Athletics’ top five rookies of 2016

jenrainwater
Jun 29, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Ryan Dull (66) is congratulated by catcher Stephen Vogt (21) after the end of the game against the San Francisco Giants at the Coliseum the Oakland Athletics defeated the San Francisco Giants 7 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Ryan Dull (66) is congratulated by catcher Stephen Vogt (21) after the end of the game against the San Francisco Giants at the Coliseum the Oakland Athletics defeated the San Francisco Giants 7 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oakland Athletics
Sep 28, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell (63) mishandles an infield hit by Los Angeles Angels catcher Jett Bandy (13) allowing first baseman C.J. Cron (24) to score in the fourth inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

Bruce Maxwell was not a favorite to play for the big league club at spring training last year.

WIth early injuries to regular A’s catchers Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley, there were many candidates with the option to wait a while in Triple-A and be called up as needed. Maxwell was at the bottom of this list but he made the most of his opportunity.

The left-handed batting Maxwell was once a power-hitting corner infielder. He began his college career at Birmingham-Southern College and moved to catcher his sophomore year, just before being drafted.

It’s taken four seasons, but the youngster is now really beginning to feel at home behind the plate.

Maxwell made his MLB debut in late July when Vogt was on family leave. He went on to play in 33 games for the Athletics in 2016, and has now proven himself to be ready for the majors.

He hit .283 with six doubles, a home run and 14 RBI.

He was impressive enough behind the plate in 2016 that the A’s are considering once again having three catchers on their roster, much like they did during their epic 2012 season.

Oakland Athletics
Aug 5, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell (63) reacts after getting a double against the Chicago Cubs in the sixth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

Maxwell fits right in. He’ll be able to give Vogt some time at DH or at first base, as well as learn from the two-time all-star about how to call a game.

Maxwell still needs some time to learn his position and he should get plenty as Vogt is given days off or playing at other positions.

It’s likely he’ll platoon in the backup catcher position with the right-handed hitting Josh Phegley.

He may even play more considering Phegley’s 2016 campaign was hindered by a knee injury that required surgery and eventually rendered him out for the season.

If things continue to go the way they have for Maxwell, the once unknown spring training non-roster invitee may end up being the one to take over for Vogt in the future.

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