Oakland A’s: Three prospects that can make an impact this year

The Oakland A’s have been having a great season. They are leading the American League West by two and a half games and currently have the third best record in baseball. Even though the Athletics seem like a solid team now, they are notorious for switching things up mid-way through the season. So who are some of the top prospects that could make an impact this year in the major leagues?

Arnold Leon

Arnold Leon

Arnold Leon

Leon has spent six years in the A’s farm system and this right handed pitcher is finally ready for the big leagues after overcoming numerous injuries. Even though he has spent all his baseball career in the minor leagues, Leon was highly considered for a bullpen position since he pitched so well during spring training. He had a .231 ERA and allowed only 6 hits and three runs over 12.2 innings. Although he did not make the Athletics’ bullpen, the A’s called him up from Triple-A this season as their 26th man during a double header in May. Leon did not get the chance to actually pitch in a game, but, by calling him up, it shows that the Athletics think he has the potential to be successful in the major leagues.

This season in Triple-A in Sacramento Leon has five wins and one lose. He has pitched a total of 10 games and has a 5.23 ERA. Leon is a reliable pitcher who has a solid fastball and changeup. Since the Oakland A’s seem to be adding and removing pitchers from their bullpen on almost a weekly basis, there is a large chance that he could be called up again – and this time it could be permanent.

Tyler Ladendorf

Ladendorf was traded to the Oakland A’s back in 2009 and he has slowly worked his way through the minor leagues. Even though he started out as a shortstop, he now mostly plays second base for the Sacramento River Cats. Good thing he moved to second or else he would be competing against the A’s #1 prospect Addison Russell for playing time. However, Ladendorf has already made a name for himself during his first season in Triple-A this year by proving that he is a great offensive asset. He currently has a .318 batting average and a .417 wOBA or weighted on-base average. In his last 10 games, he has batted .400 and has a .972 OPS.

The Athletics could benefit from another power bat in the lineup – especially since A’s second baseman Eric Sogard currently holds a .188 AVG and a .231 slugging percentage. The Oakland A’s definitely like to switch it up when someone in the lineup is not producing, which is exactly what happened when first baseman Daric Barton was hitting below .200. Even though Ladendorf is unknown to most fans, he has been invited to A’s spring training the past three years, and is definitely on Oakland’s radar. So the possibilities of Ladendorf coming up to the major leagues this season is probably more likely than not.

Addison Russell

This 20-year-old shortstop wowed audiences with his cat-like reflexes and speed during spring training this year. His success has not gone unnoticed and Russell is currently Oakland A’s #1 prospect. Even though he tore his right hamstring at the very beginning of this season, he has played a few innings in an extended spring training game this week. It is promising to see that he is recovering quickly.

Over the past two years, Russell has jumped up through the minor leagues. One thing that has greatly improved on over those years is his offensive skills. During spring training, Russell had a .280 batting average with a .720 OPS over 25 at-bats during the spring. He has worked hard on his offense and his dedication to the game has paid off. Besides Russell’s offensive skills, his power arm and quick hands make him an excellent defensive shortstop. It would not be surprising to see Russell in the dugout later this season if he is able to fully recover from his hamstring injury – especially since it is rumored that he will be taking Jed Lowrie’s spot at shortstop for the 2015 season.

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