Coming off a season that saw them become the surprise winner of a loaded AL West, the Oakland Athletics are looking to prove in 2013 that last year was no fluke.
To help ensure that happen, the Billy Beane has loaded its lineup with depth at all positions.
As of right now, there are two potential full-time first baseman on the team sharing time in Brandon Moss and Chris Carter. The outfield is equally loaded, with a quintet of players who will be rotating between three spots.
That said it’s the battle at second base that may prove to be the most interesting, if only because the team lacks a truly consistent option there. Adam Rosales is listed in the position on the team’s depth chart at the moment, but manager Bob Melvin has declared that the job will be given to the winner of a three-horse race between Scott Sizemore, Jemile Weeks and prospect Grant Green.
Green is one of the team’s top prospects, and has the potential to impact the team in 2013, but that he’s being developed as someone who can play in both the infield and outfield may mean that he will have his work cut out for him as far as trying to win a full-time job at second base. Formerly a shortstop, the Athletics could be looking to Green to come up primarily as a third baseman, as Josh Donaldson‘s bat isn’t particularly adequate for what you’d want in a long-term player in the hot corner.
Given his playing time and success in 2011, you could probably say that Jemile Weeks has the inside track on the job as he spent the majority of the season as the team’s second baseman. That said, a disappointing 2012 means that you can’t count out Sizemore, who was a top-ten organizational prospect with the Detroit Tigers before he was traded to the A’s in 2011, where he found considerable success at the team’s third baseman (.249/.345/.433, 11 HR over 355 PA, 1.7 fWAR) after being called up in the latter part of the season.
Health will be the major thing going against Sizemore, as he will be coming off an entire year away from major league ball due to an ACL tear in his knee. If he can prove himself to be healthy, however, the 28-year-old offers more pop in his bat than either Green or Weeks, on top of having a better walk rate.
The early money is on Weeks and his contact/speed combo, but like the situation in the outfield, it would not be surprising to see the team finishing the year with all three players rotating at second/third base in some capacity. That said, whoever it is, the winner of the job out of Spring Training will likely not have a very long leash on them, especially when there could be a pair of replacements ready to go at any time.