With five first basemen going into big league camp, who will play first base for the A’s in 2016?
So far this season, vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane has rebuilt the bullpen – the A’s greatest source of woes last season – and brought in some new guys in the infield and for the starting rotation. However, the A’s are still going to have to work out a position or two that could be seen as overcrowded.
Many will talk about the starting rotation and there potentially being a battle for the fifth spot. The A’s see that as having rotation depth and options, not exactly a fight for a position. As long as everyone is healthy, the starting rotation should look like this: Sonny Gray, Rich Hill, Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn and more than likely Chris Bassitt.
What is going to be harder for the Athletics to figure out is the perfect combination of players to play at first base.
Technically, the A’s brought in Yonder Alonso in a trade with the San Diego Padres to play first base; that said, there are currently five guys headed to big league camp in Mesa, all of whom can play first base. One of them will likely platoon at the position with the left-handed hitting Alonso.
After Alonso, the A’s have Stephen Vogt, their starting catcher who moonlights at first base and relieves Josh Reddick once in awhile in right field. In December 2014, the A’s traded minor league pitcher Austin House to the Colorado Rockies for their second pick in the Rule 5 draft in order to acquire first baseman and left fielder Mark Canha. Canha hit 16 homers in his rookie season in 2015. Billy Butler, the most likely candidate to play the majority of his games as the team’s designated hitter, is also capable of playing first. Finally, there is non-roster invitee and top prospect Matt Olson, who could be seen as a dark horse to make the final 25-man roster.
To read my full column in which I make a case for each potential first baseman and make a prediction of who is the most likely candidate to platoon with Alonso go to Today’s Knuckleball by following the week below: