In theory, Daulton Jefferies should be a part of the Oakland A’s future. But one has to wonder if he will get his chance with the franchise.
The Oakland A’s have an opening in the starting rotation and plenty of candidates for that role. As it stands, they are hoping that A.J. Puk will be the fifth starter, having penciled him into that spot. This does, however, depend on Puk’s health, which has been a major question mark over the past three years.
These plans leave the A’s remaining starter prospects in a difficult spot. Daulton Jefferies may not be a top of the rotation caliber arm, but he could be a solid option nonetheless. The problem is that, barring a trade, the A’s do not have a place for him unless an injury occurs.
Jefferies did not exactly inspire confidence in his major league debut. He allowed five runs on five hits and two walks, including two homers, in his two innings of work. Those struggles were enough where he did not receive another look at the major league level last season.
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In theory, Jefferies could use some more time in the minors. He has just 64 innings of experience above A ball, although he likely would have been in AAA last season under normal conditions. He has also battled injury throughout his professional career, missing a large chunk of the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.
Yet, he may not need much more time in the minors, given his excellent performance thus far. In his 99.1 innings, he has posted a 3.17 ERA and a 1.047 WHiP, striking out 121 batters with 12 walks. A strong showing in the minors at the start of the 2021 campaign would show that he is ready for the majors, despite his relative lack of experience.
But one has to wonder if he will get that chance in the majors in Oakland. Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt both have two years of team control left, and Frankie Montas has just entered his arbitration years. With the A’s having numerous holes on their roster, Jefferies could be more valuable to the team as a trade chip.
Daulton Jefferies appears to have a bright future ahead of him. One just has to wonder if that future will come with the Oakland A’s.