Athletics Get Wednesday Off; Rich Hill’s Struggles Continue
Oakland Athletics Roundup: Wednesday, March 16
The Oakland Athletics have their first day off on Wednesday, as they get a brief reprieve from Cactus League baseball. Because of this, starter Chris Bassitt will make a minor league start rather than a major league one to stay on schedule.
So where are the Athletics at this point in the spring “season”?
They have a 6-6 record, squarely in the middle of the standings. That’s not a bad place to be in Spring Training – Cactus League games are typically won and lost in the final innings, when the lineup is filled with a few regulars, but mostly players who may never have a shot at a big league job. Finishing the spring with the best record is certainly not indicative of a team’s chances in the regular season.
So far, the A’s have played about how one might expect. All-Stars Sonny Gray and Stephen Vogt look outstanding. Players who were more of a gamble – Rich Hill, for instance – have had a pretty rough camp. But there have been a few notable storylines:
- Athletics’ reliever Ryan Dull has been cool and composed in each of his outings. While he’s allowed a bit of traffic, he has yet to allow an earned run. Of course, the Athletics may still not have room for him in their Opening Day lineup (check back later today for more about that) – but Dull has absolutely left a positive impression with both the on-field staff and the front office.
- Prospect Matt Chapman is another player who has shown his ability this spring. Chapman hit his third home run of Spring Training on Tuesday, tying Stephen Vogt for the team lead. Chapman – the A’s 2014 first-round pick – is someone to keep an eye on going forward. He’s not close to the majors, given that he spent last season at High-A Stockton, but it will be interesting to see how he develops this season, presumably after moving up to the Double-A level.
- Finally, as mentioned earlier, there is some reason to wonder about Athletics’ starter Rich Hill. Again – and this will be my mantra until April – Spring Training results don’t matter. However, at some point, one has to look at Hill’s career numbers and consider that perhaps last year’s success in Boston was a fluke. Out of four starts in 2015, his two best appearances came against eliminated teams, and his two worst appearances (albeit, still decent games) were against playoff contenders. There’s no need to rush to hasty conclusions about Hill’s future with the team, but his struggles with control do cause more concern than the average pitcher’s would this early in Spring Training.
In Case You Missed It
2016 Preview: Felix Doubront – Samantha Riley takes a look at Felix Doubront, the Athletics’ long-man and potential replacement starter in the event that one of their regular pitchers goes down. Can Doubront keep up the results he’s had so far in Spring Training?
2016 Preview: Sonny Gray – Melson Varsovia analyzes Sonny Gray’s chances at being great this season, and makes a bold prediction in regards to a certain end-of-season award.
Recap: Hill Struggles, Chapman Shows Power Again – A brief look at Tuesday’s game, in which Rich Hill continued to struggle, while Matt Champman hit another home run, tying Stephen Vogt for the Cactus League team lead.
Around the Web
Climbing Tal’s Hill: Who Will Be the Astros’ Fifth Starter? – Climbing Tal’s Hill writer Mike Hackemack takes a look at the Astros’ battle for the fifth and final rotation spot. When Opening Day arrives, will the Athletics’ AL West rivals have a better or worse rotation than the Green and Gold? Be sure to check it out.