still stand by that. In addition to the speed that both Fuld and Burns possess, both are having a decent spring with Burns leading the club with 31 hits and a .383 BA and Fuld at a healthy .270 and 17 hits in his 21 games. But spring-training statistics are irrelevant at best, misleading at worst.

Burns, 25, who is adjusting to becoming a switch hitter, is showing more promise with his left-handed at bats hitting the ball all over the field with shots down the line or into gaps, rather than just slaps as he was doing last year. When he’s on base, Burns is an obvious threat to steal. In his past two minor league seasons, he’s stolen 128 bases in only 141 attempts.

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Fuld has never had a season where he’s been locked in a line-up. Even last year, where he found himself on the opening day roster, later saw him released, only to be re-signed by the A’s later in the season, he landed himself as the starting left fielder for the Wildcard Playoff vs. the Royals.

It’s no secret Crisp, 35, has battled injuries lately. He has an unfortunate injury history, with five trips to the DL during his six seasons with the A’s or sitting out games for nagging injuries.

Reddick, 28, has also had his DL battles with hot-and-cold plate performances, especially last year having a frigid first half at the plate, but was able to attain a respectable 2014 season average of .264 due to a .300 second half. Where he lands for 2015 after rehab for his oblique injury no one knows.

We all know Crisp is a spark plug for the A’s and Reddick’s glove is always appreciated, but with both on the DL, these two have their chance to earn permanent spots if their spring performances continue into the regular season.

NOTE: With pitcher Sonny Gray starting for the new-look Oakland A’s Opening Night, he will be the only returning player in the starting line-up that was in the 2014 Opening Night line-up

(2014 starting second baseman Eric Sogard will likely be a back-up to newly-acquired Ben Zobrist).

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