A’s Cactus League report

Posted By on March 9, 2009 3:11 pm

A few more tidbits from my very newsy first day covering the A’s this spring…

  • It looks like Bobby Crosby is going to be playing a lot of third for the time being. Eric Chavez is shut down for who knows how long (Bob Geren said “a few days” which probably means a week). In the meantime, Crosby said he’s not ready to play second base. He said you can hurt yourself at second, with pivots and stuff, if you don’t know what you are doing. Third is relatively simple.
  • Dallas Braden looks good. I’ll admit I was not a huge believer in Braden, but he’s pitched well down here and he’s got this new cutter which seems to be working out for him pretty well, especially as a weapon against righties.
  • Michael Ynoa impressed me with his composure out there. Imagine if you were a 17-year-old bonus baby, throwing for the first time in spring training, with a handfull of reporters and club officials watching you. I’d be trying to throw the ball through the wall to show off my arm. Not Ynoa. He was under control the whole time. Catcher Anthony Recker said he was throwing only 75 percent, and still hitting the mid 80s.
  • A’s director of player personnel Billy Owens later told a little story illustrating Ynoa’s awareness. When the A’s were courting him, Ynoa kept saying that Josh Beckett was his favorite pitcher. When it came time for his big press conference in the Dominican, though, he said his idol was Pedro Martinez. Guy knows his audience.


8 Responses to “A’s Cactus League report”

  1. Marvin says:

    Is Ynoa really 17? with all the questions about ages, what did the As do to make sure he was the age he claimed he was?

  2. Jim says:

    Who makes it to the bigs first: Ynoa or Villalona?

  3. Jeremy says:


    Supposedly his parents are very rich and well known in the DR making it virtually impossible for them to fudge his age based are their status as public figures.

  4. Jeff Fletcher says:

    We asked Billy Beane about verifying Ynoa’s age when he signed last July, and here’s what he said:

    “Just getting out of the country these days, there is a lot more process and documentation that needs to be provided. Major League Baseball has done a good job. The process of verifying ages here is far more strict than even in the United States, in some cases, to be honest. We are quite confident in verifying his age.”

    I’ve heard that after 9/11 the documentation rules got a lot tighter. When players first started getting their visas to come to spring training in 2002 a bunch of guys got “older.”

  5. Jeff Fletcher says:

    Even though Villalona is a full two years ahead of him in the development pipeline, I think it’ll be close. Because Villalona has to figure out defense too, I think he’ll be a level-to-level guy. I think he could be in the majors late in 2011 or early 2012. It’s such a crapshoot to try to guess when Ynoa will be up, but I’ll say sometime in 2012.

  6. Jim says:

    Thanks for the info, Jeff. Speaking of Villalona, where do you think he ultimately ends up in the field? Can he play anwhere other than first base?

    Looking down the road as a Giants fan, my best case scenario for 2010 would be:

    1) Burriss, 2B
    2) Renteria, SS
    3) Lewis, RF
    4) Holliday, LF
    5) Sandoval, 3B
    6) Ishikawa, 1B
    7) Rowand, CF
    8) Posey, C

    With Molina, Roberts, Winn, Johnson, and others coming off the books, do they have the money to throw at Holliday after this year?

    Depending on how Lewis and Ishikawa perform this year, that lineup could be coming into its own for 2010 – then maybe a Villalona call-up at the end of ’10 for some spot starts against lefties at 1B/platoon with Ishikawa.


  7. daveinsm says:

    Hey Jeff,

    with the possibility of the Duke starting the season on the DL, which one of the “little three” do you think will make it on the starting 5? or maybe a darkhorse like j. williams?

  8. Jeff Fletcher says:

    Dave, it’s hard for me to answer that question fully since I haven’t been here and seen many of them. From what I read in the Chronicle today, it seems like Mazzaro is probably the closest of the Little Three. I think Jerome Williams and Edgar Gonzalez are probably both in the same category in the competition. Either could make it if he pitches well over the next three weeks. Don’t forget, it’s still early. A lot could happen between now and opening day.

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