Without Danny Valencia will the A’s be able to stay hot?
After their 7-3 win that completed the Oakland A’s three-game sweep over the New York Yankees on Thursday, the team announced that third baseman Danny Valencia would be put on the 15-day disabled list with a left-hamstring strain that he suffered sliding into home plate on Wednesday.
Valencia thinks that he will be ready to go prior to the two-week minimum he now has to remain out of the lineup but manager Bob Melvin rightly disagreed. Hamstring strains can be tricky to recover from. Melvin called hamstring strains a “tough deal” and not something that just takes “a day or two” to get back in the lineup.
The question now is, “How will this affect the A’s lineup and on field performance?” Oakland has been playing well and is currently on a six-game winning streak, one that they are hoping to continue Saturday in their second game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Athletics are short on infielders, that is true and while they will miss Valencia’s strong bat in the lineup, they should be alright on both fronts.
The team has called up Tyler Ladendorf from the Triple-A Nashville to take Valencia’s place on the roster. It doesn’t appear he will get too much playing time as long as the rest of the infield remains healthy over the next couple of weeks.
Ladendorf, who is primarily an outfielder, has also spent time at second and third during his nine seasons in the minor leagues, however, he’s only played in a total of nine big league games over that span, all of which came with Oakland in 2015. Still, despite his lack of experience in the majors, his versatility in the field will be a help to Melvin if needed.
In Nashville this season Ladendorf was hitting .240/.269/.360 with a homerun and two RBI. In his nine games with the A’s last season, Ladendorf had four hits, one of which was a triple, and batted .235/.278/.353 with two RBI.
Chris Coghlan, the A’s super-utility man, will likely be the one to take over at third base for Valencia the majority of the time. Coghlan is rather inexperienced at third, having played just eight games at the position with the Miami Marlins in 2013, three games with the Chicago Cubs in 2015 and so far four with the A’s this season.
He’s made just three total errors playing at third base, which may seem like a lot in just 14 games at the position, however, all three were back in 2013 with the Marlins. It’s a small sample but he’s done well since, playing third for the Cubs as well as filling in for Valencia this season with Oakland.
While his presence on the field seems to be covered, losing Valencia is a hit to the A’s lineup. He hits in the cleanup spot behind right fielder Josh Reddick and has the second highest batting average on the team behind center fielder Billy Burns. Valencia is batting .294 and has the team’s highest on-base percentage at .345.
While those numbers are definitely hard to replace the A’s have been beginning to hit more collectively as a team. Over their recent six game winning streak, in which they’ve defeated the reigning World Champion Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees and now the Toronto Blue Jays, the A’s have gotten 60 hits and scored 31 runs.
That’s averaging ten hits and 5.2 runs a game. Three of those games have been without Valencia, who the A’s acquired virtually for free last season off of waivers from Toronto. At the time he was hitting .296.
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