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Straily showed signs of flash last year.
Surprisingly, there aren't many rookies on Oakland's active roster heading into 2013. Nate Freiman, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Andy Parrino and Dan Straily are the likeliest options.
Throw Parrino out. He's going to be the last option off the bench.
Though Straily will start the season in the rotation, he could be bumped once Bartolo Colon returns from suspension. If that happens, Straily will either be sent to the minors or moved to long relief. Either way, his opportunity lessens.
Freiman has the chance to be this year's first-base platoon man.
In 2012, Brandon Moss and Chris Carter split duty. Moss earned more time by producing better overall numbers. The A's traded Carter earlier this year to the Houston Astros. Freiman takes over the vacancy left by Carter.
Still, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which an unproven Freiman sees as much time in '13 as Carter did in '12 and hits as well.
By default, Nakajima should see the field the most.
Sure, he may open the season in the minors or on the disabled list. Regardless, after Oakland signed him to a two-year, $6.5 million deal, Nakajima should be given every chance to succeed.
Just by playing time alone, Nakajima can be the Athletics' best rookie.
However, Straily is still going to be the best A's rookie in 2013. Here's how the scenario plays out: Straily starts in the majors, pitching at an average level, while Nakajima starts on the DL. Nakajima has to return to health first, then continue to develop in the minors.
It could be May before he receives a call-up.
Bartolo Colon will return to the rotation, sending Straily to the minors. Unfortunately, Colon is soon to be 40 years old and attempting to come back from a 50-game suspension. It's plausible it doesn't work out.
The fifth spot is his, the A's are rolling into June or July and he's spent time in the majors and minors. All he has to do is settle into the role of a fifth starter and he will be just fine.
Of course, this also depends on Nakajima never really getting a hold of the MLB style of play.