Ended 2009 At: Sacramento (AAA)
Should Begin 2010 At: Oakland (MLB)
2009 Statistics: .306/.380/.489 with 8 HR, 34/28 K/BB, and 0 SB at AA Midland (55 games); .368/.428/.632 with 12 HR, 34/23 K/BB, and 0 SB at AAA Sacramento (52 games); .224/.302/.365 with 2 HR, 17/8 K/BB, and 0 SB in 24 MLB games
Defensive Reputation: Below average
Ahh, my favorite player.
Before I launch into a huge argument about Everidge’s strengths, don’t forget I have him ranked behind Barton on this list.
Anyway, I was seemingly the only person who saw this minor league slugger’s breakout coming in 2009 (which is why I’m so attached to the guy). .368/.428/.632 in a pitcher’s park in Triple-A is an unbelievable line, particularly when one considers that Everidge had never faced Triple-A pitching.
He’s obviously got power, with four straight 20+ homer seasons, but he really cut down on his swing and his strikeouts last year, with only 81 total Ks and just a 20 percent strikeout rate in the majors, well above average (or below, if we’re talking numerically) for a first baseman.
Yes, he hit just .224 in the majors, but his walk rate (8.6%) was fine, and Everidge hit a good number of line drives (20.3%), which means his .258 BABIP is a small-sample fluke and should have been in the low .300s. Everidge never had a minor league BABIP below .280 and hadn’t had one below .330 in two years.
With average luck, he’s probably a .260-.280 major league hitter with power—a serviceable starting first baseman.
Then again, Barton is a better player.
So what should the A’s do?
Well, Everidge should ABSOLUTELY ALWAYS be in the lineup against left-handed pitching. He hit .333/.393/.583 against lefties in the majors last year, and has hit around a .400/.450/.700 clip against them the past two years in the minors. He eats lefties alive (given his stocky 6’0” 275 lb. build, take that as literally as you like, I suppose), and to prove this, he hit a mammoth homer off CC Sabathia at the Coliseum last year.
The easy solution here is to platoon Barton and Everidge. Barton complicates this somewhat because he’s had a reverse platoon split in the majors the past two years, but that never happened in his minor league career, so I’m tempted to write it off as luck. Even if it isn’t, Everidge could rotate between first base, third base, and DH, giving Barton and whoever the A’s DH and 3B are days off against lefties and occasionally righties.
Defensively, Everidge is fundamentally sound with an average arm, so he’s a competent if below average first baseman, and he could stand around third base for 25 or fewer games without killing the A’s defense.