Oakland A's MLN: Spring Camp Notes

In one week, pitchers and catchers will report to the Oakland A's minor league spring training camp. In advance of the start of camp, we have news and notes on whether players such as Sean Doolittle will report to camp on time, if Fautino De Los Santos will be pitching out of the rotation or the 'pen, and if some of the A's youngest prospects will have a chance to play for a full-season affiliate.

Youth Movement In Kane County

Generally, the Oakland A's have filled the roster of their low-A affiliate, the Kane County Cougars, with players the team drafted out of college the season before. Occasionally, when the A's have had a particularly precocious high school draft pick, they have sent that player to Kane County, as well. Trevor Cahill, Jared Lansford, Craig Italiano, Vince Mazzaro and Matt Sulentic are recent examples of high school draft picks who went to Kane County at the start of their first full professional seasons.

The Cougars may have another wave of young prospects on their roster in 2010. Two of the A's most high-profile draft picks in 2009 were high schoolers Max Stassi (fourth round) and Ian Krol (seventh round). Both Stassi and Krol signed late in the draft pick signing period last season, but they acquitted themselves well in limited action with short-season Vancouver during the final weeks of August and played well during the A's Instructional League camp.

According to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, both Stassi and Krol will be battling this spring for spots on the Cougars' roster. Stassi is currently in big league camp, so he will have a leg up on the competition for a spot with the Cougars. If Krol makes the Kane County squad, he will pitching in his own backyard, as the left-handed pitcher is from Naperville, Illinois. Both Stassi and Krol will be 19 for most of the 2010 season.

The Cougars may also have some youth in the outfield. Despite struggling to the tune of a .214 average with short-season Vancouver in 2009, Rashun Dixon is in the mix to break camp with Kane County, according to Lieppman. Dixon was the MVP of the A's Instructional League last fall and he had a strong season with the A's Rookie League club in 2008. Dixon won't turn 20 until late August.

Another teenager likely to be on the Cougars' roster this season is 19-year-old shortstop Nino Leyja. Leyja began last season with short-season Vancouver, but when a spate of injuries struck the Kane County infield, he was promoted to Kane County. Leyja hit .231 with the Cougars last season in a part-time role. He is likely to have a more regular role with the team in 2010.

The A's most high-profile teenage prospect, Michael Ynoa, isn't likely to be in Kane County this season, however. According to Lieppman, Ynoa is expected to pitch for the A's Rookie League club in Arizona. If Ynoa exceeds expectations during regular and extended spring training, he would head to Vancouver.

Rehab Updates

Throughout the off-season, we have been tracking the progress of a number of A's prospects who finished the 2009 season with injuries. Below are updates on the status of some of those players.

According to Lieppman, first-baseman/outfielder Sean Doolittle and left-handers Justin Marks and Bobby Cramer are expected to report minor league camp on time. Doolittle is coming off of knee injury which required surgery in October. That he is reporting to camp on-time qualifies as good news, as it means is he likely to start the regular season on an active roster.

Marks will also have the opportunity to start the regular season on an active roster. The A's second pick (third round) last season made only one appearance after signing with the team before injuring his groin. He missed the rest of the regular season and all of the Instructional League. Despite having less than an inning of professional experience, Marks could break camp with a full-season affiliate. He was considered a polished prospect when he was drafted out of Louisville.

Cramer was limited to 62.2 innings last season thanks to arm problems, but he is set to report to minor league camp on-time. The southpaw had a 3.88 ERA for Sacramento, Midland and Stockton last season. He recently competed for the Indios de Mayaguez in the Mexican Winter League and had a 2.75 ERA in 19.2 innings.

The news isn't quite as promising for A's prospects Dusty Coleman and Andrew Carignan. According to Lieppman, both Coleman and Carignan will report to camp, but both are expected to start the regular season at extended spring training.

Coleman is rehabbing a fractured wrist that he had surgically repaired at the conclusion of the 2009 season. He played through wrist pain for much of last season and posted a .247 average with nine homers for Kane County and Stockton. Carignan missed virtually the entire 2009 season with arm problems. The closer had 28 saves and a 2.01 ERA for Stockton and Midland in 2008.

Fautino Heading To The Bullpen

After missing most of the past two seasons recovering from May 2008 Tommy John surgery, Fautino De Los Santos will be moving to the bullpen in 2010, according to Lieppman. De Los Santos, who is currently in the A's big league camp, will head either to Stockton or Midland at the end of camp. De Los Santos was one of the top pitching prospects in the A's system at the time of his elbow surgery. The 24-year-old has never pitched above the High-A level. He was added to the A's 40-man roster this off-season.

Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories