Here's a Thought: Possible Oakland A's September Callups—The Outfielders
Continuing what I began a week or so ago in looking at possible pitching callups for the A's, I'm taking a look at outfielders who could get a big league look come roster expansion on Sept. 1 (which is today, but so far the only callups have been three left-handed pitchers: Jerry Blevins, Dana Eveland, and Brad Kilby).
As with the pitching and infield articles, I'll briefly look at each player and then state whether I think he will get called up and whether he should get called up. Keep in mind that those are two very different things.
Chris Denorfia hit a weak .267/.314/.390 for Sacramento this year. While he offers some of every "tool," Denorfia doesn't really do anything all that well. He's a fine placeholding backup center fielder or pinch-runner, but he shouldn't see extended starting time anywhere.
He is on the 40-man roster and has plenty of big-league experience, so it can't hurt to call him up. I wouldn't be surprised to see him omitted from the roster, however, because of his underwhelming performance this season. It's not really a big deal either way.
Travis Buck is at the center of perhaps the biggest debate among A's fans.
Buck's supporters point to his excellent 2007 OBP and say he should be starting in right field in the majors. They also think Billy Beane and A's management have a vendetta against him and are keeping him in the minors for some undisclosed, petty team reason. They think it's ridiculous that Buck isn't in the majors.
Buck's detractors note that he hasn't hit since 2007, never showed that much power, and can't play center field, so they don't see much of a problem with Buck's Triple-A status. They believe that it's his performance, not some personal reason, keeping him away from Oakland.
Personally, I can't speak to the "vendetta" thing, but I do know Buck was terrible at the outset of 2008 after messing up his swing. He also didn't hit well in the majors this year. Yes, he's hit well in the minors, and certainly should be up now in September.
However, suggesting that keeping Buck in Triple-A characterizes the entire A's organization as stupid (and believe me, I've seen multiple bloggers, thankfully not on B/R, suggest that) is an unbelievable stretch.
In reality, yes, he probably should have been up before, but he needs regular at-bats to hone his swing mechanics. With defensive whizzes Ryan Sweeney and Rajai Davis complementing Scott Hairston and Jack Cust in the outfield right now in Oakland, Buck wasn't going to get regular playing time in the majors.
Anyway, Buck has hit .272/.349/.415 in Triple-A, which isn't spectacular, but he should be up. If he doesn't get recalled at some point this month, then I'll start buying the "vendetta" theory a bit more.
Matt Carson has flown under the radar this year, but he's bashed 24 homers for the River Cats, so at least he's got some power. Carson is also capable of playing all three outfield spots, and heck, he even pitched in six games for Sacramento.
Carson doesn't have much other than the decent glove and good power going for him, as he's 28, hit just .264 with a .329 OBP, and isn't on the 40-man. The homers are nice, and I'd like to see him if he was on the 40-man, but Carson isn't the type of talent that you DFA someone to make room for. A call up is possible but doubtful.
Aaron Cunningham has passed Buck on the depth chart at this point, as he has far better numbers (.312/.383/.502) and can play center if needed, unlike Buck.
Cunningham hasn't been very good in Oakland this year, but should and will get another crack at the majors later this month.
Matt Spencer is a huge longshot, but I thought I'd mention him anyway. After a midseason promotion from Stockton to Midland, the 23-year-old has hit .301/.350/.480. Between the two levels, he has 19 homers.
Spencer hasn't even gotten to Triple-A yet, and he doesn't walk much or play particularly good defense. However, his solid lefty stroke could make him a playable starting corner outfielder down the line. He's not on the 40-man roster, so a September look is extremely unlikely, but he's not too far off and bears watching.
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