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DH and 1B Battles Not What Was Expected

February 10, 2012


Today in her The Drumbeat post, Susan Slusser discussed several of the recent rumors surrounding the A’s. First and foremost she says that the A’s are higher on Manny Ramirez than they are on Magglio Ordonez citing the many injury concerns with Ordonez. If we are to sign one or the other my pick is very strongly to sign Ramirez who I feel is unquestionably the superior player. The more interesting part of the article however was this line,

“If the A’s do sign Ramirez, it is likely that Kila Ka’aihue would get the first crack at DHing until Ramirez is done serving his 50-game PEDs suspension. People I’ve spoken to in the A’s organization are intrigued by Ka’aihue’s power potential.”

That is surprising. It means the organization certainly is very down on Chris Carter, one can’t blame them because he hasn’t shown much of anything at the big league level but then again Royal fans can attest nor has Ka’aihue. In his 87 big league games, Ka’aihue has had 326 plate appearances, walking 12.5% of the time, striking out 27.1% of the time, demonstrating .122 ISO “power”, while posting a .216/.309/.375 slash line. His wOBA of .301 and wRC+ of 84 don’t show too much to look forward to and his career WAR mark stands at a paltry 0.2. Let’s remember he being considered for designated hitter. What’s fascinating is that most of his WAR is the result of his positive fielding at first base. He was worth a total of -5.1 RAR hitting, while he was worth 2.3 RAR from his glove.

In the interview I got to do with Bob Melvin,  he said this interesting line (it isn’t included on my interview of him as it was not a question I asked of him but the majority of the interview can be read on Athletics Nation),

Brandon Allen, in my opinion, is a terrific talent that has never been able to work through a slump at the big league level. You look at his minor league numbers, gets to the big leagues, does well, as soon as he does poorly someone has already taken his job. So I think if he’s able to work through a slump, I think that’s going to be a big turning point for him. Daric Barton is another guy who had a tough year last year, physically, all the way around. Now he’s healthy, and I know he profiles into our system – he’s an ‘on base guy’. He’s a good defender and so forth, and I know he’s looking forward to re-proving himself again too. So, we can start with those two guys.”

That makes me wonder if he has a preference towards Allen. The report on Barton was far less-than glowing. So could the favorites going into camp be Ka’aihue and Allen for DH and 1B respectively? Barton also now is not expected to be 100% for the start of camp and will be beginning the spring only playing DH, which means a lot of his talent – his defense – will go unseen. I didn’t expect any of this. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kasper & Ghosts permalink
    February 10, 2012 6:19 am

    Barton is never gonna be a power hitter but I expect him too lock down the first base position. I see zero future for Kila Ka’aihue in MLB. But lets give him and Chris Carter a shot at DH, whoever is producing keep em. It’s make it or break it for Carter as well. in my opinion. I wouldn’t mind flipping him for a prospect pitcher (if we could)

    • February 12, 2012 6:09 pm

      I’m fine with Barton never developing power. If he becomes a very high OBP, high average, gap doubles guy that can be just as beneficial (or more) than him having the power of say a Jason Giambi, but I have to think he locks down and wins the first base job though a stumble or two or slow start could put a roadblock in there. I really want Carter to get that chance above Kila. I don’t think trading Carter would be advantageous as we’d be selling way way low. Better to hang onto him, let him languish in Sacramento and hope for the best if for some reason he didn’t make the big league club.

  2. Drew W permalink
    February 11, 2012 1:07 am

    Melvin and Allen were both in AZ in 09–maybe that’s where Melvin took a shine to him. I don’t think Chris Carter has been given a fair shake. He has, what? 125 ABs? Yes, he has struggled, but by all accounts he is a SLOW starter. Patience! Why not give Carter the 1b job, take the pressure off, see what he can do, and if he is not hitting by June, give Allen his shot. We know what Barton and Ka’aihue can do, and I think Barton will probably bounce back to 2010 levels, so give Carter a chance to develop. And while I’m at it, give Michael Taylor the same chance. And go back in time and give Carlos Pena HIS chance, hoho.

    • February 12, 2012 6:13 pm

      I assume that Melvin does have some familiarity with Allen and that has to be the genesis of his admiration, but also with Oakland he has shown glimpses of what he could become. I agree Carter has been given little to no chance to thrive and I fully advocate patience, yet the moves the A’s are making seem to discourage him from getting that chance. One of the big reasons I was adamantly opposed to a lot of these deals is simply because they meant that our young guys aren’t getting opportunities to show what they are capable of.

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