The Five Biggest Surprises of Oakland Athletics’ Spring Training
On Monday, the Oakland Athletics will take the field in a regular season game for the first time in 2016. Bob Melvin will be in the dugout, Sonny Gray will be on the mound, and the seats will be packed for Opening Day. These are all things we’ve known since the last pitch of 2015. Some things don’t change much over the off-season.
But every year, there are a few wild cards coming into Spring Training. At least a few players will vastly outperform expectations, while others will fall short and find themselves out of a job. Some areas will develop into strengths, and weaknesses will be exposed. The Athletics are typically a tumultuous organization, but this year, they had extra incentive to shake things up. They were the worst team in the American League in 2015, and as a result, they modified just about every aspect of their team.
This season, the Athletics had a lot to look at during camp: a crowded outfield, a strong crop of infield prospects, and a revamped pitching staff. It made sense that there would be some unexpected developments, even though the A’s have reached the point where their roster is pretty restricted by salaries and a lack of options for most of their players.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most surprising developments and observations from the spring:
[Editor’s Note: On Saturday, Felix Doubront left his start against the Giants early due to forearm tightness. If he cannot make his first start, Jesse Hahn will likely be called up in his place.]
Next: Surprise 1: A Hot Bat at the Hot Corner