This is our third week of reviewing the Oakland A's 2012 roster by position. This week's position is second base.
The A's entered 2011 with the understanding that it would be Mark Ellis' final season with Oakland. This was a difficult decision, given his loyalty to the organization and status as the longest-tenured player currently on the roster.
Ellis was injured midway through the season and former first round draft pick Jemile Weeks was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento. As they say, the rest is history.
Ellis was traded to the Colorado Rockies to free up the position for Weeks, and he responded by becoming one of the most dynamic hitters on the team this season.
The A's have a couple of utility infielders who are capable backups behind Weeks.
Let's take a look at the position and what, if anything, the A's need to do before the beginning of the 2012 season.
Jemile Weeks began the 2011 season with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats.
In 45 games, he batted .321/.417/.446 with six doubles, four triples, three homers, 22 RBI, 30 runs and 10 stolen bases.
Following the injury to Mark Ellis and Weeks' promotion to the Majors, he stepped his game up and locked down the position heading into the offseason and spring training 2012.
In 97 games for the A's, Weeks batted .303/.340/.421 with 26 doubles, eight triples, two homers, 36 RBI, 50 runs and 22 stolen bases.
He appears to be the dynamic leadoff hitter the A's were hoping he would become.
He will need to work on his defense during the offseason and in spring training though. Fangraphs.com listed his UZR at -6.1 for the 2011 season. In fact, Weeks' 13 errors were more than any other American League second baseman (fourth overall in the Majors).
A full spring training of defensive drills with Bob Melvin and Phil Garner should help improve his defense.
Eric Sogard split time this season with the Oakland A's at second base, shortstop and third base.
He struggled offensively in the Majors, batting just .200 with a .243 on-base percentage.
He saw most of his playing time at third base (10 games) and shortstop (14 games), and just three games at second base this season.
In the minors, he spent 73 of his 79 games at shortstop. His hitting was far better in Triple-A, where he posted a .298 average with a .381 on-base percentage.
Depending on what decision the A's make with Adam Rosales (who will be featured with the third basemen next week) this offseason, Sogard should enter spring training competing for the utility infielder role.
Adrian Cardenas became a man without a set position this season in Triple-A.
He began his career as a second baseman but spent the majority of his 2011 season occupying the designated hitter role in Sacramento before Jemile Weeks' promotion.
Following Weeks' call-up, Cardenas spent 35 games at second base (13 at third base, 44 in the outfield, three at shortstop and 34 at DH).
His .314 batting average and .374 on-base percentage, as long expected, suggest that he has the ability to become a quality Major League hitter.
Cardenas should see plenty of reps at various infield positions this coming spring training and be one of the leading candidates for a utility role with the A's.
Tyler Ladendorf spent the majority of the 2011 season in Double-A Midland before experiencing a brief four game promotion to Triple-A Sacramento.
He struggled mightily with his bat at both levels of the minors in 2011. His batting average with Midland was just .225 through 125 games. His four games in Sacramento, an incredibly small sample size, only produced a .211 average.
Depending on where Adrian Cardenas starts the 2012 season, Ladendorf could find himself the starting second baseman in Sacramento to open 2012.
He'd fall pretty far down the depth chart at second base for the Big League club though, and likely won't see any Major League time in 2012.
Ladendorf will see a little time in spring training before being reassigned to minor league camp, where he will need to continue working on both his offensive and defensive game.
The A's are pretty well set at second base heading into 2012.
There's no position battle for the starting position, that belongs to Jemile Weeks. There will be a bit of a battle in spring training for the backup role, though.
Eric Sogard and Adam Rosales (reviewed next week) look like the top two candidates heading into spring training, although Adrian Cardenas should give them both at least a challenge if he can put together a solid spring.
Scott Sizemore, originally a second baseman in the Detroit Tigers organization, could also be in play as the utility infielder and primary backup at second base if the A's search for a new third baseman this offseason in free agency or via trade.
The A's outlook at second base is very promising for the next few years as Weeks progresses and improves at the position. He has the ability and upside to become the first A's position player to make an All-Star team since Ramon Hernandez earned the honor in 2003.
Next Sunday we’ll take a look at how Scott Sizemore, Adam Rosales and the rest of the A’s system stack up at third base heading into 2012.
Prior Position Breakdowns: