Oakland A’s: Three players to step up for Ramon Laureano
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s received some difficult news on Friday. Ramon Laureano, their excellent defensive outfielder and a key part of their lineup, had been suspended for 80 games due to a positive PED test. He will be lost for not only the rest of the regular season, but for the playoffs and a portion of the 2022 campaign as well.
The timing of this suspension could not be worse. As the trade deadline is over, the A’s cannot find a replacement for him in the lineup. Instead, they are back to where they were in the beginning part of the season, patching right field together in the hopes that they can find something there.
Three players that need to step up for Oakland A’s
This also means that the A’s need players to step up to fill that void in the lineup. The A’s made a number of moves to solidify their place in the playoff hunt, and to potentially catch the Astros for the AL West title. But that will not happen unless some of the players on the roster step up to fill in for his lost production.
Let’s take a look at three players that need to step up for the Oakland A’s in Ramon Laureano’s absence.
Stephen Piscotty seemed to be a steal in his first season with the Oakland A’s. He had finally delivered on his promise, with a 124 OPS+ while hitting a career best 27 homers and 41 doubles. At 27 years old, and just entering his prime, the A’s appeared to have a potential building block locked up for the long term.
The problem is that he has not come close to matching those numbers since. Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, he has produced a combined 23 homers and 31 doubles in his 741 plate appearances, numbers that are not nearly good enough to be a part of the lineup. In fact, he had lost his playing time recently, and was relegated to the bench when Laureano moved over to right to accommodate the recently acquired Starling Marte.
Now Piscotty is getting another chance. With Laureano being suspended, Piscotty will be a part of that crew attempting to solidify right field once again. As he has at least been competent against lefties, producing a .250/.308/.393 batting line with two homers and six doubles in 91 plate appearances this year, giving hope that he can be part of a platoon.
That may be the best option. Slotting Piscotty against lefties and Tony Kemp against righties may not be ideal, but the A’s may be able to cobble together a solid enough tandem in right. But that will depend on whether or not Piscotty can continue to be solid against lefties.
Stephen Piscotty has received plenty of chances with the Oakland A’s. With Ramon Laureano being suspended, he will get yet another one.