Oakland A’s: Three under the radar prospects to watch
By David Hill
Once upon a time, Lazaro Armenteros was considered one of the top prospects in international free agency, a young outfielder who was considered an exciting but raw prospect. His power and speed were there, but scouts had questions about whether or not he would hit enough for those other tools to manifest.
Five years after he signed with the Oakland A’s, those questions persist. Armenteros has impressive power if he can make contact, and his speed is certainly there. The problem is that he cannot hit a breaking ball, even if the pitcher tells him one is coming.
Those contact issues were on full display in 2019. Armenteros set a California League record for strikeouts in a season with his 227 whiffs, which is not the sort of record anyone wants to set as a batter. He did manage to hit 17 homers and steal 22 bases in his 538 plate appearances, but his inability to make contact drastically reduced his impact.
His ability, or inability, to hit breaking pitches will determine his future. Armenteros possesses the type of arm that makes Johnny Damon seem as though he had a howitzer attached to his shoulder, which could force him to a designated hitter role. He would need to hit first.
The upcoming season will go a long way to determining Lazaro Armenteros’ future. If he still cannot hit breaking pitches, his time in the Oakland A’s system may be drawing to a close.