Oakland Athletics v. San Diego Padres: Andrew Lambo And Ryan Dull Making Their Case
The Oakland Athletics squeaked out a 6-5 win over a San Diego Padres split squad on Sunday. The A’s saw mixed performances from its lineup, but one piece in particular is trying to make a statement that he belongs in the majors.
Outfielder Andrew Lambo slotted in as a DH in Sunday’s game, and he made it count. In the second inning, he got one of only two hits that the A’s could muster against opposing pitcher James Shields. He supplemented this by scoring the game’s first runs with a two-run home run in the fourth inning against Luis Perdomo. Although his next two at-bats were a pop-out and a ground-out, he demonstrated that he can make consistent contact with the ball throughout a nine inning stretch.
Lambo is now 6 for 12 with a walk this spring training. The fact that he isn’t even listed as a backup backup outfielder in Oakland’s unofficial outfield depth chart demonstrates how difficult his path to the opening day roster is. The front office wasn’t expecting to have to make yet another tough decision about who the fourth and fifth outfielders will be, but if Lambo comes out of spring training as the highest-producing outfielder (which he might), then they will certainly be faced with that decision.
The Pirates parted ways with Lambo due to his disappointing performances at the major league level, but he is a career .280/.347/.467 in the minor leagues. The front office may be seeing in Lambo a little bit of what they saw in Brandon Moss when they brought the struggling outfielder to Oakland in 2012. They’re recognizing his power potential and perhaps hoping it develops into something useful for the major league club.
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If you were wondering if Billy Burns would be able to replicate his 2015 season, then you are liking what you are seeing out of him in spring training. His leadoff hit in the first inning was the only other hit the A’s got off of Shields aside from Lambo’s. He supplemented this hit with a double and a walk. He was caught stealing in the first, but that can be attributed to Shields’ excellent work with holding Burns on the bag during Chris Coghlan’s at-bat. The key is that he reached base three times in three plate appearances; this is a sign that last year was not a fluke.
Yonder Alonso has only had six at-bats in spring training, but the base hit he notched in the fourth inning makes him 3 for 6 this spring. Production from Alonso is going to be crucial in 2016, given that the A’s are hoping to have a significant upgrade over part of last year’s first base platoon, Ike Davis. Alonso slashed .282/.361/.381 in San Diego last season, so his start to spring training could be an indication that he may repeat his performance this year.
Top rated prospect Franklin Barreto hit yet another home run while leading off the seventh inning against Nick Vincent. Barreto has had six at-bats this spring, and his two hits have both been home runs. Although he is sometimes a defensive liability in the middle infield, he is trying to prove that his bat more than makes up for his shortcomings. Susan Slusser noted that he is capturing the attention of many scouts in attendance.
Second baseman Joey Wendle went 0 for 3, and was also involved with a fielding error attributed to Chris Coghlan in the fourth inning. The error appeared to be caused by miscommunication between Wendle and Coghlan. As noted before, this could be Wendle’s most important spring of his career; he will certainly be eager to put this game behind him.
Ryan Dull found himself in a bases-loaded no-out situation due to a pair of errors in the 4th inning. Dull emerged as a late-season bright spot in an otherwise miserable Oakland bullpen in 2015, and his performance in the fourth inning reminded everybody why. Dull took the inning into his own hands and struck out the next two batters, and then induced an inning-ending fly ball to center field. The young reliever showed incredible composure given the hand that he was dealt by his own defense.