Oakland Athletics’ Prospects Who Could Make An Impact Next Year
Second Base Prospect Joey Wendle
Sep 28, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; A baseball on the grass before the game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Katrina Putnam: I think the prospect closest to top for the A’s is infielder Joey Wendle, so I expect him to be the one to make an impact next year. Chad Pinder might have more talent overall, but Wendle has a year of Triple-A under his belt, and he’s a very skilled player himself. Depending on what the team does with Danny Valencia, there could be an opening in the middle infield if Brett Lawrie is moved back to third base. Wendle hit .289/.323/.442 last season, with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He was named the All-Pacific Coast League team’s second baseman this year, only two years after being the Cleveland Indians’ Minor League Player of the Year.
He’s got the talent, but the caveat with Wendle is that it seems unlikely that he’ll get a call-up until he’s sure to get regular playing time. Using Minor League prospects as bench players can be ineffective (see Max Muncy, or early-season Mark Canha) because they really need to play every day. Once Wendle gets his shot, look for him to play consistently and push Sogard or Marcus Semien back to the bench. I think his lack of a September call up had more to do with a roster crunch (remember, there wasn’t even originally room for Barry Zito on the 40-man) and service time considerations than any doubt about his ability to succeed in the majors.
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Steven Luke: There is an obvious answer to which prospect will step up into a prominent role in 2016 after Ryan Dull filled such a prominent role in the bullpen at the end of the season.
The right answer, though, is Joey Wendle.
At the end of the season, it seemed certain that Brett Lawrie would man second base and Danny Valencia would cover third base in 2016, but Wendle is the long term answer at second and history shows it is highly unlikely that Lawrie will be healthy for a full season. Wendle may start the 2016 season on the bench, but he will get opportunities to play whether it is due to injury or just rest and when he does, he will do what Billy Burns and Mark Canha did, earn a spot.
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