With Opening Day just a few days away, the Oakland Athletics have a big decision to make regarding who will man second base once the team squares off against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners on Monday, April 1st.
One of the main reasons the team is having difficulty narrowing down its Opening Day roster is Eric Sogard. Traditionally a soft-hitting bench player, Sogard is crushing the ball so far in Arizona, posting a batting average of .538 entering play this past Sunday.
Of course, Spring Training statistics are rarely an accurate indicator of MLB season performance, but the impact Sogard has had on the A’s front office this spring has got to have turned a few heads.
With the recent demotion of Jemile Weeks to the A’s AAA affiliate Sacramento River Cats, the playing field of infield options for the A’s was given a bit of room. However, all of the following are still battling it out for a locked-in spot at either shortstop or second base on the A’s MLB roster: Sogard, newly-signed Japanese player Hiroyuki Nakajima, Jed Lowrie, Scott Sizemore, and Adam Rosales.
It’s nearly impossible to imagine Nakajima not making the A’s, considering they’re paying him around $3M this season and were expecting big things of him. He hasn’t quite been as impressive as many had hoped so far in Arizona as he acclimates himself to life in the United States and faces pitching he hasn’t seen thus far in his career. Sizemore, coming back from an injury that made him miss all of 2012, is also expected to be given a spot on the team, but you never know.
Lowrie, one of the A’s top spring performers, will definitely make the team, his value as a hitter aided by his ability to play a few infield spots in addition to providing the team with some solid offensive pop (provided he doesn’t get hurt, of course).
All of this basically narrows it down to Rosales and Sogard – both are historically marginal players with little real impact felt on the Major League level. However, Sogard’s hot spring is making it hard for the A’s to make a decision – so hard, in fact, that A’s manager Bob Melvin has been quoted as saying the team won’t make its final decisions until the very last minute, which in this case means this weekend, when the team heads to Northern California to play exhibition games against the San Francisco Giants.
For Eric Sogard, he’s probably hoping that he’s turned enough heads to be heading up to Oakland on Monday rather than Sacramento.