Eric Sogard returns to the Oakland Athletics for his sixth season in a row
The Oakland Athletics’ roster has changed quite a bit over the past few years, but one thing has remained the same – Eric Sogard continues to provide stellar defense in the middle infield. Despite a weak bat, Sogard has survived all of the various rebuilds over the past few offseasons. He will return in 2016 to once again be the backup middle infielder for the A’s.
Per Sogard’s standards, he had a pretty good 2015. Even though he played in a backup role, he was able to take the field in 120 games this past season. He batted .247, which was his second highest full season average, whacked three triples and hit one very respectable home run. Additionally, it seemed as though his hitting, though sparse, was more timely last year, which is probably why his 37 RBI in 2015 was a career high for Sogard.
His bat may not be that impressive, but his defense was outstanding again last season. His “Nerd Power” helped him make some spectacular diving catches and throws in the middle infield. Sogard was able to end 2015 with a combined 0.991 fielding percentage at the three position he played that year.
In 2016, Sogard is expected to fill a similar role as he did in previous seasons with the A’s. With Marcus Semien now more defensively-sound at shortstop and with veteran Jed Lowrie returning to second base, Sogard may even see his playing time decrease. However, Lowrie tends to be injury prone, which could open a door for Sogard sometime during the season.
Additionally, in 2015, there was some talk that Sogard would start playing at third base more often. Right now on the Oakland Athletics’ depth chart, he is listed as the backup third baseman. So, Sogard could definitely be seeing some more time at third especially if Danny Valencia struggles at all throughout the season.
When it comes to Sogard, everything is pretty straight forward. He may not have the strongest bat, but he will provide great defense in the field and be a good teammate in the dugout. Unless injuries plague the middle infield, fans will see Sogard playing as the backup fielder for second, short and third this upcoming season.
Bold Prediction: Danny Valencia will struggle so greatly in 2016 that Eric Sogard will take over third base full time.