The Oakland A’s have spent many of the low season making slight upgrades across the diamond to seize league common gamers off the free agent market in an effort to discipline a extra aggressive crew in 2023. How aggressive they’re going to be remains to be up for debate , however the A’s ought to be higher than the 102-loss 2022 squad.
A part of the explanation for that tempered optimism is that the A’s are going to have extra depth choices across the diamond this coming season, and on Tuesday they added to that depth in 32-year-old veteran first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com is reporting that the deal is value $3MM for the 2023 season.
Aguilar is coming off a down 12 months in 2022 with the Marlins and Orioles, batting a mixed .235 with a .281 on-base share and an 86 OPS+ in 129 video games. He additionally slugged 16 homers and drove in 51.
The 12 months earlier than, Aguilar batted .261 with a .329 OBP with the Marlins, with 22 residence runs and 91 rbi. The A’s are clearly hoping for a bounce again to these 2021 numbers.
Seth Brown was the A’s greatest first baseman offensively final season, ending the 12 months with a 117 wRC+, that means that he was 17% above league common. Christian Bethancourt, who was traded to the Rays, was the A’s second-best choice with a 100 wRC+, or proper at league common.
Some followers have speculated that this implies Brownie is on his means out by way of commerce, however as I’ve written up to now, I feel that Brown sticks round for a short time to see how the shift ban impacts his numbers. Final season when he wasn’t being shifted, he was hitting like Freddie Freeman. If that pattern continues, then his commerce worth will surely go up.
Brown’s greatest defensive place is left discipline in response to Baseball Savant, who graded him barely under league common in proper discipline (-4 Outs Above Common), middle (-1 OAA), and at first (-3 OAA), however had him simply higher than common in left discipline with 1 OAA in 2022.
I feel that this transfer roughly solidifies Brown as an outfielder, significantly in left, on a extra common foundation.
The logical means to make use of Aguilar could be to platoon him as a masher in opposition to lefties, however he had reverse splits in 2022. Towards left-handed pitchers, he hit simply .196 with a 57 wRC+, 43% under league common. Towards rights, he hit the ol’ Khris Davis .247 and had a a lot better 96 wRC+, simply 4% under league common.
Once more, the A’s are hoping for a bounce again, so in 2021, he hit .259 in opposition to lefties with a 114 wRC+ (14% above league common), and .261 in opposition to right-handers, 9% higher than league common.
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If the A’s do wish to platoon him, then Rule 5 draftee Ryan Noda could be the seemingly candidate for the opposite half of that blend. Noda swings it from the left facet, and whereas he hasn’t made his large league debut coming into his age 27 season, being within the Dodgers system presents some challenges to getting a shot in The Present.
In Triple-A final season, Noda hit .259 with a .395 OBP, walked at an impressive 16% clip, and struck out 28.2% of the time. He has some upside and is a really attention-grabbing participant heading into spring coaching. The one knock on him is the Rule 5 attachment, which implies that he needs to be on the A’s 26-man roster all season or else he needs to be placed on waivers, then supplied again to the Dodgers if he clears waivers. Noda would seemingly find yourself in one other group if he would not make it to Oakland.
The A’s could also be happy with that end result, on condition that their primary prospect, 21-year-old Tyler Soderstrom, completed the 2022 marketing campaign in Triple-A Las Vegas and may very well be prepared for his big-league debut someday within the second half. Then again, the A’s have reportedly tried to pry Noda away from the Dodgers in a few completely different trades in years previous, and now they lastly have him.
My greatest guess as to the A’s pondering is that this: Noda is gifted, however he isn’t a positive wager. If he hits effectively and makes the crew, nice! If he struggles throughout spring coaching, then Aguilar is there to take over first base duties on a fairly common foundation till Soderstrom is deemed prepared someday throughout the second half of the season.
The important thing to this entire factor is having somebody at first base till the highest prospect is prepared, and bringing in a primary baseman apart from Noda or Dermis Garcia indicators that in addition they want to maintain Brown within the outfield in the event that they will help it.
New additions Jace Peterson and Aledmys Díaz have additionally performed some first base in current seasons, however are higher fitted to third base and second base, respectively. The A’s low season is a home of playing cards, constructed on platoons, utility gamers, and league common bats, and bringing in Aguilar seems to be a technique to make sure that Seth Brown stays within the outfield the place he can supply just a little extra upside.
The draw back right here is that fewer at-bats could also be accessible initially for Dermis Garcia and Jordan Díaz whereas this example performs itself out. Garcia is a candidate to begin within the minors to work on his strikeout price, which sat at 44% in his rookie marketing campaign, however he may additionally work his means right into a DH function if he can reduce down on these strikeouts. He has been posting movies of him re-working his swing de él on Instagram, and he has been teasing a much less pronounced leg kick. It’s going to be attention-grabbing to see how that appears in opposition to stay pitching in a number of weeks.
Diaz has seemingly been including to his leg kick, which may add a whole lot of energy to his method. He already has the bat-to-ball expertise the A’s need, however including energy could be a pleasant bonus. The explanation he may very well be headed to Triple-A at first of the season is that he has solely performed in 26 video games in Vegas, and he additionally would not have a defensive place. A bit extra time in Triple-A would permit him to be taught whichever place the A’s see him filling.
The match for Aguilar is not an apparent one, however his tenure within the inexperienced and gold may additionally be short-lived if he would not bounce again. The A’s have depth across the diamond, there are many gifted bats looming within the first base combine.