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Taylor In? If So… Who is Out?

April 26, 2012

A little while ago Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times tweeted this:

Michael Taylor is in Baltimore with #Athletics, so figure there will be move to add him to roster.”

I can’t imagine Billy Beane and the A’s brass has much interest in insuring he samples the crab cakes of Maryland, so I agree with Stiglich’s guess that some move will be made to add him to the 25-man roster. That then means there is a question: who is out?

First off, let’s take a look at why Taylor joined the club to the Charm City, chances are because has simply been very good in Sacramento in the early go: 89 plate appearances with a .366/.393/.573 slash line. On the surface that appears good but I am skeptical. I’m skeptical because first of all, Taylor has disappointed numerous times before, and also there are some serious red flags with his River Cat performance. First red flag: It is in Sacramento. The Pacific Coast League is a notorious hitter’s league so let’s instantly bring that .366/.393/.573 slash line down a notch (or two, or three…). Second red flag: .389 BABIP. While there is a degree that hitters can influence their BABIP, one of them namely being speed, and Taylor is indeed faster than the average player, they don’t do it to the tune of .389. If that starts to normalize, that coupled with the Pacific Coast League adjustment, and his slash line starts looking good but not great. Third red flag: 4.5% BB%. His MiLB career rate is 9.6%, he is at less than half that today. There are several reasons for that, one he could just be feeling confident since so often when he makes contact he is getting on base, but then again swinging early is something that may fly in Triple-A but not in MLB baseball. All in all, I am skeptical that Taylor will continue to be this hitter, and his fallen stock I feel is roundly justified. Now while I hope I am proven wrong, I really can’t say I expect to be.

Who is gone? Unless there is an injury we are unaware of, it seems to me the candidate for a demotion is perhaps Daric Barton. Kila Ka’aihue has continued to get playing time and it seems he is impressing Bob Melvin as he is making the most of his opportunity, including a game-winning hit yesterday against the White Sox. With two left-handed first basemen it seems an opportune time to give the scuffling Barton hitting .182/.265/.318 with a .263 wOBA and 64 wRC+ some time to sort things out in Sacramento – he does remember have options left.

Another move that could be in the making is something to do with this flu bug that has gone around the A’s. The A’s could opt to send Coco Crisp to the 15-day disabled list in a move akin to the one they made with Mark Ellis last year where an injured, but not really injured player was sent to the DL to sort of buy some time and see what they had – at that time with Jemile Weeks. Crisp has missed a lot of playing time with these flu-like symptons, dizziness, etc and when on the field has been an utter disappointment with a .167/.231/.167 slash line and a wOBA of .199 and wRC+ of 21 in 52 trips to the plate. Along the lines of the flu bug, Luke Hughes was apparently sick and the A’s could legitimately look to put him on the DL to recover and give that playing time to Eric Sogard, but that move to me would be accompanied by an Adam Rosales call up not one of Taylor regardless of how well Taylor is hitting the ball. We should find out tomorrow what the move is.

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