Oakland Athletics' Long Shots to Make the Opening Day Roster

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIFebruary 18, 2013

Oakland Athletics' Long Shots to Make the Opening Day Roster

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    With spring training now underway in the desert, the competitions for spots on the Oakland Athletics' roster will begin to heat up.

    As well as competition for roster spots, there are also prospects who have been invited to big league camp this year.

    When these prospects get that invitation they begin to envision themselves playing for the team at the major league level, but most of these prospects will likely be in the minors to start the season.

    A look now at some players who have a lot of hype, but will likely find themselves in the minors once the Cactus League is finished. 

Grant Green

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    Green has been one of the hottest prospects in the Oakland A's organization as he has been a .302 career hitter in the minors and recently hit .296 for the Triple-A Sacramento Rivercats.

    His offense is not whats holding the 24-year-old infielder down in the minors, it is the lack of an open spot in the majors for him.

    He bounced around playing various positions in the minors, even trying the outfield, so that he could find a roster spot in Oakland.

    The reason I don't expect to see Green on the A's Opening Day roster is because of just that; he doesn't fit in anywhere.

    With Jed Lowrie, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Jemile Weeks and Scott Sizemore being the leading candidates to start for the A's interior infield positions, Green is just the odd man out.

    Green can find his way to the majors as a call-up because of either injuries or under-performing players after a while, but on Opening Day, don't look for Green in Oakland.

Michael Choice

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    The A's drafted Michael Choice with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, but within the next two years, they solidified the outfield by acquiring Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, Seth Smith and Chris Young.

    Choice is still young (23) and has yet to play Triple-A ball in Sacramento. Last year in Double-A, Choice hit .287 with only 10 home runs in 91 games. That's far from the production it would take for Choice to skyrocket from Double-A to the majors.

    The best that Choice can do for now is try to reach Triple-A and continue to wait in the wings behind the crowded outfield that the A's have in the majors.

Michael Taylor

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    Of all the players on this list, Michael Taylor has the best chance to start the season on the Opening Day roster, and even he is a long shot.

    Taylor has seen action in the majors each of the last two years playing a combined 17 games, but only hitting .176 with one home run in that experience.

    It may be a poor showing, but he has been exposed to the major league level of play.

    Not only does Taylor have the experience advantage over the rest of this list, he has expanded his versatility as he was working at first base where he could possibly platoon with Brandon Moss.

    If not for the possibility of platooning with Moss, Taylor would find himself with Choice behind a crowded A's outfield.  

    First base won't present too much more of an opportunity to crack the Opening Day roster either as the A's have Moss and Lowrie (who can also play first base as well as switch hit).

    After the Lowrie trade, it's hard to think there will be room for Taylor in Oakland.

Addison Russell

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    Addison Russell was selected by the A's with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft and he has made the 10 teams who went before the A's look weak in the scouting department.

    Russell has torn up all three leagues he has played since being drafted, hitting for a .369 average as well as a .432 on-base percentage.

    The 19-year-old shortstop is yet to play at Double-A or Triple-A but with the way he has cruised through the minors so far, he should be there in no time.

    If the A's were still rebuilding and not defending the AL West division crown, then there could be a chance that Russell makes the Opening Day roster as the team rebuilds.

    But the A's are no longer a rebuilding team that fields mostly unknown prospects with a mix of a few declining veterans.

    If Russell continues his dominance of the minors, he could find himself being a September call-up when rosters expand, but don't look for Russell to be in Oakland on Opening Day.

Sonny Gray

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    Sonny Gray is only 23 and he has reached the top of the minors as he found himself pitching in Triple-A Sacramento at the end of the year only to be pulled from his one and only start after four innings.

    Gray looks to put that lone Triple-A performance behind him and continue climbing the ranks in the A's organization.

    The problem for Gray is that he is behind a plethora of pitchers in Oakland with Brett Anderson, Tommy Milone, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Bartolo Colon and Dan Straily all fighting to crack the starting rotation in the majors.

    Also, Gray has not been as impressive as his rapid climb through the minors makes him look as he went 6-9 with a 4.14 ERA playing Double-A ball in 2012.

    Even with an impressive record in the minors, it would be tough to break through the talented group ahead of him in the organization, but with a 6-9 record at Double-A last season, Gray will remain in the minors for the foreseeable future.